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  “I don't.. fly well.” Lan says as the two of them walk into Haneda airport, tugging their carryons behind them.
  
Saya stops and shuts her eyes for a moment before turning around and facing him. “Is this going to be a thing? Are you going to do a thing?” She couldn't explain it, but it was enough that he understood.
  
“No, no, it's.. it's just the takeoff and landing. I don't..” Lan straightens up and grips his suitcase's handle hard. “You.. it's not gonna be.. it's not gonna be your problem, I promise.”
  
Saya studies him for a moment, she hadn't known him for long, but a tell is a tell – and after a while Lan's face would tell if he was lying.
  
When it didn't, Saya starts on her own towards the counter.
  
“You can..” He waits, until she stops again, to look back at him. “You can stop worrying about me.”
  
Lan walks up to her and puts his suitcase between them, both hands gripping the handle. “I've seen that look, I know that look. Saya, I don't need another mother.”
  Saya leans back a bit, Lan was imposing as it was, much less a few inches away from her. But he was searching her eyes as she did the other night.
  
“I'm not stupid, and neither are you.” Lan's grip tightens around his baggage, “I told you, you can't fix me. And I don't want you to.”
  
To passers by, it seemed a tall man was wishing his small wife farewell. Lan's black hair on either side of them didn't help.
  
“I have.. people there. Problems there. You,” he taps against her collarbone, setting her at ease – but moreso himself, “are going on vacation. Scot free.”
  
Lan tucks his hair behind one of his ears, standing up straight. “You just have to deal with.. some shit, before you're released. And for that I'm sorry.”
  
Saya started to pipe up to refuse that, but Lan shakes his head. “It comes with the territory, I've found. It's not your problem.”
  "And you inadvertantly helped me to relax too, just now. Worrying for you means less worrying for me. But I don't-- you don't need to."
  
Saya looks up at him, quiet for a moment before saying, “You hate this, don't you?”
  
“With every fiber of my being, but it's only an hour flight versus hours on the train let'sgobeforeIlosemynerve,” he blathers out before dragging his suitcase towards security.
  
Saya follows, but not without smiling a bit at the surrender of comfort versus ease Lan was giving her.
  
An hour versus hours.

  Lan eyes the bar once they're past security, rubbing his hands together with his elbows on his knees. It didn't matter, he had no way of paying for any type of alcohol. Everything was taken care of and curated by his family.
  
Saya, meanwhile, was lounging back in her seat, looking a the ceiling. It was coming over here, wasn't it? She thinks, the last time you flew anywhere.
  
She loved to fly, the feeling of transportation over an ocean fascinated her, like time-zones. She could be a day ahead of her parents. Her New Year was actually a newer year than theirs.
  
“Boarding for JL 252 will begin momentarily, we ask that disabled passengers come up front to be..” the intercom announces, making Lan flinch a bit.
  
Saya sits up and looks at the queue forming at the door, then to Lan, who seems so wound up.
  
To his credit, Saya observes, he knew his exercises, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Slowly.
  
It also helped that he had taken two Xanax half an hour ago, and they were just starting to kick in.
  
Lan feels his muscles ease, his fingers stretch out over the handle of his rolling baggage as the anxiety starts to slip away. It was like being drunk, but smoother.
  W
hat kept him grounded was the presence next to him, radiating like a bright light. Lan makes sure his moves are slow, calculated, that they come off as normal to anyone looking at him. I can do this, he thinks.

  Saya watches in earnest as Lan moves his arm from holding onto his rolling bag to his pocket, but ridiculously slowly. The twitching was gone, replaced with what could only be described as an actor trying his best to move through liquid as he pulls the phone out to check his messages.
  She holds her tongue on this one, simply watching this man move in slow motion, thinking he's fooling everyone when a moment's glance betrayed just how high he was.
  
But if it kept him calm on the flight, Saya was just fine with keeping quiet. Assuming he knew how to present his ticket to the attendant.

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About the author

drac

Bio: apologies for everything about me, it might get better.

updates will be once a day for the next seventy days since i am migrating from another platform and have those chapters - and more - ready to go. (from 8/9)

feel free to come hang out in the discord, if you like.

[email protected]

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