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
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 sat in the personal chambers of Qian, waiting for the courtesan to return from entertaining a client. Not all her clients paid for entry into her bed, only the wealthiest could afford that. Most only paid for her company, to be allowed to look at her beauty, for her to sing or dance for them. She was the most sought after entertainer in the city and her tavern had the most exclusive clientele. Her favourite customer was by far the Thirteenth Prince, he visited her before she became popular; maybe it was that knowledge that she also entertained royals that added to her reputation. The Thirteenth Prince was now more than a customer, she would never admit it out loud for fear of damaging him, but a hint of something more peppered their relations. The tenderness and friendship that grew over the years and Changmin often telling her his deepest concerns and worries, this showed her that their relationship was edging on dangerous territory. A prince and a courtesan, it would never be allowed. She had been sold as a child to this tavern and had been with so many men she felt used, yet Changmin refused to see her that way. She would never betray him, she would never allow a smudge against his name, she knew she would do anything that he asked of her, but neither of them ever said any of their feelings aloud. Both knew it was forbidden.
She entered her chambers and noticed the man she adored more than life looking out of the window at the falling snow. She slowly walked up, knowing he would have heard her, and wrapped her arms around his torso, burying her face in the back of his shoulder blades.
“The Emperor mentioned Kyuhyun today,” was all the acknowledgement she got. “There is a high probability that he will be chosen if Imperial Father is talking about him.” The deep sigh Changmin let out sounded his helplessness.
“A life like that, trapped in the palace for the rest of his life, I think it would be a worse fate than death for Kyuhyun,” Qian muttered, also feeling the helplessness. She had only met the other once, but Kyuhyun had been so kind and treated her like an equal instead of a paid toy. He had listened to her opinions and talked of his beliefs in equality and freedom. She wished there was something she could do to help the boy, who would suffer greatly confined in the gilded cage that was the palace. “The maiden selections are a nightmare for many. If they catch the Emperor’s eye they become concubines and are confined to the palace for the rest of their lives. If they don’t, they still have to spend their most precious years trapped in there.” Qian thought of how though the Qing dynasty is considered generous, in that they are allowed to leave the palace when their time is up, it was still cruel. To take the children of the nobles and ask them to serve the Emperor, to not be allowed to leave. Even when they do leave, most were married to dignitaries, officials or generals. No one was free of the Emperor and everyone was stifled in the palace.
“I have to do something,” Changmin spoke harshly, angry at the world, but he continued to look out at the snow while the woman he wished he could openly love, clung to his back.
“It’s a pity that we were all born of this era, if we lived in the world that you and Kyuhyun dream of.” She paused and spoke again of Kyuhyun’s predicament. “If we could prevent Kyuhyun from being chosen, then at least he would be able to work towards his freedom.” Her tears that she had been holding back, started to soak into the back of her lover’s gown as she wished them all to live in another time, a time when a prince could love a prostitute, children didn’t get sold into slavery to feed their families and people could say no to the Emperor.
Kyuhyun was messing around with drawing. There was only a certain amount of activities that were available to him. Most of his hobbies before he was transported to this time were of the technological variety. He played computer games, watched movies, chatted online. Now he was stuck with no way to access those toys so he did other things, anything really. Today, he had decided to practice his calligraphy but ended up drawing instead. Sunny crept up behind him, “What are you drawing Miss?”
“A manga!” Kyuhyun grinned happily, knowing that no one would have ever drawn like this before and knowing Sunny was pulling a face behind his back not having understood him, but not caring. “What is a manga?” She asked, annoyance clear in her voice.
A male servant entered from outside and stated, “My lord would like to see you.”
Sunny and Kyuhyun looked at each other in apprehension. Sunny hissed quietly at her master, “What did you do now?”
“I didn’t do anything, I don’t think.” Kyuhyun thought hard about the last few days as he followed the servant that was sent to fetch him. The days had been quiet, he had celebrated the New Year and since the celebrations were still on-going he was planning to go to the street festival that evening. He had asked for ZhouMi’s permission, which had been granted, on the understanding that Kyuhyun was to remain with Sunny at all times. He hoped that the prince hadn’t heard of this and decided to cancel Kyuhyun’s plans. He really was looking forward to seeing the celebrations. He entered the room, unsure of what the lord within wanted from him. Hangeng was standing before his desk, and he turned as Kyuhyun entered the room, something clasped in his hand that he stopped fiddling with when the boy had come in. After Kyuhyun’s greeting, he just stood and looked intently at the younger, with Kyuhyun trying to discern the emotions in that look.
“After the New Year’s celebrations are over, you will be entering the palace. Are you ready yet?”
“I believe Mimi ge wishes for us to go shopping. He wants to buy some more accessories and clothing. Anything I might need during my stay in palace,” The unspoken understanding that no one can leave the Forbidden City once they have entered, at least until they have served their time.
“Don’t dress up,” Hangeng said firmly.
“Excuse me,” Kyuhyun blinked in response to Hangeng quick and strong reply.
“Dress plainly, don’t draw attention.” Hangeng ordered the younger, wanting to convey his desperation. His eyes showed a hint of fear as he looked at Kyuhyun, as well as something deeper, a longing. Kyuhyun stepped back automatically when the other strode towards him without any warning, coming into his personal space. The others eyes still were still pleading but they had softened and when the prince grasped Kyuhyun’s hand he tried to tug it away. Kyuhyun felt a bangle of stone slip onto his wrist, the cold weight feeling strangely like a binding, a binding connecting him to Hangeng. Before he had time to think of what to say, Hangeng walked away, back to his desk, speaking without looking at Kyuhyun. “Go, I am expecting the Internal Minster.”
Kyuhyun left, confused. He felt drawn to Hangeng and he had a feeling that the other felt the draw just as greatly as he did, but Kyuhyun didn’t want to be married to this man. He wanted freedom. If he married Hangeng then he would become just as trapped as his brother. He saw how wives lived and he didn’t want that. It didn’t matter anyway, in less than 2 weeks he would be entering the palace. He had to focus on that. He had too much to think about, let alone whether his brother-in-law, the Eighth Prince, the one who would lose the throne, had feelings for him nor how he was probably returning them.
The street festival was amazing. People were everywhere, there were people dancing and dragon and lion dancers were jumping around. The smell of all the different foods permeated the air and fireworks were bursting overhead as people waved sparklers. Lanterns were handing from every post and hanging on strings dangling between the buildings. The sound of drums, pipes and whistles filled the area as well as the sound of hundreds of people laughing and chattering. There was so much going on and Kyuhyun felt overwhelmed. It was not so different from celebrating the New Year in his time. People and their emotions seemed to stay the same no matter which generation you were part of. As he was watching the martial arts display in the centre of the square he spotted Changmin across the way. Waving at him, Sunny and Kyuhyun walked towards him as he headed towards them, followed by a servant boy.
“Greetings Thirteenth Prince,” chanted Sunny and Kyuhyun, both bowing.
“Kyuhyun,” Changmin greeted in return. “Did you get permission to go out or are you sneaking?”
Pulling an unamused face Kyuhyun said, “I am with Sunny. She wouldn’t allow me to sneak out. Besides I am a reformed character, I haven’t been reprimanded for anything this year!”
“The year only started a few days ago. It would be hard to cause trouble already,” laughed the taller. “I knew you would be out tonight, you wouldn’t stay in with this party outside your door.”
“How did you know how to find me? This place is huge,” Kyuhyun asked as he examined some of the treats that a vendor was trying to sell him.
“This is the main road that leads to the Eighth’s estate, I assumed you would be somewhere along here.”
Kyuhyun turned to him and caught sight of the pretty servant that was half hidden behind the prince, “Qian!” This caused the woman, dressed as a boy to smile and step forward.
“Greetings, Miss Kyuhyun.”
“There is no need to be formal with me,” Kyuhyun smiled before hitting Changmin on the forearm. “Why didn’t you tell me straight away?”
“Ouch!” Changmin opened his mouth in awe at Kyuhyun’s daring. “You do know I could have you arrested for that?” All he got was a look of disbelief. “I could!”
“I thought he was pretty,” Sunny added. “But then again there are a lot of pretty boys.”
Rolling his eyes as he listened to Kyuhyun and Qian talk about banalities with occasional interjections from Sunny, he decided to steer them somewhere, “There is a good restaurant, just up ahead. We can go eat.”
Changmin led them to the restaurant where the proprietor seemed to know him, leading them straight away to a room upstairs away from the noise and the crowds. After serving them food and drink, he disappeared, telling them that they would have a good view of the dancing and the celebrations from the balcony going off of their room.
Before they even had time to settle in, Changmin, Kyuhyun and Qian seated with Sunny standing behind her master, Sungmin appeared up the stairs followed by an entourage. He saw Changmin, smiled and led his group over to their table.
“Thirteenth Brother, I did not expect to see you here. Shall we join you for a drink?” Sungmin was in good spirits, his smile making everyone smile in response.
“Of course, I would not want you to sit elsewhere,” Changmin added.
A man in the back, with a smarmy grin, spoke from the back of the group. “Is that the courtesan Qian you have in your company, your Highness? She is just as beautiful as she was when I visited her a few months ago; her warm touch was breath taking then. I may well have to pay her another visit since her beauty has enraptured me once again.”
Sungmin’s face fell as he took in the sight of Kyuhyun and Changmin dining with a known prostitute. Kyuhyun had grasped Qian’s hand under the table in support as she blushed in shame at being public questioned when she was supposed to be spending an evening relaxing, being herself, in the company of friends. Changmin’s face had become blank but his eyes held an angry that he was keeping under control.
“I would think that you would be less crude as you are in the company of two princes,” Kyuhyun bit out, eying the man that had publicly announced Qian’s identity.
“Oh, it seems the Thirteenth Prince is a Casanova, he has two beauties entertaining him this evening. Maybe one day you will be as famous as Lady Qian,” the smarmy man continued. Sungmin’s face became grim at the implication while another man gasped and hit his companion.
“That’s the son of General Cho!”
The smarmy grin disappeared as fear seemed to blanket the formerly over confident man. “I’m sorry. Forgive me, my lords, your highnesses.”
“Quiet!” Sungmin spoke severely, his breathing erratic as he kept his temper in check. He turned to his brother and continued, “It is late. I will take Kyuhyun home.”
Changmin gazed at his brother, who was one of the closest to him and knew that when the younger had the chance he would find him. He expected an angry Sungmin on his doorstep tomorrow morning; he’d probably drag him out of bed at the same time. He nodded, agreeing, “Of course. You will save me the trouble.”
Kyuhyun let go of Qian’s hand and before the shocked faces of Sungmin and his guests, Kyuhyun hugged the woman, whispering, “It’s alright. Goodbye.” He smiled brightly, knowing that this would be the last time he saw her in a long time. He was going into the palace and he had no time before that to visit her. He hoped he would see her after he came out, even though it was approximately 10 years in the future, but that all depended on not getting chosen, in which case he would never see her again.
After leaving the building, Sungmin scattered his followers, telling them that he would take Kyuhyun home on his own and that he would see them again soon. Kyuhyun thought he heard a whimper out of the man who had insinuated that Kyuhyun was a prostitute. Kyuhyun didn’t care what others thought of him but it seemed that Sungmin did.
“What were you doing hanging around with her?” was the first question that the prince fired at him as Sungmin pulled Kyuhyun along the street followed by a wide eyed Sunny.
“What’s wrong with her? She has a name you know; Qian,” Kyuhyun spoke swiftly, his annoyance clear in his voice and manner.
“Are you an idiot? People will talk if they see you casually spending time with a prostitute. Why do you think Changmin disguises her as a servant?” Sungmin countered.
“To stop narrow minded people, such as you, from judging her,” Kyuhyun said. “You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover!”
“I’m narrow-minded? I’m a realist. And what does judging a book have to do with anything? No good will come of either you or Changmin being friends with her. Visit her in her place of work, fine! But do not breach the barrier between the two of you and openly befriend her. The way that man tonight looked at you and spoke to you, do you want others to do the same? That Changmin introduced the two of you-” Sungmin continued his lecture, pulling the fuming Kyuhyun, as they marched up to the entrance to the estate.
“You may be a realist but that doesn’t stop you from being wrong. I will be friends with whoever I like. There should be no difference between myself and Qian. That is what I believe and you cannot change it!” Kyuhyun spat the last words out before wrenching his arm free and storming off towards his own quarters with Sunny running after him, trying to calm him down. Sungmin considered running after the other but decided against it, thinking he should maybe go and hunt down his wayward brother and deliver a similar lecture.
The next day ZhouMi had dragged Kyuhyun out shopping. They were visiting all the shops, because according to Mi, Kyuhyun needed everything. Kyuhyun knew he wouldn’t be allowed out of the palace and so wouldn’t be able to go shopping for a long time and personally he wouldn’t miss the shopping trips that his older brother loved so much. He would however miss the elder’s face when he found something he adored, seeing a happy or content Mi was rare, but it normally only happened outside the estate and when the other was shopping. Kyuhyun shuddered to think how much his brother was spending today on accessories and fabrics. Kyuhyun absentmindedly fiddled with the bangle which now adorned his wrist when Mi caught sight of it. “How beautiful! That’s phoenix blood jade. It’s very precious.”
Kyuhyun gasped, trying to think of something to say but Mi kept on speaking, “Did the Thirteenth Prince give it to you? He must value you to give you something so rare.” Kyuhyun watched in shock as his brother then moved off, examining some other trinkets that he wanted the shop keeper to wrap up and have delivered to the Eighth’s estate. Mi was just deciding on whether to buy some earrings when Heechul and Donghae entered the store. Both Kyuhyun and ZhouMi rose and bowed to the more senior wives. Donghae ignored them as he sashayed over to the shopkeeper and examined the delicate earrings that Mi had been about to buy. “Wrap these and send them to the estate of the Tenth Prince.”
Mi stiffened as Kyuhyun watched Donghae who seemed to be intent on getting a rise out of him. Little did Donghae realise that Kyuhyun had no interest in the baubles that filled this shop. “You are right Lady Donghae, I think those earrings would suit you nicely. We are done in here so have my chair.” Kyuhyun smiled as sweetly and genuinely as possible, loving the look of shock that filled the others face and bowed once again with ZhouMi as they exited the shop.
“He didn’t fight me,” Donghae pouted to his older brother as Heechul started to bite his lower lip.
“That isn’t good; it shows he has learnt some self-control.”
“Why are you so concerned gege?”
Heechul looked with concerned eyes at his baby brother, “It will make him more endearing during the maiden selections. I don’t think I could bare it if he was chosen. It would raise both his own and ZhouMi’s status; ZhouMi’s would be on par with my own.” Heechul spoke bitterly, he hated ZhouMi more than anything. He wanted as much distance in worth between them as possible, he wanted to be superior to his rival in every way. His eyes started to blur as he gazed at his worried younger brother, “You know that Hangeng spent New Year with them, he left me all alone with Kibum. I heard the servants say that there was laughter til the early hours of the morning. They said that Hangeng values his Ce’fujin more and more these days.”
“But he visits you daily gege, you will always be his Di’fujin,” Donghae tried to comfort his forlorn brother.
“He is visiting him more often. Before Kyuhyun arrived he would visit every two to three weeks, now he visits ZhouMi every three or four days,” Heechul hissed, keeping his tone low as he was aware that they were still in a public place.
“Kyuhyun will be gone in a few days, and then it will return to normal, I’m sure of it. Hangeng would never replace you, you are the most important to him.” Donghae murmured knowing that Heechul would hate anyone seeing him suffer a moment of weakness.
“I have to do something though,” Heechul uttered as he was struck by an idea and filled with a new resolution.
A/N: Live Journal is a pain and said this chapter was too big :( part 2