Start of Phase Two

Author's Note: (peers out) Erm….(clears throat) H-Hi….remember me? Yeah, author of this story? Guys, you don't know how sorry I am and how happy I am to finally be updating this again SINCE SUMMER! Half of my junior year is almost over and I finally update. You do not know how many times I had to sneak to type this in the dead of night or during school hours at the same time while keeping it secret. I like privacy. SO…I hope you like…and will forgive…and will love the chapter so much you'll review and say how much you missed me. XP Yeah okay, just a review would be fine. XD Thanks! You guys are loved muchly! Buuuut you might wanna check the last few paragraphs on the last chapter to remember what point this chapter is starting from. ; Just some advice! Good reading!

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With a new pair of clean (or cleaner) jeans that fit snuggly to his legs, the singer rubbed his elbow as he followed Noodle's steps up the stairs and used the art of sniffing the aroma of delicious cheesy pizza in the air to find where it was located. It led him to the living room where Murdoc had already started on his second piece, sharing with Cortez of course, and Russel on his third. It seemed that Noodle had taken a slice since there was only one more left, and the lanky man made a dive for it before his band left him foodless.

The inconsiderate blokes…they would've left him with nothing if he hadn't come just in the nick of time. No conversation seemed to be made by neither Russel nor Murdoc, but perhaps it was because there really wasn't much to talk about. Within their separate thinking minds, they were figuring the problems Noodle's new school would bring and how difficult the stress could be on their girl, but 2D wasn't thinking about those kind of things as he walked casually into the room where they really all should be, the kitchen, where the teen Jap was hunched over her retrieved work with a blank sheet of paper, hand scrunched into writing position.

Opening his mouth widely, the singer ripped off a good chunk of his lunch, chewing curiously as he leaned over the girl, creating a towering shadow that caught Noodle's attention. "Please do not do that, 2D. I am trying to concentrate." she said without moving her eyes from the sheet, and the tall man arched an eyebrow, swallowing a tiny bit from the large mass he held in his mouth, "Do yeh wan' s'm 'elp?" he offered with the glob rolling around in his mouth as he took the seat beside her at the table. Peeking up for a moment, the guitarist noted the greasy hands and mouth with a slight wince, smiling for the thoughtfulness, "No, thank you…unless you understood what Ms. Mayfield was explaining when she mentioned the block system?" the girl giggled, seeing 2D's eyebrows shove upwards in worry.

Swallowing hard, he grabbed a napkin from the center rack on the table, wiping his mouth with a slight cough. That small piece hadn't gone down so smoothly. "Erm…no…didn't catch 'ose parts…an' I sorta dozed a lit'tle in the middle of 'er speech…" he admitted sheepishly, catching a small shadow of a smile on Noodle's face as she continued to write on her paper. "I think I will just make one time schedule, and use them for everyday. That will save me time and everyone from confusion." the axe princess told him, realizing she was doing this more for him than anyone.

2D wasn't exactly the best when it came to time and place. If it wasn't for Murdoc screaming at him every time they needed to get to an interview or Russel reminding him to take out what he was going to wear the night before, most of their agenda would have been doubley hectic than what it had been. Tapping the pen against her forehead in thought, the teen remembered when the singer had almost been late to his own interview, although they all had to be there, he was the one that was going to do the talking, but he couldn't decide which hat he wanted to wear, the bucket hat or the cap.

Instead of deciding on the way, he had sat in his room, locked up until Murdoc nearly broke down the door ready to deck the singer in the face, but the one ending up hurt in that situation was, in fact, Noodle, which would never made sense to anyone if that tale was shared. What had happened was Murdoc had kicked the door for about the eighth time in a row, finally wrenching the door from the lock beam and charged at the indecisive singer who was already a foot in the air and dodging away from the charging bull with horns. "We're fuckin' late, yeh stupid idiot! Wot the 'ell is takin' yeh? Don't yeh 'ear me knockin' at yo' fuckin' door? Or are yeh deaf, too? I'll make it 'appen, yeh nitwit! Don't try me!" the angered bassist growled, shaking the lanky singer with brutal force, giving him a dizzy headache to start the day.

Unbeknownst to either of them, little Noodle had strolled into the room to call them since Russel had asked her to, and since Russel was so kind to her, she pretty much did anything he asked her to as long as she understood what he was saying. She was starting to learn quickly with a couple of short sentences here and there. Eyes wide, 2D yelped as Murdoc curled a fist and jetted his elbow back sharply, banging it against something hard, thus causing him to drop 2D and glance behind profoundly. The room fell silent as both men stared at the child who's right eye was beginning to water and swell while the left eye stared back, completely stunned by the whole thing. Any other child would've burst into tears and ran to the one who would straighten that brute of a man out, but no, she slowly stood and timidly walked over to 2D's mirror, looking a bit gloomy that she was injured.

"…Oh shit…" the bassist had whispered, this ending up with switched role play as the bluehead began cursing out the other in the most foulest of ways while cradling the child in a motherly manner. Her dark green eyes (or eye) slowly shifted from her protector to her injurer, watching his expression actually distress with every other word from her tall friend. She and Murdoc hadn't ever been on good terms with each other, especially after the first night she had stayed in the strange place she had come to call home, but she knew he wouldn't hurt her deliberately…or at least that's how she felt. The girl was pretty good with figuring people out. He wouldn't dislike her as much as he acted out on 2D, would he? Besides, he wouldn't have had that distant look in his eye if he did.

Peering up, the child ran her arms around the singer's neck, giving him a loving hug, quieting him for the moment, "(2D-san…it is alright. You may put me down now.)" But the singer only held a worried façade, wiping the tears from her swelled eye. "Down." she remembered, pointing at the floor, and he gently placed her on her feet as she wished. Looking up at the dark figure, she stood before him, pointing an accusing finger, "Murdoc-san!" she had called strongly, and though he didn't flinch, he did wince, "Murdoc-san!...Hurt Noodle! Not mean to! Ac…Ac…" she pouted, prodding her lip in quick thought. What was that word again?

"Accident!" she suddenly popped, looking up at his stunned face, and she smiled happily, turning to 2D, "2D-san nice for Noodle. Murdoc-san hurt accident, yes?" she questioned, glancing at the said person, and he bobbed his head numbly, feeling rather odd about the situation. "Yo' lucky she 'as such a good 'eart." 2D mumbled, sitting on the bed as he looked around for anything that might stop the swelling. Nothing in his room could help, they would need some ice, and they would have to pass Russel on the way there. "An' wot are yeh plannin' teh tell Russ, anyways? Tha' in yo' attempt teh smash me face in, yeh got lit'tle angel love 'ere instead?" he grumbled, almost finding it hard to believe that the child had actually gotten hurt due to Murdoc's behavior. And on top of that, they were still running late.

"Tell Russel…? Forget Russel…wot the fuck am I gunna tell 'em camera crewers?" the bassist groused, "We can't tell 'em wot 'appened! An' the girl can't go on T.V. wit a bloody black eye!" he sighed, pressing against his eyes with a hand, "Shit!" Eye widening, the young guitarist smiled, waving her hand, "Noodle get idea! Need...Noodle room! Up!" she tried explaining, shooting her finger to the ceiling. Furrowing his eyebrows, Murdoc snapped, "We can't get yeh outta 'ere witout someone seein' 'at eye, girlie! An' I ain't dealin' wit lards just yet."

"Get idea! Need room!" she replied, tugging on the singer's arm, knowing he would listen to her. "Why not give it a try, Murdoc? It might save yo' arse." 2D said quietly, gripping the girl's hand gently and stood up. Curling his hand into a fist, the bassist rapidly crossed his arms in a grouchy manner, nodding his head at the elevator, "…I'll keep lards busy, jus' keep quiet 'till I think o' somethin' for 'is mess…" Leaving Murdoc behind in the singer's room, Noodle and 2D took the lift to her room and she dove into her closet, pulling out the oddest looking gas mask the thin man had ever seen. Carefully placing it on her face, Noodle smiled, "Not see hurt!" Grinning, 2D shook his head, pulling her into a proud hug, "Bloody 'ell, yo' a smart kid! It covers up perfectly!"

"Now tell Russel." she said to herself, disappearing from the room before 2D could realize what she had said. Peeking into the kitchen, she saw that Murdoc was looking for something in a drawer, or stalling rather, before he could risk getting his nose crunched a second time from Russel for accidentally knocking Noodle in the eye. It wasn't his fault she had been standing right behind him when he was about to pound the blueheaded dullard. Who stands that close behind someone anyway? He suddenly glanced her way, his expression a mixture of a problem solved, and, confusion. But she passed him, however, and went straight to Russel, "Russel-san, Noodle tell thing?" she inquired, and the large man glanced at her from his paper, wondering what the child needed.

2D halted as soon as he heard the words escape her mouth, attaching himself to the wall with a hard swallow, knowing he could be in as much trouble as the bassist himself. Murdoc, on the other hand, stared at her in disbelief that she could actually have the balls to do something even he wouldn't do for revenge. Tattling was the lowest of the low and though it could be a clear kick in the crotch, only the most desperate would stoop that deep. Leaning into the corner of the counter, he held his breath as the girl lifted the mask, showing the drummer her eye, "Noodle hurt eye! Accident, not mean to." she nodded while Russel inspected it and went to the freezer for an ice pack, "An' how'd this happen?" he asked gently as the band leader and lead singer nervously awaited her answer.

Stretching out her arms and legs, Noodle went into fighting position, "Noodle practice…YAH! YAH!" she demonstrated, throwing hard punches into the air, "Noodle…bo." she fumbled, not exactly knowing how to say she used it and hit herself while spinning, but she reenacted the imaginary scene that never happened, pretending to whack herself with a metal rod, and shrugged when Russel handed her the pack, "Not mean to…okay?" she questioned, and the New Yorker nodded, picking up his paper once again, "Okay. Just be more careful next time…an' wear that mask for the interview." He paused for a moment, looking around.

"Where's D?"

"Right 'ere!" the singer squeaked, clearing his throat as he poked his head in, ready to go. "Awright, let's get this show on the road, man." Russel heaved, walking out of the kitchen and down the hallway with 2D right behind him, unable to comprehend how clever Noodle was two seconds ago. Murdoc was on the same boat. He stared at her, speechless over what she had just done. The girl had told a complete flat out lie with no guilt at all to the one she trusted the most about something pretty serious…for him. This put the bassist in the quietest, most astounded mode he had ever been in. Never had anyone done something for him before. And what exactly did this girl want in return? He was pretty sure he didn't own anything in any value to her. He hadn't done squat for her. In fact, about the only thing he ever did do was say, "Why don't yeh pack up an' ship off?"

All of that was now slightly smacking him right in the face. Eyes searching the floor, he knew he had to get to the geep quickly. He was driving them all, but Noodle wasn't done with that ice pack yet. Glancing at his watch, he gently tapped her on her shoulder and she twirled, peeking up, "Erm…yeh…yeh can take tha' wit yeh if yeh want." he advised, pointing to the doorway, and she nodded, walking alongside him when he made his way out of the kitchen. Shoving his hands into his pockets, the bassist noticed the girl giving him continual looks and giggling as if she knew a grand secret and he didn't. "Wot?" he snapped, and she shifted the pack on her face, "Murdoc-san think Noodle tell Russel-san Murdoc-san mean to hurt Noodle, yes?"

Giving her a flat expression, the dark one continued down the hall, keeping an eye out for the carpark door, "Well, it bloody looked tha' way for a minute! We don't exactly get along an' yeh 'ad the perfect dirt on me. 'ell knows the dullard would've stuck up fer you the 'ole way." Smiling so brightly that her uninjured eye closed, Noodle tilted her head faintly, "2D-san nice." She glanced at Murdoc who was avoiding eye contact, she poked his arm sweetly, "Murdoc-san nice, too. Sometime. Not nice sometime for 2D-san…not nice sometime for Russel-san…not nice sometime for Noodle…but not mean to hurt Noodle. That why Noodle not tell Russel-san. Accident." she said in extremely choppy fragments, still getting her point across as the bassist listened.

"Yeah…accident." he repeated, knowing it was the truth. Shrugging her small shoulders, she took the pack off and patted her eye, "Noodle tell Russel-san Murdoc-san hurt Noodle accident, Russel-san hurt Murdoc-san because." she finished, using 'because' as her way of saying 'anyway'. Opening the door for them both, Murdoc went down first, then Noodle, "Yeah, I know. I wos gunna come up wit somethin', but yeh came wit 'at story. Eh, worked jus' as well." he figured, glancing at her. "Noodle not want Russel-san hurt Murdoc-san. Murdoc-san…okay." she admitted, slipping her free hand into his with a small smile. "Wot the 'ell?" the man thought, feeling her grip tighten around his palm, almost knowing he was going to shake it off soon.

"Let go o' me, yeh lit'tle…." he frowned, lifting his arm to point to their hands, but Noodle shook her head and pointed to the geep which wasn't too far away now, "To car! Be nice, okay?" she asked hopefully, and Murdoc rolled his eyes, unable to deal with looking at that eyesoring damage on her face. With his other hand he snapped the mask back on her face and sighed. The girl misinterpreted the groan for guilt, however. "Murdoc-san sorry?" she asked, sounding rather muffled as she glanced up at him. Arching an eyebrow, the leader paused for a moment, "Wot?"

"It okay. Noodle not mad. Murdoc-san Noodle friend."

"…Wotever." he replied, having no idea where that came from, but glanced off for a moment before hushing his voice, "Oy, girlie?" Tilting her head curiously, she smiled underneath the mask, where he couldn't see, but he figured she was smiling, considering she always was. Looking over at Russel, who was showing 2D something in the paper from the back seat, he slowly lowered his sight, tapping the glass where she could see through, "Uh…" he started, finding it hard to say that one simple word that made people happy. Swallowing his enormous pride, he talked more to the street than anything when he muttered, "…Thanks."

"Well come." her voice chimed cheerfully, more cheerful than anyone considering how the rest of that day happened to go. It had something to do with forgetting to lock the gates or someone hacking the system somehow, but either way, Murdoc's Winnebago had gotten carjacked during the interview, which 2D was a bit horse for since he had been screaming his head off when Noodle had been hit, and along with Noodle's black eye, everything topped off for a normal day. Of course the Winnie was retrieved, although no one's quite sure what became of the thieves once Murdoc got a hold of them, and Noodle's eye cleared up neatly within a few weeks. And for the record, 2D had finally decided to go along with his bucket hat.

"Noodle? Nooodle?"

Blinking a couple of times, the teen shook her head, looking around with a perplexed expression, "Yes?" Chuckling, her blueheaded friend rested his cheek in his palm, taking another bite from his lunch, "Floated off inteh daydreamer's paradise, did yeh?" Blushing lightly, she merely shook her head, "Oh…no, just…well, remembering the old days." the girl said quietly, her stomach taking their minds off the topic. Sliding her hand over her belly, she glanced down, patting it, "Oh…" Tilting his head, 2D furrowed his brows, "Didn't yeh grab a slice o' pizza?" Going back to her work, the guitarist went through all the boxes and times, making sure each made sense in her haste to finish, "No, not yet."

Looking at his piece guiltily, the singer stood and looked through the drawers with his free hand in search for a knife, "Erm…yeh might not 'ave a chance now, love…" The girl lifted her head and turned to face the living room, watching Murdoc suck the grease off his fingers while Russel just sat on the couch, settling in and digesting. She knew she should have taken one while she had the chance. Well, she could always turn to fruit. That was healthier anyway. Sighing, she turned back to her work, finding a half slice of pizza waiting for her on a plate. Her eyes darted for the thin man, finding his rear sticking out of the refrigerator as he rummaged for something to drink.

Watching the pizza as if it were going to come alive and attack her if she were to touch it, Noodle shook her head, poking her cheek with the pencil's eraser, "2D, you do not have to split your food; I can eat something else." Lifting himself to talk back to her, the singer ended up whacking his head against the top of the inside of the refrigerator, pulling his torso out with a developing headache. It wasn't too hard for him to wind up with one. The tiniest little knock would have his noggin pounding for a good portion of the day. "N-Nonsense," he grunted, beer in hand as he slammed the door shut, "Pizza is a celebration food an' we're celebratin' 'is day for two things: you signin' up into school, an' us workin' on Demon Days."

A gentle smile tugged at the lower portion of her face, slowly reaching for the slice and bit a small piece off, finally tasting the grease covered cheese slip and slide within her mouth and down her throat. Placing the tip of the beer's neck against the counter, the bluehead carefully hit the bottle down, popping the cap off and sat, leaving the fallen top for someone else to step on later or throw out eventually, "An' later, after we eat dinner an' digest a lit'tle, I'll order some more, an' we can toast teh me gettin' a license again, us all makin' it back 'ere, a good summer, an' hopefully, a good year for all o' us, especially you, now wit goin' teh 'igh school an' all." he nodded, pressing his lips against the chilly brown glass, tongue recalling the alcoholic sting as it washed down the Italian lunch.

Eyes darting leisurely across the page, Noodle tapped the pencil's eraser against her bottom lip in thought, a pout in progress, "Hmm…I am sure toasting is used with drinks, 2D." Licking his lips, and then wiping them with his arm, he sucked air through his gap, a common habit of his when he was trying to remember something important. This simple action pulled the guitarist from her work to peek at him, wanting to see this thinking face. It wasn't so much that it was a wonder to see this expression on him, but it was just plain unusual when 2D wanted to remember something, and couldn't. She knew the singer wasn't a dull as everyone thought he was. He just didn't care to pay attention to things that didn't interest him, but when something ever did happen to catch his curiosity, he would turn into a living textbook of whatever that topic happened to be, like zombies, for instance. To someone else, it might be useless knowledge to know almost everything to know about them, but for the Kong residents, it was a life saver.

Softly shrugging, he strummed his fingers on the table, focused on staring inside the beer bottle with one eye closed, "Wull…we'll 'ave soda or somefink I s'pose…" Seeing Noodle sigh thoughtfully, he smiled, pointing at her forgotten paper, "But enough 'bout later. Tha'll come soon enough. Wot's tha' yeh got done 'ere?" Following the direction of his pointer, Noodle gazed at it for a moment before lifting it up against the light, almost examining it for any flaws. "If I were to hand this to you now, expecting you to follow your day by it, would you be able to understand it?" she questioned timidly, not wanting to sound offensive in any way, but also needing him to realize the importance of his understanding.

The young man's smooth face crinkled up in a matter of seconds as his eyes scanned around the paper, targeting important keys, such as times, where he needed to be, and why certain times were left out. "Wull," he started, giving her a side glace, but left the sentence undone, feeling there would be too much for the answer of his simple question, and he wasn't just ready to listen to it yet, and returned to his paper gazing. "I'm sho' I could." he admitted, placing it down after a minute or so, "If yeh explained it the way you meant it teh be."

Scooting her chair closer to him, she pressed the tips of her fingers against the sheet, spinning it in a quick half turn so both of them could see, and tilted her head up at him, resting her hands on her lap. "What do you want me to explain?" she asked, her eyes blinking with a serious watch. Waving his hand around with a negative shake to his head, he merely crossed his arms, "No, love. Wot do yeh want me teh understand is the question 'ere." Eyes shifting to the blocked schedule, she slowly lifted a finger and pressed it against the top most box in the left hand corner, "Eight to ten thirty…band practice." The singer nodded, watching her index finger move one down. "Ten thirty to eleven…break time. Eleven to noon, practice again, until twelve to one. That will be lunch sectioned in. One to three, more practice, three to four, adjustments and corrections, four to seven will be free time for you and maybe Russel, but I am sure Murdoc will want to participate in the office time I will schedule in for myself. During that time, I will be making calls, orders, and appointments for not only the band, but for personal issues as well. When was the last time you went to a doctor?" she suddenly questioned, arching a brow at the surprised singer.

"Uhhm, doctor? Aw, I dunno…Prolly back when we were still together?" he shrugged with an innocent grin, reassuring Noodle she would need to definitely make some appointments soon. They wouldn't be able to travel without up-to-date check ups. "Three 'ours o' free time will be nice…'specially when I start losin' my voice an' m' fingers 'ventually start breakin' off from arthritis." the bluehead chuckled as a joke, but Noodle glanced down, wondering if she could fix the schedule another time for, yet again, 2D's sake. Although the phrase was meant to be taken as a harmless joke, Noodle knew it was too true. His hands were in good shape, but that wasn't what worried her. Long hours of singing all day long in practice and not for fun takes a strain on one's voice, thus resulting in soreness, inflammation of the throat, and hoarseness.

Aside from smoking, which was slowly killing his lungs, and in time, his voice, 2D took care of his voice, which would give them a good start, but maybe the singer could have a day off every week, just to gain his voice back and hopefully not use it too much on his free day. The rest of them would just have to work on something else, maybe instrumental parts or more office work. Not to mention after a while of aggravation, Murdoc could only handle so much bottled frustration. The teen axe princess did not want to be the reason for sudden beat downs during the day if the singer would need water or continuous cough drops. "You are right…" she nodded in all seriousness, and the playful smile subsided on the keyboardist. Frowning that she would need a new piece of paper to create a new schedule she hadn't even finished explaining, Noodle reached for it, but 2D gently grabbed her hand before she could rip it up or crumble it into a ball of forgotten labor.

"It wos a joke, love." he clarified, giving her hand a playful pat as if he were scolding her, however Noodle nodded her head, "I know, but you are right. I did not take into consideration that your throat needs rest. I was thinking of it only as an instrument, not an actual voice that you will use all day long. I was thinking perhaps you should get a free day from any musical participation on your behalf…" she trailed off, going into her thought bubble again. Eyebrows raised, the singer leaned his head closer, almost wanting to keep it a secret from the two quietly sitting in the living room, "A 'ole day fer me? Tha' sounds great! But…I'm not so sho' Murdoc will like the idea…" he winced, glancing over at the figure, now saying something to the mysterious Cortez who seemed to be dancing again, this time, on his master's shoulder.

Rubbing the tip of her nose in consideration, the guitarist popped her lip with a sigh, "Hmm…well…I do not want you singing for a day. And I do not care how much Murdoc will complain about it. Your voice is the most essential piece of putting together this CD. Without it, we can do nothing." Stretching out his fingers with a strum to the air, the singer pointed to her paper, "I can still play, though. I wouldn't feel right if I didn't do anythin' the 'ole day while the rest o' yeh are workin' yo' arses off, any'ow." Spinning the pencil between her pointer and middle finger, Noodle rested her cheek in the palm of her hand, staring off, the enigma of her mind working to its fullest as the singer, more interested in the spinning writing utensil, watched it go back and forth, eyes switching sizes as they focused on the moving object one at a time. "I…will make it either an instrumental day, or a replay day. It will be pure instrumental work or recording and editing errors. I will make sure you have a free day unless it is the utmost necessity that we will need your voice." she finalized, writing herself a little note on the side of the paper.

"Yo' too good teh me, angel love." the bluehead teased, giving her a wink, and she smiled, biting her bottom lip as she glanced at the next box she would need to explain. "The last time box…I am not too sure whether it should be from seven to ten…or seven to eleven thirty…It will probably vary for certain songs, depending on how hard they are to complete. It all depends if time is on our side." she veered worriedly with an uneasy shrug. This summer wasn't going to be easy on anyone. Poor Murdoc was going to get to roughest kick out of anyone considering he was the last to get back with the least amount of 'vacation'. Well…he agreed to the harsh welcome and seemed to be head on for it.

Reaching over with a thin bent finger, 2D mustered a scrunched figurative nose, "An' wot's tha' box right 'ere? Yeh scheduled somethin' for after midnight?" Emerald pools dragging to where his digit plotted, the teen guitarist sighed guiltily, "Oh…yes…well, for me, that is." she explained vaguely with another uncomfortable shrug, "Uhm…tiding up desks, unplugging instruments and placing them in their rightful spots, filing papers, and going over my own personal schedule of things to get done before each day is ended…of course, this is on my time, so you and the others will not have that box added in on your time schedules." the axe princess admitted with a breath.

Rubbing under his nose, 2D crossed his arms over the table, resting his head in the crook of his elbow, "Doesn't seem like much time for fun an' games, eh?" Rubbing her shoulder from sitting in a hunched position for so long, Noodle glanced at him with a curious twinkle in her eye, "Not too much…but you will find a way, correct?" Observing his forming grin, the teen inwardly smiled as he whispered, "Yeh can count on me, love.", and tilted her head the other way since Murdoc and Russel had finally decided to enter in on the little conversation. The bassist realized something was wrong with the picture when Noodle glimpsed at him emphatically, and suddenly tossed the empty pizza box he had to the side of the garbage can, "Oy, don't look at me! Blame lards, 'ere, for takin' yo' piece!"

Glaring at the dark Brit, Russel shot a blameworthy finger at Murdoc, "No, blame crackerass here for feedin' it to his bird!" At the mention, Cortez cawed darkly in defense for his master, but Noodle stopped the gathering argument in two seconds, "Never mind it, 2D has already fixed the situation, and I am ready to explain the schedule to you both." Smiling at the mention, 2D snuck a smug smirk at the bassist, almost in a 'I did something better than you' mock, however, Murdoc wasn't paying attention to him, for if he had been, the singer's bottom teeth probably would've been knocked out as well to match the missing top ones. Giving Cortez a fatherly pat, the bassist threw the tall singer a dirty scowl, "2D couldn't fix a broken eraser if 'e tried."

Lifting his head from his rested position, the mentioned said pouted darkly, brows furrowed in annoyance. He was tired of the lack of respect due to his tiny lack of intellect due to Murdoc's past liability. "Could you?" he questioned, knowing there was no honest way to break an eraser, and if done somehow, it would still do the job of erasing without being fixed. Lips pulled back revealing his sharp teeth, Murdoc took a step towards the lanky man, getting a hand pressed against his mid as Noodle kept her eyes on her sheet, "Murdoc, you were the one who suggested the idea of orderly conduct for our practices in the preceding two months we have before my time is occupied with schooling. If you wish to get any say in how I have set your time up, I suggest you pay attention while you still have the chance."

Attention falling on Noodle knowing she was right, he nodded grimly, but Cortez, who was merely an asset to Murdoc, kept a sharp eye on the singer, ready to pierce any limb close enough if he felt his master was angered. Murdoc hadn't explained much about Cortez to the others, or talked about the private conversations held with the mysterious bird. No, he wasn't going to be looked at as a nut job, because, to a certain extent, he wasn't, and the large raven didn't seem to mind either, since his owner was the only one in the world who could understand him. There, like the relationship between Noodle and Mike, was an understanding amid the dark man and baleful bird, and as long as the way things were did not disturb the bond connecting a man and his raven, neither bothered to call any attention to it. Cortez was just there, and the others were expected to deal with it. He wasn't leaving anytime soon, he would make sure of it, and he was sure Murdoc would, too.

From a bird's eye view, he quietly watched everything anyone did, whether it was stupid or relentless, he saw it, and made judgment on the action. Yes, primates and apes were close to humans on the evolution scale (if you believe in that method), but birds didn't need long arms, long legs, larger brains, or hair to comprehend the ways of the mammals underneath them. That was their point. Fly away from the strange and stupid foul ups of the world below, and reach for something more. Perhaps that was why he and Murdoc got along so well. Both thought better of themselves…both wanted more.

Of course all animals had memories, why Cortez could still remember soaring around in the sky blue before landing ever so delicately on a clay brick, sun beaten, open barred window sill to peer inside. Something shimmering had caught his eye while flying and his curiosity had gotten the best of him, forcing him to cling with his razor sharp claws onto the edge, casting a large shadow against the cool cellar floor and across a figure sitting with a leg out and the other pulled up, right arm resting with their elbow barely hinging on the kneecap, head hidden in the midst of dark shadows, but the raven could tell this figure was resting against the hard wall, pondering thoroughly.

It was a male, as most jailers in this area were, and the bird jerked his head in a few directions, looking around for anything else in this cell that might set off a glistening glow. Only two other jail mates that were sleeping at the moment, empty bottles of beer alongside the unconscious bodies, and a filthy, ancient looking urinal that appeared it hadn't been cleaned after a decent amount of time. Bored with this set up, the black raven lifted its head and spread his wings, about ready to desert the scene, when the only one awake in the cell glanced up slowly, whites of the eyes standing out in all the darkness as the pupils kept a watch of interest on this new visitor.

Realizing he was being observed, the bird kept his wings open a moment longer, then closed them in as a glitter had shimmered when the human leaned forward. It was some sort of upturned cross-like medallion, gold of no less, hanging from the male's neck, attracting the sun's light to it and the bird's attention as well. Cautiously floating down, the prying raven hopped a couple of times, just for a closer look at this strange object. Hopefully the human wouldn't be stupid enough to scare him away as most humans did. Humans…they were idiotic things without a doubt. Yes, they created many things, but in common sense, they lacked.

Close enough to peck the man's shoe, the bird blinked speedily, wondering why he hadn't kicked him away or hissed at him. The only movement the person had made was at his chain, holding the very tip of the bottom, moving the glare from side to side, watching as the bird's attention wavered along with it. A curled smirk followed a weak, raspy voice, evidence that he hadn't talked to anyone in a while, "Yeh like tha', don't yeh?" Cocking his head to the side, the animal uncertainly lifted himself to the tip of the boot, finding refuge in this one lonely being. His way of speaking was different than those native to this land. He was lost…as was the bird.

"A raven in Mexico…" the man mused, finding this most humorous for some reason. Conceivably the smoldering weather was getting to him? "I'm a long way from 'ome…" he muttered, giving the bird a stare he would a human, stretching his arm out ever so gently. The bird only stared back, tilting its head. Something was strange about this male, something…not too negative…but not too positive, either. He had fallen, and his will to get up was not so strong. A strong caw erupted from the small bird, startling other jailers in separate cells, but it neither spooked nor fazed the man before him, studying him with admiring respect. "Hmm…" he mumbled in thought before his stomach roared louder than any caw could top. Backing away from the man, the raven did a little warning dance, sticking its leg in the air in a way of saying 'Watch out, I'm armed'.

But only a shaky hand rose to be placed over a slight popped belly, an obvious cry of hunger. Off in the corner, the bird could see a can of beans and empty plates where cold rice clumps had been, a most grotesque dinner for one who was not from around here. It shook its head in pity, eyes on the man who had bothered to talk to him, now keeping his mind off food as he played with the chain that had caught the bird's attention in the first place, the same thoughtful pose pulled on his mug. When one's place is in jail, there is only but the action to think to oneself in hopes that they won't loose their mind before their bail is due. This was ridiculous; he wouldn't allow this to happen. The only human who had showed him any kind of awareness was in disabled hysteria and it would only be too soon before the walls and bars became living to him. There was something different about him…something very different indeed.

Lifting up with one flap, the creature hovered in the air to catch the male's somnolent interest, and flew off from the cell with strong intentions to come back. It hadn't been more than five minutes before a small shadow carrying what seemed to be a stick made its way through the bars, dropping the offering onto the man's lap. Shaking his head roughly with fingers pressing against his eyes, he lifted the stick up tiredly, concentrating on it long enough to realize the tiny red dots attached to the stick was food, debating whether to scarf them down or not. Who knew what disease bearing, parasite living consequences these things could impact…but at that moment, he could care less if it was a five star dinner or regurgitated crackers, something needed to be put into his stomach now.

Swallowing them as if they were pills, the man wiped his mouth from the stickiness of the skins, glancing at the bird in wonder. "…Any chance yeh could bring me s'more?" he gurgled, having a feeling the bird knew exactly what he asked when it came back with three more branches. Once he had his fill in, he gave the rest to the raven, getting it to trust him enough to perch on his hand, rough, worn fingers rubbing down against sleek, smooth feathers. "Thanks for tha'…I owe yeh…" the man mumbled, hand continuously petting the animal. Cawing slightly in response, the raven purposely clenched the knuckle he was standing on with his talons, getting a scowl in reply. Feeling it wasn't worth it, the man yawned, snagging a few berries that were left, and murmured, "Name's Murdoc Nicalls…care teh know?"…

"Hmm…yo' gunna be killin' yo'self, Noodle."

Tilting his head at the paper his master was gazing at, Cortez switched shoulders, eyes still peering over at the tall bluehead. Shaking his head firmly, the large drummer crossed his arms with a thoughtful veneer, "I don't like that you got yo'self with much more overtime than anyone else…you need rest, too, girl." Noodle sighed, lightly pressing against her temples, "Russel…I am no longer ten years old. I can handle a couple of hours after 'bed time'." she remarked, a little steamed he was seeing it that way, but Russel wasn't thinking of her as a young child. He was worried about her health, as was he thinking for everyone else's. "It's not that, girl…not that…"

Rolling his eyes at the moment of soft spoken Russel Hobbs, the bassist shook his head, leaning on the back of Noodle's chair looking ready to give a pep talk (which coming from Murdoc, would be extremely rare), "Wot lards is tryin' teh say, witout makin' it sound like we gotta check under the bed for monsters an' do the spook-a-way dance, is tha' extreme long 'ours ev'ry night does yeh in after a while…affects practice an' such." he slurred, rotating his hand around while he spoke to make it go along. Taking a glance at the sheet before Noodle could reply, he pointed at their break times, "Eh…sneak a nap or two in an' yeh'll be fine."

Sighing in a relinquished manner, the Japanese girl bobbed her head slightly, tilting her chin up to glance at him, "Fine…but only if I am feeling slightly weary." she noted, nodding at Russel while she announced this, making it perfectly clear that she didn't want to be bothered when it came to getting enough rest. Resting was for the split off. Now it was time to work, and she would make sure they had plenty of it. Fifteen bouts of work to be exact. "So, do we agree that this will be our schedule everyday?" the guitarist questioned, lifting the sheet for all to see. "S'fine wit me." 2D smiled, jogging a reminder in Noodle's head, "Oh, wait! Murdoc, Russel, there is something else…but it will not interfere with the times of the schedule I made. I want 2D to have at least a day a week, maybe two even, to rest his voice. On those days, we can just go over the material we have done already, check for mistakes, redo some parts if necessary, etcetera…" she explained, getting out of her seat.

"The dullard never 'ad a free day back when we did the first album, girlie. Wot makes 'im so special tha' 'e gets a day off?" Murdoc complained, glaring at said person while crossing his arms, Cortez leering towards the singer in a dangerous manner. 2D shrugged in an 'it was her idea' fashion, appearing that he had no idea why he would need a rest after all. "2D is playing two instruments, Murdoc. He is using his voice, and he is playing keyboard. I do remember him not having free days last time, and I also remember how horse he would become after so many long practices. There was nothing I could do about it at the time, but I would like to coordinate a guideline of how we should work by on this CD, and I want him to have a free day from singing. Is that alright with you?" she asked curiously, a hint of force thrown in her voice.

Murdoc only mumbled darkly an incoherent mush of vocabulary before rolling his eyes with a shaken head. "That's just fine." Russel agreed lightly, giving the bassist a warning glance, and 2D rubbed his nose, watching Noodle grab the paper happily, "Then I will get started on typing this quickly and printing it for everyone, and we can get started, alright?"

"All wrong." Murdoc snapped, jerking a thumb at the doorway, "S'awready after lunch, we jus' came back from a meetin' wit yo' principal, I'm digestin', an' I 'ave my Winnie teh clean out an' rearrange." he listed on his fingers, of course when saying cleaning out, he meant throwing the rest of the garbage that had piled up in there into bins, and nothing more. Tapping the paper in her hand, he gave a dismissive nod, "Do wot yeh were goin' teh do wit typin' up an' wotnot, but we start tomorrow, eight o'clock sharp." he determined, reading off her paper, and left within a matter of seconds down the hallway to the carpark.

Sighing lightly, Noodle picked up her pencil and folded her paper, pocketing it for safe keeping. So much for getting started right away. Noticing her rejected feelings, 2D offered her a tender smile, "Well, tha's Murdoc for yeh! Expected teh do the unexpected!" At this, both Noodle and Russel laughed, and the atmosphere was lifted again. A fuzzy head poked into the kitchen with a grin, thrilled that his buddies were home from that meeting Noodle talked about earlier and the night before, and walked in, tugging on Russel's shirt with a wave. "What's up, little man?" greeted the drummer, giving him a pat. Ruffling the primate's hair as she received a hug, Noodle glanced at 2D, waiting for his turn to salute the animal he had grown close to, "2D? …Would it be okay to type the schedule on your computer since you have a printer connected to it?"

Tickling Mike behind the ears as he wandered over, the singer nodded eagerly, almost honored that she asked, "'course yeh can, love. Jus' uh…oh, wait…I fink I disconnected it for somethin'…Might be in my closet…" he began to mumble, stretching out of his chair to his usual lanky walk, bidding the teen to follow. Mike replaced the singer's spot, giving Russel a curious glance, "Mm-ooh." The hefty man simply bobbed his head once with a smile, heading into the refrigerator with a smile, "Just you an' me, man."

Following the singer into the lift, Noodle tapped her foot as the doors closed and ignored the slight jolt the elevator gave her stomach everytime it was ready to decend. The two listened to the mechanical whirr while leaning against the walls of the moving box, both quiet as death. The young guitarist's eyes stared tiredly at the moving arrow, going the furthest right it was ever going to go (unless broken, of course). She suddenly frowned as the elevator stopped, bouncing a little before the doors opened once again, revealing the strange world of the carpark. 2D was the first out, but he glanced at her as soon as she caught up, slowly grabbing the doorknob when they were in front of his room, "Bland ride, ain't it always?"

Thinking hat on, Noodle nodded slowly, a very young idea forming within her mind, "Yes…very…" What if the ride didn't have to be boring? Most big shot elevators had music playing in them…why couldn't they? Waving it off with a shrug, Noodle left the thought for another day and sat herself before 2D's floored computer while he closed the door, heading over to his closet to dig through the mess he owned in order to find a printer. Starting it up, the teen observed the singing heartthrob tripping over a shirt that had tangled his feet together, drowning into the pile of clothing that was spilled out, "Oy!"

Now, with his legs bent in with his torso stuck in the closet, he rolled onto his back, grunting slightly in discomfort. "Oh! I found the printer, Noodle!" Smiling slightly, the teen giggled as she opened the only typing software the singer had on his computer and began rewriting the schedule digitally for the sake of others, "Good, but hopefully you have not broken something in order to find it." Pulling a few shirts off the printer, a large arm searched the higher shelf for the wires he knew where up there…somewhere, facing back with a half grin, "Nah, yeh know wot 'ey say, love! Once yeh break it, its 'arder teh do it a second time…or somethin' along 'ose lines…" he pouted, eyebrow arched as he froze in though for her response. Noodle usually corrected him when he was wrong, and he didn't mind at all, but she only giggled more and continued typing, positively knowing that his reasoning was the theory for bodily viruses.

Fingers clasping around some shape and/or form of wire, the singer scratched his scalp with the other hand, wondering if he could remember how printers plus wires hooked up with computers and all that business. Tossing the wires Noodle's way, the scrawny singer gained up all his strength and tried to hold the heavy printer by its sides, squatting in good effort to try and lift it, but sadly, the only thing he managed to get done was achieve a twisted pain in his lower back. Clearing his throat with red cheeks having a feeling Noodle wasn't giving all her attention to her work, he quickly decided to push and tug the printer across the room to the computer, finding it much easier for him to work that way. "Er…right. So…" he breathed, resting his chin against his carpet on all fours as his rear greeted the ceiling, "Bear wit me 'ere…I 'aven't set 'is up in a while…"

Typing away, figuring out how to make columns, the axe princess offered a cheerful nod, "Do not worry, I am sure we can figure it out." Tongue out on the corner of his mouth as he tried jamming a cord into the back of the printer, he glanced at her for a second, "I'll correct tha'. Yo' sho' you can figure it out." Clicking on the little periwinkle colored disk in the corner of the screen, Noodle saved her work and looked up at the frustrated 2D, trying so hard to be good at his job, "I have faith in you, 2D. I will not interrupt." she encouraged, propping her elbows on her kneecaps, holding her chin with a grin as the singer gave her a bland, grim glimpse, "Now tha's jus' unfair an' cruel. Yeh know you could do 'is in three seconds…leavin' me teh struggle…"

Completely winging it, the singer plugged in every guess he made and left it at that, shrugging, "I dunno…prolly's all wrong. I can't work under pressure…" Noodle held in her burst of hysteria for her friend's oxymoronic sentence, but smiled proudly when the printer popped up as online. "You did it!" she congratulated while he ruffled his own blue locks, "I did it?...Would yeh look at tha'…I did it…" he smiled quietly, lost in his own little world. It soon came crashing when he realized there was no paper for the schedules to print out on. "I 'ave some, wait a sec!" he piped, back to digging in his closet. Noodle shook her head slightly. If he was only ten percent neater, she was sure he wouldn't have such a hard position trying to find his things all the time. Slightly yawning as he hunted, her eyes wandered under his bed, noticing a half eaten shoe, a box of cigarettes, a couple of dusty forgotten condoms, and a neatly packaged rectangle. It couldn't be that obvious, could it?

"Uhm…2D?"

"Yeah?"

"Would that be it?" she asked blankly, pointing a slender finger under his bed. Nearly sliding underneath, 2D poked his spikey head out, "Good eye, love." He dropped the bulky package in her hands, dumping himself on his bed. "I should make a list of all the things I've ever lost…an' I'm pretty sho' I'll find 'em in 'ere somewhere." he admitted, resting his head on his pillow. Taking a small stack out of the package, Noodle set them in, clicking the print button, "I am sure if you kept your room semi-clean, it would not be so bad…uhm…2D?"

Arching a brow, he leaned over easily, noticing the 'no ink' blinking a plain as can be. Clearing his throat for the second time out of embarrassment that day, the lanky bluehead rubbed his neck, lifting himself upright, "Er…I knew it needed a refill…jus' makin' sho' yo' on yo' toes, love…" Rolling her eyes underneath her bangs as he turned, the teenaged Jap wondered what she would do for the rest of the day. Not that there was much of it left, but she had planned to get a good head start on the CD…that was, until Murdoc came and smashed her plan to bits. She did have that date with the singer…well, not actual date, but it was the type of date on a calendar that could be marked off, and that wasn't until much later in the night anyway. She would have to remember to set her alarm to wake her up somehow without waking Russel, too.

Eyes widening as something was thrown centimeters from her cheek, Noodle arched a brow while 2D performed surgery on the printer's storage bins, using pens and his hands to shove the cartridges into their tight holders. Glancing to the side, she realized the dangerous flying object had been the last empty cartridge and rubbed her cheek delicately, "Be careful, 2D-san…" Pressing the lid down so hard a bit of ink leaked out onto his fingers, the singer pouted, "I ain't gunna 'urt m'self changin' ink for a bloody computer, Noodle…"

"Not you. Me!" she clarified, waving the empty UFO at him, receiving a sheepish grin, "Oh…sorry…" Gently closing the main lid, 2D gave her a thumbs up, scooting away to watch the amazing action of a printer putting words on paper. It was quiet for a moment until the machine started up, sucking in a paper as its next victim for stamping torture. Laying back with his arms behind his head, knees still pointing at the ceiling, the thin vocalist slowly closed an eye and slanted his head, halfway facing Noodle's way, "Yeh sound real prepared for 'is an' ev'rythin', an' I don't 'ave a doubt in my mind tha' yeh aren't…but do yeh think…I mean, are yeh worried tha'…never mind." he simply ended, closing the other eye.

Tilting her head curiously, the teen wondered what went through that man's head sometimes as she counted out the printed schedules. Sure, he made sense plenty of times…or at least when he needed to (or wanted to, more like), but there were times that she was sure even he was lost in his own words, splashing in the depth or drowning shallowness of its meaning. Giving her thumb a gentle lick, Noodle pulled one out and placed it on the 2D's stomach, who didn't seem to notice or care. "Alright. Now I just need to make sure these schedules are placed in areas where you all will see them." she noted, looking at the singer emphatically as he began to fold the sheet on his belly into an airplane, whizzing it around without letting go. Catching her serious glare, the vocalist sniffed, unfolding the sheet and sat up, rubbing the paper against his thigh in failing effort to make the folded wrinkles disappear, "Eh heh…I wos jus' about to, angel love…"

Arching an eyebrow, the guitarist rolled her eyes, watching him lift himself with the help of his bed to find a good place to put it, "Yes, I am sure." Keeping an eye on the newly printed papers, Noodle shut down the PC and monitor, questioning what exactly 2D was doing when he climbed on his bed and peered up at his ceiling. "I do not think that would be a good idea…" she started, but 2D nodded quickly before she could finish, "Yeah, it gets dusty up 'ere. The words'll get smudged out, I'll bet." Actually, Noodle was wondering how he was going to be able to read the small print from such a vast measure of space, but then again, he was a lot taller than her. The Japanese teen sat on his bed, looking around for the ideal position to tape this important paper, but tilted her head curiously when she realized 2D was staring at her with an awkward expression.

"Yes?" she offered, looking around herself. "Yes!" he grinned, placing an arm around her. Confusion hit the girl like a ton of bricks, her own face allowing the singer to be full aware of it, and to cure this, he pointed at the wall behind his bed where tons of photos were posted up, obviously his favorites of the bunches he had over the years. "I found the place teh put it! I look at 'ose ev'ry mornin' an' before I go teh sleep. 'ere's no way I can miss it!" he clarified, proud of his creativeness. Opening his night table drawer, the bluehead pulled out a small roll of clear tape, ripped two pieces with his fingers, and tossed the roll back into the drawer, slamming it shut with his foot.

Sparing the singer a watchful moment, Noodle turned her interest to the photos posted along the side of the wall, curious of what made them so magnificent to 2D that he would be willing enough to give them a glance twice every day. Of course, the tiniest attractions could get the singer's attention, but, they had to be worth it. The only long shot there was happened to be the 'accidental shot', as Noodle would call it. She had been ten of course, with barely enough English to get her taco but had that cheesy smile that made people love her instantly. An interviewer had had the privilege to actually go up Kong's hill the 'safe' way (meaning Murdoc had to drive down and up again) and set up in the living room to ask a few questions for the magazine they worked for. A photographer had tagged along because what was an interview without a great shot, right? Well, while he was setting up, he couldn't figure out why the lens wasn't clearing, but he had a little time to solve the problem, seeing as Noodle was having her snack, Murdoc was trying to stay sober for publicity sake, 2D was munching on a chocolate bar with a nice blotch of it on his nose, and Russel was finishing up his latest taxidermy project, some pig/dog/ferret thing.

It was ten minutes to queue when the problem of the camera, the cap for the lens, fell off, the photographer accidentally snapping a useless but probably hundred dollar worth shot of Noodle tilting her head directly at the camera (since she was wondering what the heck the guy was trying to do with the cap still on), Russel with a wrench in one hand and a piece of metal in the other, 2D in the middle of a chew with his face filled of confused thought, and Murdoc glaring off in a pissed off mood over something or other that either didn't go his way or was threatened by Russel. The shot was completely random among the others the singer had on his wall of more appropriate pictures…more alert of, that is.

"I'll put it right 'ere. Right next teh yeh." the singer announced, posting the sheet against the wall adjacent to a photo of a ten year old Noodle with a popped-gum-stunned-face. The pink gum just entirely overtook her face, but she couldn't remember taking that shot when she glanced at it. Perhaps it had been done right after the bubble popped, she still being in a bewildered state. Reaching under his bed, 2D lifted up a keyboard and rested it on his lap, prodding his lip, already lost in his musical world of genius. Taking a breath knowing the singer would truly find (and hopefully remember) the schedule, she rose, bidding him a farewell in attempt to hand out the rest of the sheets. "Jus' don't forget tonight, love." he mumbled, waving his hand as the other stretched over the keys in a decisive way.

"I will not, 2D-san. I will not."

Happy smile slowly fading, Noodle prayed to everything holy that the Winnebago was only shaking due to a certain bassist walking around. Well, it was his idea for this thing. The Japanese teen marched strongly to the parked trailer, knocking firmly on the door she knew too well. "Where the fuck is it?"

A caw.

"No, I didn't, yeh arse! Why the 'ell would I put it 'ere for?"

Now, an angered screech.

"Up yo's…"

Utterly lost, the girl gave her head a double shake before giving the door a good knock again, this time receiving a, "'ew? Wot? WOT!" Pulling one sheet out from the three she had left, Noodle waved the paper in the air so he could hopefully see from the glass window, "I have printed out your schedule, Murdoc!" Opening the door in a grunted shouldered shove, the bassist snagged the sheet, giving it a once over, "'at's it then?" Nodding, Noodle stepped back, not caring to wonder what was going on inside the Winnebago. That was a Nicalls matter. Sucking on the bottom of his lip, he brought her into the matters anyhow. "Yeh've seen m' bass anywhere?" he muttered curiously, eyes gradually making their way to softly glare at the singer's banged up door.

Shaking her head slightly, the teen objected, "No…I have not…and I do not think 2D has it either, Murdoc." Pouting slightly, he arched a brow, eyes snapping back to her, "Well, if yeh don't, why are yeh bringin' 'im up, girlie? Tryin' teh back the dullard up fer somethin' 'e did wrong?" he questioned, trying a little reverse psychology that always worked on 2D, but apparently not Noodle. Directly facing the door, Noodle glanced back, "I am not. I am only telling you what I have just witnessed. I have just come from 2D's room, and so I am telling you I did not see a bass in there. Nor would there be the space in his room to hide one. Everything is in plain view and he opened his closet and looked under his bed while I was in there. Perhaps you might have just…misplaced it?" she offered, already noticing the ends of his top lip pulling up, a sure sign that he was getting pissed off.

"I didn't misplace nuthin'! Someone stole me fuckin' bass an' when I get my 'ands on the bastard-" he growled, shutting his door before he could even finish his own threat. Not that Noodle wasn't aware of one of the usuals he typically threw out. It always ended in something painful was all she needed to know, but if Murdoc ever kept his word, he, himself, would be breathing through tubes in a lonely white room. Turning with a shrug, the girl went up the stairs to find the last band mate and friend, Russel. "Russel?" she called when she reached the top of the stairs, poking her head out into the hall, but no one answered. She made her way into the living room, finding Mike snoozing alone on the couch, but that was it. Giving him a gentle pat on his soft fuzzy head, the Japanese axe princess passed through, looking for her beloved friend.

"Perhaps in his room…" she thought, going up the second flight of stairs and down the familiar hall that she shared with the drummer. Knocking gently on the closed door, she waited for a response, smiling when the large man opened the door with a dirty wrench in his other hand, wondering who had interrupted him during his project. "Hey girl, you typed that thing already?" he asked, receiving the paper in his free hand. "Yes," she responded, folding hers neatly for safe keeping, "This will be the schedule for everyday, starting tomorrow I assume." Placing it on his night table, Russel glanced at it for a few moments, and Noodle didn't object to this. Russel never forgot important things like this, and he eventually memorized them, unlike Murdoc or 2D who practically needed the paper stapled to their foreheads.

Closing the door, Russel went back to his hobby of experimenting with different animal parts on the same Frankenstein body, and Noodle disappeared into her own room, placing the schedule on her desk as she sat down on a neat pillow to type on her laptop. The flat keys clicked to their own tune as she researched a couple of guitars she had her eyes on recently. Two of them were electric and the third was an acoustic. She wasn't too sure which one she wanted, and since Russel was in charge of her account, it was like begging a parent for an early Christmas present. Of course she could always get 2D on her side, and maybe even Murdoc if she put enough reason into it and continually reminded him that it was her money that was going to be used and not his. Resting her cheek within her palm, Noodle saved the pictures of the three right off the site onto her pictures file. If not in her hands, she could at least admire them from close. The acoustic was a dark apple wood, a light brown neck with yellow bits for the tuning nobs and center design, while one electric guitar was cherrywood and glazed, a beautiful crafted piece to own, and the last was black and purple, the entire of it black aside from any designs decorating along the neck and back.

Immediately she had fallen in love with them, but she only needed one and couldn't decide, hence her not asking Russel for the favor just yet. She had reasonable theories for her need of a new one. It wasn't because she only liked the way they looked. She had outgrown her old one, and though she took care of it with all her soul, the wires continued to snap and break, her fingers continued to get stuck between the tightly spaced strings, and it was uncomfortable to strum while trying to hold a child sized guitar at the same time. It was by some miracle that she was able to write Demon Days with that tiny guitar. Shrugging, the Japanese teen shut down her laptop and glanced boredly around the room. Too much had happened in one day…too much…

&&&

It was probably a sense of knowing…a sense of feeling that something was wrong. What was wrong? She hadn't done anything wrong…But why, then, was there a strong sense of guilt. That gut lurching, nauseating feeling that you get when you happen to build someone's excitement up so much and-

The heart wasn't able to pound much harder as the teenaged girl's body slumped backwards, waking her in a thriller instant. It had only been a dream…Taking a deep breath, Noodle wiped her forehead, swabbing off the adrenaline that had built up during her strange vision. She couldn't even call it a dream, really…it was a plain built in alarm clock of some kind, trying to suck her into a penalty of guild. It was something Murdoc needed to have, not she. Arching a brow, the guitarist looked at her window, realizing it was extremely dark outside. She had dozed off obviously…but for how long? Peeking at her clock, the digital blinked twelve twenty one. A dark pit bore into her stomach as she slowly got up, almost wanting to beat the clock to make time turn back. "Oh, no…" she whined within, pulling off her clothes to change into sleeping wear.

"I promised…" she reminded scoldingly, pulling on a white t-shirt, some red shorts, and comfy cotton toe sock knee highs, slipping her feet into the green and blue slippers she had under the bed and opened her door lightly, quietly closing it and rushed down the stairs in attempt not to make any noise that would have Russel awake in seconds. Managing not to break a leg would help, too. Tiptoeing to the living room, Noodle's heart sank as she caught the sight of the singer on the couch, watching his much loved flick on the telly all by his lonesome. Holding her hands together nervously, a million and one excuses popped into Noodle's head, but honestly she wouldn't be able to even start off a tiny little white lie. Not to 2D when he was trying to do something nice for her.

Swallowing guiltily, she slugged over behind the couch, the bluehead still unaware of her presence until he felt two arms wring around his neck, setting his heart into overdrive thinking it either a zombie or Murdoc, both able to hurt him greatly. Snapping his head to the side, his alarmed expression died off with a relieved sigh, forming an awaiting grin, "Noodle! I thought yeh were sleepin', love?" Releasing him, she went around the couch, seating herself next to him on top of his quilt that he had brought to snuggle up in. It was clear that he liked to be comfortable while watching less than lucky victims get eaten alive by flesh eating cannibals. An embarrassed blush lighting up her face, the teen hung her head, rubbing her thumb, "I had fallen asleep after giving out the schedules…I am sorry, 2D…I did not know I was so tired…Have I missed much?" she asked curiously with an innocent pout.

2D wasn't one to hold grudges, and he was no where near holding one against her, but from the way she looked, one could've thought he had just abandoned her as a friend. Stretching an arm out around her shoulders, the singer's head tilted gently as he offered her a warm smile, "No worries, angel love. Don't beat yo'self up for it. Yeh can't help bein' tired. Yeh can go back up an' catch up on yo' rest if you'd rather." he suggested, but the girl was determined to take a break from ideas or problems she knew would have her staring at her ceiling for the rest of the night. "Now," he started, pulling out the second pillow he had hidden behind his own, "the couch ain't too big, but we can manage. An' if Russ or Murdoc comes an' 'unts us down, jus' tell 'em it wos all my idea." he instructed, dusting off his pillow before laying back on it. Making herself comfortable, Noodle glanced at him with a small smile, "It was all your idea."

Scrunching his nose in dire thought, the singer arched a brow as he watched some poor sap get their inners ripped out while they were still alive, being devoured by five or six zombies pulling out whatever organs they could get their rotting hands on first. "Yo' good." he nodded, suddenly recalling whose idea it had been to watch this movie in the first place. "Popcorn?" he suddenly offered, raising a bowl from the floor that was nearly empty. Arching a questioning brow at the bowl, Noodle glanced at him, "Would you like some?" Eyelids flickering downwards from the telly, the singer opened his mouth to question her question, but realized what she was talking about. "Oh, nevermind, I'll get it." he uttered, eyes not leaving the screen until he was forced to look away due to walls getting in the way. What he would do for some x-ray vision right about now.

The dark kitchen suddenly lit up with the yellow loom of the microwave, and 2D peeked out with four fingers curled against the doorway, "Want somethin' teh drink? An' I ordered some pizza earlier…I saved a few slices for tha' toast we were meanin' teh 'ave, remember?" he evoked, head and fingers disappearing back into the kitchen before the teen could answer. Slowly peering back at the screen, Noodle wondered what love for these creatures this man could possibly have. Was it pity? Amusement? Curiosity? Or just plain love for a creature he could never have a true bond with? He had torn them up in the past (her first memory of him wasn't blurred at all), run from them when accidentally locking himself out, and cursed them whenever mail came late, including overdue bills of random cause. Why did he love them so?

Feet padding against the chilled floor, the singer hurried back while the microwave kept going, able to hold two cans of soda in one hand while holding a new pizza box in the other. "I didn't put the pizza into the fridge b'cause its gets kinda 'ard an' frosty…an' last time I used the toaster oven, I got electrocuted…I was shakin' for days…" he nodded, seating himself in thought, handing Noodle a can, "I didn't know yeh weren't s'posed teh stick forks in 'ere teh take stuff out…me mum used teh do it all the time, an' she never got shocked for it!" he pouted, wondering what his error could have been. Snapping up the tab, Noodle took a sip, "You are not supposed to use a fork because the electricity will transfer from the appliance to the fork if you accidentally hit the metal parts that heat up the food. I am sure she did not touch those parts."

"Oh," 2D murmured, opening the box bearing two slices, just enough for the both of them, "Well, I always did trust 'er wit me food…" Reaching for the slightly smaller slice, the teen took into notice that it must have been ordered over an hour ago due to its floppy, bitterness, but then again, it was her fault they were eating it cold. "I'd put it in the microwave…but 'ey get soggy an' mushy after thirty seconds." the singer told her, sticking his tongue out to share his disgust. Glancing at the kitchen doorway, Noodle arched a brow, "Speaking of microwaves…" Peeking over in the same direction, the vocalist popped off the couch, abandoning his pizza and movie, soda still in hand, "Almost forgot about the popcorn…" he whispered as if Noodle's little hint hadn't just happened.

He placed his can on the counter, careful not to drop it or put it on its side so it could roll away, and popped the microwave door open, the heavenly cinema aroma filling his nostrils nicely. Random smells pleased the young man. The smell of freshly popped popcorn was one of them. Gently reaching for the steaming bag, the singer poured the midnight snack into the awaiting bowl, tossing the garbage into the basket and snagged his drink, heading out towards Noodle. "Awright," he grinned, seating his rear on the couch, curling his legs in with the bowl in his lap, "Now would yeh like some popcorn?"

"Yes, please." the teen nodded, arm slightly extending for some of the snack. Grabbing a handful himself, 2D shoved the popcorn into his mouth, fingers curling at the tab of the soda to open it, "I'm kinda glad tha' yeh did come down afta' all, love…Not tha' I wos scared or anytin'!" he added a little too quickly, and the teen gave him a curios look. Was it possible he was afraid of something he purposely lied about? Sipping some of his drink, he further explained, "I mean…wull, yeh know when yo' watchin' somethin'…an' yeh expect somethin' teh pop out at yeh when yeh get up, but on'y b'cause yo' watchin' a movie about somethin' like tha' tha' 'appens in the movie at some point?" he tried in a rushed sentence, but Noodle understood what he was getting at. She always did.

"Yes, I know."

"Okay, so…most people jus' laugh an' ignore the fact of a little bit o' jitters, but yeh see, I can't do tha'. People don't believe 'ese things are real, so 'ey jus' snuggle up in their lit'tle beds an' catch some sleep eventually after all the darkness 'as left their minds." the bluehead jabbered, popping a single kernel into his mouth to swallow roughly, "God forbid I try tha' an' end up snugglin' against one o' those." he chuckled uneasily, jerking a thumb at the screen of flesh eaters. "Tha'll definitely be the day tha' I die." he quoted with a sure nod, arching a brow when Noodle tapped his arm gently and left her hand there, "Do not wish for death so darkly, 2D-san, even in play talk. You know Kong is filled with mysteries even we do not know of…in a way, the house might be listening to you." she said with an eerie tone, forcing the singer's eyes to widen fearfully and snap his head around like a confused squirrel. Of course the girl had been joking herself, and found a way to easily scare her friend, but half of it was the truth…

Clearing his throat slightly, 2D rubbed his hands together, for they had suddenly gone cold, and inched a bit closer to Noodle, now positively grateful he wasn't alone in the dark house were, aside from the two in the room, there seemed to be no life. Biting on her bottom lip, Noodle tried her hardest not to laugh, but a giggle did escape, and she covered her mouth. Glancing at her in curiosity, a small frown drove across his lips, pushing into a pout, "Wot? Wot's so funny? Yeh fink I'm scared? Is tha' it? Well I'm not!" he defended a little too loud for them to be secretive, and Noodle swiftly rested her palm against his mouth, "Shh! We will be heard!" she scolded, holding a finger across her own lips, taking her hand back, "And I said nothing of the sort."

"Ah, but yeh thought it."

"I never said that."

"Yeh don't gotta say anythin'. I know yeh were thinkin' it. I ain't scared o' nuthin!" the singer declared, crossing his arms. Shaking her head, Noodle only shrugged, "We all have fears." The whiny child inside of the tall bluehead suddenly vanished as this reality hit him, not for himself, but for a new question he had never thought of. "Noodle?" he whispered, poking her arm, "Wot are you afraid of?" Adjusting herself, she merely waved her hand, "We have talked about this before…starting the school, remember?" Bobbing his head, 2D understood, but that wasn't the answer he had hoped for, "Erm…I wos thinkin' more along the lines o'…well…y'know, spiders…or…snakes or heights…learnin' teh swim, somefin' like tha'." the male rambled, wondering if the girl had any regular fears.

Slowly looking down, Noodle searched within herself, thinking within her heart of her greatest fear. Of course she knew what it was…but the question was did she want to share it? Well, it wasn't something to be ashamed of or blackmailed for, but it was very important to her…it meant a whole too much…Suddenly feeling a hand on her, Noodle looked up, the thought bearing expression still lingering on her face, sharing a stare with a blank eyed dullard, "I'm bein' a bit too personal, aren't I." he stated without question, almost in a remorseful way. Offering him a quiet smile, Noodle shook her head, "Only a little, but I forgive you because you are my best friend." This won her a smile and a hug, and she held that hug, squeezing him slightly like the day he had come back. The singer patted her back as Noodle took a breath, gaining the courage.

"I am…afraid…I fear the day…that we break off again…forever…" she sighed, lifting herself from his shoulder, watching the singer's expression soften ever so gently. "Noodle love…why would yeh 'ave yo' mind on somethin' like tha'? We all jus' got back together!" he reminded, rubbing her cheek with a friendly smile, but she couldn't smile back. Not when she knew the cold truth. "It could happen at any time. This band…it needs stability…and I will try my hardest to keep it strong…to keep us together…but…but I might fail…that is what I fear the most…" The singer watched the girl with dim colored lights flashing across her cheek, the movie completely forgotten, the rest of her shadowed. He looked at his hand, cold from the chills, trying to comfort her in a way he was failing, that being the fear of a dear friend. Uncrossing his legs, he lightly patted his lap, stretching an arm out to the teen, and she curiously tilted her head, having to be gently coaxed with a tug from the singer.

Crawling over to him, Noodle rested against him, halfway on his lap, other half on the couch as his legs rested where she had once sat. His lanky arms rung around her in that hoop of security he always managed to create, nuzzling his head against hers, "Yeh won't fail…I promise yeh tha'…Yeh can't stop tryin'…and yeh won't fail…" A shade of a smile perked at the teen's lips, arms returning the favored embrace, "I will never stop trying…" Giving her an extra squeeze of comfort, he pecked the top of her head, "Tha's m' girl." The two forgot the troubles of the past and future, actually starting to pay attention to the poor movie that was nearly over with. Maybe ten, fifteen minutes the most and the flick would be done with, their time together limited.

"Bloody 'ell, I'm excited." the singer voice quietly popped, startling Noodle who had begun to doze off, "Oh?" She turned her head slightly, noticing the surviving toothed grin lightly shimmering in the darkness. Giving his dry lips a run over, he further explained, "Jus' gettin' a lit'tle Christmassy excitement for the practice tomorrow…wull, not really practice, jus' lookin' over some stuff, but still, its work we 'aven't done in a long ass time. I mean, remember when Murdoc used teh get so pissed over any lit'tle thing tha' didn't go right? Wull, now, now it'll be you in Murdoc's shoes. Lemme know 'ow it is when yeh get a feel for 'em." the singer chuckled, patting the teen's arm. Getting cozy in his grip, Noodle gave off a small yawn, "I am not replacing Murdoc's place, 2D…it is only my idea in his hands."

The low talking, slight flashing lights, darkness around them, and a bit of the kick from his painkillers he had swallowed an hour back were starting to finally affect the poor dullard as he began to find himself forcing his eyes open, lifting his hand occasionally to rub his fractured sockets of their slumber. Deciding Noodle's hair was looking more and more like a pillow as the minutes passed, the singer rested his cheek snuggly against her, breathing a sigh before he was completely knocked out for the night, "'is 'ands 'old the idea…you become the vulture eye…watch 'im too closely…an' yeh might regret it. Fall o' the tell-tale 'eart…"

Eyebrows furrowing in the shadows, Noodle pouted for a moment, putting these words together. What exactly did 2D mean? Murdoc wouldn't kill Noodle for anything in the world. She was too sure of that. About to lift her head, the girl felt a slight tremble against her back, probably from a deep inhale, then an exhale against her hair, brushing a few strands of longer hair into her eyes. Giving them a rub, she tried to turn her head, but realized the singer had fallen fast asleep, using her as a human cushion. He had fallen asleep while they were talking? Noodle smiled, rolling her eyes, suddenly noticing the credits of the movie were rolling down the screen.

Using her foot to grasp the remote closer to her without waking the sleeping singer or knocking it to the ground (which would be just as bad), Noodle softly used her big toe to press down on the power button, shutting off the telly and the only light source they had been using. Eyes not quite yet dilated for the dark, the young teen took in all the darkness, feeling a bit chilled not because of any weather, but because of the fictional movie she had been halfway watching just before. She wasn't afraid or anything, but being in a small protected brace of safety made her feel much more comfortable as she cradled her shoulders into the bluehead's chest a tad further, glancing around for a while.

The night was much more silent than she had thought. Never was there a night that was so quiet…zombies…real zombies were always roaming the lands, breaking and entering…trying to snag someone for their late night snack-

Shaking her head as best she could, Noodle slowly reached for the little bit of soda she still had left in that can. It was true what they said about movies. They really do mess with your mind. But the small worry wart that grows in the back of peoples' brains is the thought that some things are based on true stories. Well, most people in this world do think the impossible can never be achieved. Little do they know that small things like the undead do live. Fingers grasping around the cold can, the teen lightly lifted it, remembering the toasting bit that 2D must have forgotten about…or been too tired to remember. Raising it with a light heart, Noodle tipped it to no one in particular, whispering oh so quietly before taking a sip, "To Demon Days…" The last bit of drink had been drunk, and the can, disguarded, as she felt the monster of sleep finally come over her, drifting her away to a land she had grown close to since before she could remember, all while keeping snug within the arms of a zombie loving singer.

&&&

No tiny ray of light welcomed anyone that morning. The iffy weather of Kong was known to be a grim kind of enigma, but that day it chose to be particularly…dark. An aura of awareness was needed, and this warning seemed good enough to wake the Japanese guitar princess from her slumber. Lids fluttering open, her emerald orbs zoomed around the room, heart pounding within her chest, feeling restricted from moving an inch. Ready to flip the creature that had been haunting her dream, the teen suddenly froze as warm air brushed against her neck and a mumble of utter nonsense escaped the young man who had made himself comfortable next to her at some point during the night. A thin arm was wrapped around her waist, fingers curled by her side as his nose poked at her jaw, adjacent to her ear. How had he managed to flip on his stomach without knocking them both off the couch was her question, but the strange feeling of being in danger when she wasn't was what puzzled her the most.

Glancing over at the cable box's time, she found the numbers flashing a six twenty. Well, she could get breakfast started for all of them so no one would have to waste time finding pots, pans, trays, or dishes while wasting their schedule time. The teen had an interest in this whole schedule process. Would it actually work? They would have to wait and see. But beforehand, she would need to sneak a little spare time in, starting with getting breakfast ready. For a minute she was about to get up and leave the singer alone to catch up on the sleep he probably missed from watching that movie, but a simple thought had pondered on her. What would she make? Cereal seemed like an easy answer, but the Jap wanted the boys nice a full for a long day of work. Breakfast was the most important meal of the day, and she had figured that out the hard way in Japan when there was no one to rely on but herself.

Eggs, perhaps, but she didn't eat eggs and neither did 2D when the meal was just eggs and toast, considering the eggs would have become chicks at some point if they hadn't been freezing in their dangerous refrigerator previously. Russel ate anything, which was a blessing (or a curse), but when it came to decisions, food was an easy choice for him. Murdoc liked meat…any kind of meat, but she wouldn't risk giving him just any kind of meat. A past recollection of him suffering from sleepwalking due to hogging too many pork grinds had 2D almost sliced and diced with a scythe and Murdoc almost arrested (again) for sleep driving, wondering what the hell he was doing behind the wheel of the geep in his tighty whities while the front of the geep was in a deep hug with a pole.

How the media hadn't found that one out was a miracle, and hopefully, they would never encounter that story until Murdoc had passed on. "I'll figure out something." the girl thought finally, gently unlatching the singer's fingers from her side whilst holding his head. She chose the pillow 2D had brought for her the night before as her replacement, shoving it into the singer's grip, and he welcomed it happily, nuzzling his face into the soft cushion with a groan. Smiling quietly, Noodle gave his hair a ruffle before she found herself in the kitchen, shaking herself a bit. Bathroom first, then kitchen.

&&&

The singer's nostrils widened as he was able to smell the food even in the farthest depths of his dream, wondering why the delicious aroma of French toast, tater tots, bacon, and oatmeal was swarming around him when the normal smells of a carnival were hotdogs, burnt popcorn, cotton candy, and the occasional apple or pumpkin pies. Brows furrowing slightly, his hand rubbed over his eyelids and nose, feeling a wet stain as he bobbed his head to get comfortable on this cushion of his. He lifted his head to glance down tiredly at his drool blot on the pillow and wearily moved it with a gentle glare. What time was it? And who was cooking at this time? The food was real, right? Not just a dream?

Stretching his arms both ways and rotating his neck a bit, the singer threw a glance over at the kitchen, the only room with light in it. Everything was quiet except for the pans being tossed into the sink once in a while, but aside from that, there was only one person in that kitchen. Getting up to crack his back, 2D walked to the entrance of the kitchen, secretly watching the young guitarist work her magic on a stove. Her hand snapped back at a toast that had popped out of the toaster, flicking it at a plate on the table behind her, eyes not moving from her cooking. What impressed the singer the most was that anything she tossed or threw never missed the intended target.

"Mornin', angel love." he greeted calmly, noticing it was seven thirty, still pretty early in his opinion to be talking too loud. "Good morning, 2D. There is-"

"Oatmeal?" he asked before she could even begin to list the offers she had, and she nodded curiously, wondering if his nose was that good or it was just a lucky guess. "I'll 'ave a bowl 'o tha' please." he smiled, taking his seat, but Noodle arched an eyebrow questioningly, "Did you at least brush your teeth?" Pouting with a shrug, 2D grabbed his placed spoon and looked at his teeth in the fun house mirror reflection, "Yeh know I never brush my teeth before I eat, Noods. Wot's the point when yo' teeth are jus' gunna get dirty again? I'd rather wash 'em after 'ey're dirty, an' then brush the grime off." he concluded, waiting for his breakfast to be served. Pouring the brownish mush into an empty blue bowl, Noodle eyed the cinnamon, knowing he liked to flavor his foods, "I learned that germs rest within your mouth when you are asleep because it is quiescent bacteria in your saliva that does not get taken out until your mouth is washed."

Digging a nice spoonful into the porridge, the singer offered her a half grin, "No worries, love. All the bacteria tha' wos in my mouth is now swarmin' around in tha' pillow I wos sleepin' on." This icky little fact sent a slight disgusted shiver down Noodle's spine, especially thankful she hadn't been drooled on. The singer had a way to make simple things have a dark edge to them, whether he knew it or not. She turned back to the French toast, taking in the delectable smells, but her mind scolded her stomach. She wouldn't eat a bite until breakfast was ready for all. "Wanna know somethin' weird?" the bluehead voiced, slurping down his oatmeal. He had grown accustomed to Noodle's cooking. It was much better than a drive through donut and coffee, that was for sure.

"Hm?"

Extending his arm out, the singer opened the fridge without standing, grabbing one of his apple juice boxes Noodle had grabbed while they were grocery shopping, and shut the door, "I slept pretty well for bein' scrunched on tha' couch wit yeh." he admitted proudly, scratching his head as he bit the wrapping off the straw and jammed it into the juice box. Noodle faced him, placing a teacup plate filled with tater tots for the scrawny man. Holding one between his fingers, he kept quiet for a good while, somehow interested by the food. His tranquility passed off for so long, Noodle jumped when he started up again with the tot in his mouth and a bit of ketchup, "I 'eard when yeh sleep well, an' then 'ave a dream, an' then forget wot it wos about, tha' was a real good sleep." he nodded, poking his spoon in the air at her.

The axe princess stood quiet, knowing this fact was true, but didn't have the heart to remind him that the theory might not pertain to people with his particular brain. If he felt it was a good rest, well then, more power to him. He should feel better prepared for today. As Noodle set the meal to plates, a strange flash of orange red caught her attention, pulling her curiosity to peek out the window to watch the little bit of sunrise the face of Kong was allowed to view. In a matter of seconds the colors were gone, evolving into deep grays and blacks, little pitters lightly smacking against the glass of the window, then trailing down in their own race. Slowly looking to his breakfast, the thin singer shook his head in a confused manner, giving his neck a rub, "Wot the 'ell do we see in 'is place…I mean its cool an' stuff, but once yeh get past the coolness o' it…it sorta makes yeh…sad." he whispered, wondering why he hadn't noticed it before.

Kong was a pretty dreary place. There was a price to pay for uniqueness, he assumed. Setting the rest of the food around the table, Noodle sat across from him, shoving a couple of tater tots into her mouth without the slightest care that it might be unlady-like. Her stomach had endured enough torture, need it suffer for manners? Besides, she had learned all her edict from three men, two of which had beastly manners most times and one that resulted to it in times of desperation. Finished with his oatmeal, the singer pushed the bowl carelessly and propped his head up with his elbow on the table, settling the food in, "So wot exactly are we gunna start on today, Noodle?"

Swallowing a large portion of food, the teen coughed a bit and cleared her throat, "Well, we will choose which song to work on, talk about any adjustments Murdoc was supposed to have made, if any, bring up all ideas I have about the songs and how they are to be made, listen to any other thoughts or ideas that you all may have, and hopefully fill in anything else that we need to do in order to make everything work correctly." Rubbing his chin in a fulfilled notion, the singer nodded as if that was the answer he was expecting to hear, furrowing his brows as his stomach suddenly dropped for reasons unknown. Too busy feeding herself, Noodle failed to see the alert 2D, head snapping around his neck, dark holes widening as he deserted his chair and squatted near her.

Glancing at him with her mouth full, the teen arched an eyebrow when he pointed at the doorway, waiting for something to happen. Noodle shifted her vision. There was nothing there. Lifting himself up a bit, the singer kept quiet, a look of calm confusion smeared over his face, and the guitarist swallowed, "What?" Giving his head a scratch, the bluehead stood up to his tallest, "Weird…I coulda sworn I 'eard…" At his pause, a bullet zoomed inches from the young Jap's face, just missing her, but hitting the poor singer directly in the head. Hands smacked over his blue locks, the awkward young man fell over the chair beside him, heading chest first towards the floor, able to crawl under the table as a series of screeches and shrieks accompanied his own. "NOODLE! Get it away from me! Please! Make 'im stop!" he whimpered, grabbing a hold of the teen's leg in fear that death's favorite pet was going to jab him again with its horrid beak.

Waving her arms about, the axe princess called out to the bird, "Cortez! Come here! Have some breakfast! Let 2D be! Cortez! Where is Murdoc!" she fumed after her attempts seemed to fail, but the raven, however, paused a moment and hovered in a circle over her head for a minute or two. "Is he still sleeping?" she questioned kindly, noticing anything that had to do with Murdoc was a tender spot for the temperamental bird. Softly landing on the table, Cortez nestled himself down, tilting his head with a snap at the young girl, giving her the obvious answer. The teen reached over and opened a bag of bread on the table, offering a slice to the bird, and he pecked at it graciously, but he didn't seem satisfied.

"I am not sure what Murdoc likes to feed you, Cortez…" she sighed, tossing one more tatter into her mouth and chewing thoughtfully. "Tha' bacon I'm smellin' in 'ere better be for me!" a growl erupted from the hall, and the silky black raven lifted off once more, meeting his master at the doorway. Usually in a grim mood, Murdoc actually looked more serious than annoyed, wearing a lone pair of black and scarlet plaid pajama pants with his anticross dangling over his bare chest for all to see. Russel had made sure he had a talk with Murdoc after his sudden arrival, reminding Murdoc that Noodle was a bit older and comprehensive of males and their place (not to mention he was a little tired of dealing with Murdoc's misused freedom himself).

Mismatched eyes scanning the table, Murdoc nodded at the plate filled with bacon and was about to have his seat when Noodle pointed at the bird resting on the dark man's shoulder, "Will you not feed him?" Giving the bird a glance, Murdoc shook his head, "No. 'e feeds 'imself. The day I feed somethin' else besides me is the day I die…when bloody crows can pick my bones clean." he scoffed, turning towards the window. Curving his fingers under the sill, the gruff man lifted the glass, and Cortez darted off his shoulder into the wet, drafty world outside. Shutting the window quickly, the bassist dusted off his hands, heading towards his seat. Dark emeralds still stuck on the window, Murdoc waved his hand around, "Zombies, love. 'ey're the ones tha'll be runnin', don't worry about 'im." Nodding with a quiet smile, Noodle started on some oatmeal she had poured for herself as Murdoc snagged the backrest of his chair, shock making his arm jet back to his body, forcing his face to grow dark, "Dullard, wot the 'ell are you doin'."

Blinking in surprise, Noodle pushed herself out from the table just a little in order to see the shivering singer, peering out through the holes in his head, "'idin'…Cortez wos after me…again…" Waiting for the singer to crawl out from under the table, Murdoc went into the refrigerator and retrieved a beer for himself, "Prolly thinks yo' a zombie. Yeh look like 'em shits, yeh know tha'?...Or 'e jus' knows yeh piss me off." Gently climbing back into his chair, 2D sighed, wondering what in the world was he doing wrong that had Murdoc hating him so much?

Was it loathing from being forced to care for him those couple of years back? The bassist had brought it on himself. Was it scorn from a terrible childhood? That could explain why Murdoc hardly brought up the topic of a 'father'. Or was he…jealous? Small curves pulling up from the corners of his mouth, the singer stared at the table, liking that phrase more and more with each passing second. Murdoc Nicalls jealous of Stuart Tusspot? Badass envious of mild class? Ying and Yang? Chocolate Chip or Oatmeal?

"Wot the 'ell are you smilin' at, dullard?" the dark man snapped, chomping a piece of meat right out of his hands with a curious glare. Still lost in his own world, the singer agreed with himself, "I fink so…" Murdoc crunched his face and arched a brow, unable to piece together anything of what the young man had just mumbled, tossing a thumb at him while glancing at Noodle, "'e's gone mental, swear teh God." At the moment, the guitarist was wondering if the bluehead had, but shook her head when he gave her a wink, knowing he was only ignoring Murdoc, which, in his case, was a good action to take. Chewing the mush in his mouth, the bassist mid burped, sniffing tiredly, "Wot time is it?" he barked, snapping up another slice of bacon. Unnecessarily stretching his arm out in order to see the watch on his spiked wrist band, the singer squinted a moment before answering, "Seven…fifty…three…four…five!"

"Five minutes teh practice? Shit…thought it wos earlier 'an tha'…shoulda 'ad Cortez wake me up…" the bassist grumbled, speeding up his eating pace. Almost on queue, heavy thuds boomed through the hallway until they stopped at the kitchen doorway, a gentle smile placed on the face of the calm drummer. Scratching under the red and white cap he had on, Russel offered a quiet yawn and sat before the biggest place, obviously made by Noodle and set specifically for him. "Way teh make an entrance, lards." the dark man jangled sarcastically, rolling his mismatched eyes as he pushed his own empty plate away from him. "Mornin' to you, too." the drummer replied, head bobbing to a beat he had dreamed of. Noodle stood, gathering the empty plates, but leaving them in the sink for someone else to deal with in their break time. She wanted to stay on schedule and try it out. She only hoped it would actually work with these three.

"'urry up, Russ. Yo' the last teh eat an' we 'ave less 'an five minutes teh get teh the recordin' studio an' walk some baby steps into money millions!" the overenthusiastic leader growled, thrilled that they were so near to the future, but irritated something as large as Russel was blocking it. Waving his hand, Russel slowly inhaled his breakfast, "Go on down then, man. Who exactly is keeping you in the kitchen? I be done in five, but there's no way in hell I'm startin' on an empty stomach." Crossing his arms, Murdoc shook his head, "On'y thing I see empty on you is common sense." Russel crunched on his bacon, "If you ain't outta here in two seconds, I promise you I'm gunna break yo' face, an' you know I'm true to my word."

The bassist offered a sneer, and Russel threw a side punch, missing the thrown off bully by a hair, forcing him to nearly fall off his chair. "One." Russel counted, eating calmly as day, while the other two quietly watched a baffled bassist use the table as his support, "Jus' get teh the recordin' room!" he fumed, bashing an angered fist against the slab before dragging his blueheaded singer from his collar and guitarist by her wrist off.

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Author's Note: Yes, this did take a while to type, but I'm burning with motivation and a new one shot might be coming shortly, but it's still in thought process mode, so maybe when I'm sleeping in math it'll come to me with a bang! (or a failing grade XP) Erm, next chapter is already being worked on and will hopefully be turned over soon also. Midterms are coming up and I just didn't want to be stressed with studying and trying to get this chapter to you guys. You deserved it. And there you go. Review!