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14 March 2013 @ 11:29 pm
Decerto: Road to Freedom  
Title: Decerto: Road to Freedom
Chapter: 16/?
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.

As much as Zhou Mi wanted his vacation with KyuHyun to go on forever, hew knew they needed to get back to reality eventually. He had missed so much in regards to the gaming commission, and he hoped there weren't even worse rules to contend with once he got back. The flight back to Korea was long, though it didn't feel quite as long as the flight out had been. Maybe it was because when he was tired, he could drop his head onto KyuHyun's shoulder and sleep in relative comfort.

It didn't help Zhou Mi's mood any that they had to put KyuHyun's collar back on before they left the airport once they had landed, but it couldn't be helped. It was his right as an owner to decide whether or not a slave wore one, but considering his position in the tournaments, he couldn't be viewed as soft when it came to slaves. Not yet at least.

"Maybe we can stop in on Geng and HeeChul," Zhou Mi said, watching the familiar buildings go past as the taxi took them home. "I didn't realize how much I missed them until we got back."

"If they didn't go somewhere for vacation too," KyuHyun shrugged, watching outside the window as well. "HeeChul's probably going to be pissed we didn't bring him back anything." The snake was about as happy as Zhou Mi was to be back and have his collar back on, but there was little that could be done about that, and the time with it off had helped him a lot.

"We bought him liquor, that should be enough," Zhou Mi chuckled. "As much as I would have rather stayed over there, I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed again."

"Me too," KyuHyun nodded, glancing at Zhou Mi. "Having such a huge bed in the hotel didn't really make much of a difference, you cling like a koala either way," his lips quirked slightly.

"I did warn you," Zhou Mi laughed, looking back at him. "You weren't really complaining the past month though."

"I'm cold-blooded, and you're a living heater," KyuHyun rolled his eyes, looking up as they arrived outside the apartment complex. "But no, I'm not complaining."

Piling out of the car, Zhou Mi helped the driver with their bags and started for the front door. As tired as he was, he still wiggled in excitement the entire way up the elevator. Dragging his suitcase behind him, he waddled to the door at a run, unlocking the apartment and pushing it open. "Ah, home!" he grinned, holding up his arms and tilting his head back, breathing in the air. "Smells delicious."

Snorting in amusement, KyuHyun followed at a more leisurely pace. "Delicious? You're weird." He placed his hands on Zhou Mi's hips from behind and steered the older man out of the way of the door so he could step inside. Closing the door behind them, he placed his bag to the side and looked around. While he wouldn't really call the smell of the apartment 'delicious', it was nice to be back.

"I'm well aware I'm not normal," Zhou Mi said, going to the couch and flopping over onto it. "I'm just glad to be home is all. Even with all the equality and understanding we saw in the States, I still feel the most liberated when I'm here in this apartment... with you. This, is freedom to me."

Nodding, KyuHyun moved their bags by the stairs to take up with them later before going to join Zhou Mi on the couch. He nudged the human's legs over so he could sit down. "This is...home, I guess."

"...You guess?" Zhou Mi blinked at that, sitting up and scooting over so KyuHyun could sit. "Does this not feel like home to you?"

"No, it does, it's just that I never expected to even know what 'home' felt like." KyuHyun stretched out, making himself comfortable.

"And are you happy?" Zhou Mi asked, sitting sideways on the couch and leaning his cheek up against the back.

Looking at Zhou Mi, KyuHyun's lips quirked and he nodded. "Yeah. I'm happy."

"Good," Zhou Mi smiled, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. "That's all I've ever wanted, was to make sure that you were happy." His eyes opened when there was a knock at the door. "Not even home five minutes and we're being bothered."

"Don't know who it would be," KyuHyun snorted, standing with a sigh. He walked to the door and opened it.

"We thought we heard you come back," Han Geng smiled, standing behind HeeChul.

"We didn't think, we knew," HeeChul said. "Stick legs over there can't talk quietly."

"Let them in KyuHyun," Zhou Mi said, sitting up more and smiling at the two. "You couldn't give us an hour to get settled before coming over?"

"Sorry," Han Geng laughed. As KyuHyun stepped aside, he and HeeChul entered the apartment. "Should we come back later?"

"I'm not coming back later," HeeChul sniffed, moving into the apartment. "We're here now, so we visit."

"Well, we missed you too HeeChul," Zhou Mi chuckled. "It's fine Geng, we're happy to see you."

"How was the vacation?" Han Geng asked, watching KyuHyun close the door before going to reclaim his spot next to Zhou Mi. The snake seemed at ease, prompting Geng to smile at Mi softly.

"Relaxing," Zhou Mi said, the contentment clear in his expression. "I think it was exactly what we needed. I don't know about KyuHyun, but it strengthened my resolve for what we're doing. Seeing all those people, humans and signs alike together, living in equality... it's not something I'm likely to forget anytime soon."

"Good," Han Geng chuckled, going to sit down in a chair. He held out one hand for HeeChul. "It would be nice to see something like that here, in our lifetimes."

"I'm not holding my breath," HeeChul said, sitting down in Han Geng's lap. "What'd you bring us?"

"I'm sorry to say we didn't do much souvenir shopping," Zhou Mi laughed. "But I did pick up a bottle of whiskey for you HeeChul. I was told it was the best in the country."

"His liquor cupboard was running low again," Han Geng chuckled, wrapping his arms loosely around HeeChul's waist. "Do I get to try some before you drink it all?" He asked the rooster.

"We'll see," HeeChul sniffed. "Depends on how nice you are to me."

"I picked up some books Geng, on the history of Sign independence in the States," Zhou Mi said, shaking his head a little at HeeChul. "They're in English, but maybe we can get them translated for us."

"Good idea, I don't speak even a word of English," Han Geng laughed. "How did you both survive in the States for that long?"

"By not letting him ask for directions," KyuHyun pointed in Zhou Mi's direction, lounging comfortably against the couch.

Zhou Mi pouted at him. "We survived because there were a number of Chinese and Korean people in the city. We spent a great deal of time in Chinatown, and we learned quite a bit from them on how to navigate the city."

"Should have learned English before you went," HeeChul said. "We'll have to remember that before our trip. I'll learn English."

"....I'm not sure if that's a good idea," Han Geng blinked at the back of HeeChul's head. "Because then you'll try to teach me, and make me say inappropriate things again."

"When have I ever tried to make you say inappropriate things?" HeeChul looked over his shoulder at Han Geng with innocent eyes. "What do you take me for?"

"Someone who got me in trouble on numerous occasions for giving me the wrong Korean," Han Geng poked HeeChul's waist, KyuHyun snickering.

"You can't blame me just because your pronunciation is atrocious," HeeChul sniffed.

"Says the person who hasn't been willing to learn Mandarin," Zhou Mi said. "Maybe you should get him back for all that Geng, and make him learn your language."

"I can't," Han Geng said gloomily. "Last time I tried all he learned was the swear words."

"At least you can have conversations he can't understand," KyuHyun snorted.

"I'm not learning Mandarin," HeeChul said, crossing his arms. "I speak a perfectly good language and I like the fact that when he gets confused and trips over words I can ignore him because I don't understand."

"You ignore me sometimes even when you do understand," Han Geng sniffed, securing his arms more comfortably around HeeChul's waist and resting his cheek against the other man's shoulder.

"I'm sorry, what was that?" HeeChul mused cheekily.

"Dealing with indignant children aside, how have things been here Geng?" Zhou Mi asked.

"It's been...interesting," Han Geng murmured, leaning back in the chair. "And very busy. I've been doing my best to apply pressure on the gaming commissioner, apparently he's not very popular with several people in the senate."

"Oh?" That got Zhou Mi's interest, and he leaned forward slightly. "Why? What did he do?"

"He stepped on quite a few toes to get to where he is now, and has used his position to keep others from getting where they wanted," Han Geng replied, closing his eyes. "Either way, he's feeling the heat right now."

Zhou Mi's lips thinned slightly at that and he glanced at KyuHyun briefly before returning his gaze to HeeChul and Han Geng. "Has there been talk of trying to oust him yet?"

"Some, but I'm not sure if it's caught on or not. I'm still new; all I can do is keep listening and prodding them in the right direction for now." Han Geng cracked one eye open at Zhou Mi. "Do you know what you're doing on your end?"

"Not sure yet," Zhou Mi said, folding his arms. "I'll be going back day after tomorrow and I'll have to see how things are going in the commission itself. When I left, the shareholders had called a meeting with the commissioner but it was postponed until the start of the new year."

Nodding slowly, Han Geng frowned in thought. "If the shareholders are feeling the pressure, this might be even easier."

"So what does all that mean?" KyuHyun asked, looking between them. He didn't understand politics in the least. "Are we making progress?"

"It means that the commissioner isn't doing the job," Zhou Mi said. "And if he's getting pressure from the senate, then he's doing a very bad job. The fact that a referee was killed for the first time in decades is not a good thing. Attendance last year was down ten percent; that may not seem like a lot but it's enough for the shareholders to take notice."

"Do you think they'll give him another year?" Han Geng asked, opening both eyes to watch them with a frown.

"... They could if he had support from his staff," Zhou Mi said. "If he doesn't? Then someone else will be voted in. Depends on how the shareholder meeting goes."

"We can only hope it goes badly for him," Han Geng sighed, rubbing his eyes. The Chinese man looked tired. "Another year would give him a better chance to get back in their good graces."

"Exactly," Zhou Mi nodded. "But if we stick to our plans, I have a feeling things will be going our way... are you okay Geng?"

"He's been tossing and turning at night," HeeChul said, his tone sarcastic but Zhou Mi could see the little bit of worry in his eyes. "Which then means he's a huge grump all day."

"I'm fine, it's just been a long couple months," Han Geng laughed quietly. "Should have taken that vacation while I had the chance, and while HeeChul wasn't convinced he can learn English."

"I can do a better job than you," HeeChul said. "And we're taking a vacation when winter hits, I want to be on a beach somewhere with the sun and not freezing my tail feathers off here."

"Maybe you should get some rest Geng," Zhou Mi suggested. "KyuHyun and I are tired ourselves, and we could use some time to get settled."

"Oh right...sorry for showing up so suddenly," Han Geng chuckled, shifting to get up but foiled by HeeChul in his lap. "Glad to see you both again, the hallway's been too quiet. Up," he poked the rooster's side.

HeeChul stood up with a grumble, crossing his arms. "I was enjoying the quiet actually, but now I have someone to bother if Geng's out and you're here KyuHyun."

"He's looking forward to it," Zhou Mi chuckled, getting up and grabbing his bag. "Here's that whiskey I promised. This should keep you occupied for a while HeeChul," he said, handing the bottle to Han Geng.

"Thank you Mi," Han Geng smiled, taking the bottle and showing HeeChul. "Try not to finish it all in one night."

"He's not getting any more if he does," KyuHyun smirked, stretched out comfortably on the couch.

"Have a good night," Geng said, heading to the door.

"Night, we'll talk more on the weekend when I have more information," Zhou Mi said, showing the two out. He shut and locked the door behind them before returning to the couch. "I don't know about you, but I'm going to fall face first into bed."

"Long plane rides suck." KyuHyun caught Zhou Mi by the sleeve on his way by, tugging hard.

Not expecting that, Zhou Mi shrieked as he went down ass over tea kettle, nearly flipping the whole couch over and landing hard on KyuHyun. "Are you trying to crack my head open on the floor?"

The snake grunted slightly as Zhou Mi nearly squashed him. "Not my fault if your balance is worse than a tiger with it's tail cut off," KyuHyun snorted, shifting to make himself a little more comfortable.

"This isn't going to be comfortable all night," Zhou Mi said, wiggling enough to stretch himself out and rest his cheek on KyuHyun's chest. "We should really go up to bed."

"In a bit," KyuHyun closed his eyes, fingers brushing against Zhou Mi's hair lightly. "They should have seats like this on planes, it would make sleeping a lot easier."

"Mhm," Zhou Mi hummed in agreement, nuzzling into KyuHyun. "You glad to be home?"

KyuHyun nodded. "Yeah. You?" His hand trailed down from Zhou Mi's hair to run up and down the human's back slowly.

"I am," Zhou Mi replied, tilting his head up a little to look up at KyuHyun. "And I'm glad that we can be like this, without a care in the world as long as we're together."

The snake's lips quirked softly. "You're such a sap. Why are you so cheesy all the time?" His other hand lifted to brush locks of hair out of Zhou Mi's eyes.

"Because I'm a romantic," Zhou Mi grinned. "And admit it, you like it a little, you get those butterflies in your stomach like I do," he said, tickling KyuHyun's belly a little.

Squawking, KyuHyun squirmed. "Stop that, or we're going to fall off the couch. And that is a weird expression, who eats butterflies?"

"... Certain types of snakes do," Zhou Mi grinned. "It's just an expression... and you didn't disagree."

"Your point being?" KyuHyun wrinkled his nose at the human, smirking slightly.

"The point is, you like it when I'm sappy, gives you an excuse not to be," Zhou Mi said, scooting up a little so he was more eye level with the snake. "I love you KuiXian."

KyuHyun's lips formed more of a smile than a smirk. "Some people would think you lost your mind, loving a snake." His fingers slid back to twine into Zhou Mi's hair.

"Some people think I've already lost my mind a long time ago, but that's okay," Zhou Mi said, returning the smile. "I'm happy, that's all that matters to me."

"That's good, cause I love you too, even if you are crazy." KyuHyun drew Zhou Mi down into a kiss.

Zhou Mi returned the kiss, an arm going around KyuHyun's neck. "Mm... butterflies," he grinned against KyuHyun's mouth.

"I'll show you butterflies," KyuHyun grumbled, tickling Zhou Mi's side in retaliation.

"Wha-?" Zhou Mi blinked in surprise half a second before he shrieked, again, pushing KyuHyun away. In doing so, he promptly rolled off the couch and fell on the floor with a loud thump. "...Ow."

"Knew that would happen eventually," KyuHyun chuckled, sitting up and leaning over to help get Zhou Mi off the floor. "Come on...let's go to bed."

"Of course it will if you start tickling me," Zhou Mi huffed, getting to his feet. "What was that for? I was trying to be sweet," he pouted at the snake.

"By hinting I had butterfly breath?" KyuHyun wrinkled his nose at the older man.

"What?" Zhou Mi looked confused. "That... no, KuiXian," he chuckled, shaking his head. "That isn't what I was saying at all. I said butterflies because I had that nice feeling in my stomach when I kissed you, and I love that feeling."

"Oh...Oh, okay," KyuHyun blinked as he stood. "Well that's not as bad." He wrapped his arms loosely around Zhou Mi's waist. "Try again?"

"Yes," Zhou Mi smiled, his hands sliding up KyuHyun's arms to settle on his shoulders. "Maybe somewhere where we're in less danger of falling," he said, taking a step backwards towards the stairs. "And I can show you how wonderful that butterfly feeling really is."

"Maybe," KyuHyun murmured, eyes flashing sapphire before settling into black again. "If we make it up the stairs." He followed Zhou Mi's movement towards the stairs, sneaking in a kiss.

"I think that's something we can manage," Zhou Mi said, leaning in for another kiss before taking KyuHyun's hand and pulling him up the stairs. They had tried once, to distract themselves going up those stairs with kisses, but it ended with Zhou Mi toppling back down the stairs and needing an ice pack for his head. He wasn't taking the chance that could happen, not this time. Zhou Mi knew KyuHyun well enough to know what that change in his eyes had meant, and wasn't going to let anything get in between them and the bed. Not even if it's a couple extra kisses.


The following day, Zhou Mi and KyuHyun were surprised by a courier showing up at their door with an envelope bearing the Gaming Commission's stamp. The shareholders had called a meeting, even though the last any of them had heard the meeting was supposed to have been postponed to the following year.

That was how two days later Zhou Mi and KyuHyun found themselves standing outside the Commission's headquarters in downtown Seoul, KyuHyun carrying the other man's briefcase for him. "Guess now's when I say good luck," the snake murmured, looking up at the large building.

"I don't think I'm the one who needs it right now," Zhou Mi said, buttoning his suitcoat. "Like I said earlier, the shareholders don't call emergency meetings unless it's very important."

"Either way, good luck," KyuHyun smirked, ducking his head a little as they entered the building. He followed a pace behind Zhou Mi as they walked to the elevator, glancing at the receptionist as they passed by.

Zhou Mi was quiet as the elevator ascended, making sure his tie was straight and his suit smoothed down. He was nervous, and he had good reason to be. He had never actually met any of the shareholders as of yet, the commissioner preferring to hold meetings with them behind closed doors. Whether that was a tactic to keep himself in power or not, Zhou Mi wasn't sure, but this was the first time he'd been summoned by anyone other than the commissioner.

Arriving at the top floor, Zhou Mi stepped out of the lift when the gates pulled back and he frowned slightly at how quiet it was. The few workers who were there were whispering to each other at their desks, glancing up at him as he walked by.

"Zhou Mi?" A light voice got Zhou Mi's attention and he looked over to a younger woman who had sidled up next to him. Zhou Mi recognized her as one of the workers in the stenographer's pool, "They haven't told us what's going on, but the commissioner went in there an hour ago and haven't seen him come out yet... do you know what's going on?"

"No, Sulli, I have no idea," Zhou Mi said with a frown. "Just go back to work, I'm sure everything's fine."

KyuHyun eyed the workers who all seemed to be watching them before walking over to the closed meeting room door and gripped the handle, glancing back at Zhou Mi. He could hear voices from inside, too muffled by the door for the humans to hear, and none of those voices sounded happy. The snake pulled the door open for Zhou Mi, stepping aside for his master to enter.

The shareholders were sitting around a long table, Kang HoDong sitting at the end of it. From the slight purple in his face, he was livid and trying to hold it in.

Zhou Mi took a moment to glance at the people in the room, the twelve men and women who made up the board returning his look. He bowed hesitantly, stepping into the room. "I'm sorry if I'm late," he said, bowing again.

"You're right on time, Zhou Mi I assume?" One of the men said, motioning to a chair in between them and HoDong. "Please, sit. We were just discussing the terms of the commissioners resignation."

KyuHyun situated himself back against the wall behind Zhou Mi's chair, close enough to help if he was needed while being out of the way.

"I told you I just need more time," HoDong said through a clenched jaw, seething. "I have plans to bring more profit to the tournaments, and those plans do not include resignation."

"We believe you have had more than enough time," one of the women said as Zhou Mi took his seat. "What few ideas you have proposed seems to be more of the same. We don't believe that changing the rules for the third tier to make the fights a death match only will bring in revenue."

"It may bring the people, as you have demonstrated, but less houses will be willing to put in their fighters," the first man spoke again. "We need that revenue in fees as well."

"To the contrary, I believe the houses will enter more fighters, as the third tier will have become that much more challenging," HoDong argued. "There is no shortage of potential fighters in the breeding houses, they will be snatched up quickly and you will have even more revenue in fighter fees."

The woman frowned at that, but one of the other men spoke up. "What are your thoughts on Kang HoDong's proposition Zhou Mi?"

Clearing his throat slightly, Zhou Mi folded his hands on top of the table. "I think it would be a mistake. The people pay for a fight, not a slaughter. Death is an unfortunate occurrence in the ring from the viewpoint of a fighting house. So much money is spent and time training the Signs that it would not be a good enough return on the investment. There is also a very valid point about the breeding houses not being able to keep up. Tigers and dragons take the most time to breed, as they yield so few offspring unlike rats and rabbits. What would be next, lowering the age limit for fighters so the thirteen year olds can be put into the tournaments?"

KyuHyun could see HoDong's surprise at Zhou Mi's words: the other man had always sided with him thus far. "The breeding houses will adjust to keep up with the demand for more fighters," the older man said lowly. "At thirteen years a Sign isn't mature enough to be sent into the ring, though it isn't too early to be purchased and begin training with a proper fighting house."

"And what about the quality of stock?" Zhou Mi replied, looking to HoDong with a neutral expression. "Why should the breeding houses have to churn out inferior stock to keep up with a policy that would kill hundreds of well trained fighters, some at the beginning of their careers?" His attention returned to the stockholders. "I watched that semi final fight at the last tournament, where a good fighter plummeted to his death within five minutes. The crowd jeered, were upset that the fighter died. They want to see a real fight, not a mindless blood bath."

The shareholders were nodding in approval at Zhou Mi's words, KyuHyun pressing his lips firmly together to hide a smile. Mi had them now, and from the look on his face, HoDong knew it.

"I think we've reached our decision," one of the shareholders said, scratching down some notes. "Zhou Mi is far more in tune with what is needed of a Games Commissioner; you seem to have lost your touch. We will sign on your resignation, effective immediately."

"We will have your office cleared out, and your things sent to you," another said. "But we will ask that you leave the building immediately, under escort if needed. A press conference is scheduled for later this afternoon where you will tell the people you have tendered your resignation."

"You are making a mistake," HoDong thundered, standing. "I am the Games Commissioner, I have been for over a decade. I made this tournament as great as it is now, the envy of all of Asia! You have no right to tell me when to resign."

"And the tournament will continue well after you have retired, just as it has for decades," the first shareholder said, not intimidated in the least. "And just as it has for decades, the commissioner is subject to the shareholders decisions. We thank you for your dedicated service Kang HoDong, but you are dismissed."

KyuHyun watched as HoDong's jaw clenched and unclenched, thinking that if looks could kill everyone in the room would be dead. Finally the man picked up his papers, pushing back his chair and striding from the room. The door was closed roughly, the bang echoing through the room. The snake slowly released a breath he'd been holding.

Zhou Mi also visibly relaxed, wanting to rest his forehead on the table but knew he needed to pay attention. This was the moment he'd been waiting for for months, and he wasn't going to let it slip through his fingers.

"Now that that nasty business is taken care of, Zhou Mi," one of the shareholders was speaking to him, smiling a little. "I'm sorry we had to make our introductions this way and that you had to be a party to this unfortunate business. Kang HoDong was a very strong man in his prime, and is still more than a little intimidating."

"Agreed," Zhou Mi said, lips fluttering slightly in a weak smile.

"But, the real reason we called you here, is because now that Commissioner Kang is gone, we need a new commissioner. Before all of this came about, he spoke highly of you, as have many of the staff here. Bringing you here was more of a test than anything, to see what you would bring as a commissioner."

KyuHyun perked up at this, watching the back of Zhou Mi's head. He wished he could say something, but he had to play the obedient slave now or they'd lose their chance.

"We're pleased to say you passed this test, in not following Commissioner Kang's misguided ways," spoke a woman at the far end of the table. "But there is still much to discuss about what direction to take the tournament now...should you choose to step up as the new Gaming Commissioner."

"...Choose... me?" Zhou Mi blinked. "Of.. of course, of course. It would be my honor. I have a number of ideas that I think the tournament would benefit from."

"Good, we will be anxious to hear them," one said. "How about tomorrow morning, after Commissioner Kang's resignation is signed and ratified, we can discuss these things in more detail. Congratulations Zhou Mi, we look forward to many more years of tournament success."

"Thank you," Zhou Mi smiled, getting to his feet. "I... I don't know what to say. Thank you, and you won't be disappointed in me or my work. The tournaments will be better than they ever have before, truly."

"We look forward to working with you," the woman who had spoken when they first came in nodded to them. KyuHyun pushed away from the wall, waiting for Zhou Mi to leave the room so he could fall into step behind the older man. The meeting had gone better than they had hoped for; neither of them had expected Zhou Mi to be made commissioner so early.

Bowing to each of the shareholders in turn, Zhou Mi finally made his way out of the boardroom, not acknowledging KyuHyun as he went. It was obvious once he stepped out that something had happened, people standing around in shock with a few picking up strewn papers and righting chairs. Kang HoDong had not left quietly it seemed. He was given a questioning look from some of his coworkers, but he just gave them a tight smile as he went to the lift. Pressing the call button, he took a deep breath and stepped on when it arrived.

It wasn't until the doors and gate closed that he finally rounded on KyuHyun and pounced on him in a hug. "Oh my... KuiXian!" he breathed out, giddier than he had ever been. "It worked."

Squawking even though he shouldn't have been surprised, KyuHyun grinned and hugged Zhou Mi back just as tightly. "You're going to be a much better commissioner than that old fart." KyuHyun pulled Zhou Mi into a hard kiss, just as elated at the turn of events as the human.

Zhou Mi returned the kiss happily, pressing KyuHyun up against the wall of the elevator. His mind was still reeling from what happened, and it would probably take a week at the earliest before he came back to reality. This wasn't a dream, this had really happened. When he finally pulled back, they were just at the ground floor and he pulled away from KyuHyun with a groan. "This means that our real work begins now," he said, smiling softly at KyuHyun.

"About time," KyuHyun smiled back, wanting to continue but letting go of the other man when the lift gates opened. "I think we should celebrate tonight though," he murmured lowly before falling back into the appearance of a submissive slave.

Humming in approval, Zhou Mi strode from the elevator with his chin up and chest out. Nothing could ruin this day for him short of a gun to the face and even then he wasn't sure if he would be upset. No, everything was going right today. Hailing a cab, he climbed in and nearly vibrated in the seat in excitement. "Geng is going to be so pleased. We'll take him and HeeChul out for dinner, or order in, or something. This is a huge day for all of us."

KyuHyun nodded, chuckling at how Zhou Mi couldn't sit still. "Maybe order in?" There weren't many Sign-friendly places where he and HeeChul could act like themselves, and now Zhou Mi had his appearance as Games Commissioner to uphold, they couldn't let this be outdone. Seeing Mi was going to vibrate right off the seat if he kept that up, KyuHyun rolled his eyes and wrapped one arm loosely around the human's waist.

"Hm? Yes, order in," Zhou Mi nodded, fingers tapping at his knees. "Chinese sounds good. I want a true celebratory dinner. Geng will approve. Did you see that vein on HoDong's forehead? It looked like it was going to burst right there."

"I think something burst out in the hallway." KyuHyun frowned. "You might have to watch out for him, he could be trouble later on."

"He could be, but he only has one true friend in the business," Zhou Mi said. "I'm not worried about him, not right now. It will be some time for HoDong has any sway to challenge me or the shareholders."

"I guess," the snake wrinkled his nose. "What are you going to say in that meeting tomorrow? You know what you're going to do?"

"No, I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do," Zhou Mi said, shaking his head. "I have ideas, but I'll have to take some time tonight to get them organized. Will probably get Geng's help with it... There is one thing I'm sure of though. The referees... they need to be better protected."

KyuHyun nodded slowly at that. "You think they should be out of the arena during the third tier?"

"Yes, or all tiers for that matter," Zhou Mi said. "They're more than just the referee, they're the announcer, a face that the people see time and time again. Someone that the people can connect with, that they can trust. Someone they would want to be kept safe."

"You think the crowd would care if the referee is safe?" KyuHyun frowned. "They're also a connection to the fighters though...I mean, the referee can go in and out of the fighter wings and speak with them, fighters know the referee."

"They are," Zhou Mi nodded. "I think someone who has the personality for it can be someone the people care about. More than just a mouthpiece for the commissioner, someone that the crowd and even the fighters can connect with."

KyuHyun looked out the window of the taxi as they headed back to the apartment. "That would be important to what you're doing, right?" he asked. "If you want to revamp the whole face of the tournament, working with the new referee would be a big thing."

"It would. It would be a way to get the fighters to trust me, if they trusted the referee," Zhou Mi said. "I'll have to find someone who could connect with them, and trust me at the same time. I'll have to start looking for someone soon if I want them to be in place by the time the tournament starts."

The snake was quiet for a moment, brow furrowed. He turned his head to look at Zhou Mi beside him. "I can do it."

"Hm?" Zhou Mi turned and blinked a little. "What? Do what? Wait... no, KuiXian. You don't have to do it, I know how you feel about the tournament. I would never want you in that position again."

"You said I wouldn't be in the ring again," KyuHyun replied. "And you need someone you can trust in that position too... Plus if you want the fighters to trust you, what's better than having your own slave talk to them?"

Zhou Mi took a deep breath, finding KyuHyun's hand and squeezing it. "I just... I don't want you think that you have to do it, and know that I would never ever, ever, make you do that again. Do you truly want to do this?"

KyuHyun's lips quirked. "It's my decision this time. You're not making me do anything. And I want to be able to help with this, you're going to have enough on your shoulders as it is." He brushed his thumb lightly against the back of Zhou Mi's hand.

"Well... as long as it's what you want to do," Zhou Mi said, smiling a little. "Thank you, that... would help more than you know. Now we can really work together to do this." His eyes widened. "Oh! I'll have to get a letter of resignation together for the school and clear out my office... I really wasn't expecting this for another year, I hope they can get a replacement teacher for my classes."

"Hope so, you were doing real good there," KyuHyun frowned. "The classes were getting bigger each semester. It would be a shame for all that to go to waste."

"It would," Zhou Mi slumped a little. "I don't know if I made enough of a difference there as I would have hoped. I think I only reached a handful of students... I don't know if it was enough."

"It's better than nothing," KyuHyun nudged Zhou Mi's side lightly. "Even if it's just a handful, who knows what they'll do with that information. They'll be the ones running the city in a few years."

"Or living in their parent's basements," Zhou mi said glumly. "Oh well, I tried at least, that counts for something." He looked up when the car came to a stop and nudged KyuHyun out of the taxi. "Hurry, let's see if Geng and HeeChul are home yet."

"HeeChul will be at least," KyuHyun got out of the taxi, stretching out his arms. "Wonder if he's gotten through that bottle of whiskey yet."

"It's only been two..." Zhou Mi sighed and shook his head. "I'm sure he has." Stepping inside the building, he went to the elevator and waited for it to arrive, stepping on when the doors opened and pressed the button for their floor. "Well, if Geng won't be home for a few hours... maybe we can celebrate a little by ourselves?" he mused, turning to KyuHyun and laying his arms over the snake's shoulders.

"I can agree to that," KyuHyun chuckled, wrapping his arms loosely around Zhou Mi's waist. "It's your victory today, how do you want to celebrate?" He pressed a kiss against Zhou Mi's jaw.

"Mmm... I don't know if I should say out loud, I may offend your ears," Zhou Mi said, grinning at the kisses.

"Then why don't you just show me instead," the snake murmured, nipping at the human's soft skin with the tips of his fangs as he pulled Zhou Mi closer.

Zhou Mi squeaked at that, pulling back slightly and pouting at him. "Sometimes, that scares me a little," he said, pulling KyuHyun out of the elevator when it stopped. "And other times... I really like it." He stopped to press KyuHyun up against the wall, kissing him again.

KyuHyun didn't have a chance to reply, returning the deepened kiss and dragging his fingers down Zhou Mi's back. "One of the fun points of being with a snake," he breathed once they had to break the kiss for air, opening sapphire eyes as scales reappeared along his hairline. "You have to trust that I won't hurt you."

"... I trust you," Zhou Mi replied, eyes widening at the appearance of the scales and he smiled softly. "I trust you with my life KuiXian," he whispered, bringing up a hand to lightly trace the scales along his neck. "You trust me?"

Touching the scales drew a reaction from the snake, KyuHyun inhaling slowly as his eyelids fluttered. "I trust you," he murmured, leaning in to rest his forehead against Zhou Mi's. "But if you do that again I'm going to strip you out in the hallway."

"Tempting," Zhou Mi chuckled softly. "I guess we should go inside then," he murmured, kissing KyuHyun again. "Don't want to offend the neighbors."

Making a low noise in agreement, KyuHyun pushed away from the wall and steered Zhou Mi towards their door. Today had been a good day for them both, and it was only going to get more and more difficult from here on in. But he was going to make sure work was the farthest thing from Zhou Mi's mind for the rest of the day. There were far better things to think about just then.
the detachment of dreams and reality resemble youryeouknim on March 17th, 2013 05:06 am (UTC)
Yay for Commissioner Mimi! Somehow in my imagination i find Hodong and Master Jung plotting something nasty haha. I am so looking forward to Kyuhyun being a referee which i am sure pkhftjdbdvjdgejd i dont know what to say, the main decerto story was my favorite and kyuhyun was highly commended there by either Yunho or Joonie so... Hehehe i am really excited to read more. :)

Btw I love the Henber in the previous chapter XD
연아 (YeonAh): Sunny - I Got A Boy Animatedyeonah on March 18th, 2013 03:14 pm (UTC)
LOL So happy you liked the original Decerto story :D We got a feeling a lot of our readers didn't enjoy that verse as much, but Decerto was one of our favorites /o\

Master Jung and HoDong plotting something nasty isn't that far-fetched ;)

Thank you for reading and commenting!!!
Amaranth Pearbuckleapearbuckle19 on March 18th, 2013 08:18 am (UTC)
I enjoyed the parade and setup for Signs Rights propaganda in Korea :)

Butterfly Breath-hahaha! OMFGLOL... I'm explaining it to all my nieces and nephews, then letting them drive my siblings insane with it. I love it. "I'm so nervous I have butterfly breath!" lol ...

So Mi is comm now. Ok. I'm glad the ref thing turned out to be Kyuhyun's choice and not forced on them as a "put up or shut up" backhand to somehow control Mi since he'd tossed Kyuhyun out there once... So yay for that.

Prequels always make me nervous, the risks of breaking continuity and rewriting established history and all that ... this has been awesome.
연아 (YeonAh): HyunMin - 현민yeonah on March 18th, 2013 03:19 pm (UTC)
LOLOL Your poor siblings XDDD Have we coined a new saying? If it ends up on social media, I blame you ;P

The dynamic between KyuHyun and Zhou Mi would have been veeeery different if KyuHyun was forced to continue being referee xD He's kinda like... "I'm okay with my life being put on the line as long as it's MY choice and not someone else's, dammit."

Oh, you have no idea how nervous we are about breaking continuity XDDD That being said, there are a few very minor glitches sprinkled through the story (you'd have to go through both logs with a fine-toothed comb to find them), but considering when we wrote the original we never planned for a prequel, and we're writing all this on the fly and not really going back to edit it after, continuity has been a surprising non-issue. We keep laughing over it, saying it's like we actually planned all this...

Thank you for the comment, and for reading :D <3
Amaranth Pearbuckleapearbuckle19 on March 19th, 2013 10:38 pm (UTC)
I take full responsibility. I have already used it twice. :)

It really does sometimes read as if it was at least plotted out before you wrote the original.