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12 April 2013 @ 10:31 pm
Decerto: Road to Freedom  
Title: Decerto: Road to Freedom
Chapter: 22/40 + epilogue
Fandoms: Super Junior, U-Kiss
Pairings: KyuHyun/Zhou Mi, Han Geng/HeeChul, KiBum/SooHyun
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.

They got SooHyun's papers from JaeSoo the following morning, KiBum managing not to punch the guy (barely). They also moved into a new room, one without a roommate this time. SooHyun had his own cot, and KiBum divided half of the dresser for the clothes he bought for SooHyun between classes. The goat protested the whole way, but KiBum wasn't to be swayed.

The arguing back and forth was draining though, and KiBum hit many walls in trying to communicate with SooHyun. He did his best to take Kevin's advice and look at things from the Sign's perspective, but it was still frustrating. Maybe he was just being impatient, but at the same time if he was doing something wrong, he really wanted to know.

And there were so few people he knew who would be able to help him. He needed to talk to someone who had been in a similar situation, who thought of Signs the same way he did…and only one person came to mind.

"Here we are," KiBum frowned as he stepped into the apartment building lobby with SooHyun right behind him, frowning as he looked down at the address he'd gotten from the school. "Should be on the fourth floor…"

"I don't quite understand why we're here," SooHyun said, seeing the lift and motioning towards it. "You said he's the Games Commissioner? Why are we seeing him?"

"He is now, but he used to be the professor in Sign Relations at the university," KiBum said, headed to the lift and stepping inside. "It was thanks to him that Henry and I started the club for Sign rights."

"Oh," SooHyun replied, pressing the button for the fourth floor. "This is about club business then?"

"Well I did want to tell him about the club, but I needed his opinion on something," KiBum closed the gate as the lift rose to the fourth floor. Opening the gate again to step out, he looked at the door numbers as they passed. When he found the number that was on his paper, he drew in a deep breath and knocked.

It took a minute, but the door finally opened, a tall, leggy man with red hair standing on the other side. "...KiBum?" the man said, head tilted to one side. "Hi, what are you doing here?"

KiBum's expression lit up, relieved that the older man was actually in. "Professor Zhou Mi, it's good to see you. I, uh…" He looked at SooHyun beside him before looking at Zhou Mi. "If you're not too busy…I had some questions, and I wasn't sure who else to ask."

"I smell a goat." Someone just half a head shorter than Zhou Mi appeared, sapphire eyes peering around the human's shoulder. "Oh, hey you. It's been a while."

"Hi KyuHyun," KiBum smiled wider.

"Oh, well, come in," Zhou Mi said, smiling brightly as he pushed KyuHyun back to let KiBum and SooHyun in. "And who is this?" he nodded towards SooHyun who was bowing.

"This is SooHyun," KiBum introduced as they stepped in. "I bought him from his old owner about a week ago. SooHyun, this is Games Commissioner Zhou Mi, and KyuHyun."

Zhou Mi tilted his head slightly at that, but he gave SooHyun a warm smile and welcome. "Hello SooHyun, it's good to meet you. Is there anything we can get either of you?"

"Honored to meet you, sir," SooHyun said, bowing again when he entered the apartment. He looked at KiBum for the answer to Zhou Mi's question. "Do you need anything sir?"

"Uh…no, not for me, and he was asking you too you know," KiBum shook his head, closing the door after them.

KyuHyun blinked, looking between them. He exchanged a look with Zhou Mi before stepping back. "Well what are we all around the door for, come on and sit down." He went to move extra chairs closer to the couch.

Settling comfortably on the couch with his legs tucked up under him, Zhou Mi looked between KiBum and SooHyun. "So, what brings you here? I have to say I'm a little surprised to see you with a sign, how did this come about?"'

KiBum sat down, watching KyuHyun drop onto the couch next to Zhou Mi and leaving the chair beside KiBum open for SooHyun. "Oh…his old owner was one of the worst kind of human," KiBum frowned, looking down at his hands. "Buying him was the only way I could get him away from that guy. I uh…I need some advice, because I've never owned a slave before…" Maybe he should have left SooHyun at the dorm; he didn't want to say too much with the goat there.

"I see..." Zhou Mi frowned, looking towards KyuHyun. "KuiXian, why don't you take SooHyun upstairs and show him your... book collection."

"Uh, sure," KyuHyun blinked, hopping back up to his feet. "Come on SooHyun," he headed to the stairs and took two at a time.

SooHyun looked confused, but he got up to his feet and followed KyuHyun towards the stairs. "So..." Zhou Mi smiled a little at KiBum once they were gone. "What questions did you have?"

Shoulders relaxing once the two Signs were gone, KiBum sighed softly. "How was it when you got KyuHyun? I mean…if it weren't for the collar, it would be impossible to tell he's any sort of slave," he said quietly, glancing towards the stairs. "I want to help SooHyun reach a level of comfort like that, but I don't even know where to start."

Leaning back a little in his seat, Zhou Mi's lips quirked slightly. "Let me ask you something... do you remember in my class I had you all read a paper about the affects of environment on the psychology of Signs?"

Chewing on his lower lip, KiBum nodded. That had been a couple years ago, but he remembered everything from that class. "Yeah, I remember that paper."

"I wrote that paper," Zhou Mi said. "I wrote it my senior year, and in order to write the paper I had to buy a slave. I bought KuiXian straight from the breeding house and made him the subject of my dissertation. The reason he is the way he is now is because of a very long turbulent year."

"Oh," KiBum blinked. He hadn't realized Zhou Mi had written that paper. "I remember in the paper, you talked about how giving Signs opportunities to be more than slaves could do just that…but what did you do, exactly? I know I haven't had SooHyun all that long, but I don't want to go about this the wrong way."

"Well, it's different for every individual, that's the important thing I want you to remember," Zhou Mi said. "I can tell you that I made some bad decisions, it was trial and error with KuiXian the first few weeks. The only wrong thing you can do is give up, but I don't think you'll be doing that, will you?"

"No," KiBum shook his head emphatically. "I don't ever plan on giving up on him. I'm just not sure how I can get through to him…that asshole who owned him before beat all free will out of him."

"I see you'll have a harder time than I had with KuiXian, but I think you'll be just fine," Zhou Mi said. "No one is too far gone, just keep that in mind. What have you done so far? What have you tried?"

"I switched out the collar that was putting holes in his neck with the softest one I could find," KiBum said, glancing towards the stairs. "I take him different places whenever I'm not busy with classes or the club, and am trying to find out any interests he has."

"And what has been the response?" Zhou Mi asked. "Have you found anything he's interested in?"

"Not really, though I did find out he likes eating flowers," KiBum's lips quirked slightly. "He seemed to like stopping by the greenhouses to buy some."

"Flowers?" Zhou Mi blinked, lips quirking. "He is a goat then," he chuckled. "You wouldn't come here to see me if you weren't hitting a large road block... what's going on?"

KiBum exhaled slowly. "I don't know how to get him to see he's…more than just a slave. That he really does matter, and his opinions matter. Whenever I think we're making progress, I'll say something about him being special and it's like he closes up completely again."

"And you don't understand why," Zhou Mi nodded. "It sounds like he came from a very bad situation, and living in that kind of environment for so many years is detrimental to a person's mental health. I've seen it many times in my line of work, personal slaves who are completely dead inside. They're told their entire lives they are nothing, they are worthless to the point that they believe it. With you telling him everything he's ever heard is wrong, he's confused. He doesn't really understand why you're saying those things, because those things don't apply to him."

KiBum looked down, understanding what Zhou Mi was saying. "But…what can I do?" he asked quietly. "How can I help him, professor? I want to help him."

"And I applaud you for wanting to do so," Zhou Mi said, glancing towards the stairs. "The help he needs is more than words, KiBum. He needs more than just praise and compliments. What he needs, is someone to show him how to be more than a slave. You can encourage him, but let him make the steps. Let his decisions be his own, and not just because you tell him he needs to make that choice."

Letting that sink in, KiBum nodded. "Okay…I'll try doing that. Even if it takes a long time, I want his decisions to be his own." He smiled tiredly up at Zhou Mi. "Thank you…I wasn't sure who else to ask. Things are changing, slowly, but still have a long way to go."

"And I hate to be the one to tell you, but it will be a very long process," Zhou Mi said. "When you met KuiXian on that first day of class, that was two years of work to get him to that level of comfort. And not more than six months later, I managed to destroy all of it. It's a tenuous position to be in, one you'll have to be ever mindful of."

Nodding slowly, KiBum blinked. "He seems to be the same now as when I met him though," he looked towards the stairs again. "I know this will take a long time…I just need to know I'm on the right track, and not screwing up someone else's life. I'll deal with the rest as it comes up."

"Do you want to help him, make his life better?" Zhou Mi asked.

"Yes," KiBum nodded, expression set. "Yes, I do."

"Then I'd say you're on the right track," Zhou Mi replied, smiling a little. "Just... I want you to keep this in mind. Understand what he's been through, and try not to get frustrated when he doesn't understand what it is you're telling him. He relies on you for everything now, and that includes guiding him."

"I understand," KiBum nodded again, straightening in his seat. "I'll do the best I can to guide him." He wasn't perfect, and he'd already made several mistakes with SooHyun so far. But he wasn't going to give up on the goat, ever.

Upstairs, KyuHyun hummed to himself as he crouched by the bookshelf. He fully understood he was to distract SooHyun while the two downstairs talked, but he was pouting inside at not being able to listen in. "So…you like to read? I just got a book on airships last week, it has some cool stuff in it."

"Um... I don't know how to read," SooHyun said, standing awkwardly in the middle of the room.

"Oh, well then," KyuHyun sighed, standing to reach for the top of the shelf instead. "I'm guessing writing's a no too then. Maybe…a-hah." He snatched a few workbooks off the top of the shelf, holding them out to SooHyun. "Here."

SooHyun eyed the books warily, looking between them and KyuHyun. "What is this?"

"Workbooks, what do they look like? Take them, if you're going to learn how to read and write you'll need these. I might have scribbled in a few of the pages, but other than that they're fine."

"I don't understand, I'm not going to learn to read or write," SooHyun said, shaking his head. "Master hasn't said anything about that."

"I'm surprised that kid hasn't, does he even know you can't read and write? He probably assumes you can." KyuHyun turned towards SooHyun. "Do you want to learn?"

"If master wants me to learn, I will," SooHyun said. "He hasn't asked if I can, but I'm sure he knows it. Slaves don't learn to read or write, we're not that privileged."

"You didn't answer my question," KyuHyun placed the books down on the table between them, dropping down onto the edge of the bed. "Do you want to learn? Not 'master didn't give me permission', not 'slaves don't learn to read or write', do you want to learn?"

SooHyun looked down at his shoes, hands clasped in front of him. "It's not something I have ever thought about, nor should I. Being able to read and write will not affect how I serve my master."

"…" KyuHyun sighed. "Maybe not, but it does other things for you." He motioned for SooHyun to sit down with him. "So you were just bought, huh? What do you think of the kid?"

"Master is very kind," SooHyun said, trying to hide the smile as he slowly sat down. "He... lets me eat flowers. He doesn't even hit me if I deserve punishment. No slave should be this lucky."

"Every slave should be that lucky," KyuHyun wrinkled his nose. "So everything's going good, then? You understand him and what he wants, get along fine?"

"Well... no," SooHyun shook his head. "He... confuses me, all the time. Wants me to have opinions and gives me choices for things that I have no right to. I don't understand why he's doing this, and won't let me serve him like I'm supposed to. Am I doing something wrong?"

"No," KyuHyun replied. "It's fine to be confused. I was the same way when Zhou Mi bought me. He wouldn't let me do any work, and I spent much of my time on pins and needles waiting for him to suddenly turn around and get mad at me for not doing what I'm supposed to as his slave."

"That's how I feel," SooHyun nodded. "What did you do?"

KyuHyun reflected on the irony of repeating the same thing HeeChul told him four and a half years ago. "I learned to read and write. It took up so much time I didn't have the mental energy to worry about not being the traditional slave. There's a rooster across the hall, his master is pretty-much like Mi and KiBum too. He learned to read too, and drank a lot. That's why I'm suggesting you do the same.. not the drinking part. There's just something about learning, you feel in control when everything else around you is being tossed on its head."

"I don't want to be in control," SooHyun said, frowning at KyuHyun. "I want Master to be in control, to tell me what he wants from me. That's how it's supposed to be. I don't understand why he's doing this."

"Does he try to explain any of it to you?" KyuHyun rested back on his elbows on the bed. "Why he's doing what he's doing? What does he say?"

"He does, but it doesn't make any sense to me," SooHyun said. "He tells me I'm... special, and that he wants to be my friend. But I don't need a friend, I need a master who tells me what I need to do to please him."

"You're going to have to learn one important thing with a master like ours," KyuHyun replied. "That everything you were told about who you are and your position in life, before he bought you, is utter crap. All that junk about Signs being less than humans? Not true."

"If it's not true, then why are we slaves?" SooHyun asked, clearly not believing him.

"Because a long time ago, humans outnumbered Signs and feared them," KyuHyun sighed. "So they put Signs in cages, deeming them little better than animals despite all evidence to the contrary. Because whatever humans fear, they try to control. Now centuries later, that control is so obvious that even Signs themselves can't think of any other way to live other than under human control."

"What else would we be?" SooHyun asked, looking even more confused. "We are animals... I'm a goat who will chew on curtains if I'm left alone in animal form too long. Dragons rampage, destroy buildings and kill people... we are animals."

"If animals were all we were, one of us would be bitten by now," KyuHyun pointed out. "And it wouldn't be me. I might be a snake, but I'm in perfect control of what I do. If I was in snake form and came across a bunny, I'd be more worried about giving the thing a heart attack than eating it. If KiBum were to leave you alone as a goat, with other food options available, would you have the uncontrollable urge to eat every curtain in sight? Or would you be able to control that urge because you know that isn't what you're supposed to be eating?"

"I... don't know," SooHyun admitted. "I haven't been in my animal form in a long time, and not for very long either. My master... he said goats are filthy animals and never wanted to see one. Most humans don't want to see a goat."

"Ask KiBum," KyuHyun's lips quirked. "If you haven't figured it out by now, your new master isn't like 'most humans'. Ask him if he has any problems with your goat form."

"I can't ask anything like that," SooHyun shook his head. "I wouldn't want him to see me as an animal, I'm ugly and dirty."

"And what if he doesn't think you're ugly and dirty?" KyuHyun inquired, sitting up.

"He will, because I am," SooHyun said, not understanding. "If he wanted to see me as a goat, then he would have asked. He hasn't so he doesn't want to."

"You're not listening," KyuHyun sighed. "Someone not asking something doesn't mean they disprove of it. Sometimes, they just don't know, or don't understand how your reasoning is. My advice to you is to try and not let what past masters have said get in the way of listening to what he's saying. You don't have to worry about understanding right away. It's fine to be confused. But leave yourself open to listening. Don't tune out what he's saying because it doesn't match up with what others have told you."

"I am listening, but what he's saying doesn't make sense," SooHyun said. "Why would he care about me? Why not some other slave? Why did it have to be me?"

"Ask him, then. Ask him, and be open to the answer," KyuHyun said. "Whatever it may be."

"Why are you doing this?" SooHyun stood up, starting to pace. "You're just like him, I don't understand. Why does he have to push so much? Why do things have to change? I like things the way they are, I like being what I am."

"Do you really, or do you just like it because that's all you've known?" KyuHyun asked, watching him. "Hey, I understand. I might not have had another master first, but the breeding house isn't exactly a fun place, especially when you're stuck there past the usual selling age. This might be scary at first, it was very scary for me. But believe me when I say there's something much better waiting on the other side."

"And if I don't do what he wants, will he turn around and sell me to someone else?" SooHyun asked, looking over at him.

"No," KyuHyun chuckled. "That's a good kid you've got there. Why do you think he's going to sell you?"

"Because I'm not pleasing him," SooHyun said. "He keeps telling me to be myself... but... I am. This is all I know and I don't know how to be someone different. I don't know how to be you, or KyuJong. I'm disappointing him because of it."

"That isn't enough to make him want to sell you," KyuHyun replied. "You're not disappointing anyone. Do you think I got to be like this in a week? This is nearly four years later, SooHyun. In four years, maybe you'll be in the same spot as I am, telling this to someone else just like someone once told me."

"What if... what if I don't want to be you?" SooHyun asked. "If.. it's something that I want, then he would respect that right?"

"Of course he would. But you have to tell him what you want," KyuHyun nodded. "And if what you want changes, you have to tell him then too."

"But... he would be disappointed," SooHyun said, shaking his head. "I would have failed him. I just want him to be happy with me."

"And do you think he would be happy to find out you were lying to him and going along with whatever he said when it wasn't what you wanted all along?" KyuHyun asked, sighing. Had he been this complicated?

SooHyun's eyes widened at that. "I never considered I was lying to master," he said, shaking his head. "I have to tell him, I have to be punished," he said, turning to go to the stairs.

"Hey," KyuHyun got to his feet, stepping in front of SooHyun. "You're missing the whole point of what I said. Forget about punishments for two minutes, and think on what we just talked about."

"Do... do you think he'll be happy if I tell him I don't want to be what he wants me to be?" SooHyun asked.

The snake sighed softly. "I'm not KiBum, so I can't answer that for him. He might be, he might not be. But he will be unhappy if you lie to him."

"This is all very confusing," SooHyun shook his head. "Sometimes I think it would have been better if KiBum hadn't of bought me. He'd be less frustrated and I at least knew what I was supposed to do."

"Do you really believe that?" KyuHyun tilted his head to the side, arms folded across his chest. "If you had the choice to go back to your old master, would you?"

"No, but sometimes I think about it," SooHyun admitted, looking away. "He never wanted to own a slave in the first place and made a rash decision. Maybe he regrets it now."

"If he's here talking to Zhou Mi, then he doesn't regret it," KyuHyun chuckled, glancing back at the stairs. He wondered if they were done talking down there yet.

As if on cue, Zhou Mi's voiced carried up from below. "KuiXian! Someone's at the door, it's probably Geng, can you let them in?"

KyuHyun blinked. "You're closer to the door than I am!" He called down the stairs, hearing KiBum laughing. "Oh fine, be lazy." He hurried down the stairs to get the door. "Come on SooHyun."

"Thank you, KuiXian," Zhou Mi said, watching the two Signs descend the stairs. "I'm having a nice conversation with KiBum and didn't want to interrupt," he argued, looking back at KiBum. "A club you said? A club about what?"

"About Sign rights," KiBum straightened proudly.

"What's all this? Wait, wait, I want to hear this," KyuHyun pointed at them as he went to the door. Unlocking and pulling it open, he stepped aside. "Well, it's a full house."

Han Geng stepped in, followed by HeeChul. The Chinese man blinked when he saw KiBum and SooHyun. "Uh…sorry, is this a bad time?"

"Never, come in Geng," Zhou Mi said, waving the two in. "Geng, this is one of my former students, KiBum. KiBum, this is Senator Han Geng, and... HeeChul. Either of you need anything?"

"Liquor," HeeChul grumbled, flopping down on one of the couches and stretching out. He eyed SooHyun who was skulking at the edge of the room. "KyuHyun, there's a goat in your house."

"Thank you Captain Obvious, that's SooHyun," KyuHyun said, going to drop down next to Zhou Mi. "He's with KiBum."

"Pleased to meet you," KiBum bowed politely to the senator. "Uh…come and sit down, SooHyun."

Smiling and nodding in return to KiBum, Han Geng walked to the couch where HeeChul was and sat down. "Don't mind HeeChul, he can survive an hour or two until I restock his liquor cabinet."

SooHyun did as told, but he looked hesitant and jumpy, an observation Zhou Mi didn't miss. "KiBum was just telling me about a club he had started, one you started at school? And it has to do with Sign's rights?"

"Yeah," KiBum nodded. "I started it with my best friend Henry in our second year, after visiting Canada. It took a long time to catch on, but this past semester it's really grown. We reached 250 members last week, and there's sister clubs starting up in a couple other universities around Seoul."

"Wow," Han Geng blinked.

"That's... impressive," Zhou Mi said, a little shocked at those numbers. "What gave you the idea to do this? Was it because of your visit to Canada? I remember you told me about that, about the parade and Liberation Day."

"Yeah, it was that in part," KiBum nodded. "Everyone just looked a lot happier there, Sign and human. And it was also…" He frowned, resisting the urge to look at SooHyun beside him. "Remember when you told me that the easiest thing to do would be to start a conversation? Right after I left your office, I ran into a Sign in the stairwell and accidentally got him in trouble with his owner. I just…didn't want to stand by and not do anything anymore, after that. I thought if I could talk to people and convince at least a few, it was better than just standing around pretending nothing's wrong."

"Well, I have to say I may have been trying to nudge you in that kind of direction..." Zhou Mi said, noticing the way SooHyun looked sharply at KiBum. "But I never expect that you would take what I said and run with it like you did. I'm very proud of you, KiBum."

KiBum smiled. "We haven't been able to do anything though…not yet. We've had a couple fundraisers, and have some street campaigns planned for the end of the semester and through the summer."

"How did you get so many to sign on?" Han Geng was curious. "Sign rights are still a very taboo subject."

"Oh, uh…I managed to get us a tour of the inside of the Bucheon breeding house," KiBum looked down. KyuHyun winced. "I'd thought we'd lost half our members after that, but they all came back a couple weeks later, and brought all their friends with them."

"... You're a brave man, braver than I am," Zhou Mi said, glancing over at KyuHyun out of the corner of his eye. He leaned forward slightly, his expression grim. "I will have to caution you though, KiBum. What you're doing is admirable, but I want you to be very careful. I know your family, and I also know what house you share land with. If he were to catch wind of what you're doing, it could be very dangerous for you... and your brother."

KyuHyun watched KiBum pale as the meaning of Zhou Mi's words sunk in. "…He wouldn't go after my brother, would he? Hyung doesn't…I haven't spoken with him since first year, he doesn't know anything about this."

"You grew up near him, you know he's a sadistic, manipulative asshole," Zhou Mi said. "I wouldn't put anything past him. Be very careful. At least until you have more support, limit the amount of public events you involve yourself with. I don't want you to think I'm discouraging you in any way, because I think what you're doing is so important, but you have to think of the ramifications of what you're doing if anyone was to find out. The only people who know what my objective in being Games Commissioner is, are sitting in this room. Because these are the only people I trust enough to know. If the senate knew Geng was helping me? He would be deported. I would lose KuiXian. Those are the ramifications for me and my friends if people were to find out. You, and your family would have so much to lose if Master Jung were to find out."

KiBum looked down at that, biting the inside of his cheek. Zhou Mi was right. This was so important…but he couldn't let this hurt HyungJoon. He had to go about this very carefully.

"Are you the visible leader to this club, right now?" Han Geng asked.

"Yeah," KiBum nodded, looking up.

"You should pick someone you trust to lead instead," Han Geng smiled sadly at him. "You can still do what it is you're doing, but someone else will have to be the face of the club, for your brother's sake."

Kevin… Thinking about that, KiBum nodded. He'd have to talk to Kevin. "I understand." He breathed in deeply, looking up at Zhou Mi.

"We'll all be fine, so don't look so glum," KyuHyun stretched out, wrapping one arm around Zhou Mi's shoulders. "Just have to watch where we step, is all."

"Exactly, and we will," Zhou Mi nodded. "We didn't get this far without being careful, and we will continue to do so. And nothing any of us has said today will leave this room. We know nothing about KiBum's club, and he knows nothing about what KuiXian and I are doing in the games. Nor does he know about what Geng's doing in the senate. Can everyone here agree to that?"

"I can agree to that," KiBum nodded.

"Agree to what, I've already forgotten," Han Geng said with an easy smile.

"No one listens to me anyways," KyuHyun snorted, leaning against Zhou Mi. "Or HeeChul. SooHyun?"

"Like I would risk Geng being sent to China," HeeChul grumbled irritably.

SooHyun had all eyes on him and he shrunk visibly, ears flat. "I... don't understand what," he said quietly. "I'm sorry."

"You don't need to apologize," Zhou Mi smiled warmly at him. "But it may be for the best you don't know what we're talking about, just in case."

Lips quirking, KiBum rested his hand on SooHyun's shoulder lightly. "It's okay," he murmured. Straightening, he smiled at Zhou Mi. "I think we should get going…thank you for taking the time to talk to us, professor."

"You're very welcome KiBum, I hope I could help at least," Zhou Mi said, standing to see KiBum and SooHyun to the door. "And you don't have to call me professor, I'm not your teacher anymore. Call me Zhou Mi, please."

"Or you can call him stick legs, like I do," HeeChul said, earning himself a frosty look from Zhou Mi.

KiBum laughed at that. "I'd rather stay on his good side," he said, bowing to those left as he and SooHyun stepped out into the hallway. "Have a good day."

"See you around," KyuHyun called as the door closed after them. "That's it, they're never coming back, HeeChul's scared them off."

"If HeeChul can scare them away, then I have little hope of their club doing much of anything," Zhou Mi said, coming back to sit down. "How did your talk with SooHyun go by the way? He looked more frightened coming down then he did going up."

"He's…far gone," KyuHyun shook his head. "I'm not sure if anything I said made a difference, so I hope you had better luck with KiBum."

"What's all this?" Han Geng blinked.

"KiBum is having some difficulties with SooHyun," Zhou Mi said, pursing his lips. "Much in the same way I had difficulties with KuiXian in the beginning. KiBum's difficulties seem far more difficult than mine were though, and I do worry about how they'll get past it. KiBum's heart is in the right place at least."

"That's what matters most, he seems like a good kid," Han Geng nodded. "I'm more worried about Master Jung catching wind of that club than those two getting along though. If they really have that much people already…maybe students can help after all."

"KiBum managed to do what I failed at," Zhou Mi nodded. "Getting college kids interested in Sign's rights. I'm a little envious of that... but yes, Master Jung is a problem. One that not even you or I can help with. That man has hooks in every major player in the country. I can only imagine it's been difficult in senate to work around him and his influence."

"Yes, but we're doing the best we can," Han Geng sighed. "The main problem is that even those who dislike him fear standing in his way. Not that I'd imagine it's been any easier in the ring," he smiled crookedly at Zhou Mi.

"Hell no," KyuHyun groaned. "That man is insufferable."

"I just wish there was more I could do about him," Zhou Mi sighed. "He's the biggest obstacle I face in getting some of the rule changes I want in place. I wish he would retire and take his meddling and abhorrent views elsewhere."

"I don't understand why a fighting house owner can have so many people under his thumb," HeeChul said. "I wonder how much power he'd really have if he was just another senator and not a financial backer to campaigns."

"That's anyone's guess. He'd either have half his current power, or just find ways to expand his reach through the senate." Han Geng frowned. "He's been delaying on passing the house over to his son YunHo. It's been mentioned a few times… A little push, maybe…"

"Speak in full sentences," KyuHyun said. Sometimes Han Geng got distracted by his thoughts and wandered back into half-Korean, half-Mandarin fragmented sentences.

Han Geng looked at him. "I'm just wondering if applying a little pressure wouldn't get him out from under your hair, Mi."

"Pressure how?" Zhou Mi tilted his head slightly. "What's been keeping him from doing it?"

"Who knows what his real reasons are, but he's been citing that YunHo isn't ready to take over the house yet, he isn't competent," Han Geng said. "Which everyone knows isn't true. If I could…convince him he would have more opportunity in senate than in the ring, he might be more open to leaving the house to YunHo."

"That would put you and him right up against each other," Zhou Mi said. "Would you be able to handle that?"

"Only one way to find out," Han Geng sighed. "At least he would be out of one of our hairs, you'll owe me," he chuckled tiredly.

Zhou Mi chuckled softly at that, shaking his head. "Geng, I owe you more than I could ever repay in a lifetime. If you think that could work, then we can try it."

"It's better than waiting for the other senators to agree on anything, and gives me something to do in the meantime," Han Geng chuckled. "But your warning to KiBum applies to you too. Be very careful Zhou Mi, you're making some powerful enemies."

"I know," Zhou Mi nodded, closing his eyes and sighing softly. "Change isn't for the faint of heart, that's for sure."

"We're fine," KyuHyun frowned, nudging Zhou Mi lightly. "All of us. These are changes that have to happen."

"Yes they are," Zhou Mi smiled, finding KyuHyun's hand and holding onto it tightly. "So important."

"Anyway," HeeChul rolled his eyes. How many times were they going to have this conversation? "Are we going to have dinner or what, I'm starving."

"Are we a catering service now?" KyuHyun chuckled, fingers curling around Zhou Mi's in return.

"No, I wanted to see if you wanted to try out some new recipes with me, Mi," Han Geng smiled widely. "I have the ingredients already."

"Oh?" Zhou Mi's eyes opened and he looked at Han Geng with a smile. "Cook with you? I'd love to."

"Great, you two working in the kitchen together means less Korean and more Mandarin," HeeChul groaned.

"But you get good food out of it," Han Geng replied, standing. "I'll be back with everything."

"Sorry HeeChul, guess you should learn Mandarin," KyuHyun stretched out on the couch as Han Geng headed to the door.

"But then he wouldn't be able to complain about it," Zhou Mi said, switching to Mandarin. "And he so likes to complain."

"Well I guess we can't take away all his fun," KyuHyun replied in the same language.

"I'm not sure if this is going to backfire on me somehow later," Han Geng responded in kind, looking back at them with a crooked smile.

HeeChul scowled at each of them in turn, crossing his arms over his chest. "Geng, I hate your friends."

"I hate to tell you, but they're your friends too," Han Geng laughed, slipping out the door and closing it behind him.

"I was hoping he wasn't going to say that," HeeChul sighed. "Bring me back liquor!" he called, sounding desperate. It had the promise to be a long, yet fun, night.
silverstorm666 on April 13th, 2013 03:43 am (UTC)
Lol. Soohyun- the broken record. Poor baby, one of these days he'll be more comfortable.

I bet Soohyun is a cute goat!

Zhoumi didn't really fail. He got Kibum interested, and then Kibum got other people interested. So in a way he did succeed. :)

Edited at 2013-04-13 03:44 am (UTC)
연아 (YeonAh)yeonah on April 14th, 2013 02:30 pm (UTC)
He did :) Even if it wasn't how he originally planned.

I personally am scared of goats, but I'm sure he's a cute goat too xD Thanks for commenting! <3
the detachment of dreams and reality resemble youryeouknim on April 13th, 2013 01:32 pm (UTC)
(Merging comments for both chapter hehe)

Ohhhh these 3 pairs :)) i like! Great minds, good intention, it's time to save the world.

And i bet goat Soohyun only eats curtains because he wasn't fed properly. Poor goat... Though i couldn't help but think that he's still so cute ㅠㅠ

And Master Jung being a threat to the games then the senate and now Kibum's club... Pls disintegrate right in front of my eyes like... Now please? It's not like im totally clueless of what's about to hapoen but im wary about the process. I bet it's not all flowers and sunshines.
연아 (YeonAh): Henry - Breakdown 1yeonah on April 14th, 2013 02:31 pm (UTC)
LOL Isn't the mental image of SooHyun munching on curtains adorable XDDD idk what's wrong with us /o\

Master Jung is set to be a pain for as long as he possibly can. Let's not say how this ends for those who haven't read the original ;)
Amaranth Pearbuckleapearbuckle19 on April 14th, 2013 05:03 am (UTC)
Kyuhyun trying to help Soohyun cracked me up. Served him right for not acknowledging Mi's brilliance back in the day. :)

I've been in an emotionally destructive relationship so wince with a lot of stuff Soohyun thinks and says here. I thought along the same lines for a long time. It's easier to spiral down until finally that breaking moment happens and you realize the first fuck somebody needs to give about you is your own before anybody else's can make a difference. I'll celebrate when that happens for Soohyun.

Still ship the quad Heechul, Han Geng and the geckos would make... oh wait, wrong story. :D
the detachment of dreams and reality resemble youryeouknim on April 14th, 2013 02:11 pm (UTC)
Geckos.......... /cackles i just died hahaha im sorry but it was just too funny to not comment on. I adore your sense of humor
연아 (YeonAh): KyuHyun - Mask onyeonah on April 14th, 2013 02:33 pm (UTC)
LOLOL omg, I love you so much XDDD Geckos....

There WAS a quad relationship in Pandora at least? ;) Even if HeeChul and Geng weren't in it.

(A part of me wants to try photoshopping the geckos appearances, but after a failed attempt to photoshop JungMin into a Shinbi, I don't really wanna headdesk that hard again /o\)