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Spirit House

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“Two whole weeks,” 2D enunciates for the millionth time, “without alcohol or cigarettes. And then two weeks after that. That’s like, a whole month!”

“I couldn’t do it,” Murdoc says, taking a swig of beer from his can were he’s sitting on their shared couch, only further proving his point.

“Well, you’re going to.” Russel snatches the can from the other man’s dangling hand, coming up from behind him. Murdoc shouts at him angrily. “We said we’d support D and do this with ‘im.”

The bassist grumbles, mumbling under his breath. “Easy comin’ from you, you hardly drink or smoke in the first place.”

Noodle jumps up and down over the armrest on the creaking couch. “But aren’t you excited for your surgery, 2D?”

The man giggles. “Yeah. I really am.” Just thinking about it sent a shiver of excitement through him. Finally, he can walk around with his shirt off like other guys, not have to wear bras and binders like other guys. Of course, 2D isn’t any less of a guy as he is now, but having this particular weight off his chest (literally) will feel so much better. He’s been taking testosterone for a while now, been going to therapy for assistance for a while, too. He hasn't had much time in the past, nor anyone to help him through the surgery process. But now that the work for their newest album is all done and everything has calmed a bit, 2D is at a place where he can finally get his top done. His bandmates have been completely supportive the entire journey, and continues to be. 2D feels like the luckiest man in the world.

“We’re all really happy for you, mate,” Russ says genuinely. “I’m going to go clear the cabinets of all the alcohol. Out of sight, out of mind.”

“Yeah, you can just move all that to my room,” Murdoc grumbles, laughing half heartedly at the end, though he was hardly joking. Russel snickers, choosing to ignore Murdoc as he goes about the task. The old, wooden floorboards of the spirit house creak as he opens their liquor cabinet. The glass bottles clink against each other as Russel hauls them upstairs, presumably to stash in his room. He’s the only one honest enough to not drink them himself. Muds grumbles.

The two weeks leading up to the surgery are hard, especially the withdrawal from the cigarettes, but the support from 2D’s bandmates make it a little more bearable. Russ and Noodle stay away from it with him, though it’s not as hard for them, who are more controlled with their substance use in the first place. Murdoc at least does him the favor of not teasing him by smoking around him, but is quite obviously drunk for most of the time, drinking from the stash he keeps tucked away in his own room. 2D kind of wishes Murdoc would smoke around him, and offer him a smoke too, but no such thing happens. 2D takes it as him being a jerk about it, though in reality, Murdoc is trying to have his band mate’s best interest in mind. After all, one slip up, and the surgery will be postponed and Stu would have to start all over again. He is especially cranky the first few days, quite unbearably so, and everyone begins to have trouble dealing with him. However, by the end of the first week, most of 2D’s cravings have died off. He just thanks the lord he’s still allowed his prescribed painkillers and testosterone. His mood would be so much worse without those at the very least.

At the beginning of the second week, 2D begins the day with giving himself his shot of T. He’s a lot more hopeful now. With the most difficult time of nicotine withdrawal out of the way, his outlook is much more positive. He is so close now. The gang begins to map out their plan more thoroughly. The highly recommended surgeon 2D had chosen is a little far away, and since he will need to check in with the surgeon after the operation for about a week, that’s how long he’ll need a hotel for. He’ll also need someone to look after him, take him to appointments, empty his drains, dress his wounds...the whole deal. Ever since Noodle was just a girl, she’s always been the one to help 2D with his medicines and such when he needs it, so she’s happy to volunteer. Noodle is excited to be there for her mate when he goes under and then wakes up from surgery. The other two would come, but with the surgeon being quite a drive away, they figure they’ll just stay behind and be ready to welcome 2D back when they come home.

With half of the second week down and only three days before Noodle and him get on the road to his surgeon, 2D is absolutely antsy. He does plenty of exercises around the house to keep himself busy and prepare for surgery. He also gets to packing his suitcase, filling it with comfortably baggy clothing for the days after surgery, as well as other necessities such as his extra binder. By noon, 2D is sitting on the living room couch, enjoying a sandwich. Russel and Murdoc watch the television beside him. Just then, Noodle busts into the room with puffy eyes and Katsu in her arms.

“Guys! Something’s wrong with Katsu! She’s losing chunks of hair,” she wails out.

“Oh, hun, no,” Russel says, getting up from the couch and walking towards her.

2D jumps up, too. “Oh, no, Katsu! Do you fink it’s some sort of sign?” He pets the tired cat gently.

Murdoc appears behind them. “Well, what are we all standing around here for, then? Let’s get this thing to a vet.” The gang snaps out of it then. 2D rushes to locate the cat carrier in Noodle’s room, Russel puts together a little baggy of Katsu’s food, and Murdoc goes to start their red Cadillac up. Noodle pets her cat soothingly while 2D brings out Katsu’s carrier and helps Noodle get the cat into it. They join the others in the car. Since Noodle is sniffling back tears in worry over her pet, Murdoc takes the liberty to call the vet’s office ahead as he speeds down the road, honking angrily when they hit the inevitable traffic. He half yells into the phone, taking out his frustration with the clogged up roads on the vet receptionist. Russel tries to calm Noodle, telling her Katsu will be just fine and that she’s been doing well taking care of him and recognizing something is wrong. He hands her the baggy of food and Noodle sees if Katsu is wanting to eat it at all. 2D sits in his corner of the car, mostly in a state of panic due to the urgency of the situation, not wanting to get in the way or do something wrong.

Murdoc hangs up with the vet office, and as soon as the traffic eventually starts moving, he speeds up as fast as he can go without running the car in front of him over. When they pull into the lot of the animal doctor’s office, Murdoc ushers Noodle out of the car in front of the front doors to check in while the rest of them search for an open parking space. They drive around in loops for a bit until they finally find a space a car has just moved out of. Once inside, they see Noodle sitting in the waiting room with Katsu in her bag on her lap. The band sit beside her. “It’ll be alright,” Russel assures her again. Katsu mewls from within her confinement.

The cat’s typical doctor, Doctor Cyder, calls Katsu’s name to join her in the consultation room. Noodle leads the way, and the rest of the band follows nervously behind her, crowding the hall and room. Katsu’s carrier is set down on the island counter in the center of the room. Doctor Cyder unzips it and allows the cat to peek out cautiously. The doctor slides Katsu out the rest of the way. “Hello again, Katsu. It’s been a little while.” She looks up at the band, causing them to go rigid. “You said over the phone she’s missing clumps of fur, correct?”

“Yes,” the gang replies in near unison, nervous to hear the cause of this.

“Ah, yes,” Cyder mutters, running her fingers over Katsu’s coat and sifting through the fur gently. “This is actually quite common, and you have no reason to worry. Pulling fur out is something we see fairly often. Katsu appears to be reasonably stress free - a behavioral issue is very unlikely. Has she been consuming the same food since her last visit?”

“Yeah,” Noodle answers, nodding.

“Then there’s no reason for itching caused by a sudden food allergy. I see no external parasites on her fur currently, though that is most likely the cause.” She pets Katsu calmingly, making sure she doesn’t try to jump down from her spot on the examination counter. “I can start her on a trial of a parasite control product. You should come back in in two weeks to make sure it’s helping. In addition, I can recommend a monthly pill that will make sure this doesn’t happen again. I’d also suggest cleaning your house out to make sure there are no lingering parasites.”

Everyone breathes out a sort of sigh of relief. It could be much worse. 2D is glad Katsu will be alright and won’t require too much care, but he begins to worry over what’s become of their plan for his surgery. He doesn’t mind it if Noodle has to take care of her cat - she hasn’t been around for incredibly long, but Katsu is an important member of the family nonetheless - but he doesn’t want to be a burden for Noodle while her cat is sick. “Thank you so much, Doctor,” Noodle says sincerely.

“Of course!” Doctor Cyder pulls a pen and notepad out from her pocket. “I’ll write down the medications and instructions for you and have the list sent to the pharmacist so they can pull it aside for you. It should be ready for pickup by tomorrow afternoon.” She scribbles on the piece of paper as she speaks, then handing it to Noodle, who reads it over briefly. She helps Katsu back into her carrier. “And that should be all!” Everyone thanks her once more, Noodle grabbing her cat and taking the list as they check out and exit the veterinarian office.

They clamber back into the car. “Um…” 2D tries to speak up. “What’s the, uh, note say?”

Noodle looks at it again. “We just have to pick up some medicine for Katsu to take consistently for a while to get rid of whatever’s bothering her and some long term stuff to keep the problem away for good. That, and tidy the house up.” She sighs. “Listen, um…”

“S’alright!” 2D interrupts hastily. “Katsu is really important, and if she’s ill, you should be able to be there for her, and I don’t wanta get in the way of that.”

“Stu...I really appreciate that, but I really want to be there for you, too. I’m sorry this had to happen at such an important time for you.”

“Don’t be! It’s nothing you could really control. I’m sure Rus or, o-or Muds can help me out.”

“Don’t you worry, girl. We’ll figure it all out,” Russel pipes up, again trying to reassure Noodle. They will, he’s sure it’s true, but 2D’s panic level starts to increase. He’s so close. Really, the worst that happens is he has to postpone the surgery, but he’s just too close. 2D worries he’ll seem selfish or inconsiderate and decides not to speak up again.

When they get home, Katsu is let out of her bag and the band all sit down at the table together. Their plan needs some revision. “Noodle needs to stay here to take care of Katsu for a bit,” Russel begins. He is more firm in what Noodle needs than she is herself. “I already have plans to visit some friends back in Brooklyn from Monday to Wednesday. I can be there to take care of him as soon as I get back, but I can't be there the whole week.” The rest of the group has been quiet. Russel has been doing most of the talking on Noodle’s part. 2D is nervous of making the situation solely about him and seeming rude. Murdoc...They all turn to look at Murdoc.

“You want me to help take care of ‘im?” he asks in disbelief. 2D is almost glad he's being talked about like he’s not there. This way, he can pretend he isn't, too.

Russel hesitates. He looks to 2D, silently asking if he knows absolutely anyone else who can come help a guy with his post-op for a week on such a short notice. He shakes his head nervously. Russel clears his throat. “Yeah, it’d be important that you come along.”

“But we’ve only got two rooms booked at the hotel,” Noodle pipes up.

“I-It shouldn't be a problem, there'll be enough room. I can sleep on the couch,” 2D offers, trying to be helpful.

“You shouldn't have to do that,” Murdoc grumbles. A couch is probably not the ideal place for a recovering patient. At the same time, the bassist doesn't suggest sharing a bed. A moment of silence. “I could call and ask if they have another room available.” More silence as everyone ponders this. Nervous glances are exchanged. But the hotel is always super filled. Can they find one nearby that isn't booked? Would it even be helpful to 2D at that point? Would Noodle rather leave Katsu in Murdoc’s care than 2D? No one wants to postpone his surgery. Said man looks between everyone nervously.

Russel hesitates for a while. “...Murdoc, do you think you can handle 2D after his surgery?”

Chapter Text

The band had decided to give Murdoc the job of caring for 2D after his surgery for the first half of the week before Russel returns from visiting his friend. It's the best option with avoiding having to put off the surgery.

They had spent the remainder of the day of Katsu’s appointment cleaning up around the house. The following day is slower. Russel and Noodle go to pick up Katsu’s medications and spend a good while trying to convince the cat to take them. Murdoc and 2D pack. They leave for their hotel tomorrow, the night before the surgery, so that they don't have to worry about driving the day of.

The next morning, the whole band sits around their dining table as Russel puts together a large late morning breakfast. After all, it's their last day together before 2D’s top surgery, and that is deserving of celebration. The drummer sets down plates of eggs, bacon, and French toast in front of everyone before sitting down beside them. 2D fidgets his leg under the table. He's both nervous and so, so excited. He eats his eggs quickly, shoving them quickly down his throat in his anticipation.

Noodle asks for the syrup to be passed down her way. “I'm really sorry I can't be there for your surgery, 2D, but Katsu still needs her medical attention…” 2D waves his hand to dismiss this, his mouth too full with food. “I'm really excited for you. You better send picture updates and stuff.”

2D swallows. “I'll make sure to.”

“I'll try to keep in touch, too,” Russel says, mostly eyeing Murdoc. “Make sure everything's being taken care of alright.”

Murdoc grumbles under his breath. “I'll take care of ‘im fine.”

After their brunch, everyone cleans up, showering and getting ready. With assistance from Russel, Murdoc loads his and 2D’s suitcases into the trunk of the red Cadillac, leaving Noodle with Stylo for the week. She's been driving enough that she can look past the shattering windows. “Make sure you follow every single instruction the doctor gives you down to the letter, and call me if anything - anything! - goes wrong,” Russel lectures Murdoc strictly as he slams the trunk closed.

“Alright, alright. Don't put too much faith in me, aha.”

“I want texts anytime anything happens,” Russel adds. The pair walk back inside.

Noodle is squeezing 2D tight in her arms. She pulls him away. “I'm so happy for you. Good luck, Stu.”

He smiles sheepishly. “Th-thanks, Noodle.”

Russel clasps a large hand on 2D’s shoulder, making the guy jump. “You'll be great, D. Call me if this old geezer causes you any trouble, aight?”

2D nods awkwardly. “I’m - I’m sure I’ll be fine.” His stomach flutters excitedly. He still can't believe tomorrow is the day.

Murdoc taps his foot, standing in the doorway to the garage. “Alright, you lot, we gotta get this moving.” 2D waves goodbye to Noodle and Russel one last time before following Murdoc out the door. They wave them off.

Murdoc gets in the driver's seat, as he hardly trusts anyone else to drive his cars - not that he is a perfect driver himself, but at least he's in control. He can trust Noodle with Stylo for a bit, though. It's not like she’ll be leaving the house much but to drive Russel to the airport. 2D buckles in in the passenger seat beside him. Murdoc shifts the car into gear. “You ready?”

The singer nods. “Yeah. Thanks for driving,” he offers, though he knows Muds wouldn't even think to let him drive. He leans on the car door. “I think I'm going to try to nap.” He looks out the window, finding something to stare at even despite the slow moving cars blocking the roads all around them.

Murdoc mumbles something unclear under his breath. “Be there in six hours, you might as well.”

2D gets a shiver of excitement every time he reminds himself that this is real, that he's actually getting his surgery tomorrow. He's come so far. Years and years ago, he never imagined he could actually be here.

There had been a time where he had no hope at all.

He liked boys (and girls, too), which meant he could get a boyfriend easy enough, but only because he had a pair of soft breasts, lightly rounded hips that protruded despite being skinny, a round face, a pretty face. He could love a boy and that boy could look back at him with all the love in the world, but all 2D could feel in the end was an overwhelming disgust. He was disgusted that anyone could love his body. He hated his body.

Sometimes he tried to love it. He'd ditch his dress for a button up and maybe an accompanying vest and suit jacket to try to feel a bit better. But, once he stood in front of his mirror in every handsome layer of clothing, he could still see his body underneath. He could still see round thighs beneath baggy suit pants. He could still see the definition of his large chest beneath both shirt and jacket. The straps of his sports bra would dig into his back as he fell onto the floor and cried. He'd take off each layer with little care, because what was the point? What was the difference between dress or suit if you could still see everything he hated beneath? He’d go out and people would still call him Ma’am, Miss, Lady.

And he'd have to suck it up, keep it in. He couldn't correct them. For all anyone else knew, they were all right. He was a girl. To his parents, who preached that he should appreciate the body God gave him, he was a girl. To his classmates, who would jump at the chance to spread rumors and talk behind his back if they thought anything different, he was a girl. To his teachers, who would be obligated to speak with his parents if their student suddenly started talking nonsense, he was a girl. Even to his school friends, who knew it was never safe to trust anyone with any secret, he was a girl. No one knew differently. And that was the hell that was high school and half his middle school. Five years of pretending he was someone he wasn't, and he was so close to completely losing hope.

Then he left for community college. His parents were close, but he roomed with someone else anyway, wanting to get out of his house and all its bad memories. That's when he was able to buy his first binder, where he learned to pack, when he could start spending every last bit of change in his pockets on testosterone and therapy, where he could pass as himself. He met understanding friends, friends that would call him a boy and call him Stuart, friends with similar interests in all things musical. He took a job at a music shop with one of his pals. He met his ex Paula at that same job. Looking back on it, he isn't sure she ever truly loved him, but she looked at him for what he is - a man, even if he doesn't make a great one.

His life went completely insane from there. The new name he got out of it, 2D, grew on him instantly. He made new friends, his bandmates, and they had all sorts of fun getting into trouble together. He loved, and still does love, singing for them. Even after a couple of break ups and the shit show that was Plastic Beach, 2D can hardly say he spent much of that time worrying over his body like he used to have to. Especially now, with everything calmed down and everyone forgiven. Yeah, maybe all those years ago, Stu never thought he'd make it to this point. But here he is.

2D wakes up to the feeling of someone shaking him by the shoulder. He hadn't even realized he had fallen asleep. He sits up, looking about groggily. His back aches. He jumps when a long green hand waves in front of his face. “Oi, faceache, we’re here. You slept like a little baby the whole way.”

“O-Oh,” he stutters, voice scratchy from just waking up. “Sorry.”

Murdoc shrugs. “Made it easier for me to focus on driving. Now, come on, get up. We got to check in to our rooms.”

2D unbuckles his seatbelt, does a little stretch with a groan, and gets out of the car. Murdoc is already lifting their suitcases from the small trunk onto the pavement. 2D grabs his with a quiet thank you as the bassist slams the trunk closed again and takes his own bag by the handle. They walk into the lobby together. Murdoc does all the talking with the receptionist as 2D stands behind him, fidgeting awkwardly.

The lady behind the desk hands Murdoc two room keys. “Your rooms are on floor two, rooms 212 and 214. Right beside each other.”

When Murdoc takes the keys and doesn't say anything more, 2D thanks the lady for him. She doesn't seem to have minded Murdoc’s rude mannerisms, though - if anything, quite the opposite. The singer shakes his head with a sigh. They follow the lady’s instructions and make their way to their conjoined rooms.

Murdoc unlocks the door to the first room and pushes it open. He signals for 2D to go inside. “Come on now.” With a start, the singer walks into the room, rolling his suitcase behind him. The bassist then opens up his own room, letting the door shut beside him. He finds the door set in between his and 2D’s room and pushes it open. 2D jumps a little when the door swings open on his side. Murdoc leans in the doorway. “Want to get some dinner?”

2D feels his stomach growl in response. He flashes his bandmate a lopsided smile, crossing his arms over his stomach sheepishly. “Yeah, that sounds nice.”

They leave the hotel rooms behind, shutting all the doors, and get back into their car. After quickly looking something up on his phone, Murdoc looks over to 2D. “How hungry are you?”

The man shrugs. “Not very.” Though his body is running on empty, it doesn't take much to fill it.

Murdoc pulls out of the parking lot. “We’re going to Culver’s.” The guy has begun to obsess over the fast food place since they settled in Michigan. He fiddles with the radio as he drives, letting quiet music buzz in the background. 2D sticks his head out the side of the car, leaning on the arm he lets dangle out of the window. The sky turns colours as the sun descends.

They eventually pull into the Culver’s drive through. Only two cars are directly in front of them, so the line moves fairly fast. When they move up to the ordering box, a staticky voice says, “Hello, welcome to Culver’s! What can I get you today?”

Murdoc yells his order at the speaker. He turns to 2D. “What do you want?”

2D leans over, squinting hard to try and get a glance at the menu. Murdoc has to back away when the other leans over him in an attempt to read it. With a sigh, 2D falls back into his seat, giving up. “I can't read it. What do they got?”

“What do you like?” Murdoc asks somewhat impatiently.

“Um...I-I like chicken fingers. And they got, they got milkshakes here, yeah?”

Murdoc sighs, leaning back out the window to yell 2D’s order. “Get the boy a kids meal. Make sure ya get the vanilla milkshake with that. That'll be all.” The person working the drive through gives him his total. He pulls up, fishing his wallet out of his pocket and digging out some cash.

“Thanks, Muds.”

He grunts. “No problem.” At the window, Murdoc hands the cashier the money. She hands him his receipt and change in return. Both are shoved into the stowage under the radio. He pulls up to the next window, where another person hands him their food and drinks. 2D helps him set the drinks in the cup holders between them. Murdoc hands 2D his bag of food and sets his in his lap. Thanking the drive through worker, he drives off abruptly, making 2D lurch forward in his seat unexpectedly. The singer grabs his milkshake from the cup holder and takes a sip. He hums happily. “Thanks again.”

Murdoc forces out a “Welcome.” His mouth is already full of his burger.

Back at the hotel, Murdoc walks 2D into the lobby. He falters a bit. “Uh, Dents, I'm just going to stand outside for a bit. I'll be back in a few minutes.” 2D looks at his bandmate’s fidgeting hand, subconsciously tapping at his obvious cigarette pack in the bassist’s front pocket.

“Yeah, s’alright. I fink I'm going to shower.” Murdoc hands him the room key. The singer wanders back to his room, where he begins to unpack his suitcase. 2D plugs his phone into the wall. He texts Noodle quickly. “we made it to the hotel alive. the bastard bass player even fed me. im going to shower and go to sleep.” His phone is placed on the floor near the charger.

2D takes a deep breath, turning the hotel shower on at near boiling point and stepping in.

He takes his time before walking back into his room with a towel around his waist. Picking his phone up off the floor, 2D sees a text from Noodle sent a bit ago. “Just got done giving Katsu a bath. Glad you're doing alright. Get lots of rest for your big day tomorrow!”

He gets those butterflies in his chest again. “thanks noodle.” 2D pulls on a pair of boxers and a baggy tee shirt, throwing his towel back in the bathroom. Following his nightly routine no differently now, 2D brushes his teeth, washes his face just a little, and swallows his nightly pills after searching for them in his suitcase.

Nervously, he knocks on the door between his and Murdoc’s rooms. He's sure the man has to be back by now. Still, 2D jumps when the door is swung open, stepping back to avoid being hit.

Now in nothing but his jeans, Murdoc stands before him, leaning against the door and rubbing his face tiredly. “What do you need, Dents?”

“Just wanted to say goodnight,” he stammers. “We’re leavin around ten tomorrow, yeah?”

“We’ll leave a little earlier, get some food. I say be ready by nine. Night, Dents.” With that, the bassist shuts the door.

Shrugging, 2D sits down on the edge of his bed, picking his phone up one last time. He figures he ought to text Rus. “hey rus, I'm alive. how'd your flight go”

His friend replies in little time. “yeah muds been texting me, glad to see he wasn't lying.” 2D is vaguely surprised to read that Murdoc has actually been doing as he's told. “flight went fine, out with my friend now.”

“cool, I'm going to sleep, text you later.” After setting an alarm, 2D lets his phone drop from his hand. The covers on his bed are tugged back and the singer climbs in. The blankets are heavy and warm. With the help of a long day and his usual meds, 2D falls asleep in no time, a smile on his face as he dreams of tomorrow.

Chapter Text

2D’s phone buzzes at eight o'clock sharp to wake him up. It doesn't matter - he's been awake staring at the ceiling for a good half hour at the least, as has been the case several times throughout the night. The man had gotten no sleep. But now that his alarm has deemed it an appropriate time to be awake, 2D shoves the layers of blankets off him and swings his long legs over the side of the bed. Tiredly, he rubs his eyes. His stomach has been doing flips all night. The proximity of the surgery had finally dawned on him, and as exciting as the results may be, 2D has been hit with a sudden nausea over the shots and stitches and drains that lead up to it. Pushing himself off the bed at last, the singer convinces himself to take another quick shower, giving him something to do besides sit and worry as he had done all last night.

After getting out, 2D tosses on some baggy clothes. He's going in for surgery, he doesn't need to look cute. The clothes are just going to be taken off again, anyway. 2D tosses his towel on the floor of the bathroom and, while he's in there, remembers to take his pills for the morning.

A bit timidly, 2D walks up to the door between his and Murdoc's room. He checks his phone one last time for the clock. Seeing as it's 8:55, it should be fine to knock, right? Still, he hesitates, his fist hovering over the door. A loud knock from the other side scares him back, almost making Stu squeal in surprise. “O-Oh, come in!”

Murdoc swings the door open, standing in his usual tight black jeans and a worn long sleeved top. He swings his key ring on his long finger. “Ready, faceache?”

“Yeah…” They make their way to the Cadillac, both lost in their own thoughts. By the time they're both buckled in, though, Murdoc starts to suspect something is up. Murdoc himself is always grouchy in the morning - that's typical. However, 2D’s quietness, especially on a day like this, is a little unnerving.

Focusing on the car lot around him, Murdoc pulls the car out, getting them on their way. “You alive there, Dents?” He doesn't look at the man when he says it.

“Yeah,” the singer forces, playing nervously with his blue hair. “Where are we eating?”

“Waffle House.” A pause. “You like that shit, yeah?”

“Yeah.” 2D drops his hands from his hair into his lap, fiddling with his fingers instead.

They drive quietly for a little. At a street light, a car stays put in front of them despite the green light. “Oh, c’mon,” Murdoc mumbles. He slams his hand on the horn, making 2D flinch. “Move, shithead!” Murdoc looks at 2D, seeing his singer flinch from the corner of his eye. 2D doesn't notice. Murdoc grunts, bringing the guy back in focus. “Alright, dullard, what's got you all bothered?”

His fingers return to his hair. “I'm just a little scared is all.” Murdoc turns the car into the Waffle House parking lot rather violently, forcing a quiet yelp out of 2D. His heartbeat quickens.

“Scared? Of what, needles? You get one of those stuck in you once a week. Is it the anesthesia? Is that what scares you? You fill yourself with those kinda drugs all the time, too.” He adds in a mocking voice, “Scared.” After parking the car, Murdoc gets out of the car, 2D following close behind.

2D speaks as the bassist ushers him along. “Well, no, not really of those things in particular,” he half-lies. “It's just...What if they mess it up? What if I mess it up? What if I never look right?”

Murdoc just about shoves 2D through the door. “C’mon, idiot. Do you even hear yourself? All these things are ‘what ifs.’”

“That doesn't mean they couldn't happen!” he argues indignantly, turning around to face Murdoc. There is definite worry on that soft face, and it doesn't slip past the bassist. It's hard to tell with those black orbs, but it almost looks as if he's about to cry. A waitress comes to notify them that there's a table available. The pair sit down across from each other.

“Alright, listen,” Murdoc starts, folding his hands together on the table. 2D is already sniffling, fighting to keep the tears back. “Your surgeon, your nurses, your anesthetist, all of them are known for doing great things - I doubt any of ‘em are going to just muck it up this time around. But, if they do, I'll be there to fuck them up for fuckin my singer up.” 2D chokes out a small laugh at that. Murdoc sits back a bit, proud 2D had smiled just a little bit. “I'll be there until the moment you're down, alright?”

2D looks up, a little surprised at the thought of Murdoc even caring that much. “Really? You promise?”

Murdoc rolls his eyes. “Only if it means you'll shut up. Yeah, sure, I'll promise.”

2D is still a bit fidgety throughout all of breakfast as they eat, but Murdoc told him to be quiet so he is, and the bassist even promised he’d stay with him, so it's going to be fine. Even if 2D has to remind himself of that every second.

Sighing to himself, 2D thinks Noodle would know what to say. He texts her. “im scared”

She replies rather quickly. “Of what? Murdoc?”

2D half snorts. Said bassist gives him a funny look from across the table for that. “no im scared somethings going to go wrong with the surgery”

“Who’re you texting?” Murdoc asks gruffly.

“Noodle,” 2D answers. He adds to his text, “i guess its pretty dumb. muds says hell start a fight if anyone messes it up anyway”

Murdoc grunts in response.

Noodle texts back, “Haha, that's good. Everything will be fine, Stu.”

The bassist briefly pulls his phone out from his back pocket before sliding it back in. “You ready to go, Dents?”

He freezes up a little bit. It really is time. “...Yeah.”

The ride to the surgeon’s office is awfully quiet. At some point, Murdoc looks to his singer and tells him, “Remember, Dents, there’ll be hell to pay for if I even think for a second they'd mess you up.” It doesn't seem to comfort him as much as before.

2D is fighting tears back again when they exit the car. At this point, it's just fear mixed with any other emotion ready to make him cry. Biting down on his lip, 2D can't help but think to himself that he's doing a horrid job at keeping up his side of the promise.

Murdoc locks the car, leaving it parked in the fairly empty lot, as they're at a private surgeon’s office that's much less busy. He swings the keys around in his hand. “Alright, Dents.”

2D walks ahead of Murdoc into the building, not wanting to show him he's still scared. Once at the check in desk, he does so rather quietly, exchanging only the necessary formalities with the receptionist. The lady at the desk invites him and Murdoc to take a seat, so the pair sit beside each other on cushiony seats. Stu looks at his lap where he fiddles with his hands, careful not to show Murdoc how hard he's having to try to fight back the tears. He thinks about texting Noodle again, but he doesn't want to bother her. The first tear falls.

It really spirals from there.

2D sniffles weakly in a last feeble attempt to hold back the tears. He's really, really stressed, and the fact that he let the tears get through is only making him feel worse. Especially when Murdoc notices. “Are you crying? What's wrong with you, faceache?”

Stuart wants to say something back, yet he knows opening his mouth will somehow make him cry harder. The frustration this causes does nothing to help.

“Oh, quit that, 2D. It's annoying.”

The man rubs his eyes with his balled up fists feebly.

The anesthesiologist, a stranger to them thus far, swings open a door and calls Stuart Pot into the office. Murdoc smacks the man’s shoulder, telling him to “get up already, dullard.” They follow the man through the door, 2D still sniffling heavily. “Sorry for this idiot,” Murdoc tells the anesthetist, glaring at 2D all the while, “says he's fuckin scared.”

Stuart wants to apologize, too, apologize for Murdoc’s rude language. The bassist is right, though, and because of it, he doesn't bother trying to speak up.

“Everything will be alright,” the man says, leading them into his office. He takes a seat behind his desk and motions to the two men to take the seats in front of him. “Hello. I'm Doctor Mullard, the anesthesiologist. I believe we've spoken over phone before.” He turns to 2D. “I take it you're Stuart Pot?”

He nods feebly.

“Wonderful. I'm going to walk you through the procedure. Trust me, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. You'll be given a quick check up to make sure everything is going well, and then you'll be on your way! It's a very exciting day for you, Mr. Pot.”

2D nods, looking up and smiling weakly.

Doctor Mullard turns to Murdoc, who has been fidgeting impatiently the whole duration of the short amount of time they've been in there. “You're the caretaker, Murdoc Niccals?”

“That's me.”

“Pleasure. Once Mr. Pot is situated in the operating room, one of the nurses will talk to you about your responsibilities as his caretaker post operation. Now, Mr. Pot, are you ready for your check up?” Stuart nods. He tries to get excited, and he knows he should be, but he's completely overwhelmed by the stress instead. “Great. Please stand up and step over here, and I will proceed to check your heart and airway, make sure everything's running smoothly.” He pulls out some tools 2D wouldn't be able to name and, or so he finds it safe to assume, does just that. After scribbling some notes down, Doctor Mullard has 2D sit back down. “As expected, everything is looking good. Let's go over the plan here.

“We’ll start by inserting an IV into your arm, and I'll administer intravenous midazolam that'll make you relaxed and sleepy within a minute or two. Then you will be wheeled into the OR, where I will inject intravenous propofol and fentanyl to induce general anesthesia. Lastly, a breathing tube will be placed in your windpipe, through which you will be fed oxygen as well as sevoflurane and propofol to keep you under throughout the procedure. Of course, by the time it's over, you will have no memory of this due to the midazolam. Afterwards, you will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit where you will be staying for a few hours. Your friend here is able to visit you there.”

This is all a lot of information, most of which might as well be a foreign language to 2D, and it adds to the stress. He scratches his nose nervously. With tears budding in his eyes, 2D gives Murdoc a quick look, who he sees is watching him with a look of boredom. “Um, will Muds be able to stay with me until the surgery?”

“The IV will be placed into your arm here, and then you will be moved into the OR.” That hardly answers the question.

“A-Alright.”

“When you're ready, Mr. Pot, please sit on the gurney over there, and I will put your IV in place.”

“Mr. Pot” tries to respond but only starts crying again, trying to hide it in his shirt but utterly failing.

“C’mon, Dents, don't be such a baby. You ought to be used to havin an IV in you by now, yeah? Really, I thought it would feel weird for you to not have one in at this point, haha.” 2D doesn't do anything to show he heard. Murdoc rolls his eyes, standing up. “Alright, come on, cry baby.”

2D rubs his eyes and then his nose on his sleeve. Looking up at Murdoc, he stutters, “I’m nervous.” He hiccups.

Murdoc snickers. “Yeah, I see that. Come on now, the doctor doesn't have all day.” 2D doesn't respond, just looks up at him with his dark, teary eyes. Murdoc shakes his head with a sigh, looking to the side, as he offers his hand. “Get up, faceache.”

2D takes his hand nervously, and Murdoc takes the chance to yank him up. He stumbles a bit. “Th-Thanks, Muds.”

“Yeah, whatever, get on with it.”

2D gets shakily onto the gurney, looking nervously at the bag of fluid beside it. He watches Doctor Mullard step closer. The anticipation destroys Stu, and the tears start coming out faster. He hugs himself in a tight ball, not letting the doctor get any nearer. “I-I-I can't do it. I can't. I'm too scared.”

“Oh, come on, Stuart,” Murdoc grumbles. “You're not thinking straight. The doctor isn't allowed to do shit until you tell him to, so just calm down and let him do his job.”

“I can't, Muds. I'm sorry, I know I - I know I told you I'd be brave, but I can't.”

Muttering under his breath, Murdoc grabs 2D by his bony shoulders. “If you say ‘I can't’ one more time...You can't what, Dents? You're not doing anything. Just sit tight like a good boy and the doctors will do their job. Do I need to hold your hand the whole time?” Murdoc had been sure the sarcasm was obvious, but apparently not.

2D looks up a bit. “Would you?”

“For fuck’s sake, Dents, if it'll get you to stop whining.” Murdoc offers his hand, which 2D takes hold of shakily. The bassist grimaces at the singer’s sweaty palms but doesn't say anything.

“A-Alright, Doc, I'm ready.”

Doctor Mullard expertly puts the IV in 2D’s arm. Still holding Murdoc’s hand, Stu’s sobs get quieter as the drugs enter his body. He hiccups softly. “Alright, Mr. Pot, you're all good to go. I'm going to wheel you to the OR now.”

Stuart hiccups again. “What about Murdoc? Can he come, too?”

“Murdoc is going to have to stay here. He’ll meet you in the PACU afterwards.”

Murdoc feels 2D’s grip on his hand tighten, albeit weakly due to the IV. “Hey, now, I promised him I’d be there until he's asleep, and I'm not the kind of man to break promises.” Much.

“The OR has to remain a very controlled area. We don't allow any outside person inside.” Looking at 2D before adding in a whisper, the doctor says, “He won't remember any of this later, anyway, so it won't matter.”

Murdoc doesn't care to lower his voice to a whisper. “I don't care about later, look at him now! He'd be having a panic attack if it weren't for the IV in his arm.”

Doctor Mullard puts up a bit of an argument, but with a few minutes of bickering he gives in. “Fine. At least put on a mask and gloves. I'll let you stay until he's under, but when the surgeon arrives, you're out.”

2D feels better. Murdoc really would kick their arses if he had to.

Eventually, the breathing tube goes down 2D’s throat, and his eyes are fluttering closed. “Take it easy, luv,” he mutters to his singer. He watches the panicked man’s breathing slow as he enters a deep sleep. Sighing as he leaves the OR, Murdoc goes to sit in the car with a smoke for a bit. Dealing with Stu’s stress was really draining. But the man will be so much happier after it's done.

Chapter Text

Murdoc opens the door to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit.

“-actually been a lot nicer lately. Oh, there he is! Hey, Muds!” 2D is absolutely beaming, sitting snugly in a little hospital bed in tight bandages with all sorts of drains poking out. A woman is sitting in a chair beside him, adjusting the bandages. “Hey, Muds, this is Nurse Morgan. She's been keeping me company.”

Murdoc breathes a sigh of relief, nearly caught off guard by 2D’s utter happiness. He doesn't get to see him like that often. Last time he saw 2D, the man was an absolute wreck of nerves, so it's relieving to see that it really payed off. He had just gotten done talking with one of the nurses about 2D’s post op care. There's a lot to remember, but they gave him plenty of papers and packets and a phone number if he needs to call in. Now, 2D’s ready to leave.

Murdoc waves to the nurse politely, who returns the deed. “You ready to go yet?”

2D looks to Nurse Morgan. “Just give me a few seconds to finish up here, and you'll be all good to go,” she says. To Murdoc, she adds without looking up from her work, “I'm sure someone's already explained all this to you, but I'll be calling you tonight and tomorrow morning to make sure you're tending to the bandages properly, and I'll see you guys in a few days!” With that, Nurse Morgan stands up. She offers her hands to 2D. “Let me help you up.”

2D slides out of the bed with the nurse’s assistance, wobbling slightly. There's a tight binder on his chest with drains poking out and hung on a belt on his stomach. He's only got his basketball shorts on. The nurse hands him his shirt. 2D smiles at her. “Thank you. See you in a few days!”

Murdoc waves his goodbye and opens the door for 2D, leading him outside. “How're you feelin?”

“Er, a bit uncomftable, but the meds help. Really, I feel wonderful. Nurse Morgan took a picture for me. I look pretty wonderful, too! I sent the picture to Noodle and Russel. They said it looks great. I'll show you the picture when we get back to the hotel. Though, you'll get to see for yourself when I get the binder off later.” 2D rambles on quite a bit. Murdoc hardly listens. It's obvious the singer is out of his slump, and that's what really matters.

2D keeps up the chatter the whole ride back to the hotel. According to him, Nurse Morgan says everyone thinks Doctor Mullard is kind of a prick. 2D doesn't remember him too much, really, but he thinks he can agree. Nurse Morgan says Murdoc picked a fight with Doctor Mullard. 2D doesn't remember that, either, but it sounds believable to him, too. Murdoc shouldn't worry, though. Nurse Morgan thinks Murdoc is a nice guy. 2D told her all about him.

Murdoc mostly just nods along as the singer talks. Either 2D doesn't notice, or he simply doesn't mind. The success of the surgery up to this point has him absolutely ecstatic, which is not something he is often. Murdoc briefly wonders how long it'll last.

Once back at the hotel, Murdoc helps 2D into his room, leaving his own unattended. Both Noodle and Russel text him constantly to make sure their singer is being cared for. Although they really mean for the best, Murdoc finds annoyance in their mistrust in him to be able to take care of 2D. He’ll be the best damn post-op caretaker there ever was.

Murdoc leaves 2D to make a trip to the store, promising to be quick in order to not leave the singer on his own for too long. 2D’s response to this had been one of surprise - surprise at the bassist’s eagerness to assist him. Of course, he’s more than okay with it. At the supermarket, Murdoc picks up every kind of medicine the doctors and nurses had suggested, some extra painkillers, bandaging, a case of water, crackers if the man gets hungry before his stomach can handle real food, gatorade for electrolytes - the clear kind in case Stu throws it up, microwave soup for later...all to prove a point, prove Rus and Noodle wrong.

When Murdoc returns to 2D’s room, only warning being his fumbling with the key and door knob, the singer flinches. He’s in the middle of a phone call with Noodle, which he ends abruptly at the sound of Murdoc entering. “Oh, hey, he’s back now. I’ve got to go.”

The bassist brings the groceries in and sets them at the foot of 2D’s bed, then quirking an eyebrow suspiciously at the way 2D ended the call. “The hell was that?”

2D picks up on Murdoc’s suspicion, the panic it causes creeping into his voice. “Oh, oh, I was just on the phone with Noodle. She says Katsu’s doing betta!”

“Uh huh,” Murdoc grumbles. “Well, I picked up your meds and shit, so why don’t you pop some pills and go to sleep for a while, hm?” He fishes around in the plastic bags for the pill boxes and hands some to 2D.

“Thanks,” the singer mumbles, tilting his head back and swallowing them dry.

Murdoc is just about to offer the guy a water bottle before realizing the singer has taken the pills already. He shrugs and sets the bottle of water on the nightstand by 2D’s head. “Alright. I’ll leave you alone, then.”

2D watches silently as Murdoc exits, leaving to his own hotel room. The day feels like it’s been so long. Maybe it’s all the naps and drug-induced sleep, but just this morning feels like forever ago. It’s hardly even sunk in yet that the surgery actually happened - he still gets shivers down his spine whenever he thinks about it. 2D picks his phone back up and texts Noodle again, first apologizing for hanging up so abruptly. She understands. They text back and forth until 2D is falling asleep in between messages and gives in to the overwhelming sensation.

… “Wake up, faceache,” a rough voice lulls 2D from his slumber. The blue haired man mumbles uninterpretable words as he slowly shifts into wakefulness. He sits up and locks eyes with Murdoc, who looks back at him with a tired expression. “I just got off the phone with your nurse. It’s time to fuck with your bandages.”

“O-Okay.” 2D sits up more now, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. “What do you need me to do?”

“Just sit tight. The lady told me to take your binder off and get some new bandages on ya. You ought to be pretty damn bloody by now.”

“Alright.” Against Murdoc’s command, 2D begins to tug on his binder. He struggles, as he always does, though especially so with his body being sore from the surgery only hours prior.

Murdoc smacks his hands away. “Ey, didn't I just tell ya to sit still?” 2D flinches. Murdoc takes the singer’s arms and forces him out of the binder, yanking him around like a toy he’s trying to undress, though careful of the drains attached at the belt around his waist. Murdoc flings the dirty binder to the side.

It’s in that moment, though he can’t say why, Murdoc feels his heart skip a beat, getting caught in his throat and forcing him to cough on nothing but his own spit. 2D’s chest is bare, battered and bloody and bruised, but just the way the singer has always wanted it. Murdoc swears the guy’s chest is somehow paler than the rest of him, which he never thought to be possible. But there’s something in the milk-white skin spattered with blotches of purple and blue that Murdoc finds to be gruesomely beautiful.

“Looks good, right?” 2D asks cheekily, albeit nervous as always of the bassist’s reaction.

“Looks bloody and bruised as hell, that’s how it looks,” Murdoc replies gruffly. “Let’s just get this done.” Unfortunately, Murdoc’s mind isn’t as agreeing, too focused on why the hell his heart started beating so fast rather than focusing on the job at hand. Carefully, he peels back the bandages along the scars and sets them off to the side. He grabs a wet washcloth he had prepared and gently dabs at the blood as the nurse instructed him to do so over the phone. After Stuart has been cleaned, he sets that down and grabs a new roll of gauze and bandaging and slowly replaces the dirtied ones. Stuart watches him in silence. Once finally finished, Murdoc moves back. “There we go. Just find another binder to put on.”

2D looks down at his chest, then back at Murdoc. “Thanks, Muds!”

Murdoc grumbles some sort of “no problem.” He heads back to his own room. “Go back to sleep, faceache. Take some of those meds so you don’t feel like you’re dying in the middle of the night.” With that, he’s out the door.

The bassist considers going down to the lobby for a drink, but he knows as soon as he’s down there, he’ll be getting himself wasted. He can’t do that to 2D. Not when he has to prove to Russel and Noodle that he is capable of doing this right.

Murdoc settles for going straight to his room, stripping down to his jeans, and having a smoke outside on the small porch. He leans over the railing with the lit cigarette dangling from his mouth. For a second, his mind flashes to an image of 2D only minutes ago, exposed with his beautifully beat up, resculpted chest. Murdoc grits his teeth. Fucking idiot. He knows there was no other option and 2D is his bandmate and all, but sweet satan, in this moment, he hates that he agreed to do this, he hates having to take care of that fucking dullard.

He just has to remind himself that there’s only two more full days before Russel gets back, and then he won’t have to pretend he gives a shit about Stuart anymore.

Chapter Text

2D wakes up late into the next day. He sits up and nearly jumps at the foreign pain in his chest. Stretching a bit more than he'd like, the singer reaches for some more pills and takes some liberally. After making sure the pain has been managed for the next few hours, 2D checks the time on the hotel room’s digital clock. It's already past noon. No wonder the pills from the night before have already begun to wear off. Maybe he should've set an alarm, though he had kind of figured that's what Murdoc is for.

2D grabs his phone from the nightstand. There’s a single text, from Noodle, simply a “goodnight” from their last conversation. He sets it back down and sinks back into the bed to think for a moment. Noodle and him have been talking about Murdoc a lot lately. She’s mostly just been checking in, making sure the bassist is taking care of 2D alright, but she hasn’t failed to notice the singer’s inexplicably ever-present infatuation with him. The first time 2D and Murdoc actually talked, as opposed to 2D only being in his catatonic state, Murdoc just fed him with compliments, telling him how rock and roll he looks and how he could be his band’s front man. That warmed 2D right up. Ever since then, 2D has looked up to the man for many reasons, despite all the reasons he shouldn’t. Recently, he swears Murdoc has been nicer to him. Noodle loves Murdoc - they are bandmates, after all - but she’s worried over how easily 2D lets himself get beat up by the bassist.

2D, on the other hand, really does think Murdoc has been better lately. He puts on a tough act, but that’s just how the guy is. Past that, he’s been taking very good care of 2D. Even though he can't remember due to the drugs, Nurse Morgan told 2D how Murdoc fought the doctors to make sure he was there for him until he was completely under. That's got to mean something, even if Murdoc didn't mention it at all. Speaking of which, he hasn’t seen Muds all day. He supposes he has been asleep, but he still wishes the bassist would come check on him and keep him company. 2D’s stomach makes a noise, interrupting his train of thought. He looks to the bags of groceries still at the foot of his bed. He doesn’t feel like eating. Instead, 2D flops back onto the bed, deciding to just sleep the rest of the day away. He can’t hope for Murdoc to come waltzing in anytime soon.

Murdoc does check on him. It just so happens he only checks on 2D when he’s asleep. The bassist makes sure of that. When Nurse Morgan called earlier that morning, 2D was still asleep. Murdoc just told her he didn’t want to bother the poor guy, so she let him off the hook. He doesn't want to have to deal with 2D. The singer can be so clingy, so needy. Murdoc mentally goes over a list of all the reasons he hates him. Sometimes he needs to remind himself before he forgets.

The following day goes just about the same, except Murdoc mistimes his checking on 2D. He checked on him in the morning around eight, when he knew he'd still be asleep. Guessing that the singer will wake up around one or two and go back to sleep for a while, Murdoc decides six in the evening is a safe time. He's wrong.

Murdoc knocks lightly, just for courtesy, on the door connecting their rooms before busting right in. It ends up being very awkward.

2D is sitting up in bed, hair absolutely awry from sleeping two whole days. “Hey, Muds.” His voice cracks, worse than usual, most likely due to not being in use for a while.

“Hey,” Murdoc responds awkwardly, still standing in the door. He closes it slowly behind him. “You doin alright?”

“Yeah, I...just woke up.”

“You hungry?” Murdoc doesn’t move closer. He really didn’t expect this visit to last more than five seconds.

He is. 2D is hungry. “No. I, uh, I’m just gonna take some pills again and sleep some more. Thanks, though.”

“Alright. I’ll, y’know, be over here if you need me.” The bassist turns and slips back into his own room, no hesitation in the way he slams the door shut. He groans. Why did that have to be so awkward? At least it’s his last day on the job. Sometime around noon tomorrow, Russel will arrive to take his place. Murdoc looks around his room, leaning against the door. He has shit littering the whole floor. Maybe he should take a few minutes to shove some of it back in his bag.

The next day, Murdoc checks on 2D briefly at nine in the morning, and the singer is still asleep. He finishes packing his things back into his little suitcase, and by that time, he takes a cigarette out onto the porch to wait for when Russel arrives in a half hour.

When the drummer arrives, they exchange little words. Murdoc lets Russel know that 2D is still asleep and then hands him the room key before leaving through the lobby of the hotel. Russel says, “2D better not be dead when I get up there,” but that's all.

Murdoc drives home speedily, as Russel had gotten himself a rental car at the airport, and he wants to make sure he can get back to the spirit house in time for a few beers at an appropriate hour. He chews on a toothpick just to be doing something as he sits behind the wheel. Murdoc gets to wondering whether maybe he should've at least said goodbye to Stuart or something. Maybe he can send a text. He makes the excuse to himself that texting and driving is dangerous and illegal just so he doesn't feel guilty for not doing it. The singer will manage. Not that anyone can be as good a caretaker as Murdoc. Probably.

The bassist arrives home at seven sharp. Plenty of time for a few beers. Noodle must be out when he walks in, because the garage is empty. The house is eerily quiet, so quiet he can hear the faucet dripping from the bath as he walks by on his way to the room. It sends shivers down Murdoc’s spine. Shaking it off, he shoves his suitcase into his room and pulls a few cans of beer from his stash under his bed. He's got no one to worry about but himself tonight.

It makes him wonder why he's got a nagging anxiousness at the back of his mind.

Chapter Text

They maybe didn’t listen to what the doctor said.

It’s only been a single week since 2D’s surgery, but he’s finally home, so of course they have to celebrate. Noodle had gone to the store earlier to pick up a little red wine. Now, the band drinks cheerfully, floating around the living room and kitchen.

After their little party, which ends no earlier than one in the morning, 2D heads back to his room contentedly. He closes his door and stands in front of the mirror on the back of it. Gently, he lifts his shirt off to admire his chest. 2D runs his slender fingers over the slow-healing scars that run the perimeter of it. They’ll heal in time. What really matters is that he’s flat. 2D turns to his side to look at his profile and a goofy grin breaks out on his face, skin flushed with tipsiness. A knock on his door catches him off guard.

2D looks down at his half-naked self and wonders if he should find wherever his shirt landed on the ground, but feels bad for leaving whoever is out there hanging for even this long. “Oh, uh, come in!” The door swings open, and 2D takes a few steps back. “Murdoc! What is it you need?”

“I just, mm, wanted to talk.” The bassist closes the door quietly behind him.

“Take a seat,” 2D offers awkwardly, gesturing to the edge of his bed. Murdoc does so.

Murdoc sighs. Cautiously, 2D takes a seat at his desk. “I was talkin to Noodle, and, well, I thought I might...I thought it might be time I say sorry. For the way I treat you.” 2D’s face is more flushed than before, and he tries to say something like a thank you, but Murdoc isn’t done. “And don’t try to tell me it doesn’t matter, because it does. I take advantage of you and treat you like shit just because I know you’ll stick around, but I got to thinkin, I thought...What if you don’t, y’know? Maybe I need you more than I’d want to admit, and not just for the band. And every time I fuck with you, hm...I’m really just takin the anger I have with myself out on you. So, yeah, uh...I’m sorry. I feel like I ought to say more, but I’m not too good at this.” Murdoc looks up from his lap, where he wrung his hands, and flinches in surprise when he sees tears in 2D’s eyes.

“Oh, Muds, I don’t know what to say.”

“Don’t worry about it.”

Murdoc stays in 2D’s room late into the night. The two goof around, and Murdoc manages to crack a smile at something the singer does that doesn’t have anything to do with getting hurt.

2D makes a joke, says something funny, though Murdoc can’t really remember what other than that it involves something to do with why 2D sits on his lap just to drive the point home. Murdoc kind of laughs at this, just the whole situation. He places one hand on 2D’s hip and the other on the back of his head and in an instant, flips the singer over so that Murdoc is hovering over him. Murdoc is still laughing, and 2D is giggling too, but they look into each other’s eyes and the sound fades.

Hesitantly, Murdoc leans in, stopping not two inches from 2D’s face, searching his expression for any clues. 2D swallows visibly then leans his head up to close the distance. Their lips meet, and satan, the singer’s lips are softer than a pillow, softer than anything he’s ever felt before. Murdoc cups the other’s face with his hands and gently pushes him back into the bed.

After a few seconds in absolute heaven, Murdoc lets go, and 2D sucks in air. “Oh, fuck, Muds. I - I’ve wanted that for so long.”

“Sorry to keep you waiting,” the bassist says with a chuckle.

2D hesitates for a moment. “I’m not really supposed to be moving much. ‘Cause of the scars.”

“Then don’t.” Murdoc presses his lips to the other’s once more, but this time, it’s somehow better than the last. Sickly green fingers thread through blue hair, and long pale fingers hold on tight so the other can never let go, and they stay like this until the sun rises.