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All I See is a NateWantsToBattle Fan Fiction written by HavingFun_ISKEY. Based off of the concepts and scenarios introduced in Nate's music videos, it’s best known in the NWTB fandom for its unrelenting treatment of Nate and the other characters, Tear Jerker moments, and an author who loves to troll their audience by posting nonsensical teasers of what’s to come.

Two months after losing most of his recent memories in a near-fatal car accident, Nate struggles to find his purpose in Los Angeles. He is inspired by missing music star Will Ryan to legitimize his career by applying to a record label, but his attempts only lead him to further mockery among the media and citizens of the city. That is, until Will’s record label, the Masked Records, inexplicably search him out and invite him to join, promising him to give him everything he’s ever wanted…

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All I See provides examples of:

  • Adult Fear:
    • Waking up from a two-week coma to discover that your life has been permanently changed as the result of a car accident you don't even remember.
    • Being told repeatedly that all of your efforts towards your main aspirations in life are rendered worthless unless you conform to society's expectations, whether they are in line with what you are passionate about or not.
  • All There in the Manual: The "Characters" portion of the official Discord server provides a lot of details regarding the cast's traits and relationships that are never touched on, or only implied, in the book. For example, it's revealed that Jonathan is romantically interested in Amanda and she at one point returned his feelings, Joel aspires to be like Igor because he has a crush on him, and Richard is asexual.
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  • Anger Born of Worry: Andy makes multiple attempts to "protect" Nate in earlier chapters of the story, and most of them end with him yelling at Nate for putting himself in danger. Often overlaps into Properly Paranoid territory once it becomes evident just how vulnerable Nate really is.
  • Awful Wedded Life: One of Andy's secrets is that he and Sabrina have had an extremely strained relationship in recent times. It's highly implied to be because Andy has been obsessively focused on Nate to the point that he's been disregarding his own wife, causing Sabrina to be both uncomfortable and very suspicious.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Throughout the book, particularly in Act 1, Nate struggles with the knowledge that he's slowly turning into the very fame-seeking person he swore to avoid. He initially feels ashamed and guilty for abandoning his most sacred values, but as the Masked Records further manipulate and indoctrinate him into joining the label, he is eventually convinced that his newfound ambitions are the only way to save his career.
    • This trope is even lampshaded in one of Nate's songs, Paid in Exposure, which not-so-coincidentally happens to be the name of Act 1 and the song he performs in the second chapter. In an interview in Real Life, Nate said the following about the song:
    Nate: Almost an extension off of the previous album's "Branded" is falling into tropes and being surrounded by ridiculous standards and a toxic environment. This branches off of that and talks about not realizing that you can start to fall into a lifestyle you hate simply by being surrounded by it. When I moved to LA, it felt like a different culture full of negativity and climbing and I couldn't stand that. And yet, from time to time, I find myself adapting and taking on some of those features that before I thought were ridiculous. It creeps on you and you've gotta stay grounded.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: By the end of Act 1, Nate, Andy, and Shawn have completely gone their separate ways, with each of them reaching this decision at different times. Andy, unsurprisingly was the first to go after following Nate to the mansion and yelling at Nate for aligning himself with the Masked Records; later on, Shawn expresses discomfort at being ostracized from the rest of the group's conflict and argues with Nate over him having abandoned his ideals. Nate, in turn, eventually realizes that they have all changed too much as people and do not hold the same level of sentiment towards one another that they once did.
  • Burial at Sea:
    • Will's body is at the bottom of the Los Angeles River.
    • Jonathan later attempts to do this to who he believes to be a passed-out Nate while driving him home, but Caleb talks him out of it.
      • And for that, Jonathan threatens to do the same to Caleb too.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: In his first introduction to the Masked Records, Nate passes out after...four drinks. This seems to be because he hardly ever drank before that point and hadn't built up any sort of tolerance, but it's highly implied that the drinks had been tampered with to be way stronger than they're supposed to be.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mrs. Brady, Mr. Stahr, and Mr. White of the Phoenix Records certainly qualify. During Nate's interview, they mock him for his appearance and reject him solely because they believe his preferred genre of music is too outside the mainstream to make a profit for their label.
  • Cult of Personality: More than any other celebrity in the city, the people of Los Angeles absolutely adore the Masked Records. They treat the artists (especially Will, Jonathan, and Caleb) like literal gods, and it's said by Nate that anyone who isn't a fan is practically ostracized from the rest of society.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Multiple for poor Nate. First, he and many other Youtubers he knows suffer a serious blow to their channel views and income due to Youtube's mass demonetization. After that, he gets into an accident that he will never fully recover from, and one of his closest friends breaks ties with him while another nearly does the same. Then, he gets rejected from the record label he spent weeks preparing for and is told that he'll never be taken seriously unless he completely reforms his career, and he's forced to realize that his two remaining close friends want nothing to do with the lifestyle he's seeking after and he'll never be able to repair his relationship with them. Not to mention, he was stalked relentlessly by the media, and they spread a rumor that his physical and mental disabilities from the accident resulted in him being rejected from the Phoenix Records. Ouch.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Nate, poor Nate. He really hasn't had it easy for him. Shortly before the book begins, he just barely survived when his car mysteriously crashed into the Los Angeles River, but he was left with a two-week coma, memory loss, and potentially permanent damage to his legs. Not to mention that upon waking up, he also learns that two of his best friends have either abandoned him or hold an inexplicable grudge against him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Shawn.
    • From Chapter 2:
    Shawn: (to Nate) Well, excuse me, I wasn’t the one jaywalking during traffic hour in one of the busiest cities in America.
    • From Chapter 2 as well:
    Jonathan: (to the audience) Allow me to ask you something. What do you believe the most important part of our label is? The fortune? The fame? The freedom?
  • Death Glare: Andy gives one to Nate at the end of Chapter 2, when he sees that Nate is performing with the Masked Records.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Older drafts had several hilarious examples:
    • The most recent iteration of Chapter 5 originally had this gem:
    His injured leg ached more than it had in a long time, but he ignored it, assuming he must have slept on it funny in his sleep.
    • A much different version of Chapter 3 had the narration referring to Igor, Joel, and Richard as "the three twins", which the author failed to notice for months...
  • Don't Look at Me!: One of the very first paragraphs of Chapter 1 describes how Nate is keeping his head down in the hopes that nobody will look at him. It very quickly makes sense, considering that he's a prime target for the local media as a result of his mysterious accident.
  • Drives Like Crazy:
    • Jonathan in Chapter 4. He barely sees Natemare in time before he swerves the car off the road, nearly killing everyone in the car in the process.
    • One chapter later, poor Nate has to deal with Shawn making an illegal turn in the middle of a busy Los Angeles highway.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Invoked, and implied to be exploited by Jonathan, who suggests that Nate and the rest of the Masked Records drink to make themselves feel better after listening to Nate's confession of his car accident. A short time later, Nate does this again after a particularly bad argument with Andy.
  • Fandom Nod:
    • The second chapter is titled Wolf in Sheep's Clothing after the song of the same name by Set It Off, a song that Nate has been requested to cover numerous times and adamantly refuses to in real life. In fact, he once said that he delays the cover by a month every time he gets asked.
    • Natemare's entire existence, having been created as an ego of Nate's due to his erratic and disturbing nature in videos such as Mangled. In addition, Natemare's appearance, as well as mainly appearing as a reflection is taken from the theory that Nate's doppelganger in the music video for Bones is an updated version of Natemare.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes:
    • It's implied that Nate views Shawn as this in spades judging by some of his interactions with him. In fact, some of his earliest monologue about Shawn is expressing annoyance over Shawn's loud voice and tendency to complain. It gets worse when Nate later rejects all of Shawn's attempts to help him, though it's made clear that he's mostly doing this because he genuinely believes that there's nothing he can do and that he does truly value Shawn as a friend.
      • Even more heartbreaking is that Shawn later reveals that he's fully aware of his apparent status at The Load of the group, and his reaction to Nate asking if he has any idea what it's like for his friends to constantly belittle him highly implies that his knowledge is negatively affecting his self-esteem.
  • Interestingly, Nate himself also fits this trope. Him and Shawn get along most of the time (albeit not as well as they used to), but Andy refuses to speak to him and Hunter outright abandoned the friend group. It's a wonder that any of them were friends in the first place.
  • Genre Roulette: It's almost impossible to predict when the story is suddenly going to switch between being a Psychological Thriller and Conspiracy Thriller, Satire, Mystery, Queer Romance, or a typical dramatic Music Story with elements of soft Science Fiction.
  • Hates Being Touched: Nate, as first revealed in Chapter 3. It's said that he's been that way since he was a child.
  • Hikikomori: As a result of heavy press coverage on his accident, Nate didn't leave his house until shortly before Chapter 1 for fear of further harassment.note  His condition has descended into downright paranoia by the time he does. It doesn't exactly help that none of his friends or family visited him during that time, either.
  • Hospital Surprise: Happened to Nate after his accident; it was a surprise for everyone, as Nate was not expected to survive, and it was a shock to himself, because he has no recollections of the accident after waking up.
  • Hostile Weather:
    • As revealed by Nate in Chapter 3, his accident took place during one of the biggest storms Los Angeles had seen in years. This is the main theory of the police as to what caused his accident in the first place—the rain was so heavy that most people were advised to stay indoors.
    • A storm also fittingly occurs in Chapter 4.
  • Implied Death Threat: Jonathan to Caleb in Chapter 4.
    Jonathan: I’d watch yourself, dear. I’m not a particularly patient person when it comes to this rather touchy subject, and I might not believe you much longer. We wouldn’t want there to be any more unfortunate happenings to any other members of the Masked Records. Not after...oh, it really is such a touchy subject.
  • Jerkass: It's easier to make a list of the characters who don't fall under this trope.
    • Arguably, Jonathan is the biggest one of all. He goes out of his way to make Nate's life miserable at any opportunity, resulting in situations that range from bullying him in ways that are guaranteed to get under Nate's skin the most to outright attempted murder and sexual assault.
    • Andy is another infamous example. It's not wonder most readers have very negative opinions of a person who betrayed Nate's trust for no apparent reason. Sure, he saved Nate's life in Chapter 1 and tried to quite reasonably make Nate leave the Masked Records mansion in Chapter 3, but the rest of his behavior so far has not helped his standing.
    • Special mentions go to Chase, Joel, and AJ, who eagerly serve as some of Jonathan's (or, in Joel's case, Igor's) most avid followers.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Heavily downplayed with Andy. Before Nate's accident, he was a pure Nice Guy with not so much as a drop of vice in his body. However, by the book's beginning, he's inexplicably transitioned into a Jerkass with few qualms over completely breaking Nate's heart. He then has several moments that show he does still deeply care about his former friend— he saves Nate from being hit by a car and berates him for it very early on, and he follows Nate to the mansion out of worry very shortly afterwards and yells at him even more—if not sometimes in the absolute most twisted, concerning way possible. After those, though, he goes straight back to being a Jerkass.
    • For all his flaws, including not being very good at giving sympathy, and being very quick to complain about things or criticize his closest friends' dumb decisions, Shawn makes frequent efforts to reach out to Nate throughout the story and remind him that he's cared about. Too bad Nate isn't very receptive of it.
  • Kissing Under the Influence: This is revealed to have happened between Nate and Hunter long before the book began. To Nate's horror, AJ smugly tells the whole of the Masked Records the full story— A few years ago, Nate and Hunter got drunk and began exchanging confessions, one of which was Nate admitting that he'd never kissed another man despite always wanting to. Cue full-on make-out session between them.
  • Loony Fan: Throughout the book (especially in the earliest chapters), Nate is shown to have an interest in Will’s life and career beyond the average person. All of his recent actions regarding his career are done out of a desire to replicate the same success Will attained in the music industry; it is said that Nate views himself as being vastly inferior to Will and feels as though they have a “powerful and intimate bond”.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: While the Masked Records is almost always just a metaphorical name, the members do occasionally play it straight.
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: Starting with Nate's reflection, called Natemare, in Chapter 4. Bit of an odd example as Natemare never actually speaks except, according to Word of God, once.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Unintentional due to being based on a real person, but used to its advantage in the book—Nate's real name is Nathan Smith, which reflects his feelings of mediocrity and lack of uniqueness to distinguish him from the many other citizens who have failed to make it in Los Angeles. When Nate does change his name following his signing to the Masked Records, it doubles as a Meaningful Rename indicating his growth in status and the start of his changing identity.
      • Interestingly, the commonness of his last name is exactly why the actual Nate decided to create a stage name.
    • The Phoenix Records executives' names, in addition to being shout-outs, also match with the characters they are based on—selfish, egotistical, and one-dimensional leaders in the Los Angeles entertainment industry that have more than a few dark secrets they're hiding.
    • In an extremely bizarre coincidence that, similarly to Nate's, is also used to its greatest potential is Jessica, who is implied to serve as some sort of leader or object of worship to the Masked Records, shares the same name as Will's real-life daughter. Only time will tell precisely how this is relevant.
  • Mirror Monster: Natemare.
  • Missing Reflection: Happens whenever Natemare moves separately from Nate until he's out of the mirror's bounds.
  • No More for Me: Played with. Nate gets increasingly drunk throughout his first party with the Masked Records, up to the point that he believes he's had far too much when he sees a hallucination of his reflection sneering at him.
  • No Sense of Personal Space:
    • Upon seeing Nate for the first time in presumably months, Sparrow runs across the ballroom of the Masked Records mansion and smothers Nate into a hug. Nate, for understandable reasons, is horrified, and AJ comes to his rescue by chastising Sparrow for her behavior.
    • The rest of the Masked Records members quickly gather around Nate and greet him during their first party, and Igor has to tell them to back off when he sees how uncomfortable Nate is.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: A major conflict of the book is how different two of Nate's closest friends are acting since the accident. Heavy focus is on Andy, who is not only uncharacteristically cold and even outright dismissive towards Nate, but also has become generally mean-spirited and prone to losing his temper. This is shocking not only for Nate, but for those in the fandom reading the book as well, who are used to the real Andy's gentle and kind nature and are confused as to what happened to his book counterpart.
  • Properly Paranoid: It’s difficult to blame Nate for locking himself inside his home for a month when the reader discovers the publicity on him is so heavy that he can’t go one day without the media being all over him.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Shawn loses his temper when trying to make himself heard over the concert in Chapter 2:
    Shawn: NATE. WE. HAVE. A. TRAIN. TO. CATCH.
  • Said Bookism: Frequently averted through use of action tags in the current draft. The old draft? Not so much. "Demurred" was once used as a dialogue tag, and it went just as well as it sounds.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Mrs. Brady of the Phoenix Records never once calls Nate by the correct name, despite always being reminded of what it is after getting it wrong.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Andy and Shawn in Chapter 3, after Andy gets mad at Nate for wanting to stay with the Masked Records and ends their friendship before dragging Shawn along with him. Classy.
  • Shout-Out: A lot.
    • Most of these take the form of song lyrics from various artists, which range from extremely subtle to super blatant.
      • In particular, the very title of the book, the acts, and the chapters all take their names from songs that the author believes suits them best.
    • In terms of characters, the names of the Phoenix Records executives are directly taken from the three main characters of The Love of the Last Tycoon. Interestingly, both works feature the Los Angeles entertainment industry as a major theme.
    • There's a raven, actually a crow, that repeatedly appears in the story named Pluck, a reference to Nate's character from Dark and Dicey.
    • In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, when the paparazzi first discover Nate in Chapter 2, two of the reporter's names are said to be Matthew and Shane. Also doubles as a Take That! moment, as both of the YouTubers have been known to make extensive overviews of other people's lives (Mat Pat with G Tea Live and Shane with his documentaries, respectively).
  • Skewed Priorities: Which sounds more unbearable—having to walk around with a cane in a major city after a car accident, or potentially ending up with a permanent limp as a result of not using it? According to Nate, it's the first option. His desire to uphold his reputation in Los Angeles is so great that he is perfectly willing to irreversibly injure his legs if it means he won't have to be seen walking with a dreaded cane.
    • Deconstructed, as the book shows how the way he walks does nothing to divert the attention he was feared of attracting.
  • Slipping a Mickey: It's highly implied that Joel was adding way more alcohol than normal to Nate's drinks during their first meeting.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Lampshaded by Nate in Chapter 2, upon realizing that he's being unreasonably harsh towards Shawn's attempts to help him.
  • Starting a New Life: When first trying to convince Nate to join their label, the Masked Records state that they can give him an opportunity to start over, without the city's preconceived notions of his car accident and YouTube channel. This ends up succeeding; upon joining the Masked Records, Nate changes his name to Nathan Sharp, vowing to leave his former life behind.
  • Suddenly Sober: After the Masked Records successfully convinces Nate to drink alcohol for the first time, Nate repeatedly switches back and forth between acting stupidly drunk and remarkably sober for the rest of the chapter, with seemingly little to no prompting. This is the most evident when Andy confronts Nate at the party; it takes only a few short dialogue exchanges for Nate to be mostly back to normal.
    • This continues with the following two chapters. Despite them taking place less than twelve hours after the party, with Chapter 4 even taking place during the same night, Nate wakes up with zero signs of a hangover whatsoever.
  • Tabloid Melodrama: Nate’s accident, due to its level of severity and having no known cause, is heavily publicized and theorized about by the media. It gets so bad that it fuels Nate’s paranoia to the point that he doesn’t leave his house for a month.
  • Trauma Button: Don't put Nate in a car.
  • Used to Be More Social: Implied to be the case with Nate; he was never a particularly extroverted person, but he certainly had more friends before the accident.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The entirety of the Masked Records, especially Jonathan, Chase, and Igor.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Will, who is revealed early on to have been dead before the book even began.
  • We Used to Be Friends: By the time the first chapter has even begun, Nate’s relationships with who were once his closest friends have taken a serious toll. Andy almost fully ignores him, Hunter has outright left the entire friend group and refuses to speak to any of them except Shawn, and even Shawn is somewhat estranged from Nate due to his disapproval towards Nate’s recent obsession with following in Will’s path.
  • Wham Line:
    • " Nathan Sharp, we meet again."
    • "Talking about me behind my back now, are we?" - not for its content, but the fact that it reveals that Andy had followed Nate to the mansion and had been secretly listening to the conversation for some time.
    • "I mean, imagine that—losing both your best friend, and the first man you ever kissed."
    • " Jessica was right after all."
    • "This wasn’t the plan. We made a plan, remember? What will Jessica think?"
    • " Let's throw Nathan Smith in the river."
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 4, for many reasons. It's the first chapter to mention the existence of Jessica, Natemare makes his first official appearance, Jonathan both attempts to murder and sexually assault Nate, AND Nate finds Will's body, a person who had previously been assumed to only be missing before.
  • What You Are in the Dark: A major theme in the book.
  • "You!" Exclamation: Subverted in Chapter 3. Andy has just arrived at the Masked Records mansion and seemingly says this line to show his fury towards Nate for having abandoned the friend group, but Nate is surprised when he figures out that Andy is actually speaking to Jonathan instead.

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