"I've got a lovely bunch-a co-co-nuts, DEETLE-EEE-DEET, There they are-a sittin' in-a row..."

The song drifted aimlessly around the carpark, coming out from time to time in obnoxiously loud bursts, much to the chagrin of one very pissed, guilt-ridden, hung-over bassist who just wanted some sleep, god dammit, was it really that much to ask?

"Bum, bum, bum, -hic!- Big ones small 'uns, some the shize uf ya 'ead! -hic!-"

Murdoc growled and shoved his pillow as tightly over his head as possible.

CRASH.

"Ow! Murdoc, 'elp me!"

Bloody fucking Satan.

One blood-shot, yellowed eye audibly cracked open and twitched before hurricane Murdoc unleashed his wrath in the form of the patented Horribly Irritated Satan Summoner yell, affectionately known as the Murdoc H.I.S.S.

"Dullard, shut the fuck up and go to FUCKIN' SLEEP ALREADY! Ya been drunk for two GODDAMN days, an' ya ain't done shit but babble the whole FUCKIN' time! If I here just one more bloody fuckin' SONG come out of ya' shit-ridden mouth, I'm going to DISEMBOWEL you and string ya guts up around the Winnie for fuckin' Christmas decorations!"

Not a sound was heard in a one mile radius around Kong. Murdoc breathed heavily for a few moments, before getting out of bed and wandering out of the Winnebago in his customary tighty-whiteys.

The fuckin' idiot had started drinking himself into a stupor the night they all got back from Noodle's birthday party, and Noodle herself had holed up and claimed she needed "reflection and meditation time."

But mostly that was just her way of telling her band mates to sod off for a while so she could destroy her room and then put it all back together.

Mike the monkey had taken up guard outside her door, and anytime a certain blue-haired man wandered past, said Monkey had hissed and screeched at him, pummeling him with any array of on-hand objects in order to keep him as far away from Noodle as possible.

And there wasn't a lot readily available in the hallway... except, of course, for Mike's own feces. Needless to say, monkey poo was thrown at 2D like rice on a couple at a wedding.

Our poor, stupid, oblivious hero hadn't slept and had devoured far more alcohol than was healthy over the past few days.

But back to the current situation.

As Murdoc's red eye twitched in frustration, 2D's short term memory quickly said bye-bye to all that Murdoc had just said, and the blue-haired man found himself rolling over on the floor, concentrating on the extraordinarily difficult task of lifting himself off the ground.

How had he gotten there again?

Hm... right... something about coconuts... wait, where were his pants...?

Murdoc's right hand found itself slapping his own forehead out of sheer frustration with the drunken, pantsless idiot rolling around on the floor. But deep down in his black little heart, somewhere beneath the dark charcoal-like lump that resided where most people would have a conscience, Murdoc felt a very small pang of pity.

A VERY small pang of pity. Which was more than likely for himself and his own lack of sleep.

But maybe, just maybe, a bit of it was for faceache.

Stomping over to his singer, Murdoc grabbed him roughly by the collar of his shirt and proceeded to drag his sorry ass into Kong, through the lobby, up the elevator, past the farting elephant, and right in front of Russel's room.

"Wot are ya doin, Murdoc? Where are we? Ugh, wot's 'at smell?! Say, 'ave you -hic- seen my pants?"

To Murdoc, he'd been doing enough good deeds lately. Now it would be up to lards to sober up numb-nuts here and fix this whole fucked up Noodle shenanigan that was intruding on his precious, precious sleep.

And so, with a certain amount of self-satisfaction, Murdoc tossed 2D next to Russ's door, gave the door a good solid kick, and high-tailed it back down to the safety of his Winnie far before Russel opened his door to the sight of a dazed, drunk as fuck, sans-pants, stupidly smiling 2D sprawled out on the floor in front of him.

"Ello, Russ!" He greeted cheerily, right before his glazed eyes took on a more serious look. "Noodle still mad?"

Russel shook his head at his friend.

Shit.

How was he gonna fix this?

"Come on man, let's get you in a bed..."

Some twenty feet away, a green-eyed Japanese teenager sat calmly on her bed, eyes closed serenely, all thoughts concentrated on ridding her mind of the angry, betrayed thoughts that threatened her at every turn of the head. Her surrounding were pristine, and the air in the room was stiff and still as if nothing had moved in it for days.

Which, well, it hadn't. Because once Noodle had finished crying, she'd taken up residence on this very spot, in the middle of her bed, her back straight, and very confident in her guard monkey.

Young Noodle thought about many things while she went into meditation mode. First she thought about how normally her room would be in tatters over something like this. Then she thought about the multiple occasions she had cleaned up the mess left by her own explosions. Next up on the train of thought was the explosion she was originally programmed to be, and of course these thoughts were followed by thoughts of Japan, of the life she would have had if she had never come to Gorillaz. She tried to imagine herself in a world without 2D, Murdoc, or Russel, without music or expression or any real sense of self.

She was damn glad Mr. Kyuzo had fed-exed her to Kong.

It was ironic, thought Noodle, that in her search for the truth about her past, she had come to the conclusion that her past really had very little to do with who she truly was.

She had been shaped by those three people with whom she was closest.

And now she was being defined by one of them again... She was reacting to heartbreak. Trouble was, she really wasn't sure what to do with it. All of her profound thinking, her insight, her intelligence could not guide her in this, a matter of the heart. It was now when she would discover how strong she really was.

So, for two days, the teenage guitarist festered in her own unshowered oils, endured hunger pangs, and ignored her thirst and slight hang over in order to ponder what action should be taken.

As well as the consequences of her own actions.

Okay, so maybe she had come on a little strong that night. So maybe next time she could be a little less physical, and a little more emotional, and 2D would catch on...

Erm, scratch that. She'd gone and blurted out that she loved him, like a freakin' idiot. Good call, Noodle Girl. Karma - 3749827, Noodle - 0.

Perhaps she could just pretend like it never happened. 2D might think he dreamt it all in a codeine induced haze, and she'd be off the hook!

Except for that whole part where she'd still be in love. Blast and damn.

Or.. or maybe it was time to own up to reality and deal with it. Despite all the beauty and joy in the world, things don't always happen as we want them to. And time would dissipate all the hurt and hardship eventually. Noodle and 2D could go back to being friends, and things would be fine.

Wouldn't they?

For the first time in two days, at almost the same instant Russel's door opened to the belligerant 2D, Noodle moved. She fell backwards onto her bed, arms above her head, eyes open, exhaling deeply.

It wouldn't do any good to continue worrying about the future. Nothing was certain, and facing the consequences for her actions at this moment was all she could do to continue living. After all, she couldn't simply stop time by sitting in her room.

She sat up resolutely, and took a deep breath.

Her face scrunched up with the rancid, pickle/B.O. stench that entered her nostrils.

UGH. Wow. She smelled like shit.

A shower was definitely in order before anything else happened.

And, well, fuck it all... she was still kinda randy.

After all this mess was sorted, O.N.G.S. (back in the day, Operation Noodle Gets Some) would be back in action, 2D or no.

But preferably with 2D.

Meanwhile, everyone's favorite Satanist was busy catching a few well-deserved winks on his Egyptian Silk sheets. You know, the ones with a huge (gizz? diarrhea? vomit?) stain in the middle.

One shower and a passed out singer later, Noodle and Russel found themselves in the kitchen, mutually hungry.

Noodle nodded at her father-figure when he entered, and he watched her rummage through the fridge for a moment before speaking.

"Finally decided to join the land of the living again baby girl?"

She turned to him warily, with tired eyes, and cracked a small smile. "No offense, Russel-kun, but I did not desire to end up possessing you, and that tends to happen when people pass away in your vicinity."

He chuckled easily at her. She'd been the one to help him get passed his... trauma... in a mental way. Her knowledge of how to handle post-possession neuro-cases had astounded everyone in the band.

Her smile widened as he pulled on an apron, ready to cook.

The large man took her place rummaging at the fridge, pulling out god only knows what to fix, and not looking at her as he posed his next question.

"Noodle girl... How long is all this gonna go on between you and D?"

Her smile collapsed immediately, and she sighed as she sat down at the table, her hands coming to rub her temples, her hair still damp from her recent vacation into the land of hygiene.

"I... I don't know. I am planning to speak with him about everything that's happened," she took another resigned breath, looking absently out the window to the filth of the landfill, "But it's just not something I really want to do. I must admit that... I'm... I'm afraid."

Russel listened quietly as he separated out the ingredients for home-made mac'n'cheese. That was always a good comfort food.

And if there was one thing Russel really knew (well, after music and drumming and what being possessed felt like), it was comfort food.

"Russel-kun, I just don't understand why things had to play out the way they did. I'm not deluded enough to expect everything to be fairy-tale, but after all that I've done, I suppose I just wished for this one thing to be easy. There isn't much that I ask for, so why couldn't I have just had this one thing? Why am I not good enough for him?"

A deep sigh emanated from the mass that was Russel. Noodle would have continued her aimless venting, but she knew that the noise he made called for little else but silence.

"Baby girl, lets get one thing strait here. This shit ain't got nothin' to do with you being 'good enough' or anything like that, so don't go thinking that. If you don't listen to anything else I say, listen to that. Second, I know this isn't fair. It never is. Shit just... happens, no matter what you do. I could ask all day why I been possessed by everything from my best friend to a hell demon, but it wouldn't do me no good. You just gotta accept it and move on..." he said lowly, his white eyes locked with her green ones.

It remained silent for a moment more.

"And another thing," he paused, unsure of saying what next came to his mind. He shook his head decisively, "Another thing. 2D hasn't been sober since your birthday. Ever since you went in your room, he's been out of his mind drunk wandering around the carpark and the studio kitchen, bitching to Ralph about how much of a dumb shit he is. As we speak he's passed out on the couch in my room, first time he's slept in two days, and I'll give you one good guess as to why he's been actin' this way and it ain't because he knocked up another chick."

With that he turned away from her, and she stared, somewhat shocked, and the expanse of his back.

Her rumbling stomach would just have to wait.

This, she had to see for herself.

Russel didn't hear her get up and leave, but felt her presence leave the kitchen.

She crept carefully down the hall, into the second floor lobby, down the next corridor, and paused in front of Russel's room, where she could hear a light snoring penetrate the door to come sound in her ear.

Aw. Crap.

She hadn't seen him since all that had happened! Was it really fair for her to just walk in and wake his hung-over ass up? Would she be able to resist giving him a good smack? Fuck that, would she be able to resist giving him a good snog? Well, after all, last time she'd seen him asleep he'd ended up doing the naughty all over himself while she moaned in his ear...

Hm. Furious blush, anyone? I'll take one, me the Japanese girl at table five. Matter of fact, I'll take ten.

Okay, slow down. She could do this. He was out like a weight, if he'd been binge-drinking, she could probably scream in his ear and not wake him up.

She really did want to see him.

Okay.

That was it.

Push the door open.

Just... DO IT.

Okay, good girl. Now go in the room.

But maybe this isn't such a good id-

GO IN.

... meep.

As Noodle succumbed to her dominant instinct to enter Russel's room, her eyes fell on the sight of a heavily slumbering man whose blue hair rested in an shock of tangle on top of his head, and whose pants were also no where to be found.

Her eyes softened a bit.

He was just so damn cute when he was asleep.

Noodle closed the door gently behind her, walking timidly over to 2D, and kneeling next to the couch where he was far, far away in the land of lala and toys. Her hand brushed the slightly matted blue hair off his forehead, her cool fingers light against his heated skin.

He made no reaction to her touch in his sleep, but just continued to snore lightly. She hung her head slightly, smiling a bit as he slept on obliviously, his eyes sealed shut and his mouth slightly open, revealing the front tooth gap left courtesy of one Murdoc Niccals.

"Hey," she whispered softly, letting her other hand rest lightly on his chest. "I... I'm sorry about how everything just... sort of... happened. I... never meant for any of it to turn out the way it did. I only followed my heart, and when I thought it had led me down the wrong path, I lost it. I'd never been guided in the wrong direction before... I..."

She looked away.

So, this was it. This was her big moment of truth. This was her discovery of the real insecurity of life - the fact that we, ultimately, control nothing.

Unwittingly, the source of her revelation slumbered on, dreaming of lollypops and Noodle, in a world where things were happy again.

One floor down, some distance away, trouble was brewing. For unbeknownst to our courageous four, the big wheel was soon to make a return to Kong's interior... With an undead friend.

A/N: Yeah I know, took forever. Sorry. Expect the next chapter by... Christmas-ish. I hope you enjoyed, I really tried hard with this one... It's difficult to keep the mood light when people are trying to grow into themselves and all, you know? And no fear, Murdoc fans, he shall make an appearance next chapter. Or if you just really need him, check out Sunshine in a Bag.

Hehe, Zombies.