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Message Man

Chapter Text

tyler thinks, that the universe hates him for some reason.

keeping the promise, ashley called him yesterday evening, to make sure, if everything was alright. of course it wasn't, and tyler didn't even bother to pretend it was, but ashley told him to rest, open the window and listen to calm music. no questions about previous events, no questions, how was he feeling.

sometimes it was too hard for tyler to keep it all to himself, and he almost asked ashley, if she could listen to him for a few minutes, so he could rant, but then he came up with a thought, that she had most probably forgotten about it, and bringing this up would show his desperate side from even more annoying direction.

so tyler decided not to bring this up to her. apparently his idea about confessing his thoughts to some random person on tumblr was a good idea. he could spill everything to somebody who probably wouldn't even care, but would read it anyway out of boredom. on the other hand, tyler wouldn't bother ashley, and feel much better to finally throw it out of his head.

but nobody has messaged him back.

well, what was he thinking anyway? that crowds of people would beat each other to get a chance to talk to kid running a secret tumblr account with average amount of followers, who posted a "help me" text? it literally shouted depression and after all this time of not getting any notification at all, tyler realized, how terrible it looked.

tyler even started laughing to himself, how ridiculous this day had been, that there was literally already nothing, what may have surprised him.

he left this creepy text alone on his account, without deleting it, even though it was standing out through pictures and only pictures. oh, how weird that looked. however, somebody could finally start to worry and message him some time. tyler would answer any time. he needs to talk as soon as possible.

the more he thinks, the more he feels as if he's locked in some small cage and he can only count on himself. nobody else understands him, so nobody can help him.

the whole situation with josh made him question all of his moves since last year. he feels watched, he feels observed, he feels small, he feels lonely, he feels trapped.

he began his story with josh's videos almost a year ago. after watching the video of him dyeing his hair blue, just for ashley's sake, MISTYEYED's content was appearing on his feed every day.

tyler would watch youtube every time he was bored, or too exhausted with school work. after a few times of seeing the color-haired guy in his "recommended" section, he finally said to himself, if he appears on my account so many times, why not watch him? he seemed cool the last time, and his hair is even cooler.

he started with the most popular videos, each one showing josh with different hair colour. tyler remembered probably all of them quickly. after dying it blue from his natural colour, he changed it to very light green, blonde, then purple, pink, red, and now yellow. tyler still likes blue the most.

every video, exactly like his hair colours, was different. the ones, where he talked the whole video, have probably been the most important for tyler, because they proved josh's intelligence. people watching some of his game videos might think, that he is just some rich kid with no ambitions, and who knows literally nothing about real life, but in fact josh dun has more wisdom, than seemingly mature people these days do.

he can speak out about some really important society problem in one video, and the next day publish a recording of him being loud after an accident on his skateboard.

tyler is 18, but if he revealed his huge secret, people would consider him as a silly 13-year-old, who found his idol on the internet and is dazzled by him. luckily, only ashley knows about tyler's "idol", but recently she complains about it as well more and more. she thinks, that tyler devotes less and less time to her for this josh guy. no matter what, she will always be one of the most important people in his life; she's taken care of him, when nobody else did, and tyler will always keep it in mind.

but in fact, josh dun partly changed tyler's life.

in one of his motivational speeches, he talked about his own social media and musical experience. he said, that no matter, how childish and rebellious that sounded, he couldn't imagine himself being a lawyer or a doctor in the future, like all kids his age planned to be. he said, that he had rich parents, who could guarantee him a position in their own company he hadn't even known about. but would he enjoy that? probably not.

if you only work to make money, without feeling good with what you do, and forcing yourself to do your job, you're already lost. most of people these days apply for a work to only have a work, but josh didn't want that. he didn't want to waste his life on doing something, what didn't interest him, again and again, only to keep his ass fed and alive.

"you have no idea, how many people laughed at my face, when i told them, that i don't want to go to college, because it won't ensure me anything i want." he said, looking at the camera with a weak smile. "all of them say, that life is not as easy, as i think it is, and that i have a brain of an 8 year-old and my life is still based on my childhood dreams. well, it actually is," he laughed. "but childhood dreams can be ambitious. when your daughter says she wants to be a vet, is that a stupid dream? i think vet is a really important profession. so i've always dreamt to be a musician and generally a voice of a society. and i am now. and i will be even better."

josh has always wanted to be somebody listened to, not only regarding to music. he's wanted to gather everything, what his mother told him in the past, and what he learned from people, and direct it to other people. it's not, that he's a completely perfect person, with ideal habits and everybody should learn from him. he does stupid shit on daily basis as well. he just wants to share his thoughts and beliefs and opinions with the world. he doesn't have to always be right.

"i repeat it again, it may sound immature to you, but don't force yourself to do something you're not proud and happy of. or, maybe, try your hardest to reach something you will be proud of. it will be worth it in the future, i promise you. look at me," he gave this sarcastic smirk, that actually never leaves his face. he could laugh off even most serious topics. that's who he is. "i was this stupid kid, in whom nobody believed, seriously, nobody. i only believed in myself. and i'm glad i did. even though i have rich parents, i started from zero, without anybody's help. i had started my youtube account without any constant idea, and literally begged people from my city to check it out. it wasn't easy at the beginning. i was losing hope many times. it sucks, when you try so hard and you get nothing in reward. it's always like that at the start, believe me. don't give up, because you can be one step away from your goal, while you decide there's no use trying anymore."

and who is he now? one of the most popular people in nevada state, and definitely the most significant person known from social media. within two years he managed to make the amount of money, that is enough start a life on his own without any financial help. he played a few shows for various young artists, who needed a drummer in vegas, what made him more confident and gave him more experience as a drummer. all at the age of 19.

this video made a mess in tyler's head and tortured him for a few weeks straight.

tyler loved music. it played such a huge role in his life, and actually music was the thing he enjoyed the most. he loved to listen to music, he loved to sing, he even was able to play the piano and had his own keyboard in the corner of his bedroom. why not make something, what gives him pleasure, useful?

he figured out, that yes, indeed, he had always wanted to do something related with music in the future, but had never wanted to admit that. he was an A student, busy from morning to late night with school work, a student loved by teachers and a son loved by his parents. there was no time for something such as music. the most important goal was to get a high degree and a scholarship, then apply for the best college in state.

josh made tyler realise, that it wasn't, what he really craved in his life. school never made him feel good, it was destroying him bit by bit. he stayed up late to know every definition by heart and receive 100% on exams. what would it lead him to? school wouldn't teach him, what he really wanted to do in the future. well, maybe it made his word resource larger, but he learned to play and read music all by himself. music was what he really wanted to do.

he decided to make his future connected with music. eventually, if the plan didn't work out, he would still have his basketball scholarship guaranteed, even though it wouldn't satisfy him as much as music would.

tyler started his youtube account one month after discovering josh. by that time he managed to watch all of his 200 videos at nights. because of abandoning his sleep for school, he slowly became insomniac. he decided cut it off. he gave up on school work at night, and watched josh instead.

after the intense month, he started to write his own music; lyrics and melodies, to play piano more. he's been filming his weak voice with his phone camera, which he still uses to record his videos. he listened to his progress and finally got brave enough to post his work publicly.

he had never planned to tell his parents, at least not until he succeeds. making some silly youtube videos instead of studying history? he would most probably get grounded till the end of school.

unfortunately, his precious friend, ashley, wouldn't be herself, if she didn't put her big mouth in use. she mentioned tyler's youtube account during dinner with his whole family and, a few hours later, tyler barely survived after long conversation with his parents.

he told them that, of course, he would keep being the best student in school, what wasn't completely a lie, and that they had nothing to worry about. it took a few good months for them to finally accept tyler's hobby. they still didn't like it though, but they already stopped trying to argue, because tyler isn't going to give up.

making that account turned out to be a good choice. he's already gained a good amount of followers, which exceeds his expectations. his mysterious persona make him even more interesting and attracts new people. he hasn't made any money yet, but who knows? maybe amongst his audience is some important personality from music industry. hope dies the last.

and this story with josh leads him to think about this strange coincidence again and again, even now, during biology exam.

tyler knows literally everything about josh, knows about his childhood, about his friends, about his hometown, even his favourite colour. josh inspired him to do many things he would never think about earlier. suddenly, it turns out, that exactly same person moves out to exactly same city and exactly same school. tyler has reasons to feel watched and scared.

he is terrified at the thought, that he probably has to see him again today. sure, he's always wanted to meet josh and talk to him, but it was so impossible, that almost funny to tyler. he stopped to believe it would ever happen. and then, out of the blue, the exact yellow haired boy appears literally in front of his eyes. it messed up tyler's head completely.

also, tyler panicked and ran away from behind that table so fast, that nobody noticed it in the first place, for god's sake. no matter, how much he regrets that, and how many times last night he imagined how else that meeting would go, there's no come back. josh must think he's some insane kid with serious issues, and that will be his opinion about tyler forever.

loud bell suddenly distracts his deep thoughts and he realises, that he hasn't checked his answers on a test yet. he's been half conscious since today's morning and doesn't even know, what did he write on this exam. he sighs and stands from his seat, seeing ashley already waiting for him beside opened door.

"hey, what was your answer in the third exercise? i was really confused by that question, it wasn't precise. it said the mother of the kids was healthy, but she could as well have haemophilia gene, yeah? so i made two cross diagrams, but there was only one choice possible," tyler begins, while he approaches ashley at the end of the classroom. his voice is shaky and he sounds nervous, but he isn't even sure, if it's because of the test, or another stuff.

"tyler," ashley closes her eyes and sighs loudly, tapping tyler's shoulder. "do you really think i even studied for this shit? and who do you think i am to remember exercises after writing a test?"

he gives her fake smile and follows her on her way to cafeteria. "you're helping as always."

"tyler, i don't think, when i'm hungry. let me eat finally."

they enter the room and tyler sits and waits for ashley at their usual table, while she goes to buy her food. he starts to tie two strings of his hoodie into a bow. everything not to look up and make himself recognisable.

"do you see him? here?" ashley snaps from behind and startles tyler's calm and sleepy actions. he looks up to follow her finger and immediately regrets, when he sees yellow hair lighting up the whole room. ashley hasn't mentioned josh since yesterday at all, so he's surprised she even brings it up this time.


"what? won't you go and introduce yourself?" she asks. it's not, that tyler never makes the first move and starts a conversation in the first place. on the other hand, it's josh they talk about.

"excuse me? you're kidding me, right?" he looks at her with disbelief. her attitude is sometimes really over the line, but he got used to it after all this time.

"you can apologise for your... you know... yesterday. what if he started to make fun of you?

"he isn't like that," tyler answers quickly.

ashley laughs. "and how do you know that? how do you know he's not rude?"

"i know him more than you do, ashley. believe me." tyler looks up again to look at josh, sitting next to brendon and laughing at something probably a person in front of him said. the crowd make it impossible for tyler to see this person. tyler don't have to hear his laugh here to be able to hear it in his head. he knows it perfectly.

"you don't know him. you know him only from his videos, but you don't know, what he is like in reality." she still chuckles and tyler starts feeling, like the cage he's in shrinks to a size of his head and leaves painful marks on his body from clinging to him too tightly. "you're so naive, tyler."

ashley always shots, what occupies her mind, and tyler doesn't care, if she's sometimes too rude or inappropriate, but this time it hurt. she's always so damn right and maybe she's right now as well, but seriously, tyler sank into josh's story so deep, that he knows, what he's like. besides, he doesn't seem any different here, in school.

"hey, are you alright?" not at all. "tyler, i'm sorry. i was joking, hey, look at me." she taps his arm and sits in front of him, smiling.

tyler raises his eyebrows. "were you really joking?"

"i'm sorry. maybe he's not that bad." she laughs again. she laughs every time. just like josh. "what about coming there and sitting with them? they seem to have fun."

"ashley," tyler glares at her frightened. "no," he whispers.

"oh, come on. you won't always hide here, will you?" she takes his hand and tries to drag him with her there. she makes him stand up from his seat really quickly; maybe because she's strong enough, or maybe because tyler doesn't want to make a scene.

"yes, i will. please, ashley, let me go," he whines, but with no effect, because they've already made half of the way from their own table to the other.

"you will get to know your josh," she whines back to mock tyler, tugging him with her harder.

"no, please, sto-" tyler tries to argue, but stops immediately, when he sees, that they are already standing right in front of the table, where brendon, josh, and a few more people sit.

he tries to calm his nerves, even though it's too difficult, when a person he's always been longing to meet sits in front of him. the situation is under control until he panics again.

"hey," ashley starts loudly. "josh, you're josh, right?" she taps at the table and makes josh to look up in her direction. tyler tries his best not to faint and decides to sit on an empty place, which turns out to be opposite josh, again. tyler pulls out his phone and pretends to be busy.

"yeah, i think we met earlier-"

"what made you change schools?" ashley doesn't let him finish and sits beside tyler, even though there's not enough free place for her and tyler has to push brendon's friend a little.

josh raises his eyebrow and a second after turns his gaze to tyler, who is as confused as him. tyler has a chance to see his exact features clearly again, but looks away instantly. he's terrified.

"what, you were that kind of a bully, that they made you move out through the whole america from vegas to columbus?" she starts giggling for the hundredth time this day, and the whole table reacts similarly.

"what the fuck, ashley?" brendon bursts, still laughing.

"i'm just curious." ashley snaps, putting her hands loudly on a table.

"oh yeah? so check out my amazing youtube account and be my 2 million-something subscriber, because i'm posting my story about moving out shortly. your curiosity will be answered." josh says, without showing any emotion on his face. tyler's chest is boiling.

"aw, shit!" brendon literally shouts and starts laughing truly this time. josh smirks and snorts. "josh, dude, you ended her."

ashley crosses her arms and asks, "so full of yourself? mom didn't tell you it's rude to be cocky?"

one girl at the left side of a table, whom tyler doesn't recognise, interrupts, "ashley, you're cocky on daily basi-"

"your mom didn't tell you it's inappropriate to force your friends to do something they don't want?" josh speaks up again and tyler is hundred percent sure he's talking about him, when he didn't want to approach the table, and ashley tugged him here despite.

it's not good. he knew coming here wasn't a good idea, but ashley is making it even worse. tyler doesn't want to make enemies. he freaked out enough yesterday to make them think he's crazy.

even though tyler didn't say a word, the whole table is laughing, and he feels guilty. he's the only one, who doesn't laugh. even ashley has this devilish smile on her face. he shouldn't be here. he could sit on his place as usual and only watch the group from behind.

"hello!" suddenly, some voice interrupts again, and tyler thinks, finally, somebody would change this damn subject and make it less awkward. he turns around and see nobody else, but this orange-haired girl he met on the first day of school, hayley. "is any of you participating in this music contest this year? they just announced it and i really want to go, so we can register right now, because there are crowds of people in classroom 9 and i don't know, if there will be vacancies available later."

before tyler can think, he stands up from his place quickly enough so ashley doesn't stop him. "i want to," and disappears in a crowd.

he can hear hayley repeat "anyone else? no?" from a few feet away, and then she approaches tyler and leads him to the classroom 9. "okay, let's go. they will explain everything to us there."

tyler isn't really sure, what he got himself into, and if he really wants to take part in a music contest, but he finally managed to leave that infamous table, and that's what matters the most now.