The Sakura fairy is full of glee when the rink cracks apart and the Zambonis fly.
"Mission accomplished!" he announces as his former rinkmate stares in horror at the golf-sized hailstones decorating the seats for the judging panel.
"So. This is the part where you become human again, right?"
"Yes!" he gasps, still unable to move from where his feet lie anchored to the floor.
"And...is it working?"
"Habi. Just wait," says Yuzu as all four feet of boy turned botanical wonder sways its branches in the artificial indoor wind.
Javi sits down and takes a long gulp of mineral water from his bottle. He pours the remaining half at the base of the prunus serrulata serving as the backdrop for the Kiss and Cry.
Yuzu squirms when the water hits his toes.
"Sorry," Javi grins, reciting the lines from his radio interview, "but world champions gotta stay hydrated. You don't want to lose your shot at the title, do you?"
No, Yuzu whispers, because the skaters are flocking in now, submitting their program layouts and music and laying out their gear and…
And Yuzuru is still a tree.
This is how it starts. Someone murdered a cherry tree and plunked it in the arena. Beautiful, said the design team, and Yuzuru Hanyu vanished from the face of the earth.
"You mean Haru Yo Koi wasn't just a costume? It was actually your real form? You're a sakura tree?"
"Yes, Jason. And no, dragging me back to the garden won't work, Jun."
"So, all those times you said you wanted to take Pooh bear to the forest—"
"That was your home, wasn't it?"
Yuzu explains what he can to his clubmates— who by the way, are very affectionately tickling his flowers and causing him to wheeze— but Javi walks by with a salt shaker and a warning for everyone to be quiet.
"Guys, guys, people are staring at us. Could you try to talk to Yuzu without looking like you're having a conversation with a tree?"
"Is that for an exorcism ritual?" inquires Jun.
"No. We're trying to melt the ice."
"With a handful of salt?"
Javi sets down his bag and sighs. "You're right. Do you know how we can bring in more of this stuff?"
"Oh I get it!" chirps Gabby. "You're making a distraction."
Jason scrolls down his twitter feed with a frown. "Hey Javi, did you hear the latest news?" he asks.
"Yeah. They think Yuzu got kidnapped."
"They're all looking for him. JSF, the press, everyone. Brian is really worried and I just saw Tracy checking with the officials at the airport," adds Zhenya. "I think we should tell them. They're our coaches. They should know."
A groan is heard from behind. "No. Please, I don't want all of TCC to know about me."
"We have to sneak him out soon and find a way to revive the tree before practice starts or we're going to be in big trouble," Javi reminds them.
Gabby jogs toward the exit and surveys the crowd waiting outside. "I say we find a way to cut off the power supply."
Zhenya starts to pace the side of the rink, arms crossed. "How are we going to carry him out?"
"We could…uh…sneak him into a Zamboni?" replies Jason.
"Or maybe we should ask the staff to replace the tree. Let's tell them it's defective," suggests Jun.
Gabby takes a careful look at the sakura fairy. "It doesn't look defective. Unless the branches are all broken we can't possibly convince-"
"That's it! We'll just break the branches!"
"Uh, Yuzu? Why is there a blizzard in the arena?"
The boy-tree glares. "Habi, you're the one who wanted a distraction."
"Not like this! You're practically sabotaging the competition!"
The ice splits in half.
A Zamboni begins to rock from side to side.
"There. Now they'll cancel practice, and only the staff will be left, so you guys can find a way to smuggle me outside."
"And then all we have to do is replant you, right?"
Yuzu shakes his branches. "No. If you simply bury a chopped tree into the soil, you're not going to make it come back to life. A plant cannot live without its roots. If you want me back, you need to find the roots. And hurry; I won't last much longer in this form."
This is the part where all the TCC skaters go on an emergency expedition to locate a tree stump in a park in Japan. This is also the part where they load a tree trunk complete with branches and flowers into a cargo van and haul it to the spot. The moment it touches the old roots, the branches disintegrate and a healthy new trunk emerges from the stump.
Afterwards, the TCC team give each other high fives and hugs. Jason awards each of them a Ghana chocolate medal and they all head back and pretend to remember their choreography, as every news outlet hails the event as the strangest world championship practice ever.
And Yuzuru finally shows up at Saitama.
The last part is where Javier Fernandez does a commentary on Yuzuru's programs half-asleep and exhausted and he blurts out to the whole world that Yuzuru is in fact a cat, and that this is why Effie doesn't love him anymore.