It was pouring with rain by the time Stylo pulled up outside a normal looking house. The driver's door opened and a booted foot stepped out onto the curb. Murdoc Niccals stood there looking proudly at their new home. The rest of Gorillaz started to emerge from the car, the first being 2D who was trying to shelter his beloved hair from the rain by pulling his jacket up over his head.
"This it?" he asked as his back rapidly got wet.
"Yep," beamed Murdoc rummaging in his pocket for the keys. "Lady and gentlemen, this is Gorillaz' new crib!”
Noodle stared out the window in the back seat as drops of rain trickled down the glass, distorting her view of the place. She let out a small sigh, a little hesitant about her new life. Considering everything that has happened over the past 6 years, this was sort of a small step back. Did Murdoc honestly think things were just going to magically go back to the way things were before between the four of them? Considering what happened between everyone back on Plastic Beach, well, let's just say there was a lot of patching up to do. Despite all of this, she was happy to be back here; Happy to be near civilization. Happy to be in an actual home, and more than ever, not having to run away anymore. A small smile crept across her face. She was home. And these boys, as silly as they all were, they were her family. There was one of them though, of whom she had more of a heart for then any of them.
The singer cast his damaged eyes over the structure and did that funny little one eye squint he often did when faced with something new or confusing. Murdoc was already striding over to the door and fiddling with the keys by the time 2D's brain kicked in to state his opinion about the house but the second he opened his mouth….
"2D! Put your coat on! You'll catch your death out in this rain!" Noodle tossed 2D's jacket at him as he turned his head to answer her, accidentally getting hit in the face with the jacket.
Startled, the lanky boy emitted a shriek a lot higher than most men would care to go and stumbled onto Stylo's bonnet setting off the car alarm. Upon hearing the wail of his muscle car, the bassist was back outside and on the scene with frightening speed for his age. Not saying a word to the singer, Murdoc lifted up the jacket which clung to his face, gave him a death stare and smacked him hard upside the head before clicking the button on the car keys which silenced the alarm. He roughly covered the boy's face again with the jacket before storming inside the house once more.
2D, who was badly shaken by both the 'surprise' jacket and the car alarm, warily pulled the item of clothing off of his face and rubbed his head, clearly upset by what had just happened. He caught sight of the guitarist and just stood there in the pouring rain just looking at her dry and warm in the car. She was no longer a child. Over the years, Noodle had blossomed into a beautiful young woman which the same stunning green eyes. 2D had always had a soft spot for her and since the incident El Manana, he had become very protective of her, frightened that she may be whisked away at any given moment for another six years.
"FACEACHE!" 2D flinched at the harsh voice which snapped him out of his little trance and headed for the house. He soon remembered Noodle was still in the car and hurried back to her, opening her door like a butler.
"S-sorry darlin', I was miles away…" Even though it was cold and wet out, being this close to Noodle somehow made 2D feel as though he was on fire. Noodle suddenly felt herself caught in his gaze, getting sucked slowly into the dark shadows of his fractured eyes. Somehow she found some comfort in them, those familiar eyes she's always known. She smiled at him, and although it was sweet, it was also tired.
"Oh that's alright. Are you feeling well? You look a bit pale."
No sooner had Noodle told him he was pale when 2D's cheeks started to turn a rosy pink.
"I'm alright!" he squeaked helping her out of the car and wiping his cheeks in a stupid attempt to rid them of blushing. He only succeeded in making them worse.
"Ere’, take my jacket, its cold."
Noodle slid across the seat of the cab and swung her legs over the side, her boots hitting a small puddle. Goosebumps went up her arms and legs...it really was too cold to be wearing just a skirt and t-shirt. 2D gently wrapped his jacket around her shoulders. It was a bit big over her small frame but brought a lot of warmth. His gesture was caught her off guard a bit, but it was sweet nonetheless. She stood up, stepping all the way out of the cab now. Although her legs were long, her Asian frame was very small and short. She barely reached 2D's neck in height; just barely. She looked up at him and smiled.
2D couldn't help but look at her tender figure as she got out of the car. She was so slight, so pure, so innocent. The singer coughed and gave his head a quick shake just as his eyes rested on her hips.
'What's wrong wiv me?! Don't ya dare look at 'er in that way, Stuart Pot!' he scolded himself mentally and cleared his throat awkwardly.
Her sweet voice made little butterflies dance in the pit of his stomach like a roaring tornado and the fact that she looked adorable in his jacket which was too big for her didn't help matters.
"Ah, s'nuffin'..." he smiled sheepishly back at her stuffing his large hands into the pockets of his jeans.
"Come on, let's 'ead inside."
Noodle cocked her head to the side. He seemed nervous about something and she knew it, but if he said he was fine, well, he was always a bit weird anyway.
"Mmm 'kay." She said in a cute way. She walked on ahead, getting a better view of the place. She wrapped 2D's jacket snugly around her. As they walked in the house, 2D wrinkled his nose at the smell of must. Murdoc had already made himself at home and was loading up the drinks cabinet with his precious booze.
"Well, what do you think?" he asked spying them standing in the corridor. The singer shook his head like a wet dog sending flecks of water everywhere before answering.
"I don' like it..."
"I don' like eet!" mimicked the bassist in a whiny voice. "You haven't even looked around, you idiot. I'll give you the grand tour." 2D frowned softly and followed the bassist up the stairs. Noodle's nose also filled with the foul stench. She nudged 2D.
"Grand tour?" She whispered as they followed Murdoc. "What's so grand about this place anyway?"
"Buggered if I know." answered the singer with a shrug.
"Noodle, this is your room." declared the Satanist pushing a bedroom door open."Faceache, yours is up those stairs. And mind my chair lift."
2D snorted a laugh and poked the beaten up looking chair in rails. "I know ya old, but why do ya 'ave this fing?"
Murdoc strode over and slapped his hand away. "DON'T touch..." he said dangerously. "Sometimes I don't feel like walking."
Noodle stared at the chair lift.
"Really?" She thought to herself and sighed. As Murdoc and 2D continued to argue, she decided to take a look inside of her new room. It was spacious enough...and with a little cleaning, furniture, and some paint, it could be cozy. It was better than sleeping outside or on a raft in the ocean somewhere...
Noodle took one last look at her new room before walking back out into the hall.
"Oh, ya don't feel like walkin' eh? Well maybe I don' feel like livin' in a shitty run-down 'ouse wiv YOU!" spat 2D rubbing his smarting hand and narrowing his onyx eyes. Murdoc's lips curled into a snarl showing his shark like teeth as he made a grab for 2D's shirt pulling him close.
"I'd watch my mouth if I were you, you ungrateful little-"
2D and Murdoc were still there, now yelling each other over the stupid stair lift! They were still the same. Still bickering and fighting like a screwed up married couple. She couldn't help but laugh at this...a little too loudly actually. Murdoc paused upon hearing the delicate yet loud laughter of the guitarist at their usual antics. 2D who was leaning as far back from Murdoc as he could with a scared look on his face, turned his head to look at her as well, both men confused.
Murdoc however, quickly cottoned on and hurled abuse at the cowering bluenette who only whimpered and covered his eyes. The laughing was quickly cut short, as Noodle looked at Murdoc appalled. Murdoc was looking like he was enjoying himself a bit too much and drew back his fist and sharply connected it with 2D's jaw. If it hadn't been for Murdoc holding 2D up by his shirt, the singer would have gone down like a sack of cement.
"Hey! Cut it out you two!" she said loudly in her tiny voice.
Not satisfied with that hit, the bassist readied himself for another blow but was quickly apprehended by the small guitarist.
"I SAIDDD CUT IT OUT!" she belted.
Noodle, with all her hidden strength, shot her arm out and grabbed a good chunk of Murdoc's shirt and yanked him backwards, where she put him in a tight headlock. People were often deceived by her tiny frame, not knowing or forgetting that she was a well-rounded martial arts master military test tube baby who also learned a thing or two growing up in a violent environment over the past 5 years.
"I would like a peaceful afternoon if you don't mind." she said in very eerily calm voice, followed by a creepy and unstable smile.
Both men looked completely startled by her sudden burst of strength, especially Murdoc who made a weird squawking noise as his neck was swiftly tucked under Noodle's arm.
2D blinked rubbing his jaw and managed to make a slight shocked smile at her heroism. It was rather amusing to see a grown man stooped over under the power of a small girl. Murdoc's eyes were bulging out of his head like 2 ping pong balls and for a moment, he remained still, colour flowing to his cheeks in a mixture of embarrassment by being bested by a girl and rage for being interrupted. He knew that Noodle could easily snap his neck like a twig if she desired and he quickly decided that he'd like to live for another day. Clearing his throat, Murdoc placed his hands as gently as he could on Noodle's arms.
"Ok...Ok, love, I get the hint."
Noodle, still smiling, released Murdoc so suddenly that he fell to the ground like a ton of bricks. The bassist grunted when he thumped against the floor, somewhat dazed by what had just happened.
"Thank you Murdoc." she said while stepping over him and going over to 2D. His face was a bit disheveled from the little romp that just took place. Noodle knelt down next to him and examined the damage. She had compassion in her eyes and really just wanted to help him...haven't they both been through enough already?
"Oh no, you poor thing." Noodle knelt down next to 2D where she saw a nasty bruise forming on his busted up jaw. There was also a small stream of blood trickling from his lip.
"Here, let me fix you up, okay?"
2D shyed away from her bashfully and shakily lifted a large hand to his lip to hide his cut. There it was again. That fluttery feeling in his belly that felt like a flock of birds would burst from his gut at any moment.
"I-I'm alright Noods, r-really.." he blurted with an embarrassing stutter half wishing Murdoc had punched him in the abdomen to quell the increasing 'butterflies'.
Having hastily got to his feet, Murdoc snorted and looked down at the pair of them loftily.
"Well, I'll leave you two 'lovebirds' for now." And with that, he spun on his heel and thundered upstairs to his room. The singer bit his lip forgetting it was split and squeaked in pain. Why did Murdoc have to humiliate him every waking moment?
Noodle only glared in Murdoc's direction, but her face turned soft when looking back to 2D.
"Don't listen to him. He's just a bitter old man...are you sure you're okay?"
The singer got uneasily to his feet and gave Noodle a tender smile to reassure her he was o.k.
"Thanks, love, I've 'ad worse fing's 'appen to me."
He remembered their luggage was still in the car and hurried out to get it. He returned wetter than before with a small case of his own things and Noodle's bags.
"Want me ta take these upstairs for ya?"
"Oh yes. But I’ll help too. Thank you.”
2D shrugged and she smiled as the two headed upstairs, carefully avoiding the stupid chair lift, and headed to Noodle's room. Sounding like a 6 week old puppy playing tug of war, 2D lugged her bags up the stairs and followed her into her room.
"Huh, I 'fought Murdoc would give me the smallest room.." he said looking at her more spacious one.
"You can just put those anywhere." She said, once again looking around the room and dropping a duffle bag. It was so barren, she couldn't wait to start unpacking and filling it up a bit. She didn’t have many things anyway, so there wasn’t much to fill it with…but then again, she didn’t have many things anyway, so there wasn’t much to fill it with. Then she remembered.
"Ugh, I still don't have a bed." She frowned. She sighed, tired from the car ride and long day, and slumped to the floor. Noodle had nowhere to sleep and after all the horrible things she'd been through, 2D wanted her to have a life of luxury. "Well, er...I-If ya want, ya welcome to sleep in...my bed." His shyness getting the better of him, the boy snapped his head down to stare at the floor awkwardly. "Just until ya g-get a bed." he added quickly realizing the first part of his sentence made him sound like a pervert. Noodle looked at him for a second, with a small tint of red coloring her face, as if he had asked her something “else” when she quickly understood.
"Really? You wouldn't mind? I don't want to be a burden or anything..."
The guitarist's adorable blushing set off a chain reaction to 2D making his blush even more prominent.
"No! Not at all!" he exclaimed waving his hands frantically by the sides of his head. "Ya no burden to me at all. It's...It's lovely to see ya after all these years.."
The singer mentally kicked himself for bringing up her awful past but he just had to say what was in his heart. "We all 'fought ya were..." 2D fell silent and turned away as a lump came to his throat. He hated anyone to see him cry, especially the guitarist.
Noodle felt her heart skip a beat. After all this time, she felt as if she had been easily forgotten...but now she could see that was far from the truth. After everything she was put through, all of the physical and emotional scarring...there was still the one person who somehow understood her more than anyone. She and 2D just clicked, ever since she was a small child. They shared a special sort of bond and friendship that she never felt with anyone else. Someone did miss her...she wasn't forgotten after all.
It wasn't until that moment that she noticed the little streams of tears coming from both eyes. She hadn't cried in years...
"Toochi..." She squeaked, before burying her face in his chest and bursting into full-fledged tears. She sobbed uncontrollably for what seemed like forever, and felt somewhat foolish for dumping all of her emotional baggage onto her childhood friend. But at the same time, as she continued to weep, she felt a huge weight being lifted off of her. She needed this; she needed to let out everything she had been through all these years, and she didn't feel right about doing it until now. For some reason, she could cry in front of him...
The singer tried his best to hold his tears and coughed rubbing his eyes to make it seem like he had something in them. But it was no use. All the anguish of El Manana, thinking Noodle was dead, never seeing her again, 2D had tried to bottle these hideous thoughts deep inside him for all this time and now they were finally being released through tears. Feeling her fragile little body against him, 2D immediately held her close to him and could hold himself no more. He nuzzled the top of her head and sobbed against her taking shuddering breaths, silvery tears rolling down his cheeks.
"I-I 'ain't..n-n..never gonna..l-let anyfin' a-appen to ..ya again." stuttered 2D with ragged breaths where he was crying so hard. Noodle clung to 2D, holding him tightly, afraid that if she let go he would float away...far away from her.
"Thank you...thank you...." She sniffled softly.
Time seemed to stop as they wept in each other's arms, not caring about the world around them. 2D had his special girl and that was all he ever wanted. Many times, he'd lay awake at night whispering silent prayers that she'd be safe, that she'd be alright before crying himself to sleep and only being able to see her in his mind's eye. The countless times he'd wake up in the morning to find himself tightly cuddling his pillow that had been the very person he wanted to see in his lonely dreams. After a good 5 minutes, 2D's tears of sorrow blended into tears of pure happiness and relief. For years he had just wanted to hold her, to keep all the evils of the world away from her and he had finally gotten his wish.
"Ya don't know 'ow much I've missed ya, Noods.." he whispered with a half choked sob, gently running his hand over the back of her head, stroking her slightly shorter hair with the gentlest of touches. This is probably the weakest she's felt in a long time....but she was fine with it. After years of running, she finally felt safe...right here. Someone actually did miss her...
"I missed you too...I missed all of you...but you the most Toochi." She whispered the last part.
She was all cried out...but felt comfortable in 2D's arms. She wanted to stay there just a tad bit longer. 2D felt a great sense of pride at her hushed words and it lifted his spirits even more. Although it was that last thing he wanted to do, 2D carefully slid his lanky arms from her back and gently tilted her chin so that he could see her beautiful eyes.
"I'll sleep on the floor love. I want ya to be as comfortable as possible." 2D smiled serenely at her and gently kissed her forehead.