band: one is good but four is better

An Open Letter to A7X

To Avenged Sevenfold:

Before I start this letter, let me just preface it with the fact that I have been having some hand/nerve issues and my writing may become disjointed because of that.

I first found out about y’all four—almost five—years ago. The reason I got into y’all is probably a little different than other fans. I’m an avid reader and one of the books I read said to understand the book better, the reader needed to look up the lyrics to “Dear God” by Avenged Sevenfold and then to listen to it. So, like a good reader, I did. I fell in love with that song and had to hear more from this band. (I thought y’all were country). The second song I heard was “Hail to the King” and the change in pace and tempo made me love the band even more. I bought that album (it had just come out) and started listening to all of your other songs. It took about six months for me to get through all the albums, but when I had, you had all awakened a part of me I didn’t know existed.

From my appreciation of your music, I started looking into other hard rock and heavy metal bands. Obviously, I knew who Metallica was, but I started digging into more of their stuff and even got into Judas Priest and Pantera, bands my parents hated and bands I thought I would never like.

When I got my resident assistant job, I was listening to “MIA” and that song became my lucky one. Unfortunately, some things in my life happened that might have torn down another person. It was y’all and other metal bands that helped me through.

You see, I’m a soon-to-be college graduate who has had a difficult six years, but the last two years of my life have been rougher than I ever expected them to be.

It all started in November 2015 when I got this terrible lower abdominal pain. I thought it was cramps or ovulation pain; the emergency room in Texas couldn’t find anything wrong with me. Flash forward to winter break, and I’ve had this pain for four weeks now. My wonderful mom got me into a surgeon, and I’d never been more nervous. I’d only had my wisdom teeth removed, so an actual surgery terrified me. They took me in and let me listen to a couple of songs (“Gunslinger” and “Strength of the World”) before I went under. It turned out I had two ruptured cysts and appendicitis. I easily could have gotten a terrible infection from either.

Time wears on, and I head back to my university (University of North Texas, go Mean Green!). I’m an athlete, have been for most of my life. I run/ran three times a week. My knee started to dislocate when I ran, but I could just pop it back in place. Eventually, it got to the point where running and even walking hurt too much. I waited until summer and returned home to see what the hell was wrong.

From all my years of soccer and running, and continuing to play soccer after a knee injury five years ago, I had torn the ligament that attaches my femur to my patella—the most rare knee surgery. A week before my knee surgery, my incredibly wonderful mother found out that my alcoholic father had stolen and gambled away $3,000 from their joint account. That same say, my father found out that his mother was dying. He flew out to San Antonio to deal with that situation. Mom started the process for divorce. Literally an hour before my knee surgery, I found out my grandmother had died.

When I woke up, I was in the worst pain of my life. My knee had to be immobile for four weeks before I could start physical therapy. I was up every four hours to take Percocet, which we later found out I’m allergic to. Having my leg (my dominate leg) taken away from me and not being able to do things for myself filled me with anger. A lot of what helped me through was y’all and bands similar to you. Post-knee surgery me was the worst, but your music helped me through.

Fast forward again, and I’m now back at school in my final year (Fall 2016) and my life was looking up. I found a publisher for my books, I would be turning 21 in November, and I’d get to see my favorite band with my best friend at Texas Mutiny.

Texas Mutiny was the most incredible concert of my life. I smuggled my DSLR camera in (don’t tell anyone) and captured some of the best photos of my life. That concert helped me figure out what I wanted to do with my photojournalism degree. And for my 21st birthday, my friends surprised me with a signed vinyl of The Stage and several of your CDs. It cheered me up because my birthday was on Election Day and very few people remembered it… which was understandable.

However, my life can’t always be sunshine and rainbows. Nine days before my birthday, I was rushed to the ER after puking up my guts. The ultrasound technician found five ovarian cysts. Three of them were the size of my uterus, and I needed immediate surgery. Because I’m a college student “immediate” meant my next time off. My Thanksgiving break was recovery and more of your music. My wonderful mom came down to Denton to help me through that surgery.

My 2016 winter break was spent writing and getting my older sister to listen to your songs. She really enjoys the white album and even some songs on The Stage. I also examined that album and just fell in love with basically every song. My cover for my book came in, and I got inspired to write a collection of short stories based on songs. My favorite bands are featured quite a bit… I hope that’s okay.

Now, I’m back at school again and my stomach pain comes back. Two months after surgery and the ovarian cysts were back. But something even worse happened at the end of January 2017. I’m a writer and a photographer who depends on her hands for work and stress relief.

At the end of January, my hands started to malfunction. They can’t fully flex of fist, they’re always cold, they get numb and tingling, my wrists and elbows hurt, and my joints are very stiff. My spring break was spent back in Reno getting tests done. They ruled out anything wrong with my central nervous system—thank god—but the pain still remains. And I was scared. I’m still scared actually. I have psoriatic arthritis and it’s incurable. Really the only things helping me are music, the Deathbat nation, my friends, and my mom. To make matters worse, my father had two heart attacks and two surgeries right before I came home. He only has maybe 2-5 years left. He’s an asshole, but I love him.

I know that was the longest intro ever, and y’all are probably wondering why I’m writing this at all at this point. My name is Carmen, and I’m a photojournalist (almost) and recently published author who just wants to thank you guys for everything you’ve done for me and the other fans. So here’s my long list of thank yous.

To all the guys: thank you for forming Avenged Sevenfold. Without you coming together, I wouldn’t have found a lot of my friends. Your music has gotten me through some of the most difficult situations in my life and your music has inspired my writing and made me a better person (the writing portion). There’s something about your music that just speaks to people and has made my life so much brighter. I can’t wait to see you and Metallica in June!

To Brooks: I know you haven’t been with the band long, but I’m glad you’re with them! I loved your drumming when you were with Tenacious D and Bad Religion. You definitely remind me of the dad friend out of all the guys, and I think it’s awesome to see what you add to the band. Your drumming on The Stage is also INSANE. I love what you did on “Angels.”

To Johnny Christ: I don’t think you’re a gnome for starters. You’re much taller than my short ass. All jokes aside, I love how you are on stage. You exude so much passion and energy; I wish I had gotten more photos at Texas Mutiny. You sing/shouting on “Nightmare” also adds a little depth to the song and never fails to put a smile on my face. Oh! Congrats on your son.

To Zacky V: I’m ambidextrous because I have to be from the hand issues, and I so rarely see left-handed musicians that every time I watch you play, it gives me hope. I’m not musically inclined at all, but knowing a lefty is out there brightens my day. You have such an awesome style and your skill with the guitar is out of this world. I hope we can get more solos from you.

To Synyster: dude, you are one of the best guitarists I’ve heard, excluding Santana. I could pick your style out so easily. The work you’ve done with A7X and Pinkly Smooth just blow me away. I can’t believe someone can have talent and skill like that. You are a guitar god, Mr. Haner.

To Shadows: as a writer, I most easily connect with words. Your lyrics speak to me on a spiritual level (which is probably why I have so many tatted on me). You have a way with words. And your voice is so unique and every time I hear “Dear God,” I remember why this band became my favorite. Just, thank you for doing what you do.

To the women of A7X (Val, Michelle, Lacey, Megan, etc.): thank you guys for being you. I hope you know how much love the Deathbat nation has for you. Without your support, the band probably wouldn’t be where they are (no offense guys).

To the fans: thank you guys! I have met so many amazing people through this band. Y’all have helped me through a lot, and I’ve met some good friends through it. Sevenfold has cultivated a fan base unlike any other, and I’d like to thank every Deathbat for who they are and for being so caring and for taking care of me.

So, I just want to say thank you from a fan who’s been through a lot and has made it through thanks, in part, to your music and the most supportive mother ever. The only thing I have to add is that my dream is to one day meet y’all and thank y’all in person. And this final part is going to sound so fucking cheesy, but I hope y’all sign my Deathbat and that the writer side of me gets to write your extended (not brief) biography.

Thanks again for all you have done.

Sincerely,

Carmen

Wild World Summary
  • Good Grief: This is what the little maniacs want to do first
  • The Currents: Totally not about Donald Trump
  • An Act of Kindness: Overjoyed if it went through puberty
  • Warmth: "Life is shit, make me feel better pls"
  • Glory: Backing track sounds like mid 2000s eurodance
  • Power: The underlying riff has lots of power
  • Two Evils: "Yeah I'm shit but you're shitter"
  • Send Them Off!: Big band electro swing
  • Lethargy: Ironically one of the more active songs on the album
  • Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith): "Capital punishment is fucking shit"
  • Blame: *Dance-walks down alley menacingly clicking fingers*
  • Fake It: Bad Blood - Part II
  • Snakes: "Nope, nothing's wrong at all. If I don't acknowledge it then it's not happening!!!!"
  • Winter of Our Youth: Wish we could turn back time, to the good old days
  • Way Beyond: As much as this makes me want to hate the manipulative and invasive nature of mainstream media, it also makes me wanna dance more
  • Oil On Water: Sex and trumpets
  • Campus: Very Imagine Dragony/American Authory
  • Shame: Dat funky bass line tho
  • The Anchor: The world is ugly but you're beautiful to me
  • Hangin': I know it's not officially on here bUT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN
headcanons for shsl clarinet player saihara who was in a jazz band with kaede, shsl sax player ouma, and shsl bass player amami

heres ur headcanons, saihara! i hope u like them, and if theres anything u need me to change just let me know and ill get started on it! - mod kiibo

- when amami, saihara, ouma, and kaede all joined together to form a jazz band, it was kaedes idea for the most part. she was the one that encouraged the four of them to work together as a jazz band in order to make sure their musical talents dont go to waste. they all agreed that she had a pretty good point, and decided to form a band together

- saihara and kaede would often practice together, since ouma didnt like practicing at all and amami preferred to practice on his own. the two of them would help each other with any troubling parts in their music and give each other encouragement whenever the other just didnt believe theyd get any better and should just give up

- whenever all four of the band members were together and practicing, though, saihara and ouma would often complain about the pains of being woodwinds together, such as all the reeds they have to buy and just how much lung power it actually takes to play a clarinet and a saxophone. still, they both seem to enjoy their respective instruments

- whenever saihara wanted to talk to amami about his instrument, he would ask him about why he decided to start playing the bass. of course, amami would never answer the original question and instead start talking about why hes currently playing the bass, but saihara thinks its a good thing hes so passionate about the instrument

- even though the four of them might not practice as a group very often, whenever they do actually get together and combine all their parts theyre all a bit amazed at how good they all actually sound. of course, it does help that theyre all shsl students, but its still impressive that they manage to sound good when they rarely practice all together

- after a while of forming a jazz band, eventually all four of them come together and decide that they actually need to start performing on a stage together. once this decision is made, all four of them agree to meet up more often and practice their parts together in order to prepare. the extra practice is a bit stressful, but nobody seems to mind too much

- despite being a shsl clarinet player, saihara has a little bit of stage fright, so hes pretty nervous for a few nights before the band had their first stage performance together. once theyre on stage, though, saihara ends up getting lost in the music, and the crowd just seems to disappear, along with his feelings of anxiety and fear

- when theyre playing, kaede and saihara usually tend to play softer melodies in their songs, while ouma and amami tend to play things that are a bit more upbeat. due to this, saihara and kaede usually have to get together to practice their soft melodies, while ouma and amami will occasionally meet up to practice their parts, though this isnt as common

- after any sort of concert the four of them perform, they all go out and make sure to celebrate their jobs well done! it doesnt really matter how the four of them decide to celebrate, as long as theyre together and having fun. once their celebrating is over, they usually talk about future concerts and celebrations to look forward to

- saihara actually really enjoys getting the chance to spend time with amami, ouma, and kaede, whether it be while practicing or just having fun together. theyre all pretty close to one another, and hes really happy to have been given a chance to join in a jazz band with the four of them. combining his passion for clarinet and his love for his friends is always a good thing

alessiasmusic: I’m never good at thank you’s, but I have to try my best to let these four dudes, the entire crew, and every single person reading this know how grateful I am to have been apart of this beautiful tour. the best band in the whole world let me share their stage and play my songs in places I had never imagined I would be. thank u endlessly to the band, the entire CP team, and of course my band and crew for making this tour one of the most memorable things I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t have asked for better people to share this with. I ALSO GOT TO WITNESS THESE STARS KILL IT EVERY SINGLE NIGHT AND IT WAS MAGICAL. (get ready for the worst pun ever:) I’m very much a kid with a head full of dreams and I’ve lived a huge one because of u @coldplay. thank u from the bottom of my heart. 💙

So Now You Want Me? (Luke Hemmings.)

Requested – No. This is a Birthday special. 

Prompt – You change after Luke rejected you rudely.

Warning – Might contain scenes of insecurity and Luke might be harsh as fuck.

Words – 1348.

Requests?

Part 2. 

Part 3. 

Keep reading

ROLLING STONE INTERVIEW OPINIONS

I don’t really care about 5SOS partying/getting drunk/smoking whatever/having sex because, as someone the same age as them, I know that this is what we do- it’s their lives, they can do what the fuck they want. What I do care about, regarding this article, is 1) how much they disrespect us as fans, the people who have got them where they are today- speaking as if we’re a group of crazy, deluded little girls and 2) the way they discussed the women they mentioned. A group of deluded little girls wouldn’t be able to see what is so fucking wrong about this article, so open your fucking eyes and start showing us some respect. Just because a majority of your audience are young girls/women, does not make you any less of a credible artist and doesn’t make our opinion invalid or wrong. And if this is how you want to think, then doing an interview surrounded by beer bottles, in your underwear whilst speaking so horrendously about women, won’t give you a very good chance of breaking through with an older audience- the people you think are going to make you ‘credible’ artists. For people who spend ‘75% of their time trying to prove they’re a real band’, I would’ve have thought they’d try and do a better job at this. Michael or Luke’s tweets don’t deny anything they said in this interview, they just pointed out that the magazine didn’t use what they said regarding how they appreciate us as fans. The ways the boys discussed females in this interview is undoubtedly the way they probably discuss them when it’s just the four of them with friends- they’re young men, it’s ‘banter’, it’s ‘funny’. But when you’re trying to make a good impression on an industry and reach out to more people, being so derogatory and one-minded, will NOT help. If this is the way 5SOS wanted to try and get away from the ‘teenage boy band’ image that some major industry workers see them as then they’ve fucked up, really really bad. Following the release of this interview, all people are talking about is how ‘it’s not about the music anymore’- if 5SOS were so whole-heartedly focused on making this about the music, that’s what they would’ve discussed, not the women they sleep with. 5SOS always mention how the fans don’t give them privacy, and then go and allow an interview, that focuses mainly on their private life, to be released? Good one boys. They need to take a step back and think before saying shit like this as they’ve single handedly fucked over the fandom again- whether or not the interviewer exaggerated what the boys said, 5SOS still gave them a foundation to this interview- their opinions, their thoughts, their mistakes. The saddest thing is, 5SOS depend on us for money, we pay for the expensive thing they have, the nights out they go on, and give them the opportunity to do what they’re doing- they have zero emotional connection or gratitude towards us, but we as a fandom, depend on them so much- for happiness, support, a sense of belonging, and this interview proves they couldn’t care less about how much they mean to us.

@5sos-official it’s over to you guys now- try fix this one.

Things for Larries to Bear in Mind

1. Chances are EXCELLENT (but not 100%) that the contract with Modest ends 31 December 2015 or thereabout.

2. Modest were the ones previously imposing the visibly harsh closeting (whether at Sony’s directive or not, the tactics are not something we’ve seen from Sony before and they were not smooth and believable as closeting usually is and would have been if Sony was specifically directing the moves). That type of closeting is not happening any longer, whatever the reason, it is DONE.

3. Even if Sony wanted Harry & Louis closeted in the past, “the future is now” and trying to continue marketing 1D as teen idols is passe. Either they want to continue on as mature artists or they want to quit after their Sony contract is up. Either way, the closeting serves no purpose any longer.

4. Harry has had one (semi) confirmed girlfriend in 5 years, Taylor Swift. Louis has had two confirmed girlfriends in 5 years, Hannah and Eleanor. The likelihood of either of them getting a new “confirmed” girlfriend, as opposed to someone they are regularly linked to in the press, but NEVER TALK ABOUT, is pretty much nil at this point. (Has Harry EVER mentioned Nadine’s name? No.)

5. They are happy right now. Things are going well for the band; their careers, and images are doing well after a MAJOR blow to the band/brand and they are about to release their fifth album that they are really excited about because a) it’s as good as or better than FOUR; or b) it’s the 5th of a 6 album deal with Sony and they are almost free.

6. So while no one is asking you to enjoy the chatter about Tamara and Louis (though seriously, she’s cool, anyone I see hating on her gets unfollowed), it would behoove everyone to just shake it off (ha!). Louis isn’t going to be telling parma ham stories about her, she’s just a friend and a name that may be mentioned with his occasionally over the next few months to keep the excitement on this side of the fandom down to manageable levels.

It’s all good folks. Happy Louis and happy Harry (and happy Niall and happy Liam) is what matters, not shady timelines or our desire to see this as the last chapter of a VERY long, angsty fic.

They have a plan, it is clear and obvious, and it’s working. Let them do their jobs. And lets just sit back and enjoy being fans of some lovely young men :)

10 little things I wish I had the balls to tell my band
  1. I know I always tell you to practice more, to fight harder, to be more than you are.  I’m sorry if that messes you up.  It’s just that sometimes I see what you’re doing, and how you’re handling it, and I forget how young you really are.  I am trying to remember that. 
  2. I know I hover too much.  Sometimes I see you carrying something that looks horribly heavy, sometimes I see your instrument tip toward the edge of the bleachers, and I just lunge for it without thinking.  It’s because I know how young you are, and sometimes I forget that you are capable of so much more than I was at your age, and so much more than I give you credit for.  I am trying to remember that, too.
  3. You’ll probably never know this, but you have saved my life over and over and over.  I know it’s probably hard to have a drum major prone to panic attacks and bouts of anxiety so severe she can barely speak without swearing.  But in loving and being loved by you, I am learning to love myself.  In my darkest days, this band is my light, my Mary Poppins Tour Guide Umbrella leading the way, promising “tomorrow will be better” and reminding me that any world capable of producing such wonderful musicians and incredible people is a world I want to live in.
  4. I can’t march in time very well, either.
  5. I wish that every time I told you to keep your horn up, to fix your form, to focus harder, I could end the statement with “you are beautiful and I love you” because I never want you to think that the tone quality of that high note is the equivalent of your quality as a person. 
  6. I keep telling myself “it will never get better than this.  This is the best I will ever feel and nothing will ever top it.”  Thanks for proving me wrong.
  7. I’m sorry I kind of suck at reading bass clef and at pep talks.  I’m working on it.
  8. You have won the admiration, respect, and love of so many people—from our hometown and from everywhere else, too.  People know your uniforms and your name.  So it’s hard to believe that five months ago, nobody believed we could do it.  You guys are rock stars.
  9. You are literally the only people I would stand outside in a sports bra in November for.
  10. We have all but lived together for six months now.  For some of us, it’s been longer—a year, two years, or three or four or five.  We have shared sunburns and practice rooms, spare t-shirts and water bottles and lunches and breakdowns and fears and dreams.  We have gone from thirty people to one band; we have gone from nobody in particular to an unstoppable force of nature; we have gone from strangers to family, and we have done it together.  We are making progress.  We are making history.  And I would say “good luck,” here at the end, but we don’t need luck; we’ve never needed luck, because we have something better.  We are a force to be reckoned with, and we have already won. <3

anonymous asked:

For the send a number prompt, i'd like to request #47 with Yoonjin if you will (if you don't Yoonjin any pairing is ok). Thank you!

Sorry for the late response, here u go anon! 💗 (don’t fret I adore yoonjin)

-

Yoonjin + 47 “I know you’re awake”

Yoongi crept back into the dorm, careful to make as little noise as possible. He’d spent another late night, or early morning really if he was being honest, at the studio wrestling with a new song. Stifling a yawn, he made his way blindly through the darkened dorm towards his and Seokjin’s shared room.

“The hell?” He tripped and barely caught himself, glaring at whatever had tripped him, poking at it with his socked foot. One of Jungkook’s shoes, what a surprise. Yoongi huffed and reached for the doorknob, but paused, listening. Pressing his ear to the door, Yoongi thought he could hear muffled crying. Frowning, he pushed the door open gently.

“Hyung?”

The crying stopped. Yoongi stepped into the room, closing the door behind him. He walked to his side of the room and changed into his pajamas, listening for any sign of movement from Seokjin’s bed. Hearing nothing except the elder’s breathing, Yoongi sighed and sat down on the side of Seokjin’s bed.

“I know you’re awake.”

Seokjin didn’t respond but Yoongi heard his breathing hitch for a moment.

“Hyung, c’mon, tell me whats wrong.” Yoongi reached out and placed his hand on Seokjin’s shoulder. At the contact, Seokjin curled himself tighter under the covers. Yoongi slipped the quilt off of the elder and nudged him into a seated position. I’m the dim light, he could faintly see the tear tracks down Jin’s face.

“Jin, what’s wrong?”

At the question, the elder flung himself into Yoongi’s arms, his head buried in the crook of the rapper’s shoulder.

“I’m not good enough.” The words were muttered into Yoongi’s collarbone, muffled in his sleep shirt, but he heard them, the four words lodging sharp spikes into his heart. Seokjin had always struggled with feeling less valuable than the rest of Bangtan, but he’d been getting so much better at talking more positively about himself. Yoongi wrapped his arms around his roommate, one hand slipping up to run through Seokjin’s sleep-tangled hair.

“Lies.” The late hour and fear of waking his band mates was what kept the venom in his voice to a minimum. You’re so beyond enough. Were you reading negative comments again?“ Seokjin’s only response was to bury his head further into Yoongi’s chest. “Hyung why? You know you’re an important part of this group. I know it, the rest of the members know it, the staff knows it, ARMY knows it. Anyone who says differently is angry and bitter, and can bring their issues to me so I can kick their asses.” He pulled the elder closer to him, trying to hug all of the love and ferocity and righteous anger he was feeling into Seokjin.

“Yoongi-ah.” It was quiet, still muffled by his shirt. “Yoongi-ah, you’re squashing me.”

Flushing, Yoongi pulled back a little and Seokjin looked up at him. The elder’s eyes were puffy and his face was flushed. Yoongi brushed a strand of hair out of his face, fingers lingering on his temple. Seokjin leaned into his touch, eyes falling closed.

“Thank you for always encouraging me. I’m sorry I need it so often.” Seokjin looked at Yoongi, brown eyes sparkling again.

“Ah hyung, don’t cry again. If you cry I’m gonna cry and I have my tsundere reputation to uphold.” Yoongi grinned at the other man and Seokjin chuckled.

“Well in that case, I’ll have to ruin it other ways. C'mere!” Seokjin wrapped his arms around Yoongi and rolled over, trapping the rapper in a tight hold, unable to escape from where he was lying in Seokjin’s arms.

“Agh, no help! Let me go! I’m manly and emotionless! I don’t cuddle!” Yoongi struggled half heartedly against the singer’s embrace.

“Oh hush you do too cuddle. Now stop thrashing around or I’m going to lie on you.”

“Fine.”

“Love you Yoongi.”

“Ah…I love you too I guess–ah! Don’t kiss my neck ew no I’m leaving!”

“Shhhh…just go to sleep.”

The next thing Yoongi heard was Jimin giggling and the sound of someone’s phone shutter clicking before chaos erupted over the dorm.


send me a pairing and an number and i’ll write you a drabble

For this one, you have to remember who everyone is. These are band members that I created, so please enjoy!! Also, this one is really long, sorry. ;;
——————————-   ———————————   ——————————-
      “Did you see Jae? She’s such a cool leader!”

      “I agree! But I think Irene’s cool, she’s the best dancer, by far.”

      “She might be the best dancer, but EunKyo’s rapping hits home.”

      “But Stacy is cool too! She can hit such high notes!”

      “How could you talk about them when someone like JeJin exists? She’s a beauty.”

      These were things you hear on a daily basis. It didn’t bother you much that you weren’t mentioned, since you didn’t do anything special like the rest of them. Jae was the leader, of course people would look up to her. She’s the coolest person you know, and even you couldn’t help but find yourself staring sometimes.

      Stacy and JeJin were amazing singers, they were the ones who composed most of your songs. EunKyo was the rapper, and even when she was just mumbling, you could feel the emotion she puts into it. Irene is a phenomenal dancer, better than anyone else you knew, well, excluding yourself, but you didn’t think you were all that good to begin with.

      You were the talk among the trainees, since your band is the rising fame in SM Entertainment. Well, you and another band. “Come on girls, we need to make sure that EXO-K group doesn’t get the better of us.” Jae says, adjusting her sweats. “Let’s rehearse ’Independent Girl’.” Jae’s long brown hair stuck to her neck.

      “But we just did that one four times..!” Irene says, sighing as she ties her hair up into her signature ponytail. EunKyo points a finger at her.

      “The same as EXO-K! Jae wants us to be one step ahead of them.” EunKyo says. JeJin and Stacy laugh as Irene huffs and crosses her arms, but doesn’t argue any further. You turn on the radio.

      Irene and you immediately get into position, since you two started out the performance. Irene was the choreographer, so she chose who got which parts and who had the solos. You were grateful that she was generous when considering your little-to-nothing fame. By the time EunKyo’s rapping part comes, the rest of you line up in the back and watch.

      None of you realized that rent for the room had timed out because you were in the middle of rehearsal for “We Were There”. You had just gotten to the hard part of your solo as the door swings open and boyish laughter fills the room. You freeze mid-turn just as they realize people were in there. Jae turns off the radio.

      “I’m sorry! Is our time up?” She asks, already gathering her things. Everyone else follows suit except for you. You were caught in the stupidest position in front of- yup, you’d better believe it- EXO-K, the group you were supposed to one-up in everything. You straighten and go to the corner to get your things.

      “No, it’s alright, Jae.” The guy in the front says, a warm smile on his face. He must be Suho, the leader, since he calls Jae by her nickname. “We came earlier than we should have.” They clap hands before Jae motions for us to leave. You bow your head at the leader before rushing to leave.

      In your hurry out, you accidentally bump into the last guy, making you stumble. “O-Oh, I’m sorry.” You say, bowing. When you look up, he’s frowning at you.

      “Watch where you’re going.” He says before closing the door. You stand there, jaw hanging open in shock as their voices disappear behind the sound-proof door.

      “Don’t worry about him,” Jae says, wrapping her arm around your shoulders and leading you away. “He’s always like that.” You huff.

      “Who was that?” You ask her. Even though they were the rival team, you hadn’t taken the time to remember them all. She looks at you and smiles, saying, “His name is Kim Jongin, but SM calls him Kai.” You cross your arms as you all enter the elevator. “Well, I just hope I don’t bump into him again.” Jae laughs.

      Jae gathered us for a group talk in the dorm, and since it started, Irene has been the one pointing out our weak points. “Stacy, your dance at this part is a little awkward,” She says, playing the song on her phone. “You need to move a little slower.” Stacy nods. “And _____,” You stiffen. “Your solo in ‘We Were There’…” She pauses and you were sure you were pale.

      You were trying so hard to be as good as the rest of them. Yes, you were talented at dancing and singing, but you still felt inferior to the rest of the band. Irene smiles. “You’ve gotten a lot better at it. I’d say it’s almost perfect.” She says. You sigh in relief. “But I didn’t get to see you finish it, since our time ran out.” She says.

      “EunKyo,” Stacy says, turning to her. “I think you did your part really good. Again.” EunKyo dismisses the compliment.

      “Thank you, but I still have a lot to learn.” She ducks her head bashfully. Jae laughs and taps her leg.

      “Alright girls, let’s get some sleep. Tomorrow’s recording day.” She says, standing up. “Good night.” When everyone else gets up and heads to the bathroom, you stop EunKyo before she could go.

      “What is it, _____?” She asks. Even though you were all close, EunKyo was the one you had first met, and she was the one you were closest too. “Is this about the other trainees?”

      “A little,” You admit. “I don’t know why I’m not gaining any popularity like the rest of you are. I’m trying my best.” You say, tears stinging your eyes. Being the center of someone’s attention was never your thing, but being the third wheel wasn’t something you enjoyed.  EunKyo sees your reaction and sits next to you on the couch, placing her hand on your shoulder.

      “_____. You’re already better than most of us.” She says. You open your mouth to counter that, but she continues. “Stacy and I may be the main vocalists, but you’re the one who picks us up where we fall.” She says. “And without you, Irene would seem out of place because no one else can keep up with her.” You half smile, the praises getting to you.

      “Then how come no one talks about me like they do you guys?” You ask quietly. Jae’s finished in the bathroom and motions that it’s free before heading to her room. “Is it because I’m uglier?” It was a possibility.

      “No,” EunKyo says firmly. “It’s because you’re not showing off.” You raise your brow in confusion.

      “What?”

      “You’re not showing off.” She repeats. “You see Jae,” She says, motioning towards Jae’s room. “She’s the leader, but no one would notice her if she didn’t step up a little. Same goes to everyone else. You have to act like you’re the best.” She tells you. “But you’re too humble.” It all made sense in your head, and the pieces finally clicked, but you still felt like something was amiss.

      “But I’m not the best.” You say defensively.

      “Because you’re not acting like it.” She stands up, giving you an optimistic smile. “Just show off a little more, and you’ll see the differences. Trust me.” You and EunKyo were the last ones to go to bed, right behind Irene. “Goodnight.” EunKyo calls before going into the dorm room with her.

      You quietly open the door to your room, not wanting to disturb JeJin, and slip into your bed. Maybe EunKyo was right. Maybe you just had to be more noticeable than that Kai guy from this afternoon. Maybe if he’d “showed off” a little more, you would have noticed his presence.

      Huffing at the memory, you turn in your sheets and close your eyes, letting sleep take you over.

      Finally, you think as you finish your solo. You finally got to do it without interruption and you rush to the next position. Irene gives you a thumbs up. You felt proud of yourself, because you finally think you can be like the rest of them. The best.

      That was, until you had accidentally walked in on EXO-K practicing. It was on accident, really. You had forgotten your bag and went back to get it, but when you opened the door, they were already in the middle of a song.

      Standing awkwardly in the doorway, you close it and wait until they were done. You recognized the leader, and he spots you and smiles, waving. You wave back, relieved he wasn’t upset with you for barging in. As you watched, your eyes unconsciously followed someone as they moved across the dance floor. They moved with perfect grace and strength, in tune with the rhythm and bending in ways you couldn’t. It was beautiful, and it left you awe-struck. You’d never seen someone dance like that, not even Irene.

      Suddenly, you realized who it was and immediately tried to take back your thoughts. But it was too late, you had already seen how skilled Kai was and you couldn’t erase it from your memory. When the song ends, Suho turns to you. “You’re from Jae’s group, right?” He asks you, wiping his face with his sweat towel.

      “Yes,” You say, bowing. “I’m sorry to intrude. I forgot my bag.” Suho waves you in, gesturing that you weren’t bothering them at all. You quickly scurry past them, grabbing your bag in the corner just as they start another song. They immediately get into place and start their
routine. Suho gestures for you to walk through them and you bow again before doing so. You try your best to stay out of their way but halfway through you step in front of Kai. Just your luck.

      He stops mid spin, his body a mere few centimeters from yours and you freeze. You look up at him to apologize, but you’re at a loss for words when your eyes meet his. His chest rises and falls, a thin layer of sweat forming on his neck and arms, making his shirt stick to his broad shoulders. His chocolate brown eyes stare down at you, and you could have sworn you saw something flicker across his face, but when you looked closer you saw nothing.

      Suddenly, he glares at you. “You’re in the way, again.” He says. You flush in embarrassment and glare right back, feeling a wave of anger.

      “Sorry.” You say insincerely, then walk past the rest of them and shut the door behind you, leaning against it tiredly. How could you have stopped in the middle of their rehearsal? You didn’t even know why you stood there so long when Kai stared at you. Remembering made your heart beat faster and you pretend not to notice as you walk back to your dorm.

      “EunKyo?” You call out, knocking on her door. It’s been It opens and she pokes her head out. Her hair was in a messy bun, and she was in her pajamas already. “Are you busy?” You ask her. She shrugs and gives you a lopsided grin.

      “As you can see,” She opens the door wider and reveals her neatly kept room, her laptop closed on her bed. Irene was passed out on her own bed. “I have been doing nothing since we came back.” She laughs. “Why? Do you need something?” You shift from foot to foot.

      “Would you come practice with me?” You ask. “Stacy’s too dismissive, Jae’s too energetic, JeJin’s too spacey, and Irene’s–” EunKyo finishes the sentence for you.

      “–too harsh. I know.” She wraps her arm around your shoulder as she closes the door behind her. “Let’s go.” You raise an eyebrow at her.

      “You’re going in that?” She blinks at you.

      “Is someone else coming?” You shake your head and she smiles. “If it’s just you and me, then it’s fine.” The two of you walk down the hall, turning left and right until you reach the practice room you usually use at the end of a hall. You open the door lights were already on- which boggled you, but you didn’t think too hard about it- sighing in relief when you finally have a break from everyone’s eyes.

      “What song do you wanna do?” You ask her, setting down the radio in front of the mirror.

      “I’ve been singing 'Addiction’ lately, so let’s do that.” You chuckle as you turn it on. Addiction was your most popular song among the trainees. It was different from what the rest of them were used to. As in, it had the most solo vocal parts and the least modesty in choreography.

      When the song starts, the two of you halfheartedly sing JeJin’s lines, laughing when both of you mess it up on accident. Then, EunKyo comes up and does her part, immediately getting into the dance. When the chorus came, you both line up next to each other- JeJin was usually in the middle- and twirl your hips, sliding your foot against the wooden panel below you.

      You smile at yourself as you watch yourself do the next move with ease. You had such trouble doing that wave before, and now it was no problem for you. The chorus ends and you bend over, letting your hair fall hang over your head. You wait for Irene’s line to signal your cue, and then whip your hair, sliding your hands up your thighs as you rise.

      You look into the mirror, trying to catch EunKyo’s eye so you can silently ask if you did alright, when your eyes notice something else. When the next wave comes and EunKyo sees that you’re not moving anymore, she stops too and looks at you strangely. “_____?” You cheeks burn in embarrassment, your mind not ready to publicize those moves and you certainly weren’t ready for this.

      EunKyo’s eyes flit to where you’re staring at in the mirror and she stiffens for a second. “Oh, well,” She says, turning to face him fully. “This is different.” Kai was slumped against the wall, his head leaning back against the wall and his eyes were shut in slumber. He was clad in a tank top and sweats, and he looked like he just recently fell asleep.

      EunKyo mutters something under her breath before she hastily goes to the radio, turning it off. Then, she turns to you. “Well?” You raise an eyebrow. “Go wake him up. Send him to his dorm.” You grimace at the thought.

      “Why do I have to?” You ask. She glances the other way innocently before replying.

      “Because you know him better than I do,” You give her a look and she continues. “And because I don’t want to do it,” She takes a step to the side and you realize too late what she was doing. “And I think Jae wanted to talk to me about something, so have fun!” She’s out the door before you can grab her and you swear at her as she runs down the hall.

      You sigh, turning your head to look at his sleeping form. Well, out of the goodness of your heart, you decide to do the right thing and wake him up to send him to his room. You crouch next to him, leaning on your knees as you examine his face.

      So this was the famous Kai? He looked so different asleep than he did when he was awake. Awake, he was grumpy- from what little you’ve seen- and he was rude. But asleep, he looked like a completely different person. His expression was soft, undisturbed like it was when he furrowed his brow at you, and his lips part slightly in it’s perfect plumpness.

      You reach out and touch his shoulder gently, trying to shake him awake. “Kai?” You call out. He doesn’t even twitch. “Kai.~” You try, hoping he’d react to a sweeter voice. “Kai.” You say roughly. “Kai!” You try to imitate his leader’s voice, making sure your tone lifted at the end. “Kai..” You mumble, shaking his shoulder again. “Get up..!” When he doesn’t respond, you shout. “KAI!

      Nothing.

      Damn, this guy slept like a log! You were afraid you’d be forced to carry him out. Your mind tried to find some other way around it, and you only came up with stupid ideas. Angry that you were forced to carry him out this way, you grudgingly take out your phone and hold it up, having to lean in close to him in order to get the both of you in the video.

      “Kim Jongin is a sleepy head.” You say, pouting. “He won’t wake up.” You end it there and vengefully ponder on what to do with the video. You decide to send it to Suho. Maybe if he saw it, he’d come and wake him up for you. Just as you hit the send button, a warm weight presses against your hair.

      “Mmnnhh..” You flinch in surprise when Kai face nuzzles into your shoulder, and you gasp as Kai’s hand reaches out and grabs onto you, pulling you towards him. Not wanting to bash his face in, you let him wrap his arms around you and you go rigid in his embrace. “You smell nice.~” He groans, leaning against you until you fall back with a yelp.

      Your legs were curled up against you as you squirmed underneath his weight, his body limp on top of yours. You snarl. “You’d better damn be asleep Kim Jongin, or else you’re dead–” The rest of the sentence gets stuck in your throat when his nose moves in the crevice of your neck, his lips blowing hot air on your throat. “Kai–”

      “You’re too noisy, Jagii…” He whines, his fingers wrapping around your wrist. “I can’t sleep.” Embarrassment mixed with panic rushes through your veins as you try to pull away from his tightening embrace.

      “Kai, you really need to wake–”

      “Stop.” He says firmly, pulling on your wrist so you stay. You tense. You thought he was going to say something else, but he doesn’t do anything more and you’re left awkwardly sitting up with his upper body on your lap. You tug at his hair lightly.

      “Get up already, what if EunKyo decides to come back?” You ask. “This will look strange.” He doesn’t answer, but instead he pushes you down, climbing over you and your heart stops beating for a second as his face lingers inches above yours.

      “I told you to be quiet.” He says. Something in his voice made goosebumps rise on your skin. Maybe it was the way it was so deep and rough because he was half asleep, or maybe it was because it was so demanding, or maybe it was because his body was warm and heavy and you had trouble breathing correctly under his weight.

      Or maybe it was all of it.

      “Jongin!!” He twitches, and you watch as his arms tense as he slowly wakes up. His eyes flutter open just as a pair of arms pull him off of you. “Wake up, Hyung, you fell asleep in the practice room again!” You sit up, your hair a mess and you scoot away. Suho looks at you after Kai finally seems to register he’s not in bed. “I’m sorry, _____. Did anything happen?” You shake your head and he sighs in relief. “Thank you for trying to wake him up, but you’ll do better just getting one of us next time.” He says. “He sleeps like a log.”

      Oh, how you wished you knew this before hand.

      “It’s fine,” You say as Kai stands up. He looked like he wanted to say something but you didn’t give him the chance. “He wasn’t even awake.” You take your stuff- and the heavy radio that EunKyo left behind- and leave before they do, bowing before closing the door. Just outside the door, EunKyo was leaning against the wall.

      Annoyed at her when she laughs awkwardly- because you caught her- you thrust the radio into her arms and she follows you back to the dorm, spouting insincere apologies the whole way back.

      The rest of that month, you didn’t have any more accidental run-ins with EXO-K. It actually felt like their group was deliberately avoiding yours. When your manager’s came together to do a group collaboration, EXO-K politely denied it, even though it was a good chance for promotion.

      You had the growing suspicion that they had something up their sleeve to suddenly out stage you guys, and decided to ask about it when you bumped into Suho and he asked if you wanted to practice with him. Normally, you’d be ecstatic that a leader of a group asked YOU to practice with them, but you felt more determined to question him as he opened the door to the studio.

      “Thank you for inviting me.” You say, bowing. He smiles at you warmly, his charming looks fitting his description.

      “It’s my pleasure.” After placing your things down and he closes the door, you start.

      “What do you guys do when you’re not practicing?”

      “Oh, we just sit around, mostly. Eat, sleep.” He opens his mouth to continue, but his phone rings and he grins bashfully. “Sorry, let me take this.” You nod, and he picks up his phone. “Hello?” You picked out Jae’s voice on the other end of the line, but you didn’t know what she was saying. Suho’s expression grows serious. “Really?” He asks. Already, he’s packing his things, holding his cell to his ear with his shoulder as he looks over at you. “I’m sorry, _____, I need to go. I’ll send someone else over.” Before you could say anything, he left.

      “Well, great.” You say, sighing. Suho seemed the least guarded in EXO-K- not that you knew- and you figured it’d be easier to pry something out of him than anyone else. Oh well, you were ready to question whoever it was he sent to practice with you. You began stretching, spreading your legs and bending down to touch your feet. Ten minutes go by before there’s a knock at the door. As it opens, you speak. “I was beginning to think Suho forgot–” You stop mid-sentence and close your mouth.

      Kai shuts the door behind him, his expression blank as he walks over to you. You stutter. “W-why are you here?” You ask as he walks past you, setting down a radio.

      “Everyone else was busy.” He says simply.

      You could hear your heart beating in your chest, and you had to look away to compose yourself. You doubted you could pry something out of him and immediately gave up on your mission. “You don’t have to do this,” You say quickly. “If it’s a bother, then I can do it another time–”

      “It’s fine.” He says, straightening and meeting your gaze as the music starts. “So dance with me.” You recognized the song, it was old classic- one you hadn’t heard in years- and it was very popular when you were a kid. In fact, it was the dance you had learned to audition for SM Entertainment. How this coincidence happened, you had no idea. Without saying another word, he makes the first move, side stepping and letting his arm rise past his shoulder. Realizing that was your cue, you step closer and link your arm with his, dancing moves that were slowly coming back to you. You lean back, letting yourself go limp in his hold as you twirled, leaning low until your head was parallel to the floor and he pulls you back up, his arm slipping around your waist. “Kai–”

      “Quiet.” You remember having a hard time doing this part, since it required two people, but somehow you managed to pull through and impress the company. His gaze was elsewhere, and it honestly made you nervous because he was supposed to make sure you didn’t fall over on this next spin, but he holds you tight and you make it through. Stepping back, your hand meets his in front of you, lacing your fingers as your other hand comes up to do the same. The song was almost over, and you realized that Kai would smile when he thought you weren’t looking. Was he having fun?

      He turns, his hands leaving yours as he gracefully moves to the floor, his back laying flat against the wooden floor and you step forward, bending your knee and placing your hand on his chest. The songs ends just as his hand falls over yours and he doesn’t move it. When you try to take your hand back, he holds it tighter. You open your mouth to say something but he beats you to it. “Stop.” He says. For a moment, you’re left completely and utterly shocked, until your memory floods back to what had happened the last time you two were in the practice room together. “I told you to be quiet.”

      You could have sworn this was exactly what had happened the last time, and you were silently hoping for the moment Suho bursts in and saves you, but you doubted you’d have such luck at this point. “I need to tell you something.” He says, glancing the other way and looking your reflection in the mirror instead. “You’re…” He pauses for a moment, watching the way your palm lay relaxed on his rising and falling chest. “I admire you.” He finally says.

      “What?” Your eyes widen. Out of everything he could have said, that was the last thing you would have expected. He avoids your eyes entirely now.

      “Really, I do.” He tells you. “You’re such a great dancer, and I was really excited when Suho asked one of us to go practice with you.” You listen carefully, not wanting to push away this new side of him away, afraid that if you did you’d never see it again. “And you’re so humble, I don’t think even Lay is as humble as you are.” When his dark brown eyes look into yours, it’s when you’re looking down at him. “And you’re everything I want.”

      “You must be thinking of Irene.” You say, unable to believe he was talking about you. “She’s the lead dancer in our group.” He stares at you, like he was waiting for you to say you were kidding. When he realizes you were serious, he gapes at you.

      “You really think I’m confused?” He asks. “You’re the one I like, _____, not anyone else.” You realize that this wasn’t a fan expressing his feelings, but a boy confessing the way he feels about you was more than that of a colleague. You blush. “I’m sorry I wasn’t so nice before, I was just nervous the first time I saw you.” You wonder why someone would become rude when they’re nervous, but you weren’t so nice the other day when you recorded him without his permission. “And the last time…”

      You look away first, remember the way he held you down with his weight, his face a mere few centimeters from yours. You remember clearly how low and rough his voice was, and you shift nervously at the memory. “Don’t worry about it.” You tell him.

      “I wasn’t even awake, really.” He says. “I mean, I was, but I wasn’t..?” When you look at him, you find his cheeks turning red. “I remember dreaming… that you were my girlfriend.” Everything he was telling you made you even more shocked than the last comment, and you couldn’t hide your surprised expression when he continued. “I remember.. holding you, but I thought it was okay, that it was normal.” He says quickly. “I didn’t realize I was half asleep and–”

      “Okay.” You blurt, cutting him off out of embarrassment. “It’s okay, just– just don’t apologize.” You tell him. He stares up at you in shock. “I- I’m fine with it.” You breathe in nervously before meeting his eyes. “I feel the same way you do,” His cheeks turn red as his eyes widen even more. “About the admiration stuff and the crush stuff..” You felt like a child, not knowing how to express yourself and it all felt raw and awkward, but that’s what made it feel nice.

This

I did the thing. This is for all of you who said you’d read it. And those of you that didn’t admit you’d read it, though totally will anyway. But mostly for Shu.

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