It was late, way later than Noodle should have been up, when she heard the violin. She wasn’t up that late on purpose, even though there were a few times when she’d snuck up and tried to stay up way past her bedtime. Russ always caught her, though, and scolded her, and made her go to bed. But she’d been good tonight and had gone to bed at 9:30 without too much of a fuss, and had just woken up now, at 1:15, because she was very thirsty. She had crept to the kitchen, past the gentle snoring sounds coming from Russ’ room, and had just drank up a glass of strawberry Quik and was about to go to bed when she heard it.
It was very lovely. Strong and delicate all at once. Curious, Noodle quietly rinsed off her Squirtle mug and put it in the dishwasher (unlike Murdoc and 2-D, who always seemed to leave their dirty dishes in the sink for someone else) and silently crept after the sound.
It led her to the carpark, so first she thought the music was coming from 2-D’s room. She slipped over to the stairs to bounce down and tackle her silly friend, and tell him how pretty his violin music was. But his door was shut tight, and no light came from underneath it. It seemed that 2-D was asleep, too. But that left only one more option.
Creeping in the shadows alongside the Winny, she heard the music louder, and it was so beautiful it made her quiver. Strange, she thought. Violin music was nothing like bass music or guitar music or any other of the fast, hard, headbangy stuff Murdoc listened to, the rock hard sound that was like firecrackers and pop rocks and napalm and midnight all at once and made your innards do flip-flops because you knew it was truth exploding out the amps. This violin music sounded more like pure emotion. No frills or fire or glitter, just feeling.
She decided that she had to ask Murdoc right now if she could borrow this CD once he was done with it. He wouldn’t mind that she was up so late- matter of fact, he was the one who always rose to her defense when Russ said she had to go to bed, saying that such an early bedtime was seriously going to deviate from her ability to stay up late when she got older, which in turn would really fuck up her ability to efficiently party like a mofo. She had to giggle. She knew cursing wasn’t the way proper and nice people usually talked, but coming out of Murdoc’s mouth, it all sounded so… right. As if the Eff Word was invented just so he could use it. Her demon shadow friend made cursing an art form. Come to think of it, he somehow managed to make everything he did an art form. Wild and distorted art, with black and red and a whole lot of bright colors that nobody ever thought about- unique art that hardly anybody understood, but art nonetheless.
The window was open on the passenger side, just wide enough for her to slip through. She never went into the Winny through the door if she could help it, preferring instead to play Little Miss Ninja and sneak and pounce. Depending on what mood he was in or whether or not he had a hangover at the time, Murdoc found this either extremely amusing or extremely annoying, and they either had a good laugh about it or she got yelled at.
Landing soundlessly on the passenger seat, Noodle peered around the backrest to spy on Murdoc’s current position- probably lounging on the couch, she imagined, sipping on Stolie right from the bottle in that excruciatingly cool way that he did, taking in the music like a lizard takes in sunlight. What she saw caught her completely off guard, and she held her breath.
He was sitting on the couch, wearing that charcoal shirt he always wore and that same worn in pair of Levi’s with stains on them dating back to their very first gig. He was barefoot, his long legs crossed up on the cushions Indian-style. His candles shone and flickered and cast the whole front room in soft, dim light, and the look on his face was, surprisingly, peaceful, and his twilight-dark bangs fell like a quasi-sheer curtain over his closed eyelids. (As handsome as he was, Noodle often wondered why he was so jealous of 2-D.) But it was what he was doing that surprised Noodle so.
He was playing the violin.
Noodle swished back and leaned into the threadbare upholstery of the bucket seat, allowing herself to breathe as quietly as possible. She had no clue Murdoc could play the violin, let alone this well, and she was willing to wager that no one else did, either. He’d probably be pretty ticked off if he caught her here- but she wanted to listen. So she stayed hidden and silent, and listened.
He was weaving the pure threads of emotion on that violin. Joy and sorrow, elation and heartache, anger and frustration and fear and happiness and every other emotion and some other ones, too, all played on a violin. He did the same thing on his bass guitar all the time, and it always made her hold her breath… but it sounded different on a violin. Lighter, like it was made of feathers and wax- emotion in the sounds of music, woven into the wings of Icarus. And she felt herself soaring on it, and everything in the Winny and the carpark and the entire studios glowed with it. Glowed just like the candle’s light. And he slowed the tempo down, and the wings melted into a soft blanket, and she wrapped herself up in it and listened to the heartbeat of the world until she fell asleep.
Murdoc set the violin into its case and laid the bow on top of it, shut the lid, and tucked it safetly under the couch until the next time he felt like playing it. Snickering softly, he strode to the front of the Winny and gently scooped up the diminuitive, slumbering guitar goddess, who he had a pretty good feeling had been there for quite some time. Yes, she was good at sneaking around, but he was even better at noticing subtle things that hinted at people sneaking around. Carefully opening the door as best he could with his arms full of small girl without disturbing her, he carried her down the hall and towards her room.
Noodle was in that state where you’re asleep, but not quite. She could feel things and hear things (well, kind of- she was too tired to hear as sharp as she could when she was awake, so everything sounded like her ears were full of water), but she was too sleepy to open her eyes or move or talk. She felt movement, and strong, sure arms wrapped around her, holding her tight so she didn’t fall. And she felt cotton. Soft cotton, soft beyond belief from being worn so often. The shirt smelled just like the wearer- awful and wonderful at the same time. Like smoke, predominantly, but also alcohol, and sweat, and that lemony-spicyish cologne that Murdoc liked, and saline (although she’d never dream of calling him on that one- oh, how he’d blow up if he knew she even thought he may have been crying anytime recently!), and a bit of blood. He was always cutting his fingers on his strings- it’s what happened when you played too long without stopping. Also, some of the blood-smell probably came from 2-D.
As much as she loved Murdoc, she absolutely hated that habit of his to beat the singer up, because she loved 2-D very much, too. She’d tell him this sometimes, and if he was in a good mood he’d tell her that he’d try to lay off for her sake, and he actually would lay off a bit, at least until he forgot and walloped 2-D again, and the cycle would restart. If he was in a bad mood, he’d simply snarl at her to mind her own damn business. (That made her giggle, too- Murdoc howled and snapped and snarled and growled so much, she could swear he was raised by wolves.) Strange, she thought, snuggling into the soft, soft charcoal fabric and listening to the steady rythym of Murdoc’s heartbeat, how you could love a person so much and hate one aspect of their personalities with a passion…
…and between the steady movement and the heartbeat and the soft sound of his breathing, Noodle shut off her remaining senses and went to sleep.
Murdoc tucked her into bed and watched, smiling his secretive smile, as she grabbed her plushie Pikachu instinctively and snuggled it, sleeping like a baby. She was dreaming, he guessed, of Pokemon and Powerpuffs, all bouncing around to Richie Sambrosa.
He was almost right. But they were flying, not bouncing, and they were flying on Icarus wings to an ethereal violin.