close comforts - an acrush oneshot [qianfan]

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"You're not getting the steps right. It's left, right, left, left. Not left, right, right, left. Try again."

Linfan nodded at the instructor, wiping the sweat from her forehead and waiting for the music to play. She danced, careful to execute each step correctly. Left, right, left, right. She stumbled, realizing her mistake too late. Linfan gritted her teeth in frustration, knowing exactly what she did wrong, but not able to correct it in time. "Wrong again. Practice it at home. Left, right, left, left. Let's move on."

Linfan stood in the studio later that night, running over the moves in her head for what felt like the hundredth time. Practice had ended hours ago, but she had stayed behind in the studio, vowing to get the moves right before she left for the night. She played the music again, throwing what little energy she had left into each step. She turned, moving through the steps that had troubled her all night. She almost made it, but at the end of it she tripped over her foot and came crashing down to meet the hard wooden floors.

The young dancer hissed in pain as she sat up, gingerly touching her forearm. Pain spread through it and she knew that she would soon have a bruise blooming under her skin. She sighed, holding her head in her hands. She felt like she was dragging down her team. They were all selected to train to become a girl group, and while the others did struggle, they still succeeded. It took her days to memorize the steps to a dance, get the timing right in a rap, or figure out the notes to sing for a song. She was supposed to be the group's main dancer, but she couldn't even do that well.

"You're here late."

A voice behind Linfan startled her, and she scrambled to turn around. She knew it well, but it still surprised her. Leaning on the doorway in the dim light of the studio was a tall, fit young woman. Her short hair was styled up, and she was wearing a full suit.

"Junqian," Linfan said, a hint of relief in her voice. "What're you doing here?" The other girl ran her fingers through her hair. "Just got back from a photoshoot and came to get my stuff. Noticed the studio lights on." She walked over to the younger girl and held out a hand to help her up. "Go shower, you're sweaty. I'll treat you to dinner since you probably haven't eaten." Linfan graciously took the hand given, making sure to wipe her sweaty palm on her shorts beforehand, and stood. She nodded vigorously. "Give me 15 minutes." Junqian waved a hand dismissively. "Take your time. No rush."

Once she had showered and dressed in clean clothes, Linfan went to the building's lobby to meet her girlfriend. She was waiting there, face fresh and hair unstyled, wearing simple clothes, playing around on her phone. The dancer suddenly felt self conscious, brushing her hands through her hair in an attempt to tame it but only succeeding in making it more unruly. "Did you wash your hair in the bathroom sink?" Linfan asked, eyebrows raised in confusion. "Mhmm, doesn't matter much to me though. Come on, let's go." The model tucked her phone into her pocket and headed out of the front door, Linfan trailing behind.

Dinner, courtesy of Junqian, was pizza. She had a box balanced in one hand while she pressed the buttons in the elevator of their apartment building with the other. Linfan was carrying a plastic bag filled with drinks and snacks. Junqian pressed the roof access button, and Linfan sputtered slightly. "Um, Junqian, we don't live on the roof?" Junqian looked back at her as the doors closed with a smile. "I want to show you something."

The pair exited onto the roof when the elevator doors opened, and Linfan took a deep breath of fresh air. Junqian led her over towards the edge of the roof, gently holding the dancer's hand as they walked. She settled near the edge, close to the fencing, and looked down over the city. Linfan sat with her, and they set up an impromptu picnic on the roof.

Linfan couldn't help but look out over the bustling city on a Friday night, eyes wide in amazement. "Do you come up here often?" She turned to ask the older, who was watching the city as well. "When I need to clear my head." The younger girl left it at that, not wanting to pry anymore into her girlfriend's business. When she was ready to talk about it, she would. The two of them shared pizza and snacks, watching the world from afar in the cool night's breeze. Linfan couldn't help but lean on Junqian's shoulder.

"You don't have to overwork yourself, you know." Junqian said, breaking the silence after awhile. "But I have to get better," Linfan protested, "I need to be doing the best I can. Otherwise I won't be able to stay in the group. I'm dragging us down." Junqian wrapped her arm around Linfan comfortingly. "You don't have to be the best at everything. There's no rush. You have a lot to learn still." She pulled her closer, closing the gap between them. It was a warm, comfortable moment that Linfan wished could last forever. Linfan turned to look at her and Junqian kissed her. It meant a thousand things at once, but it felt simple, like home. When they broke the kiss, Junqian smiled at her girlfriend.

"We all do."

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