Disclaimer: I do NOT own Gorillaz or anything about them—they are fabulous. But they belong to Jamie Hewlett & Damon Albarn, ladies and gents. I only play with them. Therefore, please do not sue me; you won't get a dime, trust me.
A/N: This is m first posted Gorillaz fanfic. Please try and be considerate. Criticize if you must or feel it's necessary—I don't mind constructive criticism. Shove your flames up your arse. Thanks. I love the Gorillaz so I'll do my best not to butcher them or their personalities…but mind you this story is set a while after Demon Days and Plastic Beach…change happens. Set YEARS later, literally—not one or two. Like 8. Noodle is 22, and she and 2D are actually 12 years apart—not altering the timeline all. So everyone else is their true age. GO GORILLAZ! I mean really…they are friggin amazing…Please try to enjoy the fic.
Some kind of nature some kind of soul
Come forth within us
oh lord forgive me
Some kind of mixture some kind of goal
It's gonna come and find us
All we are is dust
~Some kind of Nature - Gorillaz
Canvas of Imperfection
Carpets—Noodle had always loved them. For as long as she'd been back she loathed Plastic Beach from the setup to how it was accessed from above water; from the fake beach to the underwater room where Murdoc had stuck 2D for all the years she'd been gone. How he'd survived was a mystery to her. Carpets were also, consequently, why she enjoyed Kong so much; no one knew she was around or that she was there. It was easier to hide, to not be bothered or heard when there was carpet beneath her feet. That being the case, she had to strain hard not to wake the occupants of the Beach when she walked down the hall. When she'd returned there hadn't been anywhere for her to stay seeing as to she'd been assumed dead. And she'd felt like it for years. Only recently having returned and lived at Plastic Beach—it'd been merely about a year—Noodle had become accustomed to not having her own place to stay.
It was painful enough to think about how she'd been easily replaced by an android replica and how quickly they'd moved on without her and Russell. Of course Murdoc had denied this and explained that they had to make an album or his band would fall into the abyss of the music industry. She'd accepted the answer but she'd never been comfortable with the android and had, as a result, asked Murdoc to put it away so she'd never see it again. It did bring back painful memories for all of them; but Noodle always took it the hardest when she saw it or thought about the metal version of herself, a version that upon discovered was nothing like her. Coupled along with its interest in pop music and Robert Patterson, she'd also been sick at the thought that it was Murdoc's protector and 2D's watch guard as well. Despite all these strange things Noodle had come to attempt to forget the whole fiasco. The fact that she hadn't been there to make the new album made her curious and so she listened to it over the year she'd been there, her mind going over the lyrics in her head, over and over. 2D's voice haunted her, his voice sad as she listened. Now at the age of 22 and no longer a little girl she understood things she wouldn't have back then. To her 2D seemed like he had lost a piece of himself though she didn't know what or why. He seemed so different, his music depressed and disconnected. The lyrics seemed to speak what he truly felt. He'd even become more reticent since her return a year ago and she found that their friendship was somewhat strained.
She knew some of it had to do with her disappearance and how she wasn't quite the same Noodle he had last seen and spoken to all those years ago—8 years changed a person drastically. She felt different too, mostly disconnected and quiet. Her perky nature emerged every now and then but even she knew things weren't the same. Her mind was blank most of the time and she wanted to do anything but make another album. Murdoc had, thankfully, not pressured them into this after her sudden return. In the meantime they had been rejoined by Russell, who had, previously, been a giant and unable to live in Plastic Beach's underground part, according to the Satanic Bassist. She hadn't thought too much into that though she was curious and did have her reservations about it. So wrapped in her thoughts was she that she failed to notice 2D standing in the middle of the hallway to his room looking solemn and seemingly focused on something that wasn't really there. However, her reverie was interrupted as she came back to reality and looked up into the black, hollowed eyes of the blue haired singer; a cigarette hung from his lips. He appeared to be studying her and Noodle pushed away the light blush that wanted to make its way to her cheeks.
"Good evening, 2D-san," she replied, her Japanese accent still noticeable after so many years. "What is the matter?"
"Nofink…couldn't sleep…me 'ead 'urts," he answered, not really moving. "Somefink wrong?"
She shook her head. "No. I was just getting some water. I should be going to bed. Goodnight 2D-san." As she walked by him she heard a sigh escape his lips. Startled, she stopped and glanced up at him, her jade eyes meeting his as their shoulders touched ever so lightly. "2D-san… what's the matter?"
"Nofink is 'ere goin ta be the 'ame, is it?" Noodle did a double take as his gaze intensified, blackened eyes melancholy as his hand reached up to cup her cheek. She unconsciously leaned into his caress. "My lil' love…yeh back but…yeh ain't lil no more…s'awright but…" He didn't finish his sentence as his hand fell from her face and he started away from her, shoulder hunched and dejected. "G'night, love."
Noodle stood frozen in place. Moments like these were not uncommon with 2D since she'd come back but they had never felt so scary or desolate before this. A chill ran up her spine as she turned around, and watched him walk down the hall, silent and resolute. Previously she had been on her way to get some water before going back to the main room where she was sleeping since she had no room. But something compelled her to follow after 2D. She began to walk after him when someone stopped her.
"Noodle, love…leave 'at dullard 'lone. He ain't the same since you returned. Fuckin face ache…" the bassist mumbled something as he grabbed Noodle's hand and dragged her back to the main room. "Listen, love, yeh jus' need ta focus on your return, awright?"
Somewhat surprised at Murdoc's softer side showing, Noodle let out a small chuckle. "Murdoc-san…I will be alright, thank you. I just…worry about 2D-san…" The older man frowned and scoffed. "But I…need to ask you about…Plastic Beach…about 2D-san…please."
Murdoc looked annoyed but nodded. "Wha' abou' tha' dimwit Dullard?"
"When did 2D-san…lose his…heart?" The Satanist blinked in surprise and Noodle surged forward with her questioning. "It's just that I was listening to Plastic Beach…and his voice is…the lyrics…I don't understand what has happened. Did someone…hurt D-san? He seems so sad, so lifeless and the songs…why are they all about love? Did someone hurt him while I was gone, Murdoc-san?"
Murdoc scratched the back of his head, suddenly nervous though he hid it well. He knew what had happened but he wasn't sure he should tell the young woman. He couldn't tell her the truth, that face ache had been depressed ever since her disappearance and that someone had broken his heart—that the Satanist had broken him by doing what he'd done to Noodle. The young Japanese woman was the source for all their great music. 2D's misery and pain had carried them through the charts and helped make Plastic Beach as great as it had been. But he couldn't tell her that. "E's jus' takin too many meds is all, love."
She looked skeptical. "Murdoc-san…"
He sighed. "Well, need me sleep! Best be off to bed!"
With that he was gone and Noodle was left to ponder why it was he didn't tell her the truth. She looked forlornly in the direction of her friend's room, trying hard to resist the urge to go over and speak to him. She could hear Russell snoring from above and wanted nothing more than to crawl into his arms for comfort. He'd always been like a big brother and father figure to her and she always felt comforted by him in a completely different way that Murdoc and 2D. Though she'd have to admit that her favorite place to be had always been with 2D himself—whether it was in his arms or simply beside him, with him, near him. Feeling tears burn at her eyelids, Noodle shoved herself under the blankets, eyes bleary and mind tired from too much thinking. Tomorrow was the day, she decided, that she'd get to the bottom of what had been eating away at everyone living in Plastic Beach. 'I can't keep living this way,' she told herself.
Noodle awoke to the melancholy sight of dim lighting in the main room as there were no windows in the lower rooms of Plastic Beach. Her back ached a little and she realized she'd fallen asleep in a rather odd position, most likely due to a fitful sleep. Annoyed, she threw her covers off as she heard a solemn tune drifting through the walls, which she was sure were, more or less, paper thin. She knew where the song was generating from and decided to put her headphones on as the person who played it made her heart ache. '2D-kun…so haunted,' she mused as she walked away from the song towards the kitchen in hopes to snag something to drink. And the tune followed her. She couldn't hear the words clearly and wanted nothing more but to erase the lyrics from her brain.
There's nothing you can say to him
He is an outer heart
And the space has been broken
Banging her forehead lightly on the countertop as she braced her hands on the ceramic, Noodle sighed and tried to ignore the voice that suddenly began to drift through the walls with the eerie melody. It wasn't just the song anymore or the instrumental version. She could actually hear 2D's voice creep under the crack of his door and into the kitchen. Lately, she couldn't handle hearing the song that reminded her of true heartbreak. Of what had happened. And of what seemed to say what he was truly feeling. Who had hurt him so bad that his song because a depressing expression of love? Shaking her head again she made her way back towards the main room. Upon entering she saw Russel sitting on the couch looking still half asleep with the TV blaring. She took a seat next to him, her eyes somewhat fuzzy from sleep and her fingers numb from the cold glass of juice in her fingers. They were soon joined by Murdoc and abruptly after this the music in 2D's room cut-off. Noodle saw more than heard his door open but quickly looked away as a light blush stained her cheeks and she took a large sip of her juice, fingers trembling as she held it. Murdoc raised a brow but said nothing as he ignored 2D.
"Yo D, you want some breakfast?"
"Sure Russ, wot we 'avin?" 2D's blank stare echoed in Noodle's eyes as he reached into his pocket for his pain killers.
"Baby girl, what about some pancakes? That sound good?"
Noodle felt her blush intensify as they all looked at her. "Uh, yes Russel-san, that sounds great," she managed as she downed the rest of her juice, standing and stretching her long limbs and scratching her side. Suddenly her tank top felt too tight and her pajama shorts seemed too short as she glanced at them. Murdoc had already looked away, bored. Russel was doing mental calculations in his head about how many pancakes to make. And 2D was staring at her—not in the most flattering way, of course—but she felt odd. Not happy, not sad, not bothered. Just strange. Fighting back a frustrated sigh she walked out of the room towards the bathroom in hopes of a hot shower and some alone time to think since she hadn't had any the night before thanks to Murdoc. She was almost to the bathroom when she heard the soft padding of feet behind her in the hallway.
She froze, her appearance normal but heart thundering in her chest as she turned to look at him. "Um…yes, 'D-san?"
"I wos finkin...abou' las' nigh' an' all…yeh wos goin ta' ask me somfink, weren' yeh?" His blackened eyes searched hers, seemingly confused and desperate as he fidgeted with the lighter in his left.
"No, I…was just getting a glass of water," she answered, glad her voice didn't crack like she thought it would. "But I…would like to ask you something later, if that's okay."
"Anyfink lil love…anyfink you want," he replied with a ghost of smile. "Goin' ta 'ave me some ciggies. 'Ey Noodle, d'ya fink—Noodle?"
She didn't wait for anymore as she turned tail and ran to the bathroom before slamming the door shut. 2D stared after her in surprise and wonder as puzzlement washed over him at her sudden departure. Behind the closed door Noodle was breathing hard, her eyes teary and hands shaking as she opened up the cabinet in search of a towel. She was terrified of 2D; well, more like terrified of what had happened to him and her inability to deal with it. As she turned the water to scorching hot she couldn't help but feel like part of her was dying each day as she wandered around Plastic Beach. Outside, topside to be precise, it was beautiful. A fake beach sitting in the middle of the ocean, a place where Russel spent most of his time now that he was able to come in and out as he pleased. The lift itself was tinier than the one she'd been in at Kong, or so that's what she recalled. But 8 years was a long time and she wasn't quite sure about anything anymore. With another sigh she slowly undressed before stepping into the hot water that threatened to burn her fragile, sensitive skin. She couldn't even picture 2D the way she wanted to. Sure, his hollowed abysses of eyes were still there with the same cerulean spikes and beautifully mesmerizing voice he'd always possessed. His skin was still the same, too, littered by scars and nothing short of twisted perfection. His demeanor, in general, hadn't changed. He still had the same blank look on his face, the same empty, spaced out gaze when he talked, the same distracted air when he was in conversation. No, these things hadn't changed.
But he had.
Noodle felt a shiver shoot up her spine even though the water was at its hottest. The person standing outside her door, knocking she now realized, was not 2D. He was a shell. A sob threatened to choke her as she covered her mouth, listening intently to the words being spoken outside her door by a man she loved but could no longer claim to know. She'd seen the painkillers every day since she'd arrived and had always assumed that the drugs were what were killing 2D; or Murdoc's past and present beatings. But 8 years later she no longer believed this. It was true that he didn't have many thoughts up there from minute to minute but he was no idiot. And neither was she. Another sob threatened her as she heard another rap on the door from her singer friend. She wanted to shout at him to go away, to leave, to get away from her with his fake cheeriness and false advertisement of living—she hated everything about Plastic Beach.
"Noodle? Is somfink the matter? Lil' Love?" 2D persisted in trying to talk to her even though part of him could hear the shower running behind the closed door. He turned, slightly, to his left and saw that Murdoc was already drinking from a bottle of tequila. Russel was cooking but 2D found he had no appetite. His mind was totally focused on the young woman behind the door. And boy was she a woman, he mused as he recalled the past night's events. Though nothing serious 2D knew when things had changed. He rubbed his tired, bruised eyes with equally numb fingers as his painkillers kicked in and he suddenly felt tingly all over. He knocked again. "Noodle? Love…can I talk ta yeh when yeh done in 'ere?"
She shook her head within the confines of the shower even though she knew he couldn't see. She wanted nothing more than to run to the lift and take it all the way up to the roof. Unlike at Kong where she'd had her own room, Noodle had nowhere to run but the roof and even then, 2D could come after her if he chose to. She mumbled something incoherent to herself before plugging her ears with her delicate fingers as she attempted to block out 2D's incessant knocks. About ten minutes later, when she felt like she was going to die of heatstroke under the shower spout, she noticed he had stopped. Thanking whoever or whatever it was that either pulled him away or distracted him, Noodle made her way out the door, relieved to see that no one remained in the main room. She rummaged, quickly, through a bag of clothes she'd picked up a long the years and ran back to the bathroom to change.
Plastic Beach was not necessarily hot or cold even though inside it looked like an eerie dump reminiscent of Kong but without all the zombies. 'What about zombie sea creatures?' she laughed at this as she pulled on her jeans and slipped her tank top over her head. At least zombie sea creatures would offer some strange familiarity that connected her to her past home. Her hair, now longer than she'd ever had it, hung loose and damp against her back and she wrestled with trying to clip it as best as possible. Her hair had always been a source of pride but lately she used it to cover her face when situations with 2D became too intense. Or if she was just being lazy. Tossing the towels into the hamper, she made her way topside as she heard a drunken Murdoc singing and banging things around in the studio while Russel seemed to try and calm him down. She could smell food and assumed Murdoc had been too drunk to tell the large drummer not to bring it into the studio. Her hand was poised on the doorknob when she heard him start to sing. She froze again, her hand squeezing the doorknob so tight she thought it might break under her grip.
She felt her heart tighten as she heard somber lyrics drift through the doors through the voice of the talented man she was enamored with for so long. But her silent mourning was broken immediately after as she heard the green skinned man shout, banging, a crash and some more shouting. She cringed.
"EY' FACE ACHE! WOT YEH PLAYIN THA' FOR? I TOLD YEH TA PLAY PLASTIC BEACH!"
"Shut up, Muds," came the deeper slang of her father figure.
"LARDS, YEH SHUT IT!" Murdoc shouted back.
"I wos jus' tryin' ta sing somefink a lil' more upbeat," 2D's voice sounded defensive though meek; but then there was another crash and Noodle heard 2D whine. "Muds, tha' urt'!"
"That's it! I'm takin you outside, man!"
Noodle yelped and jumped back as the door burst open to reveal Russel carrying the satanic bassist over his shoulder. For his part Murdoc was sloshing Tequila everywhere while cursing but he seemed too intoxicated to do much else. She gave the older men a small smile before watching Russel disappear up the rickety looking steps, casually overstepping the missing one, to the balcony. She was so caught up in staring that she'd almost forgot 2D was still inside until her heard him curse. She whirled around as a harsh muttered "fook" reached her ears. 2D was sitting on a swivel chair by the guitar collection holding his head and digging in his pockets. She already knew what he was looking for and was somewhat relieved and amazed as he pulled out an orange container. He shoved a few pills in his mouth before leaning back a little, seeming not to have noticed her either.
He shot up as quickly as possible, which was really the most sluggish scene she'd ever seen. He gave her a blank stare as she took a seat next to him atop the sound check area so that she was elevated and had to look down at him. His eyes, like deep, dark voids caught her emerald pair as she blushed, her fingers suddenly itching to scratch something to avoid delving into his blue locks. He smiled up at her. "Ello' lil love. Yeh scared me. Wotcha doin up ere' after that mess?"
"I just wanted…to practice on my guitar is all," she lied through her teeth as she pointed to her instrument. "Would you like to…sing with me?"
"Wotcha wan' ta sing, love?" He asked, his voice betraying the cheeriness in it.
Noodle shoved the sign back down her throat as he handed her the guitar. "What about something…not from Plastic Beach?"
He appeared thoughtful, which made Noodle want to laugh as he looked completely spaced out. "Well…wot would yeh wan' ta play?"
She tapped her chin as she ignored Murdoc's shouts and Russel's threats from up top. "What about…Kids with guns?" She knew it was safe as there was nothing about heartbreak or love in it—just social issues; nothing 2D could mourn about, really. He nodded and she began to strum the melody with her guitar, filling in Murdoc's parts as best as possible. He sang and he sang beautifully, as usual, as Noodle strummed away with practiced fingers. Her mind, however, was anywhere but the song they were playing. She felt as though her world was one big waste of effort when it came to 2D and pretending that everything was okay, that she hadn't noticed how forlorn he'd become since she'd been back. Suddenly, she stopped playing as a thought crossed her mind. 'When did this…start?' She wasn't sure if it would change anything about her assumptions but she dropped her guitar, ignoring the yelp from 2D as his singing was abruptly cut-off while he made a grab for the guitar. She ran all the way up to the balcony, hopping over the missing step and barely registering 2D's cries of curiosity with her actions. Once topside she saw Murdoc holding his head as Russel muttered under his breath about "Muds this" and "Muds that." She didn't give it a second thought as she stopped in front of Murdoc, panting slightly from moving so fast.
"Murdoc-san…how long 2D been…like this?"
He glanced up at her through his pounding headache. "Wot yeh talkin' bout'?" He gave her a semi-glare at this.
"How long has 2D-san been…reticent?" She pressed on with her questions.
"Tha' Dullard? 'Ow the 'ell should I know?"
"You were the only one with him, Muds," came the curt reply as their drummer searched for his plate of food. "Just answer the damn question 'fore I shove my fist down yo' throat."
"Fuck yeh, lards!" He mumbled angrily but supplied Noodle with the answer she needed, the one that would suffice. "Face Ache's been like tha' fo' o'er 7 years now, in' it, Russ?" Said man nodded in agreement. "Tha' answer' yer question? Now piss off. Me 'ead 'urts like 'ell!"
She backed away quickly, her suspicions not necessarily confirmed but the beginning of the not so mysterious mystery began to unravel as she leaned over the gap that showed the bottom half of the studio to her. She could see him still sitting there, his blue locks protruding from underneath a sun visor, his hands still around the orange pill bottle. Frustration crept into her mind and itched at her fingertips as she contemplated her next move. The ache of despair was creeping into her blood again as she heard him start to sing for the third time that day. Her soul felt like sinking as the words crept into her ears like a sweet, sensuous poison that filled her with such delectable fire and misery that Noodle thought she'd melt into a pathetic pile of tears and ecstasy right then and there.
Holding back crystalline droplets that fought to become her undoing, Noodle darted down the stairs and into the rickety mechanical lift before 2D had a chance to see her face. She felt the fear seep into her skin like a disease as she pictured his face, somber but fake, as he sang the lyrics that caused her heart to plummet into oblivion. He had no idea what his singing did to her, what his voice did to her mind, body and soul. He had the power to paralyze her, to make her heart soar—the power to cause her utter demise. He would be the ruin of her, raze her into the ends of the earth. And he had absolutely no idea. As Noodle sunk to the floor, hugging her body with her trembling arms against the metal confines of her escape, she became aware that she wasn't upset of what had happened to 2D, no, not at all.
She was afraid of him.
(Okay, I know it's started off a little weird and cheesy but it's going to get deeper—not lighter. ALL Constructive Criticism is welcome. Flames, take a damn hike. But if you must, please send me a message about it. Or if you have A LOT of criticism—since this is my first fic—please send me a message so I can work it out. Thank you for reading. You all rock. Please review.)