He spends four years learning his craft. Getting to the top of his class, his prefecture. He will have his stage, he knows it.
The application goes out to Seisho Music Academy, her family confused - isn't that a girl's school? - but supportive.
Four weeks later, a letter comes back.
She's not going to Seisho. She can't believe it, she did everything right it isn't fair she deserves this. She writes back, begging them for some other way, a path for hope. She lingers with her razors a little when she shaves her legs, she waits in silence alone in her room among the blinking lights and notification badges and letters and the soft knock at her door that marks her mom leaving yet another meal outside.
She's not class A material, but they're impressed with her application - would she be interested in a spot in class B, perhaps? It's still prestigious, and while she might not be good enough to rule the stage, maybe she can bring coffee to the ones who do. On that one condition, she can join the stage of the 99th graduating class.
Of course, she says yes.