The day begins in the middle of the night. Sasuke doesn't focus on anything except the bass in his hand, the noise in his ears. Kiba is screaming, Deidara failing, and Sasuke is Clockwork. Taking the thing called Music and lines it up with the thing called Time. Every note, a piece of himself, every strung of his chords, a piece of himself. They don't have a drummer. He's listening and he's not listening because what he's playing isn't something he's thinking about, it's something he's feeling all over. All eyes are on him. Or at least that's what he can imagine in his stage blindness. It's a small room and they're a big noise and he is the bassist in a queercore band. Sasuke lets out another round of sound engulf the cheering upbeat crowd as Kiba sing-screams, Fuck the man / Fuck the man / I really want to / fuck the man.. Sasuke is pounding his body into the warm glow of the scene before him as his fingers press hard against the chords. And although he's firmly planted on stage, he knows he is moving hard. This is release, he thinks. Or maybe it's just a plea for release. Kiba takes the microphone into his mouth and he's screaming the words. Sasuke throws the chords at them, drenching them in the sound waves, he is making time so loud that they have to hear it. He is stronger than words and stronger than the box he's in, and then he spots her in the crowd and he falls apart.
He had fucking told her specifically not to come. Not ever. Please don't come to the shows. I don't want to see you there. And she had said yes, and it hadn't been a lie. Of course, it was a lie at some point because here she was, low-and-behold, here was Erika. Sasuke's fingers are losing their beat and his stage buzz is losing its edge and everything around him goes from crying out to just plain crying. It doesn't take Sasuke long to figure out that --oh fuck no-- she's not alone, she's with some guy, and while she'll say she's here to watch him, there's no doubt in his mind that she's come so he can watch her. Deidara is playing faster and Sasuke is struggling to keep up. Erika is dancing around, body moving to the beautiful release of melody, word and sound, like Sasuke was making this music for her. And wasn't that the biggest mistake of all?
Tonight they are the Fuck Offs, although, Sasuke believes it will only survive three more gigs before Kiba decides to change their name again. They've already been Porn Yesterday, The Black Handkerchiefs, The Vengeful Hairdressers, and None Of Your Business. Sasuke doesn't really use his vote, except to veto Kiba's stupider ideas. ("Dude," He had told him, "Nobody wants to see a band called Dickache.") Kiba's out to pierce the pierced, tattoo the tattooed, and have his way with the messy punk boys who come to their shows not knowing they'll want to mess around with the guy challenging How big is your cocker spaniel? into the mic. Kiba is from a town in Jersey called Lodi, and that made the best sense to Sasuke, since Kiba is nothing if not an idol in reverse. Deidara Thomas is from South Orange and has only had the 'h' in his last name for two months. Sasuke's from Hoboken. As close as you can get to the city without actually being in the city. On nights like this, he would swim across to get to where he is now, just to get away from reality, from life, from the pain and sorrow your ex-girlfriend has caused you when she broke up with you, but that doesn't really work when you find her in the same club you're at and you notice you're bleeding across the stage from just looking at her.
Take the Power / Fuck the Man / Take the Power / And fuck the Man. Kiba is taking the song somewhere it's never been before: a fourth minute. Deidara looks like he's about to break out into a solo which is never a good place for Deidara to be. Sasuke moves his feet, turns away from her, to try to pretend she's not there, which was the biggest fucking joke he's never laughed at. Finally, Kiba get an energy burst and sends it out to the crowd of bodies. Sasuke, too, gets power of his own and sends them one last lurch of noise before he's completely engulfed at the matter of the night. In return, the crowd sends them a noise of their own, and he is lost, she is lost. She's as lost to him as she was the night Sasuke cried and she didn't turn back to see if he was okay. Three weeks, two days, and twenty-three hours ago. And she's already with someone else.
The next band is waiting by the side of the stage as the manager orders the Fuck Offs to fuckin' get off the stage. Sasuke can't say he's not disappointed because he is. Because the crowd wanted it. Wanted more. Craved it, with all their being. He's equipment bitch for his band's gigs, so as Kiba jumps into the crowd to find his most willing admirer and Deidara blushingly retreats to his understanding-but-emo boyfriend, Sasuke must immediately detox enough to get the things in bed for the night. He went from chords to cords, amped to amps. The next band was nice enough to offer Sasuke help with taking down equipment, although he is the only one who can touch them. They were even nice enough to let him help them set up. Getting plugged in the soundboards instead of spending his energy looking for her.
His eye is still used to searching for her in a crowd. His breath was still used to catching when he saw her. His body was still used to hers moving next to his. They were together for six months. It's over can't kill that.
Sasuke gives the crowd his back until he can store the equipment and put it somewhere safe. Then comes the time when you can't keep your back to the audience any longer, since there's only so long that you can stare at a wall before you feel like an idiot. Sasuke is saved as the next band cranks up the volume even higher and engulfs them all in beautiful chaos. They're called Are You Randy? and the lead singer is actually singing instead of moaning and Ramoning. Sasuke dares a glance into the crowd and doesn't see her anymore. He doesn't see a lot of hers at all --it's a see of hims pressing and crashing against one another.
I think Erika would really like this band, Sasuke thought. And the fact that he knows this, stabs at his heart yet again because now it's perfectly useless to him. He's suddenly glad he didn't really see Erika's boy because then he'd think of them naked. Now he only thinks of her naked. Such a vivid memory that it digs and rips and grips his heart with a fiery intensity of a burning thousand suns. He turns away, as if he's really seen her, and turns to see Deidara and his boyfriend Sasori making-out to the music in a corner-of-the-universe way. Kiba, he guesses, is at the bar, still putting on a show. The crowd is mostly older than them --mainly collage or should-be-in collage kids-- and he realizes he doesn't fit in. Some of the guys check Sasuke out, giving him a nod. It's not like he wears a Badge of Straight or anything. He nods back sometimes, when he thinks it's a musical acknowledgement and not an invitation. He always keeps moving.
Sasuke found Kiba at the bar, talking to a guy about their age who looked familiar in the Type kind of way. When he gets to where they're standing, Sasuke's introduced as "the bass god, Sasuke," and the other guy is introduced as "Sai from Sai." Kiba thanks Sasuke for being equipment bitch, and from the way the conversation doesn't continue from there, he knows he's interrupting. If it was Deidara, Sasuke's agitation would probably be noticed. But Kiba needs Sasuke to spell emotions out for him, and right now Sasuke was not in the mood. So he just tells Kiba where he left the stuff and pretend he's going off to search for a clear spot on the bar to summon the bartender from. And once he's pretending that's the truth, he figures it might as well be the truth. Sasuke still can't see Erika, and there's a small part of him that's wondering if it was even her in the crowd. Maybe it was someone who looked like Erika, which would explain the guy who didn't look like anybody.
Are You Randy? stop playing their instruments one by one, until the lead singer croons a final note. Sasuke wishes for their sake the club falls into silence at this, but in truth the air is one-half conversation. Still, that's better than average, and the band gets a big lunge of applause and cheers. Sasuke claps, too, and notices that the girl next to him puts two fingers in her mouth to whistle old-fashion country style. The sound is clear and spirited, and makes him think of Little League. The girl is dressed in a flannel shirt, and Sasuke can't tell whether that's because she's trying to bring back the only fashion style of the past fifty years that hasn't been brought back or whether it's because the shirt is as damn comfortable as it looks. She has very pale skin and pink hair that could stand out anywhere. Even in a sea of teens that think to stand out from the rest of the crowd is the only form of life in this crazy mixed up universe. She's also sitting on a guys lap almost as if they were together and they almost could have gotten away with it, if the guys wasn't making out with the guy sitting next to him. Pinky says and does nothing, therefore, she's as alone as he is. The next band opened for Le Tigre on their last tour, and Sasuke figures this girl's here to see them. If he was a different kind of guy, he might have tried to strike up a friendly conversation, just to be friends. But he feels that if he talks to someone else right now, all he'll be able to do is unload.
Sasori and Deidara would probably be ready to go if Sasuke wanted them to, but he was pretty sure Kiba hasn't figured out yet whether he was coming back with them or not, and he would be an asshole to put him on the spot and ask. So he's stuck and he knows it, and that's when Sasuke looks to his right and sees Erika and her new guy approaching the beer-spilled bar to order another round of whatever Sasuke's not having. It's definitely her, and he's definitely fucked, because the between-band rush is pressing toward him now and if he tries to leave, he'll have to push his way out, and if he has to push his way out, she'll see him making an escape and she'll know for sure that he can't take it, and even if that's the goddamn truth Sasuke doesn't want her to have actual proof. She is looking so hot and Sasuke is feeling so cold and the guy she's with has his hand on her arm in a way that a gay friend would never, ever think of, and he guesses that's his own proof. Sasuke is the old model and this is the new model and he could crash out a year's worth of time on his bass and nothing, absolutely nothing, would change.
She spots Sasuke. She can't fake surprise at seeing him here, because of course she fucking knew he'd be here. So she does a little smile thing and whispers something to the new model and Sasuke can tell just from her expression that after they get their now-being-poured drinks they are going to come over and say hello and good show and --could she be so stupid and cruel? --how are you doing? And Sasuke can't stand the thought of it. He sees it all unfolding and he knows he has to do something, anything, to stop it.
So Sasuke, this random bassist in an average queercore band, turns to this girl in flannel who he doesn't even know and says:
"I know this is going to sound strange, but would you mind being my girlfriend for the next five minutes?"
Chapter notes: hope you like and enjoy