That is not to say that things weren’t...awkward. Yunho and Jaejoong were doing their best to not make physical contact. Junsu blocked everyone out, listening on his iPod to the latest mix that Kanye West had sent of “Ayyy Girl”, a song he had recorded with Jae and Yoochun. Yoochun was guardedly happy but nervous. He had not been able to maintain his American citizenship and ending the war was of particular interest to him. Yoochun was a tender soul, and even Changmin didn’t know what fighting in a war would do to him.
The youngest member of TVXQ felt lost. He hated to be alone, and had gotten used to staying close to Yunho or Minho ever since the lawsuit, but it wasn’t enough to fill the gaping hole that was left by the absence of Jae, Chun and Su. Now they were together again, but everyone was off in their own corner. No one wanted to be disturbed. And what made matters worse, was that he wasn’t able to read anyone’s mind today, not even for fun. Someone or something was running some sort of interference. He shrugged, and cracked open the second volume of In Search of Lost Time with one hand as he stuffed a piece of Opera Cake into his mouth with the other. Probably just a precaution. Nothing to worry about. Standard operating procedure and all that. Everything is fine.
One hour till showtime. They could all perform this routine in their sleep, but Yunho was concerned that Junsu was still lounging in his chair, a hour after the stylist had finished with him, with his eyes closed. Junsu was the most disciplined of all of them; he normally would be warming up right now. Maybe their new management is working them really hard, thought Yunho.
He was nervous. Tiny blue flames danced along his fingertips as he paced across the grounds, eyeing Junsu here, making small talk with the dignitaries there, and every so often, stealing glances at Jaejoong. Before he could look away, Jae locked eyes with him for just a moment, and his heart felt like it was either going to break or burst. With Jae he could never tell. I’m just nervous because it’s been so long since we’ve all been on the same stage. Changmin would have told me if he sensed something was wrong. There’s nothing to worry about. Everything is fine.
Jaejoong’s heart was in his throat. Ever since the hiatus, he and Yunho hadn’t spoken much. All their communications were monitored, and Changmin refused to be the go-between for their more explicit messages. “It was bad enough cock-blocking you guys all those years,” he would say. Being a psychic, he would never be able to understand what Jaejoong was going through, being apart from Yunho for such long stretches of time, wondering if he really still felt the same. He wished he could just know. Jaejoong felt powerless. Though he still had Yoochun and Junsu to look after and care for (and that was a full time job in and of itself), he missed having Yunho’s arms around him every night. He missed waking up next to him. Hell, he missed both of them terribly. He even missed that snarky maknae bastard Changmin stealing bits of dinner before it was ready. I suppose, he thought, this feeling is normal. There’s nothing to worry about. I’m sure to get over it soon. One day the tears will stop coming out of the blue. And then everything will be fine.
Yoochun was doing his best to keep up a sunny demeanor. He had even managed to make eye contact with Yunho without scowling at him. Ever since the split, comforting Jae had become a full-time job, when it was usually Yoochun himself who was on the receiving end of the emotional pampering. Especially since...well, just thinking about that caused a cloud to appear in a previously cloudless sky, and it blocked out the sunlight. An unseasonably chill breeze whipped Yoochun’s silky black hair back. She had told him that he needed a haircut when he last saw her, and as usual she was right. Damn her. Yoochun wondered why Changmin hadn’t inserted himself into his thoughts and told him to “Man the fuck up” yet. He gritted his teeth, forcing a smile on his face, and the cloud dissipated. He figured that he may as well check on Junsu. And then we can get up on stage, do our thing, save the world and everything will be fine. Nothing to worry about.
Junsu was sitting slumped in his stylist’s chair when Yoochun found him. “C’mon, baby. We should be warming up now,” Yoochun whispered as he tugged on Junsu’s arm.
There was no response. Yoochun frowned and shook Junsu by the shoulders, gently at first, then increasing in urgency as the reality of the situation dawned on him. “Su? Su-yah! Wake up!” Junsu was pale, his face glistened with sweat, and his breathing was shallow. Yoochun concentrated, sorting out the energies in Junsu’s body. Whatever was wrong with him, it wasn’t natural. Going purely on instinct, Yoochun tried to send a message in his mind to Changmin, hoping that the maknae was eavesdropping on his mopey thoughts instead of being absorbed in Volume Two of In Search of Lost Time: À l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs in the original French, of course, while eating his third piece of Opera cake.
The lack of an immediate response, led Yoochun to believe that Changmin was either unwilling or unable to read his thoughts. The slender pianist slung his ailing friend over his shoulder and frantically called out for Yunho.
This was apparently what they had been waiting for; they, being a rogue faction of the North Korean Military. Yunho, hearing Yoochun’s cries for help, burst into flames and began to fly in that direction, until he saw Jaejoong out of the corner of his eye. He was surrounded by men with guns but even though Jae had no offensive powers and little way to defend himself, his eyes were full of defiance. He called out to Yunho, “Leave me. Save Su!” before he was tranquilized, and fell to the ground in a heap.
Yunho roared, and without thinking, he rushed at Jae’s attackers, before a surge of energy rushed through him and felled him as well.
Changmin had dropped his book and licked his fingers clean by this point. He ran towards Yoochun. “Chunnie! Take Junsu and fly out of here!”
Yoochun was panicking. His two best friends were unconscious. Yunho, his rock, though he was loathe to admit it, was also neutralized. His breathing began to hitch. Oh, not now, asthma, he thought. “Min, can’t you do something?”
Changmin grabbed Yoochun by the arm and dragged him to a place where they could briefly hide. “That’s what I’m trying to tell you. They don’t work! My powers don’t work. You have to save yourself and Junsu! Go! Fly! Now!”
Yoochun’s breathing became more shallow and swift. He paled, and shook his head.
Changmin slapped him across the face. “Fly, you fucking babo!”
And then Yoochun rose into the air, slowly. Clouds descended and the wind picked up. “I can do this. I...I can save us.” he whispered.
Changmin shook his head. “No, Chun. You’ve got to get Junsu out of here!”
But Yoochun could no longer hear him. His eyes rolled back and, as he spread his arms wide, lightning crashed from the sky and hit about half the soldiers in his eyeline.
What he didn’t realize was that those soldiers were bait. He soon felt electricity course through his entire body before he fell limply to the ground.
Changmin shielded Yoochun and Junsu behind him protectively as the soldiers approached. A young Captain stepped forward and smiled at him. He had just enough time to say, “Fuck my life” before he joined his hyungs in unconsciousness.