Knees pulled to his chest, 2D sat on his bed, music by the Human League playing softly. Elsewhere in the studio he could hear Murdoc rattling about, a hurricane of motion and bad hygiene. 2D had decided to stay out of the bass player's way today. He had woken up to a note from Russel pinned to his door.
Muds is having a bad day. Took Noodle to the movies. Stay out of his way.
The note lay at his feet. Using his bare toes to crinkle the paper, 2D rested his head on his knees. Murdoc had good days and bad days. On his good days, Murdoc could be fun, as difficult as it was to believe. He would play with Noodle, jam on his bass and even watch movies with the rest of the band.
On his bad days… 2D knew too well how he was. Abusive, loud and most often drunk. Russel had made it a priority to remove Noodle from the premise on bad days. No one had to suffer through Murdoc's bad days, especially not a child.
Somewhere in the studio, something crashed loudly.
2D leapt off his bed and stuck his head outside the door. "Muds? Everyfink ok?"
The singer crept forward. His heart was beating terribly fast. What if the bassist was hurt? "Murdoc?" 2D called softly, unsure of where he could be. 2D prowled through the hallways, searching. He kept pressed to the walls, slinky and cat like. Despite his concern for Murdoc, 2D was equally afraid.
In the recording booth, Murdoc threw an amplifier against the wall. "Fuckcunt!" he bellowed. Nothing was going right! Everything he played sounded like shit, the equipment wasn't cooperating. It was all bullshit, fucking bullshit.
The booth's door creaked open. "Muds?"
Murdoc whirled to face the singer. "Wot the fuck are you doin' here, faceache?"
2D's blank eyes widened. "N-nuffink. Jus' worried is all. S-sorry…" He tried to step backwards, but the bassist had grabbed a handful of his shirt.
"Shut the fuck up," he snarled, throwing 2D to the floor.
Grunting in pain, 2D scrambled to his knees, attempting an escape. He was stopped by a kick in the ribs. Murdoc's boot drove into his side, making him wince.
"Stupid, fucking idiot!" Murdoc growled, punctuating each word with a kick. "Worthless sod!"
2D curled up, shielding his stomach with is knees and face with his thin arms. Murdoc kicked him in the back. A small whimper escaped.
Murdoc dropped to the floor beside the singer, ripping his hands away from his face. "Fuckin twat!" the bass player spat, face twisted in alcohol fuelled rage.
"I'm sorry," 2D whispered. "Muds. Please."
Whack. Murdoc's fist connected with 2D's cheek. "Shut yer trap, fucker."
2D closed his eyes, falling limp, letting the abuse rain on. Murdoc pummelled the younger musician until his rage subsided. He slumped back, painting. Out of breath and a raw throat from shouting, he glanced at 2D. Ice flashed through his body.
"Holy shit," he breathed. Had he really done that?
The singer was crumpled, like a fall leaf scrunched by a child's hand. Blood oozed from his nose and a cut on his lip. Bruises and welts were cropping up all over his face and arms.
"2D," Murdoc croaked, reaching to touch the singer's shoulder. 2D flinched away, moaning.
Murdoc clutched his head tightly, burying his hands into his thick black hair. "Fuck. FUCK. 2D, you ok, Sunshine?"
2D cracked open a swollen eye. Blackness stared back at the bassist. "Yer done now?"
2D closed his eye again. "Good. Feelin' better?"
Murdoc brushed azure hair away from 2D's brow. Bruises had darkened the pale skin already. Ugly purples screamed of the mistake he made. The singer flinched again, but endured Murdoc's touch.
"Let's get you to your room," Murdoc muttered thickly, roughly puling 2D up. Together, they limped slowly away.
Murdoc lay 2D on his bed. He wrapped his fingers around a bottle of pills sitting on the bedside table. "Oy. Sunshine." He thrust the pills into 2D's hand.
Murdoc turned to leave.
"Um…" 2D faltered.
"Wot?" Murdoc asked harshly, flushed with a sharp feeling of guilt. There was still some blood on the young man's lip.
"Yer my best friend," 2D confided timidly, unwittingly driving the guilt deeper into Murdoc's mind.
The bassist coughed uncomfortably. "Get some sleep, brainache."
"Fanks again, Muds."
Murdoc shut the door quietly. 'I'm sorry,' he thought ruefully, thinking the words he would never say.
A few hours later, Russel and Noodle got home. Murdoc was lying on the couch, staring at the ceiling. Noodle skipped in, an ice cream cone in hand. She stopped, recognizing something was wrong. Turning right around, she ran to get Russel. But he was already on his way. Noodle glanced back once before running to her room. Russel thundered in, a massive force. "Where's D?"
"Asleep," Murdoc answered, not bothering to look at the drummer.
"What did you do to him?"
The bassist suddenly shot up, colour draining from his face. "Wot?"
Russel clenched his big fists. "Did you hurt him again?"
Murdoc's expression darkened like the bruises on 2D's skin. He withdrew, staring off again. "Yes."
"Motherfuck!" Russel threw a hard punch. Murdoc didn't try to dodge. He let it fall on his face. It knocked him off the couch.
"He loves you," Russel hissed, "and you constantly abuse him. What is wrong with you?"
Murdoc remained pressed against the floor. It felt cool on his forehead and hands. "I don't know, Russ."
"You disgust me." The big man shambled away, calling for Noodle.
"I disgust myself too," the bass player muttered before hauling to his feet. He shuffled to the liquor cabinet. Grabbing a bottle of whiskey, he went to nurse the guilt he felt. Deep inside his Winnebago, Murdoc drowned his emotions in alcohol.