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Exquisite Corpse

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I've got it all sewn up!

A hardened razor-cut

Scar-map across my body!

And you can trace the lines

Through misery's design

That map across my body!


The words were Dazai’s, but the voice was Chuuya’s. The voice carrying out over the small venue was Chuuya’s - powerful, raw, but ultimately telling a story that wasn’t his. That story belonged to the bandaged bassist to his left. The microphone stand was between Chuuya’s legs as he gave his heart for a crowd that wasn’t as interested as they could be. As they should be. At this venue, or so he was told, most people just showed up for drinks and food; the music was a second thought. That was because this venue was a bar, in all technicality, but still. Rude.


A collage!

I'm all sewn up!

A montage!

I'm all sewn up!


Dazai’s voice joined his, shouting at the words Dazai had written in a notebook - one that Chuuya had just last night thrown at him across their motel room. Their fights were famous among those who had witnessed one. Chuuya screamed and shouted, threw things, threw punches. Dazai smirked, pointed out how Chuuya was wrong, and blocked every punch he could. Then more often than not they passed out in drunken anger in the same bed, leaving their bandmates and friends to share the other or camp out on the floor.


Still, their voices sounded really good together.


A random pattern with a needle and thread,

The overlapping way diseases are spread

To a tornado body

With a hand grenade head

And the legs are two lovers entwined!


As he sang, Chuuya dropped his jacket to the floor of their small stage. Their guitar player kicked it out of the way with one heeled boot. Chuuya’s shirt followed, revealing two curved scars underneath his pecs and a tattoo on his left hip bone - a figure with a tornado body, hand grenade for a head, and twined legs pointing towards his waistband. As usual, the bass dropped away as Dazai left the strings to Akutagawa, coming to wrap his arm around Chuuya’s waist and hand just above that tattoo. Chuuya tilted his head back towards Dazai’s, holding the microphone up so they could both sing.


Inside I'm hollowed out!

Outside's a paper shroud

And all the rest's illusion!

That there's a will and soul

That we can wrest control

From chaos and confusion!


A collage!

I'm all sewn up!

A montage!

I'm all sewn up!


Chuuya ducked out of Dazai’s grip, leaving him to sing the next part on his own. A stagehand (aka bar employee) tossed him a bundle of cloth, which he unfolded to reveal the transgender flag. When it came to...people like him, there was a more of a presence here than in some of the other places. Chuuya didn’t give a shit about what people called him. He was a man, and he had to change his body to make it match how he felt. That was all that mattered. But posting a picture of himself using this flag as a cape had gotten the band a LOT of new attention on Twitter, so he would use it. There was a minor reaction in the crowd - Chuuya saw people shifting about and heard muttering past the music.


The automatist's undoin'

The whole world starts unscrewin'

As time collapses and space warps!


Dazai sang that part alone, voice soft and mellow. Buttery, like satin against the ears. Chuuya hated that voice, hated how it complimented his own. Loved that voice, loved how it enhanced his own. Trailing the flag, he walked back over to Dazai. Someone in the crowd was moving forward, but stopped as an employee approached them. Chuuya noted it, then moved on. Dazai pivoted towards him and they both pushed close to the microphone. Chuuya picked up where Dazai left off.


You see decay and ruin;

I tell you, ‘no, no, no, no

You make such an exquisite corpse! ’”


Voices. Now Chuuya could definitely hear voices in this little space. Not just voices - shouting. Good. Stir things up, and maybe people would post about them, get their band attention. Was their name displayed somewhere where people could see it?


I got it all sewn up!

A hardened razor cut, scab up across my body!

And you can trace the lines through misery's design

That map across my body!


Chuuya slung the flag over his shoulders and turned as Dazai took up his bass again. There was more shouting but Chuuya was into the music. He loved when the bass picked back up again during this part of the song.


Which meant that when it didn’t happen, he noticed.


A collage!


He turned to look at Dazai and saw him poised to play, but standing still. He was peering out into the rest of the bar.


I'm all sewn up!


Chuuya followed his gaze and saw the source of the yelling - the person who had been approaching the stage, yelling. But not at an employee. Up at him. Chuuya wasn’t the sort to let something as minute as that stop him from finishing his song.


A montage!


Dazai approached the edge of the stage calmly. The bar patron ignored him, angry eyes fixed on Chuuya.


I'm all sewn up!




Chuuya dropped his hand from the mic stand as the word hit his ears. The man was trying to get up on the stage, shouting the slur at the top of his lungs, repeatedly.


Yeah, all of that about not caring about not giving a shit what people called him?


That all went out the window. He knocked the mic stand out of the way and stomped towards the man. Behind them, the others were still playing.


But not Dazai, because he was far too busy driving his fist into the man’s face. Chuuya had been going to do that! But it didn’t matter, because the man dropped. He tried to hide his face, but there was nothing to do - Dazai went after him with a few more well placed punches.


Then he knelt and pointed up at Chuuya The entire room seemed stunned. No one moved, not even the employees. The band was still playing. “Apologize to him,” Dazai said. The guy whimpered. “Wait.”


Dazai stood up and took the microphone. With an easy smile, he brought the mic down to this man’s bleeding face. “Want to repeat that?”


“I-I’m sorry.” The man’s weak groan was amplified by the microphone, echoing over the room. Finally the rest of the band stopped playing, the music fading quickly.


Chuuya didn’t know what to do. He met Dazai’s eyes then stormed off stage, grabbing his shirt as he went.


He was more than halfway back to their cheap motel room when he heard someone calling after him. “Chuuya! Wait up!”


That was the last thing he wanted to do - have a 1AM conversation with his bass player, the man he had been fucking on and off for a year now but was not dating, and man who drove him crazy. The man who had just beat an apology out of someone who had wronged Chuuya.


Yet he wouldn’t have stopped and waited for anyone else. So Chuuya turned. “They call the police?”


“No, the guy’s drunk as hell. He’s going to the hospital though.” Dazai waved his bloodied hand at him.


“Well, you did bash his face in.” Chuuya said, brushing his thumb over his nose. “I didn’t ask you to.”


“I know. Someone had to. If it wasn’t me, it would have been Akutagawa. And if not him, it would have been you, then that guy really would have been in trouble. Honestly, I did him a favour.” Dazai shrugged.


“He shouldn’t call you that.”


They stood in the summer air, a few cars on the road and some people on the other side of the street. Chuuya folded his arms. “You’ve called me worse.”


“Yeah, but you like me.” Dazai put his arm around Chuuya’s shoulder; Chuuya flung it off.


“Don’t get ahead of yourself.”


Chuuya met his eye. Dazai’s smile was pure and bright, even though Chuuya knew that it was just painted on. He jerked his chin at the all-night diner across the road. “Wanna get some food?”


“I don’t know…” Dazai shook out his hand. His knuckles were bruised. “I hurt my hand on some brute’s face! I don’t think I can stress the injury by using my hand to eat and to open my wallet…”


“I’ll pay.”


“Well, then I suppose…”


They made to head across the street. Dazai put his arm around Chuuya again.


This time, Chuuya left it there.