piracy in the lyrics

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arc one; a different kettle of fish

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She's had a dream for as long as she can remember. Having two lives stored in her body just makes it easier for her to reach it. There's a whole lot of muscle memory that gets passed through during reincarnation, and another worlds got a ton of differences- namely, taste in music. It doesn't help that it get's harder and harder to let sleeping dogs lie and developing a popular online presence only proves to catch the attention of... way too many people. Probably not the best idea she's ever had.

Scratch that, dating the brainwashing insomniac wasn't that good of an idea either. But here she is. Not regretting any of it.

Even as she changes a story, bit by bit, without even knowing what she's doing or how far her reach truly extends. Because a hero-focused society probably isn't prepared for an outspoken voice that truly, honestly, could not care less. (or, Tasatsu Medama is born, a quirk is discovered, and an imposter and a liar creeps through the cracks of what should've been a musical masterpiece). OC-Insert, Class 1-C. Non-Hero Student. [Shinsou/OC]


There's a high pitched click. A small hum of a speaker coming on. The microphone is set up in the small, soundproofed closet. The only light coming from a small, duct taped fixture near the ceiling. It flickers. The outlet that it's attached to isn't a very good one but, with a stack of books propped up beneath the plug-in, it's just enough to keep it in place, so long as nothing shifts it.

The computer and subsequent recording software in question is sat upon a shittily made desk. If it could even be called that. It's more of a box, really, only a couple inches tall and painted a bright red and covered with Present Mic and Crimson Riot stickers. The worst part of it is the fact that there's a bent nail buried into the top of it- like whoever had hammered it in had hit it from the side and then just decided to keep folding it over until it was buried into the wood. It didn't help that there were coffee stains and the paint was starting to peel, the stickers long faded or scratched up.

It was… Homely.

And long legs squished to push into the small closet space, sealing the door quickly behind them.

She'd gotten taller the last few years. Enough so that it was starting to get rather cramped. But she didn't find that she minded that fact. She didn't think she'd grow much taller to be honest- it was just her legs that had really shot up in length. And, so long as she was sitting crisscross applesauce, she could manage.

Her tongue flicks out, running over her suddenly dry lips. Buds of nerves starting to build in her stomach that she quickly stomps down hard on-

There was no time to be nervous. Not anymore.

"It's time for the stream after all…" she hums, the voice changer on and helping to completely muddle any source of familiarity in her voice. Well, only to those who knew her. It was just off enough to not make someone look twice. And to also throw off potential quirk users who tried their hand on located her through voice-based means.

The smile curling across her lips still manages to be a little shaky with pent up energy as the well-practiced phrase finds itself on her tongue. Much more peppy and energetic than she's sure anyone listening in actually feels.

But that, apparently, doesn't do anything to dissuade the viewer count from spiking as the image they're allowed to see shifts to the familiar segmented ring symbol, pulsating with a white gradient on a red background. Making it look pink on the edges.

"Welcome to The Halo Hour! I'm your host: Halo, and 'I am here' to bring you some late night tunes to help you to sleep or to that next cup of coffee before the night-shift starts…"

The chat blows up with semi-familiar spam and gifs and images that she only vaguely recognizes because of how often they're used. It's not what she was originally used to seeing but it's just another thing to force herself to get used to.

It wasn't so bad. Not really. Just jarring and vaguely surprising. Even with the years that passed some part of her mind still expected to see something that wasn't there and still balked at the bent reality and differences of this world. It'd been something she'd struggled to come to terms with and still was, but hey, she was getting there. The smile on her face didn't even twitch at the sight anymore.

An image jumps up in the corner of the screen and a large dollar sign appears with an amount that has her singing.

"Ooh~ What's this? What's this? A donation re-quest! What's this? Let me take a guess! What's this? I can't believe my ears. I must be mishearing. Listen, Halo, we mustn't rest! What's this?!"

And the chat blows up in response, having her giggling. It helps that that's the first time she'd ever responded like that and she can see the donator key smashing in chat and figuratively squealing with a litany of text.

"Thank you for the donation, allmightyfanboy! Which leads me into what charity organization all proceeds will be going to for this month- we're coming back to quirk discrimination once again, because it doesn't matter whether a person has a quirk, a mutation outside the norm or beyond conventional attractiveness, or if a quirk is deemed somehow villainous by societal perceptions… The Equilibrium Charity fights against quirk discrimination on all fronts and helps abused and displaced people recover from-"

It's not long before she finishes the usual spiel as one of her mods tosses up some hotline numbers and donation links and info links for her.

"Now. Allmightyfanboy, let's get to that request you made."

And her fingers fall onto guitar strings.

In the beginning, it was much simpler.

Just another artist on MeTube, another account added and posted to. It wasn't even under the name it was now, no, instead it was a crappily put together channel by the name of hallo015 that produced its own little original songs on a crappy mic with either a guitar or a piano for accompaniment. All of it on a one-color background with movie maker-esque lyrics fading in and out.

It didn't have much of a following.

But that was fair. After all, the person behind it had mentioned that they couldn't afford much better equipment for a while, they just wanted to start putting some stuff up. For fun.

Then a new microphone was introduced and the soft, pretty voice behind it grew stronger. Vocal cords sounding strained and slightly strange and unnatural. Not like they were making a voice or like they were editing their voice, but almost as if their voice was too- mature for their own body. It didn't matter much. They sounded good enough even still. And then they started adding more instruments and a music editing software was added to their equipment list.

And then the one-color image background changed to a simple pink with a white segmented circle in the center, a bright symbol that was exceedingly simplistic. The lyrics were changed to appear in individual lines at the bottom left of the videos in a neat font that was easily much, much more appealing than what it was previously.

The follower count rose.

New songs were made, old songs were redone, and then redone again, and again, until the quality was so significantly better that it was bordering on an almost professional level and- hallo015 shortened to Halo. It came not from any specific suggestion but people had taken to pronouncing the channel name like that whenever they talked about it. It just rolled off the tongue better. And the small-time artist with a pretty voice that was only ever heard singing, getting stronger with practice, created an official twitter and, well, it was unusual.

For someone, someone who is so very clearly not a hero and denied it on multiple occasions when asked, to gain popularity like they did.

Maybe it's not all that unexpected though.

Halo said the songs came from herself and so did all the acoustics and groundwork. People liked someone who worked hard for what they had, even more so when they do it all independently. And the amount of songs that Halo produced- they often set themselves apart from the norm because all popular songs nowadays had something to do with heroes or the like- with the amount of quality of lyrics and just… down-to-earth subject matter that was much more relatable compared to the heroics-saturated society that not many could realistically be a part of. No, it definitely wasn't so strange that someone breaking from the norm would gain attention. Especially when they marketed to a much broader audience than most did.

It helped that they often spoke their mind.

Halo, at halo_official

I can't really say that I'm a small-time artist anymore. Like, yeah. It's still me and me alone working behind the scenes but I've accidentally created a marketable brand that is way bigger than some kid messing around with their guitar and computer and I really don't know how to respond to that. ~time to ignore my problems and hope they go away~

Halo, at halo_official

I'd say I got lucky To: hawkssohawt, I mean. It's not as if I didn't have the means to create but I just got really lucky when my stuff went viral. I don't think I would've been popular otherwise.

Halo, at halo_official

Sorry! No face reveal anytime soon! And I'd rather not anyone identify me if they recognize my singing voice. I'm super camera shy and I wouldn't want anyone to treat me different if they knew who I was. Also, being all mysterious is kinda fun!

Halo, at halo_official

To: allmightssecretlovechild, Favorite hero? Well, there's the obvious popular ones but I don't really have a personal favorite. Maybe Present Mic? But that's more for his radio show then anything! I like Gang Orca too! I'm kinda surprised that so many people are scared of him? Like, I kinda get the why, but also- no?

Halo, at halo_official

Thinking of starting month-long charity streams called The Halo Hour. Thoughts?

Halo, at halo_official

A bit different but personal announcement: Please refrain from asking for information on me. I will not be releasing personal details to anyone. This includes age and quirk-status.

Halo, at halo_official

Small exception to the personal announcement: No. My quirk has nothing to do with my ability to make, sing, or use instruments. My quirk, or even lack thereof, has no involvement in my creative process.

Halo, athalo_official

Stream is up! First charity, as voted upon by viewers, is for natural disasters and rescue efforts. Can't wait to start!

Halo, at halo_official

A person's quirk is their own information to do with what they please. If you are so bothered by someone not telling you their quirk status then perhaps you have a personal issue that you need to sort through. In layman's terms: It aint your beeswax. The same thing goes for "scary" or "ugly" mutations and so-called "villainous" quirks. Ya'll really need to check yourselves 'cause if you're so bothered by someone's appearance or what they could/could not do with their quirk then you're the problematic one, not them. Sorry, I don't make the rules. I just enforce them.

Halo, at halo_official

First Official Album is out! The Halo Official Store is up! And, as always, the majority of proceedings will be donated across multiple charities. For more information, follow the links below.

Halo, at halo_official

You know that you've made it big when the hate mail arrives. Gonna be real with you, a lot of this is legitimately hilarious and I totally will be putting up excerpts of my favorite ones because some of these need to be shared with the world.

Halo, at halo_official

Shoutout to To: ittybittytiddycommitee thirtEEnznumberonefan ineedheroes, for their awesome convo on stream last night! It's giving me an idea that I think you all will find helpful *wink wink* ~scholarship opportunities~ from yours truly

Halo, at halo_official

To: villainsRus Yeah, I receive a lot of hate mail and death threats actually! Thanks for your concern though. It wasn't so bad at first but since I made my stance on quirk discrimination and 'quirkless people are people too' it's really been blowing up so- hey, at least we know who the real villains are now. My attitude probably doesn't help, I know that much. But you would think people didn't need a book to tell them that a person's worth is not dictated by their usefulness. Though, honestly, it's starting to look like they need a goddamn series.

It…

Was incredibly obvious that they didn't have even the slightest bit of a PR team.

But hey. Even if they spoke their mind and were often lambasted for an aggressive approach to some topics they were still incredibly good at what they did and they made sure that good things came out of it. What with near constant donations to charities across the globe and a large voice that spoke up for many who felt they went unheard-

It was no wonder that the Halo fanbase grew and grew until its obsessive following and devotion became… concerning. It wasn't like it was All Might levels or anything- frankly, it was hard to imagine anyone getting even close to whatever he had going on- but the following did mimic some of the reactions he had garnered in his early days.

Really.

Cover artists were just the tip of the iceberg and there sure were a lot of them. Fanart was adorable, especially considering the fandom had collectively designed a character lovingly dubbed after Halo. An entirely pink feminine figure with a white crown upon their head and chibi-like floating wings on their back, often clad in nothing but a white hoodie, nondescript features left up to whatever artist had decided on drawing them. Recently freckles had been popular and… unfortunately, Rule 34 artists as well, which was- yeah. Overall, it came with a litany of messages and support that was, quite frankly, insane but ah~ where there are supporters, there are often detractors.

The cryptid fandoms and conspiracy theorists were rather fun, admittedly. But they had a habit of pushing boundaries and demanding answers and trying to use quirks to locate Halo from behind the scenes, nothing had come of it but it hadn't been a pretty sight when her more… outspoken supporters found out. Absolutely tearing the forums and people behind them to shreds and only stopping when Halo themselves mentioned their dislike for people attempting to speak for them.

Stalkers, death threats and baiting, unsightly behaviors of people attempting to find the one behind the screen, hell, even blackmailers one time, and the almost religious zeal that people paid the name. It was something that heroes often had to deal with, though on a much smaller scale than Halo's broadcasted audience, and they usually had PR teams and agencies to dissuade it all. And even with those protections provided, sometimes it still wasn't enough and plenty of heroes had let it get to their heads.

It has those aware of the media and internet wincing in sympathy.

Halo was a PR nightmare just waiting to happen.

If they weren't already.

Halo, at halo_official

Yo. I just saw the R-rated hero? And I? Love her? She is so cool. I wanna be like her- her confidence is out of this world. To be so confident, so powerful- what a world.

Halo, at halo_official

Just realized that half my posts I've been making on the wrong account. Yikes. No wonder I've been getting a lot of hate lately. Not that I take back anything that I've said. Once it is spoken, it cannot be undone. All that jazz.

Halo, at halo_official

Holy shit. Hero branded food is some of the worst crap ever. Sorry, Pizza All Might, but your pepperonis are gross. I. Don't even know why anyone thought that was a good idea.

Halo, at halo_official

Aw, shoot. Wrong account. Again. (And don't get on me for cursing. Kids shouldn't even have a twitter. What the hell.)

Yeah. They definitely already were.

...

...

Shinsou Hitoshi receives his UA letter and knows immediately, as he takes in the envelope that feels much, much too heavy in his hands, what it will say. It's unfortunate that he's not wrong in that assessment. It's even more unfortunate that he doesn't dare dream to hope otherwise. He's not as naive as he was as a kid, when his quirk first came in, and Shinsou is aware of himself-

And his failures when it came to the practical exam.

He'd managed to take out a two-pointer or two. Somehow. It was mostly done as a result of other students failing to complete their own kills but it had been something at least. Something other than running around and- and- dragging a kid out from some rubble part way through and then nothing else.

His teeth grind together harshly. Tears pricking at the corner of his eyes.

Not tonight.

He slams the envelope down.

Not tonight.

He doesn't want to-

He's being stupid, he knows, because delaying the inevitable is unhelpful in the long run and will, probably, most likely, only make everything worse but he- can't. Right now. He just can't.

Shinsou's hands are shaking by the time he forces himself to crawl into bed and not think about UA and crushed dreams and his stupid quirk and-

He doesn't sleep much that night. If at all.

And he blinks lazily at his phone screen, even with the light as dim as it would go it was still too bright for him to look at without squinting.

The donation request that Halo is singing- it's an older one of her many songs that he doesn't know the name of but could probably find if he was actually paying attention to any of the lyrics- he'd gotten into the habit, like many others he was sure given the insane watch count on all of her things, of listening in on her streams whenever he couldn't sleep. Which was fairly often. Even if they were typically only in English and only ever strayed to Japanese a few nights a month or whenever Halo responded to a Japanese commenter.

It was fine though. Most people had a good enough grasp of English nowadays that they could get a general gist of what was being said, even if they couldn't speak it. He wasn't sure of the logistics but Quirks made language barriers easier to navigate somehow. Something-something about the gene stimulating some part of the brain that emphasized communication or whatever.

It just… stopped being as hard to understand people.

Didn't mean they could speak a second language or write it for shit without instruction though.

And English was- well. It was English.

Even with quirk genealogical enhancements it made hardly a lick of sense half the time.

Which, maybe, was why it was so odd that the ease in which Halo spoke it, smooth and light and almost airy, like she was whispering sometimes, somehow didn't have the same faults that others would. Maybe it had something to do with her quirk or maybe it was just because she was fluent in both English and Japanese- it didn't much matter.

Shinsou fumbled slightly with his phone screen as he typed in chat. Thankful that it was late enough that most of Halo's viewers had already dropped off for the night because, otherwise, he was sure that his comment would've just been buried under the usual spam that the MODs struggled to sort through. But, even then, as he hit send, he can't help but shake his head, because he seriously doubts that he'll receive any response as Halo hadn't been answering as many questions lately and her streams had been shorter the past month and-

"Oh, hey, Catitude, that's an adorable name."

He blinks, lips parting slightly as there's a sound of her guitar shifting to the side and sits up in shock as there's clear pause of her going to his comment.

"Let's see, what's your question…" she hummed, slightly, "ooh~ I see."

Anxiety suddenly pooled into his gut and he sucked in a deep, panicky breath. He- He didn't think she'd actually respond and-

Catitude

It's been my dream to be a hero but I have a psychological quirk and completely failed the UA Hero Exam. What's even the point? I don't have a chance against people with stronger, more perfect quirks. Everyone says mine's villainous. How can I possibly be a hero when people are blessed to go the hero route and I'm just not?

Now he's not sure if he wants an answer.

"So you failed." Halo summarized blandly. "What are you going to do about it?"

He blinks, slow and languid.

"What's with the defeatist attitude? You're not going to get anywhere if you act like that," there's a noise that… might be a huff. He's not sure. He can't quite place it. It doesn't sound derisive but it doesn't sound happy either. "Look. I get it. When it seems like everyone is against you, and- hey- maybe they actually are, I don't know your situation. But if one failure gets you down then maybe you really can't be a hero."

He grips his phone, feels it creak beneath his fingers and immediately starts typing and-

Halo lets out a little laugh. "That pissed you off, didn't it? I can see you typing." He can practically hear the smirk in her voice. "Good. Use that."

...What?

He stops, staring blankly at the stream and the flooding comments. Only a small selection in Japanese that he can read. He doesn't. Deleting what he'd been about to type and typing in something new.

Catitude

I don't understand

"If it's been your dream and UA doesn't think you're good enough, prove them wrong. Prove that not only can you be a hero- but that you can be a better one."

There's an onslaught of messages that nearly bury his own if it wasn't for a mod pinning it just so Halo could find it in everything. The general consensus is something that he agrees with, that Halo is talking about something almost impossible because everyone knew how competitive the hero scene was and-

Catitude

It's not that simple

"Of course it is. Figure out what you can do as you already are, and do it." It's not really advice. Not of a typical sort. And it's said with a sort of flippance that borders on being rude, but somehow Shinsou doesn't think it's meant to come across like that. Even if his first urge is to chuck his phone at his bed, his teeth clench and he glares at the screen until Halo starts talking again. "I'm not saying it's going to be easy. It shouldn't be. There's millions of people who want to be a hero and there's always going to be someone stronger than you, or someone ahead of you, but the hardest things are usually the ones most worth doing."

Part of him wants to start questioning her. Wants to snark and ask: "What do you propose I do then? I'm taking ideas." But he refrains, rolling onto his back and staring up at his ceiling.

That's a question he doesn't think Halo will be able to really answer. It's unfair of him to ask. Not unless he spills his heart out about his quirk and the way it works and-

Even if Halo is a known figure against quirk discrimination somehow he doesn't think even they would find the good in something like Brainwashing.

The lull in the conversation is enough for Halo to get back to her regular schedule and he listens for a few minutes longer before tugging out his headphones. He can still kind of hear it, even with them out and tossed to the side, but the noise doesn't surround him like it had before and he lets out a deep sigh.

Can't even tell himself if it's irritated or not.

At least it wasn't horrible advice, or Halo calling him villainous or trying to get the details on his quirk, or making fun of him for failing. Shinsou just doesn't know what to do with what basically amounted to: Dust yourself off. Get off your ass. And try again.

"Figure out what I can do now… and do it…?"

He scowls at his ceiling, eyes heavy.

He doesn't sleep that night.

But at least his thoughts aren't completely occupied by the weight of a letter a room away. Instead, possibilities and whims are tossed up in his head as he tries to figure out what might actually help solve all his problems. The night is a long one.

What he can do, as he already is.

...

...

Halo, at halo_official

I don't know what Plus Ultra means and, at this point, I'm too afraid to ask.

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Fanfiction doesn't like the "at" symbol apparently because that's what I have throughout this on ao3.

This is the rewritten version of this story as of 12/2/2020. This fic is meant to be fun and fluffy and is a bit of a break from writing my other more serious stories. Let me know your thoughts!