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27 April 2013 @ 12:17 am
Decerto: Road to Freedom  
Title: Decerto: Road to Freedom
Chapter: 25/40 + 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.

Of course Zhou Mi had loved the idea of the party, much to KyuHyun's chagrin. Within a week they had it planned and set, most of the country's elites turning out to rub shoulders. Like a shining social butterfly that he was, Zhou Mi zipped from person to person, talking, laughing, being the gracious host. Through it all, he kept KyuHyun at his side, fixing his tie when he needed it and telling him not to scowl. "It's a party," he cooed, wiggling his fingers at someone nearby. "Try to look less like I stepped on your tail, hm?"

"I think I'd rather you step on my tail," KyuHyun murmured, wisely keeping the conversation in Mandarin. The only one here who would be able to understand was Han Geng, and the senator was…somewhere. KyuHyun didn't see him just then. The snake was holding onto Zhou Mi's drink for him just then, following at his master's elbow. "How long does this last again?"

"Another couple of hours," Zhou Mi said, stopping them in a corner of the room. "And then there's the after party for cocktails. Very exclusive guest list for that though."

"Who's on it?" KyuHyun asked, unhappy at the prospect of yet another party. Parties weren't his thing, all he had to look forward to was acting like an obedient slave.

"You, me, of course," Zhou Mi said, nodding his head to a couple who were passing by. "Geng, and HeeChul. HeeChul's miffed he can't come to this and wants details, and drinks of course."

"Oh," KyuHyun blinked, relaxing. "Okay, I can handle that guest list. And it's good HeeChul isn't here, I'm not sure if he'd be able to hold his tongue. Especially with who Geng's talking to." He'd finally spotted the Chinese man at the other end of the room. Han Geng had struck up a conversation with Master Jung, wearing his most polite smile.

"No, and even though Geng doesn't like it, he knows it's the best thing to do right now," Zhou Mi said, taking his drink from KyuHyun to sip at it. He spotted an uncomfortable looking younger man near where Geng and Master Jung were talking. "Ah, there he is," he grinned, striding across the floor, making a not so subtle bee line towards Master Jung's son. "You are YunHo, yes?" he said, holding out his hand. "Zhou Mi, I don't think we've been properly introduced."

Turning to Zhou Mi in surprise, YunHo's expression shifted into a polite smile as he took the offered hand, bowing politely. "It's a pleasure to meet you properly, Zhou Mi." Straightening, his eyes went to KyuHyun momentarily before returning to Zhou Mi's face. "Thank you for the invitation."

"You're very welcome, I made especially sure you had an invite," Zhou Mi said with a grin. "I hear rumors that we'll be seeing what you have to offer the tournaments soon and I wanted to meet you before you became a star. Are you enjoying yourself?"

"With company like this, how could I not be?" YunHo chuckled quietly. "I look forward to working with you and other house owners in the tournament, though I'm not sure where you've heard these rumors from. My father is still master of the house."

Zhou Mi glanced at where Han Geng and Master Jung were talking out of the corner of his eye, his lips quirking slightly. "You know how rumors are, five different people tell you and no one knows where they heard it from. Either way, I hope it's true. I think an old and powerful house like yours needs a bit of... new blood." His gaze shifted to YunHo's, meeting the man's eyes. "Enjoy the party, I'm sure we'll be seeing each other again soon."

KyuHyun could see YunHo was trying to figure out Zhou Mi's intention with those words, brows pulling together slightly before he smiled in return. "I'm sure. Best of luck with the rest of the tournament."

"Ah, there's Master Kim," Zhou Mi seemed to get distracted, leaving YunHo and KyuHyun behind as he waved.

KyuHyun sighed to himself; Zhou Mi was far too excited. They were approached by someone new, and if KyuHyun hadn't known better, he would have thought it was KiBum; the Kim brothers looked almost identical at first. There was a quiet rabbit beside the other man's elbow, hands clasped in front of him and nervous eyes on KyuHyun.

"Good evening HyungJoon," YunHo smiled politely at the younger man.

"YunHo," HyungJoon said, casting wary glances around until he saw where Master Jung was. He turned his attention back to Zhou Mi, bowing politely. "Commissioner, thank you for inviting us."

"My pleasure," Zhou Mi smiled. "I was sad to hear you weren't participating in the tournaments this year. One of your fighters was injured?"

"Ah... yes, that," HyungJoon sighed a little, trying a half hearted smile. "Yes, but we will be back next year, stronger than ever."

"Good to hear, it isn't a tournament without the two rival houses competing," Zhou Mi said, his attention drawn to the Sign at HyungJoon's elbow. "This must be KyuJong? I hope you're enjoying yourself KyuJong."

KyuJong realized he was being talked to, jumping to attention.  "Yes sir, thank you," he bowed politely.

Seeing the tremble in the rabbit's hands, and the way KyuJong kept glancing at him, KyuHyun sighed inwardly. Right, prey animal. "Can I bring anyone more drinks?" he asked politely. "Master?"

"Hm?" Zhou Mi blinked at KyuHyun. "Oh, yes, drinks. Bring us all a glass of wine, KyuHyun. See if Han Geng needs anything," he switched to Mandarin. "Let him know I want to be able to talk to him soon."

"I'll tell him," KyuHyun answered in kind, bowing before heading off.

"There have been some rumors that you're engaged?" YunHo was asking HyungJoon, appearing unfazed by the sudden Mandarin.

Zhou Mi saw the start of a sour look on HyungJoon's expression that was quickly covered by a smile. "It's not official yet, we haven't signed any papers, but Senator Kang has accepted the offer. Or rather, I accepted his offer that he made me give him."

"An interesting way to put it," Zhou Mi said, tilting his head slightly. "It would seem a good match, a senator's daughter and a house owner."

"Yes, a good match," HyungJoon nodded, glancing at KyuJong out of the corner of his eye. He turned his attention back to YunHo. "And what about you, has your father set you up yet with a bride?"

"No, not for lack of trying," YunHo chuckled softly, after making sure his father hadn't moved. "There will be plenty of time to worry about marriage. But congratulations on the engagement."

"Thanks," HyungJoon nodded, looking a little uncomfortable. Zhou Mi pitied the man, who obviously had no interest in being married.

"So, HyungJoon, I had the privilege of having your brother in my class a few years ago," Zhou Mi said.

"...Oh?" HyungJoon blinked at that. "That's... good. I hope he didn't cause you too much trouble."

"Nonsense, he was one of my star students," Zhou Mi chuckled. "You should be proud of him."

"Of course," HyungJoon agreed, looking away. "I'm glad to hear he's doing well in school though. I knew he would."

"It's been a few years since I've seen KiBum," YunHo blinked. "He graduates soon, doesn't he?"

"Your drinks," KyuHyun had returned with a tray of wine, passing out glasses to the three humans present. "Geng says to give him five minutes," He said to Zhou Mi.

"Thank you," Zhou Mi replied, watching the conversation between HyungJoon and YunHo. For the two sons of the biggest rivalry in all of the tournaments, the fact that they got along so well was extraordinary to Zhou Mi. Their fathers and their grandfathers had detested each other, but these two could hold a conversation without an uncivil word being passed between them. Zhou Mi made little mental notes to himself about that, tucking them away for the future.

"Yeah, next year I think?" HyungJoon was saying, looking to KyuJong for confirmation. "I actually haven't seen him since he left. I figured if he was dead, someone would have notified me by now."

"That seems to be the standard for university, too busy to breathe," YunHo chuckled, sipping from his drink after thanking KyuHyun. "I'll look forward to seeing him next year then. You're both welcome over for dinner when he returns." There seemed to be an unsaid message in there, YunHo's gaze wandering towards where his father was before returning to HyungJoon.

"If he comes back," HyungJoon said, looking down into his drink.

"Well I hope you all enjoy the party, KyuHyun says something needs my attention," Zhou Mi said, smiling brightly at all of them, including KyuJong. Turning away, he gave KyuHyun a concerned look as he walked away.

Blinking, KyuHyun followed after Zhou Mi. They went to a separate corridor where there were no guests. "I didn't know KiBum wasn't going home," the snake mused, looking around for Han Geng who was still missing. "Did you?"

"No, but he never really talked about home much the few times we did have conversations," Zhou Mi said, finishing off his glass of wine. "There's so much about KiBum I don't really know, but I do hope they can get past whatever it is that's going on between them. Was Geng still talking to Master Jung?"

"Yes, I can't tell if that's going well or not but considering he hasn't reverted to flustered half-Mandarin yet, I'd say it's going good." KyuHyun glanced down the hallway. "He just needed a few minutes to finish up."

Sure enough, three minutes later Han Geng appeared, approaching them with a friendly smile. "How's the party?"

"About to get a little more interesting," Zhou Mi replied, smirking a little. "How was your conversation with Master Jung?"

"I'd say it was productive," Han Geng chuckled, switching to Mandarin. "A gentle push, that's all that was needed."

"Somehow I had a feeling," Zhou Mi replied in kind. "Are we ready for this conversation? We have to make it look convincing."

"It'll be convincing," the other man answered, nodding. "Let's get started."

"KuiXian, go make sure Master Jung's left the room, let me know if he's still idling," Zhou Mi said. "Geng, follow after me in about five seconds, I'm going to rope us an audience."

Smirking slightly before he schooled his expression back into a polite mask, KyuHyun turned to head back into the main room. A quick look around confirmed that both Jungs were gone. Doing a quick circuit to make sure they had actually left and weren't just in a corner somewhere, the snake headed back out into the hallway. "All clear."

"Good, you can go relax for a bit," Zhou Mi murmured, leaning over to give him a quick kiss. Chin up, he left the hallway, eyes roaming the crowd for a target. As it would happen, the only one he saw that didn't seem to be actively engaged in conversation was Master Kim again. He felt a little bad for picking on HyungJoon so many times tonight, but there were so few in the room he thought wouldn't just run away from him in the first place. "HyungJoon, there you are," he grinned, coming up behind the young man and his rabbit.

"Uh... Commissioner?" HyungJoon had jumped a little and turned to look over his shoulder. "Was everything okay? You said..."

"Yes, just a small matter," Zhou Mi waved him off. "I actually wanted to speak with you, there was someone I wanted to introduce you to, but I seem to have lost him again..."

"Zhou Mi?" Han Geng had stepped into the room after Zhou Mi had approached HyungJoon, easy smile back in place as he made his way to them. "I'm sorry, you called for me?"

KyuHyun lingered back near the wall, keeping his distance while staying close enough to be called on just in case.

"Ah, there you are Senator," Zhou Mi said with an easy smile. "I wanted to introduce you to HyungJoon, master of the Kim house. I'm sure you've heard of it?" he said, pressing a hand to HyungJoon's back so he didn't scurry away like he looked like he wanted to. "HyungJoon, this is Senator Han Geng."

"An honor," HyungJoon said, bowing as best he could with Zhou Mi all but shoving him into Han Geng.

Han Geng stepped back slightly so he could bow in return, giving Zhou Mi an amused look. "It's good to meet you, HyungJoon. I've only heard great things of the Kim house, both in and out of the ring."

"Oh... well... thank you," HyungJoon said, though he glanced over at his rabbit, looking for a way out.

"Yes, the senator was telling me something that I thought you of all the houses in the tournaments would find interesting," Zhou Mi said, winning back HyungJoon's attention. "Tell him about that legislation you just introduced?"

"Oh, yes," Han Geng blinked. "I'm working on a bill to better protect Signs in Korea. The rules against independent breeding houses were a start, but I think there's still much to be done to ensure Signs have a healthy standard of living. Wouldn't you agree?"

"Well... of course," HyungJoon started.

"Yes, but what more could Signs really need?" Zhou Mi put in before HyungJoon could say anything else. "The Gaming Commission has done extensive studies in the past and found that Signs were being treated too well, coddled even."

"I would have to politely disagree, commissioner," Han Geng frowned lightly. "Signs that lack the basic amenities…proper food, shelter, and education…perform half as well at their tasks. Certainly, a Sign with a poor standard of living and mental health could perform basic tasks mindlessly, but they are intelligent beings capable of so much more with the proper care and protection."

"Some would argue though that Signs don't deserve more than what they get," Zhou Mi countered. He took a risk and glanced to his side, seeing some of the groups around them stopping and turning their attention to the conversation. "They would argue that they are just animals, and if they can't perform their tasks they'll just get another one."

"Signs defy all definitions for animals," Han Geng replied. "What is it that separates humans from animals, really? Cognition, foresight, language and social bonds? If we are to agree that these are what separate mankind from the rest of the animal kingdom, then what of Signs? They have all of those things, no less than we do. Thus if we consider them of the same intelligence as humans, do they not have a right to some form of a decent environment?"

Zhou Mi wished he could agree completely with Han Geng, to let every person know just what he thought about Signs and how they were treated. It wasn't the time though, and he had to settle for looking down slightly and pursing his lips. "Do you believe slavery should be abolished then, and Signs given their freedom?"

"That I think is something that needs to be sincerely thought about," Han Geng answered calmly. "If Signs have all these qualities that we use to label humans as different from animals, then they are closer to human than originally thought. Is it right to keep human children in cages, to separate them from their mother and father for a life of slavery? Is it right to put collars on their necks, beat and half-starve them? And if it isn't right to do it to human children…why is it okay with Signs, if they are truly no different from us?"

"Well, I think you've given us all something to think about Senator," Zhou Mi said. "I know I'll be giving it some thought before our next meeting." He turned his attention back to HyungJoon whose expression with pinched in serious thought. "I'm sorry Master Kim, I didn't mean to keep you hostage here, enjoy the party. Senator, let's refresh your drink?"

"Thank you," Han Geng smiled pleasantly. He bowed his head to HyungJoon. "It was a pleasure to meet you Master Kim, I hope we meet again." He turned to follow Zhou Mi, hearing the soft murmurs of conversation around them begin again. Over half those in the room had been listening to their exchange.

"Er... right, nice to meet you too sir," HyungJoon called after them. Zhou Mi led Han Geng towards the bar, motioning for the bartender to freshen up his drink.

"Well, that went absolutely perfectly if I do say so myself," Zhou Mi said, switching to Mandarin but keeping his voice low. Even if no one could understand what they were saying, he still didn't want any eavesdroppers. "We'll have to have another party after the tournament is over."

"Sounds fun," Han Geng chuckled quietly. He thanked the bartender for his drink, sipping at it lightly. "I think I'm going to head out soon though…had about enough of this particular party."

"More interested in the one back at home?" Zhou Mi chuckled a little. "KuiXian and I will be around in an hour or so, once we're done here."

"Good luck," Han Geng replied, quirking a smile as he straightened. "A commissioner's job is never done." He headed off to make polite conversation with another senator.

"He's right about that," KyuHyun remarked wryly, close enough to hear that last comment.

"Maybe, but in about ten minutes I'm starting to kick people out," Zhou Mi said, taking his own drink and leaning up against the bar.

"Had enough of partying?" KyuHyun asked, taking up his usual position beside Zhou Mi with his hands clasped in front of him.

"I've had enough smiling at people who make me sick," Zhou Mi said, sighing into his glass. "At least I got to talk to Master Kim and YunHo. I foresee their houses going far."

"At least you'll have some friendly faces." KyuHyun glanced at Zhou Mi, wishing he could do more than just stand there. "An hour, then we'll be out of here."

"Right, another hour," Zhou Mi nodded, allowing himself another moment to stay where he was and relax. "Let's make another round, then start shutting this party down. You may as well start with the staff, tell them to stop serving food and drinks. Once the free liquor stops flowing, people will leave."

"There's an idea," KyuHyun's lips quivered before he stepped away. "Then we have another party for four, and I'm looking forward to that a lot more." He bowed to the human before turning to head into the kitchens.

"Me too," Zhou Mi agreed in a sigh. That was the only that really mattered anyway. Hopefully though, some good had been done here. Some ideas had been put out for society to hear, and maybe by the next time one of these was held, there would be some progress. He hoped anyway. He didn't know how much longer he could do this.
NT59NT591 on April 27th, 2013 02:58 pm (UTC)
Tada!!!! An update!!! Jumping to the next chappy!!!
silverstorm666 on April 27th, 2013 09:44 pm (UTC)
That was very smart of Zhou Mi, engineering a controlled debate. *applause*