Gackt cut his hair Wednesday, fought with his image consultant and walked out of the band meeting Thursday and on Friday sat through three penitential interviews discussing his new hairstyle and what it meant for his future, and the band.  "Your hair," in shocked tones was the first thing everyone said to him during that period, and he started to feel like cutting off his hair had meant cutting away the only part of him that people had known, the crucial part, he had rushed the decision, he was lost, he was floundering, he had become a thing unfamiliar to himself and to others.

On Saturday he saw Taka.

Taka said, "Sorry, I'm running behind, an event in Hokkaido on Sunday and  it's, like, scheduling fuck up as usual, I don't think Levi even knows yet, his mobile's off, great hair."

He thought he adored Taka.

He thought, I almost believed that it was a momentous thing when it was just a haircut.  I must be mad.

He slid his hands into his back pockets and leaned back against the wall of Taka's living room, watching as Taka flicked off the stereo, turned off the lights in the back room.  Gackt's new hair was shoulder length, a tousled bob, but Taka's was even shorter; it suited Taka's strong jaw and wide, occasionally quirking mouth.  Taka's look was unaffected but fashionable, Gackt thought.  He felt somewhere inside himself that this was how he wanted to be, not bogged down with costumes and clogged mascara, but like a wind, crisp and fresh and clear.

"I want to be a real singer," he said softly as he watched Taka.

"You are a real singer."  Taka, absently.

Taka didn't understand. 

Taka couldn't.  Taka's voice was the perfect range, a tenor that could soar up and up forever, seemingly.  Taka was a natural, had never had a singing lesson in his life, he could modulate between falsetto and the upper ranges of his tenor effortlessly.  His voice was La'Cryma Christi's trademark, despite Levin's tricks and Hiro's obvious virtuosity with the guitar.

Gackt strained after notes that a tenor could hit with ease, he was mired in baritone, he trained his falsetto range ceaselessly to try and compensate, but his voice improved by increments only painfully, slowly.   He possessed a vibrato that he barely used because he was still struggling with it, shy of it's idiosyncrasies.  His voice felt like the only instrument he would never master.  He felt it would never perform beautifully, even if he learned control.

The trademark of Malice Mizer had nothing to do with vocals.  It was Mana's looks and Mana's compositions and Mana's costumes and Mana's guitar.

Later, Taka slid a hand into his hair, sampled it's shortness, and they were at a bar, in front of everyone. Gackt closed his eyes and wanted to say, make me real.

"It suits you," said Taka huskily, lingering.

"I didn't think you'd like it."

"Why wouldn't I?"

Gackt said, "I don't remind you so much of Hiro anymore."

And he watched as Taka pulled back, the emotion in his eyes clear.

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