Doesn't Make a Difference


A/N: holy freaking hell…this was a long chapter! Fourteen pages! Again much thanks to those of you who love my writing!

Disclaimer: I do not own Gorillaz nor do I claim anything involving them…the plot, however, is mine.

Chapter Five

It was June in Paradise Cottages. Winter had come and gone without much excitement. The cold rendered everyone immobile for a time because nobody felt like going out to the store for a simple loaf of bread. Thank God for food storage…and fasting.

Christmas had come and gone shortly after the hermit guitarist's arrival at the apartment complex. No Christmas tree went up in her home, nor did she decorate or receive any mail. She did what she had been doing since she arrived: bundling up on her balcony with her guitar and cigarettes that she bummed off someone she didn't know.

The turn of the year was, as usual less exciting. When you're too young to buy alcohol and you've run out of cigarettes, and you don't even have a damn TV, the changing of the year was just plain unexciting. Something worth sleeping through.

Paradise Cottages actually suffered a traumatic fire in the spring. It was March 26, 2006 when the apartment building next to Noodle's caught fire and almost burned to the ground. Apparently some irresponsible parent left a child home and told them, "to make dinner for themselves."

……what an awesome idea.

This fire quickly became Noodle's "almost" midlife crisis. It wasn't the building burning down, Lord knows she didn't give a damn about that; however this town being so small, news spread fast and unfortunately this "town" came equipped with their own news center.

Everyone in building three and building two were interviewed, everyone but Noodle. Not even an hour after the building had caught fire, she was out of her apartment and driving to the closest motel for refuge until the news reporters had vacated the apartment complex. The last thing she wanted was her face all over the news and the new Gorillaz band knocking on her door the next day.

But, no, however imminent disaster seemed, within a few days Noodle was back in her apartment with the pungent odor of sulfur invading her nostrils. Fortunately for her, some good had come out of escaping to the motel. The Motel Conundrum, as Noodle liked to call it. It just so happened that a bunch of old hags and old men took refuge at The Motel Conundrum and they adored gossiping like Noodle adored her guitar.

The only way to take refuge away from her refuge was to go to the only bar in the whole town, The Tiger Paw. To Noodle, it sounded like a strip joint or a hooker house but in small neon lights under the name of the bar it innocently said 'Bar and Grill.' What did she have to lose?

So Noodle slung her guitar over her shoulder (she took it everywhere with her, not trusting to leave it in her apartment or the motel) and entered the smoke hazed atmosphere that was pounding with bad karaoke and reeked of stale beer.

She sat at the bar but kept her back to the bar and focused her attention on the singer on the stage. It was a middle aged man with a suit on that was already stained with sweat and a voice that sounded like a prepubescent boy.

Noodle was disappointed. The only good thing bound to come out of here was a decent hamburger. A tap on her shoulder and she turned around, squinting through the smoke to see a bartender behind her waiting impatiently.

"I said, what'll it be missy."

He was similar to the middle aged prepubescent man on the stage except his hair was sparse on top, and he was greasy all over. He smelled like every different type of alcohol was poured into a glass, chugged, and then thrown up.

Noodle shook her head and shouted above the horrible singing, "Not old enough."

The greasy bartender frowned as if she was wasting his time on purpose, "Performers drink for free regardless of age."

Noodle cocked her head to the side and felt her guitar in her hair. He thought she was going to perform on stage. She mentally shrugged, if it got her a free drink then why the hell not?

"Jack and coke—"

The man on the stage hit a high note in that horrible voice that made Noodle and just about everyone else in the bar wince and moan.

"Make that two…two Jack and Coke," Noodle said.

The bartender began making her drink. Noodle put her head in her hands, trying to ignore the man on stage that for some reason had picked an eight minute long song.

She heard the bartender laugh and clink down two glasses. He stood there and watched her as she downed both, one after the other without hesitation.

He held out his hand, "Name's Bill. I own this joint."

Noodle shook his hand, "Noodle."

A noise behind her startled her and she turned to see people dragging the unconscious karaoke man off the stage and people shouting.


The bartender Bill slid another Jack and coke to Noodle, "I hope you're good."

Noodle downed the third drink, wishing the alcohol would run through her system a little faster. She slid off the barstool and pushed through the crowd to get to the stage. People stepped out of her way but stared at her incredulously. She wondered if any of them would recognize her from Gorillaz.

She climbed up the stairs to the stage and sat on the stool in front of the microphone they provided. She shifted her guitar in front of her and then glanced at the TV monitor that would read her lyrics from whatever song she chose.

"What'cha playin' sweetheart?"

She shook her said and strummed a few notes on her guitar, ignoring the crowd.

"Tell us your name!"

She shook her head again. God forbid these people hated her music and they knew her name. One of them would find her and she'd end up just like the unconscious middle aged man.

She tossed her hair out of her face and straightened her back. The only songs she knew by heart were from her former band, so she played the first song 2D and she had collaborated on.

She played an uppity beat that required a bass but she made do without one. The crowd had quieted down and was watching her intently. They were confused. There were no lyrics on the monitor.

She sighed mentally, she didn't know how she felt about singing 2D's lyrics, but she had to sing something.

"Magic for me

Magic make no sound

It good for me

It good for me underground…"

She paused in between lines and glanced at the crowd. So far so good, none of them had anything in there hands and they seemed to be listening intently to what she was singing.

"Magic on me

Really got me down

Invade the city

It make my heart beat no sound

Beat no sound,

Beat no sound,

Beat no sound,

Beat no sound,

Beat no sound.

And let me tell myself

Tell on

She turned my dad on

She turned my dad on

Dad on

Dad on!"

She played her guitar solo at the end of the chorus and the crowd erupted. They shouted and hollered and jumped up and down. She smiled at the reaction. She hadn't performed in front of a crowd in a long time and it felt good to let loose again, but wrong to be doing it alone.

She shook away the feeling and continued playing Five Four. From the looks of it, everyone thought this was a new song that she'd made up on her own. She didn't mind though, the crowd looked happy, Bill looked satisfied, and she felt pretty good herself for the first time in a long time.

She finished Five Four and was greeted by constant shouts and everyone calling for an encore. She saw Bill coming up the stage and he grabbed the microphone.

"Do you like her!" he shouted.

Ear-splitting screams.

"Should I keep her!"

More ear-splitting screams.

Bill turned to her, "Noodle…can you do this for me? Can you sing for me for me every night and be The Tiger Paws entertainment?"

"What…like a job?"

Bill nodded, "I'll pay you a hundred bucks a night, including tips, including whatever the crowd decides to give you and you can eat and drink for free."

And that was that. Noodle didn't hesitate to say yes to Bill's offer and thus began the start of an entertainment opportunity for The Tiger Paw and for Noodle as well. Even after she moved back into her apartment, Noodle went to The Tiger Paw every night to perform the songs she knew.

She'd sit on the same stool on the same stage with the same microphone. People flocked to see her perform. They didn't even care that she'd perform the same songs occasionally; all they wanted was their nightly dose of being lulled into a blissful calm by Noodle's guitar.

She even ventured so far as to play the Gorillaz most popular songs, Clint Eastwood and Feel Good Inc. Not a single person recognized it. Nobody. She didn't know if she should feel relieved at not being exposed or hurt because the Gorillaz home country didn't recognize their music. She shrugged the feeling away, as long as she wasn't made public she didn't care what these people thought of her. She was making alright money and could eat and drink whenever she wanted.

It was a Friday night in the first week of June; Noodle was performing again on stage creating a euphoric atmosphere that could rival the smoky one she'd witnessed when she'd first arrived to The Tiger Paw.

Bill was behind the bar talking to a businessman in a nice suit. Both were bent over some papers with Bill pointing at this and that and the businessman writing down things on a sheet of paper.

"I want the flyers to go on the streets, in the mail to every household in the United Kingdom. Hell, send it to the Irish for all I care! I'm sure they'd pay to see her! Oh and put her name in large print dead center," Bill stood back and held his hands in front of him as if reading a Broadway sign: "Noodle Hitori."

The businessman nodded and wrote it all down before pausing, "Pay?"

Bill slammed his hand down on the counter, but the noise went unnoticed to anyone else not in close range except for the businessman.

"Of course! I'm turning this joint into a club! She can perform every night and everyone can see it for only ten bucks cover," he rubbed his hands together in glee, "I'm going to be filthy rich!"

The young man sighed and wrote it down, "Filthy is right," he muttered.

"Say what, boy? Can't hear ya over that beautiful sound!" he said happily.

The young man shook his head, "I said you're right!" he shouted.

Bill lit up a cigar, "Damn right I'm right," he said through clenched teeth, "now get going and send all these flyers out. I want people to flock here by the hundreds!"

A couple of weeks later, around ten o'clock, Noodle waved goodbye to Bill and walked out the door to her car.

"Noodle! Wait!" he called coming out the bar after her.

Noodle turned around and shifted her guitar, "What is it, Bill?"

He leaned against her car to speak to her; Noodle took a step back subconsciously because of his proximity. She frowned, he'd been getting to friendly with her lately and now he was getting his greasy sweat all over her door.

"See, I was wondering if you wouldn't consider staying and performing later at the bar. You know the people love you and you could make some extra cash just for staying late."

Noodle didn't even pause to consider it; she just shook her head, "No, I'd rather not stay that late, Bill. Besides, the crowd dies out around this time anyway."

"Only because you leave, Noodle girl," he pointed, sticking a greasy, fat index finger in her face. She took another step back, frowning. She remembered that Russel had often called her that when she had first arrived at Kong and the name sounded horrible coming from Bill.

She took another step back just for good measure, "Sorry, Bill. Seven to ten is long enough for me," she put her hand on the door to open it, but Bill took a step forward, covering her hand on the door with his arm.

"Come on! Think of the money!" he said a little too close to her face.

Noodle was never one to be walked all over or pushed around. Hell, her former band members knew that after they had given her the scythe to fend off the zombies and then tried to push her around. Did not turn out good for a certain bassist who demanded money from her.

This time Noodle didn't have the scythe and besides, slicing Bill up just because he put his fat greasy arm on her car and hand wasn't really humane. All she had on her was her guitar and she wasn't about to smack him with that either. She had others at her apartment but 2D had given her this one for Christmas several years back after she'd broken her first guitar over Murdoc's head because he kept beating 2D. Didn't really teach him a lesson but he never did it in front of her again.

So Noodle did the best thing she thought civil and human and took a deep breath, trying her hardest not to lose her temper, "Bill, I said no. Now get off my car. I'm going home."

He stared at her in shock. He took a step back and Noodle immediately pulled open her door and put her guitar in the back seat before climbing into the driver's side. His prize performer, his golden girl, the money maker. He needed her to stay the extra hours because of the amount of customers he knew they were about to get. Ten thousand flyers a week…mailed to every building that had a mailbox and every one that didn't. He even paid the extra charge to get them shipped to Ireland, just like he'd said.

"You don't know what you're missing," he said, backing away from her car some more, "You could make twice the amount you're making now."

Noodle slammed the door shut but rolled down her window, looking at the bartender with exasperation, "Bill…I never told you this…but I don't need the money. In fact, I could buy this bar from you three times and still retire at twenty. It's not about the money, I was bored," and with that started the Envoy and drove off into the night towards Paradise Cottage with Bill staring at her taillights in disbelief.

I knew it, he thought.

Noodle snorted to herself on her way home. She didn't know why she'd just done that…it's not like she had to prove herself to him or to anyone. So what if she could quit The Tiger Paw and live the rest of her life comfortably? She knew she probably would be performing until her dying day anyway…that's what she was born to do and the only thing she knew how to do…other than fight.

She drove up the steep driveway that led to her apartment complex. Noodle frowned; the lights were still on at the office which was unusual since the old lady usually closed down a little earlier. She shrugged, it didn't concern her. She pulled into her usual parking spot and nearly jumped out of her skin as a loud clap of thunder shook the ground and her truck.

Noodle coughed from the shock that did to her body. She shakily turned off her car and grabbed her guitar, cautiously climbing out of the Envoy and running inside before the rain started coming down.

She hates thunder, always has ever since that one night at Kong.

That night was a horrible one for the ten year old Japanese girl from Osaka, shipped in a FedEx crate to a landfill with a house plopped in the middle of it. Of all the things she'd been put through, never in her ten years did she think this was possible.

2D had just tucked her into her bed and left. It was her second night sleeping in her own room. The first couple of weeks were spent in 2D's room because she was frightened and clung to him like a second skin.

There wasn't a window in her room but the wall nearest where her head was laying on her bed was the wall that was also the outside of Kong. Her little eyes popped open at a large clap of thunder. She furrowed deeper into her blanket, wondering if she should scream for 2D or Russel. The thunder pounded against Kong again and she squeezed her eyes shut, willing the storm to go away.

As if things couldn't get any worse, she heard scratching noises right above her head. Her eyes widened, she couldn't even begin to imagine what was scratching above her head or where it was. She was too afraid to look.

Another clap of thunder shook her whole body as well as the foundations of Kong. The scratching got louder. Noodle whimpered and slowly looked above her head. Nothing. Just her wall but the scratching was definitely coming from the other side of her wall.

Noodle started panting…whatever it was…it was scratching away at her wall to get to her. Suddenly…Noodle jumped as it pounded on her wall and moaned loudly. Another earth shaking clap of thunder.


She tore out of her bedroom at the speed of light. She passed Russel's room and thought she heard a "what the…" but she didn't stop. She didn't wait for the lift but took the stairs down to the car park, passed Murdoc's Winnebago that was rocking, but she figured that it was from the thunder and ran smack into 2D's door, pounding, kicking, and screaming.

2D opened his door to have a red, blotchy faced, teary eyed little girl fall at his feet in tears. 2D knelt and picked her up, cradling her in his lap.

"Little love! Wha's got ya so riled up? Oh…don' cry darlin'!"

He wiped her tears away and smiled at her. It was then that Noodle noticed his state of undress, which simply consisted of boxers and socks. She was too young to take into effect his body so all she felt was guilt at waking him. She had only been at Kong for a few weeks but she had managed to pick up a little English.

"Sorry…2D-san…woke you," she sniffed again; she didn't want him to make her go back upstairs and sleep in her bed by herself.

2D smiled his toothless smile that she adored so much as a child, "S'awright love! Tell me wha's got you so upset."

She understood the word 'upset' but didn't know how to explain what had scared her. She held her hands up high above her head and yelled, "BOOM!"

2D laughed, "The thunder? Aww darlin' tha's outside though, tha's not gona hurt ya."

Noodle shook her head, "More."

2D raised an eyebrow, "There's somethin' else botherin' you?"

She nodded and climbed out of his lap. She went to the wall right next to where he had sat in his doorway and scratched at the wall, moaning and banging on it.

2D's face fell into a serious look and Noodle knew that he knew what she was talking about.

"Shit," he muttered. Noodle knew what that and every other foul word in the English language meant. She was around Murdoc for a day and learned it all and especially not to say it.

2D reached inside his room next to the doorframe and grabbed a crowbar. He picked her up and started walking towards the lift; Noodle started squirming once she realized where he was going.

"Now, now love. Don't be scared, I'll take care of that scary noise and then you can go to sleep, awright?"

Noodle nodded reluctantly and let him take her up the lift to the floor where her room was. The door to the lift opened and 2D carried Noodle down the hallway with the crowbar over his shoulder whistling a tune as if he was going to do yard work.

They walked down the hall and noticed that Russel's door was open as was Noodle's. They both walked into her room to see Russel standing there with his own crowbar and about ten mutilated zombies at his feet…or better yet all over Noodle's bed and floor. There was a hole in her wall that led to the outside that the zombies had busted through.

"Hey Russ…ya get 'em all?" 2D asked nonchalantly. Noodle couldn't tear her eyes away from the mess in her room.

Russ nodded, "Yea, the wall was deteriorating on the outside I think so that's how they got through…Man! Get her outa here she doesn't need to see this!" Russel shouted when he turned around and noticed Noodle in 2D's arms gawking at the dead zombies.

2D glanced at Noodle and laughed sheepishly, "Oh…right…sorry," and with that took her out of what was once her room and back down to his. He put her in his bed and climbed in with her, Noodle snuggling up to his chest immediately.

"Sorry about the zombies, love. We get those around here," Noodle understood perfectly well what he said that time.

It wasn't until Noodle hit puberty at twelve that she stopped sleeping in bed with 2D.

She hates thunder, always has ever since that one night at Kong.

At this point, Noodle wasn't afraid of zombies any longer. Soon after that incident, Gorillaz started Phase One and Noodle received her prized scythe. However, she was still afraid of thunder.

Noodle shivered as she stared out her balcony window at the storm that ripped through Paradise Cottages. She was wrapped in a blanket with all of her lights on. Suddenly her phone rang, causing her to practically jump out of her skin.

"He…hello?" she said nervously.


"Hello dear! It's me, Mrs. Burnam! Terrible weather isn't it…"

Noodle sighed as the old woman chattered on about a leak in her place. Her nerves couldn't handle this anymore.

"Anyway deary…I just wanted to let you know that today was the end of your six month contract! I forgot to call you so if you're planning to stay with us for another six months you can come by tomorrow and extend the contract!"

Noodle had forgotten about it too. She guessed she'd stay since she hadn't heard a word from anybody that wanted her to come home.

"Thank you Mrs. Burnam. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Bye bye deary!" and with that she hung up the phone and resumed her place at her window.

She saw the lights suddenly go off and Mr. and Mrs. Burnam run out into the pouring ran to their car.

She glanced at her clock….ten-thirty. She turned her attention back to the rain that pounded against the face of her building. She didn't think she was ever going to sleep.

2D…was going to kill Murdoc. 2D stood outside The Tiger Paw…the closed Tiger Paw. He was dripping wet, had been ever since the storm hit where he was driving over an hour ago thanks to Murdoc's bright idea of him taking the geep.

It was eleven o'clock. Murdoc had printed the first directions he had found which just so happened to be from a tourist sight that took 2D through the scenic route from Kong to this unnamed town that barely had a spot on the map.

He ran his hand through his wet, cerulean locks. He didn't know what to do now. He didn't want to waste time getting a motel, he just wanted to find her. Find Noodle.

The door to The Tiger Paw opened and a middle-aged, balding, greasy, fat man threw a bag of trash out the door. The man noticed 2D standing there under the streetlight and blanched.

"'ey mate…ya…ya need me to call the hospital?" he stuttered.

2D raised an eyebrow, "Huh?"

Then 2D remembered how he looked and tried not to frown, knowing that, although he wasn't the intimidating type, when he looked pissed…he did look downright terrifying.

2D cleared his throat, "No…no I'm fine. I'm just looking for somebody. I got this flyer and it said Noodle Hitori was performing here," 2D knew that nobody would tell her where she lived if they thought he was just some random guy so he had to put on some theatrics.

He sauntered up to the fat man with as some arrogant air as he could muster. 2D didn't look rich so that went against him, all he was wearing was his blue and white jacket, a shirt that said, My day is not complete unless I've freaked someone out, torn blue jeans and his converse. He still tried to come off as important.

"You see, I'm a representative of Virgin Records and we have been trying to find this girl for a long time! If she performs her like your flyer says she does then I'm sure you know of her talent…"

The man was still staring at 2D dumbfounded but he seemed to be buying it, "Yea…she's great."

2D smiled, "Exactly! See, but I'm not the only one looking for her. So I was wondering if you could tell me if she lived around her. The sooner I get her to sign with us…the sooner she becomes famous!" 2D threw his arms up in the air for effect. He was getting impatient with his own act. He was longing for Noodle and he could only hope this fat lard fell for the act. From the look on the man's face…he seemed uncertain.

"Well…um…" he stuttered.

2D decided to kick it up a notch. He leaned against the building casually and picked at his fingers, "There's also profit sharing to whoever discovered her. I take it you are the owner of this…place?"

That was the ticket. Even though 2D had clearly insulted the man's bar…he only smiled widely and shook 2D's hand.

"Bill…my name's Bill!" he said excitedly.

2D smiled hopefully, "Stuart. You wouldn't happen to have her address would you?"

The man nodded crazily, "Yes, yes! Let me go get it! Would you like to come in? Get a drink or something?"

2D shook his head and stepped out from under the building into the rain, "No, no thank I just need the address." The fat man nodded and ran inside.

2D grinned happily. He couldn't contain his excitement. He was going to see her! He actually found her! He was about to unclip his phone to call Russel, but the man ran back outside with a slip of paper in his hand.

"Here! Here this is it!" he shook 2D's hand again, "Thank you, thank you again Mr. Stuart! You've made my night!"

"Gladly. Good night, I'll get in touch with you as soon as we sign her."

He nodded, "My information is on that sheet as well!"

2D nodded and stuffed it into his pocket, walking back to the soaked geep. He climbed in and floored it out of the parking lot. He pulled out the slip of paper and read the address. The man had also put directions.

2D snorted, "Didn't even ask for proof…dolt."

He followed the directions which led him a mile away from The Tiger Paw and up a steep hill past a sign that said Paradise Cottage. His heart started beating faster.

The office lights were off, for good reason since it was a little past eleven. 2D slowed down and glanced at the address again. He raised an eyebrow.

"Building 2, apartment…D?" he wondered if she'd done that on purpose or not. He shrugged, glancing around for the building. Either way he thought it was cute that she was living in apartment 2D.

He spotted her building and her Envoy parked in front of it. He parked and stared at the ominous building. The only lights on were on the top floor, the only balcony up there.

Tha' has to be her. She always has the lights on in a thunderstorm.

He took a deep breath. He really didn't know what to expect. She had never made an effort to contact any of them since she'd left. He didn't know how she'd react to seeing him or if she even wanted to see him. She's probably happy here and had a boyfriend and everything.

2D paused at the thought…what if she did have a boyfriend?

He didn't ponder the thought any longer but opened the geep door and running inside the building. He went all the way to the top floor and sure enough, posted on the door was a big silver 'D.'

He raised his hand to knock but paused, closing his eyes and gathering the courage.

She misses you. She must.

Then he heard it. That sound…it was a guitar. She was playing her guitar.

He leaned in closer and almost instantly recognized the tune. He automatically started singing in his head; Love forever, love is free. Let's turn forever…you and me.

Noodle jumped as someone knocked on her door. She stared at the door…it was already past eleven…who the hell would come to see her?

She thought it was Bill…then decided against it. He wasn't that stupid. Maybe it was Mrs. Burnam. She'd come to check on her before when there was a bad storm. Noodle put her guitar against the wall and stood, walking over to the door and putting her hand on the doorknob.

She paused and stared at the door. A thought ran through her head but she quickly dismissed it as impossible. She made a mental note to have an eyehole installed in her door.

2D heard her put her hand on the door. His heart skipped a beat. He was actually frightened. Frightened to see a girl that he had known since she was ten; frightened to see a girl that he had betrayed; frightened to see a girl, Noodle, whom he had fallen in love with.

Noodle opened the door and looked up to greet Mrs. Burnam…and gasped at who was at her door.

There…in front of her…water dripping from his blue hair all the way down to his feet, was 2D. His black eyes were staring at her, hope written all over his face.

Noodle let her blanket slide from her shoulders. She brought her hands up to cover her mouth in shock and took a step back. This wasn't real. This couldn't be…real.

"Noodle…" he whispered. He took a step forward into her apartment, but stopped. He wasn't about to invite himself…she still might not want to see him. So he stopped and waited to see a reaction. He looked hopeful…but just the sight of her renewed him.

She had tears running down her face. She didn't even realize she was crying. She lowered her hands and continued to stare at him. She couldn't believe he was here. He'd taken a step towards her, he'd said her name.

She swallowed hard, "2D."

He couldn't wait any longer. He didn't care if she pushed him away or yelled at him and hit him for being a stupid moron. 2D took three steps to her and wrapped her inside his arms in a tight hug.

Noodle cried as he held her. She maneuvered and managed to get her arms around him. She squeezed him back.

2D nestled his face into her neck, breathing in the scent of her hair. She cried. She didn't push him away.

"I missed you," he whispered, "I've missed you so much."

Noodle nodded. She couldn't speak. She could hardly breathe. The tears just kept flowing down her cheeks onto his shoulder. She breathed in his masculine scent and almost melted.

2D peeked open an eye and looked around her living room. He frowned. She didn't have anything. Nothing that hadn't been in her room back when she was at Kong. She didn't have a TV or a couch, just a chair and a small table in her living room. Her guitar leaned against the wall.

"Noodle," he whispered again and let her go. He gripped her shoulders and tilted her chin up so she'd look at him. He smiled at her which made her cry out, but she smiled back.

"We need to talk," he said softly to her. She nodded and shut the door that was still open behind him and led him into her living room. She stood nervously, looking around for a place for him to sit. She'd never had visitors often enough to get a couch or another chair.

2D solved her problem by sitting with his back against the wall and pulling her into his lap. She nestled against his chest, her forehead against his wet temple. Neither of them bothered with him being soaked. They hardly noticed.

2D cleared his throat, might as well get to the point and see how it goes from there.

"Paula's gone."

He felt her flinch and rubbed her back. He knew she'd blame herself but before she said anything he spoke up first.

"Murdoc gave 'er the boot the day we found your letter. 'e said tha'…if you weren't our guitarist then we wouldn't continue as Gorillaz."

Noodle's whole body shook with tears. She sobbed into his neck with 2D rubbed her back and hugging her for comfort.

Once she got herself under control she rubbed her hand under nose and choked out, "I didn't want that to happen. I wanted you guys to continue without me. It's not fair that you had to lose Paula."

2D snorted, "Noodle, I was a fool," he turned her so she was straddling his thighs and cupped her face in his hands, "I should 'ave been able to see wha' was right in front o' me the whole time but I was too doped up to ever realize…you."

Noodle lowered her eyes to look away from him but he ducked his head to meet her eyes, "You're not a little girl anymore Noodle and I should 'ave noticed tha' a long time ago. But I waited until it was too late and now I've had to drive all this way jus' to knock on your door and tell you tha' I love you."

Noodle's eyes widened. No…there's no way…

2D grinned as if his black sockets were reading her soul, "Yes, I love you Noodle. I think I always 'ave, jus' never realized it," he rubbed his thumb over her cheek and smiled when Noodle leaned her face into his hand.

"I didn't come here to hear you tell me you loved me back. I jus' wanted you to know tha' I love you, wit all my heart. I'd do anything for you."

Tears started streaming down her cheeks onto his hands. She looked into his eyes, and was shocked to see that he wasn't waiting for anything, that was it. Like he said…all he had wanted to do was tell her.

She swallowed the lump in her throat. She'd lost hope that she'd never get the chance to say this to him.

"2D…I love you."

She saw his eyes widen and a grin begin to form on his lips, "Ya do?" he asked.

She nodded, "Ever since you lifted the lid off that damn crate. I've always felt something special for you. I realized it was love and didn't know how to tell you."

He laughed, "Well, you gave me a reason to tell you."

She smiled and he couldn't take his eyes stared at her lips. He was suddenly very aware of where he had sat her and he noticed her blush as she realized it too.

"Noodle," he said.


"I'm gona kiss you now."


He leaned in slowly, glancing at her emerald eyes once before closing his eyes and capturing her lips in a soft and gentle kiss. Her heart skipped a beat and she waited for the dream to end and for her to wake up in her bed to another day. It didn't happen.

Finally convinced that this was real, Noodle leaned into the kiss like she'd seen in the movies. She'd never been kissed before and didn't really know what to do.

2D didn't disappoint her though and took over the kiss, sliding his tongue over lips, asking for access. She got the hint and opened her lips allowing him to move his tongue over hers in a gentle, loving caress. She immediately responded, moving hers against his.

He slid his hands from her cheeks down to her shoulders, squeezing her arms for comfort and reassurance before moving them down to her waist. He slid both hands under her shirt to grip her waist, his thumb making circles on the smooth skin.

Her nostrils flared in excitement. Her mind was swimming. She was afraid to multitask; afraid she might mess up what she was doing.

She continued her caress on his tongue and moved her hands under his shirt, placing her palms on his chest. Eight years ago she had taken advantage of him being half naked. Not this time, this time she was going to fully appreciate his body, as best she could.

She felt him stiffen as her hands caressed his chest. She didn't know how far they were going with this but she didn't care. She didn't care if they went as far as they could possibly go. She loved him, he was here with her, and for her…that's all that mattered.

2D wasn't exactly sure what to do next. He didn't want to scare her or give her the wrong impression but a tightening in his jeans was brainwashing him to want what he wasn't sure he could have.

Thankfully for him, Noodle pulled away from the never-ending kiss, leaning her forehead against his and smiling. He smiled too.

"I love you," she said again.

"I love you, too."

She glanced down coyly and he got nervous, thinking she was going to notice his hardening member. Whether she did or not, her eyes like with him and she smiled slyly.

"You're clothes are wet."

He nodded dumbly, "Uh huh."

She slowly stood…her legs on either side of his thighs. She held out a hand to help him up and he took it. She pulled him up, and their bodies slid against each as he stood over her. She was still smiling and it excited 2D a little.

"You should take those off then," she grabbed his hand and led him down the short hallway into her bedroom and shut the door, where both of them took their time in discovering each others bodies for the first time, but not the last. They moved against each other like oil and water, at least that's how 2D thought of it, considering how smooth her skin was.

After both were thoroughly worn out, they lay together in her meager, full size bed, holding each other. He lazily ran his hand across her spine in a slow caress. She nuzzled her face in the crook of his neck, between his cheek and his shoulder.

The thunder still pounded the sky but neither flinched. Both just lay there, enjoying the blissful moment, where there was nothing else, no one else, but each other.

"2D," Noodle whispered, careful not to disturb the peace that had settled over them.

"Yes little love?"

She smiled at the eight year old nickname that had stuck with her even a hundred miles away, "Does this mean I can come home?" she asked.

He kissed her hair, "Yes, darlin'…you can come home."