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[OneShot] Yesterday Once More
Title: Yesterday Once More
Pairings: OT5, Chun-centric
Rating: G


Those were such happy times
And not so long ago
How I wondered where they'd gone.



Yoochun exhales onto the grimy window and draws a thick, clumsy star and a smiley face at some attempted good cheer. Outside, grey ugly raindrops stain the streets and smudge faces, dampening spirits everywhere. He is no exception. Cranking up the volume on his Walkman, Yoochun wheels away from his messy desk and tries to soak himself in the extraordinaire that is Karen Carpenter, but not even she can sing his blues away.


He closes his eyes and escapes the musty confines of his workroom and sputtering career for a few seconds before absently reaching for a pencil to etch a few tuneless quavers and crochets onto a crumpled music sheet. In a matter of minutes, a melody slowly starts to undulate. Yoochun hums experimentally but stops abruptly as it slowly starts to take on something all too painfully familiar.


His eyes are drawn to a psychedelic calendar shoved haphazardly into a sagging, sorry excuse of a bookshelf; half of the dates are hidden behind music composition books and stacks of yellowing Polaroid pictures he just can’t bear to throw out. Yoochun reaches for the nearest one and starts flipping through them, hungry and reluctant. His heart pounds just a little faster as memories slowly come flitting back, almost as elusive, if not as pretty, as butterflies.  



But they're back again
Just like a long lost friend
All the songs I loved so well.



In one of the many fluorescent-lit, nondescript rooms that make up the SM office, five very nervous boys stand a little too close for comfort. Yunho’s smile is still gnarled, his hair is ridiculously spiky and he has baby fat. He looks like a typical street kid, but Yoochun recognizes that proud gaze U-Know Yunho, leader of TVXQ, had back then and still has now. Yunho’s arm is casually slung across Yoochun’s shoulders. He remembers feeling reassured by that simple gesture those many years ago. Yoochun thinks it would be nice to experience something like that again.


He is the kid from America here. He is not yet the confident Micky Yoochun. He is just a mousy looking kid with a penchant for singing ballads and acting a little gangster simultaneously. In his defense, he was impressionable, undergoing identity formation and was terribly homesick. He doesn’t think he can forgive himself just yet for that horrible bleached hair though. 


Changmin is adorable in this picture.



Yoochun does a double take.



Changmin is still adorable in this picture. He is clad in his school uniform, eyes inquisitive if a little wary. His smile is unguarded and disarmingly bright. Yoochun notes that it is not the same smirk Choikang Changmin now employs to make women shriek and wet their panties. He wonders how someone could undergo such drastic evolution and settles for the one where little Changmin was probably abducted by this current Choikang Changmin. It only makes sense.


Junsu is not smiling; it is more of a grimace. He looks scared and his eyes seem glazed over. Yoochun notices how one of his hands is busy fingering the straggles of sideburn. Xiah Junsu, the amazing singer, still does that. Thank god he stopped putting on that expression, it made him look like he needed to pee. Jaejoong looks the most presentable. His expression is the most composed, if not as cool and untouchable as now. Upon closer inspection, Yoochun thinks that he sees the same insecure flicker in invincible Youngwoong Jaejoong’s eyes back then that he still wears once in a blue moon.



Yoochun finds himself tenderly tracing the faces of their younger, printed selves. It makes his heartache ease up slightly. It even makes his lips twitch upward just a little bit.



Relax, we were alright.



Ridiculously fluffy, itchy animal suits in the middle of summer at Lotte World, but they are all crazy-happy and are making bawdy jokes. Changmin, a very violent reindeer, is making an attempt to irritate the hell out of Yunho by tugging on his tiger tail, hard. Yoochun can see the fine crinkles, otherwise known as laugh lines near Yunho’s eyes. His head is thrown back in the middle of a loud laugh and he is not even, as far as Yoochun can tell, in the slightest bit annoyed. Yoochun thinks that if he were in Yunho’s place he might have killed Changmin already. Nobody likes reindeer anyway.


Junsu, the sheep is in full-on angel mode. He makes big goo-goo eyes at the camera and smiles so sweetly Jaejoong is pretending to throw up on his right. Yoochun is in the middle, looking bemused and overwhelmed. In the photograph he is desperately clutching at his stomach; it hurts from all the laughing and holding onto Jaejoong’s lion paw for dear life. Yoochun has never laughed so much or so hard before. Idiocy tends to have that effect on him, he thinks.



He never quite got around to selling that bunny outfit. Sometimes he takes it out just to look at it, and when he does Yoochun thinks he can still smell the candy floss and burning rubber from that day.



Easy smiles at midday in some French hotel room, all strewn clothes and unmade beds. Yunho, with his visible scars and puffy eyes, is languid and somewhat feline. Yoochun remembers how due to his jetlag, he had slept motionless for over twenty-four hours. Junsu is picking at his toenails, tongue stuck out. It had become something of a hobby as he perpetually always had hangnails.  


Jaejoong is primped and wide-eyed, fingers in a V, face slightly turned away. He is distracted by something on the television. He had been so enthralled by the French language, they had to threaten him with bodily harm before he stopped inching je t'aime and c'est la vie into everything he said.


Changmin is wearing geeky glasses and has flyaway hair. He is flippantly staring out beyond the balcony, head up in the clouds. Yoochun mentally kicks himself for not noticing how beautifully composed this all is, from the way his eyelashes are spun gold in the sun to how his cheekbones are shadowed to perfection. He had been at the right place at the right time. 



I never told him.



Yoochun wasn’t in it, he had taken the picture. But he did remember being pulled into many subsequent shots, hand in hand on the streets of Champs-Élysées and cheeks pushed up from toothy grins on that huge Ferris wheel, the name of which he just can’t recall. Strangely, he will always recall that average picture of that average day for years to come whenever anybody says paris/brethrens/togetherforever.



Looking back on how it was in years gone by
And the good times that I had makes today seem rather sad
So much has changed.



Just after midnight, backstage, right after the Tokyo Dome concert. All the months of anticipation, nervous glee and expectations had drifted by in the blink of an eye. This was a normal, nothing picture that easily spoke a thousand words. They were all on a high, extremely spent but deliriously satisfied. Glasses had been clinked, the cheers had all been chanted, their smiles were genuine and yet there were ghosts in Changmin’s eyes, a hint of rawness in his own and a clench in Junsu’s jaw. Doubt had already spread its long wings, so sinister yet kindly it could have been a friend instead.  



After the MAMA Awards and nothing seems more incomplete. It is not even worth taking note of because everything is just so awkward. There are only strangers. There is no leader or magnae. There are no smiles. There are no songs. There is nothing.



Yoochun would have gladly given that pointless award away if it meant having all of them perform on the same stage. He doesn’t need their pity or their faith. He just wants them back.



In the van on the way to the airport, it is deathly still. Yunho is not going.


It was on impulse, suggesting that picture. Yoochun is still surprised that they obliged.


Junsu’s smile is tight, but his grip on Yunho’s arm is even more so. His knuckles are bone-white. pleasecome/screwthem/weareone, Yoochun could hear all those words; Junsu had been screaming. Changmin looks gaunt. His eyes are welled up with angry tears. It is painful seeing him grit his teeth in a small grin while trying to hold them back, nobody had noticed at that time. Now they could only wish they had.


Jaejoong doesn’t even try, his eyes are bloodshot and his mouth is turned down. He is however wearing Yunho’s favorite leather jacket and old brass ring. It is only when he takes a second look does Yoochun realize that their pinkies are linked. He thinks he knows what the promise is about. It makes his heart skip a beat.



Why are we so sad?



Yoochun fumbles through the rapidly thinning pile of snapshots, stopping at some, glancing past most. He is on auto-pilot sifting through these dusty keepsakes, trying to still that strange yearning.


He has to find it.



What are you searching for?



I don’t know.



Past more pictures of forgotten acquaintances, painful adolescence and Virginia, his fingers finally still. It is exactly how he remembers, it is as clear as day.



Too early in the morning for any of them to be up, much less dancing. It is nearing dawn and long shadows add touches of depth, secrecy and a rogue sense of class to the shabby dance studio. Changmin is sitting propped up against the mirrored walls; his impossibly lanky frame looks wound and tense. His face is partially covered by a towel he has draped over it to catch the sweat and perhaps, involuntary tears. Yoochun can’t help but notice how his hands are pressed together in something like desperate prayer. It is heart-breaking seeing Changmin so vulnerable.


In the back ground, Junsu is frowning; his eyes are dark, furious coals. They could have come across as questioning and hurt but his mouth is open, mid-yell and his hands are a blur, wildly gesticulating at someone out of the frame. His body language is all wrong; it is to Yoochun something like a cross between a deer caught in the headlights and a provoked cat, all hisses and quivers at the same time.


Yunho is standing up, back ramrod straight. His lips are pursed, fists clenched at his sides. Only his profile is captured but Yoochun can visualize his furrowed brows and that tic he gets just above his left cheek when he’s frustrated. He is watching Junsu intently. Yoochun cannot fathom what he is thinking.


Jaejoong is nowhere in sight. He had by then, when the picture was taken, already turned tail and fled. Hours after that, Yoochun remembered having to bear the dead weight of an extremely drunk Jaejoong. Forgiveme/AreweOK?/Whatnow?/sorrysorrysorry


Yoochun sees himself looking small, sharp and barely noticeable through the reflection of the mirrors. He remembers all the poisonous words he had meant to spit out, before his tongue had knotted itself up at the last minute. He also remembers how he had cried himself nauseous after that. Everything was wrong and he had let everybody down.     



Yoochun never found out who took this picture.



Is this it?



A loud thud from behind startles him back into the present. It is the abandoned calendar, dislodged from the lack of Polaroid snapshots to keep it in place. Yoochun reaches down for it, gives it cursory glance and feels his chest tighten all over again.



Marked with a red circle, is the 26th of December.



It is the 26th of December. Outside, the rain keeps pouring.  



All my best memories
Come back clearly to me
Some can even make me cry.
Just like before
Its yesterday once more.


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(: Thanks for reading and commenting! Hope you liked it.

yoochun's (your) descriptions are so beautiful and on point. the images that you created from the polaroid themselves tell a story of that time and i just love the way you write

/stalking your journal now

Thank you so much; that means a lot to me. My journal's really skimpy though, nevertheless I hope you enjoy it. (:

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