Author's Comments: Hooray for Chapter Two! I'm sorry, I take way too long writing these chapters ... ^o^;;

" Oh brother I cant, I can't get through.
I've been trying hard to reach you 'cause I don't know what to do.
Oh brother, I can't believe it's true.
I'm so scared about the future and I wanna talk to you.
Oh, I wanna talk to you."

~Coldplay - 'Talk'

As 2D was hauled mercilessly through the pink sand and various pieces of sodden, repugnant garbage, he thrashed about in many unsuccessful attempts to free himself, if only for a moment so he would be able to process what was happening. His vision was still blurry and his eyes were still sensitive to the sunlight, so his efforts to grab at his Satanic captor were terribly vain. He then tried steadying himself, so maybe he could at least get his balance, but Murdoc was walking too fast and he couldn't stop quickly enough. On top of that, he was still dreadfully weak and sore from being in that damned suitcase for so long, so his movements were fairly limited.

"Nnugh! M-Muhdoc! Leggo! Common, mate! Let me go!" 2D shouted, still mustering all the energy he could just to keep up with Murdoc's pace. Murdoc made no endeavor to turn around, or answer his front man for that matter; he was too busy kicking around larger bits of plastic rubbish to make a path. 2D grunted in apathy and blindly reached for Murdoc again, this time grabbing onto the arm that was lugging him towards the massive structure. 2D tried to pry Murdoc's fingers apart, but the bassist growled and only tightened his grip on 2D's scrawny arm, earning a pained whimper in reply as his elongated nails dug into 2D's pale skin.

"If you know wot's good fer you, you won't do tha' a secondtime, face-ache." Murdoc warned, irritation manifest in his gruff voice.

Feeling his arm start to chafe, 2D whined and compliantly let go of his bandmate. He squinted as his eyes welled up when he accidentally glanced at the sun, and he feebly shielded his face with his free arm. 'Christ, Muhdoc! How much farther do we 'ave ta go before we reach dis stupid bloody beach house of yours?'

Suddenly, the blinding sunlight disappeared just as 2D's tear ducts began to give way yet again. Confused, the keyboardist blinked the few tears away and wiped his face, which stung slightly to the touch. He had to blink multiple times before his vision cleared, and Murdoc finally stopped and turned to face his bandmate, still holding onto his arm securely. Stuart rubbed his eyes meekly, in a rather childish way, before looking directly and keenly at Murdoc for the first time. Mismatched eyes of blood red and sinister black bored into his own dents with a guise of what the pianist perceived as familiarity. At that moment, all signs and thoughts of struggle or pain vanished from 2D's being and he found himself wanting nothing more than to hug Murdoc right then and there. He felt himself shiver violently under Murdoc's intense glare, and his hands started to shake involuntarily.

Murdoc took immediate notice of 2D's evident submissive behavior and took a few small, brisk steps forward, careful not to take his eyes off of 2D, who was becoming weaker and weaker as he came closer. Stuart's abrupt passivity showed a great deal, as he made no effort to hide his instinctive vulnerability towards the older man. Murdoc chuckled when he remembered how delicate and pitiful his singer actually was, especially around the bassist himself. He continued his advances and grinned. His eyes weren't narrowed in anger or frustration, as they usually were; rather, they were wide in what seemed like informality and admiration. 2D, though a little confused with the bassist's sudden change in attitude, made no move to resist, thinking that Murdoc was moving closer to embrace him, seeing as they hadn't seen each other for nearly three years, and didn't even bother to consider if he was really just fooling around, or what the consequences of succumbing himself to the bass player could actually amount to.

If Murdoc hadn't been holding onto Stuart's arm so firmly, the younger man would have surely collapsed under weak limbs. The sides of his head started buzzing, and bottled emotions were rushing through his bloodstream and wracked at his brain ruthlessly, bringing up unanswered questions, reminding the boy of just how long it had been since he and Murdoc had seen the likes of one another. He shivered again. 'Much, much too long … '

It was rather difficult for Stuart to administer the situation. 2D was in the presence of Murdoc Niccals, someone who he had never thought he'd see again. Ever.

It was too much for the young man to handle in the minutes he had been in the bassist's company. One moment he was in his flat, depressed and utterly alone, and the next moment, he was suddenly standing before his best mate, who he'd assumed had forgotten about him the second they'd went their separate ways at the final Apollo show. Never had he imagined that Murdoc would go to such lengths as to kidnap him to bring the band back together. He didn't quite know what to make of any of it. 2D sensed a customary lump form in his throat, and suddenly felt himself becoming weaker and slightly faint.

Murdoc chuckled at the sight of his singer breaking down underneath him, his bicolor eyes taking the sight in with hunger. 'Mmm … I fergot 'ow delightful it feels ta see the dullard like this … he's so fuckin' pitiful …'

2D continued to shake as he waited for Murdoc to make a move. But he just stood there, still clutching the younger man's arm dominantly, watching as the boy trembled and shook beneath him. Murdoc's grin grew wider even, as he took in the pianist's anxiety with great satisfaction and squeezed his captive's arm tighter still until another painful whimper fled the singer's trembling lips.

Stuart, finally fed up with the growing tension, cautiously raised his free arm and reached out to the other, only to have Murdoc grab onto that arm as well. 2D's knees buckled obediently and he allowed himself to fall completely acquiescent underneath his bandmate. The bluenette had no idea what caused him to become so submissive towards the older man, but it was a familiar feeling of conformity and he shivered as it washed over him.

Though Murdoc found great pleasure in seeing the singer squirm and shudder as he was, a feeling that entertained the bassist to the fullest extent, something clicked inside him and he remembered that there was still much to be done regarding his front man; he couldn't waste time by toying with Stuart's emotions, no matter how much it pleased him to watch the man surrender so easily towards his actions. He tautened his grip on the boy's arms and yanked him forward with a smirk, releasing a small cry from 2D in the process. Then, he turned on his heals so that 2D was in front of him, and put the bluenette's arms around his back to keep him from struggling, careful not to loosen the grasp on his hands. Not that that would be a problem, since the entire ordeal had put 2D in somewhat of a daze. With a slight push, he gestured for the singer to walk forward, until the two came to what looked like an elevator door. Since Murdoc's hands were of no use at the moment, as they were holding onto the singer's wrists, the Satanist raised his leg and used one of his six-inch Cuban heals to hit the 'up' button next to the door.

Something inside the colossal pink structure made a loud cracking noise and a low humming sound pursued. 2D was silent and a blank expression was plastered on his face. He was still shaking a bit and was beyond confused with the other man's bipolar acts. He was so lost that he hadn't even noticed the door slide open before them until a brusque kick on his lower back caused him to stumble inelegantly into the lift as his wrists were released.

2D hit the back wall of the machine and he grunted as his shoulders came in contact with it. He looked towards Murdoc, who strolled casually inside as his boots made those loud 'clicks' and 'clacks' on the hard metal, making 2D shiver again. Murdoc walked over to where 2D was standing, not making any eye contact whatsoever, and turned to face the control panel beside them. There were several buttons on the panel, and next to each one was the name of the room it leaded to. Murdoc pressed the one which was titled 'Study Room' and then nonchalantly walked to the other side of the lift, so that he was directly across from his keyboardist. The single light bulb that lit up the entire lift flickered a moment before that loud cracking noise started up again and the lift began to move.

2D never took his eyes off the bassist, watching him as he stared at the floor, arms crossed. Murdoc could feel 2D's stare and he raised his head and looked at the boy with a deadly glare that gave Stuart goosebumps. 2D suddenly felt his face get hot when his eyes locked with the bass player's, and he was thankful that the dim light was able to hide his furious blushing. 'I can' believe I gave in ta Murdoc's tactics so easily …'

Murdoc noticed the singer's uneasiness. He lightened his gaze and cocked his head to the side, amused. "Something the matta',dullard?"

The older man's gruff voice brought 2D back into reality and his head shot up. "N-no, no. Nuffin's wrong …" he stuttered, glancing to the side so that he wouldn't have to look at Murdoc directly, for he was still blushing madly in embarrassment. "Umm … where're we goin'?" he asked, his voice quivering more than he'd hoped it would.

"This lift takes us inside the building, you bloody twit. 'ow else do ya think we get all the way up there?" Murdoc retorted, pointing up towards the direction of the massive structure.

"Oh. But … don' you 'ave a front door or sumfingk?"

Murdoc sighed in irritation. "Well of course I do. But unless you want to have a meaningless conversation with an emotionally distressed seagull an' a daft pelican who eats every damn thing in sight at the entrance, we're takin' the lift right inside."

2D squinted his eyes in bewilderment, not understanding a thing Murdoc said. "Oh. Uh … alwright then."


Before 2D could give a remark, the light flickered on and off again and the lift slowed, producing an ear-splitting screech before coming gently to a stop. With a small 'ding', the doors slid open and without hesitation, Murdoc grabbed the singer's shoulders and pushed him out of the elevator and into the room which the bassist claimed as his study.

"Oi, mate. Take a seat on that couch, yeh?" Murdoc quickly said, not wanting to waste any time as he gestured to a tattered grey couch that had evidently seen better days.

Though 2D was still feeling slightly timid with his current surroundings, he did as he was told and dropped onto the battered couch, relishing the comfort it gave to his sore body as he sunk deeper into the cushions. He paid no attention to the bassist; instead, his eyes panned the entire room, which, to 2D's surprise, had quite a classy touch to it, disregarding the matted sofa. There were several large bookshelves that lined the walls, all stacked completely with books and old records and bottles of what looked like very expensive alcoholic drinks. Next to a large desk was an enormous globe that stood on wheels on the floor, and with closer examination, 2D saw that there were many spots on the globe that were crossed off or circled.

2D looked to his right and saw a tall white staircase which was twisted around a huge pillar. It was missing a few steps, so it looked dangerous, and 2D hoped that they wouldn't be going up there any time soon.

Meanwhile, Murdoc was bent over at his desk, rummaging through his belongings only to pick up a twelve-pack of what 2D quickly assumed was rum. Murdoc took one for himself, then took out another one and looked over at his front man before offering it to him. Stuart wasn't a huge fan of alcoholic beverages, especially the ones Murdoc drank, so he just shook his head in response. The Satanist shrugged. "Your loss."

So, with a full bottle of rum in hand, Murdoc strode over to the couch and took a seat next to his singer, taking a swig of his drink before sighing and glancing at his bandmate. He smirked when he saw how tense the blue-haired keyboardist still was; he was biting his lip and was tapping his feet to drown out his discomfort.

An awkward moment of silence passed and the two men sat mutely on the worn-out sofa. Really, it was more awkward for 2D, since he was empty-handed and he felt very much out of place in the strange building which belonged to a bandmate he hadn't seen in ages. Stuart swallowed his apprehension and mentally kicked himself for being so tentative in the presence of the bassist, whom he'd previously lived with for more than ten years. He looked cautiously at his friend, who happily took another sip from his drink. 2D stopped his foot-tapping and took a long, deep breath.

"So, M-Muds, uhh … wot's … wot's all this about' makin' a new album?"

A few more seconds of eerie silence passed by, and Murdoc downed what was left in the green bottle before chucking it out an open window. There was a small noise of breaking glass, followed by the squawking of what sounded like a very angry seagull. Murdoc paid no mind to it and turned completely so that he was face-to-face with his pianist.

"Right. So, I wos thinkin', mate. You know our last album, yeh? Demon Days?"

2D shivered. Even the thought of Gorillaz' last album brought back too many memories, ones that were now unnecessary, considering that Kong was no more. Anything that reminded the younger man of his previous home just gave him chills and unwanted reminiscences. Hazy thoughts of times in the Kong recording studio flashed through his mind, and a minute spark of sudden despair dashed down his spine. "Y-yeah … Demon Days. Why? Wot about it?"

A glint of enthrallment glistened in Murdoc's mismatched eyes and he smiled broadly, showing off his piranha-like teeth. "Well, I wos thinkin', and I realized that … Demon Days … it wos just … rubbish. Total rubbish."

The singer's vacant dents enlarged in absolute astonishment and disbelief. 2D didn't think he had heard the bassist correct, he thought he must have heard him wrong, but when he asked the Satanist to repeat himself, the same words escaped his lips. "It. Wos. Rubbish."

2D couldn't fathom what Murdoc was saying. He simply couldn't grasp the fact that Murdoc Niccals thought that Demon Days, a brilliant album, his own work of art, was rubbish.

"Do you even know wot you're sayin', Muds? How can you say that?" 2D cried, the utter perplexity and shock obvious in his tone.

"I know exactly wot I'm sayin', face-ache," Murdoc retorted casually, the smile suddenly gone, and his eyes narrowed in all seriousness, "I mean, Demon Days is a fine album an' all, an' I thought it wos bloody perfect when it was first released … but … when I listen to it today, I realize that … there's just so much that could've been improved about it." In his mind, Murdoc wanted to mention how he also thought there was too much of Noodle in the album and in the videos, but he knew that if he spoke of the other band members, 2D would immediately start asking all sorts of questions concerning their whereabouts, which were rather unpleasant for Murdoc to talk about, for obvious reasons. He'd be sure to steer clear of that minefield until the very end.

"You fink so?" 2D asked, now becoming a little uncertain himself. If Murdoc was saying a Gorillaz album needed work, then they must've done something wrong.

"Oh yeah, man. In my eyes, we could 'ave done much, much betta wit that album."

"Oh." 2D muttered, suddenly feeling a bit guilty if Murdoc was implying that the album wasn't what it should have been. He sincerely hoped that the vocals he had provided were to his liking, and that it was something else that made him feel the way he did. He always wanted please Murdoc when it came to his vocals, and he usually did, so if there was something unsuitable about the album, 2D couldn't help but feel ashamed.

As if Murdoc could read the other man's thoughts, he quickly added, "But it wos nothin' that concerned yer singin', mate."

2D unintentionally blushed a bit, not enough for Murdoc to notice, but enough so 2D could sense his face get warm. "R-really?"

Murdoc nodded. "Actually, the vocals were probably one of the things that made the album worth listening to," Murdoc paused a moment and 2D blushed harder, mentally scolding himself for doing so. "Well, that an' the bass lines, of course," he added, earning a giggle from the bluenette.

"Then … Muds, umm … wot … could 'ave been improved?"

Murdoc stared at the floor for a moment, as if he were trying to find the right words for what he was going to say. When the answer finally came to him, his eyes darted towards the singer and he fixed his eyes on the hollow dents. "The album. It should've been bigger. Better."

2D tilted his head to the side in interest. "B-bigger?"

"Yeh. Bigger. Much, much, much bigger."

"How so?"

"Well … it just didn't seem … quite as earth-shattering as we proclaimed it to be, ye know?" the bassist inquired, stopping a minute to choose his next words extra-carefully. 2D leaned in closer, wanting to hear more of the Satanist's enlightenment. "Like, it just should 'ave been a cut above wot we made it. It didn't live up to the Gorillaz' expectations. You get me, Stu?"

2D nodded.

Murdoc smiled and wrapped an arm around 2D's shoulder, pulling him closer. "So like, this new album, right? It's gonna be wot Demon Dayswosn't. 's gonna make up for all that rubbish. This album's gonna make Demon Days seem like a fuckin' warm-up act."

The younger man grinned and chuckled at the bassist, lifeless eyes wide in awe at the his wild fervor over the forthcoming album. Murdoc met 2D's stare and he removed his arm from the boy's shoulder and replaced it with both his hands instead, one on either shoulder; he wanted to make the singer understand just how huge this was going to be for them. 2D's engrossed expression was replaced with a more somber one and his eyes narrowed in doubt, "Gee, Muds. Demon Daysseemed pretty damn big … to me, anyway … do … do you really fink we'll be able to pull sumfingk like that off?"

Murdoc rolled his eyes and smirked. "Well, yeah. Why not, right? We are Gorillaz, after all. We can pull off just about anything, really."

2D pursed his lips and pondered on that thought for a moment, thinking of all the fanatical things they had accomplished before, nodding gently in agreement. "Hmm. I guess you're right, Muhdoc."

"Of courseI'm right, dent'ead." Murdoc scoffed, taking his hands off his friend's shoulders and getting up to walk over to his desk. He grabbed another bottle of rum and expertly popped off the cap with his sharp teeth. He took a swig as he walked back over to the sofa and crashed into it, sighing at the tingling sensation the alcohol left on his tongue. He gazed out the window he had thrown his previous bottle out of, savoring the satisfying thoughts of a brand new album.

"Mmm … and I've already got a name for it, too …" the bassist said, his head snapping towards the other man in delight, a wide smile taking abode on his face.

"Wot? Wot is it?" 2D asked, feeling somewhat grateful and … impressed that Murdoc had already planned so much for an album that didn't even exist yet.

"It's … it's a working title … but I wos thinking, maybe … Plastic Beach?"

The bluenette gave the bassist a gap-toothed smile, showing the older man of his utmost approval of the name. "Plastic Beach.Dat's a brilliant name, Muds."

"You think so too?" Murdoc asked, taking another swig of rum.

"Wull … yeah," 2D started, his gaze moving from Murdoc to the floor, as he wanted to make sure he chose his words meticulously, "I mean, like, since the album's gonna be real, real big, like you say 's gonna be, an' dis place … dis … island … Plastic Beach … it's so massive, yeh?" 2D paused and looked at his bandmate with a tentative expression, wondering if the bassist was grasping what he was trying to say, "I …I fink it fits perfectly, mate."

Murdoc stared at the singer in esteem as he mulled over the his justification of the title, and then he smiled again, his eyelids falling slightly in positive reception of the boy's impression of the title, considering that it was a rare occasion that 2D tried to describe his mangled thoughts. "Hmm. You know, I neva even thought of it that way, Stu."

An abrupt, yet small, almost unnoticeable flicker of admiration coursed through 2D's body, the notion making him blush a little more than he had before. He bit his bottom lip, feeling the dark-haired man's heated glare, the timid feelings arising once more, making a string of cold tremors surge down his spine. But the bluenette brushed those feelings aside and averted his eyes from Murdoc, those mismatched orbs beginning to get the better of Stuart as they glared at him from under the bassist's dark fringe.

Murdoc perceived the other's coyness and chuckled, sensing that the singer was finally starting to return to his normal, dimwitted, defenseless self, much like the Stuart he had known and lived with before. Murdoc took this in with a smirk and turned his attention back to the bottle of rum in his grasp. He took a long swig and licked his lips as that familiar tingling sensation from the alcohol began to kick in. He kept his concentration on the bottle for a moment, toying it with calloused fingers, letting the welcomed, almost consoling silence fall upon the two once more.

Murdoc stole a glance at 2D from the corner of his eye; the singer was still looking a tad uneasy, but compared to what he was like before they'd entered the building, he was fine.

Hence, this seemed like an appropriate time to talk about other things …

At the very thought of having to tell 2D … everything … all the horrible things that the youth was completelyunaware of … all the irrational events that had taken place over the past two and a half years … it made Murdoc's heart sink a bit, and those minute, unusual feelings of remorse and regret formed a small knot in his stomach again. The Satanist had absolutely no idea how he was going to be able to explain all of this …

2D let the silence engulf the two of them, allowing his mind to succumb to the pleasure and respite of simply being in Murdoc's presence after being away from him for so long. Thoughts of a brand new album were rushing through his head, and all other feelings of fear and uncertainty disappeared. Sure, they were out in the middle of the ocean, and he didn't fancy thatmuch, but Murdoc had proved to him that there was some part of him that had missed the singer, enough to have him gassed and shipped over. 2D didn't really know why this made him so content, maybe it was because he had been alone for quite some time in that dreaded flat of his, or maybe it was just because he had missed Murdoc, too. A lot more than he really wanted to admit.

Suddenly, something snapped inside 2D and he squinted his onyx eyes in confusion and looked around, as if he was forgetting something. Forgetting something … important?

No. Not something … someone.

Two someones, actually.

Turning to face Murdoc again, this time with a rather pleading expression on his face, his gaze fell onto the older man, who, while knowing that the singer was staring at him with what he presumed to be a look of worry and concern, refused to make any eye-contact whatsoever, as he was still trying to assemble his thoughts.

"Muhdoc? Uhh … where're Russel and Noodle?"

The sound of his other bandmate's names hit Murdoc like a ton of bricks, causing him to bring his attention back to reality. His eyes widened in panic, as he was put on the spot in a fairly untouched situation, and he bit his lip to keep his focus on anything but 2D. 'Oh, shit.'

Stuart was fully aware now that this was a subject that Murdoc obviously did not want to negotiate, and a sensation of angst and fear rushed through him, a feeling that was becoming all too familiar with him at this point. He shivered a little, but narrowed his brow and repeated himself, this time with a palpable break in his voice.

Murdoc's head was reeling as he fought to piece together an adequate answer to the boy's question. But every possible answer, he knew, would result in the same thing. There would be only one reaction.

He knew that, once again, he was going to make his singer cry.

Finally fed up with the now painfully unnerving silence, 2D repeated himself again, this time grabbing Murdoc's shoulders and forcing the bass player to face him directly. Murdoc's eyes met with the keyboardist's and the knot in his stomach grew tighter when he saw how absolutely pitiful 2D looked at that very moment.

"2D, I … I don't know where … they are," he muttered austerely, shaking his head in mild disorientation as the words unrelentingly fled his lips. He himself didn't want to belive what he was saying to the younger man, and he honestly had a lot of trouble accepting it a first, but 2D had to know too, no matter how painful it would be to tell him.

Dumbfounded, 2D almost had the audacity to laugh at Murdoc's forthright reply. 'He mus' be jokin','he reassured himself, knowing all too well of Murdoc's tendency to stretch the truth and make the singer feel worried for no apparent reason, just for his own sick satisfaction. His hands remained clasped tightly to the bassist's shoulders as he cocked his head to the side mockingly, a small, hopeful smile tugging at his pale lips, "You're jus' joshin', righ'?" he asked the dark-haired man, his tone somewhat pleading, "You … you've got to be …"

One look at Murdoc's face told him the complete opposite. Murdoc had always been the one to play jokes on him, cruel or not, and 2D usually got rather sore at him for being so horrible. But in this comprising situation, Stuart was hoping with all his heart that this was all some cruel, nasty joke and at any moment, Murdoc would laugh, too. He would laugh and he would tell 2D that everything was fine. He would reassure the youth that Noodle and Russel were okay. But something in the Satanist's eyes - something that looked a lot like regret - bored into 2D's own and it was then that he realized that this was no joke. Something was terribly, terribly wrong.

What little hope the keyboardist had left in his person vanished completely at that point and he could feel tears prick his eyes, making them sting and burn. Wanting an acceptable explanation from his friend, 2D tightened his grip on Murdoc and shook him a little, asking for the older man to explain himself. But for a moment, Murdoc stayed silent, still trying to piece together the gruesome memories that flew around his head, ones consisting mostly of the unpleasant season he spent searching … searching … for what seemed like an eternity …

"P-please, Muhdoc. T-tell me wot's goin' on." 2D pleaded, his high-pitched voice quivering as he spoke.


2D shook Murdoc again, this time more forcefully, as he was fed up with the bassist's inability to give a proper answer, completely unaware that the bass player was succumbing to his own dreadful memories. The singer blinked several times as tears pooled out, streaming down his face and leaving glistening, wet trails as they fell from his chin and onto the sofa cushions. The sides of his head pounded as he tried to reconstruct what Murdoc could have possibly meant when he said "I don't know where they are".

He was confused now. 'Dis doesn't make any sense at all! How can 'e notknow? Muhdoc knows everyfing!'

2D spoke up again, his voice quivering awfully now, as if he were going to break down at any given moment, "M-Muds … common, mate. You … you found me, didn't you? All the way in Beirut! How do you -"

"- I found you because you're not gone, you fucking bloody twat!" Mudoc retorted venomously, cutting 2D off and refusing to let him finish his sentence. No. No, it wasn't as easy as just finding them. He couldn't find them because they were …

'Dead,'a voice in Murdoc head whispered to him. He grunted and shivered violently, rejecting his malevolent inner judgments, not allowing himself to believe anything they said. Only because if he ever did accept that very possible thought, as many other's already did, everyone would be pointing the finger at him. He would be the one everybody would be blaming for his bandmates' disappearances. This he knew to be true.

Because as unfortunate as it seemed, over time, Murdoc himself had started to think that he was to blame. For … everything

The last thing he wanted was for others … especially 2D … to start thinking he was the one responsible for the dreadful things that had happened during Gorillaz' two-year hiatus. He had already done such appalling things when the band was together, he couldn't allow himself to bear the painfully heavy burden of being the one who caused such repulsive things when they'd all went their separate ways.

2D was now very confused, and a bit scared now, too. 'Gone? Wot's he talkin' about'? Why's everyfing disappearin'? First Kong … now Russel and Noodle! No! This can' be true!'

"M-Muhdoc … I … I don' understand! Isn't Noodle … in the Maldives right now?" the bluenette asked warily, as unwanted thoughts of a certain tear-induced video-shoot flashed before his eyes, thoughts he wanted no part of whatsoever. But they played and replayed in his head anyway, all the while adding to the midst of his bewilderment.

Murdoc wanted to just lie and say 'yes' to save himself from giving a tearful explanation of what really happened from March 7th, 2006* to the present, and to save himself from having to watch his singer cry.

A barely audible 'no' was the answer he gave, much to the pianist's dismay.

2D whimpered.

"I don' understand. Dis isn't makin' sense. Where else would she be?" he asked aloud, wondering where the guitarist could have gone, "Is she in Japan? Oh … um … wot was it … Osaka? Or maybe Tokyo?"

Murdoc shook his head, successfully able to keep a straight face while talking to the younger man, which amused him to some extent. 'I thought I'd be in worse shape than the dullard at this point. Jus' gotta stay calm … can' let the boy see me cry …'

The sides of 2D's head were throbbing now as he tried to think, but new tears were welling in his eyes, hazing his vision, letting him know that this conversation was not going to end in a very pleasant way.

But still, 2D spat out places he thought little Noodle could've been residing, "E-England, maybe? Is she back home?" 'Wait. Wot am I sayin'? Wot home? Kong's gone now. Why would Noodle be in Essex?'

Murdoc shook his head again and sighed, listening and watching as 2D blurted out answer after answer, every one of them being more and more wrong. He growled in frustration and clamped 2D's mouth shut with his hand, earning a muffled yelp from the youth. He glared at 2D from under his fringe, feeling angry all of a sudden. Mostly at himself, for his own reasons of course, but at 2D as well, for being so hopeful for Noodle's well-being. All Stuart was doing was making the Satanist feel worse.

Murdoc took a deep breath, steadying himself, "Look, 2D. I'm going to explain this as bluntly and straightforwardly as I possibly can, for your sake."

2D nodded in compliance.

He removed his hand from 2D's mouth and cleared his throat, "Erm … so, you know how the whole … El Manana video shoot went down, yeah?"

2D's heart stopped suddenly and his throat went dry, but he nodded again meekly.

"You know wot wos supposed to 'appen afterwards?"

2D swallowed his desolation and whimpered, "Y-yeah. Umm … wosn't … wosn't Noodle s'posed ta flee to the Maldives … after she p-parachuted off the … Windmill Island?" 2D tried his best to re-hash those horrifying images of the infamous Windmill Island, even though it pained him to do so, suddenly able to remember everything clearly.

"Yes, well, it would appear that not everything went as planned," Murdoc stated, hating himself for having to be the one to explain all this to his front-man.


"See, Noodle did parachute off ... and she was supposed to flee to the Maldives, but I don' think she ever even made it there."

2D's stomach churned, 'Oh, no …'

Murdoc paused a second to gather his thoughts, watching his friend's expression change drastically. He watched 2D's dents fill with tears that were on the brink of release, and he listened to his singer's ragged breathing, as if he were about to start bawling then and there. Of course, Murdoc couldn't blame him. Explaining all this to the youth was just as distressing for the Satanist as it was for 2D.

The bass player suddenly felt ashamed, more so than he had before, and he averted his eyes from 2D, unable to look at him. "I … see, before I left Kong, 2D, I got this message. A … a radio transmission."

2D took notice that Murdoc refused to look at him directly. At this point there was no use trying to sugar-coat anything, because he was fully aware that something grave must had happened to their little guitarist. Fearing the very worst, 2D could feel the stinging in his eyes and his stomach was in knots, making him nauseated.

"It wos from Noodle," Murdoc continued, as he was mentally brought back to when he had first listened to Noodle's initial distress call, the one the rest of the band was supposed to hear. He remembered hearing the strange sound of a little girl's voice coming from the boiler area, and he had left his Winnebago to investigate further. He never expected to get the emergency call from his guitarist, who, by the sound of it, was in some pretty deep shit.

He remembered playing back the call again and again, trying to figure out what Noodle was saying, listening to her surroundings, trying to come to a conclusion as to where she was, and how she could have possibly gotten there. He didn't answer, he didn't know how to. He had no idea how Noodle was able to contact Kong Studios if she was in the Maldives. But it wasn't until he had received her second call that he finally realized where she really was.

Murdoc had to shake his head and blink several times to bring his attention back to 2D, his thoughts and memories engulfing him once more. It was becoming a bad habit, and he was angered towards himself for not being able to explain all this fast enough. "She … I … I think Noodle's in Hell, 2D."

2D's eyes widened in disbelief and horror as the hideous truth was revealed. Tears immediately spilled over, running down his crimson checks and staining his clothes. Murdoc continued talking, bringing to light his time in Hell looking for their abandoned little girl. He kept talking, but 2D couldn't make anything of it; he wasn't able to register the fact that Noodle was actually in Hell. Murdoc had gone to Hell to look for her.

2D started to cry. He shut his eyes tightly and sobbed, confusion and grief overwhelming his senses. ''ow can Noodle be in Hell? 'ow could she 'ave gotten there? Why is she even there in the first place? Noodle's always been a good lil' girl! She shouldn't be there! She doesn't deserve ta be there!'

He was so, so, so confused. If Noodle was in Hell, did that mean she was dead?

No … if Noodle was dead, Murdoc would have handled this situation much, much differently. It was obvious to 2D that Murdoc lacked the feeling of sorrow, but if Noodle had somehow died, then Murdoc would have been crying, too.

Stuart had many more questions to ask the bassist, but his thoughts were a jumbled mess and he had a massive migraine now. His heart was hurting and he desperately wanted to know more about Noodle's whereabouts, but something inside him kept him from speaking, which he allowed to take control. He just sat there and cried.

Murdoc had long since stopped talking, because he was at the point where if he had chosen to continue, he was most likely going to end up like 2D. It was just as confusing for Murdoc, and he honestly hated thinking about it. Talking about it just made him feel horrid, disgusting. No, Noodle didn't deserve to be in Hell. Ever. She never did anything wrong, andMurdoc never actually found out how she had initially gotten there. It was rumored that she had been dragged down there in place of Russel, but Murdoc couldn't bring himself to tell that to his singer, who was already disheveled and wailing.

Murdoc had made it clear to 2D that he had failed to find Noodle during his time in Hell, a fact which he loathed in all its entirety, and he knew that things had to stop there. He didn't want to talk about it anymore, and he knew 2D didn't want to hear any more, either. So telling the boy that the choppers in the El Manana video were different that the ones in the Feel Good Inc. video, that the gunshots were real, the bomb was real, and that all Noodle's fear was real was completely out of the question. 2D was not going to handle that well at all, though Murdoc knew that the youth was going to find out sooner or later. Later of course being the evident, more appropriate alternative.

"Russel's gone missing, too …" Murdoc managed to inadvertently utter out in the midst of 2D's cries, knowing that he was only making the matter worse. Though, 2D had every right to know what was going on.

But 2D didn't even want to consider where Russel could possiblybe. His sobbing grew louder and he made himself more upset by just thinking about their little girl and drummer, who had been through so much already. He gripped the sofa cushions as bearings, digging his fingernails into the sides to relieve his frustrations. His body was hunched over now and he raised his hands to hold his throbbing head as it stung his temples in painful convulsions. He looked so pitiful and forlorn and helpless, and Murdoc had to watch it and listen to all of it.

Without doing much thinking, Murdoc outstretched his arm and grabbed 2D by the shoulder, holding him close. 2D knew that this was very much out of character for his friend so he let himself go limp as he sobbed onto Murdoc's chest, tugging and clawing at his shirt as he did so.

The bassist had no idea what he was doing or what possessed him to comfort 2D like this; it just seemed like the right thing to do. He refused to just sit there and watch his singer break down. Yes, usually such actions brought him immense pleasure and a dominant feeling would rush through him, but this situation was different, by all means. 2D needed consolidation. And Murdoc needed it too. So he wrapped his other arm around 2D and hugged him tightly, tears now stinging at his own eyes as they fell.

No more words were exchanged between the two from that moment. They just held each other securely and neither wanted to let go. Murdoc whispered soothing things in 2D's ear in attempts to calm him down and started stroking his soft blue hair. Stuart had began to settle, and after a few minutes only low, quiet heaves and pants escaped his lips. His eyes remained closed though, and he refused to let go of the bass player.

In his mind, Murdoc reassured himself that everything was going to be okay. Noodle and Russel's whereabouts where still unknown and he hated knowing that, he hated that he couldn't do anything about it.

But he was thankful that he had 2D.

He had 2D, and everything was going to go just as he had planned it.

AC: Okay, then! Chapter Two FINISHED. I was planning on making this chapter much shorter. I wasn't going to have Murdoc explain the whole 'Russel/Noodle' ordeal in dialouge. But I decided against that, evidently. Also, I'll try to write Chapter Three more quickly ... ^_^

To be honest, I teared up while typing up this chapter. It's sad knowing how much Noodle's been through these past few years, if she'd really gone to Hell. D'X

*March 7th 2006 was the day Gorillaz shot the footage for El Manana.