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Untitled Slice of Life

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In keeping with his "I'll sleep when I'm dead" mentality, it was 3:30 in the morning and Gackt was awake. He was sitting at the grand piano in his sitting room, staff paper spread across the lid and a pencil behind his ear.

It seemed like it'd been forever since he'd last composed a song just for himself. Sure, he'd written songs for his projects over the last few years, but they were always written out of necessity The movie he did voiceover work for wanted a song to promote it? No problem. The drama he was acting in wanted something for the ending credits? Sure, he could do that.

But when was the last time that he just sat down and wrote a song for no real reason? A song on any theme that he wanted, no one asking for it, no deadline to complete it by...whatever he wanted.

He sighed and leaned his arms on the lid of the piano, resting his forehead on his arms and closing his eyes. He'd gotten home late that night with real intent to get some sleep, but he hadn't been in bed more than a few minutes when the melody that'd been nagging at his mind the last few weeks refused to be held back any longer. So here he was, sitting at the piano at 3:30 in the morning, writing a new song.

At least...he was trying to.

The verses had come to him easily, that was the melody that'd been rolling around in his mind over the past month. It was the chorus that was giving him issues. More specifically, one note of it. In the last line of the chorus, the melody rose up to a note and held it before resolving into the final word. Problem was that he couldn't decide exactly which note that should be.

He sat back and played through the chorus again. He sang it through with the note he'd originally written, then he sang it through with the other note he had in mind. He sang that one line over and over, switching back and forth between the two notes.

A half hour passed and he still wasn't any closer to deciding which note to use. Something needed to be done. He needed...an outside opinion.

Gackt looked at his bare wrist. It was late, really late. There were only a few people that he would ever turn to at times like this, but there was only one that he knew he could get away with calling in the middle of the night.

He picked up his cell phone from the bench next to him and dialed. It rang and rang and right when he thought it would go to voicemail, the other man picked up.

"....hhhello?" was the barely audible greeting.

"You-kun, I need help," Gackt said.

"What else is new?" came the drowsy reply.

Choosing not to respond to that, Gackt explained his problem. "I'm writing a new song and I'm stuck on one note in the chorus. The rest of the song is done, but I can't decide on one note and I need your opinion on which one I should use."

"B," You replied. "Now can I go back to sleep?"

"B isn't one of the choices," Gackt laughed. "Here, I'll play them for you."

He put the phone on speaker and set it on the lid of the piano next to his sheet music. He played and sang through the first complete verse and then the chorus, singing the original note that he'd written. "Ok, that was the first option," he said. "Now here's the second." He sang through the chorus again with the other note option. When he'd finished, the phone was silent. "You?" he asked. "What do you think?"

There was a groan through the speaker where You had rolled over in bed. "They sounded the same to me," he said.

"No, the first one was an F," Gackt explained and sang through the line, ending on the note in question. "The second was a C, a fifth higher." He sang the line with the C. "I originally wrote it with the F, but I thought it was too predictable. So I changed it to the C because it's not so predictable and brings more attention to the word. But then I started thinking that maybe the F works because it's predictable. Overall, the song is rather simple and I think that's the charm in it." He made a sound halfway between a growl and a sigh. "I just can't decide!" There was no response. "You?"

"Hmm?"

"Help me out here!"

"Please, Gacchan, can't I just go back to sleep?" You groaned. "Maybe you should sleep on it yourself, think about it with a fresh mind in the morning."

"I can't sleep with this bugging me," Gackt answered, frustrated. "Here, I'll play them for you again."

He started playing the intro to the song when he felt something brush against his leg. Looking down, he saw a pair of fluffy ears poking up above the edge of the bench. Reaching a hand down to scratch the dog's head, Gackt said, "Hey, you. What are you doing?"

"Trying to sleep, in case you forgot," came the response over the speaker phone.

"Not you. I was talking to the dog," Gackt frowned as if his friend could see him. He picked up the dog and sat it on the bench next to him where it laid down with his chin resting on his leg. Turning back to the piano, Gackt said, "Anyways, here they are again."

Once Gackt had finished playing the first verse and chorus of the song with both note options, he looked at the phone expectantly. "Well?"

"Use them both," You's groggy voice said after a moment.

"Both?" Gackt asked. "How so?"

You sighed. "How many times are you doing the chorus in this song?"

"I'm thinking three times. Intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, last two lines of the first verse."

"Use the F the first two times and then the C on the last chorus," You said. "Then you throw off the predictability and can hold the C a bit longer and really milk it."

"Hmm," the vocalist put his hand on his chin and looked at the outline of the song lying in front of him. He put his hands to the keys and played through the entire song just as You had suggested. Gackt put his heart into singing the song, as if he were playing it for thousands of people instead of an audience of one sleepy friend and a dog. He lingered on the C in the final chorus a bit longer than seemed natural, but it set the end of the song with exactly the feeling he'd hoped to convey. It almost seemed ridiculous that he hadn't thought of it himself.

"Thank you, You," he said afterwards.

There was a soft sound from the phone that may have been an acknowledgement from You, but probably was nothing. The other man had obviously fallen back asleep.

Gackt smiled. "Good night, You."