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an epiphany

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For Hyunsang, it was an epiphany.

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This world is... a very strange place. 7 billion people. Advancements in science and technology. An exponential increase in people with higher education. Better health and longer lifespans.

And yet, war and violence never disappears. Hungry children remain hungry. Refugees still stranded and left to die. No one really seems to care about climate change, or the failing ecosystems.

And... and people are overwhelmingly less happy. Lost, and endlessly searching.

Hyunsang has spent half of his life searching. For that something that could fill the emptiness weighing heavily in his heart. He lives and breathes and he has searched. And for a while he believed he finally found it.

So he pours his heart and soul into what he knows helps ease his mind. He puts his passion into music, the one thing that calms him. Everyday, Hyunsang practices on his instruments - strumming his guitar and feeling the vibrations on his fingertips, playing the piano, letting the press of the keys soothe him. Everyday, he sings, letting out all the things he could never say through the tremble of his voice, belting everything he only wishes he could scream to the world.

For a while he thought he'd found it.

But... he's still tired. When he smiles, it's still a strange feeling. When he walks, he still feels weighed down.

So he continues to search.

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Fate brought him here.

He's done videos and gigs before. People seemed to like his voice. It's worth a shot.

He's surrounded by many talented and skilled musicians. He feels at ease that they seem to love music as much as he does. It's a comfort knowing you're with people who are like-minded in some way.

He smiles just a little bit.

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Hyunsang does not feel good.

The weeks crawl by. It weighs down on him even more. The emptiness. The helplessness. The excruciating loneliness that sticks to his throat.

He feels like he's let everybody down, including himself.

Hyunsang does not feel good.

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I'LL selected him to be in his team. Hyunsang isn't so sure why. He doesn't feel he could be a useful addition to the team, but he's grateful all the same.

I'LL smiles gently at him, telling him he's excited to work with him.

His heart feels... warmer.

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All of them treats him so nicely.

Hyungwoo, Jinho and I'LL have praised and complimented him more than he feels he deserves. It makes him bashful and awkward.

But he likes it, if he's being entirely honest.

They ask him for his opinions a lot, and vocalise their appreciation when he does.

He feels strange. He can't seem to pinpoint why.

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Practice with this team is... fun.

Hyunsang hasn't felt like he's had fun in so long. He's simply been holding on. As best as he could.

It's been difficult the past few weeks.

As they practice, he hears Hyungwoo playing his bass guitar, gently reverberating to the left of him. Jinho to his right, moving his bow gracefully across the strings of his cello, the melody he plays poignant. I'LL is across from him further to his right, running delicate fingers across the keys of the piano. I'LL sings with him - his voice blending so well with his own. They harmonise easily. Perfectly.

Perfectly.

His eyes meets I'LL's. He sees I'LL smile brightly at him as they sang together.

Hyunsang feels like he wants to cry. His throat closing up strangely, but he doesn't want to stop singing.

He doesn't want to stop.

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When the results are revealed to be in their favour, and I'LL, Jinho and Hyungwoo comes closer to hug him and pet him, Hyunsang understands.

He belongs here.

On the stage.

With them.

He belongs.

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For Hyunsang, it was an epiphany.