Prompt: “She was a nomad at heart. Unlike him, she didn’t need to have a place to call home.” Told in Lin’s POV.
Pairing: Lin x reader
A/N: I’m glad I got this out in time for V-day! Though I’m not as satisfied as I should be, I decided to share it with you guys. Hope you guys enjoy it!
Lin was going to do it tonight.
He had the support from his family, friends, and even some random old lady on the subway he told last week.
He was partnered up with Y/N in an acting class during his Sophomore year of college. The second her eyes landed on him and she gave him her million-dollar smile, he should have known he was doomed.
He and Y/N became fast friends and spent every single waking moment together. They would text each other at night, have breakfast and coffee in the morning, head to class, and then do whatever the hell they pleased until it was time to go home.
Junior year they met each other’s parents. Y/N had her mother’s looks, but everything else about her was her father. Her personality, the way she carried herself, her love for travel and adventure… it all came from him. And of course, his parents loved her. They called her their daughter and fed her bottomless stomach with food whenever they would visit.
Senior year, even though they were both stressed and drowning in exams and projects, they managed to find time for each other. It helped that she was practically living with him. She cleared space in his tiny closet for her clothes, left her toiletries in his bathroom, and slept in his bed. Somehow, she managed to book small affordable getaways, either in nearby states where she would drag him around and explore the city or a “staycation” in New York where she would show him things even he, a native, haven’t even heard of before.
It was during a random night in the middle of the semester, where she was cramming for an exam that was in the morning, that he realized how much he really loved her. He sat in the kitchen across from her, papers sprawled on the table and his laptop in front of him, watching as she began to doze off. The pencil in her hand fell to the table with a thump and he chuckled when her head began to bob, drifting further into the calls of sleep.
“Time for bed,” Lin whispers, getting up and going over to her side.
As he pulled her up from her seat by her hand, she began to protest. “No,” she yawns, rubbing her eyes.
“You need sleep,” Lin urged, pulling her towards his bedroom.
“But I need to study,” she whined, but let him lead her to bed.
“I’ll wake you up early in the morning so you can study,” Lin smiles, opening up the duvet and helping her inside.
Just as he was about to turn and leave, she stops him by grabbing the sleeve of his hoodie.
“Stay with me, please?”
Her question tugged at his heartstrings.
She scooted over to make room for him and kept the duvet open to let him in. Lin’s smile gets bigger, and with a defeated sigh, slips in beside her. She immediately attaches to him, tucking herself under his chin and swung her leg over him. She was asleep within seconds.
Lin stared at the ceiling, heart hammering against his chest.
He wanted this every day for the rest of his life.
He wanted to come home to her, sleep next to her, be with her…
Lin wanted it all and more.
And today, after months and months of suppressing it, he was going to tell Y/N. Even if she didn’t feel the same, he had to do it. So what if the little hope he’s built after overanalyzing every conversation, every single touch, every unspoken word he’s had with her is crushed?
At least he gave it a shot.
“Lin! I have exciting news!” Y/N came rushing in the bar full of graduates, graduation cap still pinned to her head and heels clicking with every step.
Lin spreads his arms open and she runs forward, squeezing him tightly.
She draws back, eyes gleaming with excitement, and grabs his hands. She jumps up and down, not able to contain her excitement.
“I got the job!” she squeals.
Lin’s heart drops.
“The job?” he echoes.
“The job for The National Geographic, silly! How could you forget?”
He didn’t forget.
It was the freelance journalism job with The National Geographic.
She was going to be whisked away from New York, away from her home, her family, him…
“Oh my god, Lin! They left a voicemail earlier today and they said they want to fly me out to Australia tomorrow. Can you believe it? Australia!”
“Australia…” Lin whispers, throat feeling tight.
He felt as if the floor was going to slip from under him. She was finally going to travel the world and experience all the things she’s dreamed of, but he felt so devastated.
She lunges forward, hugging him again.
“I’m so happy!”
Lin lifted his trembling hands to embrace her.
The rest of the night passed by in a haze.
It didn’t go away even after he said goodbye to her at the airport the next day.
For the last five years, the only way he kept in touch with Y/N were through emails. She had a horrible habit of losing her cell phone and it was almost impossible to find signal in the middle of nowhere.
She’s been to every single continent, every nook and cranny of the world. From the Great Pyramid of Giza to Seychelles, she was there, her smile brighter and bigger than he’s ever seen it.
She was a nomad at heart. Unlike him, she didn’t need to have a place to call home. The whole world was her home. She didn’t want stability, she wanted excitement. She didn’t fear the unknown, she thrived in it and faced it head-on.
She was the polar opposite who he was, but damn, every time he would scroll through her pictures, he felt a deep sorrow in his gut of what could have been.
He knew that they would have been amazing together.
He could just picture it… Y/N, in the front row of the Richard Rogers Theater on the opening night of In The Heights and then Hamilton, screaming her head off in some gaudy dress. Her getting annoyed with Karen and her sass, adoring Chris and his big-brother tendencies, and silently rooting for Jasmine and Anthony…
But she wouldn’t have been truly happy.
She would’ve felt trapped and miserable if she stayed in New York. That’s why he let her go, why he chose to smile and ignore every cell in his body that begged to speak up the day she left. It would have been unfair and selfish of him to say anything to her. He didn’t want to hold her back from experiencing the world.
So instead, Lin sent her scanned Broadway pamphlets and newspaper clippings his mother saved, cast recordings of the musical, and pictures of people she would never meet.
They emailed each other every day and he hung on to each and every word she sent. From three sentences to a full page of words, he saved it. It was pathetic that even after all these years, Y/N was all he could think about. Every girl he’s dated was nothing compared to her.
Maybe it was time to stop pining for a girl that was always seemed to be out of his grasp.
“Lin, are you ready?”
His father’s voice pulled him out of his musings. He glanced around his surroundings, remembering that he was supposed to do a press conference for the record-breaking Tony nominations Hamilton set. He cleared his throat and nodded, leaving the dressing room and heading towards the stage.
After he was announced, he walked onstage, the bright lights of the cameras blinding him. One by one he was asked routine questions from reporters: his inspirations for the play, his reaction to the sudden popularity of the show, and how he felt about the nominees of each category.
The final question came from the back and Lin squinted his eyes, barely making out a form of a man.
“Andy from the New York Times,” he said, “back in your college years, I heard that you got banned from the girl’s dorms after being caught in bed with one of the students multiple times. Would you like to comment on that?”
Lin reared his head back and laughed when the crowd let out a murmur. “You must have done a lot of digging to find that story,” he hums, tucking his hair behind his ear, “but, you’re correct.”
There was another buzz from the crowd, but this time, it was accompanied with flashes from the cameras.
“But, it’s not as wicked as you think it is,” Lin continued, smirking, “I spent a lot of time with a very dear friend in her dorm, studying. We had a lot of classes together and it was easier to stay at her place than to go back to my own dorm. The RA just happened to catch me sneaking into her dorm at night and assumed the worst.”
The crowd seemed unconvinced, but Lin didn’t have a chance to elaborate because time was up. He was escorted off to the side to take pictures and he posed as best as he could as he walked through the row photographers.
The familiar voice caught his attention, and with a grin, Lin walked towards Andy. “That was a tough question,” Lin says, shaking his outstretched hand, “I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that story during any of my interviews.”
Andy returns the grin and winks. “I have a great source.”
“Oh? I’d like to meet them,” Lin responds, genuinely intrigued.
Andy laughs. “You’ll have to wait for it.”
Lin was left to ponder his cryptic answer as he was ushered to the fans that awaited him.
Lin didn’t know why there were so many parties he had to attend.
He was currently getting ready for a banquet to celebrate the Tony nominees. In all honesty, the question from Andy completely threw him off-guard and caused him to feel a mix of emotions, longing the being the strongest. He wanted to stay home and reminisce the precious memories he had with Y/N, but it would have caused him to spiral into the depression he fought so hard to climb out of.
His phone buzzed, indicating that the escort was in front of his apartment, waiting. With a sigh, he pocketed his phone and wallet, mentally preparing himself for the event.
He swung his door open, stunned to see a woman whose hand was poised to knock on his door. A woman who strangely looked like…
“Y/N.” he whispers, eyes wide.
She drops her arms, letting them fall limply against her side.
“Hi,” she breathed, a sheepish smile on her face, “I… I got your address from your Father. He told me about your event tonight, but I couldn’t wait. I needed to see you.”
Lin felt his eyes water and his heart felt like it was going to burst. His eyes took in Y/N, her skin tan from all the days she spent out in the sun, baby-face long gone, and body slimmer from all her travels.
She’s still as beautiful as ever.
“You’re here.” Lin couldn’t recognize his voice.
“I’m here,” she repeats, “for good.”
Lin couldn’t comprehend what Y/N was saying. “For good?”
She swallows thickly, and wet her lips before she speaks. “My contract with National Geographic is over and I didn’t want to renew it. I’m done, Lin,” her voice wavers, “I got a job with New York Times a couple weeks ago –”
Lin lets out a sharp laugh. “You’re Andy’s source.”
She pauses. “Yes.”
Lin runs a hand down his face, trying to make sense of the situation. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner that you were back, Y/N?”
She frowns, her eyes searching his face as she explains herself. “I was scared, okay? It’s been five long years… Things change, Lin! Would we really be able to pick up where we left off? I’ve missed so many important events in your life. I should’ve been there,” she stops, voice quivering.
Lin smiles sadly. “I wanted you to be there too.”
“But I’m here now, and if I have to, I’ll spend the rest of my life making it up to you.”
Lin stares at Y/N, her declaration causing the tears in his eyes to spill. His heart felt full and wordlessly, he opens up his arms for her.
She runs into his embrace and it felt like he was young again.
The nomad finally decided to stop wandering.
“I’m home,” she whispers.