Everyone knew that Gackt worked himself too hard, it didn't take a genius to figure that one out. Heck, even Gackt admitted that he worked too hard. But no one, not even the G-man himself, could've anticipated what would happen when it all finally became too much...
It was a day just like any other day, a Yellow Fried Chickenz rehearsal just like any other YFCz rehearsal (which is to say, a total clusterfuck). The entire band sans Gackt were gathered in the rehearsal space, lazily trying to pass the time until their fearless leader showed up from whichever of the 4,000 things he had on his plate was making him late.
"Come onnn!" Jon slugged Takumi in the arm. "Guess! How much do you think I can take?"
"I really couldn't say..." Takumi rubbed his now sore arm. "And I'm not sure that I want to know..."
"Let's say we find out!" Jon lifted his shirt, exposing his freshly waxed chest. "Come on, give it a try!"
"I'm really not comfortable with this..." Takumi looked pleadingly at You, but the other guitarist just shrugged, happy Jon wasn't asking him. Luckily, Takumi was saved from having to find out just how much nipple pain Jon could withstand when the door to the studio was flung open to bang loudly against the wall.
In walked Gackt, wearing a YFCz shirt and shorts slung so low that you could see the V of his hip bones (and you know there that's going!), signature dark sunglasses on and hair a mop of black and brown. "All right, motherfuckers!" he exclaimed. "Let's ROCK this bitch!"
"YEAH!" the younger members of the band exclaimed as everyone enthusiastically jumped up and took their places.
Taking up his spot on the riser next to Jon, Gackt said, "Ok, let's start from the beginning of Act 3. Where's my script?" He held out his hand expectantly and looked around the room.
"Uh, this isn't a Moon Saga rehearsal..." Jon said, brow furrowed.
"Oh, it's not? Ok then, bring me the first kimono. Let's get this overwith." Gackt quickly pulled his shirt off and started to remove his shorts. He was stopped by You's hand on his arm.
"No, this isn't a photoshoot either," You said.
"Ah," Gackt pulled his shorts back on but left his shirt off. "Well where's my moustache girl then? SOMEONE BRING ME ANNA!" he bellowed.
"This isn't a shoot either," Jon handed Gackt his microphone.
"Ah, voiceover work. Got it," Gackt nodded. "Feed me the lines, I'm ready."
""No, this is a YFC rehearsal," Chacha sighed from the other side of the studio. "Remember? Your band? Yellow Fried Chickenz?"
"YFC?" Gackt asked, looking at the microphone in his hand like he'd never seen one before.
"Yes, YFC," Jon said. "We have a concert tomorrow...for your birthday......."
"My.......birthday?" Gackt looked confused. "What about the skin cream commercial?"
"Thursday," You sighed.
"The seven talk shows I'm appearing on in less than three days?"
"The movie I'm filming with the Americans?"
"You did that three years ago."
"The announcement of my new charity to help the under-privileged orphans?"
"You don't have one."
"OH MY GOD, WHERE'S MY LAPTOP?!?!?!" Gackt looked on the verge of outright panic.
Jon took the microphone from him and attempted to coax the older singer into sitting down on the riser. "Hey G, maybe you should just sit down and have a little break..." he tried.
"No!" Gackt sprang to his feet. "Too much to do! Not enough time! I've got to help the orphans! And update the fanclub blog! And design a pair of sunglasses that you can wear in the shower! And buy a new car! And pose for some ambiguously staged candid photos of me on a date! And write twelve new songs with full orchestration!" He looked at his bare wrist. "And I've only got 3 hours to do it! HOLY SHIT!"
The rest of the band were officially scared now. Most of them weren't used to seeing Gackt so in over his head, let alone to the point of panicking. They all moved forward to try to calm him down, but his flustered babbling continued.
"I've got to release a new album! And design a shirt that shows nipples while still being acceptable to wear in public! And film a new live DVD! And solve world hunger! AND AND AND-"
Gackt's head popped clean off of his body.
The long moment of stunned silence in the room was broken by Takumi falling to his knees.
"NIISAN, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!" he wailed, fists clenched and tears streaming down his face.
The rest of the band remembered how to move and all rushed forward at once to retrieve Gackt's head from where it'd rolled under the riser. Jon reached it first and picked it up, holding it at arm's length.
"Well this is JUST PEACHY!" Gackt's bodiless head rolled its eyes.
Jon shrieked like a girl and reflexively flung the head straight up in the air. Luckily, You lunged forward and caught it before Gackt's head could faceplant on the floor.
U:zo's eyes were so wide that they threatened to fall out of his head as he backed slowly away. His mouth opened and shut like a fish as he tried to form words. Giving up, he let out a blood-curdling scream and ran Kermit-flailing out of the room, down the hallway, out of the building, across the parking lot, and halfway across Tokyo.
"Enough of this standing around!" Gackt's head said. "Let's get to work!"
"But Gackt," You said, "your head! It fell off!"
"Doesn't matter! We've got SHIT TO DO!"
"But we lost our bassist," Jon tried.
"Don't need him! Let's go!"
Knowing better than to argue with Gackt when he was on a mission, the band returned to their spots to start rehearsal. Jon placed a stool on the riser for You to put Gackt's head on. His headless body, in case you were wondering, had wandered over to a chair on the edge of the room and sat inspecting its fingernails as if it had a head with which to see them.
The rehearsal was not, to say the least, the best rehearsal that YFCz had ever had. Even though Gackt's head sang just as well as it did while it was still attached to its body, no one could quite get into the mood. You kept inching closer to the riser and watching Gackt's head, ready to catch it if it rolled off of the stool. Chacha kept sighing and rolling his eyes, muttering that he didn't see what the big deal was, he'd seen Gackt do way stranger things in his day. Takumi spent the entire rehearsal curled up in the fetal position in front of his amp, sobbing into Gackt's discarded shirt. And no one seemed to notice that Shinya sat unplaying at his drum set in the back during the whole rehearsal, looking thoughtfully at Gackt's head and tapping his chin.
Out of everyone, Jon was having the worst time with it though. He just couldn't get into the groove and all of their well-timed choreography was just WAY too awkward to do by himself, regardless of Gackt's head's enthusiasm. The more Gackt's head told Jon to "put more feeling in it, dammit!" the more distressed Jon got.
"Stop stop stop!" Gackt's head said in the middle of Mousou Girl, wobbling back and forth in a bizarre mimicry of shaking one's head in disappointment. "This is all wrong. Jon, the fanservice is important! You need to put more feeling into it! The fangirls won't squeal if they don't think you really want to fuck me and I need to hear them squeal. Do you understand me, Jon?! I need to hear them squeal!!!"
"But...but..." Jon looked like he was about to cry. "I don't know what to do," he whimpered. "This is a very strange situation...I'm not sure how I'm supposed to handle it..."
"I'm a head. It shouldn't be too hard to do fanservice with a head," Gackt's head said as if it were the most basic thing in the world. "Use your imagination!"
"But-" Jon started.
"No excuses!" Gackt's head glared at Jon. "Do it right or so help me God, I will replace you the day before the concert!"
Jon stood up straight. "Got it," he said. "I can do this."
"FROM THE TOP!" Gackt's head swiveled back to face front and the song started from the beginning.
Determined to give it his all and prove to Gackt's head that he was worthy, Jon got really into the song. He was grinding himself all over the stool that the head was perched on, moaning like the wanton whore he was
pretending to be, and sliding his hands all over his body. During the guitar break in the middle of the song, he put down his microphone and picked up Gackt's head, graphically thrusting his hips towards it. Gackt's head's tongue waggled all over the place obscenely. Had he not been halfway across Honshu by that point, U:zo would've noted that it was just like a scene straight out of this one sci-fi horror porno he'd watched.
As Jon was thrusting towards Gackt's head's open mouth, Gackt's headless body came up behind him and started thrusting into Jon's backside, slapping Jon's ass and waving its other hand like it was swinging a lasso.
"OK, FUCK THIS SHIT!" Jon yelled suddenly, setting Gackt's head back on the stool none too gently. "This is too fucking weird! I'm outta here!" And with that, he left the studio.
Gackt's head sighed. "Ok, let's call it a wrap for today," he said. "You, take me home."
Relieved to get out of this wholly bizarre situation, the band and previously unmentioned staff that were present were quick to pack up their things and getTF out of there. Chacha was already animatedly chatting on his pink sparkly cell phone as he pushed his way out the door and Shinya continued to say absolutely nothing and look deep in thought as he walked out to his car. No one noticed Takumi still curled up on the floor in front of his amp, shaking and sucking his thumb as all the lights were turned off and the building was locked up for the night.
"I can't say that I'm entirely comfortable with this whole situation," You said as he drove Gackt's car through town.
"U'n bir wzlxrkt rgeukkws qurg ur ntawkd," Gackt's head said from the passenger seat.
You reached over and moved the seatbelt out of the way of Gackt's head's mouth. "What was that?" he asked.
"I said...I'm not exactly thrilled with it myself," Gackt's head repeated. "It's going to be REALLY hard to do any of my modeling like this."
"Yeah..." You glanced in the review mirror at Gackt's body sitting in the back seat and shuddered. It was sitting straight-backed, seatbelt on and hands folded primly in its lap. Shuddering again, You looked back to the road. "I don't think the fans are going to take it very well if you show up for the concert with your head detached from your body."
Gackt's head turned to look out the window. "I'm not worried about it," it said. It turned back to look at You. "But I need to talk to Shinya. Remind me to call him when we get home."
When they arrived at Gackt's house, You carried the head in and set it on the kitchen table. He dialed Shinya's number on Gackt's cell phone and put it on speaker phone next to the head while he went and locked the dogs in one of the guest rooms before they could mistake Gackt's head for an awesome new toy.
The rest of the night was spent with You sitting on the couch with Gackt's head in his lap (stop it, you pervs!), helping him check and reply to emails, make business calls, and generally try to get as much shit done as possible. Whenever You would start to doze off, Gackt's head would bite him to wake him back up. Needless to say, it was a very long night for You.
The only person who had a longer night was Shinya. He'd gone straight home and locked himself in the basement of his house, frantically working straight through the wee hours of the night. But more on that later.
The next afternoon, it was time for the members of YFCz to start arriving at the Budokan for the night's show. Jon arrived early and immediately shut himself up in his dressing room, popping anti-anxiety pills like they were candy. Chacha stopped by the rehearsal studio and coaxed Takumi out of his spot next to his amp, literally carrying him like a baby to his car and into the venue (Chacha's pretty strong for a little guy!).
As for U:zo, staff members had spent most of the night and morning on a Tokyo-wide manhunt for the missing bassist. Early in the afternoon, one staff member finally located him in a monastery nestled in the side of a mountain several miles outside of the city. Having found true inner peace during his short stay with the monks, U:zo calmly gathered up his robes and followed the staff to their cars.
Once You and Gackt's head arrived at the venue, the only band member still missing was Shinya, who wasn't even answering his phone at this point.
You set up camp in Gackt's dressing room. Once Gackt's body was dressed in his usual YFCz attire and sitting casually on the couch, You called for the make-up and hair artists...who, upon seeing Gackt's bodiless head and headless body, immediately fainted on the spot. Never having been the best at hair and make-up, You enlisted Chacha's help instead.
Less than an hour before the live, You grew more and more restless. "Are you sure about this, Gackt?" he asked for the fiftieth time. "I'm still not convinced this is the best idea..."
"It'll be fine," Gackt's head said, though it was starting to look a little uneasy. It swiveled to look up at the clock. "Where is Shinya?" it asked of no one in particular. "He should've been here by now."
As if on cue, the door to the dressing room was flung open, causing You to fall out of his chair in fright. Standing in the doorway was Shinya, still in the clothes he'd been wearing at the rehearsal the day before, but looking like he'd recently been in an explosion. Half of his shirt was missing and the remaining half was blackened, his tie had been cut clean in half right below the knot, and his pants were still smoldering. Instead of his normal hat, he had a pair of goggles perched on top of his head. His face was covered in soot except for the circles around his eyes in the shape of his goggles. He held in his hand a vial of something neon green and smelling a bit like sleeping under U:zo on the tour bus.
"Oh thank fuck," Gackt's head was clearly relieved as his body wiped non-existent sweat off of its non-existent head. "Where have you been?!"
"You!" Shinya pointed at You, leaving the reader to wonder if in a Japanese translation of this fic, he would've said the pronoun or the guitarist's name. "Out!"
You scrambled to his feet and rushed out of the room, hearing the door slam shut behind him.
Forty-five minutes later, the rest of the band was dressed in their YFCz uniforms and gathered outside Gackt's dressing room. Chacha was lazily filing his nails while You stood with his ear pressed against the door. Takumi was holding a framed picture of Gackt and gazing at it with bloodshot eyes. Jon was standing off to the side, working on his fanservice moves with a basketball. He'd thrust his hips this way and that towards the ball, shudder, pop a few more pills, then try a different angle. Still in his orange robes, U:zo sat cross-legged nearby, palms together in front of his chest, eyes shut in quiet contemplation.
Exactly two minutes before they were set to go on stage, the door to Gackt's dressing room opened and Shinya stepped out, grinning. He nodded to the rest of the band and hurried to his dressing room to change for the show. Behind him stepped out Gackt, very much in one piece. He cricked his head from one side to the other and clapped his hands together. "All right, motherfuckers. Let's ROCK this bitch!"
"NIISAN!" Takumi shrieked, pushing Chacha and You out of the way and latching onto Gackt like he would never let him go. And knowing Takumi's deep-down somewhat abnormal and possibly unhealthy love of his "big brother"...he just might not.
Chacha flipped his hair over his shoulder, nodded to Gackt, then headed towards the stage. U:zo stood, bowed deep, and turned to follow Chacha. You hugged Gackt awkwardly around Takumi then went to get his guitar.
Gackt looked to Jon. "You gonna be ok there, Jon?" he asked.
Jon's eyes were glazed over and he looked totally stoned out of his mind. " 's cool, man," he slurred and clapped the older man on the shoulder. "I'm gonna bitch this rock SO HARD that they'll have to put it out with a fucking FIREHOSE." He thrust his pelvis twice into Gackt's hip then stumbled his way awkwardly down the hallway, unable to stop his pelvis from gyrating at all anymore.
That left Gackt standing in the hallway with Takumi's arms around his waist and face buried in his abs. "You're going to have to let go of me," Gackt said.
"Mrf," Takumi said and squeezed tighter. Sighing, Gackt turned and made his way slowly down the hallway towards the stage, Takumi shuffling along beside him.
A few minutes later, all seven members of YFCz stood together ready to go on stage, grinning at one another and ready to put on one hell of a final show. As the customary pre-show huddle ended with a resounding "OSU!" the sound was met with a-
-as both of Takumi's arms popped clean off his body and stayed wrapped around Gackt's waist.
"OH, WHAT THE SHIT?!"