Nightmares were a far too common experience for Stuart. Leaving him with cold sweat stuck to his back and adrenaline in his veins, the fleeting memories of hostile dreams in his head. Usually, his memories fade as soon as he wakes up, then he's laying back down in his empty bed and trying to sleep. That was his normal routine; but this time he could barely claw his way back to consciousness.
Stuart woke up with panic in his heart. His black eyes darting around the empty, but messy room in panic. He couldn’t get the thoughts of cells and angry jaws out of his head, the sight of a gaping mouth permanently stuck in his subconscious. It would have been okay if it were just that, just the reliving of his time on Plastic Beach, but no that would be too easy. The dream had morphed from fear of death to the feeling of being completely ignored by everyone and everything, and suddenly he wondered if he was even real? Did people see him, did they even know he existed? His chest was tightening and he knew he was quickly working himself into a panic attack. The singer placed his hand to his forehead and pressed down in an attempt to ground himself. He didn’t deal with nightmares well. He sat there in his empty bed in his empty room for a few more minutes before he couldn’t take it anymore. He slid on a shirt and a pair of pajama bottoms- just to be safe in case Noodle was wandering around at night. He stretched his arms up and was determined to find something to ease his nerves.
The first stop on the quest was to his bathroom. Stuart opened the cabinets and his eyebrows furrowed together in slight panic. Where were his pills? All he had on the shelf was a bottle of what had been prescribed to him for his migraines, but he knew he had more before. The whole cabinet was filled with pain relievers yesterday! He sighed heavily and rubbed his face. He was too hyper to even try to take any sort of downer anyway. He shut the cabinet and turned out of his room with a dull sigh. He walked into the hallway, pressing his back against the now closed door he took deep breaths and tried to calm himself down in the same way he did before shows. It wasn’t working much at all, but he’d take what he could get. The bluenette pushed himself away from the door and walked down the hallway, his eyes scanning for any sort of human life awake at this hour. He just needed to talk to someone and get all the anxieties of the dream out of his head.
Stuart walked down the hall and up to Noodle’s bedroom, he was able to hear the faintest sounds of music seeping from under her door. He knocked twice on her door, and upon the lack of response he gently stepped inside. He smiled fondly at the sight of the young woman curled up under a blanket, still able to imagine the small girl from so many years ago. He knew it would be unfair to wake her up or do anything else, so he leaned in and placed a kiss on her forehead with a soft sigh, pulling up her blankets and properly tucking her into the bed. Sure, maybe Noodle was an adult and didn’t need them anymore, but the rest of the band still held the need to hold a fatherly role to the younger girl. He turned off her radio on his way out the door, unsure of where to go now. He knew Russel was dead asleep on the house, the drummer tended to clock out at about eight at night, there was no way he could see him. He felt so alone in that moment, no one was there to talk to him.
He walked down to the living room, dropping his head in his hands with a pained, defeated sigh. He slowly sat down on the couch in the living room, squeezing his eyes shut. He could feel that vacancy in his chest again, that feeling of being alone making him want to vomit. Once more did Stuart start to question if he was even visible. He felt rather annoyed by the whole situation, and before he knew it, he was crying. He was crying softly alone at five in the morning. God, he was pathetic.
“Faceache? Is that you? What in the hell are you doing up at this time?”
Stuart scrambled to compose himself, deciding to play it safe and rub his eyes to pretend he had just woke up, instead of wandering around for the past half hour. “Just woke up to get some water.” He lied, his meek, shaking voice betraying him in the process. It made him sound much closer to a child than a grown man. He gave Murdoc a confused look at the worry written on the older man’s face. Was it even possible for the other to care about someone else?
Stuart was known to cry over everything Murdoc could imagine. From being thrown out of moving cars to simply being hit with a shoe, Stuart would cry over it. This time was different to the older man. Maybe because of the distress on the other’s face, or because he didn’t cause the tears himself. He couldn’t tell and he didn't think he wanted to tell. “What a load of shit. Now what’s all of this,” he gestured to the singer’s tear stained face, “about?”
Stuart had a sneaking suspicion that this was some sort of cleverly constructed trap to get himself to say something embarrassing for Murdoc’s stupid radio show. He took a deep breath and scuffed the bottom of his feet against the hardwood floor. “Just a bad dream. About Plastic Beach, okay?” His voice had an edge to it as the bluenette easily took defense, he didn’t want to deal with anything else emotionally painful tonight. He shrunk down after his biting words, about ready to apologize for them, his hands raising in front of his face to deflect the nonexistent fists. Instead, nothing happened and the room fell silent. Then he froze when he felt an awkward pat on the shoulder. He peeked over his hands and stared down at the green man in front of him.
Murdoc felt bad. Did that really mess with Stuart that badly? It wasn’t the worst thing in the world, and it certainly hadn’t been the worst thing to happen to them.. Still, despite himself, he gave the singer a sympathetic pat on the shoulder before sitting down on the couch. “Oi, it’s not that bad, faceache. I’ve had worse. ‘M sure of it.” He gave the other a loose grin as if to say his words were undeniably true. “Come here, I’ll listen.” He offered propping his feet up on the messy coffee table.
Stuart gave the man a wary look before sitting down on the couch and slowly starting to explain to him the dream, what had happened, and how invisible he felt during it. Then, how invisible he felt afterwards and no one was there for him, the talk probably taking close to an hour of just him unloading his emotional baggage unto Murdoc. After he was done with his rant he slowly looked away from the random point in the living room he was so focused on, one of his long legs pulled up tight against his chest. “So,” He started, feeling suddenly uneasy about the fact the the other hadn’t snickered at anything he had said or called him a baby for crying about it either.
Murdoc listened, and there once more was a weird pang of guilt in his chest, he knew what it felt like to be lonely, and maybe he could sympathise. He could sympathise a lot with the other in that moment. “So?” He repeated, glancing up to Stuart in that moment.
“Aren’t you going to laugh at me or something for being a girl about this?”
Then, Murdoc laughed, full heartedly and loud. He grabbed a cigarette out of the pack on the table with a small sigh, he lit it and took a long drag from it. He saw the way Stuart stared at it with want, and then his eyes dropped back down, the bassist just smiled ever so slightly and passed it to the other. “Here, finish it off and go get some rest, Stu. You’ve been up for a while.” He mumbled before standing up, on his way to the kitchen to grab a beer.
Stuart decided not to comment on the use of his actual name instead of the usual insulting nickname. He feared it would get something thrown at him. He just stayed quiet instead and shrugged. He couldn’t sleep yet. Not without help.
“Can’t sleep.” Stuart mumbled softly, taking the cigarette once it was offered and nursing it like it was a life line. It was true, though, he couldn’t sleep now. Even if he was less anxious than before, he was still too wound up and certainly would need the help of a few pills. “Can’t find me pills.” He added, glancing up to the green man through his wild blue hair.
The bassist grunted from the kitchen, opening the refrigerator and grabbing a bottle of beer from inside. He then opened one of the cabinets and grabbed a bottle of prescription medication that the label had long since been torn off. Noodle had been slowly stealing them from Stuart’s room and hiding them throughout the house in an attempt to sober him up whether he wanted to or not. She was more than angry that after all these years, the singer was still loading up on any pill and every pill he could get his hands on. Murdoc assumed she had enough of his shit and took action, Though, the other had been through a lot that night, he deserved to calm down. He walked back to the living room, glancing to the bluenette and threw the bottle straight for his head, chuckling once it hit the singer square in the forehead. He said a brief goodnight before heading back into the garage, going through old albums and records of his to play for the next day’s radio show.
Stuart winced as the bottle hit him, rubbing his forehead as he glanced down to the container that had fallen into his lap. He smiled ever so slightly at the sight of it. He put out the cigarette in the ashtray and headed back up to his bed, opening the bottle and happily popping two pills into his mouth so he could sleep for a few hours before he had to wake up.
That night, maybe an hour or so after their talk, Murdoc headed to bed himself. He took another bottle of beer from the kitchen before he started up the stairs. Once he reached his bedroom door he paused. He pressed his forehead to the door for a moment before opening the door to Stuart’s room and checking on him. He smiled briefly once he saw that the singer seemed peaceful in that moment. He was glad for it, the poor kid needed some rest. Even if it was a drugged-induced sleep.
The next day Stuart listened to Murdoc’s radio show, listened all day in fear that his little meltdown would be talked about on the show. Instead the only thing mentioned was that he had bumped into a few walls that morning and stumbled down a flight of stairs in his high state. Maybe Murdoc was finally easing up on him.