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14 March 2013 @ 11:29 pm
Decerto: Road to Freedom  
Title: Decerto: Road to Freedom
Chapter: 15/?
Fandoms: Super Junior, U-Kiss
Pairings: KyuHyun/Zhou Mi, Han Geng/HeeChul
Rating: R overall
Warning: AU, violence, angst
Summary: Taking place six years before the events of Decerto, the story of how a human and a slave started a revolution.

"...What's going on exactly?" KiBum asked Henry in confusion, watched the rest of his family bustling around the house. From what he'd gathered it was rare for all family members to be both present and awake in the morning, KiBum fitting himself into a corner so he wouldn't accidentally trip someone.

It was halfway through summer, and the time was passing too fast for KiBum. Henry's family did their best to make him feel at home, and he soaked up the positivity that always seemed to be present. Sure Henry's father didn't speak with him that often and looked wary more than anything, but KiBum would take what he could get. It wasn't as if he could fault the tiger for being suspicious: KiBum was from a fighting house after all.

"We're going to the parade," Henry blinked at him. "You know, for... oh," he stopped and smacked himself in the forehead. "No, you wouldn't know. It's Liberation Day."

"Liberation Day?" KiBum felt like a bit of an idiot, Henry's tone indicating he should know what that was. "Can I ask the very stupid question of what that is?"

"It's not a stupid question," Whitney had stopped nearby. "It's probably the most important day ever."

"Not now Whitney," Henry scowled at his sister. "You're not being helpful."

"Not my fault he doesn't know basic history," Whitney shrugged. She squeaked and ran out of the room when Henry feinted a lunge towards her, teeth bared and ears back. "Mom!"

"God, sorry," Henry called after her before turning back to KiBum. "Right, Liberation Day. It was the day all the Signs were given their freedom and attained equal rights. It's kind of important."

"Oh...I can see why, now that I know what it is," KiBum shook his head. "We didn't, uh...learn about it in Korea. But that's cool, we're all going downtown? You go to the parade every year?"

"Every year," Henry nodded. "There's a big festival too... Signs kind of have their own culture here, and this is one of the few times we actually get to be really proud of it. I think you'll learn a lot about us today."

KiBum grinned at that, nodding along. "Can't wait." He blinked when the doorbell went off on the other side of the house. "Who's that?"

"Probably a rabbit," Henry said, lifting his nose to sniff the air. "Yup, it's Amber and her parents. We always go together."

"If you get hungry, don't try to turn her into stew during the parade, I don't think it'll go over well," KiBum teased, poking Henry's nose.

"She's too stringy," Henry wrinkled his nose, swatting at KiBum's hand. "Come on, we're probably going to head out now." Heading out of the room, they went down the hall to the living room where there were far too many people standing around talking loudly.

"There you both are, we're just about to go," Henry's mom said when she spotted them.

"Hey!" Amber squeezed out from in between her mother and father to stop beside them. "Excited? This is KiBum's first time at the parade huh?" In all the times they'd ran into her over the summer, KiBum had yet to see any sign of Amber's rabbit ears or tail. She seemed to prefer staying in human form all the time, though both her parents were in their half forms.

"Yeah, I was just telling him about it, he's excited," Henry nodded. "Let's go before we get stuck with the slow pokes." He motioned for Amber to go out the door. "We're gonna walk Mom, we'll see you there."

The three headed out the door, KiBum breathing a sigh of relief to be away from the crush of people. "Oh, you think in there was bad?" Amber asked, looking at him in amusement. "Wait until we get downtown." She headed towards the street, hands linked behind her head. "How much longer are you both here?"

"Another three weeks I think?" Henry said, looking to KiBum. "Maybe four, not sure. I've kind of lost track of the date. You?"

"Four weeks," KiBum confirmed.

"I go back a few days after you then, don't have quite so far to travel," Amber chuckled, looking back at them. "Maybe I should go visit you at some point. See what all the fuss is about."

Henry's lips quirked a little at that, but his eyes dimmed. "I don't know... it's actually kind of really depressing there sometimes. I wouldn't recommend it for a vacation place."

KiBum looked at Henry sadly. He could see why Henry would think that way. "It'll get better one day," he said quietly. "Maybe in a few years there'll be a Liberation Day parade in Korea too."

"That's something to look forward to," Amber nodded. "Though it still wouldn't be as cool as the parade here."

"Of course not, this is where it started," Henry said. "Right here in this city, Signs earned their freedom."

"Are they going to mind a human's celebrating with you?" KiBum asked, blinking. He didn't want to assume and mess up this important day.

"No, why would they? There's never a huge amount, but there's always a number of humans in the parade and along the streets," Amber shrugged, falling back to walk on Henry's other side.

"Yeah, humans like my mom, who married Signs," Henry said. "Or even humans who just want to support us."

Nodding in understanding, KiBum smiled at that. He knew he couldn't be the only human who saw Signs as people just like them, but he'd never met any besides Professor Zhou Mi. His brother and YunHo respected Signs, but they were in the fighting industry after all; respect didn't extend to keeping them out of the deadly ring.

They arrived at the bus stop that would take them to the nearest subway downtown. Amber stretched out her arms, looking at Henry with a smile. "So what are you doing before you go back? Got anything planned?"

"Uhh.. not really?" Henry shrugged.

"Let's go to Niagara Falls for a few days," Amber grinned. "As much as I like being home, my parents are going to drive me crazy if I don't get out of the house for a bit."

Henry wrinkled his nose a little at that. "The falls are boring. I haven't been there since I was a kid."

"Oh, right, you just don't like getting your fur wet," Amber grinned, playfully tweaking one of the half-tiger's ears. KiBum laughed at that.

"And you only like it because you go all gooey eyed at the sight of that much water," Henry sniffed, swatting at her hand. "Should dump you in the middle of the river."

"Ew no, the river here is all gross," Amber wrinkled her nose. "I don't want to smell like garbage."

"Too late," Henry said before taking off at a run.

"Hey!" Amber yelled, chasing after him as KiBum burst out laughing. He had no hope in keeping up with a half-tiger and a rabbit, so he just stayed at the bus stop, watching as Amber caught up two houses down and jumped on Henry's back.

Henry stumbled, but managed to stay upright with the added weight of Amber on his back. "Get off me you stinky rabbit!" he whined, but made sure she wasn't going to fall off as he turned around to head back to the bus stop.

"I am not stinky, you hair-ball coughing machine," she retorted, arms loosely around Henry's neck without choking him.

"Since when have I ever coughed up a hairball?" Henry made a face at that. "If I ever do though, I'll make sure to cough it up in your shoe."

"Do that and I'll douse you in water," Amber smiled. "Really cold water."

"Should I leave you two alone?" KiBum asked Henry in Korean with a wide grin; they'd already established Amber's Korean didn't extend far beyond the very basics.

"...Watch it, or I'm leaving you somewhere in the middle of downtown," Henry replied in Korean before switching back to English. "Okay, rabbit, you have two legs, use them," he huffed, letting Amber go so she could walk on her own.

"But you were doing such a good job," Amber chuckled, sliding back to the ground and stepping back as the bus arrived. They all piled on, Amber peering out the window as they found seats and the bus pulled away from the curb. "I think our parents are still yacking," she looked back at Henry.

"Of course they are," Henry rolled his eyes. "They'll just end up driving down there if they miss the last bus. Like they do every time. Taking the bus down is a lot funner, and less of a headache with so much traffic."

"And less of a headache away not being crammed into a car with all them," Amber smiled, dropping into a seat and stretching out her arms.

Looking around the bus, KiBum saw there weren't many people, just them and a loud group near the back. Nearly all of those there had visible Sign features, the girl closest to them sporting a wagging dog tail. "You weren't kidding about this being a big thing," KiBum glanced at Henry.

Henry looked back to where KiBum had been looking. "Yeah... you haven't really seen anything yet," he chuckled. "Whole streets of the city are going to be blocked off for this, and not just for the parade. But the shops and food stalls too, it's fantastic."

"Oh cool," KiBum grinned, already excited. He looked at Amber. "You don't take half-form too?" All the other Signs he could see (those he recognized to be Signs anyways) were all in their half-forms.

"I might," Amber shrugged. "It's not like other Signs can't tell what I am, and I don't really want to deal with idiots trying to grab my tail today."

Henry looked slightly uncomfortable, hunkering down in his seat. He switched to Korean, looking at KiBum. "You know what rabbits are bought for in Korea, some humans act like rabbits here are still for that purpose."

"...Oh," KiBum's expression fell. He hadn't considered that.

"You know just because I don't understand Korean doesn't mean I don't know you're talking about me. Especially when you taught me how to say 'rabbit'." Amber poked Henry's side.

Henry flinched a little at that, pouting at her. "I'm not talking about you specifically," he replied. "Just... talking about rabbits in general. I'm trying to be nice here okay?"

"He's from Korea, I'm sure he gets it." Amber smiled at Henry, KiBum getting the distinct feeling he was a third wheel again. "Besides, rabbits here can and will kick ass if we have to."

"I know that, believe me, I know," Henry said, shaking his head. "You see what I grew up with KiBum? She's worse than Whitney sometimes. I don't know why I put up with it."

"Because no one else will put up with you, jerk," Amber sniffed, turning away from them to look out the window. KiBum was snickering quietly behind his hand, giving Henry a pointed look.

"Hey, I'm not a jerk," Henry grumbled, ignoring the look from KiBum. "Never inviting you here again KiBum, you're totally against me."

"I'm not against anyone, I'm just sitting here being the...I don't know how you say 'third wheel' in English," KiBum grinned cheekily, of course saying 'third wheel' in Korean.

"And I'm not about to teach you," Henry replied in Korean, glaring at him. "You're just not going to give up on that are you?"

"I'd stop if you'd quit being in denial," KiBum smiled widely at his best friend as he replied in the same language.

"I'm not in denial, you're just making things up," Henry sniffed, crossing his arms. "If you don't quit it, I'm going to tell her that you have a crush on her."

"Like she'd believe that," KiBum blinked, not believing that Henry would do that.

"No? Let's see," Henry turned to Amber, poking her in the arm. "KiBum's got a crush on you."

KiBum squawked at that, objecting loudly. Amber blinked at Henry in confusion, looking between the two guys. "Oh, so you're not together?" She asked innocently.

"...." Henry opened his mouth, sputtering. "What? What? No, ew. He's my best friend," he shuddered. "Why would you even think that?"

"Whitney." Amber grinned cheekily at him.

"What about her?" Henry's eyes narrowed. "What has she been saying? I'm going to strangle her by her own tail."

"Oh look, we're here!" Amber dodged the question by hopping to her feet and going to the front of the bus as they pulled up in front of the subway station.

"Your little sister's slightly scary," KiBum blinked at Henry.

"Also? Dead," Henry said, getting up as well. "Amber, wait, what was she saying?" he said, following after the rabbit. "We're not together, he's not my type."

KiBum trailed after the two as the bus stopped, Amber leading the way off the bus and into the station. "Oh, just that you two seemed really close, among other things," she chuckled, looking over her shoulder at Henry. "What's your type then?"

"Of course we're close, we're friends," Henry said, stuffing his hands in his pockets. "I don't really... I mean I have a type... but... I..." he sighed and shook his head. "Nevermind."

"You're strange," Amber shook her head, hopping onto the escalator heading down to subway level.

"So?" Henry followed after her. "You seem to like hanging around me if I'm so strange."

"I didn't say strange in a bad way," she smiled widely at him. When they reached the bottom of the escalator, she fit herself between both men and hooked her arms with theirs. "Come on, we have to show KiBum that awesome crêpe stall on King street!"

"He has to see the parade first," Henry said. "Parade, then food, then music. In that order."

"What if there's music in the parade?" Amber grinned. "Does that mean we have to start all over?"

"...I still can make good on that river threat," Henry said, nudging her in the ribs with his elbow. "Who invited you anyway?"

"You did," the rabbit laughed, yelping at the poke in the ribs. "Or your parents, same thing."

"I think you're just too easy to tease, Henry," KiBum shook his head.

"I'm not talking to either one of you for the rest of the day," Henry grumbled.

Finally they arrived downtown twenty minutes later, climbing the stairs out of the subway station and stepping into chaos. Loud music was everywhere, the street cordoned off so people would stay on the sidewalk.

Looking around with wide eyes, KiBum noted almost everyone on the street was visibly a Sign. Dogs, boars and oxen mingled, though some Signs seemed to prefer keeping to their own kind (a group of rabbits seemed to be trying to stay as far away from a clutch of snakes as possible). There was even a few dragons roaming around, one of them wearing a volunteer shirt and making sure the crowd stayed off the street for when the parade came by.

"It's almost time for the parade to start, we should find a good spot," Henry said, raising his voice a little as he pushed through the crowd. "Maybe we can find Clint, he's down here somewhere."

"Good luck in this crowd," Amber laughed, sniffing the air as they made their way along the sideway. "No use, there's too many people here," she sneezed when a bit of stray fur drifted past her nose.

"Can we get over there?" KiBum pointed at a raised platform a statue rested on by the corner, the platform large enough for them to stand on comfortably and see over the sea of people.

"Sure, come on," Henry said, taking Amber's hand to keep her close. "Just follow behind me, I'll get us there."

KiBum shook his head in amusement, following after them through the crowd. After getting jostled around for a bit, they finally reached the statue. Amber hopped up onto the platform easily, not letting go of Henry's hand. "The view's much better up here!"

"You picked a good spot KiBum," Henry said, nodding towards the statue towering over them. "Meet Seo TeoJi, leader of the resistance movement."

"...Who?" KiBum blinked, climbing onto the platform next to them and looking up at the grand statue.

"It's thanks to him parades like this are even happening," Amber grinned, looking around the area. "If the resistance hadn't been formed, I doubt any of us would be free right now."

"He's a hero," Henry said. "He was also Korean, a fighter. He was brought here for a huge international tournament. He won, was given his freedom, and then organized all of the Signs in North America. I've looked up to him my entire life, wanted to be as awesome as he was." He looked at KiBum with a grin. "He was a tiger too."

"Why am I not surprised," KiBum chuckled, smiling back at Henry. "How did...you know, how did he organize all the Signs and get their freedom? It must have not been very easy."

"It wasn't," Henry shook his head. "But it wasn't like Spartacus or anything, started a rebellion. He just talked. He talked to politicians and lawmakers, regular people too. It took years, but he managed to do it without any blood being spilled. That was his goal."

"That's...kinda amazing," KiBum said quietly, looking up at the statue again. To be able to change so many opinions about Signs, enough to give a whole continent of slaves their freedom...it was inspiring.

"We need more people like him," Amber stretched out her arms. "And more people who would actually listen to people like him."

"It'll get there," Henry said, smiling up at the statue again. "I know he would have liked to see at least see his home country free Signs in his lifetime, I just hope it doesn't take another fifty years."

"I can agree with that," KiBum nodded, brow furrowed. If just talking could start a chain reaction...maybe that Sign Relations professor had been on to something.

"It's starting!" Amber brightened, pointing down another street where the sound of music was approaching.

"The beginning is the best," Henry said, bouncing a little. "Wait, no, the tiger section is the best, with all the acrobatics, but the beginning is second best."

"You're just biased," Amber tweaked one of Henry's ears. "The rabbits are the best, of course, tigers can't hope to jump that high."

"Rabbits don't have the flair that tigers do," Henry retorted, hissing at the tweak. "See, she does that on purpose and then doesn't have her ears out so I can retaliate."

"You'd have to catch me first, and I don't think KiBum would like it if we lost him in this crowd," Amber chuckled, KiBum rolling his eyes in amusement. They didn't have much chance to continue talking, the volume of the crowd raising as the beginning of the parade came into view.

"Oh wow," KiBum's eyes widened at the display of elements, a swirling mass of water suspended far above their heads and being manipulated by two boars.

"That's just the start," Henry said, looking up as a fount of water at the top sprayed out, the water droplets descending and crystallizing into snow flakes that drifted down onto the crowd. People cheered, children trying to catch the snowflakes with their tongues. "Wood element is next," Henry said when the boars passed. Two rabbits were coming behind them, throwing seeds into the crowd, the seeds exploding into blooms when they reached their peak.

Grinning widely, KiBum leaned back as a blossom drifted past his nose. A sweet scent filled the air, calming, the human inhaling deeply.

Amber tried to catch a bloom and missed, sulking a little. "Damn."

Henry on the other hand, had jumped up to hang off the statues arm, grabbing a couple of the blooms before dropping back down. "Here," he grinned, handing them to Amber. "You miss catching them every year, need to be quicker."

Amber's face lit up. "The wind messed me up. Thanks." She held onto the blooms as the rabbits went past.

A dragon and ox followed after them, carrying flaming torches high above their heads. The fire roared high above the parade in controlled columns, forming changing patterns.  The ox tossed in a powder that changed the color of the fire with each pass, the dragon renewing the flames.

"Fire's the best one," Henry said, puffing out his chest and letting out a whoop when a ball of fire exploded above their heads. "I wonder what they're going to do for metal this year," he mused, craning his neck to try and see what was coming behind the ox and dragon. His eyes widened at what he saw, pushing at KiBum's shoulder and pointing.

Two tigers were suspended in mid air, arms outstretched to nearly touching the giant metal rings that were rolling down the street. The rings were positioned like giant gyroscopes, rolling back and forth down the street but never in danger of falling as the tigers had complete control of the rings.

"Oh wow," KiBum wasn't sure if he could grin much wider than he already was, completely caught up in the parade. He cheered loudly along with the rest of the crowd as the giant metal rings drew nearer. There was almost a humming noise as they passed by.

"Last one!" Amber's rabbit ears suddenly popped out, twitching as she listened and turned eagerly to see what was coming next. Wondering what had caught her attention, KiBum continued to watch the rings in amazement until he felt the ground tremble under heavy footsteps.

Turning to see what would represent the earth element, KiBum saw two massive stone statues taking the corner, easily fifteen feet high each. One statue was almost identical to the one of Seo TeoJi right behind them, the other someone KiBum assumed was also important to the resistance movement. A dog rode on each statue's shoulder, keeping the legs moving and lifting their arms to wave to the crowd.

"When I was little and they did the statues, it freaked me out," Henry said, eyeing the statues as they passed. "They still kind of freak me out a little. Oh, now it's time for the different signs. Rats are always first."

Chuckling as he watched the giant statues disappear around the corner, KiBum turned to watch the rats approach. He already knew each Sign had their own specialties, but this was the first time he was really seeing it out of the context of a training house, in an environment where Signs could show off instead of worrying about staying alive.

He watched the rats travel by, followed by boars and the rabbits. Rabbits weren't as acrobatic as tigers, but KiBum couldn't help but shout in surprise when one was boosted high up into the air, powerful legs carrying him up into a series of tumbles before dropping back into a controlled landing. Beside Henry, Amber was almost giddy as she watched them go.

"Most of the Signs are boring," Henry said, resting his arm on Amber's shoulder and leaning against her, watching the roosters and hens scurry by, followed by goats and monkeys who were doing sommersaults. The horses did a good job of playing up the crowd, some in half form and some in full, prancing and high stepping along the street. "Hey Amber, look," Henry grinned and pointed to just after the horses where the street looked like it was writhing. "Your favorite part, the snakes!"

Amber took one look at the hundreds of snakes slithering across the ground and nearly jumped on Henry's back to get away. "They are not my favorite part!" She protested loudly. "Why do they always have to do this!"

KiBum shook his head; no rabbit seemed to get along with snakes, especially not in their full forms.

"Because it looks cool," Henry laughed, putting his arm around her waist and holding her in place. Some of the other people in the crowd were having the same reaction as Amber, the smaller signs scooting away from the edge of the street.

"It does look cool," KiBum grinned, leaning up on his toes so he could see the street properly.

"I hate you all," Amber grumbled, not detaching herself from Henry even when the snakes had passed.

The space after the snakes was empty, and KiBum blinked in confusion. "...Aren't we still missing some?" He asked before a sudden gust of wind nearly knocked him right off the statue.

At least five half-form dragons divebombed the crowd, pulling up at the last moment and breaking away in tight flying formations. The dragons all had different scale colors: red for fire, blue for water, green for wood, copper for earth and chrome for metal.

"Show offs!" Henry shouted as the red dragon flew over head, his tail twitching a little. He had to admit it was cool though, watching the dragons do mid air tricks. They weren't even clear when the rumbling started, Henry grabbing onto the statue to keep himself and Amber upright. The crowd at the street backed up as a stampede of oxen came through on the dragon's tails. Henry couldn't even count how many there were, some in half form, but most in full oxen form.

"They're going to trample the snakes," KiBum blinked, laughing in astonishment as he held onto the statue as well. As loud as the cheering of the crowd was at this point, he could barely hear over the stampeding.

"They won't, they do this often," Amber called over the noise, bouncing up and down. She looked up at Henry with a grin. "They left the tigers for last, again."

"Of course they did, they're the best," Henry grinned, stepping up onto the statues shoes to get an even better look. The last of the oxen were going by, the rumbling fading into the distance when he heard the first roars. The first three tigers in full form sauntered down the street, the lead one at least half a head taller than the two flanking him. They stopped across from the statue and lifted their heads, letting out another shattering roar.

If it was even possible, the cheers from the crowd grew louder as three more tigers joined them in half form. Like the rabbits, they were doing tumbling and acrobatics, their bodies moving with an artful grace as they almost danced together down the street. As the tigers continued on their way, Henry got KiBum's attention. "That huge tiger? Is a descendent of Seo TeoJi, he's the best fighter they've seen in years and that's who I want to be when I grow up."

"Really?" KiBum chuckled, craning his neck to get a better look at the tiger in question as they went farther down the street. "He's that good?"

"I think all the cubs look up to him," Amber rolled her eyes, nudging Henry's side. "Please don't ever be as cocky as he is."

"He has every right to be cocky, he's like... tiger royalty," Henry said. "I could never hope to be as good as he is."

"And you don't have to be," Amber huffed, watching the tigers go. They could still hear the cheers from farther on as the parade continued through the streets. "Are we following the parade or going to get some food?"

"Food first, I'm starving," Henry said. "I think maybe once we've eaten and seen some of the merchant stalls, we should take KiBum to the Sign museum. It's free to the public today, and I think he could really learn some interesting stuff there."

"I'm not going to say no," KiBum shrugged, smiling as he hopped down from the platform.

"He's going to be sick of Sign history by the end of the day," Amber laughed, following. The blossom was still in her hand.

"Not really, I want to learn all this," KiBum looked back at them. "I never...got a chance to look at things from this point of view before."

"I'm surprised that you didn't cover any of that in that class you were taking, about signs?" Henry said once they were headed through the crowd to the food vendors. "I mean it really started here, no country had freed Signs until the resistance started here. Now, half the countries in the world have."

"We covered a many things in that class, but it's a lot to go over considering no one's ever really thought of Signs this way before, you know?" KiBum shrugged, hands jammed in his pockets. "We didn't have a chance to go into depth, maybe if there was more than one class for it. Many people didn't even know there were countries with free signs, I certainly didn't."

Henry's lips quirked slightly at that. "Well now you do know, and you can tell other people. You can even tell your Professor what you learned."

Thinking about that, KiBum grinned. "I think I will. Hey...are there recordings of this parade anywhere?"

"I think there are some of past years," Amber blinked, glancing over at him.

KiBum smirked. "Instead of telling him, why don't I bring one back and show him?"

"They might have some at the museum gift shop," Henry nodded. "I know there's lots of pictures and prints, and a couple books about the parade too. Guess we'll see what we can find?"

"Yeah," KiBum nodded. "Anything that we can find that I could take back with us would be awesome." Maybe if he held onto them long enough, he could show them to HyungJoon too.
silverstorm666 on March 23rd, 2013 08:24 am (UTC)
Hmmm, I thought I commented on this last time but I didn't. :P

But yes, I like where this is heading. Kibum is taking the initiative. :) It's always nice to see someone take action, instead of just talking about it.