Old cranking and thudding came from below the couple's feet as the elevator took them to the ground-level platform. The young woman took a step forward and was followed closely on her heels by the bluenette man.

I still can' wrap my head around this… Noodle is here… She's only explained five minutes worth of her disappearance and she leads me out to meet Russ who's been gone for the same amount of time! 'Cept… he wasn't deemed dead like precious Noods here…

They were welcomed from the evening sunset that crept down past the waves on the horizon. The waves rocked back and forth steadily and the sound of the water lapping at the plastic mass was soothing to their ears as they took themselves down the metal staircase.

Every few seconds, Noodle would turn her head to peek at Stuart, who kept his eyes on the back of her head, ignoring the neon pastels that painted the mural of the sky. He kept his attention to her and did not let it flicker from her, willing himself to keep some distance and to not pounce and fasten himself to the woman, afraid.

I can't lose her. Not on the beach. Anything could happen out here in the open if this is a dream…

But…It's not a dream…

She led him back around to the opposite side of the island, away from the entrance and near the docking platform which held one pontoon boat and a small wooden rowboat that was full of junk and moldy seawater.

Noodle brought her fingers to her lips, letting out a loud, defined whistle before she cupped both of her hands around her mouth and hollered, "RUSSEL-SAN!"

Before him, the water rippled with bubbles and protruded a massive brown figure.

Shrieking, 2D's knees went limp and he fell onto his hands, scrambling away from the docks as quickly as he could.


2D clambered farther, but a loud booming voice made him flinch. He took his hands over his face and he could feel something bulky surround his thin frame and pull him into the air, squished within whatever was holding him.

His eyes grew huge, petrified as he squinted up to see two, large brown eyes staring back at him, "'D! Yo' man! No need to get into a pissy fit! It's me, Russ!"

2D gaped at the monstrous size of the man and realized what the giant had told him was true. It was the same, African-American man who drummed for the band, the same guy who goofed around with him many years ago, and was still the same friend that he hadn't forgotten. It was Russel, but five stories taller than when he'd last seen him.

2D tugged at his arms and he felt himself slip out of Russel's hand and into the other one, where fell into the cushiony skin of his palm. He lay there, baffled at the man who towered over him.

No wonder Noodle was so…quiet about Russel's return… He was too damn big to fit onto the island itself!

"Whot happened to yew?!" 2D's voice strangled in a screech.

"You know how dirty this water is. Radio-active shit soaked in and next thing I knew, I surfaced to find a normal life raft sitting on top of my head with Baby Doll loungin' around in it," The man pointed with his other hand to the top of his shiny bald head and 2D brought his shocked gaze up to where his eyes connected with Noodle's. She was bending over, her hands placed in between her legs and looking pointedly at him, smiling widely.

"Muds contacted me a while back saying he was headed to a so-called 'Plastic Beach' some ways east of River Thames. I had no clue where you were, but I had an idea by all the choppers heading out this direction. Once I had ol' Del taken away and got away from all those issues, I came to find the rest of the band… Hard as it was to find you guys, I found Miss Noodle here, lost at sea. Poor Baby had no way of getting home or where to go, she was so far gone from any land even remotely close… So we headed out and found this odd-piece of land that we suspected was Murdoc's said 'haven'."

Noodle giggled and continued on for him, "fortunately for you, Toochie, I found you knocked out against a tree. I had to find Murdoc, being the ego-maniacal idiot that he is, trapped behind a bookshelf in his own headquarters! Once I got him out of that mess, I convinced him to help me take you back to your room."

So that's how I ended back up on my bed…

"Wait…tha' wos YEW who I saw out on the water? I fought it was some sort of mirage or somefink," 2D shook his head, trying to clear it from everything that jumbled into one big knot of sense. It all connected but his mind was trying to comprehend all of the pieces.

Russel made no reply in this, except for a half-smile and a light chuckle that vibrated his whole body.

Noodle only cocked her head to the side a smile creeping to her mouth until her eyes darted to something farther out on the beach. Her smile immediately subsided when she cleared her throat. Russ, too, took his attention to something out on the beach and his smile dropped slightly when another voice joined the group.

"Oh, so you brought the dullard back for a get together, eh? And you didn't invite me? Well, tha's a shame. Hello again Russ! How're things out in the water? No whales bothering you recently," Murdoc hollered.

2D flinched at the voice- it was the man he knew all too well. His mate and abusive friend, Murdoc, had intruded on the kindly meeting and was going to bring some sort of awkward rudeness into the nostalgic encounter with his friends. He even added the memory of that blasted whale that was probably patrolling the waters right now, watching him in the palm of Russel's large, brown hand.

The skeletal man turned his face to see Murdoc, strolling the edge of the water with a small pipe in his mouth and a sailor cap that shaded his eyes from the setting sun. The air that was brought with him was unwelcomed by Noodle, who grimaced at his presence.

"Hey Muds," Russel greeted.

"Uh, Noodle, I have some business to speak with you," Murdoc hollered louder.

2D turned his attention back to the girl who was not hiding her distaste in the suggestion. She groaned angrily and tapped Russel's head, controlling her temper and asking in a polite voice, "please let me down, Russel-kun…"

Once she was put safely back on the ground, she looked up at Stuart who was jumping up and down to get Russel's attention to do the same for him. After he huffed out, "please, Russ? Heights make me nerv'us…," he was set back down on the plastic waste, directing his attention to the other two band members who were working their ways back to the entrance of the looming structure.

He would've liked to tag along, but Russel came up to the side of the shore and sat on the continental shelf that rose slightly from the ocean's depths, allowing a small spot of rest for the giant man.

"Hey D'… I know it's been a while, but I've still got your back. Noods mentioned some issues you had when she came in to meet you for the first time. I'm not saying you gotta tell me anything, but I'm saying that since we were close friends before I left, you can count on me now if you want to talk."

2D was taken aback. He didn't realize that Noodle had mentioned anything about him when she had left for the first time that day, much less mention it to Russ. And although his problems were serious and personal, he couldn't help but feel relieved now that he had someone other than a cheeky and ignorant Murdoc. Sure, he appreciated his company, but it was debatable on whether or not he'd be a pleasant friend or a drunken mess with a sullen tongue.

Taking one last look to the couple that walked farther down the long stretch of painted plastic, he looked down and began to sit with his feet hanging off the edge of the pier. He swayed his legs and swallowed the lump in his dry throat, pulling out words from his head and forming a story into the air that hung in silence between them.

Author's Note:

I'm a terrible person for leaving cliff-hangers. I really am…

And this was a rather short chapter. AND I didn't update until very late tonight…But I'll continue working on this until early morning.

I might update again in the morning so I can repay for the time that you have waited today…

Hmm… a friendship mending between Russel and 2D…

But what does Murdoc want with Noodle? Hmm…

Review please. I appreciate your feedback. But if it's flame, why would you have begun reading this at all? If you wanted to read this story and your expectations were not filled, tell me why you are unhappy and I'll try to sort it through.

I don't own Gorillaz.