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Sleepy Axe Princess, Befuddled Bassist by Invader-Sam
Sleepy Axe Princess, Befuddled Bassist
Yup, more Daddy-Murdoc stuff. ^_^ I just can't help it, the cuteness knows no limits!

Gorillaz (c) Hewlett/Albarn
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(Contains: sexual themes and strong language)
“You were married?” Jesse asked. He put his soda down.

Maggie nodded, a wan smile on her lips. “Yeah. You want the cliff notes version?”

“Uh, n-not if you don’t feel comfortable,” he stammered.

“Nah, it’s ok.” She took another sip of her soda and then set the can down. She shifted on the couch so she was facing him, tucking one foot under her other leg. “It was ages ago. We were eighteen, stupid, horny, and thought getting married was the best way to have sex without our parents jumping down our throats. His dad was a minister, and super-conservative, so it just seemed easier. So instead of thinking about college, he got a job with a local logging company and I started waitressing. We rented this hole in the wall studio apartment and…‘played house’ is the best way I can describe it.”

She leaned back, hand on her shin. “He had…has, something a little off. Like, it’s never been diagnosed, but Web MD makes me think he might’ve been manic-depressive. Because for months everything would be great – he’d be super-attentive, and fun! He was the life of every party. And then, on a dime, his mood would totally change. He’d withdraw from me; get angry at the littlest things. He wouldn’t want to go to work. I had to force him and he’d resent me. And then a month or two later he’d suddenly be back and be so sorry and he loved me and I made excuses for him to myself and we’d start the whole thing over again.”

“It went on like that for three years,” she said. “Until finally, during one of his ‘downs’ I had the nerve to ask him to get help and…he hit me. And that was it. I packed a suitcase, drove to my parents’ house and filed for divorce the next day. He signed the papers and I thought that was that, but after a few months he was ‘up’ again and he decided he changed his mind. He started following me around begging me to go back to him. When I couldn’t stand it anymore, I quit my job and moved up here. My parents won’t tell him where I went, and last I heard he’d given up trying to find out.”

Jesse shook his head. “Jesus,” he said quietly. “Sorry.”

“Nah.” She picked up her soda again. “Like I said, it was ages ago. Yeah, it sucked, but I learned from it, and I’m doing all right.”

He ran a hand through his hair. Of all the things he’d imagined, a previous marriage hadn’t crossed his mind.  To be fair, marriage wasn’t something that often crossed his mind generally. “So have you, uh, dated since then?” he asked.

“No,” she said and then laughed at what must’ve been his surprised expression. “I just felt that, while I was so busy defining myself in relation to my ex, I hadn’t really defined myself. So I’ve been working on that. And to be honest, I never really felt ready before.”

‘But what about that picture in the General Store?’ He was dying to ask, but couldn’t figure out how to do so without coming off badly. “What made you feel ready now?”

“I figured five years was long enough,” she said. She took a sip of soda. “Doesn’t hurt that you’ve got, like, the most gorgeous eyes I’ve ever seen,” she added with a smirk, not looking at him.

Jesse felt his ears turning red, but he couldn’t help but smile. “Heh, yeah?”

“Yeah,” Maggie said. She set the can down. It made a hollow sound as it hit the coffee table. “So what now? You wanna keep playing the game? Watch TV?” She walked her pointer and middle fingers across the couch and up over his knee. “Or we could make out.”

“Oh god, yes.” The words, practically a gasp, were out before he could stop them. And before he could chastise himself for being too eager, she slid over closer and wrapped her arms around his neck. Fumbling, his hands found her waist. Just feeling her hip bones through the fabric of her dress was enough to get him riled. He shifted slightly, making sure there was air between her and his lap. ‘Just to be safe.’

She brushed her nose against his. “Gotta say, I love your enthusiasm,” she murmured.

Her lips were then on his and he was drinking her in as if he’d never get another opportunity. While his mouth worked over hers, his hands roamed her. His thumb brushed against the wire of her bra and he brought his hand back down quickly. She pulled away. ‘Shit, Pinkman, you just had to go pushing your luck, didn’t you?’  “S-sorry,” he mumbled.

“Hang on,” she said and he was surprised to see she was still smiling. Her cheeks were flushed. “This thing cuts into my ribs after a while. She had a hand behind her back. ‘What is she–?’ There was a flash of something whipping past his face and it took him a moment to process that she’d discarded her bra. “That’s better,” she said, smiling at him. She raised a finger. “That’s it though for tonight – got it?”

He swallowed thickly, forcing his gaze away from the neckline of her dress. “Y-yeah. Got it.”

“Okay.” She kissed him again.

Jesse kept his hands on her hips for as long as he could. Finally, as he felt her tongue touch his, he let his hands creep up over her ribs. His thumbs grazed the underside of her breasts and she let a little moan escape her lips. Encouraged, he shifted his hands higher. He could cup them easily, one in each hand. ‘They’re adorable,’ he found himself thinking. He began rubbing little circles over her nipples and he felt them turn hard beneath the fabric of her dress. His jeans were getting uncomfortably tight.

Maggie let out an affirmative murmur. She leaned her head back and he took the opportunity to place his lips on her exposed throat. Her hand was in his hair then, partly tousling, partly tugging. He planted kisses all down her neck and over her collar bone, heartened by the soft moans that kept escaping her lips. Her hand moved slowly through is hair, to the back of his neck, then over his cheek, grazing one of his scars.

Instantly, a dozen terrible images flashed behind his eyelids and he jerked away, jumping up from the couch as if he had no control of his own body. It took all he had to stop there, to not bolt for the door. Heart racing, head pounding, he pushed his fists into his eyes, trying to expel the faces, the cruel laughter, from his mind.

“Wha…what’s wrong?”

Maggie’s voice brought him back to the room, away from the dark. What could he tell her? He turned towards her, trying to swallow his shame. She was staring up at him with a mixture of worry and fear in her eyes. One spaghetti strap of her dress had slipped down her shoulder. The urge to flee clenched his stomach and he did his best to fight it. He gestured with both hands, as if the right words were somewhere in the air if only he could catch hold of them.

After a moment of struggling, he sat down on the arm of the couch, staring at the floor. “My, uh, my dealer was, uh, not the nicest guy,” he said at last. He ran a hand over the scars on his cheek. “And he could get a little rough when you couldn’t pay him on time.” It had a grain a truth.  It fit into the story he’d already established. And the humiliation at having to admit being abused was painfully real, as were the tears that were cresting behind his eyes. He swiped at them with the cuff of his sleeve.

“Oh my god, Josh, I’m sorry,” Maggie said, reaching out for him and then stopping just short. “I had no idea, I’m sorry.”

He shook his head. “No, I’m the one who should be sorry. I should have my shit together more than this.” He wiped at his eyes again before turning a weak smile towards her. “Talk about a mood-killer, right?”

“Josh…” He was surprised to see tears welling in her eyes too. “Maybe we should just slow down. You’ve…obviously been through a lot.”

“That’s putting it lightly,” he muttered, sliding back down next to her. She leaned over, so they sat with their arms touching.

“Have you ever, um, talked to anyone about it?” she asked quietly.

“Just you.”

She took hold of his hand. He squeezed it. “I know it’s hard, but it might help,” she said.

He let his head fall back against the couch cushions. “You’re probably right. But maybe it’ll keep for now?”

“Of course,” she said. “When you’re ready.”

“Thanks.”  He twisted and reached over with his free hand to right the strap of her dress. Her cheeks flushed. “Sorry to be such a buzzkill. Seriously. I, uh, I was really enjoying earlier.”

“Me too.”

He raised his other hand, still clasping hers, and pressed her fingers to his lips. Then, slowly, he moved her hand back to his cheek.

“You don’t have to–” she started.

“I kinda do.” He placed her palm on his face and shut his eyes. The face of his tormentor was waiting behind his eyelids, smiling that dopey, Mayberry smile that both hid and amplified his psychotic nature. ‘He’s dead, Pinkman,’ Jesse told himself, squeezing his eyes shut tighter. </i>‘He’s gone. It’s over.’</i> Something soft and warm fluttered across his face, right over the scar that lined the bridge of his nose. Then again on his right eyebrow, on his chin. ‘Maggie.’ She was kissing every place his captor had left a mark.

He could feel tears cresting in his eyes again. And he couldn’t stop them.

So he didn’t try. Instead, he let her guide his head to her shoulder, let her wrap her arms around him, and cried. He cried for Jane. For Andrea. For Brock. Mostly though, he cried for himself. Groping blindly, he slipped his arms under hers and clasped her back. He could feel her running a hand over his hair, hear her murmuring his new name. He wanted to tell her everything. He knew he never would. So he cried.

After a while he ran out of tears. He swallowed thickly, bracing himself before sitting back up, wiping at his bleary eyes. “So that was a thing that just happened,” he said at last.

Maggie brushed his hair away from his eyes. “Do you feel a little better?”

A laugh caught in his throat. “Yeah kinda.”

“Can I get you some water?”

“Please.”

She rose from the couch and he was left for a moment with his raw nerves and jumbled emotions. He felt less embarrassed than he’d thought he would. More relieved. This certainly wasn’t the end of things, but maybe the next time would be less hard, would pass more quickly. He glanced at the clock on her DVD player. 1:18 AM. He stood just as Maggie came back around the couch with a glass of water in one hand. “You’re not leaving?” she asked.

“I was thinking I should,” he said, taking the glass she offered. “It’s pretty late, and people gossip enough around here.”

Maggie bit her bottom lip, shifting her weight from one foot to the other. “I wish you’d stay.”

He took a long sip of water then set the glass on the coffee table. Then, purposefully, he took the few steps needed to close the gap between them, wrapped his arms around her, and kissed her good and long on the lips. When they parted he was smiling. “You’re too good, you know that? I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

She grabbed his collar and pulled him in for another kiss. “You sure you’ll be alright by yourself tonight?”

“Yeah,” he nodded. He tucked one of her curls behind her ear. “I will.”

“Okay.” She nodded, but didn’t let him go. Instead she played with his collar, the buttons of his shirt, lips pursed. “I have a different idea,” she said at last. “Let’s go for a walk.”

“At one in the morning?” he asked.

“Yeah,” she said. “I’m not tired, are you?”

“Well, not really, but–”

“Then let’s go. C’mon. The sun will be setting in a couple hours. Let’s watch it. Let’s watch it set, then spin around and watch it come back up again. C’mon.”

She was tugging on his shirt like an overeager kid and he had to laugh. “Gotta say, that would be something to see. Let’s do it.”

A bright smile spread across her face. In a flurry they put their shoes back on and he followed her back down the fire escape to the street. He could hear the music still pounding from inside the bar and was happy to not find anyone on the back steps. With her hand in his, this was a moment he didn’t want to share with anyone else.

They wandered back out to the docks and resumed their game from earlier. After all the heaviness, it was a relief to compare favorite cartoons (him – X-Men, her – Batman), childhood career aspirations (him – firefighter, her – country music star), and least favorite vegetable (him – most of them, her – brussel sprouts).

“Wait, you don’t like any vegetables??” she asked, one eyebrow raised.

“I didn’t say that,” he said. “Just not a fan of a lot of ‘em.”

“How many have you actually tried?” When all he did was shrug, she said, “Well, we’ll see about fixing that. We’ll hit up the co-op market Saturday morning.”

“The what?”

“Oh it’s fun!” She linked her arm with his. “Everybody who grows stuff brings what they can’t eat themselves and they set up tables all along Main Street. Then they sell it or trade it for other things. And the shops all have mini sidewalk sales. It’s something we can only do in the Summer, so everybody looks forward to it.”

“Sounds cool,” he nodded. “What do you guys do in the Winter?”

“Swap meets in the school gym,” she answered. “And, I shit you not, knitting circles.”

“You knit?”

“I’m getting pretty good too!” she said. “And it’s a great way to pass the time. You get bored enough; I bet you’ll try it too.”

He laughed. “We’ll see.”

She hugged his arm to her chest and he realized, with the heart-skipping joy of a teenager, that she hadn’t put her bra back on. ‘Nice.’ Was this really what his future was going to be like? They had wandered to the edge of one of the docks, out over the water. The sky was finally starting to resemble evening, its orange hues reflecting across the bay. Maggie released his arm and began tugging off her boots. She stumbled a bit and he put a hand out to steady her. With a wordless smile she thanked him then seated herself at the edge of the planks, bare feet dangling inches from the water. She patted the spot beside her.

Following her lead, he crouched down to remove his shoes and socks. He sat beside her, swinging his legs over the edge. Being taller than she was, his feet hit the water and he nearly choked in surprise. “Jesus! It’s freezing!”

She burst out laughing. “What did you expect? It’s Alaska! These last few days have been about as warm as it gets!”

“You could’ve warned me,” he grumbled.

“Oh, you’ll get used to it, you big baby,” she teased, bumping playfully against him.  “Though I guess we can count you out of the Polar Bear swim come January.” He could feel the color drain from his face at the thought and she laughed again. “This is gonna be a fun year,” she said. She reached over and put her hand over his.

He shook his head, smiling. “I think you’re right.”
The Last Frontier - Chapter 10
Maggie gets to share some of her back story!

Previous: invader-sam.deviantart.com/art…
Next:

Jesse (c) Vince Gilligan, Aaron Paul, and AMC
Everyone else (c) me
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Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: strong language)
Hiatus never sat well with Murdoc Niccals, and the one his band was currently experiencing was far worse than the last. He leaned out the window of his bedroom, watching the early morning fog roll in off the Thames, and lifted his half-spent cigarette to his lips. It had only been two years and already their names were fading from the public conversation. They hadn’t been a trending topic on Twitter in months, which stung more than he’d expected it to. For a technology that hadn’t existed when the band had formed, it was now an essential promotional tool. But with nothing to promote, aside from a half-cocked idea for a line of sneakers, it was hard to stay a part of the constantly changing digital conversation. So here he was, at 5 AM on a Saturday with nothing better to do than smoke and sulk.

A recent bout of insomnia only made things worse. Sure, he could drink himself into a stupor and pass out if he wanted, but he only felt more tired when he finally came to after that. He had a sinking suspicion that had something to do with the upcoming birthday that was looming over him, more daunting than any zombie or groupie horde. Forty-six, or, as Russell liked to point out, “Closer to fifty than forty now!” As if he needed a reminder. As if his back didn’t constantly ache. As if lines in his face and the graying at his temples didn’t mock him every morning in the bathroom mirror. ‘Fuck Lards, and fuck birthdays,’ he thought bitterly, stamping out his cigarette on the window sill. ‘I need a fucking drink.’

He rose, not bothering to shut the window, and left his room. The brownstone was quiet as he ambled down the hallway to the stairs. He had barely put one foot on the first step when a sliver of light in his peripheral vision made him pause. He turned back. Who else was up at this hour? He approached the door beneath which the yellow strip of light was glowing. A hand-written sign reading ‘PLEASE KNOCK :)’ was taped to the door. The hand-writing belonged to his guitarist.

He hesitated, glancing back at the stairs. ‘Ah fuck it, we’re probably out of beer anyways…’ He wrapped his knuckles lightly against the door.

“It’s open,” came the familiar female voice from the other side.

He turned the knob and pushed, using his free hand to shield his eyes from the light as he entered the room. “Wot’re you doin’ up, girlie?” he asked, squinting as he waited for his eyes to adjust. As they did and the room slowly came into focus, he found the Japanese young woman standing over her bed, a suitcase open atop the comforter and a pile of clothes in her arms.

“Packing,” she said matter-of-factly. She set the clothes in the suitcase and crossed the room to the dresser, poking around the open drawer.

Packing?!” the bassist echoed. His chest suddenly felt tight. “Wot for? I thought we cleared up that whole replacing ya with a robot thing!”

Noodle laughed, and brushed a lock of purple hair behind her ear. “I’m packing for University. I’m moving into the dorms tomorrow, remember? You signed the forms right along with Russ-kun and 2D-kun.” She carried another armful of clothes to the bed. “You do remember, don’t you?” she asked.

He did, though the memory was fuzzy. “Fuck, it’s time for that already?” he said, running a hand through his thick hair.

“It is,” she said, smirking at him. “And you swear too much.”

“I fucking don’t.” He scowled.

“You fucking do,” she said. “You’re lucky those weren’t my first English words – no way CPS would’ve let you keep me if I’d been cursing like a sailor when they came for that first home visit. And where would the band be then?”

* * *

“For god’s sake, Muds, would you put some damn pants on??” Russell snapped, grabbing the bassist by the arm and hoisting him up off of the couch.

“Don’t fucking touch me!” Murdoc growled, trying to yank free. The larger man’s hand stayed firmly wrapped around his bicep, cutting off his circulation.

“These people are gonna be here any minute,” the drummer said, glaring darkly at him. “And if you want Noodle to play guitar on the album, we can’t have them thinking your some kind of–”

“Alright, alright!” Murdoc cut him off. “Jest lemme go, will ya?” Russell released him and he stumbled forward, clutching his arm. He’d have to wear a long sleeve shirt to hide the bruises that were already forming.
‘The things I put up with for my music,’ he thought venomously. He knew better than to fight his drummer though, and so he stormed off to the carpark, muttering curses as he went.

As he waited for the elevator, he stewed silently to himself. He half-wished the little creature had never been shipped to his door. Of course it would mean the band would still be short one guitarist, but it also meant his studio wouldn’t have been turned into one big daycare. Daily he fought with himself over which scenario was worse and today, the band had won out.

The elevator dinged its arrival and he had to stop short when the doors slid open as he found himself face to face with his singer/keyboardist. 2D let out a yelp of surprise and then crouched down frantically. It took Murdoc a second to realize that 2D hadn’t been alone in the elevator. He was now on one knee, one long-fingered hand over the eyes of their young guitarist. “B-Bloody ‘ell, Muds, give us some warning, eh?” the blue-haired young man stammered, cheeks flushed. “S’not ap-p-propriate!”

“Oh sod off, faceache.” Murdoc rolled his eyes. “Get ‘er out of ‘ere, ‘afore I put my boot up yer arse.”

Nodding silently, 2D scooped the little girl up into his arms despite her confused protests and hurried off down the hall.

When Murdoc returned to the living room, fully dressed in a gray, long-sleeved V-neck T-shirt and dark jeans, he found Russell and 2D scrambling like mad trying to make the place presentable.
‘Losing battle, that one,’ he thought with a chuckle. He sat down on the couch, watching them with growing amusement as they hurled armfuls of clutter and trash out the window to the cemetery outside. ‘That oughta piss off the rotters next time they wake up,’ he mused. He pulled his pack of cigarette from his back pocket and began searching for his lighter.

“Murdoc-sama?”

He was startled by the voice at his left and turned. He hadn’t even noticed the little FedEx delivery seated next to him. She was wearing an outfit he couldn’t remember ever seeing on her before – a jean jumper over a pink T-shirt with matching sneakers. Her helmet was also missing and in its place, a simple barrette held some of her dark hair away from her face. And she was staring at him. “Wot?” he asked.

“Kitsuen wa anata no tame ni waruidesu,” she said, pointing at his pack of cigarettes.

“Eh?” He glanced at the pack. “You want one?” he asked. He held the little paper box out to her. “Hell, I think I was your age when I started, why not?”

She took the pack from him and then, before he could react, she hopped up from the couch, darted to the window and tossed it outside!

“OI!” Fuming, he leapt up as well, advancing on her. “Why you little–”

“Hey!” Russell giant hand clamped down on his shoulder, stopping him in his tracks.
“Don’t even think about it.”

“But did you see what she did?!” Murdoc demanded.

“Shikashi, sore wa anata no tame ni waruidesu!” Noddle said, stomping her foot.

“The hell is she even saying? Speak English, dammit!” Murdoc growled, tugging at his hair with one hand.

Fists clenched at her sides, the little girl was shaking, her lower lip trembling.

Instantly 2D was at her side, kneeling down to put an arm around her. “I don’t fink she wants ya smokin’ in ‘ere,” he said.

Murdoc dragged a hand across his face. “Fucking genius we  got ourselves here, folks.”

2D flinched as if struck. “W-well, it won’t look good fer the ‘doption people, would it?”

“No,” Russel said firmly, tightening his hold of Murdoc’s shoulder. “It wouldn’t. She’s doing you a favor, man.”

“Favor my arse,” Murdoc mutters. “Wait a minute… ‘adoption people’? Who said anythin’ about adoptin’ the little sprog?”

This time it was Russell’s turn to roll his eyes, which he had to do with an exaggerated shrug, otherwise no one would’ve been able to tell. “The government won’t let three grown men just be roommates with a ten-year-old girl. We gotta be her legal guardians or they’ll take her to some foster home or something. And that means she won’t be able to be in the band.” He released the bassist’s shoulder. “So can you, like, not be you for an hour?”

2D, still kneeling on the ground, clasped his hands together. “Please, Murdoc?”

Noddle, mimicking the singer, clasped her hands as well. “Pureezu, Murdoc-san?”

The olive-skinned man put a hand to his face, massaging the bridge of his oft-broken nose. “Fine. Fine. Jest stop yer whinin’! And you!” He shook an index finger at the little girl. “No more tossing my cigs – you hear me?”

“H-Hai!” she nodded.

“Does that mean ‘yes’?” he asked, glaring down at her.

She looked to 2D, who nodded enthusiastically. “Yes!” she declared, smiling up at him. Then, without warning, she launched herself at him, wrapping both arms and legs around his middle. “Arigato, Murdoc-san!”

He staggered back, the wind knocked out of him. “Oh, for the love of–” He took hold of her arms and tried to pry her loose only to find she tightened her grip the more he tugged. “Can we just get this over with?” he sighed, shooting Russell a pleading look.

At that moment the doorbell rang. “Yes,” Russell said, turning to go answer it. “Yes we can.”


* * *

Murdoc chucked at the memory. “If I recall, I gave the finest performance of my career that day!” he said.

“If I recall,” Noodle said, “You mostly sat quietly and let Russ-kun do all the talking.”

He snorted indignantly. “Details.”

She went back to rummaging through her dresser drawers. “Right up until the moment the doorbell rang, I was sure you were going to blow it on purpose. Or hand me off to them, just to get rid of me,” she said. “Though I guess I was asking for it, tossing your cigarettes like that.”

“Wot was the big idea anyway?” he asked, sidling over and leaning on the dresser, arms folded across his chest.

“They’re bad for you,” she said with a shrug. “I still wish you’d quit, but I’ve learned to pick my battles.”

“Wot’re you so concerned with my ‘ealth for, hmm?” he asked.

She straightened up, smiling at him. “I can’t help it. As much as you can be a real pain in the ass, I still want you around, you know?”

He frowned. She’d had what he hoped was her final growth spurt over the winter (probably something to do with the experiments her home country had done all those years ago) and was now a good two inches taller than he was. It was unnerving. Hadn’t she been barely waist-high only yesterday? Who was this grown woman standing where his ankle-biter should have been?

“What’s wrong?” she asked, her smile fading.

“Hmm?” He shook his head to clear it. “Nuffink, luv. Jest feeling really fucking old, that’s all.” He stretched, felt and heard his back crack mightily, and groaned.

“Aw, I just realized I won’t be home for your birthday,” the guitarist said.

“Don’t you even think about callin’ Lards or Faceache to remind them when it comes ‘round,” he said, shaking his index finger at her. “For once I might get to spend it in peaceful misery, rather ‘an ‘afta suffer through the torture you lot insist on putting me through.”

Noodle bit her bottom lip, thinking, before asking quietly, “Can I call you?”

Murdoc considered briefly before nodding. “Fine.”

She pushed the drawer shut then and closed the short gap between them, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Arigato, Mudo-kun,” she whispered, her voice shaky.

He hadn’t heard her use that honorific since Demon Days. After their separation and her tracking him down to Plastic Beach, she’d gone back to using the more proper ‘san’ and ‘sama’ when she addressed him. She’d forgiven him for the android, but he’d considered their relationship irreparably tarnished.  Now, despite his best efforts, he could feel a lump forming in his throat. Hesitantly he raised his arms and rested his hands lightly on her back. Staring at the ceiling, he drew in a shuddering breath and then sighed. “S’never the same without ya ‘round, luv,” he muttered. “Gonna miss ya, is all.”

She didn’t release him. “I’ll still be in the city. And I’m sure we’ll text all the time. And I could come home on weekends. Lord knows this place will probably collapse under all the garbage without me to clean up after you all.”

“Don’t you even think about it,” he said, letting himself hug her just a bit tighter. “You have fun at school. Get in lotsa trouble and don’t you worry about us. But, er, yeah, a text here or there would be alright.” The smell of her green tea shampoo was making his eyes water. That was totally it. Murdoc Niccols didn’t cry – hadn’t done it in forty years. It had to be the shampoo. He blinked hard twice, trying to will the wetness away.

After a moment, Noodle pulled away, wiping at her eyes with the heel of her hand. “Gomenasai,” she said with a quiet laugh. “I know you hate this mushy stuff.”

He rounded his shoulders and cracked his neck, looking everywhere but directly at her. “Y-yeah, well, s’really more Faceache’s department innit?”

She nodded, her smile growing. “He’ll be bawling like a baby when you guys drop me off tomorrow, for sure.”

That made him feel a bit better and he chuckled at the thought. “Too right,” he said. Feeling the wetness in his eyes receding, he brought his gaze back to her face. “Listen, wot say we go get a cuppa, hmm? Take a break from this for a bit.” He gestured at her suitcase.

“I’d like that,” she said. “But I don’t think even Starbucks is open this early.”

“Who said anythin’ about bloody Starbucks?” he asked. “There’s a 24 hour pub round the corner that’s always got a pot on. C’mon.” He took a step forward and spun her towards the door, one arm draped over her shoulders. “My treat.”

“Ooh, big spender here,” she teased, hitting the light as they exited.

“Watch that sass, missy.”
* * *

“For Satan’s sake, how can one kid need so much crap?” Sunday morning and Murdoc was laden with an overstuffed duffle bag and a suitcase as the foursome unloaded the cab outside the dormitories for the University of West London.

“What can I say?” Noodle said, slinging her laptop bag over one shoulder. “I learn from the best hoarders this side of the Atlantic.”

Russell handed her a guitar case. “You can always call if you forgot something,” he said.

Coming around from the other side of the car, clutching a trash bag full of linens, 2D stammered, “O-or fer anyfin’, r-really.” His black eyes were brimming with tears.

Noodle reached out and patted his cheek. “I’ll call tonight, after I’m settled. Ok?”

The singer could only nod and bite his bottom lip to keep it from trembling.

Murdoc pushed past them all. “Well, you lot can stand around like a bunch of imbeciles, but I’m offloading this stuff.”

Russell leaned down and hoisted another pair of suitcases up from the sidewalk. “Right behind you.”

They caravanned into the building, crammed themselves into the service elevator and rode it to the fifth floor. Noodle led the way to a room at the end of the hall marked 5-L. “This is me,” she announced, pulling her key ring from her purse and opening the door. The room was small and sparsely furnished with a bed, desk and chair. For a moment they were all silent. Then Noodle tossed her laptop bag on the bed and spun around to face her bandmates. “It’s perfect!” she said, smiling widely. “Like a blank canvas!”

Russell laughed. “So long as you’re happy, I’m happy,” he said. He set the suitcases down on the floor.

“Y-ya need any help unpacking?” 2D asked, setting the bag on linens on the bed.

“Nah,” she shook her head. “I’ll be fine. Thanks for lugging it up here though.”

“Course!” 2D said. He was wringing his hands. “Anyfin’ fer you, luv.”

The guitarist took a step towards the singer. “You ok?” she asked softly.

The blue-haired man nodded. “I am, I am. It’s jest…aw, hell.” In one swift motion he wrapped his long arms around her and pulled her in close.

“Hey, it’s alright,” she said, feeling his slender frame shaking as she returned the hug. “I’ll call you tonight, really.”

“C’mon now,” Russel said, putting a hand on 2D’s shoulder. “Let’s go home.”

“B-b-but,” 2D whimpered.

“Oh enough, faceache,” Murdoc snapped, dropping his load of luggage on the floor unceremoniously. “She went to ‘ell and back without us. I fink she can ‘andle livin’ a few Tube stops away.”

Noodle gave the singer one more tight squeeze and then released him. “Exactly. I’ll be fine. And we’ll still see each other lots.” She held up a hand, her pinkie extended. “Promise.”

2D smiled through the tears and linked his larger finger with her slender one. “Promise.”

“That’s better,” Russell said. He nudged 2D aside gently and scooped up the young woman in a one-armed hug. “Have fun,” he said. “Be good.”

“I will,” she said, kissing the drummer’s cheek. 2D squeaked indignantly at that so she took hold of his arm and pulled him in for a cheek kiss as well. As the trio separated they all turned expectantly towards the bassist in the doorway.

Murdoc took a step back, eyes darting out of the room. “R-right,” he said, coughing into his fist. “Well, see ya ‘round, kiddo.”

He dared a glance back at her and found she was smiling at him, dark eyes shining. “Yeah. You too.”

2D looked disappointed but didn’t say anything. He only hugged Noodle once more and followed their self-declared leader back out into the hallway. Russell gave the guitarist a farewell fist bump and ambled out after them.

Out on the sidewalk as they approached the cab, Murdoc turned and began walking off.

“Oi!” 2D called after him. “Ain’t you comin’ ‘one wif us?”

When they go no reply, Russell merely shrugged. “Let ‘im go. He’ll be back eventually.”

As Murdoc listened to the car pull away behind him he let his shoulders sag, and then pulled his cigarettes from his back pocket. Just as he was about to light up, his cellphone let out a ‘ping’ sound announcing an incoming text. Dully, he pulled out his phone and flipped it open. The message read:

‘Those things are bad for you, Mudo-kun!’

With a confused grunt he spun around, looking up at the dorm building. A purple-haired figure was leaning out a window on the fifth floor.

With a smirk, he wrote back. ‘Mind your own business, girlie.’

Another ‘ping.’ ‘Fat chance. XO’

He waved her off with a dismissiveness that was less than sincere and kept on walking down the street. As he rounded the corner there was another ‘ping.’  ‘Love you.’

He stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. A tightness seized his chest and stomach, as if Russell was sitting on him, and there was water in his eyes again. No shampoo to blame it on this time. He swiped furiously at his eyes with his sleeve, took a deep breath and stood up straight. The message was still staring at him from the little screen on his phone. Before he could talk himself out of it, he hastily typed, ‘You too’ and hit ‘SEND’. Then, hands shaking, he wrote, ‘Tell anyone and yer dead.’  He pocketed the phone and scrambled to light a cigarette.

He heard the phone ‘ping’ again but kept walking. He was a good number of blocks away and three cigarettes down before he checked it. ‘Wouldn’t dream of it. ;)

A smile crept over his face. “Ah, that’s my girl,” he said to himself.

~Fin~
G: Letting Go
Because I banged out the first 2000 words of this in an evening, I had to finish it and get it up here!

Still on a little Gorillaz kick here, and going back to my favorite 'Daddy-Murdoc' trope - this time Noodle's heading to college during the hiatus!

Also did a rough sketch to go along with it during lunch break.

Gorillaz (c) Hewlett/Albarn
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G: Follow The Leader 2 by Invader-Sam
G: Follow The Leader 2
OMG I did it. I said I wanted to draw a parallel piece to G: Follow The Leader set in the present day and I actually did it. I'm so proud of myself, haha!

Just like she did back when she was 10, Noodle's still got the guys wrapped around her finger at 24, loathe as Murdoc might be to admit it, hehe! ^_^ I think he's trying to give her a "my house, my rules" speech about having boys over and she's not having any of it. I mean really, Muds, who do you think you're kidding? And 2D and Russel are just happy watching him loose the argument.

Now I just have to get a decent scan of both of these and start coloring!

Gorillaz (c) Hewlett/Albarn
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G: Time Flies by Invader-Sam
G: Time Flies
More fanart! This time a comparison of Murdoc & Noodle from when they first met, to now! Noodle's 24 year old self is based solely on my imagination - I like the idea of her growing taller than the guys after having been smaller than them for so long! Also, I tried to do Murdoc's new chin in the 2015 piece, which is strange after drawing him the other way for so long. I know Jamie Hewlett just changed the design, but face shape is a big thing to alter! Did Muds get plastic surgery or something? Haha!

Gorillaz (c) Hewlett/Albarn
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So remember this story?  invader-sam.deviantart.com/art… What originally began as a one-shot, now has four chapters over at www.fimfiction.net/story/16445…

I'm about half way through Chapter 5 as well, so if anyone's intertested, please go take a look! I really am having fun writing it!!

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Invader-Sam
Samantha Lynn
Artist
United States
Current Residence: Nowhere'sVille, PA
Favourite genre of music: All sorts - Alternative Rock, Country, Some J-Pop, most anything from the 80s ^_^
Shell of choice: Turtle shell, of course!
Favourite cartoon character: Discord (MLP: FiM), Raphael (TMNT), Beetlejuice, The Cast of FMA, Cast of Shaman King, The Chipmunks & Chipettes
Personal Quote: When you're rich, you're not crazy - you're eccentric!
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:iconcassiemcfadden:
CassieMcFadden Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Why was I NOT watching you on DA!? You're amazing!
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Invader-Sam Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014
Ha, well thanks!
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CassieMcFadden Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
No problem!!!!
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AceOfStCanardKLy Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014   Artist
Happy b.day, dear! :iconchampagneplz::icontigerplz::icontiger-plz::iconponyplz::iconhorse-plz::icondogplz::iconautumnplz:
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Joeycool1210 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014
Happy birthday.
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StarDestinyEclipse Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Happy birthday! :D
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RueSinger Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I HOPE YOU HAVE AN EPIC ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :squee:
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awesomemortalkombat3 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Happy Birthday! :cake: :D
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lovecharmmaster Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014
Happy Birthday!!!!!!
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Crazy-Croc Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014  Student General Artist
Happy Birthday!!! :party: :cake: :donut:
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