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22 March 2013 @ 11:42 pm
Decerto: Road to Freedom  
Title: Decerto: Road to Freedom
Chapter: 17/?
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.

School starting again was both a blessing and a curse. KiBum didn't really want to leave North America, enjoying what he was learning every day over there. Not all of it Sign-related; Henry told him his English had improved threefold during his trip. He hoped he could visit again the following summer, but Henry would want some time alone with his family without a visitor hanging around.

Not only with his family, KiBum thought. "What's that?" he asked cheekily from where he was gathering folders together, seeing Henry at his desk with an envelope bearing a suspiciously Canadian stamp.

"What's what?" Henry asked, nudging the envelope under a pile of papers. "I'm studying, see?" Henry picked up the book he was looking at before setting back down.

"Sure you are," KiBum smirked, grabbing the books and folder he was looking for under the pile of textbooks. "Is that from Amber? We're barely back a week and she's sending love letters?"

"I don't know what you're talking about," Henry sniffed.

"Uh-huh, I'm not blind," KiBum rolled his eyes. "Whatever, I'm gonna go see if the teachers offices are open. Don't have too much fun 'studying'."

"... I am studying," Henry retorted, sticking out his tongue at KiBum. "You're the one being weird."

"Yeah yeah," KiBum waved one hand at Henry as he left the room, smiling. He hadn't expected his roommate to become his best friend, thinking sharing a room with someone else would mean more awkward silence and arguments than anything. But meeting Henry had been a stroke of luck.

He made his way to the teachers offices, looking down at the previous year's course outline for Sign Relations for Zhou Mi's office number. He could only hope they hadn't changed offices, or that the professor was in. Showing him the stuff from Canada was one thing, but he wanted to actually talk with the older man about the experience too, not just slide papers under his door.

Locating the right office, KiBum was confused by the lack of name plaque on the door; the holder was empty. He could hear voices inside the room though, so he drew himself up and knocked on the door.

There was a loud thunk from the other side of the door before it was whisked open, Zhou Mi standing there and blinking repeatedly. "Hm? Yes?" his eyes adjusted to who he was seeing and his smile grew. "KiBum! What a pleasant surprise, you're lucky you caught me here. Come in, come in," he ushered KiBum into the small space. Bookshelves were empty and drawers overturned, boxes stacked neatly to one side. "Look who it is KuiXian."

KyuHyun looked up from where he was emptying the contents of a drawer into a cardboard box. "Oh," he blinked, lips quirking slightly as he recognized the student. "Hey."

"Hi," KiBum smiled at them both, bowing his head politely before he took in the state of the office. "Are you moving offices, professor?" he blinked, looking to Zhou Mi.

"...In a manner of speaking," Zhou Mi nodded, his lips pursed thoughtfully. "I'm leaving the university. I've been offered the games commissioner position and will be starting first thing in the morning."

KiBum opened his mouth and closed it again, surprised. He thought the professor was against the tournament, from how he'd spoken in all his lectures. "Oh...okay, uh...congratulations," he smiled slightly, grip tightening on the folders in his grip. "We'll miss you here, your class was my favorite. I thought you didn't like the tournaments?"

Glancing at KyuHyun, Zhou Mi hesitated slightly on what to say before closing the door so there were no eavesdroppers. "I don't like the tournaments KiBum, you're right," he said, sitting down on the cleared off desk. "Can you keep a secret?"

KiBum looked from Zhou Mi to KyuHyun and back, the snake having stopped what he was doing to listen to their conversation. He nodded after a moment. "Yeah, I can keep secrets."

"Remember at the beginning of the semester, you asked if I thought slavery should be abolished?" Zhou Mi said, tilting his head slightly. "I never really answered that question, and for good reason. How an individual feels about something so polarizing as slavery is up to that individual to figure out. Even after the semester ended, it wasn't my place to tell you whether or not I agreed or disagreed with you. But let's say I did agree with you that slavery should be abolished and Signs giving equal treatment... What would you say is the biggest obstacle in getting that accomplished?"

Frowning, KiBum leaned lightly against the wall. "The biggest obstacle...I think it would be the minds of the people, getting them to see that Signs are more than just animals, or fighters, or slaves...Humans have seen Signs as the inferior species for so long, nothing will change until that attitude changes. Things like the breeding houses, and the tournament don't help, because they teach that Signs are dispensable objects," he said quietly, having thought about it a lot.

"And what in your opinion would be the best way to change peoples minds?" Zhou Mi asked, watching him. "If you wanted to affect change, how would you go about doing it?"

"I..." KiBum's brow furrowed, the human's gaze on the ground. KyuHyun stood up and hopped onto the desk next to Zhou Mi, waiting for the student to gather his train of thought. "Change the situation. Give people the chance to turn around and see Signs in a different frame of mind."

"And if given than chance, you would take it right?" Zhou Mi said. "And if we're still talking in hypotheticals, where would you try to change peoples minds? In a classroom? Newspapers? Public forums?"

"..." KiBum thought about that, slowly piecing things together in his mind. He could see where Zhou Mi was going with this now, gaze flicking up to the young professor's face. "...The tournament?"

"Probably the most challenging place to try for change," Zhou Mi said, glancing at KyuHyun beside him. "Doesn't mean it couldn't be done though."

"So...that's what you're trying to do," KiBum looked between them. "You think you can pull this off? Change the rules so Signs are better protected? Or even...end the tournaments?"

"We were just speaking in hypotheticals KiBum," Zhou Mi said with a soft chuckle. "Trying to turn an industry like the tournaments on its head would take years to do, and have to be very patient. Change doesn't come overnight."

Nodding slowly, KiBum's lips quirked slightly and he looked down at the folders in his hands. "I hope they find someone half as good as you for that Sign Relations class," he said quietly, looking up at Zhou Mi again. "It...gave me a lot to think about."

"And I can honestly say I am glad to hear that," Zhou Mi said with a smile. "And I'm glad that you took the class at the right time. You were by far the best student I have had, and I'm sorry that I won't be here to answer any more of your questions. Speaking of... what prompted this visit?"

"Oh. I went to Canada with my roommate over the summer...Signs are free there, and they had this massive parade to celebrate Liberation Day. I brought back some stuff I thought would be interesting for your classes, but I guess they're a little useless now," KiBum chuckled quietly, holding out the folders and thin books to Zhou Mi.

"Liberation Day?" Zhou Mi blinked a little at that, taking the things from KiBum and flipping through one of the books. "Nothing is ever useless KiBum... Are these mine to keep? This seems very interesting."

"I brought them back for you, yeah," KiBum nodded. "I kept a few books for myself. Liberation Day was when the slaves in North America gained their freedom...it was amazing to watch, everyone was just so happy. I think even there, there's still some discrimination against Signs...but it was inspiring to see how different things are. There's nothing stopping it from being like that here too."

"No, except for centuries old beliefs and prejudices," Zhou Mi said. "KuiXian and I were actually in New York over the holiday, and yes, people and signs did seem much happier. It was an eye opening experience for us both."

KiBum smiled slowly, nodding. "I want to help bring that here," he said. "But I'm not sure how."

"If there's any I could give to you advice, it would be this," Zhou Mi said, smiling a little. "The easiest thing you could ever do, would be to start a conversation."

Blinking, KiBum looked thoughtful at that. "True...thanks." He breathed in deeply, smile widening. "Good luck being commissioner...you'll be the best thing that's ever happened to the tournaments."

"That's the hope," Zhou Mi chuckled. "Thank you for dropping by KiBum, I hope we run into each other in the future."

"Same," KiBum nodded, bowing to them both. "Bye." He stepped out of the office, closing the door again behind him and breathing out slowly through his nose. That had given him a few things to think about. Was it possible to change the minds of others just through talking?

He was so immersed in his thoughts on the way back to the dorms he didn't watch where he was going as he headed down a couple stairs. Slamming into someone who had just took the corner, KiBum yelped and missed the last step as he went down.

Who he ran into squeaked, tumbling down with him as books and papers went flying. "Sorry, I'm sorry, my fault," the other said, scrambling to his feet immediately.

"Ow..." KiBum winced in pain as he pushed himself up off the floor, favoring the shoulder he'd landed on. "It's— ow, it's okay, I wasn't watching where I was going..." He looked up at the other man then, and blinked. "...Do I know you from somewhere?" The stranger looked familiar.

"No, sir, please accept my apology," the other said, a slave by the collar on his neck. He was picking up the fallen books and papers, trying to get them back in order. "I will tell my master, and he will punish me accordingly."

"...Huh?" KiBum's mouth fell open for a moment before he closed it quickly. Oh...now he remembered. It was that goat from the mid-term dance in the first semester, the one Henry had ran into. "No, you...you don't have to be punished for anything, it's just as much my fault." Seeing papers strewn around near him, he started to help gathering them up. "If it's gonna get you into trouble, your master doesn't have to know anything."

The goat didn't even look up, shaking his head as he put papers back into the folder. "Must be punished, I... not allowed to talk to you. Please, sir, please stop," he whispered, hands trembling.

Eyes wide, KiBum swallowed and held out the papers he had picked up. "My name's KiBum," he said quietly, afraid of spooking the goat. "You did nothing wrong, you don't have to tell your master anything. If it makes you feel better, forget this even happened."

"SooHyun!" A voice not that far away called, the goat's ears flattening as he straightened back up and dashed up the stairs. He didn't say anything else to KiBum, or acknowledged the human in any way before disappearing.

KiBum watched the goat go, gaze tightened as he slowly stood. A large part of him wanted to run after the goat, confront his human master and give him a piece of his mind. But that wouldn't help the goat, SooHyun, at all.

Anger bubbled up inside him and he straightened his shoulders, turning to head back to the dorm. He couldn't just stand by while things like this happened, it was killing him. If talking would make a difference, then he would talk. He would talk to anyone who would listen, and even those who didn't want to listen.

Arriving back at the dorm room, he was once more wrapped up in his thoughts, this time on a mission. He immediately went to the pile of stuff he'd brought back from Canada, digging through it for the pamphlets on Liberation Day. Then he turned to his laptop, opening it and pulling up the school site. There had to be something on how to organize information sessions somewhere. KiBum knew several of the lecture halls and classrooms could be opened up outside of class hours for clubs and student organizations.

Watching quietly from where he'd been studying on his bed, Henry blinked a few times before setting his book down in his lap. "So... What are you doing?" he asked after a moment when KiBum hadn't noticed his presence.

"Hm?" KiBum looked up, startled out of his train of thought. He glanced over his shoulder at Henry before resuming his search. "I'm looking to see how anyone organizes any events on campus...or who to go register with, or something."

Instantly intrigued, and in no way shirking his duties on studying, Henry scooted off the bed and came over to join KiBum. "Why? Thinking of starting a chess club or something? I think they have one already."

"Not a...club, exactly. I think." KiBum looked up at Henry, expression set in determination as he held up the papers from Liberation Day. "I want to show people this."

"...The parade?" Henry tilted his head a little. "I don't understand... Oh wait, you mean... Is that really a good idea?"

"I'm never gonna know unless I try," KiBum lowered the papers, sitting down on the edge of his bed. "Professor Zhou Mi's not going to be back this year...the Sign Relation's class is gonna go back to the way it always was, teaching people how to exploit Signs instead of understanding them. We need this here, Henry...we need Signs to be free."

Henry took a deep breath, sitting back on his own bed and looking at KiBum. "I know that Signs need to be free, not just here but everywhere in the world." He looked away from a moment chewing on his lip. "You think anyone's going to even show?"

"If I promote it properly, we'll get some people," KiBum said firmly. "It probably won't be anything big...but starting small, we'll get people talking, which is what's most important. If no one talks about it, no one will even bother thinking about it, and nothing will change."

"Okay.... okay, I'm in," Henry said, smiling at him. "Even if it's just us two for the first couple of weeks. Why is the Professor leaving?"

"He's...going to work with the tournaments," KiBum said, keeping it simple. He had a secret to keep. "But he's the one who said talking is the best way to get people to change, and then I ran into that goat with the asshole master again and...I just don't want to sit back and watch this anymore."

"I don't usually feel bad for goats, but he's got it real bad," Henry said. "Hey, maybe you'll be like Seo TaiJi... except you're not a tiger, or an ex fighter... or, you know, cool."

"At least I don't stink to heaven when it rains," KiBum threw a pillow at Henry's head.

Henry dodged the pillow easily, making a face at KiBum. "Yah, I'm not a dog. Cats don't stink, dogs do. Wait... did you said that the professor was going to work at the tournament? Isn't that like the opposite of helping free Signs?"

"That depends," KiBum shrugged, quirking a smile at Henry. "The tournaments can't get much worse...all they can do is get better." He looked at the papers on his bed and brightened, picking one up. "Found it! I can book us a room with this person at Student Services."

Distracted by new words, Henry brightened. "Cool! We should make posters or something, or make fliers."

"Yeah," KiBum grinned. "Wanna help me put that together? And we can go hand out fliers and stuff between classes."

"Sure! That sounds fun," Henry nodded, ears out and twitching. "And just so you know, if we see that ass hole guy with the goat again, I'll probably end up hitting him for you."

"Great," KiBum snorted. "You keep him occupied and I'll hide the goat." His gaze saddened. "Last time I saw someone that scared, they were in the Jung fighting house...and knowing what goes on there... I want to do something to help him, but whatever I could do would just get him into trouble."

"Maybe you should just buy him," Henry said with a shrug. "That guy doesn't seem to like having a slave, let alone being nice to him."

"I..." KiBum's voice trailed off, and he looked away. "I don't want a slave, Henry, ever. I know my family has more slaves than servants, but I've always tried to distance myself from that. Buying a slave would make me just like the rest of them."

"Yeah... but at least you'd know that goat wouldn't be getting mistreated," Henry said, resting back on his elbows. "So, what are we doing first?"

"First, go see someone about booking a room, and then make those fliers and posters," KiBum got to his feet. "Weren't you supposed to be studying?"

"I don't understand your point," Henry blinked at him.

Snorting, KiBum stretched out. "If you're not too busy, let's go."

"I'm never busy," Henry bounced up onto his feet and pushed KiBum towards the door in excitement. "No glitter this time okay? It is impossible to get out of my fur."

"No glitter, got it. You might want to lose these," KiBum flailed his arms for balance before reaching back and tweaking one of Henry's ears.

"I know," Henry pouted, shaking his head until the ears disappeared. "I don't like it. Now that we're back here and I'm not home... I hate having to keep them hidden."

KiBum sighed softly, looking back at Henry. He could understand the feeling. "We're going to fix it though," he smiled after a moment, clapping the half-tiger's shoulder lightly. "Maybe one day you won't have to hide anymore."

"I hope so," Henry said, leaning against him as they walked. "Cause... as much as I like this school and having a cool friend like you... I don't know if I'd come back next year."

"...Oh." KiBum's expression fell at that. "I...guess I can't fault you for that. It's better for you in North America...I'll miss you though."

"My mind isn't made up, so don't go pouting on me," Henry said, poking KiBum in the side. "I really do like it at this school, it was my first choice because the music program is amazing. And so are some of the people."

KiBum winced at the poke, forcing a smile. "I better be included in with 'some people', furball."

"Okay, I'll rephrase then," Henry grumbled. "One person is amazing. I couldn't give a fig about the rest of them. And keep those furball comments to yourself."

"Yeah, yeah," KiBum chuckled quietly, securing his arm around Henry's shoulders. "Come on, Student Services is this way." He steered them around a corner.

He didn't know what he would do without Henry, the only person he felt he could talk to in the whole school...even more so than his own brother. It was time to start talking, so people like Henry and SooHyun didn't feel isolated in a country that should accept them for exactly who they were.
silverstorm666 on March 23rd, 2013 08:45 am (UTC)
-_- I will find Soohyun's owner, and beat him to death. Yes, this is the plan.

"If no one talks about it, no one will even bother thinking about it, and nothing will change."
This is true. If someone never has cause to really think about something, then their viewpoint on it will never change.

Awesome chap! Did you know Kibum is making a debut in Korea in April? I'm excited, and nervous. I hope I like his music.
연아 (YeonAh)yeonah on March 23rd, 2013 03:24 pm (UTC)
..... :O I didn't know KiBum was debuting in Korea soon! I'm still trying to locate where I can buy his Japanese single/album/whatever it was ;;

And I think SooHyun's owner better run~ run~ run~

Thank you for commenting! :D
Amaranth Pearbuckleapearbuckle19 on March 25th, 2013 05:50 am (UTC)
It really is true about just talking changing things. I say things to my brothers all the time only to hear them suddenly announce the same things later on as if they'd just thought of them. It just matters that the person eventually include what you say as part of their self identity, regardless of any credit you get.
연아 (YeonAh): HyunMin - 현민yeonah on March 25th, 2013 02:25 pm (UTC)
Right XDD Source amnesia can be very helpful in this case. Someone says something, and even if you ignore it at the time, you still register it subconsciously... (learning about this in intro to psychology now)

It's always funny when someone tells you something and you're like "....I said that a month ago." /does that all the time