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Practice Nights

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Their first one-man live was in two weeks, but even if Isumi were being gracious they were woefully unprepared. Exhibit one: they (mostly Isumi) were paying through the nose for the practice space and yet their vocalist and rhythm guitarist was nowhere to be found.

Exhibit two: Touya kicking their amps in frustration, screaming, “As soon as Shindou gets here I’m going to punch that asshole in the face.”

Exhibit three: Hikaru finally walking in only to say, “I know that rat-tail is ugly but you don’t need to take out your anger on the equipment.”

“I will fucking murder you,” Touya yelled. “Do you think anyone thinks that raccoon patch on your head looks good?” And with that, the two of them descended into a screaming match.

Practice was off to a great start, thought Isumi.

*

They were finally almost through an entire song when Hikaru suddenly played a dissonant chord and stopped.

“What the fuck, Shindou,” Touya said. “Can you play at all?”

Hikaru marched towards Touya. “That scale is awful,” Hikaru said.

“You wouldn’t know a proper scale if it hit you in the face,” Touya said. “Who’s the lead guitarist, huh?”

“Oh I’m sorry, person who can’t sing.”

Isumi moved his bass closer to a speaker until the jarring sound of feedback made everyone cover their ears. “Both of you will be out of the band if you don’t shut up,” he said.

Blissful silence.

“Now: it’s two weeks to the live,” Isumi said, “and I would be very grateful if no one made any more changes to the arrangements, and if anyone wishes to do so they can have roadie duties for the next month.”

*

It was the night of the live, and judging from a quick peek from backstage, the Play House was packed. Isumi ought to be getting into the zone in the dressing room, except the dressing room was currently being occupied by two screaming idiots.

He nodded to Waya, who had just come from the direction of the room and was currently lighting up a cigarette. Waya offered one to him, but he waved it off.

“That bad?” asked Isumi.

“That bad,” Waya said. “I’d break them up, but we have twenty minutes until we go on and I don’t want them to get into another fucking fight in that time.”

“Why did I ever recruit them,” Isumi moaned.

“Because they’re the best in the underground and you know it?” Waya said. “And they aren’t complete dicks.”

“Except around each other,” Isumi muttered.

Isumi leaned against the grungy wall and closed his eyes, trying to find any measure of peace.

“It’s five to,” Waya said. “Want me to go get them?”

Isumi shook his head. “Finish your cig; I’ll get them.”

Walking to the dressing room, he could hear insults still coming from the inside. Knowing he would be ignored, he forwent knocking and simply pushed the door open.

Touya and Hikaru’s lips were locked with hands in dubious locations under clothing.

“What the fuck,” Isumi swore.

Touya and Hikaru both scrambled away from each other. Touya, who at least had a bit of shame, managed to say an apology. Hikaru just looked displeased.

“I thought you were fighting,” Isumi muttered in shock.

“It’s foreplay?” Hikaru said, and Touya promptly hit him in the arm.

“I will actually murder you,” Touya yelled.

“I don’t. I don’t want to know,” Isumi said. “Concert is in five, please come to the stage or something.”

Waya saw his face as soon as Isumi stepped out. “Cigarette?”

Isumi grabbed one immediately.