jonghyun/taeyeon - freaks and geeks au - g - 2,587 words
"You’re on the road to delinquency - you’re becoming a delinquent. It doesn’t feel that good having that laid out straight for you, does it?"
Mr. Ahn had a complex. Taeyeon had caught on to that much in the time they’d spent with each other - too much time, in her opinion. He was in his mid-twenties, as far as she could tell, and it was obvious that he was still trying to hold on to as much of his “youth” as he could. Hence the entire: “I’m a cool guy, but I’m also your guidance counselor so I’m going to have to put my foot down every now and again - whilst still being cool” aura that he tried to give off. It’d started off as amusing but, the more that time went on by (and the more that he bothered her), the less it was. Her feelings were verging on into annoyance and it was getting harder to hide. She hid a roll of her eyes with a fake sneeze.
"Excuse you." Taeyeon eyed Mr. Ahn as he turned to the side, reaching for his acoustic guitar. It was with that motion that she groaned deeply. She knew what had to be coming next. "I just want you to know that you’re not alone. I was you once, you know? I was young and desperate to break away from the social norm, but you don’t have to break the rules to do that. You’re unique enough as it is already - look at your grades! That’s an accomplishment in itself. It’s unique. It’s…," he trailed off, resting the body of the guitar against his thigh and giving a quick strum. "… cool."
"Can I leave now?"
Shaking his head, fingers begun to strum more actively against the fret, a soft (and familiar) melody floating between the two of them. “I have a song to play for you - hopefully you can relate.” Taeyeon sighed. “Oh, also: you have detention the next two days, don’t try and skip class again or we’ll extend it the next time around.”
This had to be what hell felt like.
"Do you think this is a game? Do you think life is a game? I had a friend back during high school once who got detention for two months straight - you know what happened to him? He never got out. He probably died in that room."
Her parents were all talk - Taeyeon had spent most of her childhood up to her ears in stories that, now that she looked back on them, were nothing short of ridiculous. It was all in good fun with her mother, usually, but the cautionary tales that her father had started rambling off on once her brother and her had hit “puberty” were a lot to handle. She’d learned to shrug off most of them - an act she continued to follow up on right then.
Placing her phone on vibrate, she slid it into the front pocket of her jacket, tilting her head to the side to get a good look at the other end of the cafeteria. She was due at the detention hall in less than five minutes but she figured scoping out her brother and telling him that she couldn’t walk home with him with probably in her best interest. He was kind of prone to overreacting when something happened out of place, anyway.
It took a thirty more seconds and a travel across the rest of the room to finally spot him, bent over a stack of textbooks. Taeyeon pursed her lips together, wondering why he was alone. “Hey, kid,” she called out, wincing slightly at the flinch it earned. Leaning against the side of the table, “Don’t worry, it’s just me.”
A pair of big brown eyes turned up to look at her, eyebrows furrowed in confusion. “Noona, didn’t I tell you that I’m staying late to study?” Minho questioned, setting his pen down against his notepad. “You can leave without me. I’ll be fine.”
"Oh," she started, tightening one of her hood strings around her index finger. "Yeah, about that. I completely forgot, but I’m sticking around anyway. I have detention."
"You have detention? Mom and dad are going to… -"
"To kill me, right. Dad’s already convinced that I’m going to shrivel up and die in the room," she shrugged, reaching forward the ruffle at his hair. "You’ll really be alright walking home by yourself, though? I don’t want you to wait around longer than you have to, but…"
"No, noona, I’m fine," Minho shrugged, grabbing his pen again. "Go have fun with your detention."
Taeyeon raised an eyebrow at his tone - was he disappointed in her? It was a heavy question - he’d always looked up to her. He didn’t have to say it for her to have caught on. “Okay, see you later.” She turned on her heel, stomach gurgling with guilt - or maybe that was hunger. She’d have to try and swing by one of the vending machines before she left.
Taeyeon had heard horror stories about the detention hall. It was cold, it was dark, it was bleak. The woman who overlooked the room refused to let anyone open the windows. The heater had broken fifteen years earlier and the school felt like investing in a new one was pointless. There were permanent marker drawings of mangled corpses scribbled across the walls - but, most terrifying of all: they didn’t allow food inside.
But, as Taeyeon swung open the door, she was tided over by a mixed sense of relief and confusion. It wasn’t anything like the others had described, it was actually… identical to all the other classrooms that she spent time in. It could have used a splash of color or poster to add some character but, otherwise…
"New addition?" A voice spoke up from the other end of the room, earning a slight jump from Taeyeon (and a chuckle from someone to the side).
"Um -…," her throat felt dry at the question, opting out to give a nod of her head rather than speak up.
"Take any of the open seats. The rules are pretty simple: you’re not allowed to leave until your hour is finished. The only exception is if you’re in dire need of visiting the bathroom and, even then, it’s depending." Taeyeon nodded her head, listening to the woman speak as she stumbled toward a free desk. "You’re allowed to listen to your music players but you’re prohibited to speak. Food is also prohibited. If you abide by the rules…, we won’t have any problems, clear?"
Taeyeon slipped down into the seat of her desk. “Yes, clear.”
"Alright, good. Enjoy your stay."
The statement was an ironic one, if anything, but Taeyeon accepted it with a weak smile, loosening the iron grip her fingers had taken around the strap of her backpack. Unzipping the zipper as quietly as she could manage, she rummaged around for her iPod, untangling her headphones and popping them into her ears. She sighed as she finally found the player, gliding her finger across the cursor to find the “shuffle” option. Closing her eyes, she settled back further against the back of her chair, hoping that the music would distract her through the entire hour.
One, two, three songs went by and Taeyeon felt relaxed, if anything. This entire detention thing wasn’t as terrible as she’d thought it’d be. Maybe she’d skip class more often. She chuckled at her thought, eyes popping open in fear when it dawned on her that she’d made unnecessary noise. Straightening back up, she readied herself to be scolded by the woman up front - only to be stumped instead by how… blatantly missing she was from the room.
Tugging out one of her ear buds, she turned to the side, catching the gaze of the only other person in the room. His face was familiar, but a name? It was lost on her.
"I laugh at my thoughts sometimes too, it’s okay," the boy spoke up, offering her a small smile in finishing.
"Whatcha listening to?" Taeyeon was frazzled, that much was obvious, as the boy scooted his chair (rather noisily) up to her side, leaning over her desk to get a look at the screen of her iPod. "Oh," he paused. "I really love that album, have you checked out their last mini yet?"
She was lost - she was so lost but showing that only would have made things worse, right? So, she clicked her tongue, nodding her head. “Yeah, I just haven’t uploaded it yet,” she started. “Where’d…” What the hell was her anyway? “… Where’d she go?”
"I think she had a family emergency or something. She got a call, stood up, almost tripped over a desk and ran out the door. I’m guessing one of her cronies will swing by and finish up the hour like they usually do, but until then." He shrugged. "I’m Jonghyun, by the way."
He offered up a hand for her to shake. Taeyeon started down at it before hesitantly wrapping her hand around her his own, shaking it loosely. “Taeyeon,” she started. “What did you mean by “like they usually do”, do you… come here often?”
Jonghyun chuckled, low and warm, patting his fingers across the back of her hand. “It’s like my second home,” he stretched out his arms over his head, interlocking his hands with a yawn. “They love me here. I sometimes think they go out of their way to find pointless shit to slam me for so I’ll come back again.”
Did he really believe that? “You really believe that?” Taeyeon was almost surprised at how easily her thought had traveled down to her lips, turning slightly to conceal the flush that begun to creep across her cheeks.
"I believe what I want to believe," he started. "And what I want to believe right now is that you’re a cool girl, so…, you okay with that?"
Feeling a boost of confidence at his comment, she chuckled, turning back to look at him again. “That’s kind of presumptuous, don’t you think? I could be totally boring.”
"Not with that taste in music, you’re not," he nudged his elbow at her arm. "So, Taey -…, wait, what year are you?"
He nodded. “Oh! Okay, I’m first.”
Taeyeon felt her eyes widen. “You’re a first year?”
"I am," Jonghyun cleared his throat. "Anyway, Taeyeon noona, what’d you do to get yourself here? Break into one of the vending machines? Steal a test? Come to class smashed?"
"No," she shook her head. "I… skipped class." Jesus, that sounded so low key admitting out loud. She’d skipped class, got caught for it and now, here she was, in detention with someone who’d probably pulled something five times more risqué than she had. “You?”
Jonghyun laughed - that same warm laugh he had minutes prior. Taeyeon felt something in her stomach stir at the sound. It was… nice. It was comforting, and… that wasn’t the point at all.
"I brought my sticks to class. I do it all the time - get slammed for it all the time too." He shrugged. "I guess they’re not too into my jams." Taeyeon eyed him in curiosity as he started to lean forward, only slightly caught off guard as his lips hovered just over the lobe of her ear. "You wanna know a secret, though?"
Taeyeon swallowed thickly. “Sure, why not.”
Jonghyun chuckled under his breath. “I’ve never done anything more scandalous than that,” he pulled back with a grin. “I’m pretty tame. I just feel the music a lot, you know? My friends are the ones you should look out for.” His tone was unreadable. “Not that they’re that bad either but one of them… did steal a test before, so.”
Rebellion, Taeyeon though, as he started to dig around inside the front pocket of his pants, pulling out a small plastic bag. “You like gummies?” He shook the bag in her direction and, despite the bag looked worn out and dirty at the edges, something nagged at her as if to say she would have regretted turning him down later on. Sending him a small smile, he pulled open the top of the bag, holding it out for her.
"Thanks, I missed out on lunch an- …" Just as her fingers wrapped around two of the gummies (varying in color, she’d never been too picky about flavor), the door clicked open at their side. Turning toward it in panic, she groaned, registered the familiar face that stood with arms crossed in the corner of the doorway.
"Ms. Kim!" Mr. Ahn’s voice echoed through the room, drawing a laugh out of Jonghyun. "And Mr. Kim. Breaking rules already, I see. I’d expect that much from you, Mr. Kim, but you?"
Taeyeon shrunk back down into her seat with a sigh, turning back a final time to take a look at Jonghyun. He grinned toward her, sending a small wink as he mimicked her action, leaning against the arm of his chair. She couldn’t help but smile, even as Mr. Ahn yipped at her to pay attention to him, the steady thumping (like a kick drum) of Jonghyun’s shoe against the leg of her desk distracting her through the rant.
Thirty minutes and one threat of extended detentions later Taeyeon was free - reveling in the cool winter air as she stepped outside of the school, tightening her scarf around her face.
It was dark, it was cold, but she was feeling content.
"Hopefully Minho got home alright," she mumbled under her breath, shivering slightly as she took a step forward off the sidewalk, squinting down the street in front of her. It was a short walk back, luckily, but if she timed herself, maybe she’d make it back before she gave her parents a legitimate reason to question why it’d taken her so long.
"Minho?" Taeyeon jumped at the voice, albeit how familiar it’d already becoming, spinning on her heel to spot a a smiling Jonghyun, fingers wrapped around the body of his own iPod. "You’re not walking home, right?"
Taeyeon shrugged her shoulders. “He’s my little brother,” she cleared her throat. “I am, it’s not that far though - two blocks, at the most.”
"It’s freezing though!" Jonghyun sounded exasperated at the idea, really, his nostrils flaring. It was cute, really. "Come on, my friend can drop you off."
His friend? Oh god, as in someone she’d never met before? As in… potentially the friend that had stolen the test or, maybe even, broken into one of the school’s vending machines? “Oh,” she chuckled, awkwardly. “It’s fine. I wouldn’t want to impo- …”
"You wouldn’t be imposing," he cut her off, taking a step forward. "Come on, Changmin doesn’t really speak up unless he has something to bitch about anyway."
Taeyeon hadn’t agreed to the proposition - she was hesitant toward it still. She didn’t feel like being a nuisance, but still, she found herself following him onto the ice covered road, arm bumping with his. “What if he bitches about me?”
"I won’t let him. Turn on a good song and he’ll be completely distracted for the ride. It’s as simple as that." Taeyeon nodded her head slowly - not in understanding, but acknowledgement. "If he’d be annoyed with anyone it’d be me, anyway. I was just texting him about this super cute girl I met in detention with an awesome taste in music. He’s probably prepping to stick a sock into my mouth already."
Taeyeon wrapped the front of her signature green jacket tighter around her body, hiding from the cold as she turned to look to the side, masking the smile that crept across her lips. This was ridiculous.