G; 1,470 words
Six ways in which Luhan is a good hyung.
a/n: for shihan_ai because I sarang her ♥ just a few moments of chenhan/luchen/wtfistheirotpname
1. 막내 (maknae)
He’s not the maknae but they all forget sometimes, even Zitao. He’s second in line. Jongdae whines like a child and pouts as good as any kindergartener would. He’s a professional when it comes to being cute. He and Zitao the Panda have the kpop world charmed. Luhan forgets more than anyone, because beyond his sharp, delicate features that would deem him a heartbreaker, he’s always wanted someone to take care of. Perhaps that was why he’d taken to Sehun so instantly.
They don’t talk about everything on the air, not that they would ever dream of it. Jongdae can’t properly defend himself quick enough; he’s a firecracker in the dorms but he has that sweet face, and he’s not about the make the translator’s lives harder than he has to. So he speaks slowly and the others leave him alone to his own little world unless they need him. He’s only been studying Chinese for six months; he deserves a little bit of a break.
They’re in Korea for now, but they’ll be shipped off in a plane to China sooner or later and Luhan will need someone to take care of again. Jongdae is perhaps the easiest target. He’s a maknae, born at the wrong time.
He’s still a child, and so Luhan will spoil him, like the hyung he’s become.
2. 가요 대전 (gayo daejun)
Luhan comes out of nowhere in white, with hair that’s only been temporarily dyed red (then again, everything is temporary in this business), and shining eyes. Jongdae is fidgeting with his mic and ear piece. It’s almost time. This is his first real stage. He’ll only be on it for about twenty seconds (twenty five? thirty?), maybe longer if he forgets how to walk when it’s time to step down, but he can’t exactly think straight.
The stage presence is part of what had brought him into exo so early. Jongdae hadn’t trained like the rest of them. He is different, he would always be different. He can use this stage presence to his advantage. Use it to mask the vulnerability underneath.
“You look sharp,” says Luhan, reminding Jongdae of his presence.
Jongdae stop fidgeting with his mic and reaches for his tie, silver and smooth, but Luhan gets there first. He feels Luhan’s pretty fingers at his throat, straightening and then patting. Comfort in a few swift movements.
Luhan is up before Jongdae, performing with their sunbaes from Super Junior and SHINee (even though Luhan falls in the median range when it comes to age), but he doesn’t seem the least bit nervous.
This is the first time they will ever be on a stage like this. It’s a huge show. Jongdae feels like a baby in his parents clothing. But Luhan is holding him by the shoulders and looking into his eyes saying, “You are amazing.”
Jongdae’s words catch in his throat.
3. baby don’t cry
Jongdae is pretty disappointed when he finds out that his favorite song isn’t going to be on their first mini album. He’s been told to inform the public that his favorite song is ‘Machine’ with a laundry list of reasons so that he could name a few of them if he forgets the rest. But his heart rests in all the work he put into ‘Baby Don’t Cry.’
He rejoices in the fact that they’ll be performing it at their showcase. Luhan is the one that reminds him of this, “Don’t cry, baby,” he coos, and the two of them fall back into the easy motions of rehearsing.
Jongdae doesn’t mind when Luhan babies him. He most certainly doesn’t mind when Luhan takes him out for a late dinner, because Luhan will always insist on paying.
He finds Jongdae at two in the morning, pouring over stroke order with tired eyes. Luhan turns on an extra light in the kitchen where Jongdae is sitting, on the floor, legs crossed. Odd, Luhan thinks, but the boy’s always been a little different. He probably finds some sort of comfort in kitchens and the familial qualities they possess.
“You should be asleep,” Luhan scolds, albeit playfully.
Jongdae pouts. “This is hard.”
“You’ll get it,” he says, sitting down in front of him. “I should speak to you in Mandarin more often. I spoil you.”
“Not yet,” Jongdae’s brow furrows and his cute little toes curl when he tries to read a line of characters in front of him. Six months, it’s been. Luhan is still amazed at his effort. Luhan reaches out to pat the boy on the head, messing his already tossed-from-sleep black hair.
“I’ll make you coffee, okay?” says Luhan. He stands and searches for the new brand he’d bought just a few hours ago on their way home from practice.
“No, hyung, I shouldn’t . . .” there’s a but written in there.
Luhan will play along. “Why?”
“Because you’ll put milk in it. Milk isn’t good for your voice, you know,” Jongdae says, but the shape of his eyes, round instead of narrowed and smiling tells Luhan that it’s fine to break the rules this once. Plus, their interview isn’t until the morning. He’d be fine.
The caffeine will drive Jongdae through the rest of his notes until he is satisfied. Even if the milk sticks in his throat and Luhan feels guilty for it, but there is more than a good chance that Jongdae will be fine by the time an MC asks him to sing. Luhan can’t remember what interview they’re doing tomorrow. The managers will remind him in the morning.
“I’ll go light on the milk,” he suggests.
Jongdae’s looks up from his messy Chinese characters. “. . . But then it’d be too bitter.”
Smiling, Luhan rummages through their cupboard for the mug he knows is Jongdae’s favorite. “What about hot chocolate instead? Better than getting jittery from the coffee. It’s too late for that.”
When he turns around to see the look on Jongdae’s alarmingly youthful face, he knows the answer would always be yes.
Luhan’s Korean is better than any of the other Chinese members, even Kris; Kris, who’s pretty much an expert at any language you hand him. Sometimes Sehun tells people that Luhan’s Korean is even better than his, but he’s just being a suck-up. Luhan is lenient when it comes to buying things for his “dongsaengs.”
Jongdae is no exception. Luhan uses the little bits of change he has in his wallet and buys Jongdae stickers and bookmarks and pens to help make his Chinese notes more colorful. Jongdae has attention span problems sometimes, so sometimes Luhan breaks into his notebooks and plants new stickers and notes for him to look at, to keep his interest alive.
Hearing newly memorized Mandarin tickles Luhan’s ears and feeling Jongdae hug him from behind, he knows he’s done well.
The sadness is all too familiar. He feels it down to his bones.
Luhan has fashioned it into an art, holding someone while they cried. He thinks for a second that this isn’t fair; he’d had no one to hold him in Korea, no one to brush off tears with their thumb or kiss his forehead. This isn’t right, and he should hate Jongdae for being such a child when Luhan is the one who should be crying. He’s been away from home far longer than Jongdae has ever been as of yet.
The truth is that these are things that should have bothered Luhan to the ends of the earth and back. What gave Jongdae the right to miss his family and country when they hadn’t even been gone for that long? These are things that should have distanced Luhan from Jongdae more than anything. More than that voice—the voice that everyone in this whole group envies.
Luhan lies next to him and just holds him, hands against Jongdae’s warm back that feels too frail from being worked into exhaustion. Here lies another reason. He’s been wound too tight from day one; promised fame and success with that voice and his bone structure, but in such a short time frame, anyone could feel close to exploding.
Luhan presses his hands against Jongdae’s tired skin, through his t-shirt, and lets his neck be dampened with tears.
There are a lot of things he wishes he could promise Jongdae. They just aren’t things that he can give him, necessarily. Luhan can sing with him or sing to him, and he can promise that they’ll always be together. He can’t promise that everything will be fine, or that he can take Jongdae away from the weariness. But he can pretend, and Jongdae can pretend. Sometimes fantasies of freedom and a little more innocent fat on their bodies can bring as much comfort as a good cry.
also wow I wrote canon again; seriously, I am shocked, wanted to tag with "au" but then I realized that this is actually real life (hiding myself because I can't do canon, but I am posting this because this pairing is too cute and Annie likes it so I have to)