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Message Man

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"someone convinced me to sing this song," tyler can be heard in the newest of his videos, showing himself in the camera, sitting cross-legged beside his bed, hugged by thin, brown sweater. "i don't usually listen to other people's requests, especially requests to songs like that one, but that person almost begged me, so... you ask, i deliver."

he grabs his ukulele from his bed and sets it in between his legs, then fixes some stuff in his phone in front of him. everybody knows he records videos with a phone.

"i don't know full lyrics yet, so if i fail, it will be..." he hesitates, "you'll see. don't be scared."

he hums quietly for almost a long minute, as if he could fall asleep right there; he doesn't care he's in front of others, he takes his time, never starting, when he's not ready.

he coughs a few times, then fiddles a little with colourful ribbons tied together around the head of his ukulele, the instrument a little bigger than he had in his older videos, making the boy's figure even smaller whilst hugging the ukulele tightly to his chest.

it seems like hours has passed, like he's not really sure about his appearance, like he forgot he's being recorded, until quick sigh and one loud strum break the silence.

once, twice, ten times.

he plays some happy and fast melody, the simplest one you can extract from the little instrument, not even singing a word for a long time, again. dainty fingers never forgetting the tempo.

after the long-ish introduction, the rhythm can be heard slowing down to new, individual, but firm sounds. "it's the remix to ignition," he begins singing slowly, but still keeping the firm pace of strumming, "hot and fresh out the kitchen, mama rolling that body, got every man in here wishing."

there's no hesitation in his voice anymore, he sings like he's on tape, on and on, the sound swallowing his body.

"sipping on coke and rum, i'm like so what i'm drunk. it's the freaking weekend, baby, i'm about to have me some fun." he sighs quietly again and does a little pause, just to begin again, with much more energy and passion and more dedication to the song. he almost shouts out of nowhere, "crystal poppin' in the stretch navigator, we got food everywhere, as if the party was catered."

the melody is lovely. the voice is happy.

"we got fellas to my left," pause, "hunnies on my right. we bring them both together, we got drinking all night..." he prolongs the note and adds quiet sentence of his own; "i don't know, what that means," before stopping playing and singing completely, setting the room in complete silence again, and making his breathing the only sound being audible. the end.

"holy shit," brendon shouts, dropping his phone on a table at the same time, before leaning on his chair and looking with wide eyes and smile at josh sitting to his right, already laughing breathless and not less wide-eyed than brendon.

they sit outside a friendly coffee shop, by one of the round tables beside the window. brendon, josh, and hayley.

since ashley recommended hayley tyler's channel that first day of school, hayley willingly watches his cover videos, being interested in music as much, and as intrigued by the boy as the rest of her mates.

but she turned out to be the only one, who offered the two boys to look at tyler's latest video, which had been uploaded previous night. "we have to support our friend," she said, quieting brendon and josh at once during their walk home. the most suitable place to watch in silence was her favourite coffee shop she goes to every week.

the whole trio bought coffees for themselves and almost approached one of the tables, when hayley said, "it's too hot to burn out our butts on these warm couches." and even if it wasn't too hot, the day was cloudy and grey, and they were all wearing light jackets, they found themselves sitting here, in the open area beside the window, waiting for brendon to start tyler's video on his phone, and sipping hot coffee from their paper cups.

"one eternity later," brendon laughs at tyler's frequent pauses and hesitations before even starting singing. hayley hits him in the arm.

at that point, when tyler straightens himself, giving a signal, that it is now, he is going to begin, both hayley and josh are almost leaning their heads against brendon's opposite shoulders, as he doesn't have so long arms so both of his friends see the screen whilst sitting to his left and right.

when the first sounds can be heard, josh almost spits out his hot coffee and burns his tongue by the way, drawing attention by his unexpected coughs. wide-eyed, he shakes his head and let his friends continue watching.

not so much later all of them are smiling, brendon even laughing, josh still wide-eyed with raised eyebrows and crooked grin. they are staring with amusement at mysterious boy's happy shouting the lyrics which make his voice sound like he might let out a chuckle, too.

they don't care, that they are outside, and passersby can clearly hear, what they are watching, or listening to. the second the video ends, all of them let out loud sighs, as if they watched torturous and incredibly long film.

"holy shit," brendon shouts, dropping his phone on a table at the same time, before leaning on his chair and looking with wide eyes and a smile at josh sitting to his right, already laughing breathless and not less wide-eyed than brendon.

"did he- did he just sing ignition or do i have hallucinations?" josh says with difficulty between his laughs and leans on the table, hiding his head in his arms.

"your vision is clear, josh." brendon answers. "but listen, i used to love this song when i was young and i would sing it out loud with my father in his car, being like 10 years old. we used to sing it on my way to school!"

"same," josh interrupts.

"but why did nobody tell me how inappropriate for 10 year old was this song?" brendon asks loudly and takes a sip of his already almost empty cup of coffee. "the lyrics are bad."

"seriously bad is the best word, that came into your mind?" josh grins.

brendon scoffs, "singing that removed my child innocence at the age of 10! why wouldn't my parents tell me that i shouldn't listen to that?"

"well, because you didn't know the meaning, which means you still were an innocent child. they didn't want to destroy that." hayley smiles cheekily.

"i feel worse now, knowing that i actually wasn't innocent. i should feel guilty, but i never did. my dad experienced me singing that at least once a week as a 10 year old."

"10 year old or 18 year old... better sooner than later," josh says.

hayley laughs again and brendon looks up and rolls his eyes in front of josh, but before he can speak up, josh adds;

"okay, stop overreacting. you make this song seem worse, than it actually is, but it's great. and everybody in this world used to sing songs they didn't know the meaning of. many people still are. it's nothing new."

"okay, okay, but this kid has talent," hayley grins at both of her friends and takes brendon's phone from the table to scroll through some comments below the video. "i'm more and more positive after watching these every time he posts."

"i'm not going to deny, dude," brendon confirms. "he's going to kill it at that music competition."

"oh, right!" hayley points out. "when we were signing up, i told him i already had no chances at competing with him. i wasn't wrong."

"you're really great too!" brendon taps hayley on the shoulder. "but if he's going to choose this song to sing again, the victory will be his."

when nobody responds, brendon looks at hayley, then at josh, who stares at brendon with raised eyebrows.

"josh. what got you so quiet?" he asks. brendon hates silence.

josh breathes out slowly, then takes his breath in again, "i just... i wasn't expecting him sing that, that's all." he doesn't stop smiling.

"why not?"

josh almost stands from his seat. is brendon deaf? "why not? have you seen that?" he points at the phone hayley still holds in her hands. "or more like, have you heard that? tyler singing those lyrics... dude..."

no matter what circumstances, josh would never even think tyler joseph would be able to sing a song like that one. he just doesn't see that boy as somebody, who listens to music like that, and, he has no idea, if it does matter, but he's actually ran away from josh a few times, because he was scared of him, so it means something. they have never had an opportunity to exchange words, josh barely knows, how his voice sounds, when he talks, but that doesn't mean josh can't see, how is tyler inside like. he's met many people in his life, but what he saw a few minutes ago was beyond his expectations.

and sure, maybe he is naive, because still waters run deep. maybe he's wrong. it happens. what surprises him even more, is that tyler has created some kind of character on his channel and tries to stick to it. figure of mysterious poet even fits perfectly to his own self in real life, but also, his videos consist of singing some deep lyrics, which josh doesn't even have time and strength to rethink, and reciting sad poems by the weak light of his bedside lamp. everything is perfect there, josh has to admit. everything sends shivers down your spine and makes you contemplate about his and your existence. everything is secretive and dark. except that one song tyler decided to share yesterday night.

if somebody really convinced tyler to do that, that person might have a big impact on tyler. not that josh complains.

"oh, yeah!" brendon notices. "have you heard that? i don't know, what that means!" he mocks tyler, "that was freaking cute!" hayley nods, not looking away from brendon's phone, but being able to listen to the conversation. "he doesn't know, what that means! he's the sweetest human, i can't handle it."

they both start laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation, and at the fact, that they still are too loud to sit outside the coffee shop; they make more noise, than the cars passing by.

"but he's also a mysterious, freaky shit," josh adds.

"aw, somebody's scared!" josh hears the words, that are very familiar to him now since the very second morning in his new school. seems like a long ago, but only about two weeks ago.

"i am not," josh responds similarly.

"you are. because that," brendon points at his own phone, "was good."

"that was really fucking great, if i'm being honest," josh declares, being ready for surprised words and wide eyes directed towards him, but he actually notices none of these reactions, so he adds again, "i'm just surprised he sang that. it doesn't match his... theme, because it's kind of happy and fast song. he only sings about dark stuff."

"am i wrong or did you watch more of his videos?" brendon smirks.

josh groans. "i'm just pissed off, that he has ideas for better and better stuff exactly at the time, when i have no ideas. i haven't posted anything for a week."

brendon smiles. "oh, yeah. you were posting something almost every day, and i was always wondering, how many ideas did you have in your head."

yeah, they had been still here a few weeks ago, but magically vanished, when he started being stressed out and had more stuff to carry on his back.

sometimes josh forgets brendon had been watching his videos before they even met. now he finds it really kind of him, and appreciates that he, but also ashley, and the rest of the group of friends, accept him exactly, how is he like, and how his life looks like.

"don't worry. we'll come up with something. i'll help you for sure." brendon's smile doesn't disappear from his face, and again, josh thinks that moving out to this city wasn't that bad as he'd thought at first. everything is harder and more difficult to get used to, but it's a fresh start. he had never realised he needed that. he just hopes nothing will happen, what could make him change his mind.