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22 March 2013 @ 11:43 pm
Decerto: Road to Freedom  
Title: Decerto: Road to Freedom
Chapter: 18/?
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.





After months of preparation, and tireless hours of negotiations, the new tournament season was getting under way. It was an important day for Zhou Mi, and for KyuHyun, though Zhou Mi saw it as the beginning of real change. He had no idea how people would react to all the changes he had already implemented, but he was confident it would go smoothly. At least he hoped it did. A lot was riding on this first day going well.

Which was why he had invited Han Geng and HeeChul to watch the opening ceremonies together. KyuHyun was going to be down in the ring all week, and Zhou Mi needed something to keep him from flying apart. Which he was very close to doing about an hour before his speech was to be made.

"Welcome to... should I say that louder? Welcome to the..., no not louder," Zhou Mi talked to himself in the mirror, fussing with his tie.

"It's a five second speech before you pass it off to scales over there," HeeChul said, lounging on one of the couches. Since becoming commissioner, Zhou Mi now got to watch the tournaments from the commissioner box, and HeeChul for one was taking full advantage of the spread of food provided.

"Thanks for reminding me," KyuHyun said drily. The snake wasn't fairing much easier than Zhou Mi in terms of nerves, but at least he was holding it in better. "I'm still not sure what I'm saying." He leaned against the wall nearby, wearing the referee's outfit and fussing with a glove.

"You'll both be fantastic," Han Geng chuckled, stepping up behind Zhou Mi and trying to massage the knots out of his shoulders. "Any tenser and you'd be a statue. You don't have to speak very loudly, just say it with confidence."

"Sometimes I think there's a chicken somewhere in Mi's ancestors," HeeChul smirked, earning himself a reproving look from Zhou Mi.

"I am not a chicken, this is just the first time I've ever had to get up in front of so many people," Zhou Mi said, trying to relax his shoulders. "I'll probably just say whatever it is that the commissioner said last year, I have the notes here." He looked towards the door when there was a knock, one of the assistants poking his head in.

"Sorry to interrupt sir, but they're ready for the snake downstairs," the assistant said.

Already, KyuHyun wanted to ask, but sighed inwardly as he pushed away from the wall. He bowed his head to Zhou Mi. "You'll be fine, just say what comes to mind," he said in Mandarin before leaving the room to head down to his post on ground level.

Han Geng watched the door close after KyuHyun was gone. "He's right, you can do this Mi," he smiled at the nervous man.

"Right, I can do this," Zhou Mi nodded, turning away from the mirror and letting out a heavy sigh. "It's not that big of a deal, it's just a couple of lines. Nothing to be afraid of."

"Yeah, you've got the easy part," HeeChul said, popping a popcorn kernel into his mouth. "Imagine being KyuHyun right now. He's got to be in that ring for hours at a time, calling each round as they go and keeping the crowd entertained. I would not want to be in his scales right now."

"KuiXian will do splendidly," Zhou Mi said, frowning at the rooster. "He's done this before, and he's quick on his feet. I have every confidence in him."

"So do we," Han Geng nodded. "We'll be able to see him on the breaks... The first break is around noon, yes? It's been a long time since I've watched any tournaments, and, well...the tournaments back in China aren't exactly the same."

"You aren't missing that much," Zhou Mi said, frowning. "I know full well how the tournaments back home are. The games here are... lenient compared to those. It's why my father left. No money to be made, just blood on your hands."

"And that's why I'm here and not there," Han Geng sighed, going to sit down on the couch next to HeeChul. "It's sad to think this could be lenient compared to anything, but...you've already been able to make improvements, KyuHyun won't have to be in the ring after the pre-tournament, right?"

"Yes and no, we've designed the stages so he has a place to stand that he won't get hurt," Zhou Mi said, going to the balcony to look down at the arena. "He'll be out of harm's way, but still close enough to see what's going on and intervene if he needs to."

"Better than the previous referees had it," Han Geng nodded. "Is he strong enough to hold his own against a fighter, though? If one turns on him, it could get ugly."

"He's been working on his element," Zhou Mi said. "He was already strong in it, but he's trained how to use it to subdue people if he needs to."

"Good..." Han Geng looked down at HeeChul before turning his attention towards the gathering crowd in the stands. "You haven't run into any...problems, so far?"

"Problems? No? Problems like what?" Zhou Mi blinked at him, moving away from the balcony to sit down.

"With the fighting houses," Han Geng clarified. "I can't imagine all of them are happy the former commissioner was removed."

"Ah, that," Zhou Mi sighed a little, resting his chin in hand. "Only one house has been very vocal about their unhappiness. The Jung house, of course. I know you've had to deal with him on occasion as well. Nothing I can't handle, the shareholders are actually in agreement with me about the changes I've made so far."

"There is one house owner I can't wait to see retire," Han Geng shook his head. "I'm glad you can handle him, he's well known in the senate...and not for any good reasons. I've run into his son a couple times too, he looks honestly embarrassed about his father sometimes."

"Yes, I've run into YunHo a few times myself," Zhou Mi said. "He's... cute? That's about as much as I know about him. His father doesn't let him handle much of the business yet so I haven't had a chance to have a conversation with him. He seems a nice enough kid though."

"He doesn't seem to be following in his father's footsteps exactly, which is something to be thankful for," Han Geng replied. "I wouldn't expect that house to turn into one like the Kim house anytime soon, but we can hope he'll be better for the industry than his father, when he finally does get control."

"...Is this all you two are going to talk about?"HeeChul sighed, stretching out. "This is boring, when are we starting?"

"Soon," Zhou Mi chuckled, getting back up to his feet. "I should probably get ready. I look okay?"

"You look great," Han Geng reassured, poking HeeChul's side for the comment. "Do you need me to do anything for you, Mi?"

"No, I think I can do this," Zhou Mi said, taking a deep breath. The cheering outside in the stands had risen in pitch, a sign the games were about to begin. All Zhou Mi had to do was step out onto the balcony and declare the games to begin, and then let KyuHyun take over. "Wish me luck," he said, stepping through the door and coming to the railing.

He tried not to look at the giant screen that zoomed in on his face, looking around with a slightly forced smile as he waved. He turned on his mic and started to speak, all the nervousness washing away from his shoulders. "Welcome one and all to the annual Decerto pre-tournament! This year we hope to excite, thrill, and entertain you as you have never seen before. Allow me to introduce our referee for the season, please welcome KyuHyun!"

That was his cue. Down below in the ring, KyuHyun leapt up onto the large platform that was standard for the pre-tournament matches. Turning on his microphone, he looked up at the large screens just as they switched from Zhou Mi's face to his own.

Snakes aren't meant for public speaking, he thought to himself, drawing in a deep breath to calm down before lifting the microphone higher. This shouldn't be any different than chiming in during Zhou Mi's classes at the university. He had a job to do, and he wasn't going to let Zhou Mi down. "Thank you Games Commissioner Zhou Mi! First, a quick reminder of the tournament rules. For those who are attending for the first time, the tournament is divided into the pre-tournament and three stages, progressing in difficulty until only the best fighters remain. For this week, we bring you the pre-tournament! Here's your chance to see this year's fighters in action before the first stage, which begins next month."

He found walking around helped with the nerves, so he did so, slowly looping around the edge of the platform before returning to the center. "The pre-tournament rules are as follows: fighters can enter in their human or half forms, with full access to their elements. A winner is declared when a fighter is either knocked out of the ring or otherwise unable to continue. Placement in the pre-tournament of course doesn't affect eligibility for the first stage."

He looked at the small piece of paper in his hand, listing the first matches of the morning. "Fighters are paired off at random, and the first matches of this round have been selected. To begin the Decerto pre-tournament, please join me in welcoming the Lee dog and the Hao boar!"
The crowd roared, and Zhou Mi let out a small sigh of relief as he went to sit back down with Han Geng. Unlike the previous commissioner, he didn't want to sit right at the edge of the balcony. He could watch on the screens if he had to, but didn't want his entire attention on it. Making sure to turn his mic off, he grinned brightly at Han Geng. "Well? How was that?"

"I think...I'm glad I'm just worrying about the politics behind the scenes," Han Geng chuckled, shaking his head at the crowd cheering. He could see the gates opening on the screens, cameras focused on the approaching fighters. "Not bad for your first opening."

"Maybe next year I'll get a speech writer," Zhou Mi said, leaning back. "I have a good feeling Geng, this will work, I just know it."

"I hope so too," Han Geng smiled.

KyuHyun looked between the two fighters who had stepped onto the platform, leaving a good distance between them. "First fighter to knock his opponent off the platform wins. And begin!"

He stepped back quickly as the two fighters met in a clash of fists, the boar snarling. As they fought it out, KyuHyun did his best to keep both out of their way while staying close enough to call shots as they came. The referees had never had an active role in doing anything other than stopping infractions, the commentary something he and Zhou Mi had agreed to try out. In the middle of a brawl, KyuHyun couldn't tell what kind of impact it was having on the crowd, focusing solely on his job.

Zhou Mi couldn't tell whether people were actually listening to the commentary or not, the cheers rising at every hit. Maybe in time people would listen closer to what the referee was saying, but right now the crowd was more interested in hearing the grunts and snarls of the fighters.

"You know, I can see why people enjoy this," HeeChul said. "Watching two people beat each other into a bloody pulp, the sounds are amazing."

"...I do hope you're being sarcastic," Han Geng looked down at HeeChul.

The increased roar from the crowd made him look up. The dog had tossed the boar out of the ring, standing there at the edge panting.

"And the—" KyuHyun stopped talking when he realized he couldn't even be heard over the crowd. Waiting for the noise to lessen slightly, he thought of something, waving at the dog fighter to catch his attention.

When the other man approached, KyuHyun covered his microphone with his hand. "What's your name, anyways?"

"DongHae," the dog blinked at him.

KyuHyun's lips curled in a smirk, and when he could get a word in edgewise, he lifted the mic to his lips. "And the match goes to the Lee dog, DongHae!"

"... Now that is why I love him so much," Zhou Mi murmured, a wide smile forming. "Humanize the fighters, make people care about them by knowing their name. Oh, why didn't I think of that."

"Because he's smarter," HeeChul replied. "I'm not being sarcastic, this is fun," he turned to Han Geng with a frown. "Are we staying all day?"

"We'll stay for today," Han Geng chuckled, looking at Zhou Mi. "I'm sorry, but I'll be too busy to come most of the week. I'll try to be here for the final matches on Friday."

"Don't feel that you have to, I'm very grateful you came to support us on our first day," Zhou Mi said. "I'll have to do something very special for KuiXian when the tournament is over, he's doing far more than I am right now."

"You're both working hard," Han Geng shook his head. "Once the pre-tournament ends on Friday, I'm treating you both to dinner."

"Well I know he won't say no to that," Zhou Mi smiled, looking back up at the monitor. "Looks like the second match is starting. You know what the nice thing about being commissioner is? I'm not rooting for anyone to win, I just watch KuiXian. Sometimes the cameras get a good butt shot when he gets in the way."

Han Geng snorted, flushing slightly. "At least you'll be entertained," he shook his head, glancing towards the ring as KyuHyun started up the second match.

***************************

The pre-tournament finished without a hitch, Zhou Mi adjusting to his position as commissioner and KyuHyun to his as referee and commentator. With each match they went through, he made sure to ask the names of the winning fighters, memorizing them to the best of his ability. By the time the pre-tournament closed out that Friday, he knew most of the top fighters by name, and made sure they knew his.

But the Decerto tournament was far from over for that year. A month later, they found themselves back at the arena for the first stage of the real tournament. Everyone knew who they would be up against, and had been honing their strategies for the month break. Now, all gloves were off.
Han Geng and HeeChul had joined Zhou Mi for the third day of the tournament, Han Geng getting the day off. KyuHyun was fixing his boots in the corner; though he wouldn't be in the ring as he was for the pre-tournament, he still had to be ready to interfere at a moment's notice.

For his part, Zhou Mi wasn't as stressed out as he had been during the pretournament. Not only did the shareholders seem to approve of how he was handling the tournaments, but even some of the fighting houses had shown their support.

"Would you say the fighters like the changes made thus far?" Zhou Mi asked, glancing over at KyuHyun.

"Not sure about that, they still don't like me that much," KyuHyun chuckled. Some of the fighters such as DongHae had approached him on friendly terms during the pre-tournament, but the vast majority didn't trust him. "It's going to take more than a week's run of matches to get their approval." He adjusted the boot on his left foot before hopping back to his feet.

The snake had resumed a sort of training schedule since the pre-tournament so he wouldn't have as much trouble keeping up with the fighters. While he would always be on the lanky side and struggled to manage his asthma some days, KyuHyun was stronger than he'd ever been in the breeding house.

"It will take time, but I'm confident in your ability to talk to people," Zhou Mi said, side eyeing HeeChul who made a snorting noise at that.

"Scales doesn't talk to people, he scowls at them," the rooster said.

"I think you're mistaking me for you, feather-brain," KyuHyun stretched out his arms. "Well, I should be off," he looked at Zhou Mi. He had to be down by the ring, they were beginning soon.

"Stay safe," Zhou Mi said, walking over to the snake and putting his arms around his waist. "And watch out for that Jung dragon, I think he's coming up in one of todays matches."

"I'm not gonna be anywhere near the dragon, I'll be fine." KyuHyun returned the loose hold, lips quirked into a smirk. "Don't let HeeChul drive you batty." He leaned in to kiss Zhou Mi lightly.

"Too late," Zhou Mi replied quietly against KyuHyun's lips before letting him go.

"I heard that," HeeChul muttered, crossing his arms. "Am I that intolerable?" he pouted up at Han Geng.

"Intolerable isn't a word I would use," Han Geng smiled. "You do enjoy driving people crazy though, you can't deny that."

Shaking his head, KyuHyun stepped towards the door. "See you at break." He left the commissioner's box.

"I only enjoy driving you crazy," HeeChul said, draping himself over Han Geng's lap. "Anyone else is collateral damage."

"Maybe you'd have more fun keeping the fighters company down below," Zhou Mi said, chuckling at the look of horror on the roosters face. "Just keep that in mind, this is my office after all."

"You must be bored out of your mind while we're not here though," Han Geng played with HeeChul's hair absently.

"I am, and I've got a whole month to look forward to," Zhou Mi said with a small sigh. "Maybe I should take up a hobby to keep myself occupied, like knitting or something."

HeeChul's eyes widened and he looked up at Han Geng with a scowl. "You told him, didn't you."

"Hm?" Han Geng blinked down at him. "No, I never told him anything," he said, lips quivering in amusement as he realized what the problem was.

"Told me what?" Zhou Mi blinked, looking between the two.

"You did too you big liar," HeeChul huffed, sitting up and crossing his arms. "Geng told you that I knit in my free time and now you're both making fun of me for it."

"...Geng didn't tell me anything," Zhou Mi replied, shaking his head. "And I wouldn't make fun of you for it, I've always wanted to learn to knit, would you teach me?"

"..." HeeChul sulked and looked away. "No, I don't want to."

Han Geng looked at Zhou Mi in a mix of amusement and exasperation. "I didn't tell him HeeChul, you did," he chuckled, shaking his head. "And it's nothing to be embarrassed about, I think it's interesting."

"Easy for you to say, you don't want to learn," HeeChul muttered. "Okay fine, I'll teach you. But only because if I don't you'll complain about being bored all the time and Geng doesn't need to hear you whining."

"Thank you HeeChul," Zhou Mi laughed. "Geng doesn't mind my 'whining', it's you that minds. Would I be able to steal him for a few days while you're working Geng?"

"Go right ahead, if he's okay with it then I am," Han Geng smiled. "Just keep an eye on him, okay?" He added in Mandarin. "He isn't out often without me."

"I'll make sure he stays safe," Zhou Mi replied back.

"That's it, Geng, teach me Mandarin," HeeChul said, hitting him in the arm. "All three of you turn to that nonsense language when you want to talk about me and I don't like it."

Yelping, Han Geng rubbed his arm. "But you never wanted to learn Mandarin before," he laughed, looking at HeeChul beside him. "What if I don't want to give up my 'nonsense' language?"

"Then you'll have to give up something else," HeeChul warned, wagging a finger at him. "No more talking about me behind my back, or in front of my face in this case."

"All right, all right," Han Geng chuckled, leaning back in the couch with his arm around HeeChul's shoulders.

The noise of the crowd picked up; they were starting. The giant monitors had turned on, panning around the elaborate field of stone ruins before arriving on KyuHyun. The snake was standing on a separate platform away from the main field, connected with a few pillars in case he had to intervene while providing him an eagle-eye view of the arena.

"Welcome back to another day of matches!" He called. The snake was still awkward in addressing the crowd, but was slowly improving as his confidence grew. "Eight teams will compete today, and only four will move on to the second stage of the tournament. Please join me in greeting our first two teams for the morning!"

He read off a list of names, having gotten all the fighters names beforehand. He could see the teams gathering at different ends of the arena, and frowned; the Jung dragon was among them. The dragon had been a neurotic mess in the pre-tournament, and KyuHyun couldn't blame him; the Jung master had creative ways to break his dragons.

"Fighters, take your positions," he called once all the names had been read. Four fighters for each team, and they looked evenly matched. "Begin!"

"As much as I don't want to, I should watch this match," Zhou Mi said, actually getting up to go to the balcony. The monitors wouldn't stay on the dragon and Zhou Mi was worried. KyuHyun had told him about how erratic the fighter had been acting, and if there were any problems Zhou Mi was going to pull the dragon from the tournament.

If only he had gone with his instinct. Not even five minutes into the match and Zhou Mi could tell there was a problem, the dragon had already taken out two of the opposing teams fighters. An ox and a tiger were left, but the dragon had the ox's scent and was barreling down on him. "Oh no," he breathed, eyes widening. The ox had met the dragon's charge, knocking the dragon out of its flight path and sending the Jung dragon slamming into a pillar that rocked slightly but stayed upright.

Something snapped inside the dragon; getting back up to his feet he let out a roar with a blast of white hot fire. The ox didn't get out of the way in time and was enveloped. Zhou Mi could hear the screams from where he was standing.

Feeling the heat wash over him even from where he stood, KyuHyun winced and stepped back, one arm up to shield his face. Clothing tore, stone crumbling in the arena as the dragon burst into it's full form. Suddenly a ten-foot tall dragon was in their midst.
 
 
silverstorm666 on March 23rd, 2013 09:02 am (UTC)
And the Jung dragon goes insane. Is this why Yunho's father stepped down and let him take over the house?
연아 (YeonAh): HyunJoong - Looking Cool~yeonah on March 23rd, 2013 03:25 pm (UTC)
Mmmmm can't say, have to see ;D This part is important though~
the detachment of dreams and reality resemble youryeouknim on March 23rd, 2013 02:24 pm (UTC)
Oh no... Kyu... And Hyun hehehe 10 feet... Tablo's still taller than you, stupid dragon.
연아 (YeonAh)yeonah on March 23rd, 2013 03:27 pm (UTC)
LOL If only Tablo was here to keep the dragon in check xD

You've got eagle-eyes and an amazing memory~ Two observations I'm not sure anyone else has picked up on ;D

<333
the detachment of dreams and reality resemble youryeouknim on March 24th, 2013 08:16 am (UTC)
Heheh i did say that Decerto's one of my favorites so when i read something from the prequel, something from the main story pops out too XD i think it's really awesome for the both of you to be able to connect fine details as such from both stories. Really efficient :))
Amaranth Pearbuckleapearbuckle19 on March 25th, 2013 06:03 am (UTC)
I'd be surprised if anybody who reread the original doesn't catch the connection between crazy-ass dragon and tiger as a key event. ;)

I so ship these four ... Every time they're all in a scene together I smile until one leaves.

Love the knitting lessons: everybody should learn. I love to knit. It's way better than just about any other hobby. You can talk if you want to, but many ppl just assume it's so complicated you really aren't available. You can make a little quiet time in the middle of a crowd of ppl if you need to.
연아 (YeonAh): HaRa- RAWRyeonah on March 25th, 2013 02:27 pm (UTC)
LOL People are rereading the original? XDDD /dances a little

I've tried to knit, and failed miserably. All thumbs /o\
Amaranth Pearbuckleapearbuckle19 on March 25th, 2013 09:55 pm (UTC)
Sadly, that's the problem with writing epic awesomeness. People want more and, in lieu, will reread. :D

I love knitting now that I've learned how in a way other than what everybody always tried to teach me. I knew when I was a girl scout, but stopped doing it. When I went to refresh my skills and take it back up 20 years later, it made no sense. I signed up with Craftsy.com and learned a different method than is normally taught, but matches what I learned as a child. lol ...

My siblings (male & female) and nieces all know how to knit or crochet. I'm sure my nephews will learn. Derek should already know since he's already 6 years old, but he made a deal to learn leathercraft from his dad first. Cloud's only 2, so has time. It's important to have something that keeps your fingers limber throughout life. :)

JC just informed me he's buying a keyboard and will take piano lessons. I told him when we got married he should learn the piano. He told me it was lame, drums were way cooler. Almost 11 years later ...