Bu Bu Jing Xin (Startling By Each Step)Pairings:
Kyuhyun centric, there will be various pairing/friendships, main wonkyu though hankyu, eunkyu, kyumin, changkyu also present. Also Hanchul, Eunhae, Minsu, and so many others I can't actually remember them all.Genre:
Historical, humour, angst, romanceRating:
There will be character death (near the end though), plus some characters will have really sad endings (for spoilers watch the drama!) and also will probably add smut sometime.Summary:
Kyuhyun gets hit by a car and wakes up not in the the body of a 25 year old computer analyst like he expected but in the body of a 16 year old noble boy in the Qing dynasty. Confused and annoyed he then ends up entangled in the lives of the Princes he had learnt about in history class, as well as one of the messiest battles for the throne in China's history.
BETAED BY KRISTEN!!Character GuidePrologue
/ 29Chapter 30
It wasn’t until the spring was nearly over that Kyuhyun managed to talk properly with Changmin, the prince having accompanied his father to the temple. They rarely saw each other anymore, Changmin normally avoiding the palace and Kyuhyun nearly constantly working now that he was fit again. Even before that, there were rarely chances for a prince and a servant to socialise, especially as they had to do so secretly without anyone finding out.
Kyuhyun thought that maybe Ryeowook suspected something, and also he knew that there had been gossip in the past about Kyuhyun’s closeness to the Thirteenth Prince. But if anyone knew for sure that he was allowing Changmin to sneak into his quarters for nights of drinking he would’ve been hauled before Leeteuk, and Changmin before Kangin.
Changmin lounged on the chair opposite Kyuhyun’s, both drowsy and more relaxed than normal because of the wine they had been consuming steadily and the company which they knew would not judge them.
“On the trip last year, I spoke with Prince Junsu,” Kyuhyun spoke softly, knowing that this would be a sensitive subject.
The Qing Prince hummed but didn’t make a move, however his friend noticed the tension that suddenly filled the previously relaxed atmosphere. The royal avoided his friend’s eyes and fiddled with his wine flask.
“It wouldn’t work…”
“Is there no-”
Kyuhyun was cut off by a frustrated sigh.
“He is of the grasslands. He was raised on freedom and vast plains. If I brought him back here and placed him in a gilded cage would he survive?” Changmin’s voice was emotionless and hollow. “He is a gentle creature compared to the pretty and vicious wives of the Imperial court. They would eat him alive and he wouldn’t even realise what was happening. And Soojung… There is no way I would subject Junsu to having to be in the same household as that witch
“Changmin,” Kyuhyun let sympathy and understanding fill his friend’s name as he tried to think of words to comfort the other man.
“He would suffocate here. And I wouldn’t be able to live with myself watching him suffer. It’s bad enough with Qian-” Changmin stopped talking as emotion threatened to overwhelm him.
Kyuhyun remained silent but watched as his friend gulp down more wine, not in enjoyment like earlier but as a way to numb the pain and confusion.
“I couldn’t commit to him. He deserves better than me.”
Kyuhyun held his tongue and just watched, unable to find any words of comfort, as his friend drank long into the night.
The seasons once again shifted. Spring blended to Summer, the heat settling heavily over the city. Kyuhyun had been busy since the return of the Emperor but he was glad to immerse himself in the distraction of work. With the air thick and heavy, Kyuhyun was glad he lived in the Forbidden City rather than the crowded streets outside the palace. He would much rather be far into the countryside though and he was greatly pleased when Leeteuk finally approached him to start preparing for Kangin’s annual trip to the North.
That was until he saw the list of people on this year’s expedition. The Crown Prince, Fourth Prince, Eighth Prince, Ninth Prince, Thirteenth Prince and Fourteenth Prince.Sungmin
was going to be coming.Sungmin
was going to come to Mongolia as the Fourteenth Prince
and was going to meet Junsu
Kyuhyun felt like he was losing his balance while on a tightrope and there was no safety net in sight.
It wasn’t until they were in Mongolia, camped at the edge of the forest that was becoming familiar to Kyuhyun after so many visits, that he had a chance to talk to Sungmin. Or at least try to talk to Sungmin.
The prince had been avoiding Kyuhyun, still angry about Hangeng, but clearly having been told not to interfere. Kyuhyun would’ve welcomed this and allowed him to continue the avoidance, especially after the fear that filled him in their last confrontation, but he needed to talk to Sungmin desperately.
“Fourteenth Prince,” Kyuhyun approached when he saw that Sungmin was alone, having just returned from a ride. “Fourteenth Prince, I have something I need to talk to you about.”
Sungmin tethered his horse and walked away, “I have nothing to say to you though.”
Kyuhyun panicked as he tried to call quietly to the other’s back, “It’s regarding Prince Junsu.”
Turning around, Sungmin’s face became serious but still annoyed. “I owe you a favour because of that. What do you want?”
“The Mongolians arrive tomorrow, including Prince Junsu. I came to discuss how we are going to explain about last time.”
“Tell him the truth. Apologise and say a few pretty words. That should gain forgiveness.” Sungmin dismissed Kyuhyun’s concerns though he could see Kyuhyun’s worry plainly. He had no sympathy for the younger at that moment, he was still annoyed for his brother, though Hangeng seemed to have already forgiven him.
“I don’t think it will be that easy,” Kyuhyun stated. He knew that Junsu may be forgiving and gentle, but he was still the son of two warriors; he was passionate and if he realised before Kyuhyun could explain properly, he might cause a lot of trouble for Kyuhyun. There were so many possible outcomes and Kyuhyun wasn’t optimistic about surviving long if Junsu took everything badly.
Kyuhyun had lied to Junsu. He knew that lying was something that was unforgivable to the other boy. Sungmin’s attitude was not helping him try to work out what to do.
Sungmin’s face twisted, “I think that you, Kyuhyun, are the master of appeasement. So go work your skills over Prince Junsu. I’m sure you’ll manage to find a way to get out unscathed.”
Kyuhyun watched, eyes wide as Sungmin stormed away from him, not giving him a chance to reply.
Leeteuk looked with concern at Kyuhyun. The boy had arrived for duty looking pale but since the announcement that Lord Yunho and his entourage were on the way over from their camp, he had started to look worse. The boy was shaking slightly, the tray in his hands stable despite the tremors Leeteuk could see going through the child.
“Are you alright? What’s wrong?” He whispered.
“Nothing. I’m fine.” A faint smile that didn’t do anything to relieve Leeteuk’s worry before he was called over by Kangin. Lord Yunho would be arriving any minute and they needed to be prepared.
“Imperial Father.” Everyone looked up as the Fourteenth Prince came forward and bowed to his father. “I am feeling unwell. May I be excused?”
Kyuhyun felt relief flood him, though he knew this was only a temporary respite. Sungmin threw him a long look before he left the tent and Kyuhyun knew that next time he approached the prince, he would actually listen. He also hoped that this would give him enough time for him to explain to Junsu why he lied and what happened the previous year. Hopefully Junsu would forgive him, and maybe their friendship might even survive. Optimism filled him for the first time in weeks.
He even smiled as the Mongolians entered the tent and bowed in greeting to Kangin. Junsu was already eying Changmin, though the Qing prince seemed to be pointedly ignoring him. Kyuhyun frowned to see Junsu look so excited to see Changmin, yet the other man looking withdrawn. While the servant knew this was a way for Changmin to protect both himself and Junsu in the long run, it didn’t stop him feeling sorry for the Mongol prince when hurt flashed briefly across his face.
Kangin and Yunho were now discussing grandchildren, complimenting the number of sons and grandsons they each had as Kangin boasted of a new grandson. Kyuhyun sighed as they skipped over the granddaughter that was born just last month from the Fifth Prince’s Di’fujin. He wished that the beautiful girl could be boasted about so excitedly as the boys they were discussing. He always kept his feelings of unfairness to himself, only complaining to Changmin about how annoying patriarchy is and how a just society values every sex equally. Kyuhyun had grown up in a time when girls, boys and those inbetween were allowed to be whoever they wanted. Since he had come here to this time he had been forced into the subservient role that he had never been used to before and he hated it, even though he had learnt to accept it because there was nothing he could do. The prince would listen and question and argue, all without sending Kyuhyun to be punished for having such thoughts. Kyuhyun wished everyone was as open minded as his best friend.
He couldn’t stop himself from grinning as Junsu winked at him after everyone was seated. Obviously Lord Yunho was more opened minded than most if the way he allowed General Kim to do as he wanted and the way Junsu was treated as a beloved child, rather than another pawn to be married off to some general or prince or high noble who pleased Yunho. Kangin rarely talked of his daughters, except Princess Seohyun, who he exchanged monthly letters with since she left the capital to live in Yunnam with her husband, who was Viceroy over the surrounding areas.
Kyuhyun jolted out of his mindless thinking when he heard Yunho mention the Fourteenth Prince.
“He was feeling unwell,” Kangin answered. The Emperor turned to the others and asked, “Has an Imperial physician been called to see him?”
Hangeng stood quickly, bowing his head as he answered, “I believe not, Imperial Father. If you wish we can send for one now.” The Eighth Prince ordered a eunuch to fetch a physician to Fourteenth’s tent as Kangin continued talking to the room.
“Just because you are young, it does not mean you should ignore when you are unwell.” He nodded to Yunho as he added, “Since I have gotten older I have started to see the great importance of looking after oneself. Health is of the utmost importance.” Yunho smiled and agreed.
Kyuhyun couldn’t help but smile to himself as the two rulers reminded him of so much of the grandfathers who would gossip outside their houses on his street, watching the young folk, who were so busy with their lives, run around whilst complain about how everything was changing and talking loudly about whose children had better jobs or cars or spouses.
Still smiling, he caught the Fourth Prince watching him. Siwon’s eyes were sparkling with laughter, obviously finding Kyuhyun’s silent happiness amusing. His face became serious as he worried who had seen Siwon’s indiscreet staring. Averting his eyes,he instead saw Changmin raising as eyebrows and flashing him a look of warning mixed with mirth at catching such a slip. Kyuhyun almost giggled at the ridiculousness of Changmin judging him for Siwon when Changmin hadn’t noticed Junsu doing the same thing. Changmin followed his quick head tilt to see Junsu blatantly staring at him. Changmin looked as unsettled as Kyuhyun felt and both looked at each other in empathy.What was with all the meaningful looking?
Kyuhyun wished that this was less complicated but then reasoned that it probably was less messy than he thought. Tension was filling his body as Jaejoong looked unhappily between Changmin and Junsu. He wondered just what the general was thinking, though the look of disapproval definitely made most of it clear. Oh wait, Hangeng was now watching Siwon watch him. Kyuhyun mentally scolded himself as Hangeng looked away, with a definite look of hurt and confusion on his face. This was definitely a mess and Kyuhyun really needed to rant to someone so he once again locked eyes with Changmin. The prince seemed to get the hint as he rolled his eyes and nodded once very discretely.
Kyuhyun cursed whoever decided that putting all of these people in one room was a good idea, although he also sent a tiny prayer that Sungmin wasn’t here, because that would be so much worse. Though right now he really couldn’t imagine it.
Sungmin threw his book down in frustration. He hated being confined to his tent. He much preferred being outside, doing something interesting.
He looked up as Hangeng entered, “Eighth brother, you saw Lord Yunho and Prince Junsu?”
Hangeng nodded as Sungmin asked, “Is Kyuhyun still worried to death?”
“It is only natural for Kyuhyun to be worried,” Hangeng reprimanded his younger brother. “It is our fault for getting him into this predicament.”
“Ge! How can you still think of him? He broke your heart!”
“We are the cause of this. Kyuhyun lied to Prince Junsu to protect us. We shouldn’t let what has happened since then cloud the fact that we are in debt to him.” Hangeng’s face was very tired and serious. Sungmin wanted to wipe as the pain away but it was impossible. “We need to think of a way to help Kyuhyun.”
“Okay. I understand.” Sungmin sighed as he admitted to both himself and his gege. “I can’t bear to see Kyuhyun’s frightened face. He is still my friend.” Hangeng patted Sungmin’s shoulder in understanding. “But I can’t hide in my tent and avoid Junsu forever. And apologising might not work either.”
“I think Kyuhyun will try to talk to Junsu as quickly as possible,” Hangeng added. “We should apologise as well, then also try to explain. He’ll have to listen to us.”
“Agreed.” Sungmin’s mouth set as he told his older brother, “If anything comes out I will take all responsibility. Kyuhyun was protecting me so I shouldn’t let him get dragged into trouble.”
It wasn’t until a few days later that Kyuhyun managed to meet with Junsu. He hadn’t wanted to openly approach the prince or have to send a message, especially if he became angry. If someone told the prince’s parents or even the Emperor that Kyuhyun had argued with the prince and then he did or said something, it could raise questions which he wouldn’t know how to answer.
He was walking towards the Mongol camp, trying to work out a way to subtly bump into Junsu and then draw him away from any other people, when he came across the Mongol prince adjusting the flaps on his horse’s saddle.
He barely managed to ground himself before an excitable man was wrapped around him. Junsu let go and grinned so happily at him that Kyuhyun felt his stomach flop. He had deceived Junsu, who looked at him with such affection.
“Your Highness.” Kyuhyun forced a smile and bowed slightly, trying to mirror the other boy but failing miserably. “How have you been since last year?”
“Stop being so stiff and formal! You can’t have forgotten that I am your friend?” Junsu teased as he pulled Kyuhyun towards the tied horse. “I’m fine. How are you? Have you had chance to improve your riding skills?”
“I haven’t really had much time. I fell ill during the winter.” Kyuhyun replied, avoiding the previous questions.
“We will walk then.” The prince declared, dragging Kyuhyun away from the horses. “I will give you another riding lesson before you leave, though hopefully this one won’t end the same as the last. Though the Eighth Prince did look very heroic rescuing you.” Junsu laughed while Kyuhyun tried to find a way to talk about another event that happened the previous year.
Both turned and started talking at the same moment. The randomness broke the tension Kyuhyun had felt building up within him as he laughed along with Junsu. He could make their friendship survive, he was sure of it.
“You go first,” Kyuhyun prompted the younger. Junsu looked like he really wanted to speak and Kyuhyun didn’t exactly want to rush into his discussion point.
“Did you talk to Min?”
Kyuhyun’s face fell as he remember the talk, or non-talk, he had with Changmin about Junsu.
“Does he not want to marry me?” Junsu caught the expression and his own countenance darkened. Junsu knew Changmin felt something, he was sure that he did, yet Kyuhyun stared at him as if scared of how he would react.
“Your father doesn’t think it’s a good match.” Kyuhyun tried to reason, seeing that Junsu was becoming more distraught with each second. “You would hate to live in the city. You would be trapped.”
“Why?” Junsu was near tears. “Why does he not want me? I thought… Can I not be compared to his fujin?”
“Your Highness, it’s not because of that.” Kyuhyun tried to reason and comfort the boy but Junsu just looked increasingly angry and upset.
“What part of me isn’t fit to be his wife? Why would he refuse me?” Junsu fumed. “I’m going to ask him myself!”
Kyuhyun didn’t manage to grab the prince before he started to run towards the Imperial camp. Feeling like everything was about to go horribly wrong he followed, desperately trying to catch up but unable to. He continued running until he had pushed his way into the Thirteenth’s tent behind Junsu.
Changmin looked up in shock at the intrusion, while Kyuhyun paled as he noticed that Changmin was not alone. Sungmin sat on the opposite side of a chess board. However Junsu failed to notice the other Qing prince, completely focused on Changmin and yelling at him.
“What about me is not good enough to be your fujin? Tell me now!”
Changmin looked pained as he replied, “Now is not the time to talk about this Prince Junsu
.” The last two words were hissed as he indicated they were not alone. “This is my Fourteenth Brother.”
Junsu took a breath before turning to examine Sungmin. A gasp was heard and two people’s heart stopped for a moment as Junsu asked, his tone betrayed, “You’re Fourteenth Prince? You are the Fourteenth Prince?”
Sungmin’s gaze was strong as he answered, “I am.”
Junsu frowned, his face turning from sad to angry. “You lied to me. You both lied to me.” Changmin became perplexed as Junsu looked between Kyuhun and Sungmin.
“Your Highness,” Kyuhyun rushed forward, clasping Junsu’s hand to stop the other boy from running out of the tent. “Please listen.”
“You lied to me,” Junsu sounded hurt, his gaze no longer holding affection and trust. He demanded, “Is he really your lover?”
At the slow shake of Kyuhyun’s lowered head, Junsu became even more incensed.
“I trusted you. I thought of you as one of my closest friends.” The pain and betrayal sounded so raw and Kyuhyun didn’t know how to justify himself. All he felt was guilt. “I told you all of my feelings, all of my worries. Why did you treat me like this?”
“Please… Junsu.” Kyuhyun begged, needing for this to turn out alright. “Didn’t you once say a friendship with someone of the grasslands was not easily broken. I’m sorry for lying. I do have a reason though. I had no other option at the time. Please let me fully explain.”
Junsu’s face was blank when he looked at Changmin. Neither of the Qing prince’s had moved, both watching what was happening carefully; Sungmin out of fear of getting in the way, Changmin because he still wasn’t certain what happened.
“You’re close to him right? You’re one of his friends.” Junsu didn’t wait for a response before asking, “Did you know then? That he tricked me into hiding the Fourteenth Prince?”
“I didn’t know,” Changmin admitted before Junsu launched bitter words towards Kyuhyun.
“Did you lie to him as well? You are obviously a poor choice of friend. I should go to the Emperor right now. Let’s find out what other things you have been hiding.”
Junsu started to push past the near weeping boy, his face set in angry determination. Before he could though, Kyuhyun threw himself to his knees and grabbed front of the prince’s robes. Changmin and Sungmin had both jumped up at the sign of movement towards the door.
“Please, you can hit and yell,” Kyuhyun begged, his heart twisted with fear.
Sungmin stepped forward, blocking the doorway, “It’s been a year. There is no need to bother yourself by telling the Emperor. I will tell him myself.”
“Di!” Changmin spat a warning before speaking in a calmer tone. “What can be so big that you need to go to the Emperor? Surely this can be settled without him knowing.”
“He used me to hide Fourteenth Prince! Don’t you think that is suspicious?” Junsu demanded.
“Kyuhyun is not that type of person.”
“But the Crown Prince said someone tried to assassinate him. I only protected them because I thought they were in love. What if there really was an attempt to kill the Crown Prince?”
“You do not need to be troubled. Kyuhyun and Sungmin have been playing together for years. Sungmin coming to visiting Kyuhyun in a disguise isn’t a surprise to me. You don’t need to tell the Emperor.”
“You trust him this much to not even ask for an explanation?” Junsu seemed annoyed more than angry now.
“I know exactly the type of person that Kyuhyun is. I would trust him with my life.” Kyuhyun didn’t know whether that would help, especially since Junsu seemed to be more frustrated with how much Changmin believed in Kyuhyun rather than Kyuhyun’s betrayal.
“Would you do the same if it were me? Just accept my word?” Junsu yelled.
Junsu sprang then, darting past Sungmin as quickly as a deer with Changmin straight after. Sungmin prevented Kyuhyun from following, hastily spitting out a word of advice, “Blame me. Say nothing and blame me. I am a prince, I will be okay.” They didn’t have time to say more before they raced after the others.
The two princes hadn’t got far, just outside the tent Changmin had caught Junsu and was whispering to him softly. Kyuhyun and Sungmin watched as Junsu relaxed in Changmin’s arms. Both felt a sense of awkwardness as the formerly tense atmosphere turned more intimate. They both calmed down though as Junsu sighed and nodded to whatever Changmin had said.
When he was released Junsu looked back at Kyuhyun, his mouth still pinched with sadness but
at least looking at him with wariness instead of betrayal.
“I admit, I wasn’t going to tell the Emperor, I was more annoyed at the Thirteenth Prince than you. Your panic was penance enough I suppose.” Junsu looked like he might ask more but Changmin grasped his hand and he was quiet.
“I will have to ask both you and Fourteenth Brother to leave now. I have some words I need to say to Prince Junsu.” Changmin’s voice was serious and Kyuhyun knew that whatever the Thirteenth Prince was going do would break Junsu’s heart and probably his own as well.
He watched as Changmin and Junsu walked slowly back to the tent, hands entwined, obviously both knowing what was going to happen and trying to prolong the brief calm.
This was going to be updated sooner but I kind of had to battle through the 12 stages of grief concerning EXO… It’s their concert right now and I am avoiding thinking about it.
quick reminder: Didi
means younger brother
in Chinese. I’m guessing you guys know what Gege (big brother)
means cos I use it often enough. I’ll add Jiejie (big sister)
and Meimei (younger sister)
so that if I ever use them (have I used them?) you will know. Maybe I should’ve written this at the beginning.
AND I noticed a couple of days ago that WOW it’s a year since I started writing this! Started this on May 1st 2013… and in recognition of that year, my beta reader (but she's more than a beta more like a editor/prop/cheerleader/babysitter/enabl
er who gets me through everything) wanted to leave a note as well ^^ Besides I would never have started posting this in the first place if it wasn't for her XDHello this is my first time introducing myself~ I'm Kristen, also known as KyuminBiased or miki. I have only betaed seventeen chapters (eighteen if you include the Zhou Mi side story), but it was very nice to be helpful. Walker likes to say that I am her cheerleader and I accept the role of cheerleader and enabler hahaha. It has been a year and twenty three days since walker started BBJX. We have both had a rough past year (isn't that the understatement of the century.) I really appreciate all of you who understand the wait between chapters, sometimes people forget that we have lives as well and you all were so kind. Thank you very much.
It is now chapter thirty and episode fifteen. It's funny how it seems like just yesterday I betaed chapter one. I have known Walker for almost two years now and I'm proud to have been a part of this adaptation. Thank you for sticking by her and enjoying her story. Please look forward to the rest of the installments and love us a lot!