City of Light
by Rana Eros
Written for Eliza and angelacaduca for the 2007 holidays, and uploaded as a Yuletide Treat for angelacaduca for the 2007 Yuletide Rare Fandom Fic Exchange. I tried to claim angelacaduca's request as a pinch hit, and while waiting to see if I got it, asked Eliza for a prompt. Since we'd been watching and re-watching the footage of Junsu joining the rest of the band in Paris, after shooting the Anyband cf in Brazil, she asked for fic based on their reunion. I didn't get the pinch hit, but I did write the story. Then I made Eliza beta it, to be sure it met her standards.
When Junsu touches down in France, the only one to meet him at the airport is one of their managers' assistants. He's ushered into a tour bus, where one of the stylist nunas does her best to transform him from strung out after a several hours' long flight to artfully dishevelled while they wait for his luggage to unload. It's explained to him that he's meeting the others on a bridge, on camera.
"All right," he says, like his agreement matters, and gathers himself to transform into happy, fun-loving Xiah Junsu. Which isn't a lie, exactly, but he usually likes to wear the mask on a little more sleep and a full meal eaten in the last twelve hours.
The stylist smiles at him encouragingly. The assistant's turned away to talk to the handler bringing in his luggage. He's given one piece, a case on wheels, to enhance the illusion that this isn't all planned.
He sets the suitcase aside and turns his phone on, once the stylist's released him. His mask of happiness becomes a little more genuine as he sees he has twenty four text messages. There's one each from BoA, Tablo, and Bora, asking him to reply once he's landed safely. BoA also reminds him to give Jaejoong her shopping list, and to tell the others he wouldn't wear his safety harness before the footage comes out, because otherwise Jaejoong and Yunho are going to hold her responsible for not informing them, and Jaejoong will text bomb her.
Twenty of the other messages are, of course, from Jaejoong, asking if he's landed yet, if he slept on the plane, if he's eaten, complaining that they can't meet him at the airport, that their first meeting has to be on camera, that Yunho ate almost all the croissants at breakfast and Changmin won't share his ice cream and Yoochun keeps scribbling things down on scraps of paper but won't let Jaejoong see and none of them sing with him like Junsu does and has he landed yet?
The last one is from Yoochun and says only, "The light here will shine with you in it."
Lyrics, Junsu thinks, but it warms him, nonetheless.
He answers Tablo and Bora first, then BoA, making no promises. He deletes all of Jaejoong's messages; Jaejoong's going to ask the same questions in person, and the rest doesn't need a reply.
He saves Yoochun's message without answering. That reply also needs to happen in person.
The bus takes him to the bridge, and maybe this is all staged, but there's only so much direction Jaejoong will take. He's gotten the others to sing with him long enough for a greeting, and it makes Junsu laugh, giddy with the presence of his bandmates. It's not that he forgot, in Brazil, their effect on him; it's that memory can't hold everything they do to him, mean to him. He's been looking forward to the reminder.
He makes it most of the way across the street before they swarm him. Jaejoong takes his suitcase and Yunho cups his face, and Junsu knows that'd be the signal for a kiss if cameras weren't rolling. They both shoot him rapidfire questions, with occasional interjections from Changmin. He answers randomly, distracted by the warmth and weight of Yoochun clinging to him. He'd like nothing better than to return that embrace, take Yunho's kiss, stretch out on a soft bed and let Jaejoong feed him, let Changmin pepper him with questions about what Brazil's really like. There's a video camera looming behind Jaejoong and Yunho, though, so he has to unwrap himself from Yoochun and announce insistently that he's hungry.
"Just a few more pictures," says the manager who's accompanied them, and they're arranged with careful nonchalance against the bridge's low wall.
"There are some croissants in my pack," Yunho tells him softly in between shots, and that makes Junsu laugh again, remembering Jaejoong's complaint. The camera catches him like that, with Yunho grinning in that sly, quiet way he has, and Junsu makes a mental note to request a copy of that picture.
Luckily, their manager is telling the truth about only a few, and within half an hour they're headed toward the Hotel de Ville, Junsu happily munching on a croissant still fresh from being wrapped carefully in a napkin. Well, three quarters of a croissant. Jaejoong had begun to sputter indignantly when Yunho pulled it out, so Junsu tore off an end and stuck it in Jaejoong's mouth. Some of their handlers have been sent to track down a proper lunch, so the rest of the croissants can be saved until later.
Within sight of their destination, they stop for more pictures, and tired as Junsu is, he has to admit he's glad to be awake for this, the others touching him, hugging him, teasing him, talking to him without oceans between, without the time zones meaning their schedules are going to conflict and cut the conversation short. He's awake to hear Yoochun's deplorable French, to hear Jaejoong singing softly to himself, to see Yunho grinning like he'll never stop and the way Changmin takes in everything with a kind of entranced wonder Junsu has only seen on Changmin's face during concerts. He wonders if he looks like that himself. He feels like that, back with the others again in this mellow, sunlit city. Brazil was exhilarating, breathtaking...and he needs to catch his breath. Needs it scented with Yoochun's shampoo, Yunho's cologne, flavored with Jaejoong and Changmin's voices.
They make it to L'Hotel de Ville's "lawn," where their handlers return bearing wrapped sandwiches and extra bottles of water. Not exactly French high cuisine, but Junsu doesn't care; it's enough to keep him going for whatever's next.
He lets the world wash over him as he eats, getting used to background noise in yet another strange language. He's studied a bit, just so he's prepared to argue with Yoochun about pronunciation, and maybe mangle a few songs. Just so he can say, "Je t'adore," to any of the others when the camera's not rolling and, "Je t'aime," when it is.
When he's finished his sandwich, he pulls out his phone and brings up Yoochun's message again. He still means to answer it tonight, but for now he types, "The light here doesn't shine like you," and hits send.