Title: 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, romance
Rating: PG-13 (I looked it up!)
Warnings: 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.
A/N: This is a SuJu version of the drama Bu Bu Jing Xin. I don't know whether anyone has written one before, if they have let me know, I'd love to read it! I will be sticking to the plot quite closely, I am in no way amazing enough to think up all this, I will change some stuff and add side stories of some characters that I love to bits and wanted developing more. I have no idea why I decided to post this. I think my love for this drama and Kyuhyun one day decided to drive me crazy. Also this is betaed by my wonderful friend Miki.
After drinking until neither Changmin nor Kyuhyun could see or think clearly, Changmin decided it was probably time for him to take the other home. Changmin drank some herbal tea to try and sober himself enough to get them both home safely, escorting Kyuhyun to the front of Eighth’s estate, where there seemed to be a couple of maids waiting for them. Pouring the younger out of the saddle and depositing him with the servants, he made himself scarce before Hangeng came out to scold him, deciding to face his older brother’s disapproval when he was feeling better tomorrow morning, or preferable tomorrow afternoon since it was nearly morning already.
Kyuhyun was guided by the servants to his room where he promptly collapsed onto his bed, asleep before his head hit the pillow. He didn’t hear ZhouMi come into the room to check on him or order Sunny to change him and prepare him for bed as best she could. Kyuhyun didn’t hear Hangeng enter and ask if he was alright, telling ZhouMi that he should now sleep considering neither of them had slept yet; ZhouMi waiting up for Kyuhyun, Hangeng waiting up to keep his worried wife company, even though he still received coldness.
He did however remember the talk that his older brother gave him in the evening the next day when he finally crawled out of bed and went looking for food. It mentioned his health, propriety, dishonour, disappointment, breaking of promises, staying up all night worried and more promises to not make it a habit. Kyuhyun wouldn’t be able to tell anyone the details since he was still muddled when Mimi had sat him down, he was just glad that after the ‘talk’, his brother babied him for what was left of the day. It seemed that Hangeng had had a similar ‘talk’ with Changmin, leaving his wife to deal with his own brother.
Sungmin wandered over to Kyuhyun, who was as he expected, by the pond, in the garden. The first snow had melted and though the temperature was mild again, winter was not far away and the snow and frost would return. He walked right up to the other, who didn’t seem to notice his presence til he was standing right above him.
“You’re here! Thank God,” Kyuhyun suddenly jumped up, going from stationary to buzzing in less than a second. “You have to be my knight in shining armour and get me out! I think I’m going crazy!”
Sungmin took in what his friend was saying even though he seemed to be talking faster than he ever thought possible, “Firstly, breathe. Secondly, thank what?” Sungmin frowned.
“Thank… Buddha?” Kyuhyun altered his phrase, cursing his inability to filter himself.
“Also, what is a knight in… what was it?”
“That,” Sungmin nodded, looking questioningly. He had thought that Eunhyuk was exaggerating when he said he could only understand a portion of what Kyuhyun said, or maybe it was because a lot of things went over the elder’s head. However, now he was here with the other, he found himself just as lost.
“Well, a knight is a warrior, who protects the innocent and the Emperor,” Kyuhyun paused between each word, thinking hard about how he was to describe this. He really needed to think before he spoke. “Basically a ‘knight in shining armour’ is my way of saying ‘warrior with a shining sword’?”
“You don’t sound very certain of yourself,” Sungmin pointed out with a disbelieving look.
“I am certain of myself!” Kyuhyun protested. He was always confident. Being confident can get you out of a lot of trouble sometimes.
“So, did you call me your warrior?”
“Why? Don’t you want to be my personal warrior? I heard you are really good at martial arts,” Kyuhyun poked the other in the chest as they started walking towards the entrance to the estate.
“Good?” Sungmin laughed mockingly. “I am the most talented of my brothers in the art of war. I have the best sword craft and the fastest reflexes. I can use any weapon. I know every strategy. It’s insulting to be called good.” The last word left his mouth with a hiss.
Kyuhyun rolled his eyes as he walked past the guards, who looked apprehensive but couldn’t stop him when he was in the company of royalty. “So you’ll be my trusted knight?”
Sungmin looked around, suddenly realising that they were no longer in the Eighth’s estate but half way down the street towards the trade markets. “You used me.”
“That’s why I called my trusty knight. You had to come rescue me.” Kyuhyun wiggled his eyebrows with a smug grin spread across his face.
“I wondered why you suddenly seemed so eager for my company that you sent me a letter, though I would’ve thought you would ask Changmin first, especially after your little adventure together.”
“Well, I could hardly ask the Tenth Prince to come take me out,” Kyuhyun frowned as he walked up to a stall and started to examine some pottery with Sungmin trailing after him. “And I can’t go out with Changmin until that last adventure as you call it, is forgotten.”
“True. I bet Hangeng told the guards to come fetch him if you try and sneak out with Changmin. Eunhyuk only married a week ago and everyone thinks that you are separated lovers. You wouldn’t want to cause such a scandal that the Emperor got involved. I’m actually surprised he hasn’t already.”
“Why would he get involved with petty rumours? He was the one who made the match in the first place,” Kyuhyun grumbled.
Sungmin sighed and patted his friend comfortingly, “Not everyone gets matched with people they like. It was a good political marriage. Donghae couldn’t marry anyone outside the royal family because of the amount of power his father has. That Imperial Father let Eunhyuk have Donghae shows how much he trusts him.”
“He only trusts him because the Emperor knows Tenth isn’t a threat.” Kyuhyun spoke quietly, knowing that the conversation they were having was dangerous, if anyone heard what they were discussing they could both be in hot water.
“My brother is underestimated sometimes. He is still a prince, we were all raised in this world of masks and deception and politics. Remember that.”
Kyuhyun, seemingly ignoring the other yet listening to every word he said, held out two types of incense and asked, “Which should I buy for Mimi ge?”
Kyuhyun was excited. The Crown Prince had invited all of his brothers and their families to a horse performance gala. Apparently in a fit of boredom he had decided to hold the event to entertain himself and everyone else. Everyone would eat, drink, ride and some would even showcase their horse riding skills. Kyuhyun had never seen a display in person. The traditional horse riders of the Manchurians and the Mongols were dying out in modern times, to see so many would be a sight and he didn’t want to miss it. Riders danced and twisted in the saddle, balancing in positions while having complete control of their horse. The Qing dynasty was not founded by someone from the Han, but was made by the Manchurians of the North. Similar to the Mongolians they had been made up of clans who lived on the plains. Cavalry and archery on horseback were key aspects of their army. While they had integrated into life as rulers of the whole of China, the royal family still regarded horseback riding as a skill that all children should learn, the affinity to horses encouraged.
However Kyuhyun had not taken into consideration ZhouMi. The older had said that he would not go, leading Kyuhyun to constantly badger his brother with questions. He didn’t understand ZhouMi’s reluctance. “Gege I know you can ride!”, “Ge~ I really want to go~”, “Gege, why don’t you want to go?”, “Gege, if you don’t like riding why do you sit and stare at that painting for hours?”
The last question was put to Mi as he was sitting and staring at the mentioned painting. “Why, ge, if you dislike horse riding, do you love that painted screen so much?”
“I have to go to pray. Luna, come with me.” ZhouMi was gone before Kyuhyun could question him further; leaving him with a sad looking Sunny and holding a small cup of tea he had brought his brother as a bribe. He sat where the older had left, the seat warm, and examined the screen that his brother seemed to love and hate at the same time yet would sometimes lose track of time staring at it. He thought maybe the older was thinking about the past, when Mi was back in the North on the plains with their father’s army, however considering Mi’s reluctance to horse ride and also to answer his questions he guessed that it was something deeper. Mi was hiding something from him.
The painting was beautiful, it covered a screen and was set on one of Mi’s many chests. It depicted a herd of wild horses running across the plains that he knew the older missed. You could feel the freedom and the wind and the wildness as the painting drew the viewer in. At the edge, running alongside the herd was one rider, a man, riding his horse in the herd, joining them in their search for freedom. The man was free and at ease and happy. He wondered why Mi looked so distant when viewing this. He looked up as Sunny walked towards him, most likely about to tell him to retire to his own chamber. “Do you know?” He asked. He had seen the look of sadness and heartbreak that had flashed across Sunny’s face earlier. It wasn’t the first time he had seen it, often Sunny became sad and protective of her master. “Do you know why Mimi ge likes this screen?”
“It’s probably because it reminds the Mistress of the Captain,” Sunny whispered, worried.
“What Captain?” Kyuhyun was perplexed, was he supposed to know a Captain?
“Do you not remember?”
“It’s probably for the best,” Sunny admitted, nodding to herself in agreement.
“Why? I want to know! Who’s the Captain?” Kyuhyun was desperate to know what Mi was hiding. He wanted to help him; the older seemed so sad and lonely.
Sunny scrunched her face and explained, “The old master forbad as from ever mentioning him again or….” She pulled out her tongue and snipped at it with her fingers while making meaningful warning eyes. “Let’s not talk of it again, hmmm?” Before she dragged Kyuhyun from the room, back to his own one.
ZhouMi surprised him later that night by telling him that they would attend the gala. Kyuhyun’s grin was big and his excitement had exploded enough that he didn’t notice the strain of the smile he got in return.
“Have you ever heard of ‘equal rights’?”
“What are they?” Sungmin glanced at his brother as he reached for the pot of tea.
“Kyuhyun was muttering about them when we went out drinking that time, he really is a talkative drunk,” Changmin laughed into his mug.
“So, what are they?” Sungmin turned to his brother, interest piqued. Changmin and he were the closest in age of all the brothers, Sungmin being born just 3 months after Changmin.
“Well, they are the idea that everybody is born with the same rights and that everyone is equal.”
Sungmin forehead furrowed, “That’s impossible. Everyone is born with a certain status and has a role to play. We all obey the Emperor.”
“Yes, but think of a different world where we could speak our mind, do as we pleased, marry whoever we wanted. The freedom people would have.” Changmin pushed on, thinking about this world.
“You’ve been thinking about it a lot, haven’t you?” At Changmin’s silence which he took as an agreement he pushed ahead, “I know you crave freedom above all things but this idea, ‘Equal rights’, it goes against everything we have been taught. It goes against everything, society, Confucius teachings, the Emperor.”
“I know. Kyuhyun was the one to tell me about it. He is full of strange thoughts. They are really interesting.”
“They are interesting if we want to end up dead,” warned Sungmin as he carried on drinking his tea. He and Changmin often had discussions about society. They had different opinions yet enjoyed each other’s company. They trusted each other enough not to go running spreading rumours of their private thoughts. Changmin’s ideas tended to be more radical, he liked to know everything and explore every possibility. Sungmin was more conservative, but equally liked to explore all avenues before making a decision. They tended to have balanced arguments and played together happily even though they had been raised in different houses. The last few times they had met they had brought up Kyuhyun, both finding him fascinating in his disregard of protocol and lack of fear of insulting a prince. They found his company refreshing and his ideas bizarre.
“You worry too much sometimes little brother.”
“I am hardly little; we are of the same age.”
“We will see him tomorrow, correct? He is coming to the Crown Prince’s party?”
“Yes, I saw him a few days ago and he was really excited. You’d think he was actually going to take part.” Sungmin laughed as he remembered the impatient Kyuhyun he had visited.
“He’s really going to have to learn how to ride.” Changmin added as he noticed the pot was empty. Frowning, he asked, “Shall we move on to something stronger?”
The next day both brothers found Kyuhyun and ZhouMi watching the display. Both were dressed in ride gowns, which resembled what men wore, the gown having additional slits at the front and back to allow the legs the wearer to ride in ease. “Greetings your Highnesses,” ZhouMi bowed, as did Kyuhyun, who wouldn’t have if it had been just himself and the princes.
“Are you enjoying the displays?” Sungmin asked Kyuhyun, who looked like a small child given a new toy.
“Yes! They just formed a tower. It was amazing!” Kyuhyun gushed. Just as he was about to start raving about the other riders, a new rider entered the field. He was amazing; lying sideways on the horse, riding backwards, twisting in saddle to show off his skill. Kyuhyun gasped as he realised that the eye catching horseman was Donghae. The other was moving fluidly and gracefully, seeming liquid. “I didn’t know he was so skilled,” Kyuhyun eked out.
“The Kim family are known as being legendary horse riders. Their mother and grandmother were famous and are still remembered. Everyone is the capital is in awe of them,” Changmin supplied, making Kyuhyun feel small, but grudgingly admitting to himself that Donghae was amazing.
Donghae stopped in front of the main viewing area, jumping off and bowing to the enraptured princes. Eunhyuk ran forward to grab his horse, as the Crown Prince walked forward to talk to him.
A collection of princes were gathered around Yoochun in the main seating, which was situated under a large gazebo, this included Eunhyuk, Yesung, Hangeng and others. They had all been watching Donghae with awe, rushing to praise him when he joined them. Kyuhyun and his group slowly walked over to join them, catching the Crown Prince praising Donghae profusely, “Our Imperial Father always said that the Kim family were the best horsemen, it seems that it still holds true.”
Pleased, Donghae blushed but said, “I am not as good as my brother, Heechul. He is a fine horse rider, who puts me to shame.”
Yoochun, laughed at the modesty, continuing, “I’m sure you are just as good as him. You certainly amazed us.”
Donghae glowed but his face faltered as he noticed Eunhyuk seemed to edge towards Kyuhyun, his eyes hardened as he thought of an idea, “Well, we are not the only family known for our skill. What of ZhouMi and Kyuhyun? They were raised in the barracks, were they not? So they should be able show us something special.”
“Yes, that’s right. Will one of you be able to show us something?” Yoochun and his company turned to the brothers, who were on the edge of the crowd. Hangeng tensed, as did Kyuhyun and Mi, all knowing that there was no way out of this. If neither gave a display that was embarrassing to themselves and their family, but Kyuhyun could barely ride and Mi refused to.
“Well, if neither of them rides, it seems that the rumours that their General father’s army has the most skilled riders are false. All those rumours of his brilliance are baseless,” Donghae added, smirking at the predicament he had thrust over the other two. Eunhyuk, knowing what was going through his spouses mind, though probably not the full extend, hurried over to his side, grasping him, determined to stop him saying anymore.
“I trained with my father’s army,” Mi spoke softly but clearly. “I’ll showcase some of my abilities.” Hangeng who had remain silent let out a gasp at this, it was silent to all but Yesung, who looked at his brother curiously.
Kyuhyun waited with the group as Mimi selected a horse and started his display. He felt worried because he had seen ZhouMi’s face as he had walked off after his offer, he had looked so withdrawn, so empty. It scared him slightly. When Mi started, he was astounded. For someone who never rode, who avoided horses like the plague, he was mesmerising. His movements were beautiful and controlled. The powerful but elegant changes caught the eye even more than Donghae had done.
“ZhouMi is very talented Eighth brother,” Eunhyuk exclaimed, he never knew that the elder’s wife could ride so well. He then quietly yelped as Donghae’s foot stamped down on his own, causing him to start bickering non-verbally with the other, trying not to draw attention from his brothers.
“Eunhyuk is right, your Ce’fujin is certainly the most talented we have seen today,” Yoochun agreed easily. Hangeng hadn’t said a word since it had been suggested that his wife ride, he looked slightly nauseous and his eyes heartbroken, but only if you looked at him closely. His mask was still in place, though the emotions he was feeling must be great to be able to slip through.
ZhouMi had finished his display and had trotted over to the crowd, giving his horse to a servant. Kyuhyun had rushed to help him, gushing that ZhouMi was spectacular, brilliant, and the best ever. “I don’t know what would’ve happened if you hadn’t of ridden. But that was amazing. We can’t have people thinking that our family is weak or inferior.”
ZhouMi remained silent as the others came over and moved to praise him. He politely bowed his head whenever anyone started to talk but calmly walked through them heading towards the tents behind the main gazebo. Kyuhyun watched him go, wondering to himself what he could do as the older hadn’t even acknowledge him. His face had been even more blank than usual, like an ice mask that he was scared of touching because of its delicacy. He knew that Mimi didn’t want to tell him, so he wouldn’t push him in case the other really did break.
He noticed that Hangeng had moved to follow Mi and he was secretly glad that it was him that was going to comfort his brother. Kyuhyun prayed that their marriage would work; he just wanted Mimi to be happy.
Hangeng approached ZhouMi as he stood just within the treeline of the woods that were at the back of the cluster of tents. They were shielded from prying eyes and ears. Hangeng took a deep breath before he spoke, “You haven’t ridden since you arrived in the capital. But I remember that you always looked beautiful on horseback.”
“I never wanted to ride a horse again,” Mi’s voice was weak, as if he was struggling to find the words.
“We are alone. No one will hear us here. Will you speak to me now?” Hangeng desperately begged. He paced nearer to his skittish wife.
“We should return home,” his wife moved to pass him back towards the tents.
Grabbing his arm, Hangeng stopped him, however as Mi stiffened he moved away, not wanting to upset the other further, “The past even if it was painful, is in the past. Isn’t it time to let go? We can still be happy, have children. I know we lost once-”
“Please stop,” the younger man was shaking and pale.
“I’m a prince, yet I cannot make my wife happy. Are we to be like this for the rest of our lives? What can I do to make you happy?” Hangeng voice pleaded, he was frantic. He had lived with the depressed ZhouMi for 5 years now, the other refusing all acts of kindness, love and affection. He tried lavishing him with presents and attention at first but over the years just being in the younger presence made him feel like a failure. His home, which should be his haven, was so fraught with tension and misunderstanding. A thread of iciness ran through the house and it made him bitter and depressed.
“I am willing for us to remain as we are, you have always been kind to me. You do not have to do any more,” ZhouMi’s voice was laced with pain. He just wanted to leave, he just wanted to be left alone. He knew he should be a better wife, a kinder wife, but he couldn’t bring himself to forgive either the prince or himself. He was paying his penance, he didn’t need for his husband to interfere. He didn’t want to be married to Hangeng in the first place.
Hangeng moved forward at hearing Mi’s words, desperate for some connection. “I am not willing. I would rather you be angry at me, or hate me, anything but this. This coldness, the lack of warmth, it’s as if you feel nothing.”
At the other’s complete silence and blank face, the prince sighed, “I understand. Your grief, your helplessness, your pain, it is a torture to us both. Your heart will never accept me again.” He gently brushed his hand along around his wife’s face, remembering when he would have moved into the loving caress rather than merely tolerate it. “I’m so sorry.” Unable to help himself he moved towards his statue of a wife, holding his shoulders and pressed a slight kiss to his brow, before whispering once again, “I’m sorry.” Then he left, praying that one day the other would love him again, would accept his touches, his attention. One day the other would feel again and he hoped that the other would heal, for the both of them.
After his brother disappeared, Kyuhyun was left with Changmin. Sungmin was with Yesung and Yoochun, laughing and talking with several other princes. Eunhyuk was being dragged off by Donghae, Kyuhyun expected Donghae to be giving his husband a tongue lashing, but he was at least glad the other had decided to do it somewhere privately. Maybe there was hope if Donghae had enough respect to scold his husband in private; maybe he’d learnt some manners.
Changmin looked at Kyuhyun, speaking before the other could, “Why don’t we…”
A/N: A warning. Siwon will disappear for a little bit. This is the time for Hankyu. Any complains, please go and watch the drama :P