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
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.
Changmin took Kyuhyun once again to his favourite drinking place. They were greeted once again, but this time by a young lady. “Your Highness, Qian jiejie hasn’t got any guests, I shall send for her straight away.”
“Thank you Sulli,” Changmin thanked her as she led the two of them to a large room, finely furnished with a table in the middle. She left them assuring them that the lady wouldn’t be long. Changmin seated himself as Kyuhyun looked around the room.
“You really do know everyone don’t you?” asked Kyuhyun, before he realised, “I’ll get to meet the beautiful Qian!”
“Yes, you will,” Changmin smirked, “I knew you wouldn’t mind befriending a courtesan, especially with how you acted last time I brought you here.”
“I explained that I think everyone is equal, did I not?” Kyuhyun examined a piece of fine pottery.
“You did. It’s strange, since most people of our class are prejudiced against anyone below us, in wealth or intelligence or in breeding.” Changmin spoke bitterly.
There was a knock on the door and it opened to reveal a beautiful woman. She wore elegant clothes that were modest, yet hugged her figure. Her eyes were lined giving them an edge and her hair, which seemed to be brown, was pulled into a tight bun at the back of her head with hair accessories, as was the fashion. She bowed deeply, “Greetings Thirteenth Prince.”
“Qian, this is Cho Kyuhyun, Kyuhyun this is Song Qian.” They inclined their heads and smiled at each other nervously.
“The Thirteenth Prince has told me about you before,” Qian had a sweet melodious voice.
“I’ve heard about you as well,” Kyuhyun smiled widely trying to put the tense looking woman at ease. He sat down on the table, opposite the silent Changmin, who looked at ease unless you looked at his curled fists. “I don’t know why everyone’s so nervous, we are all friends here.”
“You’re right,” Changmin let out the breath he didn’t realise he had been holding, “and with that thought I think we should drink.”
“I knew there was a reason I liked you.”
“Pffft, who else would put up with your drunken ramblings you mean?”
“I don’t ramble!”
“You do.” Qian had seated herself between the two men and had started to pour the drinks, handing the first cup to the prince, and then Kyuhyun. Changmin added to her, “Don’t forget yourself.”
“Thank you your highness,” Qian seemed more relaxed having watched the two of them squabble.
“Last time, you were talking about equal rights. You should explain your theory to me more.”
“I was? Seems you found it interesting.”
“You mentioned other stuff as well but by then you were too out of it to make proper sense. This time talk more before you drink.”
“He’s a prince. He was born bossy,” Qian added in.
“I like her. She sides with me,” Kyuhyun stated
“Well, if I really acted like a prince I wouldn’t want to hear more about this idea,” Changmin pouted as he emptied his cup.
Kyuhyun knew that he could trust Changmin. The other wouldn’t tell him never to mention it again if he voiced his views. The other agreed with his principles and beliefs, beliefs that were only just taking shape the other side of the globe, ideas that would only be widely accepted in hundreds of years’ time. He thought to himself that maybe Changmin was stuck in the wrong age just as much as he himself was.
“Maybe I should start with the philosophy of liberalism,” Kyuhyun and Changmin could discuss this all day. Kyuhyun never thought he would find two people who easily listened to him and thought modern day philosophy was correct. Qian, as much as Changmin, followed his explanations and aired her thoughts. She spoke of women being trapped by men, women and certain men having no freedoms. They had to follow behind, they had no control. She spoke of how the poor lived, having to sell their children to the palace, to rich families, to brothels and taverns, such as hers, just to prevent them all from starving.
“You are both so strange,” Qian spoke after several hours of their debating and discussing. “One a royal prince and one a noble man, both with wealth and status and yet, you both are here friends with a prostitute. Both dare to air your thoughts and opinions. It is amazing and admirable that you are both like this despite how you were raised. You are the top of the pile, you could live your lives without a care, disregarding all others, yet, you discuss how you hope for equality and freedom for all.”
“We are all in some form of cage,” Changmin replied. “We both happen to have been born in gilded ones, but we could just as easily have not been. Everyone is the same. We all want to be free, living without restraint.”
“You are both wonderful in my eyes.” Kyuhyun felt tears built up but blinked them away before they burst forth. He had two surprised faces turn to him are his unexpected announcement. “I never expected to find two people who shared my views. To make such close friends.”
He was graced with two winning smiles as he thought to himself that he really was glad. He was more than glad; he never thought he would be able to be himself in this age. He had toned down to try and fit in but still stood out. To be able to speak his mind freely without fear, to say whatever he liked. He thought this was fantastic.
Stumbling back home later that evening, Kyuhyun went into dinner still feeling light headed. ZhouMi showed his disapproval but didn’t say anything, passing Kyuhyun a tonic he had had made earlier. Mi’s gaze kept straying away though, towards the painted screen the other end of the room in the seating area. Kyuhyun, who still wasn’t as sharp as usual considering the amount he had been drinking earlier that day, had finally started to notice. As watched as every few minutes his elder brother would look forlornly at the painting. When they had finished eating and moved towards the area, seated side by side, Kyuhyun decided to ask. He may be opening wounds but these wounds were obviously not healed in the first place.
“Gege, you looked wonderful today.” He continued when all he got was silence in return. “Who is that man in the painting that you gaze at? You are gazing at the man, aren’t you?”
Mi sighed and looked at the painting more openly, his face now grief stricken and full of agony. “That man is the one who taught me to ride. He was a Captain in our father’s army.” He took a deep breath and carried on, his voice pained. “I loved him. I loved him so much. But the Eighth Prince proposed and our father accepted. Father told me to marry Hangeng, even though I pleaded, I begged on my knees. He wouldn’t let me be free.” Tears slowly fell down the elder’s eyes as Kyuhyun grasped his hands.
“So I married the prince, once I settled I was relatively happy. There was no way I could escape now so I decided to accept my fate. I knew I couldn’t go back to him so I was happy just to think of him, out there, being free. I became pregnant, I was happier, even if it wasn’t the life I wanted. Then when I was 3 months along I got the news-” a sob broke out of Mi as he clutched evenly more tightly to Kyuhyun while turning his face downwards and away from his brothers line of sight. “The Captain had died in battle. I was so shocked, I collapsed, and I lost my baby.” Mi’s voice steadied but was wafer thin, as if all the grief had numbed him. “I found out that the Captain had been sent to the front line by father because the prince had sent someone to uncover my past. He suspected that I had been in a relationship before. He wanted to discover the reason for my sadness.”
With a deep breath, ZhouMi calmed himself, pulling his feeling back in and wiped his tears. Standing and looking down at his still brother, he said, “I didn’t kill him, but he died because of me.” Kyuhyun watched as ZhouMi became like ice once again before his eyes, though he now knew that it was the others defence, it was Mi’s way of coping. ZhouMi stood and called out to the servants outside his room, “Luna, I am going to the altar.” He exited the room heading off to the household shrine, followed faithfully by his companion. Kyuhyun stayed in place and hoped that one day his brother, who he had only known a few months yet he already loved, would be able to process his loss. ZhouMi’s guilt and pain were consuming him.
Kyuhyun was once again walking around the estate. Snow had settled and quilted everything. Winter had firmly set in. The walking had become a daily routine with him always finding the time to roam the gardens. He loved the peacefulness and he could think clearly. He was becoming more and more drawn into this life. He sometimes even forgot that he was from the future, if only for a second. He was still adapting but he felt like he was slowly losing himself. He wondered how long he would be here. He had been in this age for 5 months now. He had made friends and connections, if he disappeared and went back to his own time would the old Kyuhyun, who inhabited this body before him, reappear? Or would this body die? Everyday his thoughts led him round and round in circles.
As he approached the pavilion, he stopped as he saw the Eighth Prince once again sitting in the same spot he was before. He wondered whether he should approach Hangeng as he had last time. Kyuhyun felt unsettled in the others presence and he had yet to fully understand why. Or the more likely reason was that he understood why but he didn’t want to acknowledge it. There was only pain down that road. Hangeng turned and looked at him from where he was sitting, smiling his wonderful smile that made Kyuhyun blush and feel like he had been caught peeking. He knew there was no escape now and walked up, greeting the prince, who had risen from where he sat.
“Where did my Thirteenth brother take you the other day?” Hangeng started. Kyuhyun didn’t know why the other was so curious about Changmin when he never inquired after Eunhyuk or Sungmin when they took him off the estate.
“We just went drinking,” Kyuhyun spoke softly, hoping that he wouldn’t get scolded. He wasn’t certain of Hangeng’s view of members of his household getting drunk in the public domain was.
“You should be careful,” warned Hangeng suddenly, his eyes scrutinising the younger’s face. He then left, once again leaving Kyuhyun confused. All the princes confused him. What did Hangeng want him to be careful of? Changmin? What people think of him? Drinking in public? Hangeng himself? He huffed as he watched the enigmatic prince walk back to the house.
Hangeng visited Heechul as he did almost daily. Heechul was a beautiful person who seemed so strong and sharp to everyone yet Hangeng knew that the other was delicate. Heechul tried to be perfect in every way just for his husband. Hangeng had a dependency on the other just as much as the other did on him. Hangeng had briefly met his primary husband at a party before he learnt that they were to be married. The beautiful man had been fending off suitors who were eager to wed in to one of the most powerful families in the country. When he was told by the Emperor that they were matched, Hangeng was ecstatic. To receive a wife who was an immense political power showed the faith his Imperial Father had in him. He had yet to learn that Heechul was obsessive and possessive. However the amount of respect Heechul had for Hangeng was immense, he would never let his prince lose face so he had the household running perfectly at all times. He made sure that every other house was jealous of his. Heechul liked being feared and respected by people. He had been raised in a grand manner and expected to be married to only one of the best. His family and background was exceptional. He had never been scolded, punished, or told that he was wrong in his entire life. He was happy to be married to the ambitious Eighth Prince, this prince who was granted extra titles and rewards at such a young age and who every person called the ‘Virtuous Prince’. Heechul would do anything that his husband asked, he wanted to be perfect, he wanted the other man’s love and affection, and he wanted to be the only one to receive that love and affection. He gave Hangeng a son, Kibum, the perfect son. He hated the other wives and concubines, so he covertly made the others feel small and look insignificant. He disliked sharing above all else and having to share Hangeng made his blood boil. But Hangeng let him do as he pleased; Heechul knew if he did anything too outrageous he would face his husband’s disapproval and disappointment which was his biggest fear. No, his biggest fear was rejection, if Hangeng left him or replaced him, he wouldn’t be able to live.
“I shall spend the New Year with Zhou Mi.” That one line struck Heechul’s biggest fear.
“But, but I’ve already prepared everything.” Heechul spoke, worried that his voice would break and his pride would be shattered.
“I am spending it with Zhou Mi. I shall visit you and Kibum in the New Year,” was all the reply he received before the whole reason for his existence walked out.
Neither ZhouMi nor Kyuhyun nor anyone in the Ce’fujin’s wing had expected the message that the Eighth Prince would be joining them to see in the New Year. Servants hurried around the wing, cleaning and scrubbing, dusting and sweeping. They cooked the favourite foods of their master as well as the traditional fish dishes and dumplings were prepared. Everything was prepared when the prince arrived later that evening. The atmosphere was more relaxed than usual with Kyuhyun telling funny stories and jokes to lighten the mood. Mi seemed to be comfortable in his husband’s presence, smiling and laughing along with Hangeng at the youngest. Kyuhyun felt relieved that the two of them were together and seemed at ease, he was concerned about what would happen when he left for the palace in a month. ZhouMi would once again be left alone, and he wanted to feel reassured that Hangeng and Mi’s relationship would be better than before Kyuhyun appeared. However, with all his antics, he felt himself grow tired and wanted to go to bed. Smiling sweetly, he asked, “Ge, can I go to bed now?”
Laughing at the syrupy voice of the younger, ZhouMi replied, “You can go to bed when you’ve seen in the New Year.”
Pouting he asked, “Can I at least rest here? I’m tired.”
When he got the confirmation, he watched as Hangeng and ZhouMi walked outside to take in the night time air. He closed his eyes, his head heavy and expected silence, which he was granted, until he heard the low voices outside on the veranda. “Your Highness, I was hoping you could grant me a favour.”
“Of course, what is it?”
“I hope you could speak to the head servants of the palace, and ask them to look kindly on Kyuhyun. I am worried about when he enters; he is still so headstrong and reckless. I don’t know how he will cope in the palace.”
“This is hardly a favour, I would do this gladly, whether you asked me to or not.”
“I wonder, would you also watch for if the Emperor wishes to match him with someone? He would not cope well if he was placed with someone he has never met. Maybe the Thirteenth Prince would be a good option?”
“I would not let Kyuhyun be unhappy. I will make sure he is placed somewhere he will be happy.”
“Thank you, your Highness.” The last words were still low and barely audible but even muffled Kyuhyun could hear the gratitude and warmth instilled in them. That his gege spoke this way, with someone he could normally barely tolerate, because of his concern for Kyuhyun, made Kyuhyun tear up. The older man genuinely loved Kyuhyun and cared for him above all others.
He raised himself, thinking to go and join them when he heard the fireworks in the distance. Jumping up, using what little energy he had left, he ran straight into Hangeng as he was entering back into the room. “It’s the New Year! Happy New Year! Can I go to bed now?!”
Blinking at the rapid speaking of his younger brother, who had spoken without taking a single breathe, Mi said, “Yes, go sleep.”
Sunny trailed after him, helping him take off his clothes and headdress more quickly and also laying them so that they didn’t get damaged or creased. “You parents should be thankful they have the mistress, if they just had you they would be sorry.”
“What?” Kyuhyun mumbled as he buried his head in the pillow, his blankets crumpled around him already.
“I said, miss, that your parents should be thankful of the mistress, you are a bad child,” Sunny tutted as she disappeared out of the room, carrying the laundry and a dirty mug that Kyuhyun had left in his room.
“I forgot!” Sleep left Kyuhyun as he realised how stupid he was, he felt bereft and remorseful, as shame flooded him. “People stay up to see in the New Year so that their parents live long lives.” Getting out of bed and dressing once again, Kyuhyun slowly started to walk around the estate, in between the buildings. He listened to people settling in to sleep for the night and he felt like a thief, sneaking through the night. He thought once again of his parents, were they mourning him? Was he dead in the future? There is nothing more tragic that a parent burying their child. He looked up into the sky, the only thing that would not change. His parents and sister were living under the same sky even if it was a different time. He realised that he was not thinking of them every minute like he used to. He seemed to be too far gone into this dream, yet with no way out of it, he would go crazy if he thought too much of the future. What was better, thinking of his past life and going crazy, or thinking this dream was reality? He felt tears spill down his cheeks, the water freezing, as it touched the cold night air. However suddenly a warm hand was brushing the tears away, sending warmth into his cheeks, a deep blush settling in.
“Do not cry,” were the words Hangeng uttered, so quietly that Kyuhyun could barely hear them over the beating of his own heart. “Why was
someone who was so happy earlier, who ran off to bed, standing out in the cold, looking so heartbroken?”
Kyuhyun sighed lightly as Hangeng didn’t move away from his place directly before him, but continued to cup his face with his hands, his fingers continuously brushing beneath the others eyes. “I forgot,” he hiccupped as his silent sobs silenced, “I forgot that I needed to stay awake for my parents. I feel like an unfilial child.”
A low laughter filled Kyuhyun’s ears as they both remained as silent as possible, the late hour and the darkness, seemingly creating a cloak around them. “I thought maybe it was something serious. You are not unfilial, only young.” Kyuhyun felt cold as the prince stepped back, creating space between them. “I have to go; I am expected at court this morning.”
“You should sleep then.”
“I have no time to sleep, I will go back and get changed, prepare my things and head out.”
Kyuhyun frowned, “Prepare, then have a nap. You can’t fall asleep at court.” The cute expression gained a huge grin off the older man.
“Go to bed now. It’s late.” Hangeng walked off, towards his own quarters, his heart feeling less heavy and a little more hopeful.
Kangin was drinking tea with his sons. They had all come to visit him to wish him a happy New Year and that this year would be as successful as his previous one. Part of him wished he was closer to his children. Being the Emperor caused a natural distance to be created between himself and the rest of the world, even his family. He had taken the throne at the age of 8; he couldn’t remember not being feared or being regarded with awe. His sons were all politically active, every one of them had an agenda, even if they didn’t acknowledge it. It was right that the sons of the Emperor worked for the Emperor and the people that carried him. He wouldn’t allow his children to lazily loll in their palaces, so he gave them all responsibilities, duties. He listened to them discuss the pirates that were attacking the Southern coastline and how to combat them when he was asked his opinion.
“I think we should leave all these discussion until after the New Year celebrations,” Kangin smiled at the sons who he had been hunting with earlier that day. Yoochun, Siwon, Hangeng, Changmin, Sungmin were all present and smiled back, happy that their father was in such a good mood. He continued pleasantly, “The maiden selections are coming up; your family’s Kyuhyun is entered, is he not, Hangeng? He’s an interesting child.”
“Yes, Imperial Father. Kyuhyun is entered,” Hangeng spoke. At the mention of the selections, several of the princes had frozen. If their father was showing an interest than there was a high chance that the boy would be chosen, if he got past the first round of selections. Siwon and Changmin exchanged glances at the same time Hangeng and Sungmin did.