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The last thing he felt was a bag slip over his head. Then he was knocked out.

By the time Russel Hobbs had woken up, he was already in the belly of the beast- Kong studios. Once the bag was taken off his head, he stood up and pushed away who ever his kidnapper was.

"Where the fuck am I. I am NOT the type of guy you want to mess with assbite" Russel spit out.

"Oh trust me, I have the exact type of offer you'd wanna mess with, mate." The voice came from a rather ugly man standing in front of Russel. Tall, one red eye, and honestly somewhat green. It caught Russel off guard, but not enough to stop him from trying to find the door.

"Yeah sure," He said, pushing past him. "Where's your goddamn door I'm leaving then I'm calling the fuckin' police."

"Hey hey wait!" He said, blocking his path yet again. "You haven't even heard my offer yet. I didn't go through the trouble of nappin' ya for nothin."

come on Russ just beat his punk ass a voice echoed through his head. This being from Del, Russel's late "friend" who inhibited his head. There were many ghosts taking shelter in Russel's head, however Del was the most prominent- and most annoying. Now, like most times, Russel tried to ignore it.

"And I didn't get a job for nothin'. Get out of my way!" He said trying to maneuver his way to an escape route.

The man wouldn't give up, "I already know where you live, mate. Just listen to my offer then I'll leave ya alone."

"I'll listen, but only if you show me the door." Russel had heavy disgust and impatients in his voice.

"Alright, but I doubt youll want ta. I'm Murdoc Nickels," he started, in a showy tone. "Satanist, ladies man, and bassist extraordinaire, eh? I'm putting a band together. Fortune, fame, world domination! The whole shebang. And that's where you come in, Russel Hobbs, a man with a great knowledge of beat, rhythm- and, and- what better for MY band then a drummer with a whole gang of rap gods in his 'ead!"

I'm flattered said the spirit sarcastically.

Russel was shocked. "A BAND DEAL- dude, what the fuck is wrong with you? What- ya ugly ass couldn't just put out an ad or just goddamn asked. Nah, ya gotta put me in bag and drag me to your weird perv house. I might've joined a band under normal ass conditions but fuck you. I'm definitely not joining your band!" He tried to push past Murdoc again, only to be blocked once again.

"Aah come on," Murdoc said desperately, "ya haven't even heard my sound yet! Listen to my tracks and if you aren't on board after that, I'll let ya go. Swear on my heart."

Russel sighed. "Well I don't think you have a heart, but I'll listen to your tracks-but then you better let me fuckin leave or it'll be your fault not mine when you're on the floor crying"

"Yeaah, lets go to our recording room, shall we."

They had been walking done halls and trough multiple rooms for what seemed like forever. Murdoc was filling the akward silence with mostly bragging about himself. Del might have been listening and making comments, but Russel was looking more at the "decor". The walls were covered in band memorabilia, framed pictures (mostly of Murdoc), as well as cracks and water stains. It must've been a mansion, and a creepy, old, haunted one at that. Not that Russ was the one to complain about things being haunted.

Just as Murdoc was is the middle of a story about a one night stand with a double amputee, a door opened.

"Oi, there's ol' face-ache. 2D this is the prime drummer I was talking about. Russel, this is 2D, our singer, pretty boy, and occasional melodica player."

Melodica, huh? You like blowin dudes key boards Russ? Russel giggled, but then realized he was in public and his laugh was out of context.

Out of the door came a man, tall, lanky, with bright blue hair. He turned and faced them and revealed a striking feature- no eyes at all.

Damn, Russel thought, did this man just make sure everyone in his band had weird eyes so he wouldn't look weird?

"Oh great! Nice to meet ya Russel," 2D said, extending his hand and grining widely. "It'll be nice to 'have more people around 'ere."

Russel shook his hand and gave a half smile. His voice was rather squeaky and very British. It seemed like an odd choice for a singer. Pretty boy indeed, um! Del was sometimes very distracting.

"Did he kidnap you too?" Russel said sarcastically.

"MURDOC! You can't just go around kidnapin' blokes. It's illegal and wrong!" 2D said.

"Oh Pots, if rubish things like 'the law' or 'morality' got in my way I wouldn't be the man I am today." Murdoc said.

"Maybe that would a good thing" Russel mumbled. 2D laughed, but Murdoc maded an annoyed grumble. His giggle was enough to make the drummer smirk.

When they finally got to the recording room, the door was locked. Murdoc pulled out a key fiddle with it. He grunted and banged the door a bit in frustration, but it gave way after a moment.

"Welcome to where the magic happens." Murdoc said in a grand fashion. The room, however, didn't match his tone. It had a desk, some cabinets, and a crude recording set up with a small mic and tape set, then beside that a tape player and speakers.

"Yeah, yeah okay, just show me ya tracks so I can get outta here." Russel said.

Murdoc fumbled through cabinets, and 2D sat down in a spare chair. He just realized that he came out to get some dinner and just followed them instead, leaving him both hungry and too embarrassed to leave now.

Murdoc pull out a tape and put it into the player. He pressed play and turn to Russel, looking as if he was expecting Russel to explode or something while the tape played.

It started with a smooth baseline, clean and rhythmic. Good, but Russel was yet satisfied enough to see what warranted his kidnapping. It was soon accompanied by a rather mediocre guitar part and a pretty obviously computer generated drum beat. It was pretty good, with some guidance it come really become something, he thought. He still wasn't bought, but he was coming to the "negotiable". Then the voice started.

It was smooth and mesmerizing, it sent a shiver down Russel's back. How in the world could that be the same guy singing it? Now, that, was the potential he was waiting for. The voice, the interesting cords, it had done it. He couldn't believe he was saying it but he did.

"I'll do it"

sorry for such a sorry first chapter, next is coming soon

Chapter Text

His spirits had always been more active at night. Theoretically, they could get out of his body when he was asleep, but only Del was strong enough to do so, and Del would rather stay and hang out with Russel. Unfortunately, "hanging out" sometimes meant Del trying to help him through a nightmare.

Night after night Russel would struggle through his demons. Literally demons, memories of times he was possessed and did harm to people, him hating himself for that, and of course, the shooting. Del appearing in his dreams bloodly and shot up, his other friends only being able to scream. Del could not control what happened in Russel's dreams, but he did what he could.

Tonight was more mellow. He dreamt he was back in Brooklyn, simply hanging out with his friends, sitting on the hood of his car. Del was the only spirit strong enough to actually talk to him, but them just being around, not screaming, was nice.

"So what do ya think of this new, uh, 'job' I got myself into? I mean it'll be nice being in a band again, but he literally kidnapped me." He said to Del.

"I don't know man... it might make you happy. I know you've been missin' playing. It probably won't go anywhere but who knows...besides you could meet some chicks and dudes through a band, dog." Del said playfully punching him in the arm.

"Aw, you know don't need help with that! I've always been smooth as hell." Russel said chuckling.

"Not as smooth as me though!"

"I guess you're right. It does take a lot to smooth over me...I just wish we had more time man." Russel said laying back on the hood of the car.

"aw come on Russ, I don't want to talk about that right now." he sighed. He laid back to and held Russel's hand. "I loved you, I-I love you,... but you gotta move on. Dude I'm a ghost! I haunt you, I don't help you. You need to ethier find someone else or just let go. That's how you move forward and that's how my spirit gets liberated. Its better for both of us."

"I know...I just need time. You and all of them were such a big part of my life. I just got over the last time I was possessed, finally feeling normal and like a good person. I'm sorry, man"

"nah, don't be. It's okay to take time. Even a long time. Everything is gonna be okay. For now, we can just hang out."

They continued to talk and enjoy each other's company as Russel slowly regained consciousness.


 

A two weeks later Russel found himself moving into Kong Studios.

It was crazy to him, and anyone really. He was moving in with the guy who kidnapped him a couple weeks ago. Well not moving in with him, moving in with the band, really.

At first he wanted to stay in his own home, but he couldn't negotiate with Murdoc. Murdoc insisted that he move in to Kong because he "wanted all his resources in one place" and argued that the commute everyday would be too much of a hassle. This went under the threat of being dropped from the band, which Russel tried to play cool, but eventually gave in.

This ment a few things. Russel would have to move. This seemed very unreasonable, but Russel supposed he didn't like his uncle that much anyway. Russel would have to quit his job. This one actually was quite hard, he loved the record shop and knew many people that frequented it as friends. Finally, this also meant Russel would have to deal with Murdoc every single day for very low income. Now that one was going to suck.

He pulled up to the weird mansion in his car full of boxes. He sighed because he had to carry each box up the long length of steep steps that lead to the door.

He started with the most important thing, but also the hardest to get up the steps. It was a beat machine, a computer that can generate any drum beat you want and more. It had been passed down from artist to artist and now it was his. Or the bands rather. He picked it up as high as he could and started up the steps, this was going to be a long trek.

He was about half way up the steps when the doors of Kong Studios opened. Out came 2D barreling down the steps.

"RUSS! Eh, Russel there ya are buddy! We were wondering' what was takin' ya so long" he said excitedly.

2D seemed like a good guy to Russel. He was pretty nice during the past two weeks, he offered Russel food, he asked Russel what he thought about everything when they had band discussions, and was all round polite company. He seemed like a bit of a goof, silly and happy.

"Let me help you with that." 2D said. Russel was skeptical of how much weight exactly this skinny boy could actually carry. He adjusted his grip so he was carrying most of the weight, and gently lowered the upper side into his hands. Just as he had expected, 2D immediately made a bunch of struggling sounds, but keep going anyway. It only really helped a little but Russel appreciated the gesture.

"Almos' there" 2D said, they were a few steps away from the door. They had reached the top of the hill and set it down at the door.

Russel wiped sweat off his brow, "Great. Now we just need to carry ten more boxes."

The door opened again, this time, standing in the doorway, was Paula Cracker. He had met her during one of the band meetings, meetings of which she only really went to half of at most. She was rather mean and really tried to push an image of not caring. No doubt that she had waited until they were done carrying it so she wouldn't have to help, and no doubt she wasn't going to help with the rest of them.

"Oh there you are 2D, come to the kitchen and get some lunch with me, babe." She said.

"I can't, I'm helping Russel take in his boxes. You can help us if you want." Tough chance, Russel thought.

"I'd rather not thanks," she retorted "come on I'm your girlfriend." She whined.

"Ill have lunch with you as I were done, luv." He said.

She huffed, "Fine whatever" and off she went down the hall.

Russel and 2D picked up the beat machine again to take it inside. "She sounds like a handful" Russel commented.

"Oh no. She's great. I love her. She's pretty and cool. Sometimes we disagree, but who doesn't, eh?" They set down the beat machine and went back out the door. As they were walking down the steps they continued their conversation.

"So do you have anybody Russel? You seem like you'd have one."

"Oh, uh yeah, I've had some here and there. My situation right now is a little...complicated." Russel said awkwardly.

"I understand. I've been through complicated stuff too. Eh, actually I think that's just my life now."

"I know exactly what that's like." Just as Russel said this, Murdoc came up behind the pair.

"Hello Russel," he said, rolling the r, "ready to life the band experience full time?"

"Ready as I'll ever be."


 

Once they had gotten all of the boxes inside, Murdoc spoke up again. "Okay then, pick any room ya like. Just not one that's being used. Or do I don't care, just not my room. 2D can show you around. I'm going to the recording room if ya need me. For the love of god, please don't need me."

Trust me we won't , Del said. He was pretty quiet today.

"So what room do you suggest I pick?"

2D smiled, "I know exactly the one, follow me. I'll show you stuff around the house along the way." He started off down the hall way and Russel followed.

It was a big place, many rooms, many places, and many many halls. 2D happily showed him along the ones along the way to where they were going.

When walking down one hall Russel spoke up, "So 2D, I suppose that's not your birth name, huh?"

"nah. I like it better than my real name though. My real name is Stu Pot. It's not really that great of a name. 2D sounds really cool, so I stick with it."

"And how'd you get that cool name of yours?" Russel asked.

"Oh that's a great story! So I was just working at this music shop right? Minding my own business, probably staring off into space when BANG! Murdoc drives his car through the building and the bumper smacks me straight in the face! My eye is gone, well pushed in I think, I'm comatose, Murdoc is under court mandate to take care of my mindless body."

"That's crazy man!"

"But that's not it. Ya see Murdoc didn't even bother to buckle me in to his car when driving around. So one day he's doing donuts or somethin' and rams into a hydrant at high speed. I'm sent flying through the window, hit the pavement head first, and bang bang, there goes my second eye. Somehow the whole mess brings me out of my coma and Murdoc dubs me two dents, or 2D, cause my heads got two dents in it. That's also how I became singer of the band."

"That's...wild, man. So that's how you got those crazy eyes?" Russel said chuckling.

"Oi! You have weird ones too. Why don't you tell me where you got those."

"Um...I think thats a story for another day." He said, avoiding the subject. "So where is this perfect woman room you told me about ?"

"Oh, we're here already. Just a few doors down." 2D walked further down the hall and stoped at big redwood door. He opened it and said, "Behold! Pretty cool right?"

Inside was a big open room. It had a big comfy looking bed on the far left side and a sliding mirror that lead to a walk in closet on the other end. They had a bathroom connected to it as well as a moderately sized tv in the middle. But mostly impressively, it had a big long window extending along most of the room. It looked out past the graveyard that Kong Studios was built on, but the view spanded long enough to see a green valley and trees and such. It was very nice.

"This is great man, nice choice. I like it."

"Ya, I thought you would. Also it's right above my room, and right below the theater. So I think it's a nice spot." 2D said. " I'll help you move all of your stuff to it."

Russel's stomach made an embarrassing noise, "But first let's get some lunch. I'm starving."

2D's expression changed to that of horror. "Oh shit!"

"What? What is it?" Russel said alarmed.

"I forgot about Paula"

Chapter Text

2D ran out of the room to the kitchen to get to Paula for what he was sure was going to be a big fight. It had been at least half an hour of touring and she was most definitely pissed. Russel didn't follow him. He definitely did not want to see another Paula fight. He had seen at least three in the past two weeks, and they were bad. With those two it was either grossly affectionate or fighting.

He was really hungry, however he would never be hungry enough to go into the kitchen with them fighting in there. Buthe was hungry. He went down the system of elevators to get to the door, he thought maybe he could go to a pub real quick. He had to go outside again at least to get his boxes.

He made his way outside, thankfully finding a way around the fighting "lovers" and got to his car. He drove back town and realized that it was almost 3: 30. Either 2D gave him a lot longer of a tour than he thought, or 2D didn't keep track of time enough to have lunch at a normal time. Russel supposed he was no better and began looking for a good place to eat, and eventually settled on a place called 'Harry's Mermaid'. He walked in, wondering if the pubs title was some sort of sexual innuendo, and took a seat at a table right by the bar. He picked up his menu and looked it over.

Hey Russel, get some of them garlic fries. I love that shit Del echoed through his head.

Dude, shut up, you don't even eat anymore.

However, looking over the menu, Russel did want garlic fries. He ended up order that, along with a burger, a salad, and a tall beer.

Half through a very neutral tasting meal of staring off into space in deep thought, the had opened again. It had done this many times while Russel had his meal, but this time, the one pushing the door was the same blue haired boy he had spent the afternoon with. Alone.

He probably just got away from Paula, and understandably, wanted a drink. Russel felt kind of awkward, should he call to 2D over to his table? Should he just let him be? He didn't know if he was at that point in their possible friendship to have a beer with him, not to mention calling him over would just be ...weird.

2D was the same way. He saw Russel when he first opened the door to the pub, but he had just got out of a fight, and a bad one at that. He thought maybe sitting with Russel might make him feel better but who knows. He was awfully emotional at the moment and if he cried in front of Russel...well he didn't know what would happen but it would be good. At the same time ignoring him the entire time would also be awkward, and it would stay that way the whole time. He should probably just sit with him to be nice.

He was walking in his direction, avoiding eye contact, then realized it would also be weird to just walk right to his table. He panicked a bit then walked to the bar and just as he was sitting down he "just now saw" Russel.

"Oh hey Russ, didn't see ya there? Havin' a good meal?" He said, trying to maintain his cool façade.

"Oh yeah it's good food, uh..w-why don't you sit down?" Russel replied.

It's not good food though, dog Del commented. Russel shushed him internally, or at least he thought he did.

2D, thinking it was directed at him, said "what did ya shush me for?"

Russel panicked, "Uh there's just something thing in my teeth- shh shh that I'm trying to get out." He stuttered out.

Wow man, really smooth tonight

"So..uh, anyway how's..." Russel was going to asking 'how was your day?' But, he knew, he had a fight. He needed to figure out a question quick. "How's...life uh, going for ya..?"

Oh my god

2D could tell that Russel was either trying to avoid conversation about Paula, or he was just as akward as he was. Either possibility was fine by him.

"Life's just as always. Ya know, weird, I guess." 2D said.

Russel thought about it for a second, "I guess you're right. Hell, I just moved into the house of the guy that kidnapped me, man!"

"You think that's bad? Murdoc ran me over, launched me out his car, knocked in both of my eyes, took poor care of my mindless body, and I didn't give a second thought to joining his band!" 2D said.

"Man...you think we attract strange shit or are we the strange shit?" Russel said, putting a handful of fries in his mouth.

"It's honestly, probably, both. "

Russel looked at his plate and realized that 2D didn't have food yet. "Oh sorry man. I'm eating right in front of you and you ain't even got beer yet."

"Nah it's fine. I am starvin' though."

Russel got the attention of a waitress and got 2D a menu. He ended up ordering fish and chips, with a beer of course.

"So what were ya thinkin' for band names Russ?" 2D asked. He didn't really want to talk about the band that much, but he also didn't have anything better to talk about.

"I don't man maybe... something to do with eyes. I mean will all have weird eyes right?"

"Except for Paula." He said looking down. He tried really hard not to cry. He shut his eyes and breathed very slow steady breaths.

"Right yeah..." Russel felt really bad. It wasn't his fault, he knew that, but it was hard to see this guy have such a hard time. "Maybe we could name it like one word. I've always like bands that are named one word, man... "

2D looked back up, "do ya think... she doesn't like me 'cause I'm too stupid?" He was on the verge of tears.

"Aw come on don't do that to yourself. You're not stupid dude. can't just let people make you feel bad. Especially when they're supposed to be your significant other." Russel said. He was afraid he was going to make things worse, but at the same time, flattered that he felt he could trust him enough to talk about his problems. Maybe they were good friends already.

"I don't know what to do...I love her, but I'm sure she hates me." He was wiping away tears, when the waitress came and set down his food.

"No man, she doesn't hate you, I'm sure of it." Russel said before finishing his last piece of food. "You two just need to figure it out. Talkin' out ya problems. If you communicate right it will work out, I'm sure of it."

"Yeah?" He asked, starting to eating his fries.

"Yeah man."


 

The two had both finished their meals, payed for them, but kept talking and drinking. They talked about sort of basic things, what shows they like, what hobbies they had outside of music, (for Russel this meant doodling and cooking, and for 2D this meant gardening), and just random things to make conversation.

However, they soon realized that it was 7:30, and that they should probably go home. They left a huge tip to thank they waitress for waiting on them the entire time they were there and began to head home.

They had two separate cars but they were both kinda drunk so they took a bus, or at least as far as a bus would take them, and walked the rest of the way.

2D stopped at the door, "Do we have to go in?"

Russel laughed and opened the door. They walked through the house to get to his room, they tried to be quiet or as quiet as two drunk men could be. No one was asleep, it was only 8:30, but making it to his room undetected would mean not confrontation with Paula. Murdoc on the other hand didn't care. They passed by him and he just rolled his eyes and went back to reading whatever sleezy magazine or band autobiography he had.

They got to his room and Russel sat down on the floor and leaded his head on the wall. 2D, however, put his head to the floor and stuck his but up in the air. Russel was confused, but then he realized that he was pushing his ear to the floor, he was listening into his room on the floor below.

"I think she's in my room...yeah! She is s-she's waiting for me Russ!" He said rolling to his back and pulling on his hair. "I don't wanna to go down there... it's just g-gonna be another fight!"

"Aw nah...it'll be okay dude...man... just like avoid your room for a bit. She'll fall asleep eventually. "

2D sat up, "but what do I do until then?"

Russel shrugged, "I don't know watch TV? You can use mine if ya want."

"Alright, Telly it is." He said, picking up the remote.

For the next couple of hours, they mindlessly watched two and a half shitty movies. Not that the quality of the movies really matter to these inebriated gentlemen, avoiding the room below them.

2D stood up, "I'm gonna go to bed. Gonna risk it. She's probably not asleep, but whatever."

"K' good night...good luck" Russel said.

Russel turned off the TV and climbed into bed, he was feeling tired too. He was just about to fall asleep but then he heard something below him. He heard them fighting.

He could hardly hear it, but he knew it was yelling, and he knew it it was bad. He sighed and tried to go to sleep.

It was going to be a long night.

Chapter Text

Russel hated Paula.

That was the simplest way of saying it, and with good reason. First of all, she was not a pleasant person to be around, very sarcastic it in a toxic way, little care of much but herself, and to be quite frank, not very good at playing guitar or coming with ideas (despite her belief that she was really very good). She reminded Russel of Murdoc, but with less talent and, if possible, more of an ability to get on his nerves.

However, this was not what pissed him off the most. The true reason he hated her was not her difficulty to deal with. He had dealt with many annoy things in his life, literally hellspawns, so this didn't truly make him mad. What really made his heavy heart boil was how she effected 2D.

2D seemed to be a very sweet man, soft, warm, and because of this, a welcome mat to anyone around him. Paula didn't see(or perhaps she did and did not care) how gentle this man is, how he needs kindness and affection. She is always fighting with him and then keeps him in the relationship by having one burst of extremely happy, cozy behavior. 2D might not see it, but Russ knows exactly what's happening.

Russel had been in abusive relationships before, he knows what to look for and how hard it is to get out of them, and it would be, no it will be, harder in this case because, Murdoc will die before breaking up this band. He saw the slaps and the marks she made during the fights, he saw the isolation when she tried to stop them from hanging out, and he saw the absolute dependency that she had gotten 2D to have with her.

Because of this Russel and 2D mainly hung out at night. They used to hang out a lot, they were good friends now. They eat at the pub together a lot, the play quite a bit of video games, but for a while they didn't really hang out all that much because of her, just in the entire group if at all. Then one night, Russel heard a knock on his door. He opened to find the same blue hair pretty boy that was on his mind.

"hey Russ, um sorry it's so late, but I can get to sleep an' I was just finking we could hang out for awhile until I'm more tired." He said, looking at the floor. It was pretty obvious he had been crying, even without visible eyes.

Russel began with a gentle voice, "ya man, of course". He let him inside and sat down on a bean bag chair had moved in, while 2D sat on an adjacent one. "So what do ya wanna do? Wanna play more video games? Watch some bad movies? How about Good Eats, I love Alton brown..." he trailed off. 2D had hid his head in his arms. "Are you okay man?" He said in the most gentle voice he could make.

"Ya...I'm fine" 2D replied, still in his arms, voice cracking.

Russel put his hand on 2D's shoulder, "aw come man...you can be real with me. I'm not gonna laugh or anything. I'm fragile too. I cry all the time."

2D raised his head and looked at him with fresh hot tears streaming down his face, "really? You always look so strong secure. I'm just a bloody wimp!"

Russel's heart was breaking. "no no no, you're not a wimp! Don't ever think you're weak for showing and expressing your emotions. Being able to have them is what makes you strong."

"Really?" He said, wiping away tears.

"Yeah man." Russel said reassuringly.

2D laid back and sighed. Russel picked up the remote and turned on the TV. He put it on some random movie about a woman who ran a flower shop. After a few moments of silence Russel spoke up, "You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to but know that I'm always here if you need an ear."

It was silent for what seemed like ages, then the faintest whisper came from 2D's direction. "I know she doesn't love me."

It was so faint Russel could barely hear. "I s-she doesn't, but I love so much and I don't know what to do."

"it's okay... you can get through this. Your strong and smart and you'll know what'll do." Russel didn't want to out right say 'dump her abusive ass'. He needed gentle comfort at the moment.

Suddenly Russel was flustered. This was because 2D had leaned in and gave him a nice warm hug. He was crying once again, if he ever stopped, and this time he was pressed into his chest. Russel hugged back tightly, he was almost overwhelmed with emotions. He really like 2D and wanted to protect him. He was very touched by this act of connection that they were in, and was very quick to let go as soon as 2D did so he didn't over step his bounds.

"thanks" 2D whispered.

They spent the rest of the night watching dumb moives in peaceful silence. Russel woke up the next morning, still in his bean bag chair. 2D must have slipped out later and turned of the TV. Russel smiled at the thought of their friendship.

This became a regular thing, and not just on the nights when they had a massive fight. They talked about all kinds of things, watched a heck of a lot of cooking shows, and played almost all of Russel's games. It was really...nice.


There was no fighting today, at least so far. Russel was very happy at that. However, this also meant he had to endure every second of gross over 'affection' that Paula used to make 2D stay with her.

She was sitting in 2D's lap drinking a beer, "baby you're so cuuute. You love me right? I looove you babe." It appeared that she was already drunk.

"Of course I love my muffin" he replied with a goofy smile.

Oooh muffin. I should call you muffin Russel.

More like muffin top for me, dude Russel giggled with the man in his head. But then he frowned.

Russel could see it was a fake smile that 2D, he wasn't happy, he couldn't be...or maybe he just wanted to see that. He hated Paula very deeply, but he was happy today. He knew she wasn't good in the long run for him, but he knows he can't just dive into his friends life and control him. He was happy today and they was good enough for now.

Russel made breakfast that day, he made pancakes. He usually liked to make more interesting food like curries or sushi or something like that, but he didn't think that that was the right thing to make for breakfast for three white English people. He flipped them very skillfully, the cakes flying high in the air, an action that made 2D say various awed noises. Paula and Murdoc simultaneously round their eyes and looked at each other.

Paula and 2D were feeding each other and Russel could tell it was going to be a very long day.

They had a couple of meetings talking about what they wanted the band to be called. It was very hard to get anything done with Paula in the first place and distracting the front man of the band didn't help either.

Russel didn't care anymore,"Look dude, why don't we just do an animal. Like it doesn't have to mean anythang k'? Ya think Ringo Starr woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and was like 'yeah the Beatles, it symbolizes the oppressed lower class and British colonization"

"Ringo Starr wasn't there at the beginning of the band, mate. Plus why'd ya pick Ringo? He's like the worst part of the Beatles."

Paula cackled, "it's because he's the damn drummer."

"We can't just be a fuckin' animal! We are revolutionaries! We go against the grain, we are here to tell manufactured bands made of plastic to sod off!" Murdoc yelled.

"Oh my god, I want to say shit too just, can we goddamn put that in the music. We are wasting time trying to make the name something cool. "

Murdoc crossed his arms and slouched, "Fine, whatever make it some stupid shitty animal, see if I care."

"Fine cool," Russel smiled. "Hey D what's your favorite animal?"

"What!? Your asking face-ache to decide our band's fate?" Murdoc whined.

"I thought you didn't care." Russel said. Murdoc responded with a series of muffled grumbles.

"So what is it, man? What's your favorite animal?"

"M-mine? Um...I rather like gorillas."

"Well then we'll be 'gorilla', great let's go." He said.

"We going to the pub? I'd love a bit to eat bout now." 2D said.

"Yeah man come on." Russel said smiling.

"k great. Me n' Paula will be down in a minute." With that 2D and Paula leafy the room.

Russel sighed, he didn't really mean Paula. He wanted some time away from her. He turned to Murdoc.

"Well how about you? If little miss difficult is going you might as well too." Russel said, trying to make some sort of a connection with his 'boss'.

"nah mate. I'm gonna do do my own business. Have fun trying cope with...them." He said disgusted.

"okay whatever man."

When the trio finally ended up at the bar, it was not much better than the meetings. Nonetheless, Russel tried to make polite conversation.

"So..um how'd you two meet." Russel said shifting in his seat.

"Oh we just met in the music shop. Ya know, the same one Murdoc ran me over in." He laughed.

"He was the cute cashier I couldn't resist!" She said, slinging her arm over his shoulder.

And yet the one who ran him over was deemed more fit to take care of the comatose bastard

Oh my god you're right. This girl is so fake

Everything was akward. Paula always was butting in to add some ridiculous comment, and god knows Russel wasn't going to talk about the same stuff he talks about when him and 2D are alone.

At one point they just started making out, the same point in which Russel had had enough. He stood up and didn't even get a box for his food. He respectfully set down his part of the check and started to leave.

2D looked up at him confused, "Why are you going, you can stay." He said. He seemed to be oblivious to the situation.

"Nah, I ...nah I just gotta go, okay? I'm done here." Russel said before walking away distraught.

"um okay bye" 2D said faint and almost hurt. He even stopped a second before going back to kissing the woman next to him.


 

Russel walked back to his room frustrated. He passed Murdoc who commented " couldn't last could ya haha" he said with a mocking laugh.

Russel was finally back in his room. He fell back into his bean bag and grunted.

You okay man? Del approached softly.

I can not believe her! She thinks she can just fuck him up real good and get away with it.

She's not going to man. You're making sure of that. If she fucks his shit you can fuck her shit.

Yeah. Okay. I'm trying.

I know man you got this. You've handle this before and you can do it again. My big strong man is gonna win this time.

Yeah I'm sure.

Russel proceeded to stare at the ceiling for awhile, and then, in an amazing feat, did the same with the TV and Alton Brown's face. It was hard to be miserable watching a show he loved so much he, but he managed.

He looked at the clock and he had so how managed to waste enough time to make it to 9:30 at night. He sighed, he should probably do something, or should have done something productive with his time, but it didn't matter now. He knew by now that the couple would be in their room by now, but on one of their "good" days he didn't dare listen. Hearing their fights was inevitable, but he swore to god he would not hear them doing the act if he could help it.

Russel closed his eyes and waited for the day to be over. He fell asleep soon after, but sure enough, later he was woken up- by a knock at his door. He shot up, wiped the drool off his face and opened the door.

Unsurprisingly, in was 2D, and Russel was quite happy that his arrival was no longer a surprise.

"Hey there, welcome to the party," Russel said, happy to finally have a good time with his friend.

"Hey Russ." He said with a big smile on his face. He sat down in his usual spot, content with what Russel had left on the TV.

Russel joined him. He looked at 2D and just watched him for a second. He smiled and was happy truly for the first time that day.

"Russel you never told me how you got your eyes like that." He said absent mindedly. "Can you tell me now?"

Russel breath got stuck in his throat.

It's okay, you can tell him

" I'm sorry. If it's too personal you don't have tell me."

Russel looked straight into his eyes, "no...no. I'll tell you." Russel took a deep breath.

"So there I was hanging out with my crew back in Brooklyn..."


 

Author note: it's hard to write in Del to much but if you want more Del then comment and I'll add it

Chapter Text

Russel woke up in his room, still in his bean bag chair. Like hanging out with 2D this had become a habit, and was horrible for his back. He hadn't slept in his own bed in awhile because they always did stuff until he fell asleep. Despite this, 2D had always found a way to sneak out of his room afterwards and end up back in his own room. He wished more than anything that they could just hang out like normal people, that he would leave Paula.

Russel stopped himself. He knew that Paula was abusive and bad for 2D, but he was not ready to just barge in on his life. He didn't know 2D enough to just tell him 'I know what's better for you'. But at the same time...

Isnt it what's right? To help him out of something that could totally mess him up forever? He knew from experience that this relationship would only bring his friend pain. So even if it hurts the friendship he should do it...right?

He assured him, yes, this is what he had to do. Today he would at least tell 2D to stand up for himself, protect himself maybe. This was the right thing to do, he was sure. Or at least he thought he was.

Russel walked down to the kitchen to get some breakfast, clear his mind, god willing. When he opened the door, he was surprised to see 2D, and only 2D. Usually Paula would eat breakfast with him, but Russel wasn't complaining.

"Morning 'D, gettin' some breakfast?" Russel said

2D looked up and smiled, "Yeah, good morning"

Russel looked at his breakfast, a burnt piece of toast with no butter or anything. It already had a big bite out of it.

"Awe come on 'D that's not breakfast. That's shit man, how do you even eat that?" Russel said. "Imma make you some eggs or something."

"oh, you don't have to do that," He protested.

"Nah man, I was gonna make something already. I swear to god, if I wasn't here you'd starve, man"

Russel got out a pan and some eggs out the fridge. He turned on the burner, "So D' you wanna hang out today? Ride around town, see if there's a record shop or some shit?" Russel, of course, already knew the answer. That being that Paula would not let him doing anything without her. But this was the easiest way to transition in to talking about Paula.

"Well I'm not sure I can. Ya know Paula won't let me. You know that right?" 2D said, bet progressively quieter as he spoke.

"That's not what I asked," Russel said leaving a heavy silence behind him. "I asked if you wanted too." He flipped the eggs.

"Well..." he was really quiet now. "I do. It's just..."

"I know, I know it's just Paula," Russel said. "Look man, you can't just let her step all over you."

"I know."

Russel's heart broke over how soft his voice was. "You don't have to listen me, I don't want to but in on your life, but just..." Russel sighed. "Never mind." He played the eggs, but he wasn't ready to look back at 2D.

"You're right." 2D said from behind him. "Thanks for watchin' out for me."

Russel was shocked but relived. He turned around and gave him a small smile. He gave him his eggs and sat down with his own across from him.

"So what's in town that you wanna see?" 2D asked.

After having a nice breakfast, they cleaned up their dishes and went to get ready for their day on the town. Russel ran around giddily, putting on fresh clothes, brushing his, etc, and the same went for 2D (but quieter as to not wake up Paula).

They were just about to walk out the door when they were unfortunately stopped.

"2D where the hell do you think your going?! You haven't even said good morning to me you selfish prick." Paula spat at him.

"I going to hang out with Russel in town. And good morning." 2D said.

"The hell you are! You never want to hang out with me. Besides what are you even gonna do in town."

"I don't know! And I'm always hanging out with you! You don't let me hang out with anyone else," 2D said a little louder this time.

"Oh please, your just making excuses because you hate me!" Paula shrieked.

"YOU KNOW THATS NOT TRUE PAULA! Don't act like you think that's true. I'm goin' out with my friend today okay!? I don't care anymore! I'm standing up for myself!" He said, now fully shouting.

"OH, is that what this is? Standing up for yourself? Well fine then! Go. Leave me to have your fun."

"Maybe I will Paula, maybe I will," he said, full of disgust. "Come on Russ." Russel followed him out the door, giving Paula a dirty glare to close the heated event.

2D got into the car and slammed the door, while Russel strapped in and sat for a second.

Russel started softly, "you okay man?" He didn't dare look at him, he just looked forward as he talked.

"Yeah, I'm fine j-just drive will ya?" He said, still aggressive from the fight he just had.

Russel started the car, and music poured out of the stereo from the last time they were in the car. The last time they were in the car Paula was there too. She listened to the same stations that they did, that's why they're in a band together, but the memory of her still hung in the air.

The car ride was awkward for awhile, 2D starring out the window, Russel focusing on the music- and the road of course. Then it happened.

2D started mumbling along to the song they were listening to. This was an opportunity Russel couldn't pass up, so he started mumbling to it too.

Now of course 2D noticed this, and of course he also noticed he was getting louder. And he was going to be out sung by a drummer. He started singing louder too. He looked at Russel and Russel shot him a quick look. He had winked at him. 2D smiled and began to sing out the top of his lungs.

Russel sang along with him, however he wasn't as good. 2D wasn't really trying to show off, but he was good enough that Russel laughed at the difference in their voices.

It was only when they got into town that he realized that they had no clue where they were going. They just drove around a bit, and then Russel pulled into a parking lot. He had pulled into a hardware store and 2D was reasonably confused.

"What are we gonna do 'ere?" He asked as they get out of the car.

Russel shrugged. "You said ya liked gardening. Maybe we could find some cool plants or some shit."

"Oh. Cool," he said nodding his head.

They walked in and woundered around. Eventually they found the gardening section and opened the door to the outside aisles with all the plants in them.

"So what kinda plants do ya like 'D? I mean I don't really know any flowers, man." Russel said.

2D thought for a second. "I really like succulents...I also really like irises."

"D I don't know what either of those are." Russel said.

"Well I'll show you then." He said hurrying down the aisle. At the end he pointed to a group of purple and blue flowers, they were very odd shaped and sturdy. "These are irises."

"Oh they're pretty cool. Let's get some then." He picked up two pots of irises. "Although I don't know how many pots you want."

"Why don't we just get a bag of bulbs. Easier to carry and I can actually grow 'em myself."

"Sounds good. And what are suclents?" Russel said.

2D replied,"Succlents are like Cactus and shit. There's also like these cool smooth ones. Let's look for 'em." Then they were off to find these great plants.

Eventually the pair had a basket full of flowers, succulents, and a trowel to plant them. It was a little more costly than they wanted to be, but they just said 'life is short' and continued on. They silently questioned themselves on where their money came from, as they were not selling albums yet. Murdoc gave them money for being in the band, but they didn't know where it came from, and probably preferred it that way.

They put all their stuff in the back of Russel's car and got in.

"So where to now." Russel kind of assumed 2D wasn't ready to go home yet.

"Well we just went some where for me, so why don't we go somewhere for you?" 2D said. He thought for a second then said, "How 'bout we go to like a nice supermarket, yeah? I mean I know ya like cooking."

"Sure sound's cool, man." Russel said, starting the car. They eventually found one called 'Happy Grians", and went inside.

Russel grabbed a basket and began to walk through the store. He grabbed a bunch of different vegetables, spent a very long time in the spice aisle, and got a ton of other weird stuff.

"What even is half of this stuff Russ?" 2D said playfully.

"Aw man, don't worry. This is the good shit. I can make all kinds of things. Ya like spicy food 'D? Russel said.

"Well kinda. Im not a huge fan, but it's okay I guess."

Russel laughed, "Than I'll go easy on ya. I love spicy food. My ma used to say I was gonna burn my tongue off."

"We'll see I guess."

They bought all the food, and Russel was very excited. They decided to go home and try to make something for lunch. Russel wouldn't stop talking about all the possibilities for his food.

As they were walking through the door 2D said, "careful I don't wanna run into Paula."

They snuck into the kitchen with the new food and began cooking. 2D was helping Russel cook, he said they were making a soup.

"Here can you squeeze these limes for me?" He said. He reached for them limes to give them to 2D and his hand touched 2D's when reaching for them.

It was just like a movie, they locked eyes for a second, they quickly pulled them away.

Wow man. Didn't know limes were so romantic, damn. Maybe I should've tried that when I still had hands.

Russel become very embarrassed at his dead friend's comment. He went back to chopping the ingredients into small pieces. After half an hour they couple had created a pretty interesting soup.

2D took a sip of their creation, Russel looking at him in anticipation.

"So what do ya think. It seems good right?" He said taking a spoon full of his own.

"I like it. It's really tasty."

"I'm glad. Maybe I'll make cooler stuff now," he said happily. "Hey imma go to the bathroom, see ya in a bit."

Russel walked down the hall to the nearest bathroom. It was a really weird bathroom, it was in a house (a creepy old mansion really), and yet it had stalls.

He was about to open that door, but he heard strange noises coming from the other side. He then pushed it open and saw none other than Paula Cracker...and Murdoc, in the same stall.

"OH MY FUCKING GOD! YOU ASSHOLE!" Russel shouted. Murdoc jumped up and zipped up his pants. Paula pulled up her pants, but stayed in the stall.

"Aw come on, mate. Are ya really surprised? Who could resist all this." He said gesturing to his body.

In response, Russel punch him in the face. Hard.

He usally to to restrain himself, especially after the people he harmed when he was possessed. But this was too much. 2D was his friend, his best and only friend, at the moment.

Murdoc was an asshole. Paula shrieked as Murdoc fell to floor from his hit.

"Oh what? Do ya really care 'bout 2D, mate? Are ya gay for my singer? That's not good for press." He taunted Russel.

"Shut up!" He said, landing another punch, Paula was screaming again. "Just shut up!" He said punching him at least 3 more times.

He then picked Murdoc up by his shirt. "You're gonna go into the kitchen and apologize to 2D, and you," he said now grabbing Paula's shoulder, "are gonna say goodbye. You are tell 2D what you just did and your gonna leave."

She protested, "What- no I'm not! I'm-"

"I DON'T CARE! You have been fucking him up since day one and you aren't going to anymore!" Russel shouted. He dragged them into the kitchen.

"Oi, what's goin' on? Why's Murdoc all beat up?" 2D said.

Russel pushed Murdoc forward. "Well, I um.. I just" Murdoc stuttered.

"Just what?" 2D said, more concerned this time.

"I just caught these two having sex in the bathroom." Russel said angrily.

"what?" He said, his voice cracking.

Paula spoke up, "2D, baby, you know me. I didn't mean-"

"You cheated on me?" He said looking at her, hurt.

"Well I mean I did but-"

"You cheated on me?!" He said louder.

"Yeah, but we can work through this! Baby..." Paula whimpered.

"leave" he said quietly.

"what?"

"LEAVE JUST-" he covered his head with his hands. "LEAVE! LEAVE HERE, LEAVE THE BAND, I DONT CARE JUST LEAVE!"

2D got out of his chair and started down the hall way.

"2D wait!" Paula said following after him. At this 2D started running down the hall as fast as he could. He got back to his room and started ripping it apart. He was throwing out all of Paula's stuff.

Paula caught up to him, "D come on think 'bout this for a second!" This didn't stop him, he continued hastily getting rid of her.

"Baby you love me!" Paula shouted.

2D turned to face her, his face full of tears. He was a mess of emotions, anger, sadness, betrayal.

"But you don't love me!" He said, wiping his face. "So leave. Take your so shit and go!"

"But-" Paula watched as he threw out the remaining items she owned. He slamed the door as soon as the last item hit the floor.


 

Author note: noodle will be showing up in the next chapter so hold in there.

Chapter Text

Hours later, and Paula was go for good. Russel knew this would be hard for 2D, he had been through hard times too. However he couldn't help, but be a little happy.

He felt free to do... to do what? It's not like Paula was stopping him from doing anything. Regardless of what it was, he was happy that 2D was out of that toxic relationship.

It was almost time for him to go to bed (not that he had a set time, but he was tired) and he was worried about 2D. He had come out of his room yet. Russel wanted him to have his space, but at the same time, he could probably use some help.

He walked up to 2D's door and knocked, "Hey D. You okay man? I know that's gotta be rough."

There was no response. Russel's mind raced a bit, "can I come in?" His voice was greeted only with more silence.

Russel pushed the door open. "Are you even in here?" He said. He looked around the room. He realized he had never been in it before. He brushed that thought aside, he saw him sitting on the floor leaning against the bed. He had a bottle in his hand.

"What are you doing in here?" 2D asked. It was obvious he was still trying not to cry while he talked.

"I just came in to check on you." Russel said.

"Y-Yeah?" He said voice breaking. "Well I don't want you here!"

Russel was confused, confused and hurt. "Why, wh-"

"Because it's your fault! She wouldn't have left me if it weren't for you." He said now crying hard. He buried his face in his hands. "You, you drove us apart!"

"I- I wasn't trying to break you up! Besides, if she cheats on you the moment you're not around then maybe..."

"Maybe what Russel! Maybe we should have been together is what you were going to say. You did want this! You wanted us to break up. You told me to stand up for myself and you tried to hang out with me when she made it clear we didn't want you around."

"It that really what you wanted? Did you really not want me around? Then what was all that, all that 'hanging out' at night? Huh?! I told you to stand up for yourself because, she was manipulating you! She was abusive! I was trying to help you." Russel was shouting. He wasn't trying to sound angry, to be angry but he was.

"Oh so she was abusive! Maybe you should have just stayed out of my business, my life! We could have just been band mates. But I wanted to be your friend and look where it got me!" He said, flinging his bottle around as he talked.

Russel was holding back tears of his own. " I..." He couldn't speak.

"You what?!" 2D said.

"I.. I've just been where you are. I ..I've been in abusive relationships before." He could no longer hold back the tears as they pooled in the corners of his glowing eyes. "I didn't want you to get as fucked up as I am."

2D made a dry sarcastic laugh, "too late."

"I'm sorry, this isn't how I wanted it to go down." Russel said, wiping his face.

"But you want it to go down. You did want us to break up."

Russel could only look at the floor. He felt so guilty, he only wanted what was best.

"leave. Just... leave." 2D said. He was quiet, clearly no fight left in him.

Russel left the room in shame, his heart felling past his feet. He looked back towards 2D for second before he closed the door, but it was best for him to just leave.

Russel then sat in his room, crying. Del became active for the first time in awhile, but only to console Russel. His dead friend, and in a more complicated nature, his past lover, talked him down until his breath slowed once again. He felt hopeless and emotionless when his tears finally stopped. He just starred at the ceiling and let his vision blur in and out.

Was he a bad person? He had hurt people. No he was possessed when he did that. But he hurt people. People, or person rather, right below him, sad, angry, and going through the same stuff he didn't want him to go through.

He tried to just let go of these thoughts, to get some sleep. Eventually, after what seemed like years, his mind dulled into a silence and he faded into sleep.


 

Russel was in a forest, he was sitting in a soft patch of grass. Trees circled him and fog flooded the area, crept around him softly. Another odd detail was what seemed to be stadium lights lining the circle, all pointing at him as the only source of light. Something felt wrong, wrong like it shouldn't exsist. He couldn't figure out what it was.

Russel looked around, and as he did the strangeness of the situation kicked in. He was in a dream. Or perhaps a nightmare, but he hadn't had a nightmare in awhile. He had had since..well he started hanging out with 2D. But this wasn't like his other nightmares.

He couldn't see any of his normal demons. Del wasn't there, his old friends weren't there, his literal demons weren't even there.

He turned around the circle over and over trying to pinpoint the source of jarring wrongness of this setting. Then as he turned around again, right in front of his face was 2D, facing away from him.

He reached out and touched his shoulder. "2D?"

He turned and faced him. Russel felt a horrible feeling of terror. His face was fine, no cut or anything, but...his mouth hung down a bit, his empty eye space piercing him. He was so vastly empty. He felt wrong like their was no man inside, but rather a void, hungry for its next victim.

Russel tried to back away, he wanted to run, run away a fast as he could. He couldn't move.

The shell of a man reached his hand up and put in on Russel's cheek. Russel had tears of fear roll uncontrollably down his face. His hand felt like ice.

After a few seconds, a black mist came out of Russel's eyes and went into the man in front of him. If felt like life all of his worst memories coming out of him all at once.

He couldn't stand it. He finally was able to push him away and 2D fell to the ground. Russel watched as the man in front of him wailed on the ground. They seemed to be sounds that replaced crying, as he started to claw at his face.

Russel backed away. "I'm sorry," he shouted. "I'm sorry!" He tripped and fell backwards on to the ground.

He laid on the ground, heart beat out of his chest, terrified of what would happen next. He felt a chilling wind as a blue glow crept towards him. Del appeared over his body.

"it's gonna be okay" he said as his body blue energy began to melt and drip on to Russel. "It's gonna be okay" he repeated.

Suddenly, right in this ear, a spine tingling whisper said "Russel"


 

"Russel" said 2D poking him.

Russel opened his eyes and looked up at him, confused.

"You okay? I heard you from down stairs. You were yellin' in your sleep" 2D said. His voice was emotionless. He was conflicted, he was still angry, but that didn't mean he didn't care about Russel.

"Yeah, yeah I'm fine. I just had a nightmare." Russel said, rubbing his eyes. He sat up and 2D sat on the edge of his bed.

"You sure?" He said looking away. "Your eyes were glowing more than normal. Like burning bright under your eye lids"

"Yeah they uh...do that." Russel said. "How about you? You okay?"

2D just looked at his lap and breathed weirdly. His emotions were fighting him. He was angry, but he wasn't sure he should be.

"You can leave if you want. I'm fine" Russel said. "I usally don't have another nightmare after I wake up." He lied.

2D didn't move. He just sat there and looked off.

"okay just sit there I guess. I'm gonna go back to sleep" Russel thought is was weird for him to just sit there, but he wasn't really going to question. He liked the company anyway.

He turned over and closed his eyes. He shifted uncomfortably for a bit but then somehow slipped back into his dreams.


 

Russel was floating. He in a dark cloudy sky, floating, with his foot tied in a rope that lead down to the ground. It was like his was a balloon. There was nothing in sight to grab onto, nothing to see. It was scary but he was weightless, a nice sensation that contrasted the situation around him.

He wanted to fight it, but maybe just staying still and floating would be easier. So he did he just floated.

It started to rain, but in every direction toward him. The rain was cold, almost refreshing. He enjoyed it, or at least tried to. However Russ soon realized that that water was pooling around him. It was forming a big ball that slowly got bigger and bigger.

If it kept getting bigger he waould drown in mid air. The water rose steadily, creeping along Russel's skin, his heart pounding. The water came all the way up to his chin, but then he felt the rope a time his foot get cut.


 

Russel woke up again. He was surprised, that nightmare wasn't that bad. Yes, granted it still was drowning, but much better than the previous one.

He listened for what woke him up and to the left of him he heard sobbing. 2D was still in his room, smoking a cigarette, and crying his eyes out. Well, eye holes at least.

Russel just stayed still, wondering if he should say something, and what he would say. Was it better to just let him cry? No, probably not.

"Hey 'D is that you...you still here?" Russel said gently. He saw the slight glow of the cigarette go up to face and back down with a puff of smoke.

"Yeah. Do you want me to leave?" 2D said.

Russel felt awkward and guilty. "No... I just don't understand why your still here."

"I don't know." He said, taking another drink from his bottle. "Do you think...think she ever l-loved me?"

Honestly, Russel didn't think so. Russel deep down knew Paula's type. She just dated 2D because she was bored and left damage in her wake. That, however, was not what 2D needed to hear.

"How could she not" Russel said. Unfortunately he immediately regretted those words. They sounded too...suggestive.

"What?" 2D said.

"I-I'm dude. You're a great singer, you live in a mansion," he said, desperately trying to make up an excuse for his slip up. "You are super friendly, and you're pretty" His words were not making the situation better.

Russel didn't like 2D, did he? Well, maybe he did...but he gets crushes on everybody he spends time with. Whatever the situation it didn't matter.

"Dude all I'm saying is girls gotta be all over you ya know?" Russel said, hoping he overted the awkwardness.

2D looked at himself then said, "Really?

"Yeah man." Russel said.

"T-then... what did I do wrong?" He said. "What's so wrong with me?" How whispered hopelessly.

"Nothing man," Russel said getting out of his bed. He sat down next to 2D. "You didn't do anything wrong"

"Then why did she leave!" He said, crying hard. He grabbed his knees tighten his body. "W-why"

"It's not your fault." He said, putting his hand on his shoulder. "It's not your fault"

"Why..doesn't any one love me? Why don't I have any friends." 2D mumbled.

"That's not true. I'm your friend, people love you okay? Don't ever think you aren't worth it."

Words like this continued on for a while, and eventually they realized the sun had come up by the time 2D really calmed down.

2D sighed and stood up, Russel did the same. 2D looked at Russel, but then quickly at the ground.

"Thank you" he said. They stood there awkwardly, then 2D took Russel by surprise and hugged him.

The hug was warm and lasted just a bit too long. They could tell who made it last too long, though.

2D left the room and Russel got ready for the rest of the day.

He took a shower, brushed his teeth, picked out a nice shirt. All of which failed to clear his head. He knew 2D was hurting, and he knew that 2D would probably be mad at him again about it at some point. That's just how healing worked and he had to respect it just as his friends did when he got hurt.

He watched TV for a bit then walked down to get some breakfast. He didn't really have anything too fancy, he didn't feel up to making it. He looked down at his toast as Murdoc walked past.

It was going to be hard for awhile, but life goes on. And he won't let it be bad.

It had been about a week since 'the incident'. Things were still tense, very tense.

They tried to have a band meeting and it failed spectacularly, ending with Russel having to break 2D and Murdoc up. Needless to say there was more solo practicing rather than team writing.

Murdoc was being more of a dick than usual, or at least Russel thought he was. He was focused on trying to find another guitarist for the band.

Fights broke out a lot, and not just between Murdoc and 2D. Russel was mad at Murdoc, and 2D was still mad at Russel sometimes.

When there wasn't a fight 2D just sat in bed, starred at wall, did nothing. It didn't really matter because, everything still hurt and it would for a while.

Russel was about to go to his car but then he looked at the plants one his window stil. He had took all the plants 2D and him bought that weren't seeds into his room so they wouldn't die. Most of them were succulents, but there was a few others like bowl of this tiny yellow flowers with crazy vines that spilled out of the bowl.

This gave him an idea.

He picked up the flowers, or at least what he could, and walked out his door. He walked down the hall to 2D's room. He set down one of the pots and knocked on the door.

"Hey D' you wanna plant these flowers today? I think it would be nice." There was no response. Russel sighed, picked up his plant and continued on.

He was half way down the hall when 2D's door opened. He appeared in the door way and looked at him shyly. He didn't say anything, but walked down the hall to him and took 3 of the pots from his hands.

They walked down the hall silently, but Russel had a small, secret smile.

When they got to the door Murdoc was there too.

"What are you doing here?" Russel said, putting down his pots.

"The doorbell rang, maybe some bloke is here cause of the guitarist ad I put out."

"We have a doorbell?" 2D said, putting down his own pots. "How come I've never heard it?"

Murdoc didn't answer and opened the door. There at the door step was a large box with all kinds of marks on it from different countries.

"What the hell, I dint order anythin'" Murdoc said. He and Russel pulled the package inside. They jumped back when they heard knocking on the wood of the crate.

"Jesus Christ" Murdoc said.

The box moved once more, and there was pushing on the crate. The pushing got stronger and stronger until the crate burst open. Out popped an ten year old Asian girl with short hair that almost covered her eyes at the bangs. She had a guitar in hand.

Russel was shocked, but concerned. "Hello? Are you okay?" He asked.

She just smiled and nodded. Then she began playing her guitar.

Her fingers played over the guitar like fire. She was on beat, fast as lightning, with a beautiful sound. She played a song that had never been played before off the top of her head. She played hard and when she was on the ending note she jumped out of the box and slid on the floor while dragging out the note.

Then smiled, she stood up, and said one word.

"Noodle!"

Chapter Text

"THAT WAS AMAZING!" 2D exclaimed at the girl. "I don't think I've ever seen such a good guitar solo!"

Murdoc was giggling to himself, perhaps already thinking about how he could use her in the band. Russel, however, slowly kneeled down to her level and gently spoke.

"Hey, that was great, what's your name?" He said very sweetly.

She justed looked at him and said, "noodle."

This made Russel question whether she knew what he was saying. "Do you understand what I'm saying?"

She nodded yes, but didn't say anything.

"Can you speak English?" He asked.

She shook her head.

I think she only understands a little English Russ

I know shut up, Russel thought back to his friend.

"Do you know where your parents are?" Russel said, the more concerned the more he thought about it.

"Eh, What?! The best guitarist I've ever since in my life is put on our door step and you're trying to send her back?" Murdoc said.

"Well we can't just take a child!" Russel said. "She probably has parents who are worried sick. Kidnap me and whatever, but she's an actual kid!"

"Oh her parents are worried sick, ya? Then why was she sent to us in a crate? If someone kid napped her they wouldn't give her to us!" Murdoc said.

Russel thought about it.

He's right you know. No good parents would send her in a box.

"Well however she got here it's not good. We gotta go to the police and work this out. We can't just pick up this kid and raise her." Russel said.

Noodle who had just been sitting there looking at them confused, sat down on the floor. They continued to argue about what to do with her, and she just rested her head on her hand rather bored at the situation. 2D looked at her, smiled and sat down next to her.

Murdoc could still be heard in front of them, "Come on! We're Gorilla now! Even better, were more than were Gorillas, a team! The s will be a z to make it even edgier and recognizable!"

2D just rolled what whatever eyes he had and looked back to Noodle. He smiled at her, she smiled back. He didn't really know what to do with her. He thought for a second then looked at her and made a bird with his hands. It was kind of awkward but he was just trying to start something to do. She smiled and made a bunny sort of thing with her hand. 2D knew he had to top that so he made a crocodile looking thing with his hands. Noodle then did a very complicated series of folding her fingers and came up with what 2D interpreted as a chicken. They were both having a good time just being silly.

Russel turned to them and sighed. "D we have to take her to the police...it not a great option but we don't really have many options right now."

2D stopped playing with her and lost his smile for second. "Okay, but she's gonna be okay, right?"

"Yeah D," he said in a defeated tone. "She's gonna be great."


 

They went to the police station and Russel talked to the police officer while the rest sat down. Murdoc wasn't really happy to be at a police station. Noodle was on the ground ripping up a magazine she found in the car and 2D was watching her intently.

They had been there for hours, and after rigorous questioning of everybody. It seemed like nothing was happening.

Russel was frustrated, "I don't know where she came from. She just appeared at our door step in a wooden crate. She obviously is in some bad situation and needs help."

"I'm sorry sir, but we have no ID on her. She isn't a citizen here, she isn't a citizen anywhere. There's been no missing persons report and neither kidnappers or neglectful parents would do something like this" the man at the counter said.

"So what are you saying? You aren't going to do anything?" Russel said.

"There's no evidence no leads no nothing. The box didn't even have any addresses on it or anything. It had stamps for all different countries too, there's no way of tracking it all down. She's just gonna have to stay here for awhile while we sort things out."

"Do you have any caretakers? How's she gonna stay here if you don't have any care takers." Russel said, getting increasingly mad.

"All we can do at this point is put her in child custody. We can take her down there tonight, we will take care of it sir" The police officer said.

Russel was very mad. They were just going to throw her in an Orphanage and forget about her. She probably wouldn't even be put with someone who understands her language, she'd be trapped in a neglectful system.

Russel stared off, intense in deep thought. It's not like we could raise her on our own.

But they couldn't raise her with an army Russ, Del said.

It's not like we could just adopt her Del

But maybe we can

"Will just take her off your hands now," the officer said calling other officers to take her away.

They walked over to Noodle, who was now sitting next to her masterpiece, a monster of eyes from the magazine she took. The police officers came over to her and stepped on the collage. They took her by the elbow and she resisted. She shaked to get free and yelled.

Russel walked over to them a put his hand on the police officers arm. "Let go of her" he said.

"Sir, please don't interfere with police matters." He said still trying to restrain Noodle.

"Stop it ya little brat, we're trying to help you" one of the officers said.

"I said..." Russel's eyes began to glow brighter and brighter, "let GO!" The lights all went out, the only light the glow of Russel's eyes.

"What the hell!" The officer said. They all pulled out their guns and pointed them at him. A blue light rose from him and formed a human shape.

"Now I wouldn't do that if I was you" Del said. One of the officers fired the gun at Del, it went straight through him.

"Aw do you not like me" he said laughing hysterically. Shadows pooled at Russel's feet and took became the silhouettes of his dead companions. They cackled as they slithered along the floor and grabbed at the feet of the officers. They dragged the police officers down to the ground, they screamed.

All of the officers were pulled screaming out the door. After they were gone Del looked down at Noodle.

"See ya later, Noodle" he said as he was sucked back into Russel's body.

The lights flicked back on, and Russel blinked and readjusted to reality. He looked down at Noodle.

"You okay?" He said in the softest voice he could manage.

Noodle nodded, she didn't seem scared. Russel then turned to the rest of the group.

"How about you guys? Not dead?"

Murdoc was clenching at his chest but he nodded. This was the first time Russel had seen him look actually scared. Russel thought it was funny. 2D was sitting, less in fear and more in amazement.

"How'd ya do that Russ?"2D asked.

Russel chuckled, "Why don't we go home, huh?"


 

On their way back to Kong Studios, Noodle was a lot more animated than before. She was mimicking all the guitar parts to they songs they were listening to, and smiling and such. Russel felt guilty that he had simply taken her without asking her whether she wanted to live with them.

His actions were probably very unreasonable, but something resonated in him. It was like he knew Noodle wasn't meant to be anywhere else.

He made a stop before going back to Kong Studios. He stopped at a gas station to fill up, and went into the little store there. He went in to pay in cash but, as he was there, he saw there was a rack of dictionaries with English to other languages. He looked through them at of curiosity and found an English to Japanese one.

He remembered that the police had mentioned that it was hard to question Noodle because she only spoke Japanese. He picked up the book, hoping it was accurate enough to communicate with Noodle. He bought and the gass and they left.

When they finally got back, Noodle simply sat down and let her legs wiggle below the chair. Russel grabbed the dictionary and went up to her to speak. It was getting pretty late so she should probably pick a room to sleep in. He flipped through the dictionary as quickly as he could hoping he could get this right. The phrase he found was 'Anata wa shinshitsu o erabubekidesu', or in English, you should choose a bedroom.

He spoke slowly trying to figure out how to pronounce is correctly, "Anata wa... s-shinshitsu o...era-erabubekidesu". He was very nervous, but Noodle smiled and nodded at him.

He bagan to walk down a corridor and she followed. He chose a big bedroom, spacious, but minimalistic at the moment. He opened the door for her and she walked in.

Noodle looked around at the room, hands in her pockets. She turned to Russel nodded, and then quite literally jumped into bed.

He smiled said "goodnight Noodle" then closed the door.

It was then that he realized that Murdoc and 2D had followed them and were hiding around the corner. He looked at them and they came around the corner reluctantly.

"So it looks like I was after all, eh?" Murdoc said. "We have a complete band of rockstars now"

Russel glared at him unamused, "Now look here, you're gonna be gentle with her and not fuck her childhood up okay? She's a person before she's a musician and you have to treat her that way."

"Hey, hey! I never said I wasn't going to!" Murdoc said. He brushed off the serious tone of Russel's voice. "I'm going to bed" he said walking off.

Russel shook his head. "I'm watching him. I'm not gonna let him did anything bad to her."

"So we are adopting her?" 2D said, with hopeful curiosity.

Russel's face softened. "Yeah D. I guess we are."


 

Russel couldn't sleep. You was too worried about Noodle, about whether the police should be after him now, or that the group is still mad at each to the point where they can't take care of her.

To make use of his time he was writing down a list of phrases he could use to communicate with Noodle. So far he had 'what do you want to eat' accompanied with names of food, 'do you need to use the bathroom', and other simple phrases like that.

Then he heard a knock at the door. His immediate thought was that it was 2D. He hadn't been hanging out at night since Paula left and Russel was honestly afraid of getting into another fight with him.

He almost wanted to pretend that he was asleep and just not answer the door. But then he realized that it could be Noodle. It seemed that she was a tough kid, but at the same time she had arrived earlier that day in a crate. He would be scared too.

He walked over to the door, nervous as to who it was he had to interact with. When he opened it he was face to face with 2D, who looked almost as nervous as he did.

"Hey Russ," He said, hand on his neck. "I just came by to..." He was looking at the ground, and it seemed like there was no end to that sentence. Russel understood him. He put his hand on 2D's shoulder. He looked at Russel, his expression telling him that it was okay.

Russel and 2D walked from the door and 2D sat down in his usual spot. Or at least what was his usual stop when they hung out regularly. Russel when back to the spot on his that he was translating phrases before hand.

It was silent. 2D was just sitting there, looking at the ground. It seemed like he was wait for something to happen. He eventually turned to Russel.

"Whatcha doing there Russ?" He asked, tying to start something.

"Oh I'm just writing a list of phrases so I can talk to Noodle." He said plainly.

"That's smart." He said, leaving another awkward pause. "I might want to look at that too."

"Okay, sure. You can borrow it whenever." Russel was trying to keep the conversation as normal as he could. There was too many heavy topics to cover if they went any deeper. Unfortunately, there was no way to beat the silence that followed every sentence they said.

They stayed in their current state for a bit, no sound, no action, nothing. But the tension was building up. They had to say something eventually, it was already getting weird.

2D was the one to break the peace. "I'm..." he started timidly. "I'm sorry."

"For what?" Russel said.

"I'm sorry that I've been such a shit. The break up was hard on me, and I've been taking it out on you."

"No...you're just trying to get through it all. I understand that..." He trailed off. "but thank you." They both had a small smile, if only for a second.

Russel set down his paper and dictionary and sat down next to 2D. "What do you wanna watch?" Russel asked.

2D tried to hide his smile. "I really like zombie flicks."

"Wait really?" Russel asked amused.

"Yeah I do. I don't know I just like them."

"Dude why haven't you told me yet? We've only been watching my shows this whole time." Russel said, flipping through the channels.

Eventually the two settled on a very low budget, very bad zombie movie. 2D seemed to love very second of it, up until he fell asleep. He and Russel were sitting so close together that 2D's head fell on Russel's shoulder while he slept.

Russel didn't really know what to do, it didn't really bother him, but it felt a little weird. Despite this Russel didn't move him. It was like a cat fell asleep on him, too cute to wake up or disturb.

Russel just shrugged it off and fell asleep too.

Chapter Text

Russel was laying down in the grass. It was soft and the sky was a beautiful bright blue. Del, human Del, not dead, was stretched out beside him with his head on Russel's shoulder. It was like some sort of alternate universe where they lived happily ever after. But Russel knew it was a dream. Del was dead, and his ghost avoided the subject of their love like poison.

Still he was happy to b in some reality that was happy for a short while. Russel soon realized Del wasn't the only one there, another person lay on his right. He couldn't look at them but he could feel them leaned against him. He didn't know who they were, but they were somehow comforting regardless.

A wind blew by softly and pushed on the paddles of a near by windmill...


 

Russel turned over in his spot, sliding in and out of consciousness, he could tell it was morning. He hadn't had a dream so peaceful in forever. Why was he just having good dreams now?

He didn't want to get up quite yet so he just listened to the sounds of the morning, just relax for a bit. However, he was quite surprised to hear that one of those sounds was his shower running.

He shot up in confusion. He looked around, he was still on top of his bean bag in last nights clothes, and his shower was on. He wasn't in it, and his shower was on.

2D was not only not back in his room, he was taking a shower in his bathroom. Russel was freaking out.

What the hell? He's usually gone by morning! And now he's in my shower? Why didn't he just use his?

Why wouldn't he use your shower Del said giggling.

Boy, shut up. That's kinda weird and you know it

What's weird Russ? He said holding back laughter. He's just taking a shower man

Dude whatever.

Russel got up went to the door. He was going to knock, but he decided against it. He just gonna wait until he was done. Or was that weird too? He didn't know what to do. Should he just leave and give him privacy?

Nervous? I'd be too around him Del said, not even bothering to stop his laugh this time.

Shut up!

Russel was trying to make his decision when he heard the shower stop. He had to make his decision quick.

He made the hastey decision to plop back down on the bean bag chair and pretend to still be asleep. He tried to all his breath to seem more realistic and waited for what was sure to be an akward moment.

The door opened and out came 2D, fresh, wet, and naked with the towel at his waist being the only exception. Russel's, of course, couldn't see this because his eyes were closed. Russel tried to open his eyes slowly as if he had just woken up. But when he saw the man in front of him it wasn't easy.

Russel couldn't help but look at him. He noticed (guilty) that he had that thing where hair trails up from their privates. Russel always thought those were kind of hot, but seeing it on 2D was a whole new experience. A good or bad one he couldn't tell.

"Morning Russel!" 2D said in a happy tone.

"Y-yeah, good m-morning" he said stumbling over his words.

Great morning if you ask me.

"H-how are you?" Russel asked, trying to ignore Del.

"I'm great this morning actually!" He said cheerfully. He adjusted his towel then continued, "Hey, I met Del last night."

Russel scratched the back of his neck and looked down, "Oh yeah, sorry about that. It's just I was frustrated and I don't want Noodle to have a fucked up childhood. I mean I guess she'll still have a fucked up childhood with us but-"

"No," 2D said, stopping him. "I mean I met Del last night. While you were asleep. He came out of ya body and we talked for a while. Cool guy."

"You what?!" Russel exclaimed. Del what the fuck?

I was bored and he was cute, man.

2D then said, "I'm sorry was that not okay? He seemed fine with it so I just-"

Russel interrupted him, "No, no it's fine it just, uh, Del shouldn't be talking to you. W-well not you, just- anyone"

Ha. Try and stop me.

2D readjusted his towel, which made Russel remember that he was in fact naked. "Hey D, why don't you go put on some clothes and we can talk about this later." Russel said.

"Oh," 2D said, as if he were just now realizing how awkward the situation was. His faced turned red in embarrassment. "Oh yeah, I should probably just ...go" He grabbed his towel tight and almost ran out the door.

When the door closed Russel took a deep breath.

Del what the fuck man? Why did you talk to him?

I told you, I was bored and he is cute.

Del come on man. What did you guys talk about?

I don't know dude, just stuff. You, me, music...other stuff.

Del don't fuck with me what are you trying to do?

I don't know. You two have just been hanging out a lot. Maybe I wanted to meet him too.

Russel shighed. Look, if you think I like him or something like that... it's not like that okay? ...I still love you okay?

That's not why I talked to him... and I know that. Look man I promise it wasn't anything you should worry about. We were just hanging out 'kay?

Okay. He was reluctant, but there wasn't anything left to be said.

Russel walked into the bathroom. He turned on the faucet and splashed his face with water. He looked on the ground and 2D's clothes were still on the floor. Including his underwear. Russel was embarrassed because, this meant that he would have to bring him his clothes.

After he got all dresssed and ready for the day, he sighed and picked up 2D's clothes as well as his translation sheet for Noodle. He walked down to the kitchen and Noodle was already there. She was standing on a stool and appeared to be making her own breakfast at the stove.

She turned toward Russel. "Hello!" She said in a very think accent.

Russel was surprised and impressed, which he predicted would be a reoccurring theme with this one.

"You making some food, huh?" He said walking over to her. There was ingredients everywhere, vegetables, spices, egg shells. She appeared to be making a very impressive looking omelet. She was bouncing on her feet as she made the food. Russel was in awe of her. There she was, after being shipped in a box and god knows what else, and she was a perfectly happy and enthusiastic kid.

Russel noticed that she had got bits of food on her face. "Here girl, ya got something on your face." He said with a big smile, wiping the food off her face. And just like any normal kid she batted his hand away and protested. Russel laughed.

Russel had an idea and started getting his own ingredients. He started making pancakes and was cooking right besides her. He heated up a big new pan and started pouring the pancake mix. He made little hearts and stars in the pan.

His plan was working too. Noodle was watching him make the pancakes with great interest. Russel looked down at her and motioned the bowl of mix toward her, a non verbal way of asking if she wanted to pour some of her own.

She smiled, nodded, and took her now done omelet off of the stove. She grabbed the bowl of mix and began to pour the mix. She was trying really hard to draw something, and was being unbearably cute while she did. She stuck her tongue out trying to get it just right and kept turning her head to get a better view. Russel was already very attached to this adorable child he only met yesterday.

When she was done she put the bowl down, and presented to Russel. It was a sort of circular blob with what looked like ears and two hole in the pancake. He looked at Noodle, she pointed at him and then at the pancake and said "Russel".

"Oh my god that's me, huh? That's so good! I love it!" He said. Noodle smiled again at his positive response. Of course she didn't really understand what he said, it sounded good.

When they sat down and started eating their breakfast, 2D walked in.

"Hey Russ." He said sitting down next to them. "Oh can I have a pancake?"

"Of course," Russel said. 2D picked one off the pile they had made. "Oh hey you uh...left your clothes in my room." He said handing 2D the clothes. He was glad Noodle didn't understand him, this wasn't a great conversation out of context. Even in context it was hard to explain their friendship.

"Thanks." He said, putting the clothes on the counter next to him. It was as if 2D was completely oblivious to every akward thing he did. Or was he...flirting? No, Russel thought, he couldn't be

"So uh, what did you and Del talk about?" Russel asked.

Oh you're dying to know ain't ya? Jealously's a bitch.

Russel ignored him. Or at least he tried too.

"Just stuff," 2D said, taking another bite of pancake. "We talked about his rap career, and how you guys met. I also talked about my melodica playing for a while."

Russel was almost sweating. "Anything else?" Really what Russel was most worried about was whether 2D knew he was gay or not. He guessed it wouldn't be a problem if he knew, but sometimes people just treat you differently.

"No. I like him though, he's pretty cool." 2D said. "Although, he did ask me if I was gay. Thought that was kinda weird."

Russel almost choked on his food.

Del I swear to god what the fuck?

Why wouldn't I ask Russel he's cute and single, he said cackling.

You're in my head and dead you dumb ass!

"Oh my god dude I'm sorry. Del can sometimes come on a bit strong." Russel said.

"No it's fine," he said. "Hey can he hear me? Like does he see and hear everything you do?"

"Unfortunately yes." Russel said.

"Oh cool. Hi Del." He said waving at Russel.

Tell him he's cute.

"Del says hi." Russel said.

They continued to eat on after this for awhile. After the trio was finished they cleaned up their dishes. They were all lined up in a sort of assembly line fashion.

2D broke the silence again, "Hey Russ, I forgot to ask, what's that's big box in your bathroom. I remember unpacking it with ya, but it's still got tape on it and everythin'."

Russel knew exactly what box he was talking about. He hadn't used what was in the box for while, even before he moved in. It was his secret guilty pleasure that he was afraid to let anyone know about. He had to come up with something to say quick.

"Well it's just kinda towels and shit that I ended not needing. Nothing cool." Russel said, trying to conceal his nervousness.

Towels my ass

"Oh okay," 2D said, almost sounding disappointed at the plain answer he provided. "Hey maybe later today we can finally plant those flowers."

Russel involuntarily smiled. "Yeah, yeah, man. That's sounds nice." His eyes lingered, watching 2D, smile now small, but very genuine.


 

An: sorry short chapter again, I just felt like I needed to post something but I'm too exhausted to make it longer

ps: y'all will find out what in the box just chill

Chapter Text

Russel was determined to get these flowers planted today. They had already been interrupted the first time they tried, and that was after weeks of them not even talking to each other. They needed to be planted or they would die, however, Russel did seem to keep them alive this long. They were strong little flowers, especially the succulents.

He picked up the flowers from his room and asked 2D to get the dirt bag and trowel. He might up with him at the door only to realize that 2D was struggling with the dirt bag. He wasn't made up of muscle, that was obvious, but Russel appreciated that he put so much work into lifting it anyway. Russel walked over to him.

"Hey, why don't you carry the plants and I'll carry the dirt?" Russel said. He set down the plants and went to take the bag from his hands. He grabbed at it and accidentally touched 2D's hands. This wasn't the first time this occurred and every time, without fail, Russel was embarrassed by it. He also noticed each time how cold his hands were, 2D always seemed to be ten below the temperature he should be. It worried him. Maybe he wasn't eating enough?

He took the bag and tried to avoid the awkward eye contact that happens after you touch hands with someone. Russel also thought it could be the set up for a romantic love scene, but he brushed that thought away quickly.

"Thanks," 2D said. "That bag was really heavy. Or at least to me it was."

"Uh, yeah no prob man. Now let's plant these sons a bitch. I wanna see 'em in the ground for once." Russel said, giving an innocent smile.

2D smiled back, and began picking up the plants. They walked out the door and began walking around.

"Where should we plant 'em D?" Russel asked, looking around. When he looked back 2D was already walking somewhere. "D?"

He followed him around the corner and watched as 2D looked up at the building as he walked. He then stopped and turned to Russel. "This is the spot, come on!" He yelled from across the yard.

When Russel caught up he noticed two things. One, that they were well into the graveyard that surrounded the house, and two, that 2D had picked the spot under Russel's window. Granted, since 2D was only a floor below him, it was also under his window as well.

Russel didn't really like being in graveyards. He didn't really like being around any sort of death because, usually that mean that he was going to get possessed or some sort of freaky shit would happen to him. Russel was almost a hundred percent positive that at least ten people had died in this house.

Death was fascinating and Russel supposed he would like ghost shit if he were just normal, but feeling every presence and just hoping they wouldn't take him over was exhausting.

2D sat down and began digging a hole for the bulbs. Russel began doing the same with the succulents.

"Hey Russ?"

"What?" Russel said looking up from his plants. "What's up?"

"Were you and Del..."

"Together?" Russel said. "Yeah, ... yeah we were. I mean I-I guess we still are, kinda. We uh, he uh-it's complicated"

"So you're gay, huh?" 2D said, without looking up.

"I mean, yeah." Russel hated this. He hated coming out because someone found out and not on his own terms. Goddamn it Del. You made it weird with him.

You've dealt with way worse than this, dog. This shit ain't nothing, you can deal with a little awkward.

Russel started up again, "D-Does that make you uncomfortable with me or-"

"OH no no I-I just... was wondering." 2D felt embarrassed, Russel could tell. At least the embarrassment wasn't one way. "He talks of you so fondly so I just assumed...yeah"

They gardened for awhile in silence, trying to ignore what just happened. Russel felt like he should say something, but he didn't know what to talk about. This problem solved itself when 2D started talking.

"So how did ya like the zombie flick?" He said.

"I thought it was really good. I like the concept of zombies and fight scenes with them are always cool." Russel gave a genuine response.

"I love zombie movies. I can't get enough of 'em. Post apocalyptic movies are the best and zombies are like scary and threatening, but they also have all these moral questions too, yeah? Like all those scenes where the character is bitten and ya have to shoot or run away from them. OH! My favorite movies are ones where you're in the point of view of the person turning into a zombie and I even love the tropes where the person doesn't want to admit they were bitten. But the few comedic zombie movies are the funniest movie I've ever seen and... "

2D continued on like this, full of excitement talking about zombie movies. Russel could get a word in, but frankly he didn't want to. He was perfectly happy just watching and listening to 2D describe something he liked with so much passion. It was cute, a fact he didn't want to admit to himself. The way he just lit up when he talked about stuff he loved, this happened with music too. He was flicking dirt everywhere with the gesture he made with the trowel in hand. He was so cute.

He had caught himself having those thoughts. Thoughts that sound like he was interested in 2D. To be fair, Russel was a soft man, he got crushes on half of the guys he met (or at least half of the attractive ones). He believed it came from some sort of weird mix of psychological problems like needing to be loved, separation issues, and just the weight of all the trauma he experienced. He figured that out, but didn't figure it out enough to do anything about it.

So the question to be answered was: is this a real crush or a fake one? Did he actually like 2D or did he like the idea of being loved by someone who could hug him? And most importantly, did it even matter? By the way 2D asked him if he was gay, he assumed 2D was not. It didn't matter how much Russel liked him, 2D would probably never love him back. He sighed and continued planting.

2D noticed his sighed and stopped talking. "Are you okay? Am I boring ya?"

"No, no," Russel pulling a half smile. "I like hearing you talk about zombies, it's just I..." Russel trailed off. He couldn't articulate his thoughts and he swore he could hear someone whispering in his ear. "I...just...I"

D-Del...is...t-that you? Del didn't respond. All he could hear was a sinister laughing in his head.

Russel began to panic. He knew right away what it was, he was in a graveyard. Someone- something- was trying to force its way into his head.

"Russel?" 2D asked concerned.

"We have to leave. Now!" Russel said. He threw down the trowel and began walking quickly away.

"Russ what's going on?!" 2D said trying to catch up.

The laughing soon became screaming, it hurt Russel's head. He began to run. 2D ran up to him to stop him.

"Russel?!" He said stopping in front of him. Russel couldn't stop, he push 2D to the ground and ran for his room.

He burst through the door and ran through the halls. Murdoc was in one of them.

"Oi, what's all the noise? Why are ya' running?" Murdoc said. Russel pushed him out of the way and he yelled "ahh, what the fuck?!"

Russel kept going, he was so close to his room but the shouting in his head was loud. It was screaming his own insecurities, full blast.

Then came in a storm of furious language and Russel's body started to shake and ache. If he didn't get to his supplies quick, an exorcism would be the only way to solve it. This would solve it, but would also kill Del and all of his friends too. He wasn't ready for that.

He made to his room, he was losing consciousness quickly, and if he did, he didn't know what would happen or who would get hurt. He almost ripped open the closet and dug through it. His vision was going and it was hard to move. The yelling in his ears made it so hard to concentrate, but he continued on. He finally found the box at the back of his closet and opened it.

He pulled out a glass vile full of flowers and salts and bits of all sorts of stuff. It had a symbol on it and Russel traced it with his finger and kneeled to the ground. He yelled out in torturous pain and fell down hard, hitting his head on the floor.


 

When Russel woke up again, he was surprised. He was in bed, not on the floor, and he had a cold cloth on his head. It wasn't hard for him to guess who did it. Murdoc was...mostly likely not the one to do this and Noodle was a tiny girl who wouldn't have been able to get him in to his bed. So that left 2D, but he probably couldn't lift him up either so... Maybe he got help?

He looked around and saw Noodle at the side of his bed, looking at him worried. She didn't say anything, but her look said it all. Russel put his hand on Noodle's head.

"I'm gonna be okay, I promise" Russel said. She smiled for a second, but only to acknowledge him before her face falling back into a frown.

He had a massive headache. That was to be expected, every time something had to be forcibly pulled out of his head it did.

Del you okay? I know it's always rough on all of ya when I have to use that thing.

Uuug...we're all here. No one else left but that guy, but damn that shit fuckin hurts. One of the only perks of being is not feelin shit, dog. Damn man.

It was then that door opened and in came 2D. He saw that Russel was in fact awake again and he sped over to the bed.

"Oh Russel thank god you're awake! I thought you were gonna die on me! What the fuck just happened to ya?" 2D said.

Russel laughed a bit at 2D exaggerated speaking, "Well I'm sensitive to spirits and for some reason they seem to always be able to possess me very easily. I was racing here to stop that because, ghosts are assholes and they usually try to hurt people if they are the type that's into possession."

No Noodle sat down on one of the bean bags and watched their conversation unfold. "Is that what that bottle was? To stop the ghost?" 2D said pointing at the vile that he had put on the night stand next to Russel.

"Uh, yeah it's a sort spell thing. I had to go to an actual witch to get it, like I didn't even know real witches exsisted and it sounded like bullshit at first, but than again, so did ghosts so...yeah. I use it in emergencies like that. It's nothing too extreme, now exorcisms...that's the scary shit." Russel said, rambling a little.

2D's eyes (or lack there of) widened. "You've met an actual real life witch?" He said excitedly. "That's so freakin' cool! Were they scary? Did they have a broom stick like in the films? Oh, were they an ugly witch or were they pretty like in Bewitched?"

Russel smiled at 2D's enthusiasm. "Nah, they weren't ugly or scary or anything. They were actually pretty normal. Their name's Maddy, they wore normal clothes and they practiced all of their witchcraft in their apartment. I think I met them on an online forum. They were super happy when I told them that it actually worked last time it happened. Wasn't as fun for me but...they are old friend now."

"You're friends with a witch! That's so cool," 2D said. His mind wondered off for a second before he come back to the conversation abruptly, "Oh jeez, I forgot got to ask if you were okay! A-are you..are you okay?"

2D never failed to make Russel laugh, even if it was unintentional. "Yeah man, I'm fine. Got one hell of a head ache, but I'm good. Just need to take it easy for...awhile. Hopefully not that long..." Russel looked up at 2D trying to figure out what to say.

When he looked at 2D he noticed that his lip was cut and there was a bruise on his head. "D oh man did I do that?" He said, his fingers reaching out and ghosting over the dark spot on his forehead. "Shit man, I'm so sorry, I just I was trying to stop myself from hurting anyone but I just...God I'm so sorr-"

2D stopped him when he grabbed Russel's hand and dragged it away from his face. He let go of his hand, but just barely noticeablily lingered on his fingers. "I'm fine, I know your were just trying to do what ya needed to. It doesn't even hurt that much."

Russel felt horrible anyway. He had hurt him and he couldn't change that. Russel didn't do it on purpose and it could have been way worse but he was definitely the type to brood on every little thing. He was a very emotional being, and he didn't deal with any of it ever. Russel looked down, "I'm sorry"

Russel felt 2D's hand in his shoulder. He looked up at him. "We're all good I promise." He then gave a very sincere smile. Russel felt a bit better at that.


 

Russel woke up later that night, he had to sleep the rest of the day to recover. He was alone upon his waking this time, not that he minded, maybe some silence would be good. His headache was still there, but it was better, good enough for him to get up and walk around.

He got up and walked to his window, the sun was just setting. It was exactly an extraordinary sunset but it was nice. He looked out over the graveyard he had just nearly escaped. It looked like 2D had finished gardening without him, everything was all planted and in a beautiful patterned circle. 2D seemed to be good at the task.

Russel felt kind of sad that they couldn't finish it together, but they looked beautiful and made him happy. Russel thought about how 2D must have gotten Murdoc to help him into bed and how he got a cloth for him and picked up the spell bottle for him. He must have sat there and watched him for a while too. He cared about him didn't he? He seemed so nice, and good, and ...cute...

Russel put his head against the glass. He breathed out and whispered.

"Fuck"

He really did have a crush on 2D.

Chapter Text

It was night now and Russel supposed it was time for them to hang out like always. It was funny, 2D didn't even knock anymore. He just walked right in and sat down next to him on the floor.

It had been about a week since he was possessed, and things had calmed down. During the week, however, a police officer had came to the door asking about Noodle and the various police officers that Russel had traumatized, to which Murdoc had said "fuck it" and as he put it "used on of his last political favors from his personal time with the queen".

Russel didn't know if he was lying, but he did know that he didn't care. There was always something going on in his life, he just wanted some time to just do normal ass shit.

2D spoke up, "So what do you wanna do?"

The question seemed odd to Russel, what did they do any night other than watch tv or play video games? "Um I don't know? Do you wanna do something different?"

"Maybe. I just don't feel like doing like watching anythin'" 2D rested his head on his hand. "You wanna go to a bar or something?"

"Sure I mean I know Harry Mermaid's probably still open." Russel said.

"eh. I don't think I wanna go to Harry's. Let's go somewhere new!" He said excitedly.

"I don't see why not," He said , he did see why not. He didn't really want to go out, who knows where they would end up, and Russel didn't want new. He wanted to sit down and just be normal. Probably was he didn't really know what that meant. Maybe normal people did go out at night to random new locations with their same gender chrushes and get wasted. Maybe normal was a beer and forgetting about the fact his heart was probably going to break. Crushes sucked ass. He just wants to be friends and not make shit weird.

"Well okay! Let's go!" 2D practically bounced down the halls. Russel followed him reluctantly.

They got in the car and Russel began driving as 2D picked a radio station. He flipped through the channels, very indecisive, and finally he heard the opening cords of a songs come on.

"Oh my god! I haven't heard this song in ages! I loved it so much." He leaned back and closed his eyes. He began singing along with the words.

Russel didn't know what the song was, but hearing 2D singing it made him smile uncontrollably. His singing voice so different from his normal voice, it amazed him. It was so smooth and beautiful and when it rumbled when he hit the low notes...Russel loved hearing him sing. And the best part is that 2D seems to enjoy it to. Nice moments like these, just simple joys, were what made life good for him.

Russel realized they were in a part of town he had never been in before. He didn't really have a set destination he was kinda just waiting for 2D to point something out.

"You seeing anything you like D?" Russel said.

"Oh. I didn't know I was supposed to be lookin', sorry"

"nah it's cool we don't have anywhere to be. Time isn't an issue." Russel stated.

"Hey why not there?" He said, pointing to a bar further down the road.

It was a bar called Spark. Russel, thinking nothing of it, put on his blinker to turn into the parking lot. "Yeah sure why not" he said.

They got out of the car and up to the bouncer at the door. It was a very tall, very buff women with short pink hair.

"Y'all got any Identification? Only 21 and up allowed inside." Her southern accent startled them.

"Uh yeah, here." Russel said. They both showed thier licenses to her.

"Okay that answers that. Hope y'all have fun in there... I don't think I need to ask you if y'all know what kinda bar this is I think y'all know. Y'all at least look like ya know" She said with a bit of sass.

"wait what?" Russel said as they were escorted inside. Russel and 2D were soon inside the club, neon lights and colors were everywhere.

"Have fun on your date boys!" She said closing the door behind her.

Russel blushed, "um uh n-no we aren't-" it was apparent she wasn't listening. "Whatever."

2D was laughing. He was laughing pretty hard too, and Russel had no clue at what. He hoped it wasn't at him.

"What's so funny, then huh?" He said.

"Russ. I think we ended up at a gay bar." He said pointing to the big rainbow flag hanging up at the bar.

"Oh dude. Wow, okay the plan B, I guess let's find somewhere else." Russel said.

"Wait hold on. You're gay, why don't we stay! It's not like I was gonna find a chick at another bar and just leave ya alone the rest of the night anyway." 2D said. "I know, I'll be your wingman! Russel imma find you a hot guy tonight, eh?"

"Oh my god 2D, NO. It's gonna be so weird, you'll probably get more dudes hitting on you then me! Let's just go to a regular bar." Russel said, getting more embarrassed by the minute.

"But were already here! There's music and drinks and shit let's just stay!" He said, practically whining. "I promise I'll be the best wingman ok?"

Russel couldn't believe how the night was ending up. "Ugh, fine. But if some really gay shit happens and you feel akward don't come bitching to me about it."

This will be fun, huh? I'll be ya wingman too Russ.

Del, dude.

They went over to the beer and Russel put his head to the bar. "I can't believe we're doing this. Dude I barely even went to gay bars with Del."

"We'll be fiiiine Russ," he said. He waved and got the bartenders attention. "Hey I'll have a...shit I don't know whatever will get me drunk!"

The bartender, a pale, tall man with bright orange eyeshadow smiled at him. "That's almost everything in here, babe."

"Oh well then give me your cheapest strongest shit," He said chuckling.

"Well okay then. And how about your big handsome friend here?" He said turning towards Russel.

Russel lifted his head. "Who me? I'm big handsome friend?"

"Yes you hon, what do ya want to drink, eh?" He said.

"um, just some regular ass beer. I don't know." He mumbled and put his head back down.

"Okay whatever. I don't know why neither of you want to give me any actual brand names but I'll be back in a sec," he said, going to the other side of the bar.

Russel still couldn't believe that any of this was happening. This was very embarrassing to him and he wasn't even the straight guy in the gay bar.

Then he felt 2D's hand on his back. "Hey, if you don't want to be here, we can leave. I just thought we should stay because it would be fun for you. I-I just wanted to make sure you knew that you being gay didn't like make me hate you or anything."

Russel lifted his head and turned to 2D. "Thanks. We...we can stay. I'm just really...timid, I guess, about these sort of things. I haven't really had a lot of space to be...um, 'loud and out' you know?" He said.

2D was now very sincere and quite from the excited pretty boy he was just a minute ago. "I understand...I think. Tell me if I make you uncomfortable ever okay?"

"Yeah sure." Russel said. He really didn't like having these conversations.

The bartender returned with their drinks and went off to serve other people. "Take care big handsome man!" He said, running off to his next guest.

Russel chuckled at that comment and started to sip at his beer. He and 2D started talking about random things, little ideas for songs, and other small things. It was basically what they did in Russel's room, but with beer and neon lights.

They, half way through a conversation about how hard it was to learn a new language just to talk to Noodle (and how cute Noodle was in general), a guy walked up to them.

He was tall, slim, darker skinned, and had big beautiful coilly hair that went past his shoulders. In short, he was very hot, and Russel was not up to talking to someone if this...caliber.

He leaned on the bar, where else but right between him and 2D, facing 2D. He looked at 2D and smiled, not in a happy genuine way, but in a more, 'let's talk more in my room' way. Russel knew this would happen.

"Hey." The man said.

"Uh, hey." 2D said, clearly not picking up what was going on, even though he was in a gay bar.

"Has anyone ever told you you have the most beautiful eyes?" He said, in his most charming and playfully sarcastic tone he could muster. Russel didn't like what was going on, but if he were the one being hit it, he'd hate to admit it but they'd already be kissing.

It 2D a second to get it, but then he said, "oh, right. Yeah, People actually did before they got..uh..knocked in? I mean I can still see so they must be in there somewhere, eh?"

The man had a light laugh, "I guess you're right." He brushed his hair back. "So what kinda job does a guy like you have?"

Russel was being completely ignored and shut off from the conversation. Although that's how hitting on people worked, you don't hit on their friend too, Russel didn't think this would happen so early in the evening.

"I'm a singer. We haven't really done any concerts yet, just starting by out." He said.

"Oh a singer, huh? I bet you have a beautiful voice. Maybe you'd like to show me it sometime." The man replied.

"I mean ya, you could come to a concert I guess." 2D said.

Russel wanted to leave more then anything else in the world. He didn't know what was the worse part of this situation, watching 2D get hit on, or watching 2D not realizing that he's getting hit on. The entire interaction was painful.

"Oh what am I doing, I haven't told you my name! My name is Jack. What's your's?" He said trying to revive the conversation.

"uh...I'm mostly called 2D these days." He replied, pretty uninterested. He really didn't want to tell the story of his name, but he also really didn't like the name Stuart Pots either.

"What an intriguing name...how do this nick name come about?" He said leaning in to 2D.

"It's kinda a long story." He said.

Russel tried to cover up a small laugh. 2D wasn't interested at all. It was funny, here's this guy who probably a perfect ten by anyone in the bars standards (except for maybe the few women there), and he picked the one guy there that would reject him.

The man, Jack as they now knew him, persisted. "I mean I have time. If you want...we could even go to my place. Less noise more time. Maybe you could even sing for me?"

Russel shook his head. This dude was asking too much too early, even he knew that. But damned if he wouldn't take that offer.

2D's expression changed suddenly.

There it is, Russel thought. He had finally realized what was going on.

"OH, oh, you're hitting on me. I'm so sorry I'm..uh..taken." 2D said scrambling to get words out.

"Taken?" The man said almost annoyed. "By who? You're at a gay bar alone!" He said shouting angrily.

Russel sighed because he knew exactly what he was getting himself into. "He's not here alone." He said, turning the guy around.

"And who are you?" The man said, clearly irritated at this point.

Russel was about to say something vague, anything to just get him away from them when 2D suddenly stood up.

"HE'S MY BOYFRIEND!" He said in a panic. When he realized he was yelling he sat back down. "Um...I mean...yeah, he's my boyfriend. We're here...together."

Shit no. This was the only thought Russel had, while he sat there and heard laughs and cheering noises that could only be made by his dead rapper boyfriend (kind of boyfriend).

"Wait, you're his boyfriend?" The man said.

"Yep" Russel said, trying not to break his cover.

Yeah you are! HA!

"And you just sat there while I hit on him?"

"Well I didn't think you... were...hitting on him." Russel said unconvincingly.

"Really? Neither of you picked up on that? I started with a beautiful eyes line." He said.

The "couple" shrugged. They didn't know what else to say.

The man starred at them for second in disbelief, then spoke again. "Well okay then. I guess I need to work on my technique. I'll be leaving then."

He then walked away from the bar and off to another guy to try to smooth over. As he was walking away they both shot pained looks at each other.

2D whispered, "Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit, shit"

When the man was out of ear shot 2D spoke up. "HOLY SHIT. I'm so sorry, I-I just panicked. And I-"

"No, no, its fine it's just...man, just say you're not interested next time." Russel said. He couldn't help but laugh a little.

"Stop laughing" 2D said, lightly punching his arm. He was laughing now too.

Russel looked out on the dance floor, still smiling. "Hey, let's go dance."

2D drank a big gulp of his beer and shook his head. "Oh, no, no I can't. I suck at dancing."

"Ah, come on D," he said playfully. "I'm sure you can dance fine. It's drug dancing anyway, it supposed to be fun not good."

2D looked out at the crowd of people. "I don't know... maybe I can just stay here with my beer. I'm...fine alone."

Russel could tell that he wasn't "fine" alone. He wasn't going to just abandon him, the night was meant for both of them anyway. He worried about 2D sometimes.

He tried to pick up the mood again, "Hey come on. It's not that bad, I'll be out there with you, sucking at dancing harder." He smiled at 2D trying to encourage him. "Besides if I'm not here with you, who's gonna be your fake boyfriend?" He said giggling.

"Oh shut up," he said trying to conceal his smile. "I mean I guess I could dance. But just for a little okay?"

Russel cheered and they both got out of their seats and went towards the dance floor. The people at the bar were mostly men, only a few women, and possey of non-binary folk hanging out in the corner. There was bright make up, glitter, and all sorts of interesting fashion. Russel almost felt nostalgic, he missed being in this type of crowd. They walked through the crowd and went to some where in the middle and started to dance.

Russel listened to the music for a second then went into a smooth dance that was on time with the beat, he felt at home. However his friend was not feeling the same. 2D felt and looked very awkward, Russel could tell. He was sweating and breathing hard, eye darting around the room. He looked like he was going to have a panic attack. Russel acted quickly, he grabbed 2D's arm gently and leaned to his ear.

"Hey I know it's kinda scary, but nobody is watching us." Russel's whispers made him shiver for second, but made him still and calm. He listened closely as if his voice was only sound in the room. Russel continued "It's just us and the music okay? So just listen to the music. Hear the notes and let the tone and mood of the music show you how to move along with, okay?"

2D nodded as Russel let go of his arm. He closed his eyes and stood still for a second, Russel watched him hopefully. He began to move slowly at first, but then he opened his eyes and was smiling and dancing with Russel happily.

They laughed and looked at each other as they swayed and bounced. Russel's heart raced, he hadn't felt so...happy and carefree in forever. He remembered how him and Del used to dance. He missed that so much.

Don't worry Russ, his voice rang through his head, sorrowful but nostalgic. You can't see but I'm dancing up here.

I know Del I know.

They were having so much fun..that is until a man, pale with green hair, came up to 2D and started dancing. It seemed fun to him at first, but then he tried to grind on him. Needless to say 2D started to freak out. Getting hit on was on thing, this was another.

Russel got mad. He pushed the guy off 2D.

"Oi, what the fuck?" He said.

"He's not interested okay?" Russel said.

"Oh Really? Why is that? Why don't you let him answer," the man spat out.

2D looked scared, "I-I um I-I just-"

"He's not interested okay. Just leave him alone." Russel said.

"No. You can't just tell me what to do!" He said pushing Russel's chest.

Russel was getting more angry by the minute. "He's my boyfriend okay? Will that make you go away?"

"Oh I don't believe that for a second. He would never date you." The man said. "Prove it, prove he's your boyfriend"

"What do you mean 'prove it' what the hell do you wan-" Russel was cut off very unexpectedly.

He was stopped by 2D grabbing his shirt and pulling Russel's lips to his.

Chapter Text

Before Russel even realized what was happening, it was over. 2D had pulled away from his face, but slower than he should have.

Oh my god! Get it Russ! Ha

"See! He's my boyfriend! Now leave me alone!" 2D said. He began walking in the opposite direction of the man, dragging Russel behind by his hand.

Russel was still stuck in the kiss. He was trying to focus on anything else, getting away from the man, what song was on, if anything was even real, but he couldn't. As 2D pulled him across the floor, all he could think about was...him. How is breath still tasted like beer, about how soft his lips were, about how it seemed to last longer than a kiss just for a story. He even noticed that trend again, his lips were cold, just like his hands... Maybe it was a short kiss, maybe he was just dreaming to fast, but he couldn't help it.

Russel could only barely hear the man yelling at them, "Oi come back here! Hey, hey...oh never mind."

When they finally got to the corner of the room, 2D sat on a bench and put his face in his hands. Russel's dream like state was shattered. Looking at 2D, he realized that he was almost crying.

It really was just a move to get out of there. Russel already knew this, but seeing 2D in such a dismal condition after...that. It hurt just a little bit. Russel again realized the reality of his crush. He knew that 2D would never love him, but how can anyone just stop themselves from falling head over heels.

He also knew, however, that his friend was hurt. That came first, and hopefully he could fix that problem.

He walked over and sat beside 2D. "Are you okay?" He said. He took a breath before speaking again, "That was...rough."

"I-I'm fine," he said, shaky breath. "I need a smoke."

Russel knew that this meant he had to go outside. He probably needed that though.

"Do you want me to go with you?" He said. Being out there alone might not be the best idea, but if it's space 2D needed, that's what he needed.

"No." he said.

Russel felt really bad. He felt like it was all his fault that this happened. He knew 2D was was having anxiety about this already and of course he would get hit on again. Some guys don't give up...

"I'm sorry." Russel said, voice shaking.

2D didn't say anything. He just nodded and then got up. Russel watched him walk away, trying to detach himself from all of the everything he was felling.

He needed a beer.

He walked up to the bar, sat down, and once again, had his head against surface.

"Back already?" The bartender said. "And where's your friend. Oh wait, your 'boyfriend'."

"He's outside..." Russel said. "What do you care?"

The bartender scoffed, "I'm a bartender, I live for drama. Besides, it's not my fault you brought a straight guy in here."

"I didn't," He replied. "We stopped here thinking it was a normal bar. I didn't even want to stay."

"Ok, whatever you say," he said. "Just saying there's easier ways to see if your crush is interested."

"Ugh, just get me a beer." Russel said annoyed.

"Fine. But hey, he did stay here for you. That's all I'm saying." He walked away to take car of his duties and Russel was left alone.

Russel sighed. He needed to clear his head. Was 2D mad at him? Was 2D okay at least?

What should he do about...the kiss? Should he even ever mention it? Russel looked down at his hands, deep in thought.

His lips were cold, yet they burned into his memory.

You okay Russ? I might have been I a little insensitive back there. I was just.... excited 

It's okay Del. I just...I'm just tired of things happening

I love you Russel.

Russel smiled, I love you Del

Del had been very detached and avoidant of their relationship ever since he died, but every once in a while, we he was really lucky, Del would be affectionate to him. Even if it was just for seconds at a time, Russel loved knowing he was still loved.

Russel's beer arrived and the bartender spoke up, "Hey come on now, I'm sure your friend is fine. Drink your beer, take care of yourself, hot stuff."

Russel gave a half smile, "Thanks."

He then began to drink his drink, hoping to drown the guilt, and embarrassment, and regret.

Then he heard a voice.

"Hey!" The guy next to him said in recognition. He had a flat top haircut, a rainbow tank top, and very tight pants.

"Hey?" Russel replied.

"Hey, you're Russel Hobbs!" He said beaming.

"Um yeah, I guess I am," He said rather confused. "How do you know me?"

"How do I know- you're Russel Hobbs!" He said as if it was obvious. "The beat master, the drummer, the ghostly rhythm king!"

Russel was amused. "You know my music?"

"Uh, yeah I know you're the best! One of my favorite artists."

"Really? I didn't know I was that famous." He said.

"Well you are and you are for a reason...My names Jay." He shook Russel's hand. He looked so happy to be talking with him. "Wow. I mean wow. In a gay bar with Russel Hobbs."

Russel chuckled, "That you are."

"Wait hold on a second...that means-oh my god! My idol is gay too! Wow! The night just keeps getting better and better."

"Well I'm glad I could make you so happy." He said, taking a gulp of his beer.

"I am. I certainly am." He said. " Anyway, what kinda gig do you have now? It seems like you sort of fell off the grid for awhile."

"Oh um...it's a work in progress right now. I'm in a new band and we haven't performed yet. We should be soon though, been practicing for a couple months now. Haven't played yet because of perfection and also we lost a guitarist at one point" Russel shuttered at the thought of Paula. He's almost absolutely sure 2D has fully recovered from that.

 

"Oh that's so cool. Can't wait to see it." He said.

"So what about you? What do you do?" Russel asked. He asked because he needed company, and he seemed nice enough.

"Oh me? I'm just a repair guy. Heaters and shit need fixing and I'm there to do it." He said distraught.

"Ok sure, you're a repair guy, but what do you want to do? Like what's your passion man?" Russel said.

Atta boy Russel. Picking another handsome boy to flirt with. I'm proud.

Oh hush.

"Well I um...I want to be a dancer. I'm no good at music but I love music so I dance to it. I have big dreams too." He said his face lighting up.

"Yeah? Big dreams are good." He said.

"Ha, well I want to get money. I know that sounds petty, but I don't want to live in a mansion or something. I want enough be able pay bills, donate to charities, lots of charities, buy gifts for my friends. I can't help other people if I can't help myself I guess."

"No no that's a good dream." Russel said.

"Did you always want to be a musician?" He asked Russel.

"Actually? No, I didn't,"Russel said. "When I was real little, I wanted to be a biologist. I loved that shit, no matter how cheesy the videos were. I was good at academics too, I went to a school for gifted children, but that all ended when...uh..I-I..." Russel realized that the story ended with him being possessed and hurting people.

"You what?" He asked.

"it's not important. What matters is I'm here now, in a gay bar, with a hopefully successful music career ahead of me." He said, trying to steer away from the topic.

"I guess you're right." He said. He had a great smile.

They sat in silence for a second then Russel had an idea. "Hey you're a dancer, yeah?"

"I mean, yeah, I just told you." He replied.

"Well show me." He said. "Show me how you dance."

"Oh I see how it is, meet a guy at a bar, says he's a dancer and now you want a free show, huh?" He said playfully.

"I mean if you're offering..." Russel said.

"You know what?" He said, getting out of his chair. "Okay. Come and dance with then." He motioned for Russel to follow him.

Russel smiled and got up. He followed Jay out on to the dance floor and Russel hoped that this dance would be better than the last.

He watched jay as he began to dance. He could immediately tell he was passionate about dancing. His eyes were closed, listening to beat, sway on time, and his hips moved smoothly around. He opened his eyes and starred right at Russel.

Russel bit his lip while he smiled and began to dance with him. At first they danced together but separately, however that didn't last long. Russel realized he was no longer in the polite conversation at the bar zone anymore.

But he also realized he didn't care. It had been too long, he needed affection, touch, attention. And even perhaps a distraction.

Soon enough Russel found Jay's hands resting on his hips, as the two began to rock back and forth together.

Russel leaned to his ear and whispered, "So I guess this makes you a super fan of mine, huh?"

He giggled and spoke back, "always have always will be baby."

He pulled his head back from his face, and looked into Jay's eyes. They shared a second of intimate eye contact, then Russel leaned in and kissed him. He pulled back and jay was smiling like a fool.

They made their way off the dance floor and leaned against a wall by the back door. They began to kiss again, this time deeper. The entire time they were giggling and happy. Everything seemed just about perfect.

Then the door opened.

At first, Russel didn't notice, he was invested in other activities, but then he heard a voice behind him.

"Um...Russel?" The sound of a meek, embarrassed 2D rang through his head. His head whipped around and came face to face with his friend who looked desperate to leave.

"Oh! Oh..um.." Russel turned back to Jay. "Um..I'm sorry about this, uh, my singer needs a ride home." Russel said.

"Okay, well um," he said pulling a pen out of his pocket. He began writing on Russel hand. "Call me when you're next gig happens. I'd love to see it." He pulled Russel in for a final short kiss and then walked in the other direction.

Russel was still a bit flustered and giddy about this exchanged for a moment, but it faded as he turned back to his friend. He saw how shaken up he was and felt very guilty very quickly.

"Let's go home now, huh?" Russel said.

2D just looked down and nodded. They walked out and got into the car. Russel turned on the radio. Every once in a while he would look over to see if he was singing along, but 2D was silent the entire time. He just gazed out the window, dead eyed.

Russel worried about him.

When they walked in it was almost 4am. They walked to 2D's room and Russel said goodnight to him. 2D just waved and closed the door.

Russel sighed and walked up to his room. As he layed in bed he couldn't sleep. He bounced between feeling conflicted about 2D to happy about the guy he met.

Russel didn't want to admit it, but it was mostly happiness. He fell asleep with a smile on his face.

Chapter Text

(Some warnings: a little bit of gore at the beginning and homophobic slurs in the middle)


 

Russel was on a stage. There're was only a spot light on him, but no other light.

"What the hell..." he whispered.

He tried to move but he was trapped in a glass box. He looked out onto the audience, but he could only see the front row. There, sitting in the seats, were Del, Jay, and 2D. Del was alive, but he had a bullet hole in his head, blood dripping down from it slowly.

They were all smiling and starring at him. "Guys..." Russel tapping on the glass. "Hello?"

Then Russel felt something at his feet. There was water starting to fill up the tank.

Russel began to panic and bang on the glass, "Hello? Help! Please Help!" The water crept up his legs and he began to hyperventilate. The audience did nothing, faces glued in a fake smile, as Russel struggled.

Russel saw a figure ghost through Del's figure, making him turn blue, then disappear. The water reached his mouth as the figure floated on stage, cold gaze, boney hand out stretched. Russel knew him well.

Death.


 

Russel woke up. He stayed in bed for a second, rubbing his eye and trying to shake off the somewhat disturbing images of his dreams. He opened his eyes and realized that a number was written on his hand.

Jay's number, he realized. It made him happy to look at it, it was just such a nice moment meeting with him. He got up and punched the number into his phone. He didn't really use his phone that much, he only occasionally texted his friends from back at the record shop. However as he was typing in the number, he thought that that might change.

He got dressed and went down stairs to get something to eat. When he came down, Noodle was already at the counter making breakfast. In the week that she had been there, it had become routine for Russel and Noodle to make breakfast together. He supposed they could make lunch and dinner together too, but usually they would do something else. 2D and Russel usually went out for lunch or dinner, or alternatively had a much simpler meal for those meals like instant noodles. Although this was more of a him and 2D thing, he always made sure Noodle got fed.

Russel pretty much had become the parent of the group. 2D did play a part in helping out, but he was more like a big brother, and Murdoc wasn't really a huge part of this equation, but he was surprisingly better than what Russel thought he would be.

"Ohayo." Russel said, nodding his head. This was the informal way of saying 'good morning' in Japanese. Originally Russel said the formal phase to her, Ohayo gozaimasu, to her, but she explained (as best she could) that she wanted him to use the informal because they were friends.

"Ohayo!" She said back to him. Russel didn't know many phrases quite yet, but he was making progress.

"Okay," he said looking at the stove. "Whatcha cooking, little bean?" She was making some pretty nice looking eggs.

He helped her finish cooking breakfast, and then they sat down for their meal. They had also set out a plate for 2D, because they knew he would come down later and eat it. A couple times they even made one for Murdoc, but they were pretty he wasn't even there this morning.

They eat their meal, talking at each other in languages the other doesn't understand. Russel hoped one day to actually learn Japanese so he can talk to her. Unfortunately, today was not that day, but that didn't mean that they didn't enjoy their meal.

When they finished Russel and Noodle cleaned up together Noodle went of in her own direction to do whatever Noodle did during the day. Russel supposed it was probably practicing the songs Murdoc gave her, or drawing things, or reading, or kid stuff he guessed. She had been out with 2D and him twice last week, they had taken to stores to get new clothes and the necessities. They also got her some books and some fun things like a CD player and head phones and art supplies. It was fun for all three of them.

Russel was a little worried though, 2D was usually up by now and his breakfast was getting cold. He was probably just hung over. Russel drank more than him, but he also handles alcohol pretty well, to the point were he only really gets hung over after intense drinking. He liked to joke about how it was because Del was in his head taking the hang over for him. 2D never really thought it was that funny, but granted, he only ever heard it when he was hung over with the worst headache ever and Russel was perfectly fine.

Russel took the plate and headed for 2D's room. As he was walking there he worried if 2D was mad at him. He had a rough night, and it was akward for him to see Russel kissing some stranger. He hoped that wasn't the case and knocked on his door.

"Hey, you up?" He said. "I have breakfast for you."

There was no response.

"Are you still asleep or are you avoiding me?" Russel asked.

The door opened slightly, but 2D didn't say anything.

"Okay, here I guess." He said handing him the plate through the door. The door shut with him saying a word.

"Well good morning...or whatever." Russel said through the door.

Russel felt a little uncomfortable after this. Was 2D really mad at him? He guessed that maybe it was a bit of a jerk move to continue looking for guys after he had that happen to him. Russel brushed away the thought.

He honestly had no clue of what to do. He usually did stuff with 2D, but it seemed like that wasn't going to happen at the moment.

Russel went to the room with his drum set in it, he decided to do some practicing. He didn't do it very often, but he liked to practice alone (or alone as he could get with Del in his head). The last he did was right after Paula left, when 2D was avoiding him.

Praticing alone offered many benefits; it cleared his head, he could do more complex drum lines that wouldn't fit with the songs they made, he didn't have to worry so much about screwing up. He could just play around with the beat and have fun with it.

He sat down, but he didn't begin to play immediately. He closed his eyes, ran his fingers over the edges of the drums and symbols. He took deep breaths and meditated for a moment. Once he found his balance, he began to beat on the drum.

His beat was soft at first, experimental, finding the path that the music would take, but as he went on he became more passion and powerful in his strikes. He went fast and the drumsticks were furiously moving around the kit.

As he became more and more confident with his sound, he fell into a trance like state. His vision fogged, soon his only capablity and function was his drums. He knew that Del was coming out. He began to feel his guiding hand on his own.

Del then began to dance around the room, probably doing some rap. Russel couldn't really tell, there wasn't really much that he could do in this state. He didn't really mind though, he was still enjoying making music, and Del enjoyed being out and about.

However it was not as pleasant when Murdoc came barreling into the room.

"Oi! Russel I need-" Murdoc stopped mid sentence as he was gawking at Del's display. Russel panicked and woke up from his trance as Del quickly got sucked back into his head.

Murdoc was wide eyed, "Oh my god! Was that Del..oooh why haven't you shown me that before! That would be so good in the show!"

Russel was still a bit disoriented, "This was kinda a personal thing...wait what show?"

"Ah- that's what I came in here to talk about. We're having our first show tomorrow."

Russel was confused, "Tomorrow? We don't do shit for months then suddenly a show with one days notice?"

"Well we've been practicing in that time, yeah? We're just gonna be preforming what we already can play. Here's the schedule." Murdoc said, handing him a slip of paper.

"Okay, I guess." Russel said looking at the sheet. "I a little concerned about Noodle though. She's only been playing these songs for a week. She's also 10, I don't know how she'll do under this kind of pressure."

"She'll be fine, eh? She's a tough one, and she's already got those songs down. We'll be fiiiiiine." He said.

"Yeah, sure we will," Russel said looking down at the slip of paper.

"Anyway, go back to practicing or whatever paranormal crap you're doing." Murdoc said, walking out the door.

Russel just sat there for a second and thought about performing as a band. He was definitely worried about Noodle, and, if he was being honest with himself, he was worried about 2D as well.

He looked down at the paper again, and to his surprise, the performance was right around where he used to live. It was only a couple blocks from where the record shop he used to work at is.

Maybe he could catch up with old friends, show them to 2D and Noodle. He didn't really care about Murdoc, but he was almost certain that his friends would Noodle.

It was going to be great, he really missed his friends there. Then Russ realized something. He was about to have his next gig. He picked up his phone and started texting Jay.

Oooo Russ, what are ya going to say?

Calm down I'm just telling him the gig.

Suuure you are, ha. Get it Russ, get it.

Russel chuckled and continued typing out his message. It simply said this:

'hey its Russel. you didn't give me the wrong number jay did you?'

Russel hesitated to send it, but then he took a deep breath and sent the message. He hoped it wasn't too cheesy.

He left the room in search of...something. Maybe he just wanted to leave the room. He wondered around for while, looking through the different rooms. There was the theater, but he had never used it. He only watched movies at night...with 2D.

There was rooms that he didn't no even know exsisted, rooms with pool tables, full of random junk. It was all cursed or haunted, Russel was sure, so he stopped while he was ahead so he wouldn't have to deal with a possession again.

He passed by Noodle's room, he heard her practicing. She was such a talented child and Russel smiled. He eventually found himself walking outside, and he sat down amongst the flowers he and 2D had planted. He was a little afraid of another ghost arriving, but usually two don't come fronm the same grave so he thought he was safe. If he wasn't, so be it.

They looked like they needed some care. Russel brought out a hose and watered them. He layed down next to them, not really knowing what to do. He began to stare at them, look at each bend and curve of the flowers, the color, the texture.

Then he got a text.

'wow Russel, didn't think you'd be texting so soon. I thought I was supposed to be the fan'

Russel smirked and then texted back, 'calm down, hotshot. I'm texting cause apparently I do have a show tomorrow.'

After a few seconds he got a response, 'oh so you aren't interested in me? Shame.'

Russel immediately came back with, 'hey, I never said that. Anyway here's the gig'. Russel sent off the time and location and hoped for the best out of this interaction.

'Okay, I'll be there. See you soon ;)'

Now maybe Russel was a little nervous about the show.

Suddenly, the window to 2D's window opened. He was lighting a cigarette and looking off somewhere. Russel sat there for a second, watching him wondering if he should say hello to him or just pretend like he wasn't there.

"Oh hey Russ. Didn't see ya there." He said surprised. He took a drag of his cigarette.

"Hi." He said looking up at 2D.

"What are ya doing down there?" He looked uninterested. He was probably a little mad, Russel concluded.

"I'm just kinda hanging out with the flowers." He looked around at the flowers around him. "You hear about the gig tomorrow?"

"Yeah..."

"You nervous?" Russel asked.

2D shrugged. "I don't know. Kinda."

"It's the first gig. I'm a little nervous too but we've had a lot of time to prepare." Russel said back.

"True." He said, taking in another long puff of smoke.

Russel felt uneasy with the conversation. "So..uh. I'm gonna check in on Noodle. She might be a little more nervous."

"Sounds good." He said looking off.

Russel got up and walked away. He felt bad, was 2D acting this way because last night? Was it because he kept drinking and partying after the 'mishap'? Or did he not like him kissing Jay?

Seeing your friend kiss people may be awkward...or it might make you jealous. Russel brushed that thought away quickly.

He wondered slowly through the house to Noodle's room. He worried about her so much, he didn't know how to raise a child. She needed to go to school, but how would that work? She'd definitely be taken away by the government in any case. He needed to communicate with her too.

It was going to be hard be Russel assured himself that he could do it.

He arrived at her room and knocked on the door. "Noodle?"

Noodle then something that Russel recognized as "come in!"

He pushed open the door and saw that she was on the floor drawing with markers. She was very invested in her drawings and stuck her tongue out as she drew, trying to get it just right. He sat down beside her and looked at them.

They were cute little drawings of cats, flowers, and scribble monsters. "Oh theses are so cute...um yoi, yoi." He said patting Noodle's head. He hoped saying 'yoi' or 'good' was enough to get the message across.

Noodle smiled at him and then went back to drawing. Russel wanted to ask her if she was ready for the performance. He sat down and pulled the English to Japanese dictionary out of his pocket and fumbled through it for awhile before formulating a sentence that he hoped was enough.

He spoke brokenly to her, asking if she was nervous about the show. She shook her head. Russel was relieved that she was ok, but he still made a mental note to watch over her.

"That's good, that's good." He took one of the markers and a piece of paper and they drew together for awhile.

After awhile Russel had a page full of messy looking flowers, ones that mimicked the flowers that lay under his window. Noodle tapped his shoulder and he looked over at her.

She held up a drawing in her hands with excitement on her face. On the page was a figure that was rather round and wearing similar clothing to his.

"Oh! Is this me? I love it some much!" Russel said, taking the paper in his hands. "Wow this is so cool! Here you can have mine in exchange." He handed her the flowers he made and she looked at them in awe, running her fingers over the paper.

She stood up a ran out of the room with it in her hands. Russel stood up and stretched. He supposed she was off somewhere to do her own little thing like she usually does. Russel left the room and went down to the living room.

Murdoc was sitting in a chair playing around with his bass. He nodded toward Russ and Russel just waved back. He didn't know what else to do so he just sat on the couch and turned on the TV. It was weird watching TV during the day, he had only ever watched it recently at night with 2D.

He flipped through the channels wondering if 2D would show up at his room tonight or if he was still anger at him...

He settled on a channel and tried to just zone out for a bit. But then he got a text.

'hey russ what should I wear to this event :p'

Aw dude he's flirting with ya! Get some babe! Flirt back!

Russel chuckled slightly. He had such a weird relationship with Del, but he enjoyed it.

Russel texted back, 'oh tough question. I'm thinking clothes, preferably'

Russel got a text back almost immediately, 'aw there goes that plan :('

Another came soon after, 'but Russel what would I do at this event?'

He thought for a sec then typed, 'idk stand in the crowds and look pretty'

Right then 2D walked into the room and sat down next to him. "Hey Russ"

"Hey D" Russel got a response from his phone.

'oh I thought being pretty was your job'

Russel smiled and typed back. 'Actually, think I'm out of a job because there's this guy I know...he's REAL cute.'

Hey Russel is it me? Am I the cute one.

Shut up...but yes you're cute too.

2D shifted on the couch uncomfortablely. Russel looked at him, "Hey you can change the channel if you want. You can put on a zombie film, I know ya like those."

2D just shrugged and picked up the remote and began flipping through channels. Then Russel's phone buzzed.

'Well you can meet me after the show for job opportunities ;)'

Russel giggled at the stupid conversation they were having. They both sucked at flirting.

"Who are ya texting?" 2D said with a tinge of annoyance in his voice.

"Oh um...Jay, uh...the guy I was with at the bar." Russel was stumbling over his words.

2D looked away from him with a sour expression and said, "the guy you were kissing?"

"I..uh..yeah" Russel mumbled.

Murdoc burst into the conversation, "Wait hold on! You're gay? Oi you really are tying to bang my singer aren't ya!" Murdoc said with an obnoxious laugh.

2D shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Russel cursed under his breath then replied "You're getting on my nerves, you don't really want to do that."

"Oh NO, I wouldn't want to get on your NERVES." He said mockingly. "What are you gonna do? Rainbow me to death?"

"Damn Murdoc, you can't even come up with a good insult can you?" Russel said.

"Oi!" Murdoc said standing up. "Do we have a problem here?"

"I don't know about me, but you sure got a lot of problems." Russel spat back.

"Oh, that's it!" He collided with Russel and punched him in the face. Russel grunted and picked Murdoc up by his shirt. He struggled to escape Russel's grasp.

"YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH ME BEING GAY? HUH?" He said shaking Murdoc around.

"PUT ME DOWN YOU BLOODY QUEER!" He shouted back.

"Hum let me think about that! NO!" Russel said. "Say sorry, and I'll put you down."

"Fine! Fine! Jesus Christ, I'm sorry goddamn it!" Murdoc said,

Russel dropped him on the ground. He leaned over him, "Now was that so hard? Now I hope we can get along, will we?"

"We will, ok? Jesus." Murdoc said standing up.

"Great." He said, plowing back down on the coach next to a very frighted 2D.

Murdoc picked up his bass a slugged out of the room, "Im gonna go have a smoke."

Russel just shook his head. Of course this would happen, but it wasn't something he was excited about.

2D spoke up, "Jeez, Russ are you okay?!"

The question surprised him, "oh um yeah." He thought for a second, "I mean yeah. I pretty much knew that Murdoc was going to be a shit about it."

2D didn't speak, he looked lost in thought. He then spoke in a tiny quiet voice, "I'm sorry."

"No, hey, don't be...it's not your fault and I've dealt with crap like this before. I've learned to not let it bother me." Russel sighed.

"But I'm the one who brought it up, I-I just didn't think about it." He said.

"It okay, man. Just be...more aware next time, okay? Everything's fine." Russel said.

They sat there and watched television for awhile. Neither of them said a word.

Russel was getting ready for bed. He looked in the mirror and saw that he had a big bruise on his face where Murdoc had punched him.

At this point Del appeared in the mirror beside him. This was an ability that he didn't use very often, but it was always funny to Russel seeing Del all blue and goofy looking as a ghost.

"You okay, man?" He asked.

"Yeah I'm fine. You think that ugly fuck could put more than a dent in me?" Russel reassured him.

"Nah. I just about you somethimes. Get some sleep, babe" Del said.

"Yeah okay." Russel said.

Russel sat down on his bed and looked out the window. He had quite a bit on his mind, maybe sleep wouldn't come as easily.

He heard a knock on the door. He sat in surprise for a second, he was sure 2D wouldn't show up tonight. He walked over to the door and opened it.

2D spoke in a timid voice, "Hey uh I just came to see if you were okay."

"Oh uh...yeah I am." Russel said.

2D looked up from the ground at him. His eyes widened, "Oh wow you got a nasty bruise there."

"Yeah, it's nothing though. I'm just fine." He said.

"That's good I guess." He responded. "Uh...I'm really sorry. I kinda just...I feel bad that that happened today and I kinda still feel like it's my fault."

"Oh D, it's not your fault. Everything is fine, I just...need to deal with Murdoc now." He said. "It would have happened sooner or later."

"I'm sorry" he said again. Russel just put his hand on 2D's shoulder.

"We should both get some sleep, okay?" Russel said.

2D looked a little disappointed at that statement. Maybe he did want to hang out that night.

Russel felt guilty but he needed sleep, "We have a gig tomorrow. Need a full 8 hours, man."

2D nodded, but still had a bit of disappointment spread across his face. He left, but only after saying a soft goodnight.

Russel fell to sleep quickly after this.

Chapter Text


The group was all packing equipment for the show later that night. Well, everyone except 2D, who was still asleep in his room. Russel was loading a speaker into the car when Murdoc walked up to him.

"Russel, I think we got off on the wrong foot, eh? I don't care if ya like men, I just thought it was funny. I was just messin' with ya a bit and I got...carried away." Murdoc said.

Russel wasn't expecting that. It didn't make up for it, and he wasn't sure if Murdoc was sincere or just trying to keep his drummer in the band. Regardless, it was a step in the right direction. "Great. But if you mess with me again I might not be so easy on you" he said with a harsh and irritated tone.

"Jeez okay!" Murdoc said walking away to pick up more equipment.

After about an half an hour, there was only one piece of equipment left the pack. The singer.

"Russel, would you please wake up sleeping beauty? I mean truly, it's like he does it to spite me." Murdoc said, putting the last speaker in the car.

"I already told him we were leaving soon, but I'll check again." Russel said. He started walking toward the door.

"Do we even need a singer? Really though, the lyrics aren't even that good" Murdoc moaned.

Noodle folded her arms and said something that roughly translated to 'you wrote the lyrics, lowlife'. She giggled as Murdoc looked at her puzzled.

Russel chuckled too, despite only really understanding half of what she meant. "Oi! What did she say?!" Murdoc said.

Russel hurried up the steps and made it to 2D's door. He hesitated in knocking, he was awake, wasn't he? He tapped on the door.

No response.

"D? Ya awake, dude. We gotta go." He opened the door slowly and looked around. He didn't see 2D, but the door to his bathroom was closed so he assumed that must be where he was. At least he was awake. He didn't go to open the bathroom door, because, well...it's the bathroom door.

He looked around the room he was in- damn was his room dirty. From the looks of it, he didn't use his closet. He spotted dishs that he realized that he had taken up there. He should probably talk to him about this eventually.

Ha, so that's where the disappearing dishes went! Ya crush is nasty hahaha Del piped up.

Damn I guess I'm not good at picking boys am I?

Oooo that hurts man. Harsh.

Russel went to the bathroom door, "D are you gonna be done soon we got-"

He was interrupted by the door opening, smacking him straight in the face. He fell backward onto the ground.

"Russel?" 2D said. He leaned down to Russel and put a hand on his shoulder. "Ya okay?"

"Yeah, yeah I'm fine." He said, standing up and rubbing his head. "I just came in to say we gotta...go..." he trailed off as he looked at what 2D was wearing. Or rather what he wasn't- he was only wearing boxers.

"Oh, okay. I'll get dressed real quick an' we can go." 2D said.

Russel walked out of the room and said, "Good, good. I'll just uh..wait outside." He closed the door behind him.

Damn Russel. How many times are ya gonna see him naked before you actually do something with that?

Del. Babe. He's straight shut up.

When they were finally in the car, Murdoc was the one driving. This wasn't necessarily Russel decision, but as soon as he got to the car Murdoc was already there. Noodle and him sat in the back and 2D was in the front. It felt weird, it was different from normal. Normal, of course, being just him and 2D.

After a while of Murdoc and 2D fighting over what music to play and Noodle fidgeting around, they were finally in town. They were there hours before the concert would start, but they needed to set up and what not.

They would probably have time to just walk around though, maybe see his old friends at the record shop.

They all got out of the car and started unloading. Murdoc almost immediately got into a fight with the management of the venue, and Russel had to break it up. It wasn't long before the group realized that there were other people there that would set up the equipment for them. So that left the entire group with hours to kill and a town to explore.

Of course Russel already knew where everything was, he used to life there, but he never really 'explored' where he lived. He simply lived there.

"So Russel you know the place, eh? Why don't you show us around?" Murdoc said, as the group walked out.

"Well I guess I can show you guys where I used to work." He said, taking Noodle's hand as they walked. "Of course you already know where it is, you kidnapped me from it."

"Unnnh Well, you stayed didn't you?" Murdoc said. Russel noticed he made a ton of throat noises, something he was sure he'd never get used to.

"Touché" Russel said. He looked down at Noodle who looked a little draggy. She had helped a lot with packing (even if it was just the smaller stuff) and she must be really tired. "Here little bean, I got you" he said, scooping her up and putting on his shoulders.

"Thank you Russel!" She said.

"Wow look at you! You're learning new English words everyday, huh?" Russel said. She giggled and smiled as Russel bounced her around.

"So you used to live here, yeah?" 2D asked.

"Um yeah, I lived here for awhile. Not too long. My parent shipped me off here right after-" Russel stopped.

"Right after what?" 2D asked intently.

"Well, right after all of my friends died." He said solemnly.

"oh" 2D said. He looked embarrassed. They continued in silence for awhile before they came up to the record shop.

"Well here it is." He said putting Noodle down. "The record shop I used to work at."

"Looks nice" 2D said.

They all walked and almost immediately the man behind the counter roared a happy greeting, "RUSSEL? Is that you?! Come here, my friend!" He was an old man with a thick accent.

"Hey Aman, nice to see you again man!" Russel hugging his old friend.

"Where have you been? You disappear without word and nothing for months! We thought you had died!" He said.

"No I'm just fine." He smiled. "Where is everyone? Where's Lucy, where's Sam?"

"Everyone's on break right now. They should be back soon, please introduce to your new friends." He said.

"Okay, uh well here's 2D he's a singer." He said gesturing toward his friend.

"Oh, 2D, eh? What a neat nickname. I'm sure you sing beautifully." Aman said, reaching out to shake his hand.

"I sure hope so" 2D said shaking his hand.

"This is Murdoc, he's the bassist. What out for him."

"Oi, I ain't that bad." Murdoc said.

"And I'm sure you're not" he said nodding his head. "Oh who is this beautiful girl?" He said looking down at Noodle.

She waved and said "Konnichiwa!"

"This is Noodle. Or at least that's what she's going by these days. She's actually our guitarist." Russel said proudly.

"Ah, impressive to be a musician at such a younge age! So I'm assuming this means this is your new band, huh?"

"Yes, were actually here to perform. We have a concert tonight a couple blocks down." He explained.

"Ah, I wish I could see it. You're such a talented drummer Russel." He said. "Anyhow, feel free to stay as long as you'd like, I'm sure everyone else will be back soon to say hello. In the man time, please, show your friends around the store, buy some albums."

"Okay, okay, I will, I will." Russel said laughing.

They began to wonder around the store. "So you used to work here, yeah?" 2D said, looking through the bin of records in front of him.

"Yeah. It was a cozy little job, made a lot friends, was close to the music I love. It was nice. Real nice, I miss just being able to live the easy life like this." Russel said.

"And now your with us..." he said sadly.

"Oh it's not like that, man." Russel said putting his head on 2D shoulder. "I love being in a band. The easy life is easy but it's not productive."

"Guess that's true." 2D replied. "Hey what sort of music is your favorite?"

"Well I come from a hip hop and R&B background so those are my go to, but I believe that the best type of music is the kind that can transcend genres, ya know?" Russel picked up an album and dusted it off. "Mixing two different sounds together can make something that's greater the the sum of its parts."

He looked up from the album and at 2D. He was surprised to see that 2D was staring at him intently, almost as if he was having an epiphany.

"You okay, man?" Russel said.

"Yeah, yeah, it's just...in literally thought the exact same thing. I've never really talked to anyone about music like that, I know exactly what you're talking about." 2D said with a hint of wonder in his voice.

"Well you should talk about music." Russel said. "It's really cool, plus you are a musician, man."

"Yeah." He said, his lips curling into a grin. "Maybe I will...maybe tonig-"

"RUSSEL!" A high pitched voice yelled. Russel was then tackled by a woman with a short skirt and big fluffy hair.

"Lucy!" He said, returning the hug. "Hey you almost knocked me to the ground!"

"Where the hell have you been!? I was this close to declaring you dead!" She shrieked.

"Where's Sam, you need to catch me up." Russel said.

"Oi! Russel? Oh, goddamn it I was betting you were dead!" Said a person walking in to the shop.

"Well hello to you too." They said hugging.

"You better have a good story!" Lucy said. "Or at least make one up."

"Yeah, yeah okay." Russel said, trying to calm them all down. "This is the 100% truth, okay? I swear to god."

"Yeah, yeah get on with it." Sam said.

"So was working here, minding my own business, then one day, this guy over there," he said pointing to Murdoc, making Murdoc turn his head. "Kidnaps me."

"No way, you're lying." Sam said.

"Yeah, well it's true. He took me to his studio and forced me to listen to his music. I thought he was just mad, but I swear...if you heard what I did that day...you might have done the same." Russel continued.

"So you just stayed with him?!" Lucy said.

"Not initially, no. I just agreed to be in his band, but man this dude worked me. I didn't even have time to tell you guys where I was. A little bit later and I moved into Kong Studios. Now here we are. We're a band now, and we're even performing tonight, just down the block."

"That's a huge sack of crap. You're a better drummer than a liar, mate" Sam remarked.

"Take it or leave it, that's what happened." Russel said.

"Well what are you waiting for? Introduce us to your band mates!" Lucy said excitedly. "Who's this stud muffin?" She said looking at 2D who had been sitting awkwardly watching the entire time. "I bet he's your front man, they always put the goods up in the front."

Russel knowing exactly how embarrassed 2D must have felt at the moment tried to make things better. "Uh, yeah this is 2D. He's our singer. Hands off Luc, remember you already have a girlfriend."

"I know, I know I'm just playing. I'm Lucy." She said extending her hand to 2D.

"Uh...I'm 2D." He said taking her hand.

"And I'm Sam. Don't worry, you aren't the only one who she's messed with, mate." They said, shaking 2D's hand.

"Okay, okay guys, let's leave him alone." Russel pushing his friends in the opposite direction. "He's had enough of ya."

"Are you gonna them me or am I too embarrassing?" Murdoc said.

Russel sighed. "Guys this is Murdoc, ya know, the one who kidnapped me."

"Oh get over it that was so long ago." Murdoc said. He went up to Lucy and shore her hand. "I'm Murdoc Niccals, bassist, creator of Gorillaz. You haven't heard of us yet but you will."

"That's...great." She said.

"I'm Sam." They said shaking his hand.

"Okay you met Murdoc as much as you'll ever want to, moving on" Russel said. He went over to Noodle, who was now knee deep in albums she was looking at.

"And this cutie pie is Noodle. She's our guitarist. She also doesn't speak English." Russel said.

"Oh cool. I wish I was talented at that age...or any age really." Lucy said.

"Well that's us. So how are you guys doing?" Russel said.


 

After awhile of catching up, Del included in the interactions, the rest of the band was throughly fed up with waiting. Mostly Murdoc.

Russel bought a couple albums for Noodle and said goodbye. It felt really good to remember that he had friends out there that weren't dead. 2D and Noodle were his friends, but that was...different. Not bad different, but different.

They group was now walking back to the venue, to get ready for the concert.

"Hey I'm sorry about that," he said to the group, but only really looking at 2D. "I know that wasn't great for you guys, but I haven't seen them in so long. Those guys kept me going after some really dark times for me."

"s'alright" 2D said.

"Took bloody forever." Murdoc mumbled.

When they got back the long tedious process of going through every sound check, every lighting test, etc, began. Russel was used to it, but he was pretty sure 2D and Noodle were not.

It took many hours and wasn't fun for anyone in the processes, and by the time they were done it was getting dark. They all went backstage and waited as the audience slowly filtered in.

Then Russel got a text. It was from Jay.

'Hey I'm coming in the door now. Can't wait :)'

Russel smiled at his phone. He texted backed.

'Nice. I'll be looking for you in the crowd.'

Russel noticed that 2D was watched him text.

"Hey Russ, why don't I have ya phone number." He asked.

"Probably because you literally live a floor below me." Russel said.

"Oh true." He said. "Can I have it anyway?"

"Uh yeah sure." He wrote it down on a piece of paper that was lying around and gave it to him. "I don't know when you'll ever need it, but okay."

As they sat there they heard the noise of the crowds filling in. "Sounds like a full house." 2D said.

"Yeah, that's good." Russel said.

"uh...y-yeah." He said.

"You okay?" Russel said.

"Yeah, I'm just...a little nervous that's all." He said.

"That's okay." Russel said, trying to reassure him. "Happens to the best."

Murdoc then came around the corner. It was time to play.

Chapter Text

Some authors notes before hand: 1) I'm sorry this is so late like I think it's literally been months but like :/ 2) murdoc is pan in this fic just fucked up from his childhood I want to make that clear 3) it's Erie how close my characterization of Jay is to shea coulée. Like I didn't plan that, I didn't even know who they were yet. Like they dance, they look pretty similar, It's not really important to the plot it's just weird.


 

"HELLOOOO! HOW'S MY FAVORITE CROWD DOING TONIGHT?" Russel heard a woman say from on stage. Her voice was followed by a cheering that indicated that the venue was packed.

"GOOD! Now I know what you're thinking, who's this band? Why are they being featured here, well, let me tell you, okay? Now they are a new band on the circuit, but there has got to be a reason you all showed up?" She said. "Oh yeah I know! RUSSEL HOBBS IS IN THE HOUSE!" She screamed and yells of fans grew louder.

Russel smirked as he watched Murdoc roll his eyes. He had forgotten that he was the only artist in the band that had been successful already. He never really thought his following was that big, but then again, it must have been big enough for Murdoc to kidnap him.

"NOW ITS TIME TO SEE THIS BAND'S DEBUT, I PRESENT TO...GORILLAZ!" The woman said, gesturing to the side of the stage they stood on.

The group began to walk out but then Russel realized that 2D wasn't walking forward. He was looking down at the ground, silent.

Russel went up to him and grabbed his hand. "It's gonna be okay, man. They are here to see us succeed."

2D looked up at Russel, terrified look in his eyes. He didn't say a word, but he nodded and let go of Russel's hand. He then followed Russel out on stage.

The crowd erupted as Russel came on stage and sat down at the drum kit. He looked out into the crowd, not really knowing what he was looking for- until he found it.

There in the middle of the crowd was Jay, smile bright, and his sign held high for all to see- one that said "I'm gonna fuck the drummer".

Russel broke down in laughter and put his face in his hands. 2D looked at him and at the crowd to see what he was laughing about. His face made a small turn of disappointment at the source.

"Someone that you know?" Murdoc said to him.

Russel, still trying to stop his giggles, said "Don't worry about it." He took a breath and calmed himself down, now feeling like the performance would be okay even if they screwed up.

Then they began to play.

The next hours went by in a flash, songs pumping through his veins and translating onto the drum set. It was a rush and the crowd seemed to love them, even chanting for an encore. Noodle was having fun, dancing and bouncing as she played, the crowd loved her. Murdoc was soaking up the attention and doing pretty good bass work. 2D was shy on the first song, but he really relaxed as the night went on.

As the final beats on the drum closed the last song Russel was content. They had done a good job and everything went according to plan.

When they walked off stage, fans screaming and adrenaline high, they were immediately greeted by a well dressed bald man.

He made a big gesture to greet them. "Hey! That was great. I'm Marcus Husslerink. I'm a talent scout for a record company and I think you've got IT!" He was mostly talking to Russel, but Murdoc pushed his way to the front.

"Aaaah that's great. Of course we do, eh? Well come over here and we can talk business." He said dragging him away.

"But don't you want the rest of the group to be a part of the process?" He said.

"Exactly, I want them to be apart from the process. It's MY BAND! Let's talk over here." He said, and they were off.

"Well I guess we did well then, yeah?" 2D said.

Russel smiled. "Yeah man, we did great!" He said.

"Yeah?" 2D said.

"Yeah!" Russel pulled him in for a hug without thinking about it. 2D hugged back and it was a very nice and warm moment. But it lasted just a bit too long, Russel letting go and when he realized and scratching his neck.

He moved on from the moment quickly, "And Noodle! You did great!" He said, picking her up in a big hug. She thanked him in Japanese and Russel realized he should learn more Japanese words.

He put her down and the bouncer at the stage spoke up.

"Uh, Russel was it?" He said.

Russel had a small idea of what was to come. "What's up?"

"There's a guy here that says he knows you. Should I let him in?" He asked.

"Is he the one with the 'im gonna fuck the drummer' sign?" Russel said, trying to conceal his smile.

"Haha yeah, he is."

"Hmmmm...yeah let him in" Russel said.

He opened the door and in came Jay, sign proudly held in hand. He walked over to Russel with a giggle and a smirk.

"Hey did you see my sign? Here if you didn't it says-"

"No, I read it alright. I think everyone in the entire venue read it." Russel said.

"Well, I mean we can't let them down now, can we? They have expectations now." He said, wrapping his arms around Russel's waist.

"Ha, you just had to go all out didn't you?" Russel said.

"Nothing but the best for you." He said.

2D cleared his throat and shuffled a bit, a desperate attempt to remind them he was there.

Jay realized it and let go of Russel. "Uh, hi." He said awkwardly. "I remember you, you're the singer...uh good job by the way."

"Yeah, thanks." He said sheepishly.

"We're just gonna hang out for a bit, you don't have to hang with us." Russel said. "You can go meet some girls from the audience, I'm sure they're dying to see you." Russel said.

"Oh, okay." He said. "Yeah I'll probably just do that."

Russel and Jay went off in their own direction to find some place to talk. Russel knew that at least Murdoc would be staying there for awhile so they'd might as well settle down.

They sat down and talked for a bit, people coming in and out of their conversation. People were there to meet him, get him to sign things, and just talk, but never really stayed that long because Jay and Russel were in their own conversation. Noodle had passed out next to Russel at one point and layed her head on his lap. He smiled at that, and was happy she trusted him.

After awhile it got really crowded and loud, making it hard to hear and hard for Noodle to sleep.

"Hey, you wanna get out of here?" Russel said. "I'd rather just go back to our house."

"Okay that sounds good." Jay said, "I'd love to see your room."

Russel playfully rolled his eyes. He grabbed his stuff and Noodle's hand. "Let me tell 2D we're leaving."

He walked through the mess of strangers and found the circle of people who were sucking up every word 2D said.

"Hey D" he said, voice drowned out by the others around him. "Hey D!" he said louder. 2D didn't stop talking to the group. "STUART!"

He turned his head in confusion. "What- uh hey Russ! What's up?" He said, flinging around his bottle of beer.

"Uh we're just headed back Kong. Don't really feel like partying right now so me and Jay are clocking out." Russel said.

His face fell a bit, "Oh, you're leaving- with Jay?"

"Yeah, yeah...oh we're also taking Noodle home. She needs to get to bed." Russel said, looking down at the 10 year old that was bouncing where she stood. "You could come if you want. We wouldn't be partying though."

"Noooo, don't go!" Said a woman sitting next to him. The rest of the group followed in her protests.

"I think I'm gonna stay." 2D said.

"Okay...that's fine, have fun." Russel said, turning to leave.

"And Russel-" 2D said, causing him to look back. "G-Goodnight."

Russel had a soft smile. "Night D"

Russel turned and left, Noodle in one hand, Jay in the other.

When they got outside, Jay spoke up. "What's up with you two?"

"What do you mean?" Russel said.

"Dude, I mean- like- " he stopped. "You brought this dude to a gay bar with you...and you guys act really weird around each other."

"Oh, No I- ugh, look he's straight, he's just my friend so we like to hang out. It was probably a bad idea." Russel said, rushing his words. "I don't why he's acting all weird. He's just... just forget about it."

"Okay, okay, I'll leave it. I can take a hint." Jay said. "Let's just get back to your place."

They got to the car, Jay sat in the front, Noodle in the back.

"You think it's okay to just take the car without the rest of the band?" Jay asked.

"Oh please. Did you see the group of chicks around 2D? He's fine. He probably going home with one of them anyway." Russel said. "Same for Murdoc, even though I can't see why that man would get any ass."

"Ha! He looks like a corpse with a boner." Jay said.

"He IS a corspe with boner." Russel said. "He'd fuck a corpse with a boner." Their laughter filled the car. Russel put on some music as he drove down the road.

Russel, I swear to god if you don't get some tonight. He literally made a sign about it. You're taking him back to your room. Make a goddamn move!

It's weird that you're so eager about this, I hope you know that.

Noodle spoke up from the backseat, she said something that loosely translates to "can we play together before you guys have sex?"

"What did she say?" Jay said.

"uh...I didn't get all of it. I think she wants to hang out with us." Russel said, looking back at the child.

They got back to Kong Studios and Jay was a bit confused. "This is a weird place to build a recording studio...or a house." He said walking through the door.

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure Murdoc bought at a discount. It's a big old mansion though and I'm almost sure it's haunted." Russel said.

"This dude is a character isn't he?" Jay said. "He's got a taste in drummers though." He smirked

"Oh my god." Russel said. "You keep flirting like that and you might actually seal the deal." He said, starting to walk toward his room with Noodle in hand.

Jay went after him, "Wait!" He caught up with him, "So you mean to say that I haven't gotten there yet?"

Russel laughed. "Hmm. You're very close but... not quite."

"You're one tough man to please, but I'm sure it's worth it." He said.

When they finally made it back to his room, he was relieved. He wasn't sure he could keep up with the flirty banter.

He opened the door, "Well here it is." He said gesturing to his room, "this is how the other half lives."

"Now which half is that? The bottom or the top?" Jay said walking in.

Russel bit his lip. "You'll find out soon enough." Russel said closing the door behind Noodle. He was glad for once that she didn't understand anything they said.

Russel sat down on the floor and put in a video game. He put in a game that he knew Noodle would play with him from time to time, it was a racing game.

"Oh, a racing game! Does she like this one?" Jay asked.

"Oh yeah." Russel said. "She's a big fan. I can already tell she's gonna get tickets when she starts driving."

The three of them grabbed a controller and picked their cars. Jay made a point of sitting very close to Russel. They started playing and Noodle was beating them right out of the gate.

"You're so good at this little bean." Russel said to Noodle. "I'm so proud." He said messing up her hair.

The three played the game for awhile longer, each time the race getting closer and closer, but no one ever actually beat Noodle. Del cheered for Noodle the entire time and told Russel that he drives like an old guy.

But about an hour later they heard a commotion down stairs. It sounded like Murdoc was home, and he had brought other people.

"I guess he found his way home." Russel said, "and he brought the party with him."

They heard loud music being turned on. It was club music, party fuel. "Well I guess we're listening to music now." Jay said.

"Yep." Russel replied. "What fun."

"Oh come on," Jay said. "It's not that bad- come here." He said standing up. Russel reluctantly stood to deal with whatever nonsense he was about to get himself in.

"What do you want?" Russel said.

Jay grabbed his hand. "Ah, come on, I'll I want to do dance." He said. "Dance with me!" He said wiggling and clapping to the beat.

"Any excuse to dance for you, huh?" Russel said.

"It's my passion" he said, twirling around.

Noodle got up and started dancing too. It was mostly hoping around and bouncing.

"Oooh that's so adorable!" Jay said. "So much talent."

She grabbed Russel's hand and tried to get him to dance.

"Oh well I can't resist now, can I" Russel said. He bounced around with her and Jay laughed at how goofy looking they were.

They were actually having a good time with the noise.

But then someone burst through the door. The pretty boy of the band had pushed his way into the room, a woman on each arm.

"Russel! Russel! Ssssssup." He said, clearly very very drunk. "This is Luuucy a-and this is Crystal" he said pointing at the girls in his hands. "no wait- no this is Crystal and this Lucy."

"That's great D'." Russel said, clearly not up for something like this.

"Lucy can play harmonica and Crystal said she's a direct descendant of Genhis Khan!" He shouted. The girls giggled.

"D' you're drunk...just go to bed or whatever." Russel said.

2D squinted at him. "Oh I see how it is you want to spend time with Jay." He said mockingly. "Why hang out with me, your friend, your pal, when you can shag some hot guy from the gay bar."

"D..." Russel said.

"Yeah, he's attractive. Yeah his arse looks hot. Yeah he's fun. But so am I. I'm attractive too, right?" He looked at the ladies in his arms. "Right?" They nodded at him. "See!"

"D" he said.

"I get it. When I ask you, you say you're 'in love with Del' and 'you guys never broke up' but as soon as you go to the bar it's 'Del who?' 'Ghost boyfriend who 2D actually likes who?'" 2D went on.

"2D!" Russel yelled this time, getting him to stop. "If you have a problem we can talk about it LATER. You are drunk and being an asshole. Leave!"

2D just stood there looked bewildered, as if he hadn't even thought of that as a response.

"Leave! Go! I don't want to talk to you right now!" Russel said.

2D folded his arms and pouted, "Fine. I don't want to be here anyway." He said leaving the room.

It took Russel a second to relax after the encounter.

"Woah." Jay said.

At least he likes me.

"I'm gonna take Noodle to bed." He said grabbing her hand and walking out of the room.

They walked down the hall way, trying to clear his thoughts. When they got to Noodle's room he opened the door and walked in.

"I'm sorry you had to you that. That was bad." He said as she climbed into bed. He pulled her blankets up and hugged her. He said 'goodnight and I love you' in Japanese. She said the same. He walked out and closed the door, "goodnight little bean"

He sighed and walked back to his room. When he walked in, Jay was sitting on his bed, looking worried.

"You okay? That seemed pretty intense." Jay said.

Russel closed the door and sat down next to him. "Don't worry about." Russel said. "He's just a drama queen."

Jay shifted in the bed a bit before talking. "Who is Del?"

"Oh." Russel said. "Right he's uh...he's my...it's kinda complicated."

"It's just if you're dating someone I don't want to be a home wrecker or something." Jay said.

Russel sighed, "Its not like...that. Its really complicated. But it's not like a thing that would make this-" he said awkwardly gesturing to the both of them "-wrong...I don't really want to talk about it."

Jay gave him a knowing look. "Then let's not talk." He said "let's just put on a movie or something."

Russel nodded. He when over and turned on a generic action movie and layed back in his bed with Jay.

As the movie went on he payed less and less attention to it and more attention to how Jay was move closer to him. During one of the fight scenes Jay casually layed his head on Russel's shoulder and grabbed his hand. Russel smiled as the fight scene ended and a more boring scene started.

Jay shifted and then looked at Russel in eyes. Russel looked back at him, their stare intense, them breathing each other's air waiting to see who would lean in first. It was Russel.

Their lips met and they kissed, Russel grabbing onto Jay's neck. Jay's hand slid up Russel's back and under his shirt as they continued to kiss.

Russel paused, smile on his face, and took off his shirt. Jay bite his lip with a smirk as he watched him and followed his actions. Jay leaned in and kissed him again, but began trailing down, beginning to plant kisses on his neck that turned into something more and more as the night went on.


Haha sorry lmao I can't write porn. Anyway sorry again for how late it was hope you enjoyed it.

Chapter Text

Russel woke up to a giant smile on the face of the man next to him.

"Good morning susnshine." Jay said sarcastically.

Russel smiled back but pushed Jay away. "Don't look at me like that." He said.

"Like what? Like that was the best sex I've had in ten thousand years? Cause there's no stoping that." Jay teased.

"Oh come on, you don't have to flatter me." Russel said getting out of bed.

Jay whined, "Where ya going baby? Why leave the bed so soon?"

Russel chuckled, "I'm not your baby." He threw the covers over Jay's head. "I'm just taking a piss, I'll be back."

Russ went to the bathroom and began to do his business when Del chimed in.

So ya got some last night, huh?

Well I mean- yeah. Del you were there.

Yeah but I give you privacy dude. I kinda phase out for a bit. I don't know, I'm not really into watching you have sex with another guy like that's not my kink.

Okay...I appreciate it I guess?

Well...

Well what?

Was it good? Is he good? Oh shit...Russel is he better than me? I didn't think about this before I supported you getting over me.

Oh my god shut up. You're fine, he was good...but your still my number one tell your ghost ass leaves me.

Aww you treat me so good baby.

How can I not. He began washing his hands. Damn... was that really the first time I've had sex since you died?

Ha Yeah man. And you wonder why I was pushing for this.

"Hey, you almost done in there?" Jay said from the other side of the door. "I'm hungry, you want some pancakes or something?"

"Uh yeah yeah I'll be out in a second..." Russel said.

Wow breakfast huh?

Shut up

Russel opened the door. Jay was sitting on the bed putting his clothes back on.

"Hey there gorgeous, what took so long?" He said.

"Will you stop? You already got me in bed." Russel giggled. "What else do you want?"

"Ha- I want breakfast." He said sitting up. "Come on, we'll go out- I am sure there's a dinner near by."

"Okay, okay." Russel said. "I gotta put on pants."

"Mmmmm I don't know." He said. "Kinda like you without pants."

Russel was flustered once again. "Just- shut up." His smile poked through though.

Once they were both ready they walked down stairs. They were a few people scattered around the house that were still passed out, but Russel supposed they would clear out soon.

They left for the diner, hand in hand.

Russel got in the car and turned on the music. Neither of them talked, breath flowing softly and freely through the car. Russel looked over- Jay was just staring at him with a big goofy smile.

"What?" Russel said, just making Jay smile even bigger I feel it were possible. Russel giggled, "What? Do I have shit on my face or something?"

Jay just laughed, "No! No I'm just...looking at ya."

"You're a dork." Russel said.

"Naah nah. You're the dork!"

"Okay whatever you say man." Russel shook his head.

They went and eat at a lovely dinner that was just good enough to set the mood for a really nice breakfast. They didn't talk much, sleep still stealing their words, but smiles and warmth persevered through sleepy eyes. After the breakfast Russel dropped him back at his car. They hugged, Jay gave him a quick kiss, and then he left for his own day ahead.

The drive home was quicker than the one from the previous night, time shortened significantly by the joy that bounced around in spider Russel. He walked in and closed the door. He breathed in and out and stretched a big genuine smile.

"Hey Russel." 2D said from the couch without looking up.

Russel's smile quickly faded. He walked over to the couch, mind shouting at him to just leave the room. He sat down next to 2D. Neither of them looked at each other.

He sighed, then began to speak. "D', do you remember what you said last night?"

"Yeah...mostly." 2D said. "I stand by it."

"Look man...I'm sorry that you feel left out but like...I have a romantic life too." He said.

"Yeah."

Russel looked at him but 2D still avoided his gaze. "Ya know just because, I'm with Jay, doesn't mean we aren't friends anymore or anything. It doesn't have to be hang out time with Jay or hang out time with D'. We can all hang out together. I'm sure you'd like Jay if you actually-"

"No." 2D said. "No, I don't want to."

Russel sighed. "I'm trying to make things so that this doesn't have to be some middle school bullshit, okay?"

"It's not middle school bullshit!" He said crossing his arms. "I don't like him."

Russel scoffed. "Well, I don't care if you don't like him. It's not your choice."

"I thought you liked Del. I actually like Del. He's cool. Jay's just...ugh, I don't know I just hate him."

"I do like Del, I love him it's just...complicated." Russel said.

"it's not that complicated, you just wanna fuck again." 2D scoffed.

"Stop..." Russel said.

"I guess you can't fuck a ghost, can ya?"

"SHUT THE FUCK UP." 2D was startled by the outburst. "JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP, YOU DO NOT GET TO TALK ABOUT DEL LIKE THAT. YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT."

"DON'T TALK TO ME LIKE I'M AN IDIOT."

"FUCK THIS." He got up from the couch. "Talk to me when you aren't being immature!"

"AHH! JUST LEAVE THEN." 2D said throwing a pillow at the door as he left the room.

Chapter Text

Russel ran to the instrument room and lock himself in. He sat down at his drums, anger still boiling in him with nowhere to go but into his drumsticks. He began banging on the kit with a fury- no plan, no care. A voracious rhythm spilled out that sounded of hell.

Russel's eyes glowed brighter as they became they only light in the room. A chorus of cackling demons and lost spirits rose in Russel's head, shadows of death spilling out of his ears and cheering on the beat. The weaker entities that resided inside Russel grew stronger when his emotions bubbled over.

Where only Del could speak to him normally, now every ghoul and apparition that hid in him could scream. Some screamed the traumas of the past, some seemed to fortell bad things to come, and some rambling hideous nonsense that shocked the soul.

His last thought was of overwhelming panic before he past out, head slamming against the drums.


 

Russel opened his eyes.

He was in the dream place again, the one with the grass and windmill. He sat up and looked around.

The world didn't really go that far, it faded into nothing pretty quickly. Maybe he just wasn't that imaginative today.

He stood up and stretched. It was cold and erie, which was odd because the last dream in this place was so warm and inviting.

He looked at the windmill, it was big and it looked worn down, in disuse. This also seemed off. He walked up to it and opened the door.

When he walked through everything changed, it became chaotic. There was sounds of guns outside and it reminded him of that day. That day, the day that everyone he loved died before his eyes and he couldn't stand it. He fell to the floor and covered his ears.

He heard something else- the door opened and came running in was Noodle. She was scared and huddled in the corner. Russel reached out to her.

"Noodle?" As his hand touched her shoulder she disappeared.


 

Russel jolted up from the drum set. He rubbed his eyes and looked around.

It looks like he had a bit of an episode there. He wiped at his nose sure enough there was blood. In fact a little bit had gotten on his drums.

"ah fuck." He said rubbing at the blood mark.

He felt wrong, he couldn't remember his dream but he knew it was bad. He felt like there was something important.

Noodle.

He panicked. He jumped up and ran out of the room barreling toward Noodles room. He knew it was just a dream, but with him sometimes it not. Either way his heart wouldn't stop racing until he knew she was safe.

He ran to her door, it was wide open. He went in and looked around, but she wasn't there. He looked at the bed, under it, then sank to the ground clutching his chest.

Russel, Russel it's okay she's fine she okay. She's just probably out somewhere. She's a kid she probably picking up rocks and shit outside.

B- But

Breath Russel, come on baby. If we're gonna do anything about it we have to calm down. I'm sure she's fine, but before we can go looking we have to calm down.

He breathed but his breaths were still shaky and fast.

Come on, we got this okay. Hey- Remember the time we first kissed, remember that?

Y-yeah.

Yeah? Okay tell me about it.

W-we were at the parking lot behind that shitty d-dinner.

Harrys, yeah

T-the rest of the crew had gone home. Y-you stayed behind with me, said you wanted to finish your onion rings. I thought you were such a dumbass, you didn't even order any onion rings.

I was so bad at excuses, man

We sat in the car silently for a bit- t-then you put your arm around me. We talked about stuff, then about us. I-I started rambling then you cut me off and kissed me.

It was the only to get you to stop talking!

Russel sighed. He was still a little on edge, but his breathing was a lot better. He sat there for a second then got and started walking down the hall.

He tried as calmly as he could to think of where Noodle might be.

It wasn't long before he ran into Murdoc.

"Hey have you seen Noodle?" Russel said, trying to conceal his concern.

"Oh she's out with 2D, they are buying stuff for her room I guess." He said absentmindedly scratching his crotch. "Hey what were you playing earlier? That was truely demonic sounding- and correct me if I'm wrong but I think I saw some paranormal freaky shit going on to, eh? That's a gold mine, we really need to utilize that shit."

"Whatever, man I'm not calling upon the dark arts or whatever intentionally, it's a fucking curse." Russel said. "Ugh, I don't think that's ever going to happen on stage if I can help it."

"Okay, suit yourself." Murdoc said. "Actually I got to do something about that. Anyway, we need to have a band meeting to discuss the record deal. But for right now just, do what you do I guess."

"Yeah..." Russel said, not sure how to end the conversation. "And you do whatever scumy thing you were going to do."

"Huhuh don't mind if I do. " he said going into another creepy throat laugh Russel came to know him for.


 

It was getting late. Russel was in the study trying to write songs, all he had to show for it was disjointed lyrics and rhythms, beats that faded into nothing. He wandered into the study looking for something to do, maybe there was a book he could read.

There wasn't- he wasn't in a reading mood, he guessed, he could focus on any book he picked. So he tried to write. The voices of those taking residence in his head were speaking up today, all pushing to get something out- so he tried to do just that.

After hours of writing and crossing beat patterns and rhymes, it was getting dark. He started to go to his room when he came across Noodles door. He peaked in, she was already asleep in a bed with new covers- ones she had probably picked out today herself.

With 2D.

He passed by that door as well. He stood there for a minute, just staring at the door knob.

He knocked on the door.

"Come in" 2D said from the other side.

He walked in to find 2D on the floor, bottle in hand. He sat down next to him.

"Are you drunk again?" Russel said.

"Why are you here Russel?"

"I didn't like the way we left things." He couldn't look 2D in the face yet.

"Yeah, I was being too 'immature'" he mocked.

"D, I didn't come here for a fight." He said, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "Why? Why don't you like him? What's wrong with him that you can't even hang out with him?"

"I DON'T KNOW. He's just- I don't like him." He said. "I don't want to hang out with him. I want to hang with you!"

"Okay...Okay." Russel said. "I promise that we'll hang just you and me okay? But you have to let me hang out with him too."

"Fine." He sighed. "Fine."

There was a moment of silence, 2D folding his arms and looking away. Russel was the first to give in.

He touched 2D's arm, prompting him to look at him, with a shine in his eyes that could only be hope.

"Why don't we hang out tonight? Just us, right now, watch a dumb movie, just like normal." He said.

"You know what?" 2D said, "that sounds great." There was an uncertainty in voice as if he didn't believe himself yet. As if he wanted it to be over, but it wasn't.

Russel picked out a movie- a zombie fic, he knew that that would warm 2D up. He turned on the tv and poped it in.

The movie started and usually 2D would have been talking by now- telling him about the undead, about whether he's seen the movie or not, his favorite scenes- but tonight he was completely silent.

Russel tried to think of something to say, something to get him to talk. "Have you seen this one before?"

"yeah." He said. "That's why we have a tape of it."

"Right." He looked away, "right."

Russel felt very uncomfortable just sitting there. "So I heard you bought some stuff with Noodle today."

There was the slightest hint of a smile before he slipped back on his indifferent façade. "Yeah."

"What...did you buy?" Russel said trying to get him to say anything good.

"Just stuff." He smiled again. "She picked out these cheap paper lanterns- I'm not sure exactly what she said but I think she said they reminder her of home but shittier."

"That does sound like her." Russel said smiling.

The slight happiness of that story lifted some of the tension in the room and Russel thought this might be a turning point in their night, but this was no the case. The movie rolled on and and silence slowly built that unsettling feel up once again. What 2D said next, Russel was not prepared for.

"I still don't get why you can't just be with Del." 2D said.

The words stung. He sighed, "I'm- D, it's just." He took a second to compose his thoughts. "Del is dead. He's fucking dead D. I love him, I'm in love with him. More than words can say I-I believe we are fucking soul mates but it doesn't fucking matter. Because he's dead okay?"

"but-"

"but nothing! He's dead. I have to move on. I love him and I'm glad he's here with me, but I have to move on. Cause he has to move on. He can't move on to the next life or whatever until I move on with mine." Russel said. " I'm his unfinished business."

2D sat there quietly and digested his words. "So he's really okay with it then?"

"YES" he said. "Yes, he's okay with it. For fucks sake he's like my wingman."

"Really?" 2D said, looking at Russel.

"Yeah."

"I thought that was my job." He said with a smirk.

Russel raised an eyebrow, "great fucking wingman you turned out to be. You hate the guy I ended up with."

"Yeah but that's because he's sucks." 2D said, voice dangerous close to his earlier tone.

"Oh my god, name one thing, just one thing that's wrong with him."

"He's so..arrogant." He said with a sour look on his face.

"No he's not." Russel said. "I don't even...where are getting this."

"He always has that weird grin that's just...ugh"

"Whatever man."

They watched the movie again, mouths curling into secret smiles. It seemed like things were going to be okay.

2D moved closer to him on the floor, moving a bunch of junk off his floor in the process. This made the movement a lot more noticeable than it usually was in Russel's room which was quite a bit cleaner.

2D was embarrassed by how noticeable his movement was and now was very close to Russel and very aware of that fact.

He looked at Russel and then quickly away to avoid eye contact. He tried to just relax next him, tried to make it just like any evening with him. However the day was still wearing hard on him.

"hey..." he said.

"Hey?"

"Yeah hey." 2D stopped. "I'm. I just wanted to say I'm sorry."

"oh." Russel said. "Okay."

"I'm just. You're kinda the only friend I have now." He paused. " I mean I had friends...they don't really talk to me that much anymore. We don't live by them so it's just..."

"Oh."

"yeah I guess I'm just really clingy and stuff cause of that. I just really like being your friend and things have been hard for me right now. I guess I'm not very good at communication. I just-"

Russel hugged him. At first 2D just stood there mouth agape, but then he closed his eyes and hugged back. He held tight onto Russel and felt his warmth, he breathed his scent. Before he knew it tears were gentlest rolling down his face. He felt a safety that he hadn't felt in a while and the hug ended too soon.

As he pulled away 2D looked at Russel's face. His assuring eyes, his soft face, his lips...

"Hey come on D, don't cry." He said wiping away his tears. "It's fine okay? We are still gonna hang out, I promise."

All he could do was nod. Russel sat back in his spot and 2D felt the loss of his warmth.

He reluctantly sat back down in his spot. He realized they were still holding smiled a bit and just fell back in his spot.

There was silence after that. A different type of silence, not one that suffocated them, but one that gently washed away their doubts.

Soon Russel fell asleep, slumped over head falling gently on his shoulder.

2D smiled. He realized that this would be the first time Russel slept in his room.

Chapter Text

2D watched Russel sleep on his shoulder. It felt so calm and peaceful just sitting there with him. He began to feel his own eyes get heavy and start to close. He was about to slip into sleep himself when his caught the blue haze that started to rise from Russel.

"Del!" 2D said as he entered the room.

"mmm, Hey baby blue." Del said, leaning on side of the bed next to him. "Miss me?"

"Of course I did!" He said said laughing. "How's it going being a ghost?"

"Oh you know...spooky. " he said jokingly. "I mean in all seriousness, being a ghost kinda sucks...but what am I going to do about it?" He shrugged. "So now that I'm here...what do you wanna do with me?" He said, eyebrows raising.

2D giggled. "I don't know? What can ghosts do?"

"Well I don't know what ghosts can do but, can't really do all that much." He said. "At least I don't want to do all that much."

"Do you have any ideas of what to do?" 2D said, once again opening his bottle of alcohol.

"Okay how about this. I'm not here all the time so what do you wanna know about me?" Del said said. "Or what do you want to know about Russel that you're too chicken shit to ask him yourself?"

"Hey!" 2D said. "I'm not chicken shit. Besides isn't that a violation of his privacy or something?"

"Depends on the question." Del said plainly. "Plus I would say anything that Russel wouldn't already want you to hear."

"Fair enough." 2D shrugged.

"So what do you wanna know, baby?" Del said.

"Hmm...what's it like being a ghost?" 2D asked.

"I already told you...it sucks man. " he sighed. "I'm tied to Russel, which I mean, don't get me wrong, I won't want to be stuck with anyone else, but I can't have any free actions. I can't feel warmth or cold or, listen to my music unless Russel wants to too, I can't do anything unless Russel does it for me. I'm not a person anymore I'm just... an observer. Sucks. " He looked at the ceiling as he talked.

"That's horrible." 2D tried to comfort him. "I'm sorry."

"nah, there's nothing you can do about it." Del said, looking at him again. "But you know what the worst part is? The absolute worst part? Despite being tied to Russel, the thing I miss most is Russel! I can't touch him, I can't dance with him or hug him, he needs touch you know? For fucks sake, I can't even look at him unless he's asleep or in front of a mirror."

A few moments pasted before either of them spoke.

"Is that why you're okay with him dating other people?" 2D asked timidly.

"Exactly." Del said.

"Are you really okay with it?" 2D said.

"Look D...like I said Russel needs a solid in his life. Not just something he can touch, but like, a constant too. And I can't be that as a ghost." He explained. "I need to move on, he needs to move on...I don't know where moving on is for me but, it's going to happen soon- I can feel it. And when that happens Russel's going to need support."

"Wow...that's...mature. " 2D said. "I don't think I could do that...just help my love find someone else."

"Well...when you love someone, truly love someone, you got to do what's best for them." Del said eyes distant and full sorrowful wisdom. He turned back to 2D and tried to cut the tension. "And plus, do you really think Russel would have got any without help? I mean, come on, he just know got some with both of our help."

They both laughed and tried to forget, if only for a second.

"Yeah...and now he's with Jay." 2D said.

"Okay, you know what? I get some questions now." Del said. "One, what is your problem with Jay, dude?"

"Oh, come on! You too?" He said, exasperated. "I just got done fighting Russel about this."

"Yeah, I saw. I see everything he sees... I'm glad you like me at least, sweetie" Del said, grinning away.

"Oh my god, Stop." 2D said burying his face in his hands. "Ugh, I just... I don't know I just don't like him."

"Sure whatever, you can tell yourself that." Del said rolling his eyes.

"What do you mean?" 2D said, clueless.

"I told you, man, I can see everything Russel sees." Del said. "I saw you talking about how you think Jay is attractive, I saw you looking at boys at the club, I saw you kiss Russel!"

"That was to get out of being hit on." 2D said.

"Your solution to not wanting a guy to hit on you... is to kiss another guy?" Del said. "Come on."

"What are you trying to say? That I'm gay?" 2D said. "I'm not gay. I mean- I really did like Paula and I definitely think girls are hot... I'm not gay."

"So?"

"So what?" 2D said.

"So what if you like chicks? That doesn't mean you don't like dudes too." Del said.

"What?" He said confused.

"Dude, you're bi." Del said laughing. "It's possible to like both."

"huh." 2D said. "I never...I never even thought about that."

"So...I'm right, right?" Del said. "You're definitely bi, and you're definitely jealous of Jay."

"I don't know." 2D said. "I'm thinking about it."

"Straight people wouldn't have to question it." Del said.

"I guess..." 2D said. "But even then, that doesn't mean I'm jealous of Jay, I mean I don't like Russel like...that."

"D', baby, I'm not gonna get mad if you tell me you like Russel." Del said. "You've been sleeping in his room and falling asleep on each other's shoulders. That's not straight."

"Well- well..." 2D made distressed noises. "Well what the fuck do I do about it if I do? It's not like I can just break them up. That's horrible."

"Yeah it is...Jay's not a bad guy either." Del said, laying back. "But lets see where things go."

"Do you really want me to date Russel? Is that what I'm picking up on here?" 2D said.

"I don't know. You make him happy and you're in the same band so you there's you're stability." Del said. "Plus I wouldn't mind looking at you all the time."

2D chuckled. "Do you like me over Jay?"

"Hmm, I mean you're both attractive and you both make him happy...but you've buttered me up so I guess you could say you're my favorite."

"Well, I'm glad for that." 2D said, with a vaguely flirtatious grin. "Oh I have one more question."

"What is it?" Del said.

"You said you see everything Russel sees, yeah?" 2D said.

"Yeah."

"Does that mean you watched Russel and Jay..."2D trailed off.

"No no, I didn't I swear, I tuned out for that part, that's just gross." Del said waving him off.

"Oh come on, you didn't even peak once?" 2D said laughing under his breath.

"Stop!" Del said joining in on the laughter. "God, you're a fucking freak. I'm gonna you to stay around just to make me laugh"

Chapter Text

The light of the morning came through the windows and Russel rubbed his eyes. He shifted and felt something under him. He moved and took the object in question- an empty soda can- and tossed it aside.

What the fuck...where am I?

It took a few seconds of his eyes adjusting and the bigger hint, 2D snoring pretty loudly, for it to finally click.

Oh shit I'm in 2D's room.

Yeah you are, speaking of which I had a pretty intresting time last night. The words rang through Russel's head a bit more fuzzy in the morning.

Last night? Del what the fuck are you talking about...god give me a second to wake up.

Russel walked into the bathroom and looked into the mirror. He rubbed his eyes and coughed.

Seriously though, I had a great convo with blue boy over there. Some info that you'd probably like to know.

He grabbed his stomach. Ugh my stomach's upset...what did I do to it? Russel looked around 2D's bathroom. God this place is a sty. I'm gonna need to teach him how to...not...be gross.

RUSSEL! Are you paying attention? I have to tell about what good ole Stu told me.

Okay, okay fine, just like... if it's that good of gossip I'm going to get breakfast first okay? Let me wake up.

Fine. Whatever.

Russel walked down to the kitchen and made a plain bowl of cereal. He didn't feel like making breakfast today, and it looked like Noodle already made hers anyway. He eat it while resting his head in his other hand. His head seemed to hurt.

Just when he was finished Noodle tapped him on the shoulder. She said something and Russel tried his best to understand, and then realized she wanted to dance with him.

He nodded and responded with a small "yes- uh, hai". He was falling behind in learning Japanese, but he wasn't going to give up. He wanted to be there for her but he wasn't sure he could be what she needed.

She tugged on his sleeve and pulled him over to the living room where she had prepared a boom box, which he recognized as being from 2D's room. He wouldn't mind though, they both knew that.

She pushed the start button and he immediately recognized the tune.

"Noodle have you been taking CD's from my room?" He giggled. "When were you even in there?" He said, as she began a very uncoordinated dance to the old school jazz she had snagged. He began dancing too, however softer.

Russel sighed. "My dad used to play this at night before I went to bed to tire me out, he loved jazz so much." Russel said. He looked off in the distance, "I had a lot of trouble going to sleep..."

Noodle bounced up and down in front of him, trying to get him to dance more. When he realized this he shook of his thoughts and took her hands. He moved around with her to the beat laughing all the while at her goofy smile.

The beat picked up in the song and her picked her up and spun around with her in the air. She yelled happily and gripped onto his arms tight.

Just then 2D came into the room. "So that's where my boom box went eh?"

Russel put Noodle down. "Yeah, it think we're putting it to good use."

"I'll say." 2D joining them. He did a twirl then moved closer to Russel. He opened his hands, "may I have this dance?"

Russel was caught off guard for a second. "Uh...yeah of course."

The moment now felt embarrassing to both of them, but as Russel took his hand and began to follow the beat, it dissipated. It felt so natural and real.

"Hey Russel..." 2D said looking down as they danced.

"Yeah- ah!" He grabbed his head. "Shit."

"Are you okay?" 2D stop.

"I don't know my head..." Russel said. "I need to sit down."

2D guided him to the couch. "Do you need anything?"

"I-I don't know. I just need to sit down for now." Russel said.

"Are you gonna be okay?" He asked.

"yeah." He thought to himself for a second. "Yeah." He affirmed.

2D looked at him and then turned his head to Noodle who was standing confused by the couch. "Why do I take Noodle at to a park or something and you can just relax, yeah?"

Russel looked at her. He looked away and rubbed his head. "Yeah...that's a good idea I think. She needs to get out and do something."

"Well okay then!" He said scooping her off the ground and putting her on his shoulders. "Off we go, huh?" He walked out the door.

Russel groaned in pain tried to find the source of his pain.

Well

Well what?

Can I tell you now? Russel, it's going to blow your mind!

Fine. Fine. Ugh just... let me take care of this head ache. Maybe I'm dehydrated.

Russel stood up to get a glass of water only to be hit with a wave of dizziness.

Woah

He tried to stabilize himself, but he lost his vision and fell straight to the floor.


 

Russel blinked and adjusted his eyes to realize he was in an all to familiar room with the rain pouring down outside.

He was sitting in his old house, the one he lived in with Del.

"Haven't been here in a dream in a while." Russel said. He turned to the couch next to him that had Del laying casually in it. "Did you have anything to do with this?"

Del looked around. And at himself. He wasn't ghostly or blue, he was just his normal self. His favorite type of dream. "Nah. But you got to admit you miss this couch, huh?" He said, rubbing the very old, obnoxiously colored print.

Russel got up and sat on the couch, moving Del's legs onto his lap in the process. "Of course." He sighed. "I miss this whole part of my life."

"yeah..." Del said, shifting his body around. "Me too."

"I think I remember this night." Russel said.

"Really?" Del said. "I didn't know these had to be specific memories."

"They don't." Russel said. "But this night...I remember."

"What is it?" He said, now sitting up and looking at Russel.

"It wasn't anything special...it was just the night after a date." Russel said. "But there was something that just felt special to me. I don't know, maybe the rain, maybe the food we had...it was just a nice day. Nothing went wrong. I didn't have any ghost shit happen to me, or a panic attack, we were financially stable and doing well."

"That does sound like a good night." He said now resting his head on Russel shoulder.

They stayed like that for a while, listening to the rain, letting the aura of that night rest their hearts.

"Are we really ready to move on?" Russel said.

"Are you asking you or me?" Del said.

"I don't know...both."

Del held Russel's hand. "We need to move on."

"Yeah eventually, but...do we want to just yet?" Russel said.

"Russel can you feel my hand?" He said hold his up. "When we touch can you feel me at all?"

"Yeah." Russel said. He looked away. "A little. I only feel what I can remember or imagine. You know that."

"But You can't really feel me, Russel." He said. "And I can't feel anything. At all."

"But I'm not sure I'm ready for someone new." Russel said. "Even if we can't do anything, doesn't mean I'm over you."

"I know." He gave up and cuddled further into Russel. "I know."

The rain made it easy for the pauses in their conversation to happen.

"I'm glad we're talking about it again." Russel said. "I'm glad we aren't pretending it didn't happen anymore."

"Me too."

"You know I think it's so funny that this is how you're reacting to all this." Russel said.

"What do you mean?" Del said.

"I mean you were so jealous when you were alive." Russel teased.

"I was not!" Del said. "Besides, it's...different now."

"What do you mean?"

"'What do I mean?' Russel..." he grunted in frustration. "You know I still love you, right? You know I'm doing all this because, I love you. I don't know what's going to happen to me. I could just fade away tomorrow, I could completely disappear without any warning. If that happens, I want you to be stable."

"But what if it doesn't?" Russel said. "You don't know...maybe you can stay, maybe-"

"Maybe what Russel? You just not have a real complete relationship forever. Look..." he rubbed his head. "It's weird. It totally is. I...I'd totally rather have you all to myself but...but if you have someone when I go... then it won't be so hard. I'm worried about you, baby. You go through so much shit."

Russel squeezed his hand. "Maybe we can just hold off for a while, you know? We can re-go on all of our dates and just take some time... I feel like I need this, okay? I feel like we both need this?"

"Fine. I don't know what you're gonna tell that fine piece of ass Jay that will only make stop for a while but...dating again sounds nice." Del said. "One last time."

Russel frowned "You sound so sure you're going to disappear..."

"I feel sure. I just...have a feeling I'm not going to just stay around." He turned to Russel. "Besides." He smiled. "Don't you want someone to kiss you again."

Russel smiled back. "They're never be as good as yours." He leaned in and kissed him.

"Huh." Del said. "Now I know I can't feel anything but I swear..." he said leaning for another one.

Russel giggled as he accepted the kiss.

"Oh, hey, what was the thing about 2D you wanted to tell me?" Russel said.

"It's...uh. Not important right now." He said. "So where did we go for this date?"

Chapter Text

Russel woke up to his face being tapped by what appeared to be a leather boot. He opened his eyes to see the main douche of the house, green skin glowing as ever.

"Urmmmm Good. You're alive. If you were dead the be such a hassle. I'd have to kidnap another bloody drummer and I'm out of favors with the local bacon, as it were." He took a sip of the stale beer from the night before that was in his hand.

Russel sat up and looked at him with a sour look, "So glad I didn't inconvenience you with my death."

"Would have been such an ordeal." He mumbled to himself as he left the room. "Tell ole no-eye-fuck to meet at the recording room when he gets back with Noodle."

"Hey wait." Russel said, stopping him in the doorway. "How long have I been out?"

"I don't bloody know." He said dismissively. "I just woke up."

"Well then what time is it?" Russel said.

Murdoc looked at his wrist and wiped the excess beer from his face. "4:15"

"4:15!" Russel thought about when it was he passed out. "Didn't you say you just woke up?"

"Yes mmmrg Well it's a 'cleanse' day then, I guess." Murdoc said. "You've been on the fuckin' floor too mate."

"I passed out you drunk fuck!" Russel sat on the couch. "It was barely noon when 2D left! I've been on the floor for 4 fucking hours! I should be going to the hospital!"

"Should ya?"

"What do you mean?" Russel said with a bite in his voice.

"I don't know about ghostly shit- Well I don't know about non-satanic ghost shit." He said. "Is this a medical thing or...is this beyond medicine." He waved his hands in a theatrically as well as mocking way.

Russel hated to even think the words, but he was right. If he went to the hospital and- something happened then he wouldn't be better at the least and detained and exorcised at the worst.

"I think your silence is telling enough for me." he began to leave again. "I don't mind...Ghosts are a hell of a gimmick."

What are we gonna do Russel. It seems like this shit is happening more and more often.

I don't know...we might have to find another guide. I hope it's not another...inhabitant. Exorcism isn't really an option anymore.

The door opened and Noodle came running through. She had 3 bags full of stuff and was very excited to get them to her room. 2D followed and set down a couple bags of his own on the table.

"Don't trip, ya little booger! I just bought you all that!" he yelled after her smiling. He sat down next to Russel. "I think I've bought her enough to satisfy her for bit."

Maybe we should go to the hospital. I don't know health shit! Maybe it is a body problem not a ghost thing.

I don't know. It seems like a ghost thing though. This goddamn house is haunted as shit. It's built on top of a graveyard for fucks sake.

"What did you do then, Russ? Are you feeling better?"

We still need to do something about it. You are not dying on my watch. If you die before I go then I will be really pissed off heaven. God's got some bullshit to explain to me.

I'm not dying Del. Stop being so dramatic.

"Russel? Hello?" 2D waved his hand in front of Russel's face. "What are you mumblin' to yourself about?"

"Oh uh..." he shook his head and looked at him. "It's uh...private conversation." he said pointing to his head.

2D furrowed his brows. "What?"

"Del 'D, I'm talking to Del." Russel.

"Oh, ha, yeah sometimes I forget he's there." He said. "Hello Del. How's it going in Russ' head?" He waved his hand, and pulled a smile that Russel couldn't help but mirror.

Hey 2D you look fine as every baby, Russel thinks so too.

"He says hello." Russel chuckled.

"Hmm well I can tell he said more, but I trust it's something nice." 2D said. "You never answered my question! Are you feeling better? Do you need anything?"

Should I tell him? I feel like he's just gonna freak out and do...something.

He probably will! Don't tell him. At least don't tell him until we got our shit figured out.

"Ah, yeah...I'm fine. Just...watched some dumb movies." Russel said.

"Aaah without me? Dumb movies is our thing." 2D said. "Well now you owe me one."

"I'm pretty sure we aren't the only idiots who watch dumb movies for fun." Russel said. "We can watch some tonight."

"I'll keep you to that, eh?" 2D said. "I should probably put my new junk in my room. Don't want Murdoc to...I don't know piss on it or something."

Russel giggled, "If avoiding him is your main goal right now, you should probably go somewhere else. He wants us to meet in the recording room."

"Ah, fuck." 2D said. "Well, he won't know we're late if he doesn't know we're here yet...Got any ideas?"

"I don't know." Russel said. "There's so many rooms in this house, There's probably a good hiding spot."

2D pursed his lips around for second before saying, "I know just where to go." He grabbed Russel's hand. "Come on!"

"Okay okay" he said.

The pair ran down a hallway and then to a stairwell. Russel wasn't sure if he had ever even been in this part of the house. They moved up and up and up and Russel was just being dragged along happily while he tried to figure out what 2D had in plan.

"Where are we going?" Russel said.

"Shhh. We're almost there."

They came to a door at the very end of the stairwell. 2D pushed on the door, but it didn't open.

"heh, hold on I got it." He pushed up against the door again. He sighed. "I had it last time I swear."

"Yeah, yeah I'm sure." Russel laughed.

"Shut up! I got it I do!" He took a deep breath and then gave the door one last push. He fell to the ground as the door opened.

The door opened to reveal the skyline of the city. Russel walked out onto the roof and helped 2D up.

"Wow." Russel said. "I didn't know there was one beautiful spot in this house...but damn."

"Yeah it's nice innit?" 2D said. "I just found it recently."

Russel walked out to the rusty railing that lined the roof. "So how long do you think we have before he finds us?"

"It doesn't matter..." 2D said. "Whatever it is it won't be long enough."

"Ha, your right about that I guess." Russel said. "He kidnapped me! He literally fucking burlap sack over the head kidnapped me! And yet here I am..."

"Yeah..." 2D said. "Why did you stay? I mean was really just...a good music demo?"

"I mean..." Russel didn't know how to compose his thoughts. And not only that, but he didn't want to tell him it was partly just him. "I don't know there was a lot of factors going on..fucked up life stuff. Sometimes ya got to do weird shit to cope."

"Yeah I guess..."

"Well...Why did you stay then?" Russel threw back defensively. "He put you in a coma...He fucked up your eyes."

"And my girlfriend." He said sarcastically.

"Hey come on. Don't dodge the question." Russel said.

"Oh like you just did?" 2D said, his response cutting and catching Russel off guard. "I'm sorry I didn't.."

He touched Russel's shoulder. "I didn't mean to say it like that..." 2D looked off and his eyes seemed even more black and distant. "When you wake up from a coma, you expect people to be there, ya know, to tell you how much they worried and missed you..."

He paused and sighed. "I woke up in the middle of the road, face bloody, to the realization that the man who put me in a coma was the only one who bothered to take my limp body with them."

Russel tried to stutter something out, reaching out desperately to help him. "I-I'm..."

"You don't have to...do anything, it's fine. I mean there's still people who care...my parents didn't even know it happened. And this is my chance Russel...My shot at not being a fucking idiot in a music shop."

They sat in silence for a millennium condensed into a minute. "You aren't an idiot." Russel said.

2D just nodded. He didn't believe him. They sat down on the dirty concrete.

"So how's it going with Jay." He said. His face held no perceptible emotion.

He hesitated, as he wondered if 2D was just asking because he was still jealous."I don't know." Russel said. "I like him, I do, but..."

"But what?" 2D said.

"But I don't know if I'm ready." Russel said. "It's been a while since Dell... but I still love him. Of course I do. And normally, you love someone and lose them then you move on. But Dell is still here. It's hard to move on when he hasn't and he can't move until I have and...urgh! I just hate the whole thing."

"Well I mean..." 2D started. "Actually, no, I'm sorry, I don't got any advice for that."

Russel chuckled breathlessly, "It's fine. You don't need to give me advice. Sometimes it's just nice to talk."

They both looked away and tried to clear their minds. Russel laid on his back and 2D followed.

"Damn, when are we just gonna get to talk to each other without spilling all our problems on each other?" Russel said.

"It's nice to have someone to talk to though." 2D said.

"Yeah." Russel said. "But we need more light stuff."

"Like what?"

"I don't know...hobbies, jokes...fuck I can't even think of a third one." Russel said.

"Hobbies? We've already done that." 2D said. "Gardening and shit."

"Well..."

"Well what?" 2D said sitting up.

Russel sat up and said, "I have another more...interesting hobby."

"What?" 2D said, eyebrows twisted in confusion and curiosity.

"I uh...I'm pretty into taxidermy." Russel said rubbing his neck.

"What...like dead stuff? Like taking animals and stuffing them?" 2D said.

"Yeah. Yeah I do." Russel said. "It's therapeutic to me. It's like giving the dead things new life, settling the spirits. I usually add stuff to them too. It's good karma."

"Russel."

"Yeah?" Russel said cringing ready for 2D to mock him.

"That's metal as fuck."

They both broke out into heavy laughter and the weight of the conversation dissipated into the air.

They got up and look toward city once again, minds set anew.

"OI ASSHOLES!" Murdoc shouted at them from a balcony below them. "I CAN FUCK SEE YA YEAH! STOP SUCKING EACH OTHERS DICKS AND COME TO THE RECORDING ROOM YOU WANKERS!"

Chapter Text

"You dick." Murdoc said as the two walked into the recording room. "I told you to bring him here when he came back and what do you do? You fucking run off to the roof to measure dick sizes."

"Dude, what is with you and implying I'm going anywhere near his dick? What are you seeing that is leading you to this conclusion?" Russel said.

I'd suck 2D's dick.

Del that wasn't even the question.

"A little defensive, there?" he responded cheekily.

2D's face went red. Russel just rubbed his forehead in frustration, "What did you want to say to us?" He sat down in the chair next to Noodle who had been spinning around in hers.

"We have a plan, boys." Murdoc said. "...and girl."

"Is it a good one?" 2D said.

"Wha- No Pots it's a shit plan. Yes it's a good plan, ya wanker." Murdoc fussed.

"Well It's just it seems like a lot of your plans involve kidnap and bribery" Russel said.

"There's no kidnapping in this plan." Murdoc said.

"Is there bribery?" 2D said.

"That's for me to commit and you to serve time for. Can I fucking get on with it?" Murdoc said.

They both gave half nods and dismissive sighs.

"So I'm not sure if you clods were half-sober when it happened, but we have a potential record deal on our hands, gentlemen. So I have a to do list for it to end all other to do lists." He flipped over a whiteboard that was on the ground. It was covered top to bottom in tasks. "First and most urgent, songs. To have a record deal we gotta have a record. So we need to write songs. No covers, no dumb little songs either. We have to start strong, hit the ground fucking."

"Isn't it hit the ground running?" Russel said.

"Not if you're a rockstar baby, ummmm haha" Murdoc cackled. "We have to be concise and have a message, an image, a slogan, and multiple gimmicks."

"Shouldn't we come with the message before we write." 2D said raising his hand.

"...Yes." He said writing 'message' down on the board. "And you don't need to raise your dumb ass."

He lowered his hand slowly in shame.

"Up next 2D needs a vocal coach, Noodle needs a english teacher, and Russel needs-"

"Phrase your nexts words very carefully." Russel said. "I do NOT need drum lessons."

"I was gonna say weight watchers mate." Murdoc said pulling a loose cig out of his pocket. "But drum lessons couldn't hurt either."

"Oh I'll show you something that will hurt." Russel said standing up from his chair, slapping his cigarette from his hand.

"Go head try, you'll just pass out again." He said.

Russel come on man, he's not worth fighting. He's just an idiot.

"Wait what?" 2D said.

"Yeah, and I'd still win you weak ass pickle man." Russel mumbled as he sat back down in his chair.

"Then there's marketing." Murdoc said jumping back into his agenda without hesitation. "Once we have an album we need to find a cheap way to get the word out there. We need sales." He said turning his back to them to look at his masterpiece in dry erase ink.

He continued talking as 2D leaned over to Russel, "What did he mean, 'You passed out', what happened?"

"-then of course we'd need to transition from small to bigger venues quickly-"

Russel whispered, "It's nothing really." He leaned away, not ready to tell him what was going with him...spiritually.

"-tour destinations are everything really-"

2D pulled his shoulder back toward him. "It doesn't sound like nothing Russel. It sounds serious."

"-money will be abundant by then, and then the REAL plan starts with renovations to Kong-"

"It's fine. Everything is fine-just- Ugh. I'll tell you later, okay?" Russel said, a little too loud this time.

"Oi! Are you idiots even listening?" Murdoc said.

"No!" Noodle said gleefully as she pushed her rolling chair across the room, running right over his foot.

"OW- You little fuck! Come here!" Murdoc said grabbing his foot.

Noodle ran put of the room laughing.

"These boots are one of a kind demon leather!" He said. "Fuck. Meeting over. I'm going back to bed, maybe I should find her a manners teacher instead." He walked out the room still mumbling to himself about the trouble he had to go trough to get his boots.

"What a dick." Russel said. "I should give Noodle ice cream for this. I'm proud of her."

"Russel."

"What."

"What happened?" He said in a soft voice.

"It's NOTHING" Russel said. "I just..."

"Just what?" 2D said.

"I passed out." Russel said.

"What!" 2D grabbed his head. "You passed out! For how long!"

"Like...3...4" Russel coughed. "Hours."

"SHIT! Why are you here?! I'm pretty sure that means you should be going to the hospital Russ!" He shouted frantically. "Here, come on I'm taking you to the hospital."

2D tugged at his arm. "No. D. Stop, come on. I'm not going to the hospital."

"Yes! Yes you are!" 2D said.

"NO, no I'm not." Russel said brushing his arm off. "It's not a... it's a.."

"It's a what?" 2D said. "Is passing out just normal for you?"

"I think it's a ghost thing, okay?" Russel said. "The last time I went to the hospital and my illness wasn't...physical... I was got sent to a goddamn exorcist."

"It's a hospital! They aren't gonna give you an exorcism! What the hell hospital did you go to!" 2D said.

"It was a nurse who brought a priest to the hospital without my permission, okay?' Russel said. "Look, I know it's not 'standard procedure' but if they see something they don't understand I could be stuck there! They could run test on me for months if they wanted! And with Del...I can't risk it."

2D was quiet now, his arms crossed. "I still think we should go."

"I can't," Russel said. "But...But I'll find someone who can help tomorrow, okay?"

"Fine." 2D said.

"Come on, you wanna go start that movie marathon early?" Russel said.

2D sighed then looked up at him and smiled. "Yeah."

Chapter Text

"So what movie series should we watch?" Russel said sitting down next to 2D on the ground. "Or should just pick a genre and go with it?"

"Oh." 2D looked at then back at the ground. "Um...just comedy I guess."

"Really?" He furrowed his brows. "Not zombies?" He smiled and nudged him in the arm.

"I don't know..." He sighed. "I just...not in the mood, then."

"O-Okay." Russel could tell something was up. "So uh...Groundhog Day or Kindergarten Cop?"

He just shrugged without looking away from the blank dark TV screen.

"Groundhog Day it is..." Russel, uneasy from the lack of enthusiasm.

He turned on the TV and put in the movie. However, while 2D's eyes were on the screen, and Russel the one who started the movie, neither actually absorbed a single second of plot.

Russel was to busy watching 2D and 2D...was not watching anything. His eyes were open yes, but only in the same way someone forgets to close a window. He was gone within his mind and Russel was trying to find him in that mess.

"Is there a comedy you do like?" Russel said.

"Huh?" 2D said, face akin to snapping out of a trance. "Sorry, uh, no. I mean- Yeah the movies fine."

"It's just," He started. "You don't really seem to like it."

"No, I'm just..." 2D he trailed off. "Kinda...thinking about...something."

Russel scooted toward him. "What is it?" He spoke softly and carefully. "If it's okay...that I ask."

"Oh it's just...It's..." He cleared his throat. "It's multiple things, really."

"Okay." Russel said, not knowing what was the right thing to say next.

The movie become background noise the uncomfortable nothingness of the dip in conversation.

2D interrupted it, "Hey can we go back up to the roof?"

"Y-Yeah." He said startled by the sudden suggestion.

2D stood up headed for the door, seemingly with or with Russel. "I'm getting beer on the way up."

"O-Okay D, that's-" he was already out the door before he could finish his sentence. "fine."

Russel got up and followed out the door. 2D was already at the other end of the hall. Russel almost had to jog to reach him again. When he finally caught up, they were in the kitchen, 2D rummaging through it for alcohol. He pulled out a bottle of vodka from the stash that Murdoc kept.

"Woah, woah, there D. That's-That's not beer is it?" Russel said, starting to see where 2D was steering the night.

"Nope." He said popping the p. And just like that he was out of the room again, speeding for the roof.

Shit

Russel chased after him again and his pursuit didn't end until they both reached the roof.

2D was already on the ground struggling to open the bottle. He stopped and huffed when Russel sat next to him.

Russel took the bottle and opened it. 2D grabbed at it then Russel stopped him.

"Ah-ah, you need to tell me what's wrong before you get shit faced over it, okay?" Russel said.

"Ugh" he exclaimed. "Fine, whatever- but you have to get drunk with me or I'm not telling."

Russel thought about it for a second. "God. Fine."

He handed the bottle over and 2D took a big swig from it.

"Wow, there was no hesitation there at all." Russel said.

"Your turn." He said handing it over.

"Right right." Russel took the bottle. He took a small sip. It was strong.

"OH COME ON!" 2D said. "That was weak Russel. Weak"

"Shut up shut up" He said laughing. "Now spit it out."

"Like I said...I'ts more than one thing."

"Well start wherever you want man." Russel said. "We got all night."

"Okay. I'm really tripped up over you not telling me you passed out." 2D said. "What if it were something serious. What if it is something serious!"

"I didn't tell you because of what you're doing right now. You're freaking out about it! You're trying to make decisions for me!" Russel said. He stood up and rested on the railing instead. He looked back at 2D drinking. "What if I took the vodka and threw it over the side of the building right now? You'd be pissed, right?"

"That's different Russel! Getting drunk is not the same thing as passing out." He huffed.

"Is it? You get drunk to the point where you can't stand up every time you have a problem! I get worried about that! But do I come into your garbage palace of a room and take the beer out of your hand? No." Russel said getting more frustrated as he spoke.

"Fuck you, no I don't." 2D said.

"Yes you DO, D. After Paula, after Jay, right god damn now!" Russel said gesturing to his bottle.

"UGH, whatever. You aren't my fucking mother! It's just fun! It helps me process it all when there's so much shit!" He was now yelling. "You don't know what's best for me, okay?"

"EXACTLY! I don't! I don't know what's the best way for you to get through shit, so I STAY OUT OF IT!" Russel said. "I don't think how you deal with it is the best way, but you have to make your own choices, and I have to make mine!" He sighed and slid back down to 2D's level.

2D was looking away, quiet. He took a sip of vodka then whispered, "I didn't mean for this to be a fight."

Russel's expression softened. "I...I know." He took a deep breath. "I know D."

"I'm just..." 2D started. "I'm just cornered, yeah? I need you to stay alive Russel, I don't think I could get through living in the same building with Murdoc with out you."

Russel chuckled. "I think I would have left on the first day if it weren't for you."

2D smiled. "Yeah?"

Russel's cheeks warmed with the realization of what his words seemed to imply. "Y-Yeah."

Fuck it

Russel took the bottle from 2D's hand and took a shot. His face cringed up.

"AW- it's been awhile." He said shaking off the burn of the alcohol.

"WOO RUSS!" 2D said. "Finally decided to join the party, then?"

"Shut up, shut up just-" Russel handed him the bottle back. "What's next on the list?"

"What- Oh my- ha - the things on my mind, right." 2D thought for a second. He gathered his words and said, "I don't- I'm not sure who, uh...I'm not sure who I am- If that makes since."

"No I get it." Russel said.

"Good good." 2D said. "It's just going on stage, singing, being a frontman- it makes me think of myself. Like I went in to my closet and and just kinda stared at my clothes yesterday. Ever done that? Just looked and thought about how other people see you. It's been freaking me out." He took another drink.

"That's understandable...I've felt that before. Just being lost, not knowing who you are...just remember whoever you are, you're you." Russel said.

2D started laughing. "What does that mean?"

"Laugh all you want, but one day that will make sense, I swear." Russel said.

"Russ! Are you drunk off of one shot?" 2D teased him.

They both laughed and layed all the back on the roof.

They looked at the stars and just took gentle breaths, not saying words, but still sharing the moment. Russel took another shot, knowing 2D was probably already on his 5th.

"You're kind" Russel spoke up. "You're kind and deep and fun. That's who you are."

"Oh..." He said.

Russel was startled a moment later by 2D grabbing his hand. His eyes looked right into him.

"You're smart and full of heart and more thoughtful then anyone I've ever met."

Their eyes both intense and unmoving, Russel could feel 2D's breath on his face. It would have been so easy to just lean in.

Russel coughed and looked at the ground. 2D's face fell and he let go Russel's hand and looked away.

"So uh...Any other problems?" Russel said trying to break the tension.

"Yeah...Yeah, there's one more." 2D said. "B-But...I'm not sure I'm ready to talk about it."

"That's fine." Russel said. "We've already talked about a lot of shit."

"I guess you're right." He said. "Ask me again...here." He said pointing to near the bottom of the bottle.

"Ha okay D, I will." Russel said. "Is it my turn?"

"Russel, if we we're taking turns you'd already be drunk." 2D said.

"I guess your right." Russel said. "I wasn't always a light weight, okay? I just haven't done this in a while."

"Whatever you say Russ." 2D said handing him the bottle.


The two spent the next hour drinking, laughing, and sharing stories under the comfort of starlight. The stories got less and less coherent as the night went on, but the ease of their conversation did not. The tension of earlier had been swallowed down with the vodka.

"Russel l-look." He slurred holding up the bottle. He swished it around. "We MADE it!" He pointed to the small amount left in the bottle.

"Oh!" Russel said. "WOO!" He lifted his arms and then let them fall back down lazily.

"Well? A-aren't you gonna ask me?" 2D flopped about.

"R-right." Russel gathered himself and propped himself up. "What's uh...What's up?"

"Welp." He said laying his head down on Russel's stomach. "Doctor Russel. I'm c-confused."

"About what?" Russel asked.

"S-something I was sure I was right about for a-a long time." 2D says. "Ya see doc. I was dumped recently."

"Yup."

"A-and ever since then, I've been thinking about things I never thought I would. A-about people I never thought I would."

"Y-yeah." Russel said yawning.

"In w-ways I never thought about before." 2D said. "I'm kinda scared and c-confused about it."

Russel nodded his head.

"I mean still think g-girls are hot, but I think maybe guys are hot t-too, I don't know." 2D stuttered out. "I guess what I'm staying is... I think I might be gay...or Bi or whatever."

Russel didn't respond.

"Russel?" 2D lifted his head up.

Russel let out a big snore. 2D rubbed his face, "Ah fuck."


2D woke up to sunlight hitting his face, and his head still on Russel's stomach.

He stretched and yawned as his eyes adjusted to the light. And with it, a throbbing headache stung through his head.

He held his head. "God." He whispered. He looked over at Russel sleeping next to him. He was snoring pretty loud. 2D chuckled and smiled a bit.

A blue haze began to poor out of his mouth, and 2D was confused at first before realizing what was happening.

"Heeeeeey 2D." Del echoed as he appeared before him.

"Del? It's morning. Isn't Russel going to wake up soon?" 2D said.

"Ha ha no no he's not waking up for a while. He cannot handle his booze he has to sleep it off." Del said with a distinct reminiscent smile. "And give him some coffee when he wakes up, baby. He's going to be a bit of a dick if you don't"

"Thanks." 2D grinned at the thought of Del making Russel coffee and Russel being grumpy.

"Of course, blue." Del said "I'm making it my mission to pass all my Russ knowledge on to you. God knows I have a lot of it."

"I appreciate it." 2D said. He looked down at Russel. "I feel like I'm going to need it."

"Hey Hey! What does that mean?" Del said.

"OH no no! I meant like- I meant that I'm scared about the ghost stuff." 2D said. "Like yesterday. He just didn't tell me, and I don't know how to help him."

Del sighed. "He's been through a lot of tough shit D. I'm not sure I helped him the best I could. I don't know a lot about ghost shit either."

"What do I do if he needs help? What does he do to control this sort of thing?" 2D said.

"Sometimes nothing. It's not exactly part of main stream medicine to solve it." Del said. "We've managed by going to real fucking weird people who claim to be witches or some shit. It works sometimes but it's still not a science yet you know?"

"Is there one near by?" 2D said.

"Yeah. It's actually pretty close." Del said. "You know the thrift shop on Shawn street? It's right next to it."

"That's good to know." 2D nodded, trying to think of how to drive there.

"I'm not gonna lie, D" Del said. "It's not always going to be easy looking out for him. Can I trust you to do that?"

"Y-yeah." 2D said. "I want to. I want to make sure he's okay."

"Good." Del said. "Look I know that Jay's dating him and all, and he seems like an okay dude, but you are in a profession with him. You have money motivation to stay by his side. You also already live with him."

2D laughed. "Yeah I guess that's true." 2D felt nervous in this conversation. "I mean I wouldn't just leave even if there's no money."

"Be his solid, okay? I can't be..." Del said. "I'm sorry. I know that's a lot to just drop on you."

2D nodded but he went quiet. His eyes had grown wide with thought. He felt like he had just been handed an impossibly large responsibility. He didn't even know if he could be his own rock, let alone Russel's. But he also wanted to, and it surprised him.

"I to be there." 2D said.

"Yeah I know you do." Del said. "Do you remember any of what you said last night?"

"Ergh, yeah! But he doesn't" 2D said. "Fell asleep right as I'm about to fucking come out to him!"

"Oh so you've decided you are, in fact, into my boy?" Del said.

2D sighed and layed flat on the ground. "UGH, fuck..." He said. "Fine...I think you're right about me being Bi."

"And..."

"God why do you want me to be into your boyfriend?" 2D said.

"Because I want to be right!" Del said. "My gaydar has only grown stronger in death and I want to make sure it's functioning properly."

"That's weird." 2D crossed his arms.

"But I'm right aren't I?"

"I haven't decided yet!" 2D said. "I only ever started thinking about this yesterday!"

"D...Blue...come on now." Del said.

"What?" 2D said.

"You've been thinking about this longer than that. No one decided this that quickly." Del said.

"Eck- ugh- I mean-" 2D sighed. "Yeah..."

"It's okay baby, take all the time in the world you need." Del said. "But tell me what you're planning for the first date."

"Del!" 2D said.

"I'm JOKING." Del said. "Kinda of" He said softer.

"You're lucky I'm not gonna be a dick and tell Russel about all of this." 2D said.

Chapter Text

Russel woke up to a headache, a cold roof top, and- being alone.

It took him second to remember what he did last night, until he saw the empty bottle on the floor. He had gotten drunk last night- with 2D.

Where the fuck is 2D?

He looked around to try and find him, but he had left. Russel got up and held his head. Today was probably not going to be fun.

The door swung open and Noodle came running out. She tugged on Russel's pants as she excitedly told him things he only half understood.

"And good morning to you Noodle." He said. "That sounds like a fun dream. Do you know where 2D is?"

She nodded and pointed toward the door just as he appeared in the door way- with two cups of coffee in hand.

"Morning Russ!" He said. "Want some coffee?" His held the cup out for him.

Russel grabbed the cup. "Thanks."

"Wanna come downstairs with me and Noodle?" 2D said. "Maybe some breakfast?"

"Yeah, sure." Russel said as he looked down at his mug.

Did you put him up to this? The coffee?

Yeah Baby. I did.

I appreciate it but...

But what?

I don't know. It just feels weird. Doing all the stuff I did with you.

You've gotten drunk after me

Yeah but not...like that. That was all confession stuff and to end it with coffee

I'm sorry I was just trying to make you're morning better babe. I didn't think-

No No I know I'm just...I'm just still not used to moving on yet.

I know, I know we just talked about that too. Are you going to talk to Jay about it today?

Yeah...Yeah I probably should.

Russel reached the bottom step of the stairs and followed 2D down the hallway, thinking about what he was going to say to Jay. He rehearsed and repeated over and over, editing and switching around words trying to make the perfect "I'm not ready for a relationship since my last boyfriend died" talk that only seemed to be common to Russel.

He sat down at the table, 2D and Noodle serving food while singing and yelling and bouncing all around. Russel's eye's remained distant and his remained full as the breakfast continued. He tried to eat and relax, but his thoughts and worries about the day became the priority.

"You okay, Russ?" 2D said.

"uh- Yeah." Russel said. "Yeah I'm fine."

Russel looked over on the counter and saw his phone. He realized that he had not checked it for a couple days and picked it up.

There were a group of messages from Jay. He was talking about going on another date. Russel sighed, it was going to be harder than he thought to put their relationship on hold.

Russel shook his head and just tried to finish his breakfast. Then his phone vibrated next to him.

The message said this: Open your front door ;)

Oh shit. Oh shit no.

Well you're gonna half to deal with it now huh?

Russel jumped up from the table and ran to the door. He looked through the peep hole.

There he was. Bouquet of flowers and all.

Fuck.

Well open the door prince charming

Russel sighed and opened the door.

"Russel! Hi! Uh-" He held out the flowers in his hands. "Here. I got these for you! I came here to talk about u-us."

"Oh. Well I have something to say too." Russel said, shifting awkwardly where he stood.

Ha Ha something tells me he has something different to say Russel.

"Shut up" Russel mumbled.

"W-what?" Jay said.

"Oh-Uh nothing just- What were you going to say?"

"Yeah! Yeah. Well..." Jay said taking Russel's hand. "I wanted to talk about making it real, you and I. I want to officially be a couple."

Russel coughed, "Um Yeah?"

Jay smiled "Yeah, Yeah I do." Jay got something out of his pocket. "Russel will you do me the honor..." He kneeled down on one knee in an exaggerated manor and revealed the object in his hand- two plastic 'halves of a heart' necklaces. "Of being my boyfriend."

Russel couldn't help it. He laughed and smiled at the gesture. He looked at it again. "What did you write on it? Is that fucking sharpie?"

"Yes but only the finest, blackest, sharpie for you." He stood up. "Jay's boy"

Russel's laugh was genuine and happy as he took the necklace in his hand to look at it. "What flowers are those?"

"Amaryllis" Jay said. "The lady said they meant great beauty. It was the closest I could get to 'your ass is fine' in flowers."

"Oh my god." Russel said laughing through his words. "You really know how to charm a man, huh?"

"Is that a yes?" He smirked.

Russel's face fell as he looked down at the necklace.

Do you want to?

I'm not sure. I like him but

It's fine if you do, it's your decision.

We talked about it though, we both need time.

What you NEED is to move on. So just DO it already.

Come on Del, don't be mad.

"Everything okay Russel?" Jay said. "Did I- Did I miss understand us? I-I mean it's okay if you just wanted this to be casual-"

"No, no." Russel said. "I just need sometime to think. I kinda have a weird situation for me..."

"Oh? Was your last break up bad?" Jay said.

"Umm-" Russel said. He sighed. "I just- I can't make the decision right now, okay?"

He frowned a little and was quiet. Then he nodded his head. "Of course." Jay said. "I get it. I do. How about we go out for dinner tonight- I can try to convince you, Yeah?"

Russel nodded. He had a small smile. "That sounds good Jay."

Russel took the flower and Jay hugged him.

He started walking down the steps of the hill. "Tonight 7 o' clock. I'm gonna show you such a good time, Hobbs, you won't be able to refuse all of this." He said gesturing up and down his body.

"Bye!" Russel said, waving and going back inside.

Russel walked back to the table, heart warm but unsure.

"So what was that, then?" 2D said, gesturing to the flowers.

"Oh, that was just Jay." Russel said, putting them on the table. "He uh...asked me on a date."

"Oh..." 2D said, nodding. He took his plate and put it in the sink. "Nice...nice."

"I'm...gonna go put these flowers in my room." Russel said standing up. He pulled a flower out of the bunch. "Here Noodle." He put the flower behind her ear. "There. Beautiful!"

"Arigatou Gozaimasu!" She said, hugging his legs and bouncing up and down.

"Your welcome, sweet girl." Russel said, messing up her hair. He grabbed a vase- or the closest substitute, a beer glass and headed down the hall.

The halls were quiet, the only noise the massive building settling and creaking. However, it was not the quietness of the house that made Russel uncomfortable. It was the quietness of Del.

You're mad?

No.

Are you sure?

Yes.

Russel opened the door to his room, unconvinced. He went to the bathroom and filled the vase up with water. He put the flowers in it and set it on the windowsill. As he did this he looked out.

Out on the ground he saw the small patch that he and 2D had planted flowers in. They hadn't been water in a while, but it looked like the hose was scattered along the ground.

Had 2D watered them this morning? He felt bad that he hadn't been doing it himself, but felt a wave of calm from the thought of their little project's survival. Looking at it now offered a brief, but appreciated escape from the complicated mess of a life that he had been living.

He stood at the window a little bit longer. He opened it and breathed in. Unfortunately, this did not freshen his room as Kong was built near and on both a grave yard and a dump.

Russel heard a crash from downstairs. He left his room and headed toward the noise. He wondered what it could be as the banging and noise continued. A ghost? He hoped not. As he got closer he realized there was yelling too- Murdoc's yelling. That was worse than a ghost.

He walked faster toward the door and that became and all out sprint when he heard Noodle start to cry.

The door felt like it was going to break with the force that Russel pushed through it.

He arrived just in time to see Murdoc punch 2D right in his left eye, with a force that sent him to the ground. He was going in for another hit when Russel grabbed his hand.

"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?" Russel said.

"He stole my fucking vodka!" Murdoc pointed to him. "That was special to me! It was smuggled from a prison, and he stole it. He drank it ALL!"

"So you fucking punch him?! You beat him up over some goddamn booze?!" Russel said. "You gave him a black eye! Noodle is crying in the corner you ASSHOLE!"

"It will teach him a lesson not to mess with my shit!" Murdoc said. "He crossed a line, he has to pay!"

"Yeah? Well I drank it too? You going to punch me too, bitch?" Russel said. "Punch me! Do it!"

Murdoc threw his fist at Russel's face, but Russel grabbed his hand and twisted his arm.

"You're nothing! You hear me? You're a mess!" Russel said letting go. Murdoc retracted his arm and started to rub it. "Next time you have a problem, tell me!"

Murdoc left the room, yelling "This isn't over!"

He walked over to 2D and kneeled down. "Are you okay D?"

He held his side and coughed, "Yeah, Yeah I'm fine." Russel helped him up "Ugh. I'm gonna have some nasty bruises."

Russel Held his chin to look at his face. "You're gonna have a black eye too, man." His fingers brushed lightly over his eye. "What the fuck it wrong with that man?"

"It's not that bad." 2D said. "My eyes are already black, Russ." He smirked.

Russel shook his head. "How are you making jokes right now?" Russel walked him over to the table. "Here just sit down for a sec."

He then walked over to Noodle who was sitting in the corner, no longer crying, but still very visibly upset. He sat down next to her.

He spoke softly, "Hey there." He picked the flower that had fallen out of her hair and put it back. "Daijoubu Desu Ka?" Are you okay, a phrase Russel knew by heart and had practiced far more than anything else.

She simply nodded and grabbed for his hand.

"Hey, come on." He tried to calm her. "2D's fine. Look." He gestured to him sitting behind him. 2D gave a strained smile and a thumbs up. "You wanna help me patch him up?" He said standing up and waving to follow him.

Russel went to the fridge and Noodle followed close behind him. He looked around inside, then closed it. "Well don't have any ice packs. And I don't have any painkillers in my room..." Russel said looking back at 2D. "Do you have any?"

"No." 2D said. "I guess I never thought to buy any."

"So... I guess we're going to the store to get some." Russel said. "It's probably good to get away from the house for awhile anyway."

The trio walked out the door and left for the nearest store that could offer them what he needed. Russel didn't put on music in the car, but as the journey continued he wish he did.

The silence only made them think about what had just happened more. Russel tried to just pay attention to the road. He looked over at 2D for a second.

"D!" Russel exclaimed. "What the fuck, man? Don't poke it."

"Fine, I won't!" 2D said. He flipped down the vanity mirror on his side. He look at his face.

"D, come on...don't poke it man." Russel repeated.

"I'm not." He said, waiting a second before poking it again.

"Man, what is wrong with you. Just stop." He said, pulling into the parking lot of a drug store.

Russel parks and turns to 2D who is still looking in the mirror. "Do you wanna come into the store or wait outside?"

"I don't really care either way." 2D said, once again poking his eye.

Russel sighed and then laughed. "Just stay here and watch Noodle."

Russel walked into the store and walked with purpose to get the few things that he came for. He went to go pick up the pain killers first. However as his eyes hopelessly scanned the enormous selection of drugs his sense of determination began to fall apart.

Thoughts and distraction began to enter his mind in its place.

What am I gonna tell Jay tonight? I can't fucking date right now. I mean look at what I'm doing right now.

He picked up a name brand painkiller and a generic brand. He look at them trying to compare.

But I guess that's just an excuse right? I mean there's always gonna be reasons to put it off. I should give him a chance. He's nice.

He ended up picking the generic brand.

If he can handle me. I mean I haven't even told him about my...problems.

Russel went into the next aisle to get some ice packs.

Okay. So I'll tell him. I'll tell him about it all and if he can handle it... then maybe. Maybe.

He picked up a couple of ice packs, then remembered that he couldn't freeze them right there. He walked to the fridge and pulled out a box of ice pops and walked to the counter.

You've been awfully quiet, huh? Usually you have opinions about everything in my life.

He walked back to the car, bounty in hand. He opened the door, and the patient and Noodle were there making faces at each other.

"I'm back." He said getting in the car. "How you feeling now?" He started to open the ice pop package.

"Still beat up." 2D said. "but fine."

Russel handed him a ice pop. "Here. I got ice packs, but they aren't cold so just put one of these on your eyes."

"Should I put one on my other bruises too?" 2D said.

Russel shrugged. "It's up to you I guess." He looked to the backseat. "How about you? You want one?" He held out an ice pop to her and she gladly accepted it.

2D took 4 of them and started to balance them on different parts of his body. They fell of repeatedly, but eventually he got into a position where they would all stay put.

"Okay." 2D said. "I'm good now."

"Yeah well I don't really want to go back-" He stopped. Something felt off. It felt wrong in an all too familiar way.

He looked at the mirror and felt his heart drop as he saw his eyes start to burn way too bright. He frantically left the car and shut the door.

"Stay in there! No, just leave!" Russel yelled. "Just go NOW!"

2D looked at him confused. "What? No, I'm not gonna just leave you here?" 2D tried to open the door. "What are you talking about?"

Russel pushed the door so he couldn't open it. "NO! I'm just- ugh! Just leave D. Just GO."

"Russel?" 2D said, as Russel felt himself lose consciousness.