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I'll Take You By The Hand (To A World We Understand)

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The blend of the music is like a symphony to him. The bass beats deep in his chest and his voice comes out raspy as he screams into the microphone. He can barely hear himself over the roar of the crowd. Everything is just loud. Loud and disorganized. Touya Todoroki loves it.

The only thing that guides him is the feeling he had written down on scrap pieces of paper months ago. He knew the lyrics by heart. Had carved them out of his own pain. There was no word that came out of his mouth that he didn’t feel deep in his chest.

Touya opened his eyes and looked out at the crowd. They were just a waving mass of pitch, moving like the ocean does. In almost every seat there was a glow stick shaped like a match on fire. The symbol of his band. They all moved and waved with the bodies and if Touya tried to look at all of it at once he almost got seasick. 

Touya’s note ended and the music replaced it, picking up and building it into a crescendo of guitar rifts and drum beats. Touya got goosebumps as the music filled him from head to toe. He threw one fist in the air and the crowd roared louder than a jet engine. Touya walked with the music, each new note was another step. He started low, catching hands and high fives across the front row. When the music was so loud he thought his ears might burst, even with the plugs in them, he raised one hand and slammed it down with the bass drop.

Microphone still in hand he screamed his last lyrics into a black void. A void that he wrote to everyday in the form of meters and lines on a page. A void that had gathered, right here, in front of him, just to hear him shout his issues out loud.

There was a moment in Touya’s world where all that existed was the sound. Then his voice reached its last breath. The music faded and all Touya knew was a ringing sound. Then, like the concussive force of a bomb the screams of his fans came rushing toward the stage.

Touya felt a smirk lift his lips upwards. He was breathing so hard his lungs felt like they were on fire. His fingers twitched where they held the microphone. He dropped it and let it hang by the cord before it hit the ground.

The moment ended too soon and the stage lights went off. Touya was lost in the darkness again. The only thing left was the chanting of his name in the crowd. His stage name. 

“DA-BI! DA-BI!” That’s right. He wasn’t Touya Todoroki. Not on this stage. He was Dabi. Lead singer of The League, and he liked the sound of them shouting out his name.

Out of the corner of his eye Dabi caught a glimpse of a glowstick backstage. Someone was waving, beckoning him away from his people. Dabi turned his back, clicking the microphone back into its stand, he followed the beckoning glowstick.

It’s time to return to reality.

 


 

 

Hawks is a lot of things. The one thing he was not, is a fool. He knows when he’s being swindled out of a good deal, and this movie with Enji Todoroki was a big deal. If it worked, his fame would skyrocket just standing next to one of the most famous actors and producers alive. So why, oh why did his manager think this would never work out? Rumi had had misgivings even before coming to this meeting with Todoroki and his people. Hawks just hoped she would change her mind after this.

Hawks flung his last piece of scrap paper at the wall and watched it bounce in the empty fish tank, which still had its filter running. He was bored out of his mind in this office, while his manager, Rumi, got to talk to the big kahunas just past an annoyingly locked wooden door. He let out a deep sigh and considered crying out, telling Rumi to hurry up because he’s bored.

Somehow, Hawks managed to behave. He took one last look at the door and let it linger there. The clock ticked away. Any second, Rumi would come out and tell him how she managed to score him that movie deal with Enji Todoroki he’s wanted for forever. 

Even though he was watching the door for a solid five minutes he was still surprised when it creaked open. Lead by Rumi, a team of business people came out with unreadable expressions. Rumi, however, was fuming. Hawks could tell because her nose was twitching in that way it only does if she’d been forced to hold back crude comments for an hour.

The minute Rumi stepped out, Hawks jumped in front of her. All the other business people stuck their noses up and turn away from them as they block half the exit. “Well?” Hawks asked very loudly and with a childlike lilt to his voice.

Rumi just sighed. She side eyed each pencil skirt and too tight black suit until everyone was out of earshot. Then she exploded. “HELL RAISING CHEATS THAT’S WHAT THEY ARE!” Hawks flinched and was suddenly glad there was no one else in the vicinity, they’d definitely think a murder had just taken place.

“Sooo,” Hawks dragged out his words. “No movie deal?”

Rumi threw her hands up in the air, bringing them down to grip the bridge of her nose. “Oh you’ll have it, you just have to sign over your rights to that hero movie you liked so much.” Rumi grumbled under her breath before adding, “And Enji couldn’t even show up himself, like we aren’t worth his time.”

“What?!” Hawks looked at her like she’d grown a third head.

Rumi raised an eyebrow. “My Hero Academia is produced by Yagi Toshinori. Apparently Mr. Todoroki doesn’t like Toshinori. So it’s Toshinori, or Todoroki.”

Hawks let a curse slip out through closed lips. He ran his hands through his blond locks and began to pace. My Hero Academia was one of the biggest superhero movies of this year. It was anticipated for three and planned for ten. Hawks was supposed to play a minor character, but it would still be a huge pay bonus for him, which, at the amateur level he is at right now he could honestly use.

Hawks wasn’t poor necessarily, but he wasn’t rolling in it either, and he had a lot of debt to pay off from the agency where he’d studied acting. He was well-enough that he could pay the bills, but Hawks still craved something more. He always did. My Hero Academia was supposed to be something more.

“Shit-Rumi,” Hawks began. “How am I supposed to choose?”

Rumi shrugged her shoulders. “Listen, Kei-”

“Don’t call me that,” Hawks interrupted.

Rumi sighed and corrected herself. “Hawks, it’s your career. I’m going to advise you to stick with Yagi Toshinori, mostly because those -” She jabbed a thumb at the door where the business people had exited, her forehead pulsated a bit. “-cash-grabbing assholes aren’t going to give you what you deserve.” Hawks leveled a look at Rumi that she knew all too well. Rolling her eyes Rumi went on, “but when do you ever listen to me.”

“Its Enji Todoroki, ” Hawks explained with a so-so expression.

Rumi let out a long groan. “We’re going to miss your photoshoot,” she said and began to stalk away, expecting Hawks to follow. “Think about it,” Rumi said without looking back. They reached the end of the hallway and as Rumi hit the elevator button she spun around. “Then give me your answer.”

Hawks let them sit in silence as the elevator hummed its way up five stories. By the time it dinged he hadn’t broken eye contact. “Fine,” Hawks submitted. This time he’d like to think he would actually listen to Rumi, but there was something in the back of his mind that said this was important. 

This was everything he had worked for his whole life. Every dream he’d ever had lead here. So what if it wasn’t perfect, nothing ever was. Hawks yearned for that accomplishment, for that kind of fulfillment. He’d be damned if Enji Todoroki wasn’t where he could find it.