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Daybreak

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Tamaki takes a deep breath, nervously wringing his hands together. He stands at the bottom of the stairs, heartbeat pounding violently against his chest. The loud cheers from the crowd can be heard all the way backstage, and Tamaki is sure he should be used to this by now, but he can't help but still find it all overwhelming.

A small hand jabs his side, causing his whole body to jolt forward. Squeaking embarrassingly loud, he whips his head around to glare at Nejire. “That wasn't very nice,” he mumbles.

Nejire’s face splits into a wide smile, her hands clasped loosely in front of her. “You just looked so troubled, Amajiki-kun! Hey, hey, what's the big deal, anyway, huh? You're not nervous are you? Are you still not used to the crowds? Is it the loud noises? Hey, didn't you know, we've been doing this for over a year now! Isn't that exciting, huh, isn't it?”

Tamaki's mind swirls as it tries to keep up with the questions. After knowing his air headed friend for quite some time, he knows that she isn’t expecting him to answer every single question, because that would just be tiring and Tamaki does not have the patience for it. Awkwardly scratching his cheek, Tamaki looks to the side and brings his shoulders up into a half shrug.

“I can’t help but feel anxious,” he says. “It's… easier than it used to be, but it's still nerve wracking…”

“And that's perfectly okay!” Yuuyu pipes up, walking over to the two with Mirio following. She offers Tamaki a small, kind and understanding smile. Tamaki shakily smiles back.

“Yeah,” Mirio says as he steps into the small circle. He places a hand on Tamaki's shoulder, and that one touch seems to ground Tamaki. Without thinking, he shuffles a bit closer to the blond. “It's okay to be nervous! We all get those jitters-” Tamaki shoots him a small glare, as if to say ‘ we talked about this, you know it's not the same,’ and Mirio quickly puts up his hands and waves them around. “But! I know, I know that it's not exactly the same!” He says with a laugh, shooting Tamaki a small smile. “Just… don't forget to look at me, okay? I'll always be by your side.”

Tamaki almost melts at the soft and warm look Mirio gives him. He reaches out, gently tugging on Mirio's jacket. Mirio gets the hint and let's his hands fall down to his sides. He then reaches over and tangles his fingers together with Tamaki's.

Taking another small step toward Mirio, Tamaki angles his head so that he's speaking right into Mirio's ear. “Like I could ever look away,” he whispers, smiling as Mirio's neck flushes red.

Mirio moves a couple inches away, moving so he can properly face his boyfriend. He lifts a tan hand, gently cupping Tamaki's cheek with his free hand. His eyes soften once again and he carefully swipes his thumb across Tamaki's cheek. In one single movement, he swoops down and slides his lips against Tamaki's.

It's over before Tamaki can really appreciate it, but it's everything he needs to square his shoulders and face the stage with determination. The fans cheering has grown louder, making it harder to hear everyone around him. He's entirely grateful for the ear pieces they started wearing so that they can easily speak to the crew and their manager while on stage.

Glancing back at his friends, Tamaki stifles his laughter as a crew member walks over and hands Nejire a new set of drum sticks. Her eyes grow wide, practically sparkling, as she thanks the man and turns to Yuuyu to gush about the new sticks. He wonders how long these ones will last, because he sure as Hell knows they won’t make it past a month. They never do.

Mirio stands by his side, their hands still clasped loosely together. Tamaki knows he can face anything as long as he has his best friends and boyfriend by his side. As the speakers overhead crackle to life, Yuuyu and Nejire step forward to stand beside their friends.

“... and without further ado, we welcome Daybreak to the stage!” The announcer says, voice echoing throughout the building. The room goes wild, the fan's cheering reaching a new level of chaos. Tamaki is still shocked at how much their fan base has grown within this year.

Mirio leads the way onto the stage, his hand slipping from Tamaki's grasp. Tamaki follows, Nejire and Yuuyuu in tow. It doesn't take long for them to get up the steps and pass by the large curtain. The moment they pass by the thick black fabric, the cheering grows in volume and intensity.

“We welcome Lemillion, the happiest lead guitarist you’ll ever meet…” Tamaki watches as the fans rage, hands fist pumping in the air. He smiles at his boyfriend. It's truly what he deserves.

Next is Nymph, the bass guitarist with relaxed vibe yet snappy mouth...” Yuuyu throws up a peace sign and winks toward the crowd, moving to her spot on the stage. She picks up her guitar and slings it across her shoulder, a huge smile on her face as the crowd chants her name.

Then we have Fairy, the most energetic drummer to grace our stage!” Nejire, already at her drum set, raises both hands in the air. She waves them around excitedly, smile wide and carefree, the drumsticks held tightly in her hands. Once again, the crowd cheers loudly and chants her name.

“And last, but certainly not least, the best lead singer of the century as of yet, Suneater!” Tamaki shakily smiles, stepping up to the microphone. He looks out at the crowd, the anxiety from before coming back to smack him across the face. The bright lights practically blind him from being able to properly see the crowd, but the loud cheering and chanting fizzles into background noise as he glances over at his boyfriend. Pushing his anxiety away, he carefully wraps his fingers around the microphone and clears his throat.

“Thank you all for being with us here tonight!” He says as loud as he can, the speakers amplifying his voice. The crowd goes wild, clapping and cheering even more.

He hears Nejire smack her drumsticks together and begin the countdown. Yuuyuu strums, and Mirio follows suit. Taking a deep breath, Tamaki anxiously waits for his cue.

Mirio watches his boyfriend intently, taking a step closer to him. He always makes sure to be somewhere within Tamaki's line of sight, because it's his way of giving support during the shows. He knows Tamaki needs it.

His hands move easily, the chords basically now engraved into his mind. They've practiced and performed this song plenty of times. He mentally counts down to when Tamaki will begin singing.

Three...two…

Tamaki's lips part, and he hits his cue perfectly. Mirio can't help but grin, pride swelling up in his chest. Tamaki has grown so much over all this time… They all have, really. Fingers moving over the strings of his guitar flawlessly, Mirio chances a glance back at Nejire and Yuuyuu.

Nejire is having the time of her life, lips pulled back into a crazed and happy smile as she ruthlessly goes about hitting the drums. Yuuyuu looks more at peace, playing the guitar with ease and grace as she paces around the stage. They're all enjoying themselves and this is everything Mirio could've ever wanted.

Turning his attention back to Tamaki, Mirio's smile widens, the pride flowing through his veins. They've been through so much this past year, and he's just so glad that they've gotten this far.

He makes eye contact with Tamaki, and his smile turns into a smirk. He winks, causing Tamaki to blush slightly and jerk his gaze away.

They weren't always so in tune and put together. To all their fans, they seemed to always be on track to getting better and more popular.  However, none of them truly knew the hardships and battles they had faced to get here.

Mirio regrets a handful of things that had happened, but he's not sure if he would really change anything. Smiling once again, he let's the loud cheering of the crowd surround him like a safety blanket. They made it this far, and they would continue to push forward. Whatever hardships may come their way, Mirio knows they can overcome it. They've done it before, and he knows they can do it again.

 

Their journey to get where they are now was long and harsh, a lot of guilt and many regrets shared between them all. But Mirio knew he wouldn’t change his band for the world.

 

This is Daybreak, this is their story.

Chapter Text

Mirio rushed into the music room, hardly out of breath as a wide grin filled half his face. The familiar weight of the guitar on his back only adding to his fire like determination.

His group of friends lay around the room lazily, passing their snacks around as they discussed their day. Mirio quickly set up the instruments for them - though they remained blissfully unaware of his actions as the chatter kept going. Mirio didn’t mind much.

“Alright!” he clapped his hands, catching their attention almost instantly. “We’ve been a little slow recently with practice - not to say it’s your fault though!!” He strummed the guitar, checking it’s tuning before speaking again. “I feel like today we should start making up for all the hours lost over the past week.”

The boys sighed, but reluctantly got in their positions.

Mirio counted them down and started on the song. It had a good, strong start, which pleased him greatly. Only for it to start losing enthusiasm thirty seconds in. Their singer began to murmur his words, even yawned halfway through a sentence. Their bass guitarist just plucked the tunes in a childlike manner.

He tried not to let it get to him, but once the drummer decided to completely stop hitting any of the beats, he called for a break.

“Okay, guys? I mean, yeah we’ve been a little on the relaxed side, but don’t you think you could do a little better than… Not playing at all?” He glanced at the drummer, and his friends sighed with frustration.

“No offence, Toogata, but… You’re kinda the only one here interested in this whole ‘Band’ thing.” the singer mumbled. The bass player took off the strap on their instrument and set it down, and then crossed his arms as he leaned against a table.

“We’re really only doing this because you wanted to - yes, this is a music school, but we have our own dreams y’know…”

Mirio blinked, then watched the drummer put away the drumsticks in the closet.  “Being part of a band isn’t what I want, and I’m wasting hours after school to help you when I don’t even want this to begin with.”

They picked their bags up and headed towards the door.

“Listen, Toogata…” one of them murmured. “I’m sure there’s plenty of other students around who’re interested in this type of thing… We’ve wasted two months worth of work because you had this dream. We’re sorry, but we’re leaving.”

Mirio stared at the door dumbly - had been for the past five minutes. He drummed his fingers against his sleek electric guitar before returning it to his case.

Okay, so he’s practically been dumped. By three people. At once. Yowch.

Mirio pursed his lips, staring around the room like a lost child. What now? The question rung in his ears and danced around his tongue. He was in a band of four, and three of them decided to quit. He didn’t blame them, of course - they have their own dreams and are absolutely allowed to pursue them. Just… Why so late? They could’ve told him from the start that they didn’t want to join a band.

He shook the thoughts away and simply looked over some sheet music as he waited for the hour to be over. He’d asked for the room, no point in it being a complete waste.

It had been roughly around fifteen minutes before the door opened again, Mirio’s head snapping towards it in attention. His personal teacher, “Nighteye” (A very personal man who refused to even share his real name) stood by, looking as grim as ever.

“Sir! What a grand entrance, really, blew me away-!”

“What’s wrong?”

Mirio bit his tongue - of course Sir managed to pick up his gloomy cloud. He had hoped it wasn’t too obvious, apparently not. He bit back a sigh and instead offered a smile.

“Not much,” he murmured. “Just… Well, my friends decided they didn’t like the idea of being in a band and- Well, they left!” he laughed, scratching the back of his head. Nighteye raised an eyebrow at him, leaning against the doorframe and crossing his arms.

“They left… After two months of practice?”

“Well-” Mirio paused, puffing his cheeks in thought. “They were probably too nice to say anything!”

Nighteye mulled it over before entering the class fully and picking up some of Mirio’s music to inspect it silently. Mirio let him do his own thing as he set his focus back on his own sheet. He picked up a pencil and fixed up a few notes and chords in the song, and it wasn’t long before he heard Nighteye sigh.

“I’d prefer if you didn’t go on a blind search. So I’ll tell you this,” Mirio perked up. “I know at least two students who may be interested in joining you. You’ve heard of Hadou Nejire and Haya Yuuyuu, correct?”

Mirio tilted his head in thought, thinking back on all the students he’d met the past two months. He distinctly recalled a “Hadou”, a girl with long blue hair. Nothing much was coming to mind about a “Haya Yuuyuu” though.

“Ah, maybe?” he laughed, scratching the back of his head sheepishly. Nighteye sighed again, then continued.

“Miss Hadou is a talented drummer, lots of stamina that can keep her going for minutes- the longest she’s lasted is an hour and thirty minutes before she burned out. That was non stop practising at high speeds.”

Mirio blinked slowly as the information processed. A talented drummer in his own school that he somehow hadn’t heard of, and no one else wanted her on their team?

“She’s ‘too crazy’ according to your peers, too much energy that doesn’t match what they’d like to achieve. So she’s completely available to you, if she’s interested.”

A grin slowly crawled onto his face, his mouth pulled back and showed off his pearly white teeth - Nighteye didn’t share the expression and instead went on to talk about Haya. A girl that Mirio still couldn’t for the love of God recall even a little bit.

“Miss Haya’s a guitarist as well, she’s pretty good in her bass playing and spends a lot of time with Miss Hadou, if you want Hadou, you’re going to get Haya, too.”

Well, at least Mirio knew what his plan was for next week.


 

Mirio opened the door to his home in a rush, almost slamming it shut as he hurriedly took off his shoes and sprinted toward his father. A kind and patient man that helped Mirio throughout his childhood - even when life got a little rough when his mother had passed away. Mirio was too young to remember her in his memories, but there were plenty of pictures around that he could appreciate. His mother was definitely a beautiful woman, in his eyes.

“Dad!” Mirio scurried inside the kitchen where his father stood, cooking pasta. “You won’t believe what just happened!”

The man laughed quietly. “Really now?” he scooped pasta up and dumped it into a plate before offering it to Mirio. “Care to enlighten me?”

“Three of my band members decided to quit!” His father froze, concern etching onto his face - but before he could comment on it, Mirio continued. “No worries though! Sir came for a visit soon after, and he said that there were two girls who could be interested in joining instead!”

His dad offered a tiny smile as he sat opposite him by the table. “I’m glad it worked out, then.” Then a frown. “Are you sure you’re okay though? Three members leaving out of the blue is-”

“I’m fine!” Mirio laughed, and while that was mostly true, he couldn’t deny the small amount of dread in his stomach, shooting across his chest. “It’s alright, really. They weren’t too interested in the whole band thing anyway, I’m glad they offered to help, but it’d be mean to force someone into doing something they don’t want to.”

His father chuckled at that. “I suppose not, no.”

Dinner was mostly quiet after that. Mirio finished up quickly, washed up his plate and ran to his room, offering his dad a kiss goodnight - he was sure he’d lock himself in there for most of the weekend.

The idea of new members had him practically vibrating in his seat from all the jittery nerves and excitement, inspiration for music coursed through him as he hurriedly wrote down an upbeat type of song.

I hope they know how to write lyrics. He chuckled. Writing words was never his strong suit, maybe one or both of the girls could help. A fourth member would be nice though.

A band of three was fairly uncommon, usually you’d see bands of four to five. Three was uncomfortably low for Mirio’s liking, he hoped Hadou and Haya knew one more person that might be interested in joining.

…He also hoped the girls themselves wanted to as well.


 

The following week had Mirio’s head spinning. He had multiple outlines for how this conversation could go, and a thousand different outcomes listed in his head. He was prepared. Maybe a little too prepared, but he just really, really wanted this to work out.

Pushing the doors open, Mirio stepped outside, dodging some students that pushed passed him to enter into the building. He knew, from Sir, that Nejire liked to eat outside during lunch. Something about practicing, which is what Mirio liked to hear. A dedicated musician is all he could ask and dream of.

Humming to himself, the blonde stalked around the scattered picnic areas and looked desperately for a head of light blue hair. Really, from the way Sir described the girl, she shouldn’t be too hard to notice.

Suddenly, the faint sound on rapid tapping reached Mirio’s ear. Furrowing his eyebrows together, Mirio turned around and walked over to one of the secluded picnic tables. It was located directly under some stairs, hidden away from view. Blinking owlishly, he peeked around the stairs and looked at the scene before him.

A girl with long blue hair tied into a messy bun sat at the table, two pens clutched tightly in her grasp. Her tongue stuck out from the corner of her lips, eyes narrowed as she focused on the table. The sound had stopped once Mirio had reached the stairs, but he doesn’t dare interrupt now.

“Okay, Yuu-chan! I’m ready, hey, hey, you can play it now, didn’t you know?” She said, a giddy smile filtering across her face. The other girl at the table-- Yuuyuu, Mirio’s mind said-- smiled softly and nodded her head.

“Okay, okay, don’t pressure me,” she teased, setting her phone on the table. She quickly pressed her finger on the screen, and music began to filter through the speakers. Mirio knew the song, a popular one from America.

Nejire’s eyes shined with happiness as the music began. In perfect sync, she hit the pens against the table. It takes a moment for Mirio to realize that she was drumming with the pens, and with closer inspection, he noticed that she was also using her wrists. It sounded good, almost perfect. He stood there in awe the entire time, jaw dropping slightly.

If this girl could play like that with a pen and her wrists, then what could she do with drumsticks? Mirio definitely wanted to find out.

As the song finished, Yuuyuu clapped loudly and cheered. “That was great, Nejire-chan, you get better and better everyday!”

Nejire grinned and set the pens down. She lifted a hand and gently poked Yuuyuu’s arm, cheeks puffing out in embarrassment. “I wouldn’t be as good if you weren’t here to help me, you know!”

Mirio slipped out of his hiding spot, awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck as he waved at them. Nejire’s wide and curious gaze snapped toward him instantly. Yuuyuu simply huffed out a small laugh, crossing her arms as she raised an eyebrow. It’s obvious they don’t usually get visitors during this time.

“Hello! Hadou-chan, Haya-chan, correct?”

Nejire jumped up, nodding so quickly that Mirio was sure she’d get whiplash. “Who are you? How did you know we would be here? Oh, oh, are you an admirer? I hate to break such a handsome man’s heart, but my heart is taken, didn’t you know! However, if you need anything else, I can--”

“Wha- I don’t- hold on!” Mirio sputtered out, waving his hands in front of him. “It’s not like that! Sir-- er, Nighteye, told me you’d be here!”

Yuuyuu made an ‘oh’ sound, nodding her head at the explanation. Nejire took to swaying back and forth, hands clasped behind her back. “Oh, oh, I see! Why did Nighteye-sensei send you here, huh? Could it be he thinks we need more friends? Could it be that you--”

“I was wondering if you’d like to join my band!” Mirio said, cutting off her rambling. He blushed at the sudden outburst, stuttering out an apology. “Sorry, um. It’s not really a band yet, you see? I need members, because the people who were with me kind of, you know, bailed, and Nighteye told me about you two, so I thought-”

“Sure!” Nejire said, clapping her hands together. Her eyes grew large, practically shining as she whirled around to face Yuuyuu. “Oh, Yuu-chan, doesn’t it sound fun, huh? It’ll be so much fun! You have to join as well, you have to!”

Yuuyuu laughed, lifting her gaze to meet Mirio’s. “Yeah, sure, why the hell not?”

Mirio blinked. He opened his mouth to speak, but no words would stumble out. Squinting, he gave them a calculating look. “Just like that?”

Nejire nodded. “Yup! Just like that! You know, hey, didn’t you know, I don’t just say things I don’t mean!”

With a breathless laugh, Mirio shook his head. This sure would be an adventure, he could tell.


Mirio draped his whole body across the cafe table, a loud and obnoxious whine slipping through his lips. Kirishima looked over at him from the cashier spot, raising an eyebrow in concern.

“Hey, dude, you good?”

Mirio groaned, pushing his cheeks into the cool tabletop.

“I think he’s lost it,” Kirishima whispered, grabbing a stray pen. He tossed it, watching as it flew through the air and hit Mirio on the head. Mirio didn’t move. “Yup, he’s gone. So young, so much to live for, will definitely be missed.”

Lifting his head, Mirio rested his chin against the table and glared over at the worker. “It’s been a week, Kirishima-kun! A week!”

With a tilt of his head, Kirishima set his elbows down on the counter, resting his chin on the palms on his hands. “Is this about your band?” By the silence that followed, Kirishima took that as a yes. “Hm, well, what’s wrong with it? Aren’t Nejire-san and Yuuyuu-san good?”

Mirio whined once again, slinking down further against the table. “They’re perfect,” he explained, “but we don’t have a good singer! I’ve looked everywhere, man! And nothing! This school just...doesn’t have what I’m looking for.”

As he finished the sentence, the back door swung open, and a large man of around eight feet sauntered out. He smiled widely at the sight of the regular customer and bounded over, setting down a small piece of chocolate cake. “Hello, Mirio-kun, how are you doing?”

Mirio pursed his lips and eyed the cake. “I’ve been better, but thanks for asking, Fatgum.”

“Hey now, what’s the issue?” He chuckled, Kirishima sighed.

“He’s looking for a singer, but apparently no one at school has the voice he wants, whatever that means.”

The owner of the store set down a fork and pushed the cake closer to the teen. He settled down across from him, a sudden serious look on his face. “I...I may know someone.”

Kirishima perked up, eyes shining as if he knew where this was going. Mirio lifted his head, curiosity peaked. Slowly, he grabbed the fork and stabbed the cake, bringing the bite to his mouth. After swallowing, he wrinkled his nose and locked eyes with Fatgum. He vaguely realized the cake didn’t taste how it normally did, but he put it off as Fatgum trying something new with the recipe. “I would do anything if you gave me the name.”

“Anything?”

Mirio hesitated, suspiciously studying the man. “...Yes?”

Fatgum laughed loudly, hitting his fist against the table. “I’m messin’ with ya, champ! His name is Tamaki, and I’m sure ya can find him in the west wing! He usually practices around this time, but I’d hurry up if I were you!”

At those words, Mirio practically inhaled the rest of the cake, shouted his thanks, and tripped his way out of the cafe.


Mirio walked quietly around the hallways, ears straining for any noise. This side of the school was usually deserted by this time, so he was surprised to hear that anyone would be here. Actually, now that he thought about it, that was a pretty good idea. Especially if one wanted to practice where no one could hear them…

Trudging along with shoulders slumped, Mirio hung his head and sighed. It had been ten minutes and he still hadn’t found anybody. Didn’t Fatgum say he would be practicing? Well, obviously not very well if no sound was coming out!

Right as the thought passed, a faint humming sound came through one of the rooms at the end of the hallway. Perking up, Mirio squared his shoulders and charged forward. As he grew closer, the humming grew louder. Upon reaching the doorway, Mirio halted, jaw dropping.

The man’s back was to him, his phone clutched in his hand. The man’s lips were parted as he hummed beautifully, his pitch perfect and matching the video. As the words began, the teen seemed to grow in confidence, his voice growing louder with each word.

Mirio leaned against the doorframe, eyes wide with shock. The man was, well, breathtaking. His black hair hung loosely in front of his face, his slightly pointed ears sticking out from the messy locks. He looked so at peace, like he was truly one with the music coming from his phone.

“... I think of you whenever I’m alone,” The man sang, slowly turning around, eyes closed. “ So please don’t go…” The music faded away, and the man hummed the last part until it ended. After a moment, the man’s eyes slid open. They met Mirio’s. A small, startled gasp escaped his lips, and the man - Tamaki; Mirio finally realized who it was - stiffened up, phone tumbling out of his hands and toppling to the floor.

Chapter Text

Mirio wasn’t sure exactly how much time had passed - just that he’d locked eyes with this… Beauty for a while. Tamaki’s mouth was slightly ajar, and Mirio’s face slowly broke into a grin as his eyes lit up.

“It’s you!” he yelled, pointing at the other. “You’re the one! You’re what we’re missing!”

The boy didn’t share his enthusiasm, and instead began to grow paler. He looked almost sickly in comparison to before - when his face showed only content and freedom. Mirio genuinely hoped Tamaki wouldn’t faint.

“Tamaki?” he questioned, and the boy tensed - Mirio figured it was because Tamaki was surprised that Mirio knew his name... Though Tamaki didn’t seem too happy about it. “Your singing was amazing! You should totally join my band, can’t let such a great voice go to wa-”

The air was suddenly knocked straight out of him as Tamaki shoved him to the side and shot right out of the room. Mirio wasted a few precious seconds of wheezing before calling out to the other and running after him.

Mirio cut a few corners to try and catch up to him - but unfortunately lost sight of the teen. He couldn’t stop a pout growing on his lips

Tamaki... The guy had very clear talent, an enchanting voice that practically hypnotised Mirio at an instant, caught in metaphorical webs of music that stuck to his body and refused to let go - as though Tamaki was a siren ready to feast.

He couldn’t describe it, Mirio was never the best with words. But hearing such a sound drew tension out of his body, gentle and soothing, like a mother cradling her baby. Mirio felt at peace.

Mirio couldn’t possibly let the guy go now. Now that he’s heard the voice, no other voice will cut it. He’d get Tamaki to join his band one way or another, if it was the last thing he’d do.

 


 

It may very well be the last thing he’d do if this kept up.

Throughout the week, Mirio’s been specifically seeking Tamaki out and begging him to join his band. It never ended well, and Tamaki would either outright reject him, or try to run away. Mirio would like to say this wasn’t frustrating- but, well…

Not to say his determination didn’t burn through that negativity! He tried many different techniques; offering, trading, making deals… Tamaki just wasn’t interested.

Mirio really didn’t want to be pushy, but if it wasn’t Tamaki, he doubted he’d find another voice that could surpass what he wanted.

What he needed.

Nejire and Yuuyuu were great, practice was actually full of energy for once. Rather than that bored, “dragging your feet” attitude his previous members had. If he could even call them proper members.

“I can’t believe I went two whole months without even knowing you two!” Mirio laughed loudly as he set his guitar back into its case. Nejire perked up.

“Hey, hey, didn’t you know? Yuu-chan and I had heard of you before, but hey, listen!! We thought since you already had a band of four, you wouldn’t accept our offers!”

“Well, if only I had known!” he threw his head back and laughed again. “I’d definitely have sought you out first chance I got!”

They chatted for their last few minutes, and Mirio didn’t actually mind it for once. The exhilaration was pounding in his chest, and sweat had never felt so good. He felt like they actually deserved the break, rather than just taking one because they were lazy.

“Hey, Toogata?” Yuuyuu spoke up, and Mirio turned his head in her direction. “How’s the whole ‘Get Amajiki to join our band’ mission going?”

Like a switch, Mirio deflated, falling back to lay his body across the table with a large pout on his face. And just to emphasise his point, he whined pathetically.

“That bad, huh?” Yuuyuu chuckled, and Mirio grumbled.

“No matter what I do he just doesn’t want to join…“ a soft sigh escaped his lips. “And now he’s avoiding me like the plague… I don’t think he likes me.”

Nejire cooed at him - running her fingers through his gelled hair. “Hey, hey! He’s probably just shy! I’ve seen Amajiki-san around before, he doesn’t talk much, didn’t you know?”

He didn’t really know that, no. He considered it for a moment before springing up into a sitting position - Nejire somehow didn’t jump back from the sudden movement and instead kept smiling at him. Though her head was tilted with clear curiosity.

“You’ve seen him around?”

“Hey! Weren’t you listening? That’s what I said, wasn’t it? Hey, hey, Yuu-chan, wasn’t that what I said?” Yuuyuu nodded at her, and Nejire blinked. “How strange!” She turned to face Mirio again, then blinked once more at his large grin.

“Could you talk to him for me? If you’ve seen him around, wouldn’t you roughly know where he usually likes to go?”

Nejire bounced excitedly, like a child. “So like a secret agent? That sounds super fun! Hey, Yuu-chan, isn’t going undercover fun?”

“I dunno about that,” Yuuyuu chuckled fondly, then nodded at Mirio. “But, yeah, Nejire and I could totally go talk to him for you.”

“You guys are the best!” He practically squealed as he whisked them from their feet and into the air - Yuuyuu yelled in surprise while Nejire shrieked in excitement. He held them close to his chest and hugged them tightly.

“Oh- Oh wow.” Yuuyuu murmured. “I was right, you do give great hugs.”

Mirio snorted at that, then purposely flexed as he held the girls in one arm. “What gave you that idea, sweetheart?”

They both snickered, then playfully grimaced; Yuuyuu lightly slapped his arm. Mirio dropped the two back on the floor and gave them a bright grin, hands to his hips. Yuuyuu smiled.

“If I wasn’t gay, I’d totally ask you out.”

Mirio lost feeling in his legs and practically started crying as he held his stomach and wheezed.

 


 

It was Friday by the time Nejire and Yuuyuu actually managed to find Tamaki. He was hidden in the library, a closed off table that was easy to miss at first glance. Thankfully, Nejire had hawk like eyes, so she noticed more than the average person would.

Which made sense, considering there wasn’t much about her that was “average” at all.

“Hey, hey!! Amajiki-san!!” she waved, and the boy jumped and snapped his head toward them - before wincing and curling into himself.

And though she was observant in her surroundings, she still needed to work on how to approach certain people.

“Hey! Didn’t you know? I was talking to you!! Can I look into your eyes? Oh! That sounded a little romantic didn’t it, Yuu-chan? Listen! I wasn’t trying to hit on you, funny right?”

The poor boy’s cheeks burned brightly, hunching his shoulders further as he tried to hide away. Yuuyuu cleared her throat.

“You’re getting distracted, Nejire…”

“Distracted?” she blinked, staring at Yuuyuu before her expression lit up. “Oh! Right! Amajiki-san!” he jumped as Nejire thrusted her face toward his, leaning her palms against the table. “Are you listening? My friend Toogata was wondering-”

At an instant, Tamaki snapped his book shut and slid off the chair in a rush- narrowly avoiding Yuuyuu as he scurried off elsewhere. Nejire blinked rapidly at that, looking between the chair and wherever Tamaki left. Yuuyuu sighed, scratching her head.

“Maybe you shouldn’t have mentioned Toogata’s name…”

“But Yuu-chan, didn’t you know? How else would we tell Amajiki-san to join our band?”

“I guess you have a point.”

Well, looks like Tamaki would be avoiding them now, too.

 


 

The following day had Mirio dragging his feet to the cafe on campus that he frequented. It was a small building just at the end of a hill, a nice, cozy atmosphere surrounding it. The sign was crafted in nice, bubble letters; the words “Fatgum’s Cafe” written above the door.

Mirio pushed the door open, a small ding signaling his entrance. At the counter stood Kirishima, red hair tied back tightly as he eagerly chatted with some customers. At the sound of the bell going off, his eyes snapped to the front door and he raised a hand in greeting. Mirio smiled and shuffled to the line. He loved this place a bit too much, he thought, but how could one not when such a kind person owns it, and the staff is unbelievably polite as well?

As he reached the cashier, Kirishima grinned happily. “Hey, man, how ya doing? It’s been way too long!”

Mirio chuckled and rubbed the back of his neck. “It’s been alright, just struggling with the band a bit. Still can’t get Tamaki to join. Oh, and just a hot chocolate, please.”

Kirishima hummed at that, typing his order in before holding his hand out for the money. Mirio handed it over and shuffled to the side. “I say just give it time, all good things come to those you wait!” Kirishima finally said, handing back the change. Mirio felt his mood lift just a tad at the hopeful words.

Taking a seat at the bar, Mirio set his stuff down beside him and waited for his order. It didn’t take long for Fatgum to reveal himself, shoving the back door open and waltzing out with a huge grin. He glanced at the order sheet before moving to help Kirishima with orders.

Once a mug of steaming hot chocolate is placed down in front of him, Mirio looked up at the man. “Hey, Fatgum, how have you been?”

“Never better, ya know! A bit down ‘cause my son’s been so busy with his schoolwork, but he sure does make his old man proud! How are ya, Toogata-kun?”

Mirio furrowed his eyebrows at the mention of Fatgum having a son. He was sure he recalled that little bit of information, but it must have slipped his mind. Deciding not to think too hard on it, Mirio gave the man a sympathetic look. “Well, I’m sure he’ll be free eventually! And I’m okay, for now, I think. That guy you sent me to last time I was here, Tamaki, he’s been avoiding me! I can’t seem to get him to consider being in the band.”

An understanding look passed through Fatgum’s features. “Ah, ya see, Tamaki is a bit shy, I thought ya knew? Anyway, he needs a good reason to fight his anxiety, and you just hounding him down every chance ya get ain’t gonna be that reason.”

Mirio frowned and stared down at his drink. “What do you mean?”

“Hm, well, Tamaki is self conscious and has a lot of insecurities. I won’t get into that, ‘cause it ain’t my place to do so, but he needs a good reason to get over all that. Ya need to capture his interest rather than chase him around campus.”

Mirio nodded slowly, wrapping his fingers around the warm mug. “I think I get what you mean,” he mumbled slowly. Then, it was as if a lightbulb went off. He knew what he needed to do! “Oh my God, Fatgum! That’s it! Thank you so much!” He exclaimed and jumped out of his seat. In one fluid motion, he placed the mug to his lips, tilted his head back, and chugged the hot drink within a minute. His throat burned, but he couldn’t care less as he set the mug back down, wheezed out a thank you, and ran out of the cafe, leaving a stunned Fatgum and a cackling Kirishima.

 


 

Mirio trudged into the school the following week with bags under his eyes. He couldn't complain, though, because he had successfully completed a song. Okay, sure, he had to get Yuuyuu's help on some of it and had to get her thumbs up, but he finished it and that was all that mattered.

Now it was time for his plan to be put forth into action. Strutting straight to the library during lunch, he stopped in front of the table Tamaki usually hid at. Strangely enough, the guy wasn't there. Mirio tapped his chin in thought until an idea flickered in his mind.

Chest swelled with determination, Mirio made his way to the west wing and quietly made his way over to the room where he had first met Tamaki. He peeked his head in, heart stuttering at the sight before him.  

Instead of singing this time, Tamaki sat on a stool in the middle of the room, a violin tucked between his chin and shoulder. His hand delicately lifted up his bow, his other hand holding the instrument in place.

Mirio waited with bated breath. Slowly, Tamaki pressed the bow down and began to play. The melody was mesmerizing, entrapping Mirio to his spot as he listened intently. He didn't want to miss a single second of this.

The light from the far window trickled in, gently framing Tamaki as he played. The warm glow made Tamaki seem so bright , and it did nothing but cause Mirio's heart to quicken. He's so shocked by the talent Tamaki is showing that he almost didn't even realize Tamaki had suddenly stopped playing.

Letting his hand fall to his side, the violin bow brushed the ground as Tamaki slowly turned around. He narrowed his eyes and frowned. “I thought I felt a presence behind me, of course it's you,” he mumbled. The words would have been missed if Mirio hadn't been paying attention.

Straightening his spine and standing up, Mirio lifted his hand in greeting. He slyly slid to block the door so Tamaki couldn't escape. “Heyo, Tamaki-kun! So, I was wondering if you would meet me after school to-”

“Toogata-san,” Tamaki said and slid off the stool. He walked over to the table by the wall, opening the case laying on top of it so he could put the violin away. “I do not want to be apart of your band, why is that so hard for you to understand?”

Mirio puffed his cheeks out. “That's not what this is about this time!”

Tamaki clipped the case closed and looked over at Mirio, a nervous yet questioning look crossing his face. He didn't ask, and instead faced Mirio head on, giving the blonde his full attention.  

A wide grin grew across Mirio's face. “I just want to show you something, okay? Meet me in the practice building- because it's just the room I always sign up for! It isn't for practice! I just… want to show you something.”

Tamaki sighed and picked up his case, motioning for Mirio to let him go. The smile on Mirio's face lessened a bit, but he stepped aside to let the musician slip past.

Mirio watched as Tamaki walked down the hall. Gulping, Mirio squared his shoulders and cupped his hands over his mouth, calling after him. “I hope to see you there!”

Tamaki decided to never let Mirio know about the tiny smile that danced across his face at the mere thought of someone going so out of their way for him.  

 


 

Tamaki glared at the wall in front of him. He was really going to do this, wasn’t he? His legs began to walk without permission, anyway, so it was not like he had any say in the matter. He ducked his head low, hands stuffed into his sweatpants as he dodged all the the student’s on their way out of school.

He had told Taishiro that he wouldn’t make it to work, again, and he felt so bad for bailing on him, but he couldn’t help being so curious about whatever it was Mirio had planned. Pushing the door open to the practice building, Tamaki made his way up the stairs and hummed lightly under his breath on impulse. As he neared the room, he realized what he was doing and quickly silenced himself.

The sound coming from within the room set Tamaki on edge. It seemed as if there were more than one person in the room, but why would there be more than one unless Mirio was actually practicing? Nervously, Tamaki bit his lip and shuffled inside.

Mirio instantly whipped around, a large smile painted on his face. “You made it!”

Tamaki lifted his shoulders into a shrug. “Curious, is all,” he mumbled in reply.

“Ah, well, good! Glad I could grab your attention!”

Tamaki narrowed his eyes and eyed the nearest wall. How weird would it be for him to smash his head against it? It looked much more pleasing than anything else at the moment. “So,” Tamaki choked out, awkwardly scratching his cheek. “What, um, do you want to show me?”

Mirio snapped his fingers and turned around to grab his guitar. “I want you to listen!”

Tamaki opened his mouth to speak, only for movement from his left to silence him. His shoulders tensed and he jerkily looked over at the other people who were standing by. How had he not noticed them? He should have been looking for them because he thought he had heard other voices…

The two girls smiled at him, one with a calm understanding and the other with vast excitement. He knew Yuuyuu and Nejire, but not extremely well. The last he had seen of them was when he had ran away from them that one time in the library.

“What are…” Tamaki started, but trailed off as Nejire plopped down in her seat by her drumset. Yuuyuu grabbed her guitar and slid the strap over her shoulder. They both looked to Mirio and waited.

Mirio put his whole attention on Tamaki. He nodded, and Nejire took that as her cue to bang her drumsticks together a couple times before hitting them against the instrument. Tamaki jumped slightly at the sudden noise, eyes growing wide as Yuuyuu began strumming, Mirio following suit.

It started as just instrumental, but about twenty seconds in, Mirio’s lips parted and he began to sing. Tamaki felt the floor open up beneath him and swallow him whole. He had no idea Mirio could sing. His voice was deep and a bit rough, but it sounded so nice and, well, it fit him in a strange way.

Tamaki straightened his spine as he listened. He could always appreciate other people’s art and music, so this was...nice. He found that he was glad he came. Standing there and watching them pour their hearts into this one song filled his heart with warmth.

Nejire promptly cut her drumming off and leaned back. Yuuyuu and Mirio stopped played as well, and all that was left was Mirio singing the last verse. He finished softly, wide blue eyes staring straight at Tamaki.

He knew his face was bright red, but he hoped that he could blame it on the hot room and not the intensity of Mirio’s eyes.

“So? What did you think?” Mirio asked, a hopeful look glinting in his eyes.

“I, uh, it was--”

“How did you really like it? Oh, oh, be honest! Didn’t you know, we can’t improve unless you’re honest? I hope you liked it, it was hard to learn it so quickly!” Yuuyuu placed her hand over her girlfriend’s mouth to quiet her, smiling apologetically to Tamaki.

“It...I liked it. I have, um, n-never heard it before...it was nice.”

“Well, you’ve never heard it before because we wrote it last weekend!”

Tamaki blinked in surprise. A song that good in such a short time? That really took some talent and hard work. They must of been working nonstop. He couldn’t help but admire their determination.

“...However, you see, there’s a problem with the song,” Mirio said slowly. Tamaki furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. Problem? It sounded fine to him. “My voice doesn’t fit it,” Mirio continued, “but your voice would.”

Tamaki took a startled step back, laughing nervously. What? How...what was happening? “You said this wasn’t about practice…”

“But it is about getting you to consider! You have the voice we need, Tamaki, and we want to help you show the world what you can do.”

Three pairs of eyes stared at Tamaki. He knew, in reality, no one could force him into this role. He knew that if he made this decision, it would take hard work and determination. It wasn’t something he could just blow off and pick up whenever he wanted. If he did this, he’d have to dedicate himself to practice and he would have to push himself harder and, now that he was thinking about it, he would most likely have to get out of his comfort zone.

His father’s voice drifted into his mind, reminding him that taking risks is always a good way to help him get better with public situations. He remembered that advice during his high school talent show, but he ended up puking in the restroom and crying in his dad’s arms, so that wasn’t very good. However, Mirio and the others seemed... Understanding, so maybe they’d be okay if it took him awhile to get used to the idea of actually singing in front of someone who wasn’t his dad.

Taking a deep breath. Tamaki met their stares. He knew his answer. Hell, he wouldn’t have come all this way for nothing, really. He wouldn’t have come if he wasn’t at least a little bit interested.

He knew this choice would change things drastically, and for the first time in his life, he felt like maybe that would be okay.

Chapter Text

Tamaki’s palms were filled with sweat as he read over the text for what felt like the thirtieth time that day, cradling the phone in trembling hands.

Toogata had sent him a message - why did he give him his phone number?! - and quickly explained the schedule practice times. It was all basically the same thing, one hour and a half after school ends every day. Which would’ve been fine if Tamaki didn’t have a certain place to be every day after school.

A sigh escaped his lips as he slowly walked toward the east wing. Usually he practiced in silence in the west, but the place was usually locked and Mirio insisted that it’d be easier for them to practice in the room he always booked. Tamaki couldn’t really argue with that.

He sent a message to his cousin.

 

Tamaki: I don’t think I can do this…

ManlyRiot: U TOTALLY CAN!! I BELIEVE IN U!

Tamaki: No. It’s no good. I won’t make it. I’ll just have to tell them I’m sick and won’t come to practice.

ManlyRiot: Tamaki… ;(

Tamaki: … Fine.

ManlyRiot: YES!! SO PROUD OF U! CANT WAIT TO HEAR UR MUSIC!

Tamaki: If I ever even manage to sing.

ManlyRiot: u will be just fine!! ur so manly for even walking there rn!

Tamaki: I… I guess.

ManlyRiot: :D

ManlyRiot: I gtg now!! Ttyl!!

Tamaki: Goodbye.

 

Tamaki stared at the screen, then slowly typed in:

 

Tamaki: :)

ManlyRiot: ASDFGHJKL

ManlyRiot: manly tears rn omfg

 

He chuckled, covering his mouth at the sight. His cousin got ridiculously excited whenever Tamaki sent emojis or emoticons of any kind. It wasn’t something he usually did, but his cousin insisted it was adorable and loved it every time Tamaki attempted.

It lightened his mood and gave him enough confidence to push through his final steps.

The door was right there and all he had to do was pull it.

He waited for a second, two, three, before he huffed in frustration and took a step back. He was here now, he could definitely open the door, make it inside and just… Practice. With other people. Staring at him.

He swallowed down a whine, ignored the spike of anxiety pounding in his chest, and pulled the door.

“Amajiki-san!” A high pitched shrill. Air was knocked out of his lungs as a small figure slammed into him. “Hey hey!! We totally thought you’d ditch!”

He was, in fact, considering the option very highly at the moment. He momentarily wondered if it would be weird if he bashed his head against the wall.

“Toogata said you’re crazy good at singing! Is it true? It must be, Toogata has great music taste, didn’t you know? Oh, oh! You read over the sheet music and lyrics we gave you, right?”

Tamaki stepped back - struggling away from Hadou’s iron grip. A merry laughter filled the room, and the sound caused a small flutter in Tamaki’s chest as Mirio sauntered over.

“Lay off, Hadou! Give the poor guy room to breathe!”

She giggled, but obeyed regardless and hurried back to her seat - picking up a pair of drumsticks on the way. Mirio turned to him with a grin.

“Sorry about that! Anyway, you’ve learned the song, right?”

Technically, Tamaki learned the song the first time he’d heard it. He could understand and replicate sounds and music to perfection - he didn’t know where he got the skill from, but it unfortunately meant that he never really bothered to learn how to read sheet music. And considering he’d only heard the song once… The tune was just barely in his memory.

He didn’t really want to bother the others with his inability, though. So rather than admitting he couldn’t actually read the paper, Tamaki nodded; answering Mirio’s question.

“Great! You’re a fast learner, that’s perfect!”

Tamaki could hardly stomach all of the compliments being poured his direction. It almost made him feel queasy - he forcefully swallowed his lunch from earlier before it lurched out.

“Alright guys! Let’s get into position!”

Tamaki hesitated for a moment, reconsidering his agreement to joining this band. What if he pretended he’d gotten into some sort of accident - which coincidentally caused him to lose his voice - therefore could no longer be a part of-

“Okay! All set?” Mirio called out.

Tamaki jumped, eyes darting around as he realised he’d somehow subconsciously walked over to the microphone stand. His heart raced the second the realisation dawned on him.

They were expecting him to sing.

Hadou tapped her drumsticks together, counting them down, before hitting the beats and creating their bass. Haya followed almost instantly. They started out a little out of synch, but quickly matched each other’s tempos.

Toogata followed not much later. His electric guitar making their main rhythm - one that Tamaki supposedly should follow. His cue was coming any second, he breathed for the few precious moments he had left; his lips parted.

…Nothing came out.

His throat forcefully clenched. Trying its best to keep his voice in his body. A family pounding in his ears as his chest ached, his mouth felt unbearably dry but he didn’t have the energy to make a move to wet his lips. Instead, he bit the inside of his cheek - hard enough for him to taste iron.

He hasn’t even realised the music had stopped. The three watched him with concern.

“Did you, ah, miss your cue? We can start again if you want.” Mirio mumbled gently.

Tamaki rapidly shook his head, breathing going ragged. He heard a shuffle of footsteps, then tensed once a hand landed on his shoulder.

“Tama-“

He smacked it away not a second later, stumbling back as he faced Toogata. Tamaki’s eyes were blown wide with fear. A lump formed in his throat - making it even harder to breathe.

Toogata took another step towards him. Tamaki turned on his heel and ran. He heard voices ringing after him but they did nothing but bounce around in his brain and blur together. His hand flew up to the collar of his shirt, desperately tugging on it as he ran, trying to make it easier for him to breathe--

He wasn’t sure how far he had gotten before he collapsed on his knees and inhaled sharply, the feeling of breath entering his lungs somewhat painful. Scrambling backward, his back thudded against the wall and he curled up in a ball and continued to panic.

 


 

“Um, should we go after him?” Yuuyu questioned as she sat her guitar down.

“I think we should! He seemed pretty scared, hey, didn’t he look pretty scared, Yuu-chan?”

“Yeah, he did,” Yuuyu said in agreement, looking at Mirio. “So? Our most precious leader? Should we go after him?”

“I don’t think we should,” the blonde started, gaining two looks of confusion. “But I should. Too many people would overwhelm him.” The other two seemed to agree immediately. Nejire, though very curious, puffed her cheeks out and plopped down in her chair to keep herself from running after Mirio. Yuuyu smiled and leaned against the table.

“Alright, I’ll text you guys later, okay?” Mirio said, lifting his hand and waving as he exited the classroom. He wasn’t sure where Tamaki had run off to, so this would probably be hard. However, as he turned the corner and walked toward the staircase, he heard the sound of someone sobbing. Retracing his steps, Mirio slipped down one of the side hallways leading to the restrooms. There, right by the water fountains, he found Tamaki curled in on himself, hands buried in his hair as he mumbled nonsense under his breath.

Mirio squatted down, his hands hanging loosely in front of himself, elbows on his knees. He lifted a hand and reached out, making to lay a comforting hand on Tamaki’s shoulder. However, as his hand brushed the fabric of Tamaki’s shift, the teen flinched harshly and whined, hiding his face.

Okay, so wrong approach. Biting his lip, Mirio hummed as he searched his mind for something he could do. “Hey,” Mirio said and made himself more comfortable. He sat with his legs crossed, arms folded over his lap. “Did you know that I’m an only child?” He asked, not expecting an answer. He just hoped he could distract Tamaki in some way. “I grew up with my dad as my main guardian, because my mother passed away when I was around six or so. I miss her a lot, because from what I remember, she was a very soft and warm woman. My father and I always go to this little park she loved on her birthday, and we spend the day fishing or swimming and feeding the ducks. Oh, but don’t worry, we don’t feed the ducks bread! We know that isn’t good for them, so birdseed it is. It’s fun, but it’s also kind of a bittersweet day because she can’t be with us. My dad misses her a lot, too, but he’s a pretty strong guy…” Mirio trailed off, beaming as Tamaki peeked out of hiding, eyes slightly curious as to what Mirio was saying.

Good, that meant that Tamaki could pay attention now. “Hey, hey, Amajiki-kun, can you breathe with me?”

Tamaki opened his mouth to speak, only for a low whine to escape his lips. His breaths still came in short, ragged pants. As the silence grew, his eyes filled with more panic.

“Tamaki,” Mirio said gently and scooted a bit closer. “Breathe with me, okay?” He said, inhaling for about four seconds. He then exhaled for five. Tamaki wasn’t able to get a handle on the breathing until about the fourth try, but once he got the first successful set, he was able to continue with the exercise until he was breathing properly.

“You okay now?” Mirio asked, a warm smile plastered to his face.

Tamaki shakily nodded his head. “Y-yeah. Um, th..thank you, Toogata-kun.”

“Ah, please. Mirio is fine! Say, wanna go get some fresh air?”

Tamaki fought the blush that crept across his cheeks. “Um...s-sure, uh, M-Mirio…”

Mirio’s smile grew twice as large, eyes shining with glee. “Great, lets go!”

 


 

Mirio pushed the door open, the cool breeze hitting him in the face. He sighed in bliss, rolling the sleeves of his jacket up. He loved the outdoors, and he loved it even more when it was cold. He had been told multiple times that he was basically a walking furnace.

Mirio led Tamaki to a small trail that walked along the campus. They didn’t speak, but he felt as if that was okay. It wasn’t awkward, it actually felt...nice. To just walk next to Tamaki and enjoy their surroundings.

“L-Look!” Tamaki stuttered, lifting a finger. Mirio followed to where he pointed, eyes landing on a small yellow butterfly chilling on a dying flower.

“Oh, wow! What’s he doing out here in this cold weather!” Mirio said with a laugh, leaning down to examine the insect. Tamaki joined him, a small smile filtering across his lips.

“I, uh...I really like butterflies…” Tamaki said, teeth chattering slightly together as he spoke. Mirio turned to him at the information, tilting his head in question. “Um..my dad. He, when I was younger, would call me his little butterfly…” A faint blush painted across his cheeks at the reveal.. Mirio just grinned.

“That’s so cute, oh my god! My dad never gave me a cute nickname, but my mother did call me sunsh- are you cold?”

Tamaki jumped as Mirio cut himself off and laughed nervously, hanging his head so he wouldn’t have to look at Mirio. “...No.”

Mirio rolled his eyes, already shrugging his jacket off. He held it out to Tamaki. “No arguing, just take it. I promise you I am not cold.”

Tamaki bit his lip, staring at the jacket. He would feel bad for taking it, but...he was cold… With shaking hands, Tamaki reached out and took the clothing, a small and shy thank you slipping past his lips. He slipped the jacket on and instantly sighed in relief. It was a bit too big for him, big enough to create sweater paws, but he did not mind in the slightest. Tamaki loved wearing things that were too big for him because it made it easier for him to hide.

Mirio swiftly looked away, covering his mouth with his hand. A small, red hue blossomed across his cheeks. Without a word, he motioned for Tamaki to keep walking. They follow the path with ease, barely speaking a word as they walk.

About ten minutes of silence passed before Mirio cleared his throat. “So, Tamaki, how are-”

His promptly got cut off as a loud alarm blared from Tamaki’s pocket. The teen smiles shyly and carefully took the device out of his pocket, swiping the alarm away. “Oh, I have to go! I’m late!” He gasped, turning in the opposite direction.

“Huh? Late for what?”

Tamaki waved his hand. “T-thank you so much for today! Goodbye!” He blurted out and ran off, leaving a confused Mirio in his wake.

Mirio watched him go, blinking slowly. “Ah,” he said slowly as Tamaki disappeared in the distance. “He still has my jacket…”



Chapter Text

Tamaki hated running in the afternoon. In the afternoon, other people were out, thus that meant they could see him, and he would suddenly become insecure about the way he ran. Not that there was anything wrong with how he ran, he didn’t think, but--

Oh, god, what if there was something wrong with the way he ran? Tamaki felt his face pale at the thought, which caused his pace to slow drastically. He usually ran early in the morning when and where no one else did just so he wouldn’t have to face anyone else. That was why he currently felt like ramming his head against the closest building. Students that had stayed behind after school were milling about, and some teachers were finally heading home for the day. There were too many eyes and too many stares.

Ducking his head, Tamaki hunched his shoulders and nervously bit down on his bottom lip. Instantly, thoughts of judgemental stares and his awkward running fled his mind and fizzled out to Mirio.

The man probably thought he was weird. If not weird, then at least a little odd and awkward. With a loud groan, Tamaki sighed heavily and stared at the sidewalk. If he didn’t have to go and help out at the cafe, then he would just head straight to his room and hibernate there until he was declared dead. That would be easier than having to face Mirio or any of the other band members again. After the impression he must have had left, he would not be surprised if Mirio came up to him, or texted him, that he was going to be kicked out of the band.

However, maybe that wouldn’t be the worst thing to ever happen… Humming in thought, Tamaki pursed his lips as his hands slid into his pockets. On one hand, he could get kicked out and not have to face the three members again after his panic attack. On the other hand, his father really wanted him to branch out and try to make friends...and, well, he really hated letting his father down.

Tamaki breathed in relief as the familiar cafe made its way into his view, and all his negative thoughts disappeared into nothingness. It gave him the last burst of energy he needed to push through his exhaustion and make it to his home. His lips almost curled into a smile at the smell of Takoyaki.

I’ll have to save some for lunch tomorrow. He thought, almost forgetting the events that occurred earlier. Kirishima heard the doorbell jingle and turned around to greet the customer - his eyes lit up brightly at the sight of Tamaki.

“Tamaki!” Kirishima jumped over the counter in his excitement and tackled Tamaki against the door, nuzzling in his chest. “You’re home early! Fat was gonna make you a celebratory lunch since you went to the-“

“Wait, what?” Tamaki narrowed his eyes, how did Toyomitsu know about that? He didn’t recall telling him that Tamaki was gonna be with Mirio. “How did-?” He was cut off as Kirishima stared at his body with wide eyes. “What?”

“That jacket…”

Tamaki blanked for a second, before his face burned in humiliation as he remembered he was still wearing the jacket.

“Isn’t that Toogata’s?” Kirishima tilted his head curiously. A sly grin crawled its way onto his face. “Were you two in a rush-?”

“OH MY GOD- KIRISHIMA!”

Kirishima howled with laughter - wheezing and holding onto Tamaki to support himself before he fell to the floor. Tamaki was seriously considering dropping his cousin.

“It isn’t like that!”

“I- I know-!” Kirishima snorted, not sounding convinced at all. Tamaki whined and buried his face in his hands - he ignored the fact that he had made no move to take the jacket off.

It was at this moment that Toyomitsu decided to invite himself in the room to see what the ruckus was about. “What are you two up to?” He grinned at them, then paused as he noticed the jacket as well. His eyes checked over Tamaki’s frame. “Tamaki… Walk over here.”

“What? Why?”

“Just do it.”

Confused, Tamaki obeyed and slowly walked over towards Toyomitsu, almost hesitantly. Toyomitsu looked him over again, then observed him closer.

“What’s wrong?” Tamaki asked, feeling a little self conscious.

“No limps or bruises, guess Toogata didn’t-“

“WHY WOULD YOU EVEN THINK THAT?!” Tamaki burst into a brilliant shade of red, covering his face as Toyomitsu and Kirishima once again fell into a fit of giggles.

“I’m sorry! I couldn’t resist…” he said quietly, then cleared his throat. “Didn’t want him movin’ too fast, was a little worried.”

Tamaki whined, the tips of his pointy ears fading into a light pink. “We barely even know each other- Why would you-?”

“I’m yer dad!” He stated obviously, puffing out his chest with pride. “It’s only natural I’d worry for ya!”

He was silent for a moment before Tamaki offered a wobbly smile. Toyomitsu and Kirishima practically squealed at that and hugged him dearly.

 

By the time he got back to his room, Tamaki had completely forgotten that he never questioned Toyomitsu about how he knew Tamaki went to sing in a band.

A band he didn’t think he could handle.

The group was nice, of course. They were really gentle with him, Mirio especially, but…

That didn’t change that Tamaki’s stage fright was simply too challenging at the moment for him to face.

He cursed his own cowardice and muted the group chat Mirio had gone out of his way to create. He quickly changed out of his school clothes and into more comfortable ones, donning one of his own sweatshirts and a pair of sweatpants. He nervously stared at Mirio’s discarded jacket. Slowly, he carefully picked up the fabric and folded it neatly. He would wash it and return it to Mirio. Then, when he did that, he would tell Mirio that he wouldn’t be able to be in his band.

Nodding in acceptance at his plan, Tamaki slipped on his sneakers and went back down into the cafe. He waved at some of the regulars as he came down the stairs and swiftly made his way into the back room. This was definitely one of his favorite places ever.

Grabbing some flour and other ingredients, he placed them all on the counter and hummed. Now going on autopilot, he washed his hands and began to bake. He learned how to bake right in this kitchen with Fatgum when he was younger, and it began a stress reliever and a way to calm his anxiety. He apparently got so good at the craft and he became the official baker for his father’s cafe. An honor, really, because Tamaki knew Toyomitsu was a better baker than him.

His thoughts got interrupted by the bell going off, signalling someone entering. That usually didn’t bother him, but the voice that called out had him freezing in his whisking.

“Hey, Fatgum!” Mirio’s cheerful voice rang out.

Tamaki narrowed his eyes, his grip on the whisk so tight his knuckles began to turn white. So his father knew Mirio, huh…

“Hey, Toogata-kun! How ya doin’?”

“I’m doing great! Anyway, I just wanted to come by to say thank you so much for telling me about Tamaki! He really is exactly what I was looking for.”

Tamaki nearly dropped the bowl. With a loud and offended huff, he placed the bowl on the counter and eyed the kitchen knives lining the edge of the counter. Would it really be a crime to stab his father…?

Before he can really contemplate if people would truly mind a Fatgum Dinner, the door swung open and Kirishima poked his head in. “Hey cuz, one lemon tart, please!”

Tamaki mumbled something close to an okay and turned to the oven. Good thing he had already started them. After three more minutes, the timer dinged, and he pulled them out. He smiled at his work and set aside three of them before taking the rest to the small window in the wall. He was glad that Toyomitsu had put that there, because he hated having to show his face to the customers. God, he couldn’t imagine...what if they complimented him or something for his food? He would die.

Kirishima took the tray of freshly baked tarts a moment later. He called out Mirio’s name, and Tamaki whimpered in distress. Mirio was going to eat a tart that he had made. The universe was so unfair.

Tamaki spent the rest of the night holed up in the kitchen. He refused to leave, not even when Kirishima said that Mirio had left. When the last customer left, Fatgum sauntered into the kitchen and patted Tamaki on the back.

“Go get some rest, son, ya look like ya need it. Kiri and I will handle clean up.”

Tamaki opened his mouth to argue, but a wide yawn cut him off. Smiling sheepishly, he quietly thanked his father and rushed up the stairs before he could let himself feel bad. He instantly went to his bed and collapsed face first onto the soft mattress.

He had no idea how he would get Mirio’s jacket back to him now. It seemed almost impossible, but he supposed that the right time would come around sooner or later. With another yawn, Tamaki didn’t even have time to think about homework before he drifted off and fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Tamaki decided that, as his eyes slid open the following morning, he would be avoiding Mirio until it became impossible to. With that mindset, he went on about his days as normally as he could. That is, if normal meant hiding behind trees and launching himself into some bushes every time he saw blonde hair. It was really embarrassing that one time his cousin’s boyfriend came into the shop and he literally jumped the counter and kicked said cousin in the face. To make it even more embarrassing, the guy and Mirio don’t even have the same shade of blonde hair. Tamaki was just that jumpy.

It also got to the point where he was avoiding anyone with light blue hair. However, not a lot of people on campus had hair like that, so that wasn’t too hard. Haya-chan, on the other hand, had brown hair. That made everything harder. He basically became a hermit within the week, seeing as how he was avoiding eye contact with everyone, didn’t talk to anyone, and rushed from class to class as fast as his feet would take him.

He even started to avoid his normal spots. Hadou-chan was smart, so it only took her a day to figure out Tamaki’s patterns. She started poking her head into every room he frequented, whether it be the room he rented for practicing or the corner he hid in to study at the library. It became stressful to go about daily life with three people trying to track you down.

To be fair, he knew that they probably wouldn’t pressure him. They probably just wanted to make sure he was okay and to check up on him, which was valid, but Tamaki’s anxiety honestly could not take that. Besides, what if they didn’t actually want to check up on him? What if they just wanted to tell him how weird and horrible and untalented he was? He wasn’t sure his frail heart could handle such words.

That was how Tamaki found himself at the cafe almost twenty-four seven. Toyomitsu seemed a bit worried that he wasn’t trying to be social, but decided not to push it much. Even Kirishima seemed concerned. The two were the only ones he found himself talking to that following week.

One day, he sat sprawled on the ground of his room, books laid out before him. He had been at this for way too long and desperately needed a break. That break came in the form on his cousin and his boyfriend making their way into the room.

“Hey, cuz!” Kirishima greeted happily. Bakugo grunted in what Tamaki believed was a greeting. He wasn’t completely sure, and he wasn’t about to ask because the guy was kind of intimidating.

“So,” Kirishima said, drawing out the ‘o’. Tamaki narrowed his eyes. He knew there was a reason for his cousin coming into his room. Kirishima took his cousin’s silence as an okay to continue. “So,” he started again, “it has come to my attention that you still have a certain somebody’s jacket.”

Tamaki paled. He then looked down. He was currently wearing said piece of fabric. Why was he wearing it? He had no idea, he just knew that it was really soft and it was too big for him and that…

Laughing awkwardly, he swiftly took the jacket off and threw it onto his bed. “What do you mean?”

This time, Bakugou spoke up. “Can you please just do something? Eijiro won’t stop fucking talking about if you’re dating Toogata or not.”

Tamaki’s face instantly bloomed a bright red. “We- I am not - why- oh my god!”

“Then why do you have his jacket? I have questions, Tamaki, and not knowing the answers are killing me!”

Tamaki wanted to die. “Please leave me alone,” he begged.

“But- you have to return it if it’s not yours-”

“I will not.”

“Tamaki-”

“Eiji,” Bakugou snapped. “Just leave it be, you out of everyone should know how your cousin is.”

Tamaki felt himself prickle at that statement. What was that supposed to mean? Oh no, did Bakugou hate him? Did he not like how he was? Tamaki felt himself deflate a bit. He didn’t blame him.

“Aw, okay, you’re right. Anyway, I’ll you to study! Bye, Tamaki!”

Tamaki lifted a shaky hand in farewell. As the two disappeared down the stairs by his door, he looked down at his papers. His dark hair fell in front of his face. Sighing shakily, he grabbed his pencil and got back to work.

 


 

The next day he found himself in a practice room. He wasn’t used to the room, but he had been changing rooms every day for the past couple weeks so that Nejire and Mirio couldn’t track him down. He also practiced something different everyday so that they wouldn’t be able to listen for him, either.

Opening the case he had laid down in front of himself, he carefully lifted the sleek instrument out of its case and smiled at the familiar reddish brown hue. He hadn’t practiced the violin in awhile, so it would be good for him to get it out before he got rusty.

Placing it on his shoulder and lifting the bow, he took a deep breath. Slowly, he pulled the bow across the strings and pressed his fingers down when needed. A light classical sound filled the room, and he only realized he had left the door open — a habit of his he probably would never break — when he turned around and came face to face with Mirio.

He nearly dropped his instrument in surprise. How had Mirio found him? He had been so careful? How did things like this keep happening to him?

“Wow, you sure are talented! Great voice and your violin playing makes a beautiful sound! Is there anything you can’t do?”  

Tamaki instantly scowled and glared at the ground. “Perform in front of a crowd, apparently,” he practically growled out. Mirio either didn’t hear him, or chose to not address his words as he continued on.

“So, what other instruments can you play? Or is it just the violin? Wait, not that that isn’t impressive! Just, you know, I’m curious.”

Tamaki inhaled sharply and shuffled over to his case. “I have natural talent for a lot of instruments. My body seems to adapt to them as I learn to play them,” he said in an even tone. It took everything within himself to not snap at the man. That wouldn’t be fair to him. Or would it be fair? Tamaki honestly had no idea.

Mirio smiled brightly. Tamaki grit his teeth as he placed his violin into its case and snapped it closed. “You should try doing something bigger with your skill, Tamaki! You’re so amazing, so I know you could—”

“I have to go,” Tamaki blurted out, ears tinting red. He didn’t give Mirio another chance to speak as he shrugged past the blonde and made his way out of the room.  

 


 

Mirio watched Tamaki’s retreating back, a pout formed on his lips. He wasn’t intentionally trying to annoy him, just… Trying to get some answers. Tamaki said himself that he’s naturally talented in a lot of instruments, so why was he wasting that talent by hiding in the shadows? He deserved to be known.

Mirio’s chest puffed out in determination.

I’m definitely gonna get you recognised, Tamaki. And definitely getting you in this band… It’s what you deserve!

Mirio decided that he may as well take advantage of the rented room and quickly took out his guitar. The plucks and strums of the strings were familiar under his rough fingers, and the gentle tune was that of his mother’s lullaby.

He definitely missed her soft voice, her, and the rhythm of his music only furthered his nostalgia. A soft sigh escaped his lips as he continued to play the song, moving onto others throughout the hour.

The practice session ended too soon, and Mirio found himself walking towards the café once again. Surprisingly, he realised that he wished Hadou and Haya were with him too… They were a fun bunch, and his goofy side was only encouraged when around them.

Just as he pushed the cafe doors open, a familiar mop of navy hair caught his eyes.

“Wh- Tamaki!” He grinned happily, the other’s shoulders visibly tensed — before he whirled around to face Mirio, the same panicked, frightened eyes he had when Mirio first found him singing. “I wasn’t expecting to see you here! Do you like this café? The food here is amazing!”

Surprisingly, Tamaki’s cheeks burst into a bright red. Mirio was caught off guard by the reaction, and was further confused when Tamaki fiddled with his hoodie strings. Fatgum laughed loudly behind him, slapping Tamaki’s back.

“That’s Tamaki’s food you’re complimenting there! Best chef, in my opinion.”

Mirio gaped, jaw practically unhiging from his face.

Tamaki worked here?! Not only that, but he was the cook as well? Mirio loved the food here more than anything — to think he was eating Tamaki’s food —

The thought made him blush lightly.

Tamaki… Cooked for him, so to speak. Well, technically he cooked for everyone! But he counted as everyone too, so, technically, Tamaki cooked for him.

The poor boy looked embarassed and frightened beyond belief, yet the image somehow morphed into Mirio entering a house ( his house?) and Tamaki cooking in the kitchen, a cute little apron wrapped tightly around his—

OHMYGOD MIRIO STOP! His mind screamed, snapping him out of his daze. He didn’t really know Tamaki that well, just knew that Tamaki was talented and absolutely gorgeous.

All of a sudden, Tamaki turned his heel and rushed up the stairs — a few shuffling sounds before he hurried back downstairs and held a nearly folded, familiar jacket in his arms.

“I- I never got to give this back…” he mumbled, avoiding Mirio’s eyes as he offered the jacket.

Just as Mirio was about to pluck it off of Tamaki and thank him, a sly thought flashed through his mind. Instead of taking the jacket, he pushed the back of Tamaki’s hands and pressed them against the navy haired boy’s chest, locking the jacket in place. Tamaki looked up at him, confused.

“You can give it back to me on the next practice session!” An innocent grin that completely contradicted his devilish plan. Tamaki almost screamed.

“Wh-What? But… But why-?”

“I’ll see you then, Tamaki!” He turned around, and left the café with a bounce in his step. Tamaki watched him leave — his eyes trailed on Mirio’s back.

The shirt was well fitted, and it wasn’t too obvious, but there was some muscle definition underneath. The tip of Tamaki’s ears warmed up as he stared at Mirio leave — until it was no longer possible to see him.

His cousin hummed.

“I thought you said it wasn’t like that.”

Tamaki snapped out of his daze and shrieked. “OH MY GOD IT ISN’T!!”

Chapter Text

Tamaki laid in bed staring at the ceiling. It took forever for him to actually get to sleep, and when he finally did, he tossed and turned and ended up only getting about three hours. He then decided to just stare at the ceiling until it was time to go.

Screwing his face up into one of pain, Tamaki trailed his gaze from the ceiling to the window. Practice would be happening soon, and he wasn’t sure what to do. He had to give Mirio the jacket back, that much was clear, but why couldn’t he just drop it off and run away…?
A small voice in the back of Tamaki’s head answered him.

It’s because you want to be better.

Tamaki scowled. He knew, deep down, that this...band thing could be good for him. It would definitely help him get out of his shell and make new friends. He already liked the members of the band, but they were all so confident and bright and loud. The exact opposite of Tamaki. Maybe that was why this would be so good for him. Surrounding himself with people who not only would challenge him to be better, but who were also nice and understood his anxiety.

Well, he wasn’t exactly sure if they understood that part of him yet. They seemed to want to help and they seemed to be concerned, but that did not mean they completely understood what was wrong with him. Thinking about it now, getting close to others was something Tamaki didn’t like. It took forever for him to get close to Toyomitsu when he first moved in, and took even longer for him to allow himself to be alone in a room with Eijiro.

Rolling onto his back, Tamaki gazed up at the ceiling. He should probably get up and get ready to go, but the dread in his stomach was weighing him down. He didn’t want to go all that way only to tire himself out with another panic attack. However, he knew Mirio was going to be there waiting for him...and the jacket...Tamaki hated disappointing people, so he already knew there was no way he could just back out now.

With a heavy sigh, Tamaki lifted himself up and threw his legs over the side of the bed. He would just have to deal with it. Mirio needed his jacket back. That was his reasoning for going, nothing else. He wouldn’t let himself think otherwise.

Quickly sliding off the bed, he swiped his phone from where it was charging and checked his notifications.

 

[Hado]

  • Hey, hey, guys, I saw a pigeon! It was eating a piece of bread! Hey, I heard bread is bad for ducks, is it bad for pigeons, too? Should I take away it’s bread and give it something else?



[Haya]

  • Babe, I think it’s only for ducks. Don’t worry about it.

 

[Toogata]

  • But what if it’s bad for them, too?! Shouldn’t she save it?!

 

[Haya]

  • Do whatever you want, but if I hear you got attacked by a pigeon, then I’m going to laugh. This is your warning.

 

[Hado]

  • meanie

 

Tamaki took a deep breath. How could he hate people who were having such a pure conversation? Setting the device aside, Tamaki quickly got changed. It didn’t take long for him to get ready, and before he knew it, the time to go to practice was right around the corner.

He glanced back down at his phone.

 

[Toogata]

  • Hey, Amajiki, you’re coming today, right?

 

[Hado]

  • Oh, oh, oh! You have to, pls say u are!

 

[Haya]

  • What they both mean is that we would love to see you there

 

Tamaki nervously bit his bottom lip. Grabbing Mirio’s jacket, he inhaled deeply and took a step outside his room. Calling out a goodbye to his father, he placed his phone in his pocket and left them on read as he left the cafe.

 




Awkwardly shuffling to the room, Tamaki stood beside the door and peeked in. Mirio’s jacket was hung loosely over his arm as if it was some sort of weight to keep him grounded. As he entered the room, a thought popped into his head.

He didn’t wash the jacket. Tamaki froze in his movements, his head spinning rapidly. How could he have had forgotten something so important?! It was common courtesy to wash an article of clothing one borrows from another!

He didn’t get too much time to dwell on it as the small group turned to him. Nejire’s purple eyes practically sparkled as she jumped forward. She looked like she had just won the lottery.

“Amajiki-kun!” She said loudly, reaching out to grab his free hand with both of hers. “I am so excited that you’re here! I didn’t think you would show up! Hey, what made you come? Was it because we messaged you? Did I say something? Oh, no was it Yu-chan? She’s really nice and amazing, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was her! Or, was it perhaps Toogata-kun, oh--”

Tamaki’s mind spun as he tried to keep up with her words. He didn’t want to be rude and not answer her at all, but he just couldn’t keep up. How could she talk so fast? It wasn’t that it annoyed him that much, but maybe she should slow down just a little so he could keep up..

“...I totally thought you were too chicken-hearted to show up! But wow, Amajiki-kun, you sure did surprise me!”

“Nejire,” Haya chuckled as she grabbed the back of her girlfriend’s uniform. She gently yanked her back. “Give the guy some space.”

Tamaki eyed the closest wall. Would it be weird if he smashed his head against it? Probably, but it seemed very tempting at the moment. What did Hado even mean by chicken-hearted? That was an insult, wasn’t it? What was he supposed to do about being insulted? So much was happening in such a short period and he couldn’t keep up.

“Hey, Amajiki,” Mirio greeted as he finally joined the group.

Tamaki stared at him, watching as the blonde smiled widely. The whole room seemed to brighten up. Stuttering out nonsense, he shoved the jacket into Mirio’s arms, ears blazing red.

“I, uh, forgot to, um, wash it. I’m...I’m sorry…”

“Ha! No worries, man!”

Tamaki was horrified as he watched Mirio shrug the jacket on. The moment the material fell over his shoulders, Mirio paused, eyes growing a fraction wider. “It smells like you,” he whispered.

Furrowing his eyebrows together, Tamaki tilted his head. He wasn’t sure exactly what Mirio had said. It was kind of hard to hear with Nejire and Haya having their own conversation right next to them. “What did you say?”

Mirio’s cheeks suddenly burst into a dark shade of red. “I said we should probably get to practicing!”

He stared at him for a moment longer, a little suspicious, before shifting his attention back on the floor.

Technically Tamaki didn’t say he agreed in practising with them, just implied he’d wanted to return the jacket. So he technically still had the option of not participating…

But that obviously wasn’t possible, he couldn’t bare to disappoint them now.

Tamaki sighed and forced his way towards the cursed microphone — he loved it, really, it certainly helped a lot when his quiet voice couldn’t raise any louder. But now it would have to be used for singing in front of people. He really wasn’t looking forward to that.

Awkwardly standing around, the others quickly tuned in their instruments. Mirio was kind enough to hand him another music sheet — not that it was particularly necessary. Tamaki never actually learned how to read sheet music, and instead learned everything by ear. He wasn’t exactly sure how he could do it, but as long as he memorised the song, he could replicate it.

However… He’d only heard this song once. Normally this would be fine, except since he had only heard that new rhythm once, and it had been around a week since he’d last heard it… Yeah, that was definitely his anxiety picking up.

Not just from that either…

I have to sing.

A familiar beat began — minor relief flushed through him. Alright, he remembered it a bit better now. That still meant he had to actually sing the song.

Trembling hands raised, cradling the microphone; it was on a stand, so he didn’t have to hold it. He was thankful for that, because he knew he’d drop it. His cue was getting closer, he’d have to start singing any minute.

His tongue darted out, wetting his lips. They parted, his cue was coming — !

… He missed it.

His mouth was pointlessly open, no sound was coming out. He probably looked stupid right now — oh God everyone else was waiting for him — everyone must be so annoyed with him, so frustrated because he’s so incapable of just singing a dumb tune

The music paused. His shoulders tensed ten fold at that. His breathing turned ragged again, and just as he was about to bolt out of the room, a gentle, large hand landed on his shoulder, turning him to face Mirio, concern written all over his face.

“It’s okay, Amajiki… We’re not mad.”

He could only wish to believe those words. He knew they were mad, how couldn’t they be? They want to get practice done and he’s holding them back… Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

“What’s the problem?” He asked, voice just barely above a whisper. Tamaki swallowed — Mirio was far too close right now…!

“I…” He started, unsure as to whether he should take a step back or lean further in —

Please don’t kiss him, Tamaki.

Why would he even consider such a thought — oh God the lack of of oxygen was getting to him.

“Um- the… It’s…!”

Mirio’s eyes flashed into understanding, and he quickly shrugged off his jacket again and wrapped it around Tamaki’s shoulders — specifically so he could use the hood to hide Tamaki’s face. Tamaki wasn’t facing the girls anymore, it was just him and Mirio.

“Hey…” Mirio spoke softly, holding Tamaki’s arms. “It’s okay, it’s just you and me right now… Breathe with me, okay?”

Tamaki could only nod — he was safe. Mirio’s musky scent flared in his nostrils, and the large arms acted like a shield, protecting him against the rest of the world. He was safe. He was okay. Mirio was here.

He was safe.

His breathing slowly began to match Mirio’s. Mirio brightened at that, flashing his pearly whites. Tamaki almost squinted; how could one person be so bright?

“You okay?”

Unable to find his voice, Tamaki settled for a nod.

“Great!” He sighed and stared at Tamaki’s eyes — his own snapped wide, as if realising their close proximity — and recoiled back, as though he’d been slapped. “Uh- “ He cleared his throat. “Anyway, so, what was the issue?”

Tamaki fiddled with the jacket’s zipper. He wet his lips, not noticing how Mirio’s eyes snapped towards it. “I’m just… The fact that… That I have to… Sing in front of someone… I can’t…” his argument trailed off, Mirio hummed in thought.

“What if you pretend no one’s there?” Nejire’s loud voice caused the two to jump. They’d forgotten the girls were there too, almost lost in some type of daze with each other.

Tamaki struggled out of the jacket and quickly gave it back to Mirio before he ended up stealing it again. “That doesn’t work,” he huffed out, avoiding Mirio’s eyes. “I’ve tried it before… I just can’t convince myself that other people aren’t there.”

Mirio nodded slowly, looking as though an idea was forming in his mind. “Do you know why, specifically?”

“I… Maybe? It’s just that, I know you’re there, so…”

Mirio suddenly sprinted towards his school bag, looking around for only a minute before he suddenly brought out a sleeping mask. A grin spread across his face as he handed it over to Tamaki.

“Here!”

Tamaki raised a brow, staring at the mask. “Who on Earth carries a mask around?”

He laughed awkwardly, rubbing the back of his neck. “I’ll admit that sometimes I get sleepy during lunch and… There’s this really warm spot that I sleep at sometimes; sleeping masks are super comfy!”

That was fair, Tamaki hummed. But he was still confused as to why Mirio brought this out in the first place.

Mirio leaned in far too close again, and Tamaki jumped when Mirio slowly slid the mask over his eyes — a soft material that brushed against his skin, soothing and warm…and Mirio’s.

Tamaki’s cheeks warmed up as rough fingers adjusted the mask on his face, poking at his cheekbones and sliding against his hair. Almost as if… Mirio was stroking it.

But that was ridiculous, he was probably just making extra sure it was comfortable and Tamaki was okay — just because Mirio was a nice person like that.

“Ah — um — yeah, it’s on…” Mirio cleared his throat, and presumably stepped back. Tamaki almost reached out for him again, wanting to pull him back in. He was shrouded in darkness, and it felt so much colder without Mirio there.

“Okay, the microphone is right,” a hand guided his own, he felt a familiar shape, though jumped a little at the contact. “Here.”

The cold rushed in the second Mirio’s body left his side — it was amazing how warm Mirio could be. He really was like the sun.

It was silent. Tamaki’s ears picked up a few small shuffles. Nothing was for certain as he waiting for them to start the cue. He almost screamed when Nejire started counting down on her drumsticks without warning. Were they signing at each other?

The guitars came in, meaning Tamaki’s cue was soon.

But, there were no… Voices. It was all dark, he wasn’t really… In the music room, he had to be alone.

The music surrounded him, and he felt his body relax as his hips swayed to the rhythm. He wasn’t anywhere. He was just alone. It was just him and the music.

His lips parted in one fluid motion, and just as naturally, an angelic voice conjoined with the music around him. The sheet music was pointless by this point, so he’d dropped it completely and poured his heart into the song — Tamaki had to admit that the music around him was wonderfully composed, and the lyrics were just incredibly sweet. He thumped his foot against the floor in time with the beat, his body begging for him to move around and dance to the melody.

The reasonable part of his brain managed to just barely keep him on the spot. It couldn’t stop him from swaying from side to side, though.

His lips curled into a wide grin, and his cheeks almost hurt by how much he was smiling. This felt absolutely amazing. It felt like ages since he last sung — mainly because he was too paranoid of Mirio finding him, but… This didn’t seem too bad.

So look out down below…!” he finished gently. The acoustics faded out of the room, and it went quiet. Tamaki breathed out, and carefully ground himself.

Was…was that it?

Cheers of applause filled the room almost instantly — which caused Tamaki to visibly jump. Just as he took the mask off he felt arms wrap around his waist, and before he knew what was happening, he’d been lifted off the ground and twirled in the air. Mirio was laughing and grinning as they spun around the room, Yuuyu and Nejire continuously applauding as they watched the other pair.

“You did it!! Amajiki-kun, you sung!” Nejire squealed excitedly, rushing up towards the duo to offer her own hug — only to shriek as Mirio lifted her up as well. “Toogata!!” She laughed. Mirio continued to grin as his eyes landed on Yuuyu’s form.

“There’s room for one more!”

“I don’t think — ”

Mirio picked her up anyway. Within seconds, screams and laughter filled the room. Any tension in Tamaki’s body disippitated into a relaxed and jolly aura. The atmosphere in the room was nothing short of amusement and safety. Like their own little bubble.

This band sure was something else, Tamaki thought. His lips curled up into a small smile.

Maybe this will work...

Chapter Text

After he had successfully sang one song, everything seemed to fall into place after that. It was smooth sailing. Day after day, he was able to sing and contribute to the actual practice. Just as long as he was able to put something over his eyes.

He’s not sure why it helped so much, it just did. Maybe the fact that he could pretend it was just him and the music and not anyone else in the room. All that he knew was that he was eternally grateful that it seemed to be working. He didn’t feel like such a burden anymore.

About a week after the first successful practice, Tamaki found himself sitting in a booth at the cafe, Mirio next to him. Nejire and Yuuyu sat opposite them, and they all had different plates of sweets in front of themselves.

“Ah,” Nejire hummed, a happy look plastered to her face, “this place definitely has the best jasmine tea!”

Tamaki couldn't help but smile at the compliment. “The tea is T— Fatgum's specialty. He loves making it,” he explained in a quiet voice.  He decided that calling his father by his actual name around his...friends? Bandmates? Would only confuse them since everyone knew him as Fatgum.

“Fatgum is truly the best,” Nejire hummed as she took a sip of her tea. She practically melted, her body sagging against Yuuyu’s.

Tamaki watched the display of affection with a hint of confusion. It wasn’t that he was confused about their relationship, because he knew they were dating, but he was just confused as to how Nejire could seem so comfortable around someone. He didn’t think he could ever have something like that. To be so open and free with someone else...he truly admired Nejire in that sense. She was always so open and carefree, and he wished he could be as social as she was.

With a heavy sigh, Tamaki took a careful bite of his muffin and smiled softly. Kirishima must have made these ones. It tasted like his. He was great at baking, and Tamaki was very used to his style of baking because he was always his taste tester—

“Oh, oh wow,” Mirio murmured, wide eyes staring at Tamaki.

The teen blinked. “W-what?” Oh god, what did he do? Did he make an embarrassing noise? Make a weird face?

“Sorry, sorry!” Mirio laughed. “It’s just, you have a really nice smile? I don’t know if I’ve seen you smile so genuinely before.”

Tamaki felt his face blaze a dark red. He shyly placed his muffin in front of his face and sunk further into his seat.

 


 

“Okay, so, what are all the instruments you can play?” Yuuyuu asked, her brown eyes wide with curiosity. It was weird to see her be the curious one for once.

“Um,” Tamaki said helpfully. “Uh…”

“Oh!” Mirio snapped his fingers. “I know you can play the violin! I’ve heard you playing it before.”

Nejire gasped, her baby blue eyes swirling with questions. “That’s such a hard instrument! I’m impressed, Amajiki-kun! Impressed! What else can you play, huh? Oh, is that how you got in? With your violin?”

Tamaki nervously tucked his chin into his scarf. “There’s also the harp, piano...guitar...um. I can also do some banjo, saxophone, and I..um...I’ve learned to play the accordion but I don’t actually own one…” He trailed off. He knew he was probably missing some.

“Wow!” Yuuyu whistled, a small smile on her face. “You sure are impressive, huh?”

Tamaki awkwardly looked away. What was he supposed to say to that? He didn’t have anything else to do growing up, seeing as how he was either in a foster home or a shitty home. Sneaking off to the music stores around where he was currently staying was his only freedom. It wasn’t impressive, not to him. If anything, the instruments and everything else were a way to escape from his current life.

When he moved in with Toyomitsu, it took forever for him to pick up another instrument. He didn’t feel as if he needed to escape there, and it took his father forever to make him understand that he was allowed to enjoy something without having to use it as a means of freedom. In a sense, he still used it as a way to escape, just for different reasons. Anxiety, nerves, panic, his thoughts, if he had a bad day...music was the only constant in his life and he was glad that Toyomitsu helped him realize that.

“I...um, thank you?” He finally stuttered out. Yuuyu gave him a thumbs up.

 


 

“We need a band name!” Nejire declared after practice one day. “It has to be something good, something catchy, something that describes us!”
“Or,” Yuuyu cut in, “just something really cool.”

Nejire puffed her cheeks out but didn’t argue. Tamaki laughed softly at the exchange, watching as Yuuyu cooed over her girlfriend and patted her cheeks. They really were cute together.

“Hmm...how about Mirio and the gang?” Mirio suggested with a grin. The other three gave him unimpressed looks. “What, come on! I was kidding, guys!”

“I don’t think you were,” Tamaki muttered.

Yuuyu snorted. Nejire gasped. “Did Amajiki-kun just sass you?”

“Oh my god,” Mirio whispered dramatically. “I don’t think I’ll ever recover from this.”

Tamaki rolled his eyes.

 


 

Band names turned out to be a lot harder than any of them were expecting — there was the occasional decent one thrown in that had a few murmurs of agreement, but nothing that grasped their interest or had them fall in love with.

They’d just finished another few songs before they sat down on the bean bags, going through the list of names they’d crossed out. Nejire had a pile of paper in front of her, filled with doodles, scribbles, and words. Yuuyu was resting on Nejire’s back, scrolling through her phone as she searched for any possible inspiration.

Mirio was just writing down another song, humming the rhythm and adding the notes into the paper.

Tamaki sighed. “What are you writing about?”

“Oh, just some song about ‘The dawn of a new day’, don’t really know how to make it go, though, sorta having trouble making it flow.”

“The dawn… of a new day…” Tamaki repeated with a whisper, his brows furrowed in thought as he stared up at the ceiling.

The dawn of a new day. The first bit of light that gave you warmth and hope. The darkness disappearing as the sun took over. The first thing you see when you wake up, the first thing you notice… The first…

Tamaki’s eyes widened. “Daybreak.”

The other three snapped their heads at him, both surprised and confused — Nejire blinked rapidly, and was about to speak, only for Yuuyu to cut in before her.

“What do you mean?”

“The…” Tamaki bit his bottom lip. “The dawn of a new day… Daybreak. It could… The b… band… name…?”

The three seconds of pure silence had Tamaki wishing the floor would grow a mouth and swallow him whole — an instant death. Please, please, please let him die now.

“Daybreak,” Mirio repeated — then a large grin. “I love it!” Bubbly laughter followed after, causing Tamaki to flinch.

“Wh- What-?” He stuttered, Nejire giggles and bounced in her position, Yuuyu attempted to hold her down before she was thrown off.

“Ooh!!! Hey! I love it too! Didn’t know you? I bet you thought of something super poetic for the title — Oh, Hey! You totally did, didn’t you? What did you think? Tell me- Mmph!”

Yuuyu casually hugged Nejire’s face with her arms, promptly covering her mouth completely. “It sounds catchy,” she grinned. “I think we’ve come to an agreement! Daybreak?”

Daybreak!” They cheered — though Tamaki’s was much quieter.

Daybreak. They’re Daybreak.

 


 

Tamaki and Mirio were merely lazing around, Mirio humming his most recent song under his breath — one that he’d like to think would be a Daybreak trademark. While songs didn’t exactly work that way, Tamaki thought his determination was cute regardless.

Ah… No… I wouldn’t say cute, he tried to convince himself, but it was for nothing as his eyes drifted back to Mirio’s form, watching as he was attempting to balance one of Nejire’s sticks on his palm — before it fell back and hit the top of his head. Mirio yelped and rubbed the area, a small pout on his lips.

Never mind, he’s downright adorable.

How could one single person be so kind, so pure, so… Bright. It was impossible — and almost unfair? Whoever his parents or guardians are, they raised him right. Too right, if Tamaki dared to say. He could only wish for something like that.

Mirio huffed. “They aren’t usually this late, wonder if they’re alive.”

“Well, Haya-san and Hadou-san both love each other… Maybe they wanted a moment before they joined.”

Mirio opened his mouth, about to answer, only to jump when the door suddenly burst open. Nejire and Yuuyu stood before it, looking excited and proud.

“You will never believe what we found!”

Tamaki blinked, eyes zeroing in on the rolled up paper in Nejire’s hand — instead of pointing it out, he decided to remain naive. “What?”

“There,” Nejire grinned. “Is,” she held the poster with both hands, then unfolded it and showed it to them. “A competition!!!”

Both Mirio and Tamaki gasped, though for different reasons. Mirio jumped to his feet and rushed over to get a better look at the flyer.

“A competition for starting out bands, one song per band — this is perfect! And it’s a month away!”

“Right?!” Nejire squealed, and giggled as she bounced on the spot. “I can’t wait!! We need to practice more — we need to make a song that’ll make people think ‘DAYBREAK!’”

“We need to sign up — !” Mirio practically buzzed in excitement, and Nejire joined in.

“I already did!” She laughed, then sprinted towards Tamaki, who’d been quiet this whole time. “Aren’t you excited Amajiki-kun? Well? Aren’t cha? I am!!”

“I…” Tamaki bit the inside of his cheek. Nejire blinked, then took a step back.

They all stared, concern filling their eyes.

“You’re… Excited right?” Nejire asked, looking uncertain for once. “I… Probably should’ve asked you first, huh? I’m sorry, I got super excited and signed us up without thinking —“ She awkwardly played with her hands. “Sorry-“

“Don’t apologise!” He managed to choke out, cheeks burning. “Don’t apologise… I’m not upset or mad I’m- I’m looking forwards to it-? I’m just… Nervous.”

At that, they all instantly brightened and surrounded him — he was lifted off the floor, by none other than Mirio himself. A yelp left his lips as he found himself clutching his arms around Mirio’s neck, but he resisted looping his legs around Mirio’s waist.

Mirio… Certainly liked to pick him up a lot.

“This is gonna be great!!” He laughed, squeezing Tamaki’s waist. “We’ll be the best out there — and we’re gonna win!”

The girls joined in with cheers and laughter. Tamaki felt a wobbly smile. “W-well, ah… what song are we gonna…?”

“Oh!” Mirio blinked, then quickly set Tamaki down as he reached into his bag. “It’s not done yet, but almost!” He grinned, then showed the lyrics and sheet music to Tamaki. “What do you think?”

“Um…” Tamaki bit his lip, staring at the notes that filled the pages — absolutely none of them made any sense to him — the lyrics were nice though. “I, ah… the words are nice.”

Mirio grinned. “Right? And what about the tune?”

Tamaki grimaced, and Mirio misinterpreted the face as pure disgust — he reeled back, looking uncertain. “Oh- you don’t… What’s wrong with it?”

His head snapped up to meet Mirio’s eyes, mouth agape. “Nothing!” He yelled, which surprised everyone in the room. “Nothing’s… I just…” a deep breath, now or never. “I can’t… read sheet music.”

One second of silence, two seconds… Three…

“You can’t what?!”

Chapter Text

Tamaki gulped as he stared at his friends watching him with identical expressions of disbelief. He rubbed his arm awkwardly and took a step back, gaze snapping to the ground. “I’m sorry…” he whispered, his cheeks flamed up.

“What- don’t apologise!” Mirio protested, then rubbed the back of his neck. “We’re just… surprised is all.”

Yuuyu quickly joined in. “Yeah, I mean… you’re so talented, have such a wide variety of instruments, we assumed you had a private teacher or something but…”

“You learn by ear!” Nejire finished with an excited shriek. “That’s so cool Amajiki-kun! You never cease to amaze us!” She giggled. Tamaki offered her an awkward smile — then sighed as he deflated.

“I’m sorry for not telling you. It’s just… embarrassing,” he winced. “I know this many instruments, one would think I knew how to read sheet music in some way but…” he played with his hands, ducking his head shyly. “I’m mostly self taught, and pick everything up by ear… so I never bothered to learn sheet music.”

There was a moment of silence before Mirio’s face split into a grin. “Then we’ll just sing it to you!”

Everyone snapped their eyes towards him in surprise, Mirio shrugged in response. “You’ve proven you’re able to learn entire songs by ear, and execute them perfectly. There’s no point in learning sheet music, so we’ll just sing the song to you!” He laughed merrily, and Tamaki felt relief wash over him as he watched Yuuyu and Nejire agree with Mirio almost instantly. They didn’t seem bothered by it in the slightest as they quickly read through the sheet music themselves.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Yuuyu hummed. “To be able to learn so fast, so many instruments, just by ear…” she huffed out a laugh, then smiled at Tamaki. “I can’t think of anything else, but to call you a Prodigy.”

Tamaki choked and covered his face, completely and utterly humiliated at the mere idea of him being… That.

His friends easily accepted the title and began to discuss it amongst each other. He sighed and leaned against the wall, letting them at it.

If they’re the ones calling me a Prodigy, he thought, as he looked through his lashes towards Mirio — the sun lit up his body, making him shine and radiate warmly. Tamaki felt his cheeks burn. Then… I guess it’s okay.

 


 

Tamaki’s nerves were growing by the day, and each new practise session felt more taxing than the last. He grabbed his almost empty bottle of water and drank the remnants. Nejire happily bounced next to him — somehow still energetic despite the hour’s long practice.

“Your voice is so strong Amajiki-kun!! Hey, hey, it’s so strange! You’re usually so quiet, how do you train your voice so much? Wouldn’t talking less make your voice weaker?” She looked over her shoulder. “Don’t you think so, Yuu-chan? It’s strange, isn’t it?”

“He probably practises when he’s alone.” Yuuyu responded as she slung her bass case over her shoulder and walked up to the pair. “But, yeah, your voice really is powerful, Amajiki.” She chuckled warmly. “I’d love to have a voice like that, you should be proud to have such a talent.”

“Hey!! I bet your voice is super nice too!” Nejire swiftly cut in, and began to drown Yuuyu in compliments and praise — Tamaki stepped back and let them at it, only to bump against a hard chest. He inhaled sharply and whipped around. Mirio grinned down at him.

“You’ve really been holding up, haven’t you, Amajiki?” He gently pat Tamaki’s shoulder as a friendly gesture, though Tamaki was sure the hand lingered for a moment too long before it returned to Mirio’s waist. “Sorry for pushing you!”

“It’s… Don’t apologise, it’s okay.” He choked out, covering his mouth with his palm, and looked away in an attempt to cover his flushed cheeks. “With all this practice… I’m sure we’ll do well.”

“Haha! That’s the spirit Amajiki!” Mirio laughed as he side hugged Tamaki quickly before rushing over to grab his guitar.

 


 

Despite that, Tamaki wasn’t able to convince himself that those words were true. He restlessly sat on the couch as he listened to song after song on his playlist. No specific artist, just a wide range and mixture of singers or soundtracks he’d fallen in love with. If alone, one may catch him humming or singing these tunes, but now he remained quiet.

He sighed, skipping the twelfth song before he decided he probably wasn’t in a mood to listen to music as he slid the headphones off his head and lay on his side on the couch, snuggling in one of Toyomitsu’s incredibly large hoodies.

“Oh — that’s where it went!” Kirishima’s eyes sparkled as he jumped over the couch, unzipped the hoodie, snuggled in and zipped it up again so the two were pressed against each other. He sighed in content. “This is amazing,” Kirishima hummed giddily as he pressed his cheek against Tamaki’s chest. “It’s so warm — really wanted to wear it today. But you usually only put it on for comfort so…” he turned his head so he was resting his chin instead, as he looked up at his cousin. “What’s up?”

Tamaki bit his lip as he tried to shrug. His heart was pounding and he knew Kirishima could feel it, which really only proved to make him more anxious. Kirishima raised his head not a second later, and Tamaki swallowed the air through his nose, finding it a little easier to breathe.

“Is it… the practice? Do you not like it anymore?”

Tamaki hadn’t quite told Toyomitsu and Kirishima about the competition. More so something along the lines of ‘Practice will get a little more tiring now.’ Along with a bundle of other excuses — he just couldn’t find it in him to tell them of the competition but…

“Aha! I knew you little rascals took my hoodie.” Toyomitsu stormed in, though he wasn’t angry at all. A glint of amusement shown in his eye as he looked over the couch to see Tamaki and Kirishima hidden in the large cloth together. He pat both of their heads. “I’d appreciate if you could stop stealing them without asking first.” He said, knowing full well neither would listen to this request.

Despite the happy aura, his face also held a speck of concern — they all knew Tamaki only wore this hoodie when he was feeling overwhelmed. A safety spot of sorts, he’d also wear it if he had trouble sleeping and felt too awkward to wake Toyomitsu up.

Tamaki sighed, and with that, Kirishima unzipped the hoodie and shuffled out to let Tamaki sit up. The navy haired boy hugged his knees and tucked them close to his chest.

“It’s just… I mean… Recently practice has been… a lot.” Tamaki bit his lip, and hid his face in his knees. “Because… we entered a competition —“

“YOU WHAT?! ” Kirishima yelled, and Tamaki instantly whined and used the hood to hide his face. Only for Kirishima to pounce excitedly and fling it off. “Why didn’t you tell me — us? Are there tickets? Can we just enter and see you perform?!”

He would’ve gone on and on if Toyomitsu hadn’t lifted him from the back of his shirt to hold him back a bit.

“Easy there tiger!” He laughed warmly, then set him down a little further back as he walked around the couch to squeeze between the two — they instantly crawled on his lap to make themselves comfortable. He wrapped his arms around their shoulders and held them against his chest as he leaned back.

“Tamaki,” He murmured, and the boy looked up to meet his eyes. “We’re… very proud of you, this is a huge leap out of your comfort zone. And we’re so happy that you’re doing it…” he leaned in and pressed his forehead against Tamaki’s. “But we’re your family, and we want to know when these things happen — I want to be there to support you when these happen and…” he sighed, then tucked some strands of hair behind Tamaki’s ear. “I can’t wait to see you shine, my little butterfly.”

Tamaki melted — and burned up. He ducked his head and hid his face in Toyomitsu’s chest as he felt the vibrations of his laughter. Kirishima excitedly sprang up too.

“Same here — you should tell us where it’s being held! I really wanna see you perform — it’ll be the first time we’ll see you — I should get a camera!!” He bolted out of Toyomitsu’s lap and raced up the stairs to grab the item. Tamaki groaned.

“I regret telling you anything.”

“Sure you do, butterfly.”

He sighed and relaxed against his… Father’s chest.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all…

 


 

He takes it back. It was absolutely bad and maybe even worse than he was expecting.

Nothing was necessarily different in this practice session, aside from the fact that he woke up that morning absolutely drained and with just five days left before the competition, the very real possibility of him performing this song and singing in front of hundreds was suddenly just crashing down on him.

Making this practice session an absolute chaotic nightmare.

He’d stuttered some of the lyrics, started choruses early, mixed up the words, or completely forgot what he was singing in the first place. His palms felt soggy against the mic, and he was constantly wiping them on his shirt as anxiety just filled his entire system, his body going ragged.

After the fifth try, Mirio called for a break.

“Maybe we’ve been pushing ourselves a bit, we can stop early today and get some drinks in Fatgum’s cafe — whaddaya say, Tamaki?”

Tamaki breathed heavily against the mic, and he found himself continuously swallowing — his mouth felt uncomfortably dry, despite the amount of water he’d taken that very day.

And once he felt a hand on his shoulder, his breath hitched as he ripped off the mask, his eyes blotched red as tears leaked freely down his cheeks.

“I- I can’t-“ he gasped heavily as he clutched his chest and took a step back. And he would’ve continued in doing so if large arms didn’t hold him in place. Alarmed, he snapped up his gaze to meet Mirio’s eyes, which appeared to be soft and understanding. He offered Tamaki a kind smile.

“It’s okay, I’m right here for you.” He leaned in and pressed his forehead against Tamaki’s. “Just look at me, okay? Shh…” Tamaki felt hands on his, rough thumbs stroking his hands in a circular motion. “I’m right here… there’s no one else, just us… just look at me.”

He found himself following Mirio’s breathing pattern, and with the familiar action — his father doing the same thing just a day ago — he found himself calming down faster, easier than normal. And in just a few minutes, he pressed back against Mirio softly. He locked eyes with the other.

“Thank you… Mirio.”

A bright grin.

“Anytime, Amajiki!” He accompanied it with a wink.

Tamaki found himself panicking for an entirely different reason now.

 


 

 

“Soon,” Nejire whispered dramatically, pointing her spoon at the other three. Tamaki gave her a weird look and tilted his head to the side.

“Stop being cryptic,” Yuuyuu scolded, poking her girlfriend’s side. Nejire giggled and scooped some pudding into her mouth.

“Wait, what’s soon? Why did you say it like that?” Tamaki asked, setting his own spoon down. He anxiously looked at Mirio and Yuuyuu. They seemed to have understood Nejire’s weird message.

“Soon,” Nejire repeated, ominously leaning over the table. She slid her hands across the table, baby blue eyes wide. She lifted a hand and poked Tamaki’s nose. “The competition, silly! It’s this weekend!”

Tamaki wrinkled his nose. He stared at his friend as she settled back into her seat and picked up her spoon. Slowly, the words settled in her mind and he felt his eyes grow wide. The competition was this weekend?! Oh god, how could he have forgotten? They’ve been practicing this whole time and he just foolishly forgot the actual date.

He wasn’t ready.

Mirio gently bumped his shoulder with Tamaki, giving him a raised eyebrow. He then turned his gaze to the rest of the group, a wide and proud smile crawling across his cheeks.

“Whatever happens, I know we’ll do great. We’ve been practicing for so long, and whatever happens...just know I have never been more proud.” He glanced back at Tamaki. “No matter if the outcome is good or bad. In the end, we’re there for fun, alright?”

Tamaki felt his whole body sag in relief. He gave a small, anxious smile to his friend and nodded. Nejire threw her fist in the air as she whooped, and Yuuyuu clapped lazily.

“Nice speech, leader.”

“Are you mocking me?”

“Of course not.”

Mirio gave her a disbelieving look. Tamaki had to lift his hand to his mouth to hide his amused smile.

The last practice before the day of the competition was nerve wracking. Surprisingly, it turned out Tamaki wasn’t the only one anxious about what the outcome would be. Although he missed some cues, it was Yuuyuu who also kept messing up.

“Ah, damn,” Yuuyuu groaned, running a hand through her short hair. “Sorry, guys, that’s my bad.” She looked a bit frustrated.

“It-It’s fine, Yuuyuu!” Tamaki said, surprising the group. “I...I mess up a lot, too…”

Yuuyuu flashed him a small smile. “I guess we’re just a couple of messes today, huh?”

Nejire left her drums in a flash. She jumped at her girlfriend, arms wrapping tightly around her shoulders as she rubbed their cheeks together. “Yuu-chan,” she whined, “you’re doing fine! No need to beat yourself up! It’s okay to be nervous!”

Yuuyuu laughed, and Tamaki couldn’t help but laugh softly as well. He was glad that someone else in the group wasn’t stock full of confidence. It really helped to balance them all out.

“You both are doing fine,” Mirio spoke up, giving them a thumbs up. “I believe in you both!”

Yuuyuu laughed again, giving them all a wide smile. “Alright, I think I’m good now.”

 


 

Tamaki bearily opened his eyes. A rapid buzzing had him waking up faster, and he quickly swiped his phone off the counter. He turned the alarm off. Then he noticed all the notifications.

[Hado]

  • Aaaaaaa, today is the day! ╰( ・ ᗜ ・ )╯

[Toogata]

  • Hell yeahh!!!!! Ya’ll ready?????

[Nejire]

  • I was born ready!!!!!!!

[Haya]

  • Ready as I’ll ever be :0

[Tamaki]

  • Whooooooo

[Toogata]

  • I’m loving the energy here!

Tamaki chuckle lightly. He slid out of bed, stifling a yawn as he pulled himself to his feet. He stared at his clothing options for awhile, trying to think of what to wear. Did they ever talk about what they should wear? He honestly couldn't remember. He could ask, but...he didn’t want to bother…

Throwing on a nice black t-shirt and black jeans to match, he threw on a gray cardigan and left his room. It looked...presentable.

“My boy,” Toyomitsu cries out, wiping away a fake tear. “You look so good! I’m so excited for you!”

“As am I!” Kirishima says, shrugging on his jacket.

Tamaki awkwardly looked away, a small blush on his face. “Ah, thank you…” he whispered. “I’ll, ah, see you guys there?”

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world!” Toyomitsu says, drawing Tamaki into a tight hug. Laughing quietly, Tamaki hugged his father back and struggled to get out of his grasp.

Once he was free, he jerkily waved his hand and rushes out of the cafe. He walked the whole way to where the event was being held at. Some grassy lawn in the square. Honestly, he forgot where it was, but he followed the crowds of people and hoped for the best.

Thankfully, he got to the right place. He knew so when he saw a mop of bright blue hair in the crowd. Pushing his way through the crowd, he came to a stop by Mirio’s side.

“Oh, you finally made it!” He said over the loud noise.

Tamaki shyly nodded, barely glancing at the other two members. His heart was beating rapidly in his chest. He could do this. They practiced. They perfected everything. He could do this.

Mirio smiled widely, placing his hands to his hips. The group stared at the stage.

“We got this,” Mirio said confidently, his smile growing as the musicians began to play.

Tamaki stared at his smile, and a sudden flutter in his chest forced his gaze to snap to the ground, his cheeks burning.

Get a hold of yourself, Tamaki… he thought, as he took a deep breath and slowly raised his head to the stage.

Focus on the competition. You can do this.



Chapter Text

The time seemed to slow down. The loud crowd around Tamaki seemed to quiet as his mind began to swirl with thoughts.

What if I’m not good enough?

What if I mess up, what if I ruin the band’s chances at ever becoming something?

What if the crowd, what if everyone thinks we’re a joke, just because of me?

As the thoughts ran on an endless loop, Tamaki felt his heartbeat pick up. God, it was so loud , what if other people could hear it? He awkwardly look around. He was surprised that so many people had even showed up. Well, if he remembered right, Nejire did say something about bands getting discovered every year at this thing...so maybe he can see why the crowd is so big.

A sudden hand to his shoulder had him squeaking in surprise. Whipping around, his wide blue eyes locking onto Mirio’s. The blonde offered a small, reassuring smile.

“You okay?” He asked, nearly yelling to be heard over the crowd. Tamaki flinched slightly, but gave Mirio a nervous smile in return. He nodded. Sure, he doesn’t like crowds, and he doesn’t like loud things, but...he’d be okay. He knew he would, because he had his friends by his side.

“Good!” Mirio said and held up a thumbs up with his free hand. That was when Tamaki noticed the black material clenched into his hands. Oh, thank God Mirio remembered it.

Mirio, noticing the stare, somehow brightened up more as he held the blindfold out. Tamaki had to force himself not to look at his friend. How could it be possible to look so bright and happy like that? Mirio was truly something else, that’s for sure.

“Thank you,” he mumbled so quietly he knew Mirio wouldn’t be able to hear, but Mirio could see his lips moving. He grinned and yelled out a ‘you’re welcome’ as Tamaki gently took the fabric from his hand.

Nejire bounced in place next to them, her hands holding tightly onto Yuuyu’s. She looked excited. Yuuyu did as well, but even she seemed a bit nervous. Tamaki offered her a small and supportive smile. She nodded her head in thanks, offering up a smile of her own.

“It’s almost our turn!” Nejire squealed.

The moment the words left her lips, a man approached them. His dark eyes scanned the group, his gruff appearance radiating superiority. He then grinned. “Ya’ youngins Daybreak, correct?” He asked.

“Uh…” Yuuyu and Tamaki both sputtered out.

The man laughed.

“Yes, sir, that’s us!” Mirio said, instantly taking charge. The gruff man nodded, his eyes gazing at the clipboard in his hand.

“Yer up next, okay? Last ones, too, so I hope ya give ‘em something good!” He said, a loud laugh booming out of him. Tamaki was instantly intimidated.

As the man turned to go, his eyes glazed over the fabric in Tamaki’s hand. He furrowed his eyebrows in thought before facing the nervous teen fully. He crossed his large arms and raised an eyebrow. “What’s tha’ for?” He asked, not sure exactly what it was for, so his suspicion was a bit reasonable.

“I- it’s, sir, I mean, I just, you know-” Tamaki fumbled over his words, and he swore he began sweating way more than normal. He felt his veins pumpped with nervous energy, his heart racing a mile a minute. He wasn’t even doing anything wrong, right? Why was he so nervous? He nearly sobbed as the burly man gave him a glare.

“He has stage fright, sir,” Yuuyu said, saving him. He nearly cried out a thank you, but kept his lips sealed. “He uses the blindfold so that he won’t see the crowd, it helps him.”

The man seemed to mull this over. He grunted in sympathy before shaking his head. “Sorry, but tha’ could be a safety issue. I do not want anyone trippin’ over stray wires or accidentally falling off the stage. No blindfold.”

Tamaki felt the world freeze once again. No...no blindfold? But he can’t do it without that!
“Sir, please, he needs it! It really does help him--” Mirio tried, but the guy held his hand up.

“No blindfold, okay? If I see ya up there with it, I gotta shut ya down, okay?”

The four of them seemed to all tense up at the same time. Finally, it was Nejire who spoke up. She gave a bright and polite smile. “Yes, sir, we understand.”

He gave them all a final look before turning around and leaving. Once he was out of sight, Nejire swiftly spun back toward their small group. She placed a hand to Tamaki’s shoulder, a gentle and understanding look in her eye. “We can leave right now, Amajiki-kun, if we need to. None of us are going to force you up there.”

Tamaki’s jaw dropped in surprise. He glanced at the other two. They nodded in agreement. He honestly had no idea how to react. How...how had he gained such amazing friends? He didn’t deserve them.

“... up next…”

His friends gave him an expectant look. He nervously played with his fingers; what should he do?

“...we have…”

He couldn’t let them down. Not after all they had done for him. He owed them as much, and he knew this could be the start for them. He would not let this chance go to waste.

“Daybreak!”

The crowd began cheering again, as if they knew who they were. Tamaki let the black blindfold slide from his grip, watching as it fluttered to the ground gracefully. He met Nejire’s eye, a determined spark in his gaze.

“Let’s win this thing.”

His friends all cheered at that, and began to make their way to the stage. The management was clearing off the stage, getting it set up for them. Before they made it, Miro paused and faced Tamaki. He waved Nejire and Yuuyuu along, and they both glanced at each other before laughing and walking ahead.

“Tamaki,” Mirio said, his hand coming to rest on his shoulder again. Tamaki inhaled sharply at the contact. “Thank you for being so brave, but if it gets to be too much, just know we are willing to stop at any moment.”

The teen nodded. He knew that. “To be honest, I don’t know if I’ll be able to do this,” he confessed, a sad smile gracing his features. Where was his determination from a couple seconds ago?

Mirio blinked in surprise at the honesty. Then, a wide smile plastered itself across the blonde’s face. He stepped closer to Tamaki, leaning down to speak directly into his ear. “Then just look at me!” He whispered, his breath fanning over Tamaki’s cheek. “If you can’t look at them, then look at me…”

He stepped back, eyes twinkling. Without a word, he grabbed Tamaki’s wrist, turned around, and walked onto the stage.

Tamaki felt his heart pound against his rib almost painfully as the view of the crowd made its way into his sights, and the feeling jumped at his throat so suddenly he believed he’d choke for a second. Carefully, he cleared his throat as he felt Mirio give him one last squeeze, before he released the gentle hold and made his way to his spot, quickly tuning his electric guitar.

Tamaki saw Nejire and Yuuyu were both standing in their usual positions. He felt some tension release at the familiarity as he struggled towards the centre of the stage…

The centre of attention.

His joints locked up the second he’d reached the mic, and despite his vice grip on the mic he felt it would slip from his sweaty hands at any given time — even though he wasn’t even technically holding the mic.

The crowd finally stopped their clapping and stood still as they watched them — he could hear murmurs and mumbles being shared between them, though nothing coherent enough for him to make out.

That didn’t even matter. His eyes were blown wide as the countless faces stared back at him — expecting him sing.

His lips were practically sewn shut, it was too much. There was too much. Too many faces. Too many people. Too many eyes.

Not enough air.

Tamaki covered his mouth as he trembled, attempting to keep himself under control in front of the stares. He tasted his lunch in the back of his throat. He would’ve ducked his head and bolted if his legs hadn’t been screwed to the floor.

He almost screamed at hearing the guitar start — Mirio’s guitar. He should’ve started with him not to after — Oh God he's already messed up!

“TAMAKI!”

The music and the world around him disappeared as he looked over his shoulder, eyes locked with Mirio’s bright blue ones. He felt them widen slightly as soon as he realised Mirio had called to him over the music — called to him to let him know…

He isn’t alone.

Completely forgetting about the crowd, gaze focused solely on the man before him, Tamaki’s lips parted.

 

Here I am waiting, I’ll have to leave soon

Why am I… holding on?

 

A shaky start, but for once Tamaki couldn’t bring himself to care. A fire burned in the pits of his stomach, and now it was ready to erupt.

 

We knew this day would come, we knew it all along

How did it… come so fast?

 

Nejire and Yuuyu arrived perfectly, Tamaki felt his body naturally fall into the rhythm.

 

This is our last night

But it’s late

And I’m trying not to sleep

Cause I know, when I wake…

I will have to slip away…

 

A deep breath, Tamaki pulled the mic from his stand and brought it closer — eyes filled with new found confidence.

 

And when the Daylight comes I’ll have to go

But tonight I’m gonna hold you so close

Cause in the Daylight we’ll be on our own

But tonight I need to hold you so close

Ooh woah! Ooh woah! Ooh woah!

Ooh woah! Ooh woah! Ooh woah!

 

He couldn’t see or hear them, but Nejire and Yuuyu were both grinning madly at each other as they watched Tamaki bring his voice to the world.

Mirio hadn’t even realised their achievement, too lost in Tamaki’s song, his eyes , to bother seeing if he was actually playing the song right.

 

Here I am staring at your perfection

In my arms, so beautiful

 

Mirio’s cheeks warmed up at that — Tamaki’s own were already a bright red, flustered from the crowd but even more so from keeping eye contact with someone for so long.

 

The sky is getting bright, the stars are burning out

Somebody slow it down

This is way too hard

Cause I know, when the sun comes up

I will leave

This is my last glance

That will soon be memory…

 

Tamaki’s eyes refused to look anywhere else, some type of spell locking him in place. He briefly wondered if he was actually singing the song or singing what was in his heart. Either way, adrenaline was pumping inside him and he’d never felt so alive. He pushed his voice to his the chorus perfectly — powerfully.

 

And when the Daylight comes I’ll have to go!

But tonight I’m gonna hold you so close!

Cause in the Daylight we’ll be on our own!

But tonight I need to hold you so close!

Ooh woah! Ooh woah! Ooh woah!

Ooh woah! Ooh woah! Ooh woah!

 

Sweat trickled down his temple, his heart pounded against his chest, and he was barely breathing, but he felt so alive.

 

I never wanted to stop

Because I don’t want to start all over

Start all over

I was afraid of the dark

But now it’s all that I want, all that I want

All that I want…

 

How long had he been on this stage? How long had it been since he stepped on?

He couldn’t remember. He couldn’t afford to care.

 

And when the Daylight comes I’ll have to go!

But tonight I’m gonna hold you so close!

Cause in the Daylight we’ll be on our own!

But tonight I need to hold you so close!

And when the Daylight comes I’ll have to go!

But tonight I’m gonna hold you so close!

Cause in the Daylight we’ll be on our own!

But tonight I need to hold you so close!

Ooh woah! Ooh woah! Ooh woah!

Ooh woah! Ooh woah! Ooh woah!

 

For the final part, Nejire, Yuuyu, and Mirio joined in — Tamaki found himself grinning so hard his face hurt.

 

Ooh woah! Yeah!

Ooh woah! Yeah!

Ooh woah! Yeah!

Ooh woah! Yeah!

Ooh woah! Yeah!

Ooh woah! Yeah!

 

 

 

Silent.

Tamaki breathed heavily as the music faded out. Sweat dripped down from his face and pat against the floor. He fiddled with the mic as he returned it back to its stand.

He slowly turned his neck, wincing; it ached from the awkward position, and his eyes happened to land on Kirishima, and his father. His breath hitched, then his gaze moved over to the rest of the crowd — a crowd which was still silent.

Did I mess up?! Oh my God was I singing the completely wrong song — and the others had to adapt and awkwardly follow after me cause I’m too stupid to understand basic music- WAS I EVEN SINGING?!

The performance was a huge blur, he barely remembered singing — his eyes widened.

He… he’d been singing, right? He started at some point, but did he continue? Was his speech coherent?

Oh God was he mumbling?!

Tamaki yelped as the crowd broke into a crazy cheer, an astounding applause and screams of praise — Tamaki almost fainted at hearing someone shout Encore! But was spared the humiliation when he’d been suddenly whisked off the floor and spun in the air by none other than Mirio himself — laughing and crying tears of joy.

“You did it! Tamaki, Oh my God you NAILED it!”

Tamaki was shivering in Mirio’s hands, mainly from the adrenaline and shock of the event being over so soon. He let out a shaky laugh and for once, returned the hug for Mirio.

The blond seemed surprised by this and almost fell back, luckily for both of them Yuuyu and Nejire circled them too and joined in on the hug.

Mirio finally set Tamaki down, his own arms feeling like noodles from how nervous he’d been. He had to shake them rapidly with Nejire to get their blood moving again.

“I was so stiff!” Nejire whined, rolling her arms around crazily, like helicopter wings. “I thought was trying to drum with icicles for hands!”

“Same!” Mirio let out a nervous chuckle. “My legs feel so numb!”

Tamaki smiled warmly at them all, before he jumped as the announcer shooed them off stage and continued his talk. Saying that there was an hour for the audience to cast in their votes, and until then the bands could go around and enjoy some free refreshments.

He was quick to grab some water and cool himself down, Mirio said he’d supposedly nailed it — but somehow he was sure he’d failed. He room another sip, then looked up and noticed one of the other band members walking over to him. Tamaki froze, and looked down at his cup — averting his gaze meant he missed how the taller male looked him up and down, before they stood closer to him.

Tamaki had to look up at that point, and suddenly felt cornered at the sight of the male towering over him. The grip on the plastic cup loosened, and Tamaki took a step back.

“Is… is there something you need?”

The man stroked their purple hair cooly, before grinning down at Tamaki. “Cool song — but that voice? Man, you sure are something.”

Something about this compliment… didn’t feel right. He ducked head as his cheeks burned up. He felt a hand on his cheek, he froze.

“Wow, you’re sure warm. Need some more water?” The male leaned closer, Tamaki’s breath caught at his throat — before he could do anything, the guy was suddenly ripped away from him and instead replaced with a much larger figure.

“Dad?” Tamaki squeaked, the other guy was about to speak, but took one look at Toyomitsu and fled back to his band. Tamaki groaned and covered his face. “You didn’t have to get so extreme…”

“I barely touched him!” Toyomitsu defended, then dragged Tamaki back to the group. “And I ain’t letting you take one more step away from yer friends or me for the rest of our time here!”

Tamaki couldn’t bring himself to argue, far too exhausted.

He felt Toyomitsu’s arm fall around his shoulder, and he snuggled further into him for comfort.

“You did so well out there today, butterfly.” Toyomitsu spoke with a watery smile. “Even if by some miracle you don’t win, I’ll always be proud of you.”

Tamaki smiled back at him, then sighed.

This… was okay.

He blinked, brows furrowed as he looked over at his group.

What… what was the prize again?

Chapter Text

Tamaki squeezed past Toyomitsu and reached his friends, looking a little flustered. He tugged on Mirio’s jacket, and the blond quickly faced him with a grin.

“You good?” He asked brightly, and Tamaki responded with a meek nod before he cleared his throat to catch everyone else’s attention. He bit his lip.

“Hadou-san…”

The girl perked up, then pulled her lips back for a dazzling smile. She bounced on the spot as she excitedly waited for Tamaki to speak. Tamaki’s gaze snapped to the ground as he played with his hands.

“Does… do you know what the prize is? I don’t recall it, so…”

Nejire’s smile dropped as she stared up at the sky in thought. Yuuyu raised a brow then joined Nejire’s thinking face, while Mirio just waited for the girls to answer. They were the ones with the poster originally after all. Sure he’d read through it, but he really only skimmed it in his excitement. He didn’t even know there was a prize to begin with.

“Uh…” Nejire looked back down, into Tamaki’s eyes, then grinned sheepishly. “Hey, Amajiki-kun?”

“... Yes?”

“On a scale from one to ten, how mad would you be if my answer was ‘I don’t know’?”

Tamaki paused, paled, then shrieked. “You don’t know?!”

Nejire jumped and quickly rushed to defend herself, arms moving in exaggerated motions. “Hey!! It’s not my fault, you know? I was so excited about it that I didn’t think about the prize!”

“It’s not that you didn’t think about it,” Yuuyu signed. “The prize was supposedly a… Surprise, I think. A mystery. I don’t think anyone knows.”

“Ooh! What if it’s money?” Nejire squealed, bouncing faster on the spot as she clapped her hands like a child. “Didn’t you know? I could totally buy a new pair of drumsticks with more money!”

“Sure,” Yuuyu sighed, shaking her head. “Not like they’ll last anyway.”

Ladies and Gentlemen!”

The four looked up to see the announcer standing proudly on the stage.

It’s an honour to be hosting this competition. And I’m so proud to see so many bands this year! We were off to a great start, and it seemed like the music just kept getting better and better!”

Tamaki swallowed, palms sweating as he repeatedly wiped them on his trousers. He took a deep breath.

Inhale. Hold. Exhale.

Alas, only one band will be getting our mystery prize — only one band will rise to the top of this competition! And hopefully, even further!”

Nejire stopped her bouncing, and instead she was fidgeting. Shaking her legs. Tapping them continuously.

We’ve gathered all votes, we’ve counted them up — the result may not be all that surprising, maybe it will be shocking!”

Yuuyu scratched at her neck, clawing it with anxiety as she stared unblinkingly at the announcer.

But don’t let me hold you any longer!”

Mirio’s breath hitched.

The band…”

Tamaki swallowed.

“That won the competition…”

Nejire stilled.

“By an overwhelming AVALANCHE of votes…”

Yuuyu blinked.

“Is none other than…”

Mirio’s hand found Tamaki’s.




DAYBREAK!”

The crowd erupted into cheers, and suddenly the four were surrounded by people screaming and congratulating them. Nejire was the first to shriek and squeal along with them, jumping up and down in rapid motion. She grabbed Yuuyu and hoisted her in the air, much like Mirio did with them, and spun her around — the speed resembling a tornado.

Yuuyu snapped out of it and began to laugh giddily, close to hyperventilating as she quickly got down from Nejire’s hold, her body trembling too much; Yuuyu needed to stable and ground herself.

Tamaki quickly followed with a large gasp, remembering to breathe as the words finally got through his brain. They… won? They won. Oh dear God they won. He didn’t know how to react and ended up following Yuuyu’s mess in his shock.

He was about to cover his mouth with both hands, but soon realised his right was still being gripped tightly by Mirio. He glanced over to face the blond, then lightly squeezed back.

“Mirio… We won!”

At that, Mirio blinked rapidly, inhaled sharply, let go of Tamaki’s hand and yelled in glee — a burst of euphoria spreading like fire through his body. He was laughing with passion, with warmth —

They WON.

The announcer called them to the stage, and the four rushed and stumbled. Hurrying, but still weak in the knees.

Daybreak! Honestly, I don’t think many of us are surprised — your performance was phenomenal!” He grinned, then placed the mic in front of them; closer to Tamaki and Nejire than the other two. “ Mind telling us how it feels?”

“AMAZING!” Nejire shrieked into the mic, a few people wincing at the feedback. She covered her mouth, and giggled cutely. “Sorry! I’m just so PUMPED! We’ve won even though we’ve only been a band for a little over a month, didn’t you know? We haven’t known each other for that long, but I already feel like we’re the best of friends!”

Tamaki and Mirio smiled warmly at that, only for Tamaki to jolt at the mic suddenly being shoved in his face. The announcer smiled.

You had such a wonderful voice! It definitely surprised me — how do you feel about your win?”

He swallowed, staring at the mic, the audience, then at the announcer.

The silence lasted a little too long, it was beginning to feel awkward… Thankfully, Mirio squeezed in and shuffled Tamaki behind him.

“Sorry! He’s a little shy.” He grinned. “But I’m sure I can speak for all of us when I say: We’re surprised to have won, but we’re proud of each other for doing so!”

The announcer smiled at that, deeming it good enough, before he returned to the audience. “ And there you have it folks! This marks the start of Daybreak! And how can I be so sure?”

A sudden drumroll from the back of the stage, the four looked at each other, then at the announcer with anticipation.

Because the prize is a contract to a Music Company!”

The crowd applauded, cheered, clapped… Daybreak froze. Yuuyu almost stumbled back as a folder, presumably the contract, was practically dumped in her arms.

A contract… with a music company…

Wouldn’t that mean…?

A small, white haired man — one that could be considered a dwarf — walks up onto the stage. Wearing formal attire and holding a small tea cup.

“Daybreak, eh?” The man smiled at the four kindly. “I’m Nedzu, I look forward to aiding you in your journey.

“Th- Thanks!” Mirio choked out, forcing a grin. The cheers kept on going and going. Tamaki’s eyes found Toyomitsu’s, who looked back at him with concern.

… This’ll get in the way of school.

 


 

They sat around one of the many tables in the cafe, hot drinks in their hands as they go over the contract with very little enthusiasm. The cafe was technically closed, but as Tamaki lived here the four were able to hang out and relax in the cool vibe of the cafe. The privacy was welcomed with open arms as Yuuyu skimmed through the contract.

“It’s pretty basic, which isn’t surprising — I don’t think they’d be able to get a decently popular company for a starting band but…”

She grimaced, dumping the folder on the table.

“What do we do?”

The question had been running through all their minds throughout the day, for three days since the competition. But none of them brought it up with each other, because no one had an answer.

“Maybe we can go over the schedule?” Tamaki wondered, flicking through the pages. “It says here that we can basically decide how it goes… but we need to spend a minimum of three days at the company.”

“Which means we all need to miss a day that isn’t the weekend.” Nejire huffed — none of them had classes together, by some miracle. Meaning that some of them would have to miss a busy day. Mirio pursed his lips.

“Okay everyone, get your schedules out.”

They quickly picked up on his plan and shuffled out their sheets and placed them in a row on the table. Nejire winced.

“Ouch… My free Tuesday is a really busy day for you, Toogata.”

“Yeah, no, Tuesday is out of the question.” Mirio replies bluntly, that day was completely packed. He couldn’t afford to miss it when his grades weren’t even that good to begin with. He eyed the schedules, then stated.

“My least busy days are Friday and Wednesday, but Haya’s full day is on Friday, and Tamaki’s on Wednesday…”

This had to be the most awkward schedule set. They eyed the remaining days with a grimace.

That left Thursday and Monday.

“Maybe… Monday?” Haya rubbed the back of her neck. “I mean, I’m basically only saying that because I hate Mondays.”

“Monday’s fine with me.” Tamaki murmured, looking through his schedule. Monday and Thursday were both average days, but he could agree with Yuuyu in wishing to avoid Monday.

However…

“I dunno,” Mirio furrowed his brows. “Three days of practice in a row, then a large gap? I feel like that’s asking for trouble. I say Thursday.”

Hadou nodded quickly. “I say Thursday too! It’s more evened out like that!”

Yuuyu and Tamaki glanced at each other, then they both let out a disappointed sigh. They knew that Mirio and Nejire were correct, their answers made sense… But this was an opportunity to get Monday out of their schedule.

“It’s the same amount of days we lose anyway,” Mirio smiled. “Besides, it’ll feel closer to the weekend if-“

“It may feel closer,” Yuuyu cut in. “But it’s still going to be busy for however long we stay in this contract.” She then sighed, and took a sip of her hot chocolate. “But, Yeah, Okay…. Thursday then?”

“Thursday.” They repeated, as they clinked their warm mugs against each other.

It would take a while to get used to this schedule, but they were all sure they could make it work. They’re Daybreak after all, they’ve come this far, of course they can take it further.

 


 

After about three days of sending their contracts to Nedzu’s company, they got a response. Nejire threw Tamaki’s door open, the other two behind her, and she entered without permission.

Tamaki squeaked in surprise, looking up from where he was crouched on the floor reading. He scrambled to his feet, the blanket around his shoulders falling to the ground. He raised an eyebrow.

“We got a response! We can come in on Saturday!” Nejire said, squealing as she jumped up and down.

“Oh, that’s good,” Tamaki stuttered out. Before he could ask if there was something else they wanted, Mirio stepped forward, looking just as excited.

“Haya and I talked to the school, by the way, yeah, we did that. Anyway! They’re willing to help us and work with us!”

Tamaki’s eyes widened. “Wh- really?!”

“Yeah!” Yuuyu said, cutting in. “This school is meant for getting us to move forward, so they were more than happy to work with us.”

Tamaki couldn’t help the wide, yet nervous, smile that crossed his face. Things were really lining up for them.

 


 

On Saturday, the four teenagers entered the large building. It looked...very professional. A giant gray building with windows lining each floor, and those fancy revolving doors. When they entered, a small indoor pond with a garden greeted them.

Surprisingly, it was Nedzu who came to welcome them, and not some assistant. He smiled kindly, white hair gelled back, his rough looking beard trimmed just right. “Welcome, Daybreak, to my building,” he said, smile lighting up his whole face.

“Oh my god,” Nejire whispered to them. “He’s such a cute old man!”

Nedzu laughed loudly, clasping his hands behind his back. “Thank you, dear. Now, if you would, follow me.”

Nejire’s cheeks dusted pink at being heard, a small and nervous giggle escaping her lips. They group shuffled after the manager, a nervous aura surrounding them like a bubble. Nedzu spoke as they walk, smiling and waving to people as he passed. He pointed out the welcome desk, the help desk, the break room, where the stairs room, the elevators — he went over everything.

“Now, dearies,” Nedzu said, a more serious tone underlying his voice. He pressed the up button on the elevator, stepping in as it opened. Nejire and Mirio bounced eagerly after him, Yuuyu and Tamaki a bit more hesitant. “I suggest you four come up with some stage names, just so that for that the early stages of your career, you can still keep a somewhat private life.”

Tamaki perked up, eyes widening. Stage names? Now that...sounded great.

“Oh!” Yuuyu said, clapping her hands together. “That sounds like fun!”

Nedzu laughs good-heartily, pressing on the sixth floor. He doesn’t speak until the doors open, and he leads the way out.

As they exit, they come upon a hang out area. It was styled to mimic a living room, couches and a coffee table in the middle of the room. A small kitchen stood to the side, and there was even a Tv.

“Then, Daybreak, your first job…” Nedzu turned to them, a wicked smile on his face. “Is to come up with your stage names.” And with that declaration, he waved and stepped back into the elevator.

 


 

Mirio was the first to come up with his name.

“Lemillion!”

“What?” Yuuyu asked, panicking as the blond’s shoulders deflate. “No, no! I like it, I just want to know what is means!”

Mirio instantly straightened his back, wide grin back on his face. “I want to touch a million hearts with our music!” He exclaimed, a booming laugh leaving his lips.

And that was that.

 


 

Nejire whined loudly, laying upside down on the couch, legs kicking in the air. Her hair was so long that it fell and hit the floor. “I can’t think of anything ,” she sighed. She then slid off the couch, rolling on the ground. She crawled over to Yuuyu, who was sitting on the other couch.

“My love, my dear, babe, ” she whispered, resting her chin onto her girlfriend’s thigh. She puffed her cheeks out. “Please help me!”

Yuuyu chuckled warmly. She reached out, poking Nejire’s nose. “Well, you’re cute enough to be a fairy. Why not go with that?”

Nejire squealed, jumping to her feet. She cupped Yuuyu’s cheeks with her hands, surging forward to place an excited kiss to her nose. “Only if you agree to be my Nymph!”

Yuuyu laughed. “Nymph?”

“Yes! Fairy and Nymph!”

Tamaki lazily raised a thumbs up. “I like it.”

“Here, here,” Mirio agreed.

 


 

Tamaki nervously chewed on his lip. They had five minutes left before they had to head home. “I can’t think of anything…” He whispered, looking at his band with wide and panicked eyes. What was he going to do? He had one simple job, and it was the first day, and he was already failing —

“It’s fine,” Mirio insisted, reaching out to squeeze his shoulder comfortably.

“Yeah, we’ll all brainstorm and throw out ideas! We can text you later tonight, yeah?” Nejire said, smiling from ear to ear.

Nedzu walked in then, hands glued behind his back. He surveyed the room with calculating eyes, humming. “Have you all picked out your names?”

“Oh, Amajiki-kun still needs his!” Yuuyu said, looking a bit nervous. She hoped that didn’t get her friend in trouble.

“Ah, well, that is fine. By the next time we meet, I request that you have your names.”

Tamaki gulped, but nodded. He could do this.

 


 

Tamaki laid under five blankets in his bed that night. He snuggled down more into the warmth, lip jutting out into a pout. His phone had been vibrating endlessly since he got home, the group sending suggestions and talking about how they felt about their first day.

Tamaki was just tired. They hadn’t even done anything tiring, yet he couldn’t help but feel so tired. Being surrounded by people and going to places he wasn’t used to always seemed to tire him out.

Grabbing his phone, he pulled up his conversation with Mirio.

[Tamaki]

  • I still can’t figure out what name I want…

[Toogata]

  • Dont worry !!! You’ll think of something soon enough, I did!

[Tamaki]

  • Haha yeah, but you’re amazing...you’re...like a sun.

[Toogata]

  • WhAT?!?!? Well, then!! If I’m ur sun, then ur even better than that!!! You’re like...like…

[Toogata]

  • A SUNEATER

[Tamaki]

  • Huh?

[Toogata]

  • IDKKK BUT I LIKE THE SOUND OF IT LOL

Tamaki’s eyes grew twice their size. He...really liked that name. He might’ve just got his stage name. Clicking out of the private message, he pulled up the group chat.

 

[Yuuyu]

  • Yeah, he seemed very nice! I liked him, and his employees all seemed to respect him as well.

[Toogata]

  • Yeah! I liked him too.

[Tamaki]

  • Hey guys….I think I found a name…

[Nejire]

  • Ohohohoh!!!!! Spill the beans!!

[Toogata]

  • Dont leave us hanging !

[Tamaki]

  • What about ‘Suneater’....?

[Yuuyu]

  • Oh ??? How interesting !

[Tamaki]

  • Really? So it works?

[Toogata]

  • Oh, yes. I definitely think it works :3c

[Nejire]

  • Yup yup! I honestly really like it :) :) :)

[Tamaki]

  • Hhaa, okay...thank you, guys.

He set the phone aside, a small, giddy smile crossing his face. He curled up slightly, eyes closing once again.

He may enjoy this band thing more than he’d ever admit.

Chapter Text

Tamaki sits within the soundbooth, anxiously looking out at the fancy studio. They had real equipment, a real soundproof room, and a recording board right outside. A practice room was right next door as well. This was...a lot, but it was real. This was real. He couldn’t believe it.

Turning to his friends, he watched as Nejire and Mirio spoke lazily to one another, smiles stitched into their faces. Yuuyu was next to Nejire, tuning and checking her guitar. They were supposed to start soon, and he was surprised Nejire and Mirio seemed to be so calm at the moment.

At least Yuuyu seemed to be a bit on edge. He wasn’t alone, and that seemed to calm his nerves just a little. However, even if they were calmed by a fraction, his anxiety still was spiking off the charts.

Nervously, Tamaki played with his hands, eyes jerking to the front of the room. The door opened, Nedzu strolling in with two people behind him. He vaguely recognized the girl. Tall, dark hair tinged blue...kind of like his own hair but longer. The most recognizable thing about the woman was her red triangular shaped glasses. He couldn’t place the guy, though.

Nedzu stepped into the studio, smiling at the band. “Hello, Daybreak. This is Nemuri Kayama, but most know her as Midnight, her stage name.”

Both Tamaki and Nejire gasped at the same time. Midnight was a widely known violinist with an enhancing voice. Tamaki knew why he knew her, but Nejire? That was a surprise.

“And this is Ken Ishiyama, otherwise known as Cementos.”

This time it was Yuuyu who gasped, hands flying to cover her mouth. Apparently, Cementos was some famous DJ who Yuuyu loved, which was new information that Tamaki would have to tuck away.

“Now,” Nedzu said, giving the band a wide smile. “Midnight and Cementos here will be your recording agents. I, of course, will be in and out. I do have other people to check in on, you know.”

Tamaki opened his mouth to speak, but Mirio beat him to it. “That’s so cool!” He exclaimed, bouncing on the spot. “When do we start?”

“Well, Lemillion,” Nedzu says, flashing the group a smirk. “You begin right now.”

 


 

“Okay, lets begin.” Cementos said, his hands hovering over the board in front of him. He went to press a button, but paused as Nejire spoke.

“Hey, hey? What are we doing? No one really explained, you know! We were told just to come in here! Are we practicing our songs?”

“Oh,” Cementos chuckled, leaning back in his chair. “I assumed Nedzu had told you all, I apologize. He’s kind of a loose canon at times.” He glanced up at Midnight, seeing if she had anything to say, but she simply smiled widely and motioned for him to continue.

“So, we’re going to be recording your songs. We’re going to see what we have to work with, and we know it’ll be a lot of trial and error since this is your first time, but we can take it slow. We want to see if we can make an album out of what you already have.”

Tamaki felt the lights above him flicker and fade away. The ground beneath him disappeared as well, the noise fizzling into mumbles and distorted noises. Mirio’s excited chatted became demon like, Yuuyu and Nejire’s giggles sounding like demons cackling in his ears.

Recording…? He had never recorded himself before. Would Midnight and Cementos make him listen to the recordings? He wasn’t sure exactly why he was suddenly freaking out, because he was able to perform perfectly on stage, but…

Just the thought of having his voice recorded and kept away on a file for anyone to hear made him anxious.

“Tamaki?”

He jerked in his seat, whipping his head around so fast he was surprised he didn’t break it. “Huh?”

Mirio gave him a concerned look. “Are you okay?”

He knew he should be honest, but they had come so far! He couldn’t be the reason why the didn’t get to move on. He hated holding them back. “Y-Yeah!” He stuttered, smiling awkwardly as he turned back to the front.

Mirio shot Nejire an unimpressed look, but she shrugged in response. What could they do?

“Okay, in three, two…” Midnight pointed to them, and a recording light flickered on outside of the booth.

Nejire began hitting the drums, and Yuuyu and Mirio followed suit. Tamaki inhaled. He waited, counting down to his cue. Five...four...three...two…

He missed it.

The music stopped, and Mirio made to speak, but Midnight held up her hand to stop him. “Try again,” she said.

They went again, and Tamaki shakily held the microphone, sweat dripping down the side of his face. Oh, god, he was going to get them fired, wasn’t he?

In his panic, he missed his signal once again.

“Alright,” Midnight sighed. She placed a hand on her hip, lip jutted out in a pout. “I saw you guys perform, so what’s the problem?”

Tamaki felt so intimidated by this woman. “I- It’s just, Midnight, ma’am, I’ve never-- you know. Recorded myself? I just, am a bit, ha, nervous…”

She nodded slowly, going to say something more, but this time Mirio cut her off. He stepped forward and stood in front of Tamaki. Placing a hand onto Tamaki’s shoulder, he looked down at him.

“Here, let’s see if it works again,” he mumbled, holding up his other hand. The familiar black blindfold laid within his grasp.

“Wha-- Toogata, you didn’t--”

“Shush, I thought you might need it.” He placed it into Tamaki’s hands and squeezed his shoulder as a comforting gesture. He then returned to his seat.

“Okay, we’re ready to try again!” Mirio said, clapping his hands together. Midnight gave them a confused look, watching as Tamaki shyly tied the blindfold over his eyes. She didn’t comment on it, though, and motioned for them to start once again.

Tamaki breathed in. The world was black, only small peeks of light getting through. All he could hear was the music, Nejire’s familiar drumming, Yuuyu’s gentle strumming and Mirio’s energetic ones. However, there was something more to the background noise this time. A small mechanical noise, almost as if it was whirring, or beeping. He couldn’t place it.

He missed his cue once again.

Tearing the blindfold off, his shoulders slumped forward. What were they going to do?

 


 

The following week followed the same exact way. They got into the recording booth. Nedzu popped in to say hello. Midnight and Cementos worked with them.

They tried everything. The blindfold, just closing his eyes, recording him alone in the booth...nothing worked.

Tamaki was really letting his friends down.

That’s how they found themselves, once again, sitting in his father’s cafe. “I just...don’t know what to do,” he mumbled, poking at his jello.

“It’s okay, Amajiki-kun!” Nejire said, scooping ice cream into her mouth. “We believe in you, and if you can’t do it, then it’s fine! We won’t hold it against you!”

Tamaki knew that, he really did, but at the same time...they had to be lying, right? There was no way they weren’t at least a bit frustrated with him. Hell, he was frustrated with himself.

“Thanks, Hado,” he said, slowly getting up. “I’ll be right back…” he told them, slowly sulking away. They watched as he disappeared up the stairs.

As he got out of sight, Yuuyu set her drink down on the table with a loud thud. “What are we going to do? He feels so bad, even though it’s not his fault! Should we pull out of the contract?”

“Ah, I’m not sure...wouldn’t that just make him feel worse?” Mirio said, scratching his chin. He really didn’t know what to do.

“Well,” a new voice said. They all jumped, turning to look at the newcomer. The red-headed barista grinned happily, setting down a refill for Yuuyu. “Have you guys tried, you know...soundproof headphones? Or, I don’t know, lying to him and saying you’re not going to record?”

The group went silent.

“How...did you…?”

Kirishima laughed loudly. “Tamaki’s my cousin! We’re best friends, man! He tells me a lot of stuff.”

Nejire, however, was excited instead of confused about the teen’s sudden appearance. She jumped up, slamming her hands down on the table. “Lying to him could totally work! He’s so gullible sometimes, I just know it would!”

Mirio hesitated. Lying to their friend seemed sneaky, and like a cheat. However…

What did they have to lose?

 


 

“And you’re sure this will work?” Cementos mumbled, looking up from his papers to meet everyone’s eyes.

“Totally!” Nejire bounced on the spot. “Well — almost, like… At least forty percent sure it’ll work- that’s almost half!”

He raised a brow at her, but chose not to question it. Just then, Tamaki had entered the room, a gloomy aura around him as he set down his bag on one of the chairs and made his way into the studio. The other three winced at his expression; they really hoped this would work. If it didn’t, not only would they have lied to Tamaki, but they’d also run out of options on what to do. If that was the case…

“You ready, Suneater?” Mirio grinned at his shy friend. Tamaki could only offer a weak shrug. “Great! Because we’re not recording this time!”

Tamaki froze, anxiety and fear seeping into his eyes — but before he could open his mouth to question it, Mirio waved his arms around.

“Don’t worry! It’s just a warm up… You can do that, right?”

“Look! We even have these headphones - it’ll help block other noises out, what do you think?” Yuuyu smiled as she slid the headphones over his ears. Tamaki blinked in surprise as practically everyone was now muffled, and other noises completely disappeared.

He would’ve felt suspicious, but figured that they just wanted to ease him into a recording.

Well, if it wasn’t recording then… Then he could do it. It was just like practise.

The four got themselves in place — Nejire was behind them, Yuuyu close to her, Tamaki at the front and centre, with Mirio right next to him… In his view. Even though this was a recording studio, they could still keep their usual spots — Tamaki had been worried they were one of those studios that separated the members...

… But Mirio was in his view, and that was enough to keep him steady.

Nejire and Yuuyu started the rhythm, and Mirio followed soon after with the melody.

This was their song, and so far Tamaki had been doing nothing but messing it up. If this wasn’t being recorded, then Tamaki had no reason to mess it up now.

He refused to mess it up again.

A single, deep breath, before his voice poured into the studio. It was shaky, a little unsure, but he was singing and that was enough for him. He was singing… So how bad could it be? Slowly, Tamaki’s confidence began to rise as the music surrounded him — was he still at the studio?

A smile perked onto his lips, gaze locked onto Mirio, who returned the expression — though much brighter. The lyrics were sliding out of his tongue through mere muscle memory by this point, the words escaping him now in more powerful waves. Heart pounding; he was lost in the song, just like during the competition. It was almost as if everything around him just… Disappeared.

Everything… But a single, bright light. A light so close to him, yet so far. He could feel its warmth, its kindness, it was radiating — it was overwhelming, and yet, Tamaki couldn’t look away. Like a moth to a flame, he was enraptured by this fire; he could look away, he could turn and run… But he didn’t. He wouldn’t. His body kept still. And if he was paying attention, he’d notice that the song had now ended, but his eyes and heart were locked onto this one spot.

“Wonderful — Brilliant! I knew you could do it, excellent recording!”

All at once the light was gone, and instead it was replaced with this cold dread, creeping onto his skin. Tamaki ripped away the headphones and snapped his gaze towards Midnight and Cementos; the man was rubbing his temple in annoyance, while the woman was covering her mouth. As if she’d made a mistake.

Oh… Oh no.

“You lied?” Tamaki gasped, snapping his eyes back at his friends. They had the decency to look guilty, Mirio was the one who stepped up.

“Yes, we did.” he spoke calmly, raising his hands — ready to calm his friend down. “But Ta- Suneater,” he corrected. “We did it cause there was no other way! We didn’t want to leave because that would make you feel guilty, we didn’t want to keep pushing you into singing because then we’re just making you feel even worse!

“I’m sorry it had to take this turn, but look! We managed to record a song! Was it… Was it really that bad?” he finished quietly, playing with his hands… He was the anxious one for once. Mirio bit his lips. “I mean… you were singing so well by the end… didn’t you… have fun?”

Of course he had fun, he enjoyed singing more than anything, and seeing Mirio like this? It hurt his heart to think he was making such a bright boy so… worried. So anxious.

He didn’t want to make Mirio feel like that, ever.

“I’m… upset that you lied,” he started slowly, carefully ignoring his friends’ winces. “But… I’m glad that you did.”

Their heads snapped up to him instantly, all of them were speechless. Tamaki’s cheeks burned as he fiddled with his hoodie strings, avoiding their eyes. The floor was… Very interesting.

“I just- I mean that… If you didn’t lie, we’d be going on in circles and… And I don’t want to be a bother. If I can do it once, what’s so bad about doing it again?” he squeaked out, covering his cheeks. The other three wasted no time in letting out squeals and cheers as they rushed towards him and slammed into a big, group hug. Tamaki almost squawked as Mirio lifted all three of them, he could see Midnight giggling softly behind the glass pane, and Cementoss had the smallest hint of a smile. They were both clearly amused.

Tamaki could only let out a shaky giggle as Mirio set the three down.

“We did it once- Suneater’s right! If we can do it once, we can certainly do it again!”

“Unless we’re talking about death.” Yuuyu said blankly. Mirio guffawed.

“NO!! NO TALKING ABOUT DEATH!”

“Hey! HEY!! Aren’t we technically talking about it right now??”

“That doesn’t count Fairy!!”

Tamaki watched as his three friends messed around. The light atmosphere took weight off his shoulders he didn’t even know he had. The tension just… Leaked out just like that.

 

Really… He loved this group of dorks. And Mirio was the biggest dork of them all.