Henry was completely baffled at the invitation to go on tour with Justin Bieber.
He didn't even know Justin Bieber knew who he was. Well, obviously not - Henry's target audience was primarily Asian, while Justin's was western and international, for the most part? Yet when he'd arrived back home, his mother had told him that a few weeks ago that he'd gotten a letter from Justin Bieber.
And when he opened it up, in nice little serif letters, were the words: Justin Bieber has requested to go on tour with Henry Lau.
He called the next morning after a day of--well, confusion and inner turmoil, mostly. Was he to say yes? To say no? If he said yes, all of his friends here in Canada, and the United States, and--wherever else in the western world--might make fun of him. Unless they were Beliebers (which Henry was not. He was not. He also didn't have an account on the fansite), in which case they'd be jealous of him.
But he was also greatly tempted to say Justin Bieber, because sometimes loath to admit it, he did like J-Bieb's music. Also, all of the kids back in Korea and Taiwan would be jealous of him. (Especially Hyukjae hyung and HENRY COULD LAUGH ABOUT IT IN HIS FACE MUAHAHAHA.)
So over his honey bunches 'n oats, he looked at the number on the letter and dialed with his cellphone.
It rang twice before someone picked up.
"Hi, um," said Henry. "I'm calling on behalf of--um, well, this is Henry Lau, and I just read the invitation for me to go on tour with Justin Bieber, and--"
"Oh, hold on." Henry registered then that the voice sounded familiar. It was Jay-Z's.
There was a quick shuffling and then a new voice said, "Hello?" It was somewhat husky and--well, young, but Henry supposed that his own voice sounded young too.
"Hi," said Henry, suddenly feeling awkward. "This is--Henry Lau, you're Justin Bieber right?"
"Oh!" He heard some more shuffling. Maybe some laughter and video game explosions in the background. "Yeah, the tour thing. You on with that?"
"Uh," said Henry. "Well, you see, I'm not exactly a solo artist, or anything special, so I don't know if you really want me to tour with you--"
"That's not why I wanted to tour with you," interrupted Justin. Henry thought he could hear him smiling. "Though I do know you're famous in like, China or something."
"China and Korea," said Henry, and Justin, for some reason, laughed.
"Yeah, that," he said. "But uh, I've heard of you around and saw some of your covers and thought we could hang out sometime. But I'm on tour basically 24/7, so that's why I invited you."
"O-Oh." Henry felt even more flattered, and he didn't know why. "Well, um," he said, and then before he was even aware of it, "Okay then."
"Great." Henry could still hear him smiling. "My bus'll be around in a week."
Justin looked basically as he did in photos and videos, albeit with a lot less makeup. Henry thought he looked better this way.
"So," said Henry, when he was all settled in the tour bus with his small suitcase next to him. "Why?"
Justin fidgeted with his iPad case. Henry suspected that he'd been playing it before they'd arrived. "Just wanted to hang out, remember?" he said.
"Will I have to help you with concerts and stuff?" asked Henry.
The corner of Justin's mouth twitched. "If you want to," he said.
"It's been so long since I've been on a stage, actually," Henry admitted. "I'm not as needed in Korea and China as--well, my friends," he said. And then, "So you've heard of Super Junior?"
"Who?" said Justin, and Henry laughed. It was a bit forced, but he liked the way Justin smiled when he did.
"Yeah, here and there," said Justin. "I'm not that into Asian pop culture, but you guys are good." He was looking at Henry directly when he said that, and Henry suddenly felt compelled to tear his gaze away. He looked at the iPad, instead.
"Could I play that?" he asked.
"No," said Justin.
That resulted in a wrestling-tickling fight and ended ten minutes later, with flushed cheeks and Henry knowing that, yeah, he actually doesn't regret agreeing to tour with Justin.
Justin told him beforehand that he'd be onstage, but Henry had performed in front of an English-speaking audience only a few times.
"An--" he started, and then, "Hello everyone, my name is Henry Lau!" He was pretty sure most of the audience didn't know who he was (they sounded a bit confused), but when Justin cheered for him, they cheered too.
Later, back in the tour bus, Justin said, "Do you think you could teach me some Korean?"
"I'm actually not Korean, you know," said Henry, amused.
"I know. Taiwanese," said Justin, which surprised Henry because most non-kpop fans didn't know that.
"So could you teach me Korean?" asked Justin.
"Sure," said Henry. And then eagerly, "Chinese, too!"
"How about we go slow?" said Justin.
"Then you better learn Korean for the same time as I did," said Henry. "Five months."
Justin snorted. "That's a lie."
"It totally is. You said that your band was mostly Chinese."
"Idol group," Henry corrected. "Never mind," he said at Justin's confused face. "Well--okay, I learned really really basic Korean in five months but that's because i practically lived there for a year, and then finally got the hang of it--"
"How'd you live for the five months before you did?" said Justin. He was snickering.
Henry hit him in the stomach with his pillow and Justin fell onto the couch, stil snickering. "I did, okay," he said. "Now let's teach you Korean."
"How do you say 'I want to piss on your mom' in Korean?" Justin asked five minutes later while they studied the Korean alphabet.
Henry hit him in the stomach again.
*Two months into the tour, they had to travel to Russia to visit the Russian Beliebers. Justin said that he could leave any time he wanted, but Henry said no, as long as Justin didn't mind his presence.
"Well, I was the one who creepily invited you in the first place," he said, and Henry agreed to that.
"Do you hate the name for your fans?" he asked a few days later, because it was something he'd been wondering for a long time now, since after getting to know Justin better. Henry was personally glad that his fans were called "Strings" instead of "Lauers"... or something like that.
Justin shrugged. "I didn't come up with it. As long as they're okay with it." He continued with Fruit Ninja on the iPad.
"Hn," said Henry thoughtfully.
"I don't like my fans a lot, actually," said Justin suddenly, and when Henry raised an eyebrow at this (from playing on the other iPad that Justin had lent him), Justin hurried to say, "Well, I love them for being my fans, of course. I just don't see why they have to compare me to every other music artist out there. Like, I sing. I'm famous. That's all there is to it."
"Fans do dumb things sometimes," Henry agreed. "When I'd first gone to Korea to play violin for Super Junior, a lot of Super Junior fans started hating me because they thought I'd join them. They didn't even know who I was!"
"Oh, man," said Justin sympathetically. "And then you did join them."
"Well--not necessarily," said Henry. At Justin's frown, "It's hard to explain.
The newspapers were filled with stories about Henry and Justin's adventures in Moscow. They were mostly used to it, though; the confused articles had come out over a month ago and the press was still confused about their sudden friendship and tour together. People started suspecting a collaboration (which Henry wouldn't have said no to if Justin asked.)
"You know," said Henry as he bundled himself up in the fur coat that Justin had bought for him. "I've never been to Moscow before."
"I can take you places you ain't never been before," Justin sang then, and they both giggled.
"Swag, swag, swag on you," they sang together, and giggled even more. Some random passerby who apparently didn't recognize either of them gave weird looks.
"Where's your girlfriend, by the way?" said Henry suddenly. "Selena Gomez? We've been on tour for all these months and I haven't even met her."
Justin's mouth turned into a hard line then. "Do you want to meet her?" he asked, and his voice sounded stiff.
Truthfully, Henry couldn't care less. He figured that would sound rude, though. "It's okay if I don't," he said. "I mean, I'm here only because of you, right?"
Justin grinned then. "Right."
"It's so fucking cold," said Justin. They were still in Russia. "We should chill by a fire and eat some fondue."
"There are Belgian chocolate bars in the fridge," said Henry.
Ten minutes later, the tour bus stopped and Henry and Justin (as well as some managers and body guards) went outside into the freezing cold and started building a fire. Henry helped boil the chocolate in it, and then they got random pieces of bread and crackers and fruit that they could find and started dipping them into the chocolate.
"You know," said Justin. "When I wrote this song, this isn't the exact picture that I'd had in mind."
Henry laughed, popping a small chocolate covered piece of bread into his mouth. "I'm sure this is better."
"It is," said Justin, grinning. Then, he reached over and touched Henry's cheek. Henry thought that he might've wanted to bring him over and kiss him for a moment--whoa, where didthat thought come from?--but Justin merely said, "You had some chocolate there." He licked the chocolate from his fingers.
Justin's next chocolate covered strawberry made his face get smeared with chocolate too, and Henry resisted the temptation to lick it off and told him that he had some there, too.
"How do you say 'I like you' in Korean?" Justin whispered, three hours later, after their bodyguards had passed out on the freezing cold logs and they were laying side by side on the sleeping bag in the snow.
*"I give up on Korean," Justin said, four months later, when he and Henry were nice and cuddled (and shirtless) in Justin's bunk. They were still on tour together. They'd been for the good half of the year.
"You shouldn't," said Henry. "I have to go back soon and if you learn it well enough, you could come with me."
"No. No, I give up completely," said Justin. "I can't even say 'hello' right. Ann-yong-high--"
"Annyeonghaeseyo," said Henry.
"That," said Justin, and then hit him lightly on the chest. "Stop sounding so sexy when you speak foreign languages."
"No one's ever told me it was sexy to speak Korean," said Henry, amused.
"Yeah, well, no one ever told me they thought it was sexy that I kept a beard*," said Justin. "Speaking of beards." He poked at Henry's facial hair.
"Stop! I'm trying to grow it out!" said Henry, batting his hands away.
"You look better without one," said Justin. "I keep telling you, you can use my razor and my shaving cream if you want. The same way you use my bed."
"Yeah, except I actually need your bed," said Henry. "For like. Sex and stuff."
"And you need my razor and shaving cream if you want to appease to my interests," said Justin.
Henry laughed, and kissed Justin on the throat. "I already do," he said. "I always have, haven't I?"