Kai was in pain. That much was obvious. Luhan's eyes trailed sadly along the surface of his computer screen, replaying the video again and again. The fingers of his left hand plucked aimlessly at the bottom edge of his shirt, restless in their anxiety.
"Jongin, don't get hurt anymore!"
Those words should have been his own. He should have been the one to voice concern for Kai. Guilt nibbled at the delicate seams which hung loosely from his heart. Luhan's gaze returned to the video, despite the fact that those short seven seconds brought him the most heart-wrenching sadness he had experienced since the last time he had said goodbye to his parents.
Kai's sweat-covered face, contorted into an expression of restrained agony. The flat, emotionless blackness of his eyes, rimmed by bruise-colored circles. The slump of his shoulders, the premature weight of fame and glory having accompanied his unprecedented pain.
Hang in there, Luhan thought to himself as he watched, for the umpteenth time, Kai's pained, exhausted nod of affirmation.
"Luhan, what are you doing?"
Kris's deep, apathetic monotone made its way into the room, causing Luhan to start and hurriedly slam his computer shut.
"K's performance is on. We're all watching it, if you want to join us."
"Sure. Of course."
Luhan stood up from his chair and walked to the bedroom doorway, where Kris stood waiting patiently. The memory of Kai's agonized expression was burned into his mind. The two of them joined the other four in the living room, where the screams and shouts of girls emanated from the television speakers. He was able to pick out bits and pieces of what the MC was saying.
"...rookie group, EXO-K!...debut in Korea while EXO-M...China...sales for mini-album, MAMA hit...History...popular among fans..."
Luhan sat himself down in between Tao and Chen, who were collapsed on either end of the small couch. He watched the TV screen intently, ears straining to hear the opening beats of EXO-K's performance.
"Aren't they singing live this time?" Tao asked, looking around the room for an answer.
"Yeah," Lay replied immediately. "No lip-syncing."
"I hope they do well," Luhan heard Xiumin whisper to Chen, who nodded in agreement.
The TV screen went dark, and Luhan's attention was immediately occupied. The familiar opening of 'History' filled the silence that surrounded the six-member group. His eyes refused to veer away from the figure that stood in the middle of the stage, surrounded by fellow members.
"Wow, Kai can actually sing pretty well live," Chen said, impressed.
Of course he can, Luhan thought, He worked so hard.
Something at the side of the screen caught Luhan's attention. Kai, at the back edge of the group's formation, was limping, struggling to keep up with the dance they had rehearsed so endlessly for three months. His eyes betrayed his pain, reflecting the difficulty he was having while his expression remained appropriately stoic. Luhan lurched off the couch to get a closer look, eyes wide with worry; face etched with concern.
"Hey, what are you doing?" the others protested, yelling for him to move out of the way of the screen.
"There's something wrong with Kai," Luhan said, turning to face his fellow group mates. "Look." He pointed directly at where Kai was dancing smoothly across the stage, slightly hunched over in evident discomfort.
"He looks fine," Kris said, squinting at the screen. The others nodded, murmuring words of assent.
Luhan frowned. At that moment, Kai looked perfectly fine. Dancing energetically with a strong, confident, look on his face, Kai now led the group's formation, launching directly into the rap portion of the song with Chanyeol. Nobody would have been able to tell that he had been in pain only moments before.
"But..." Luhan's voice trailed off. He was being ignored, the others too engrossed in EXO-K's performance to take notice of the little things that mattered so much to him. His heart was attacked by endless blows. As a fellow EXO-PLANET member and brother, Luhan felt completely responsible for what happened to Kai. He would have given anything to be at Kai's side right then, taking care of him, keeping him healthy, providing the encouragement and support he could only ever convey in an email or phone call.
Kai, stay strong, Luhan prayed, hoping that Kai would somehow be able to sense the concern and love that accompanied his thoughts. I'm praying for you. Stay healthy, be strong, and take care of yourself.
No matter what, keep your head up and stay focused. You have your other members to lean on. That's why they're there. Even if I'm not there, you still have people who will support you and love you unconditionally. It's been hard on you. More so than the rest of us. I know that better than anyone. Never forget that I will always be rooting for you. Even if we're in different parts of the world, we are one. I'll be with you again. Soon. I promise.