Characters/Pairings: Taeyeon, Luhan (Luhan/Taeyeon if you squint)
Summary: The plane back from SMTown. Half awkward sunbae-hoobae interactions, half therapy session.
Notes: ~920 words. After over a year of not posting fic, I come back with a k-pop crackship. :3 Here's hoping someone will be interested in this pairing. Partially inspired by this rumour:
[though I'm not sure how much credibility it has]"Luhan is very insecure. Not only does he have a phobia of heights, but he has also been yelled at by SME for being too shy on camera. It doesn’t help that neither of his parents support his choice to become an idol. Maybe it’s because of this, but one of his habits is making the word ‘EXO’ - he has written it several times on a paper while he didn’t have anything else to do, and has spelled it out using samgyupsal. He also searches the internet a lot about himself to see what others think of him."
|"Hey, anyone sitting here?"|
Luhan is completely startled, almost losing his vice-like grip on his phone as he looks up at her with wide eyes. Taeyeon smiles faintly at him from the aisle, eyebrow slightly raised at his reaction, and he visibly relaxes after a tense second, shaking his head as if to clear it.
"Please, go ahead," he says quietly, bowing from the waist-down, awkward from his position sitting down. She tries to refrain from rolling her eyes, wishing all of the EXO members would feel comfortable enough to get past that stage of having to so politely greet their sunbaes already.
Taeyeon buckles herself in after placing her bag in the overhead lockers, depositing her iPad and earphones and passport in the seat pocket in front of her. Sighing, she closes her eyes, smile slipping off her face, and she lets the buzz of conversation in the plane envelope her, lulling her into that familiar calm. She can feel the weight of Luhan's curious gaze on her, but she doesn't move, sinking back into the business-class leather, because she knows it's only from curiosity more than anything.
Not a minute later, her eyes open when she senses someone stop in the aisle.
It's Joonmyun, who looks at Taeyeon for a lingering second before addressing Luhan solely, concern etched on his features.
"Hey--you're okay, right? You sure you don't need to swap seats with anyone?"
Taeyeon looks between them, curious, but doesn't say anything.
Luhan raises his hand in an okay signal, smile stiff. "I'm fine, Joonmyun-ah. Don't worry about me."
Joonmyun purses his lips, but nods anyway. "Alright," he says reluctantly, and half-bows at Taeyeon in greeting before disappearing.
Taeyeon can't relax completely after that, and finds herself glancing sideways at Luhan as he silently glares outside the window. She notices the way he fiddles with the buckle of his seat belt, lifting at the metal flap and letting it snap back into place, before he seems to realise his nervous habit, settling for gripping at his phone again, the other hand on the arm rest.
They're in the air when she gets her iPad out, employing the use of the on-board wi-fi, and brings up Naver, Nate, and every other bookmarked news site, browsing through the entertainment news and searches on her own name. She gives a little sigh of relief when she taps on articles to read and doesn't see anything out of the normal--or at least, nothing scandalous or defamatory. Smile playing at her lips at a certain headline, she catches Luhan looking at her screen.
Taeyeon tilts her head at him, amusement lighting her eyes when he notices she has caught him, looking like a deer in the headlights and unable to play it off as a fleeting glance.
Luhan seems to recover quickly, and offers one of his enigmatic smiles in response, gesturing to her iPad. "Did your fans give that to you?"
She's a little thrown off by the question, given the website that is in full view.
"Yeah, they did," she says, fighting off the feeling of embarrassment at that. Sometimes the fans don't know when to stop, she thinks, and shakes her head, steering the conversation into other waters. Taeyeon angles the iPad towards him so he can read it. "Look, it's about the concert last night. Apparently our special stage was a big hit, according to this article."
"Oh," Luhan says, looking a little at a loss of words.
"Another one said it would've been more suited to the LA audience, but to each their own," she says, pressing the lock button on her iPad so the screen turns black, and stretches up, looking around aimlessly.
"Do you always search about yourself online?"
Surprised, Taeyeon glances back at him again, and he immediately looks embarrassed at the question, backtracking.
"I mean--you must have so many articles written about you all the time, and--well, Girls' Generation has been around for a while, right?"
"Well…" Taeyeon says slowly, furrowing her eyebrows a little in contemplation; she debates going for the model response, but discards that idea, curious at his reaction. "I think it's more a bad habit than anything, to be honest. For every good thing someone says about you, there will always be ten bad ones, and…" She scrunches her nose at the thought. "I think I've gotten used to it, though. It's never the worst thing you can go through."
Luhan nods, looking thoughtful.
"It's kind of useless to think that you can improve from those comments, though," Taeyeon adds, glancing at him sideways, contemplative, wondering if he does it; if that's why he is asking. He meets her eyes this time, his own wide with surprise. She smiles wryly, knowing she has hit the nail on the head. "I mean, to a certain extent, yes; but… we're human after all, you know? I think we just have to accept that some of the comments are just irrational."
"I guess," he replies, leaning back in his seat to look out the window, deep in thought.
"You're not worried about it, are you?" she probes gently.
He pauses. "It's hard not to."
Taeyeon pats his arm in what she hopes comes across as comfort. "Don't put too much faith in them--not all of them, at least."
Luhan manages a crooked smile, soft but genuine. "Thank you, Taeyeon-sunbaenim. I'll try."
"Please, address me comfortably," she says instantly, horrified at the persistent use of such stiff formalities.
"Then… noona?" he attempts, looking as if he's trying not to laugh.
Taeyeon reigns in a snort. "I guess I could get used to that."