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.
The splendour of the throne was magnified with the brightness of the sun shining upon it. The gold gleaming so much that it would hurt the eyes of anyone who could look at it, however since everyone’s eyes were firmly set on the ground, none daring to stare at the Emperor, it did not matter. Kangin spoke loudly and firmly, his voice one that had ruled for over 40 years, and that had brought stability to the country. No one challenged anything he said; to do so would be the death penalty and sometimes that of your family and your servants and your servants’ families.
“I have investigated and verified. The incident of the Crown Prince improperly using tributes was caused by vicious people, who used the Crown Prince’s name to fool the public and commit evil acts. All the people involved will be arrested and sentenced by the Ministry of Justice.”
The lines of princes and high advisors in the main audience room of the inner palace said nothing as the Crown Prince, who stood at the Emperor’s right hand separated from the others of the court, bowed to his father and thanked him. “Thank you for clearing my name and proving my innocence, Imperial Father.”
Kangin sighed to himself as he viewed his favourite child and spoke aloud, “Crown Prince, though you were innocent of crimes, you let yourself be fooled and so still have some fault. You should not trust so readily, you did not scrutinise what your people were doing. You should use people you know. People you know you can trust.”
“Imperial Father, I will listen to your words and watch more carefully in future.” Yoochun’s face fell on his brothers stood before the throne as he continued, “Imperial Father, the officials who brought the charges against me were all brave and righteous. They thought not of themselves but of the country and they are a good example for the other officials. I feel that they should all be rewarded, including Tenth Brother.”
Yoochun wished he could get rid of his tenth brother, the one who reported his ‘crimes’. If evidence had been found against him, he could have been in serious trouble. That Eunhyuk had the audacity to try and bring him down made Yoochun mad with hurt and anger; he was once close and cherished the friendship he had with his tenth brother. He could not openly trouble his brother, especially with him being so closely watched by both his father and the court, but he wanted the younger and all of their brothers to know that he knew what the other had done and that he wouldn’t forget it. What better way than to praise the younger to their father for turning him in? It looked as if he was forgiving and also that he was a good brother. The Emperor was a great believer in brotherly bonds and filial children, above all else.
“Crown Prince, to have such a heart is a fortune to the empire and its people.” Kangin smiled in pleasure at Yoochun’s request, just as his favourite son knew he would. “All the officials will rise in rank and the Tenth Prince will be rewarded with 1000 gold taels.”
Eunhyuk didn’t smile as he bowed to the Emperor, “Thank you, Imperial Father.”
“Thank you, Imperial Father,” Yoochun also bowed and thanked his father. He smiled as he continued speaking, his voice smooth, “I have learnt from this experience. Apart from knowing I trusted the wrong people, I thought of why others could have thought so low of me? Why did so many misunderstand me? I believe the weak relationships and the lack of brotherly unity has been the cause of discord in the court. To bond the brothers together and strengthen our ties, I hope that Imperial Father will bring all the Princes along with him on the tour.”
Kangin nodded in agreement at his son’s idea. He was glad to see him being so thoughtful. “A wise one said, ‘Only when brothers and families fight with one heart, can they win the battle.’ All of you princes must remember this.”
All the brothers in unison bowed their heads and chanted, “We will remember this.”
“Good, good. The country functions best when the Imperial family and all the brother’s hearts are united. The Crown Prince will be in charge of organising the expedition, as well as the rewards. Fourth Prince you will assist.”
“Yes, Imperial Father,” Yoochun and Siwon bowed and chanted in unison.
Later, still in their court gowns, Yoochun and Siwon walked through the Forbidden City. They had just been dismissed and the brothers had scattered to their various duties, offices and entertainments. Yoochun laughed in slight disbelief as he spoke, “I was lucky I wasn’t punished. I didn’t believe you Fourth Brother when you said I would be fine. It seems you understand Imperial Father better than I.”
“Imperial Father has always been lenient towards his children, especially to you, who he favours above all others. If he did not, he would not have named you Crown Prince.” Siwon was solemn as he walked half a step behind his older brother.
Yoochun nodded in understanding. “If I did not have you as my advisor, I may not have escaped unscathed, nor have turned this defeat into a victory. This is all due to Eighth Brother and his group.” The Crown Prince angered at the mere thought of them. Hangeng was always followed closely by Yesung, Eunhyuk and Sungmin. And the Eighth Prince was slowly winning support. Eunhyuk would never have thought to pull that stunt alone. That they moved against him made his blood boil.
“Crown Prince is exaggerating. I merely tried to help you and Imperial Father reconcile. Also Tenth Brother was being his straight forward self when he started this scandal. He did not think about his words and was careless.”
“Fourth Brother, you put too much faith and belief in the brotherly bonds Imperial Father talks about. This makes you too trusting of our brothers motives.” Yoochun stopped and looked at his brother as he tried to tell his younger brother. “Eighth Brother and his gang are nothing like you.”
“I would like to believe the best of our brothers,” Siwon stopped also beside his brother. He disliked the infighting and knew that the Imperial family had to be stable for the country to prosper. He supported the Crown Prince because he was to be the next Emperor, to keep the country stable he needed to be seen as strong and reliable. Siwon would make him a fit ruler.
“I don’t think it is that simple. I don’t think father did either, why else would he not punish me at all? I was deeply entangled in the misuse of the tributes, yet received nothing. He was reminding them all, especially Eighth’s group of who exactly the next master of the Qing empire will be.” He gestured over the roof tops of the Forbidden City from their location upon a walkway high above the courtyards. “He was warning them to stay within the boundaries of what is acceptable. Even if I was let of I still need to send them a warning of my own. Otherwise they will think they can pull something similar again.” He turned to the quiet and pensive younger man, “Fourth Brother, do you have a suitable plan?”
Hangeng was situated in his study; Eunhyuk, Yesung and Sungmin were with him. The brothers had each shown their allegiance to him and followed his guidance. He had called them to him that day to tell him of a meeting he had had with the Emperor and the Crown Prince after the court session that morning. Sungmin was already at his home when he had arrived and had known that he should call Yesung and Eunhyuk due to his brother’s troubled expression. Sungmin guessed that something that concerned his elder brother greatly had been discussed with their Imperial Father. Hangeng kept his face serious as he told his younger brothers, “The Crown Prince has recommended to Imperial Father that I should supervise and run the country while they are both on the tour to the north.”
Sungmin and Yesung stilled, their faces also becoming grave, while Eunhyuk smiled. He pouted when he noticed the grave atmosphere, “This is good isn’t it? It shows how much the Crown Prince and our Imperial Father trust you.” He looked confused as he examined each of his brothers in turn.
Yesung scoffed at the others naivety. “Are you that much of a fool? You just humiliated the Crown Prince and caused a scandal. The Crown Prince knows of yours and Eighth Brother’s closeness and is sending us a message.” He spoke bitterly.
“It is a false gift. He will have no true power, just a borrowed one. He will still have to report any major decisions to Imperial Father. Also if he acts out of turn or makes a mistake, the Crown Prince will be sure to jump on it and use it against us.” Sungmin agreed with his brother.
“The point was to prevent us from going on the trip, so that they can spread rumours about us in front of the Emperor,” Yesung continued explaining to the younger.
“The Crown Prince is subtly trying to tell us to be obedient,” Sungmin added.
“We all know that Imperial Father believes greatly in the brotherly bonds. By being magnanimous, the Crown Prince is doing exactly as Imperial Father wants.” Hangeng broke his silence to air the thoughts further. “He wants us to make a mistake.”
Eunhyuk gasped as he realised what this could mean. They all knew why they met together though they never said anything out loud. The aim was to grasp power from the incompetent Crown Prince, to make him lose his title. Yoochun was becoming more and more a liability, he didn’t deserve to be the favoured son. If Hangeng did anything wrong, Yoochun would use it. “The Crown Prince is really crafty if he has set this up as a trap for Eighth Brother to get into trouble.” Eunhyuk gulped as he thought of all the things that could go wrong.
“This wasn’t the work of the Crown Prince,” Yesung told his brother with condescension and venom dripping from his mouth. “It must have been the work of Fourth.”
Kyuhyun, Ryeowook and Jinki were sorting the tea and mixing the blends. They were chatting about the expedition that was being organised and Ryeowook asked, “Gege, do you want to be able to go with everyone?”
“When I think of the freedom outside of these walls and the countryside, I really do wish to be allowed to go.” Kyuhyun was growing sick of seeing the same walls every day. He had a more comfortable life than many in the city but still, he hated the feeling of confinement and a slight claustrophobia was starting to sneak in.
“You should go and ask Eunuch Leeteuk if you can go!” Jinki burst out, “And you should ask for us to come along too!” He jumped up and down in excitement at idea of joining the court on the tour. Kyuhyun smiled at the younger’s enthusiasm.
“I have been trying to find a way to ask,” the most senior admitted.
“Kyuhyun-ah, Kyuhyun-ah!” Shindong came in shouting the others name as was his wont to do. “I have the best news!”
Kyuhyun smiled at the elder’s infectious happiness, he never saw the elder upset, at least not for long. He would happily call the head servant’s aide his friend, they had bonded over long nights standing at the Emperor’s side and also being two of Leeteuk’s most trusted people. “What is it Shindong ge?”
“Master Leeteuk said that you will be going on the expedition!”
“Of course! And he said Ryeowook and Jinki will come along as well.” All the tea servants smiled and Ryeowook and Jinki started to buzz with energy though they restrained themselves in front of Shindong, who was still a more senior servant that they hadn’t had much contact with yet.
“Eunuch Leeteuk must have heard my wishes,” Kyuhyun told his friends.
“It wasn’t him. It was the princes that suggested you should come. The Emperor then told Master to tell you.” Shindong told the younger boy.
“Which princes?” Kyuhyun tilted his head and blinked in surprise. He hadn’t asked any of his royal friends to get him invited.
“I believe it was Fourth and Thirteenth,” Shindong said.
“Ah! Thirteenth must of known how I was feeling!” Kyuhyun was suddenly buoyant and reminded himself that he need to thank Changmin next time he saw him. Changmin was a great friend, who had just saved him from a mind numbing summer while everyone was on the expedition tour.
Walking through the gardens, carrying a basket of petals that he had just carefully picked from the flowers at the other end, Kyuhyun spotted the Fourth Prince heading towards him. His eyes widened in shock and their eyes met, as he backtracked and headed down another path praying that the other wasn’t going to follow him, but luck was not on his side as he saw the Thirteenth Prince heading towards him from the other direction. He cursed them both and speculated whether they were deliberately herding him so he couldn’t avoid the Fourth Prince. He bowed as they both neared him as the same time, “Greeting your Highnesses.”
“Why are you avoiding me?” Siwon cut across his younger brother’s replying greeting as he glared at the youngest. Changmin’s eyes twinkled at the tension he saw emanating from his friend and the powerful gaze his brother had directed at the other
“I am not avoiding you, your Highness. I merely did not see you.” Kyuhyun spoke lowly, his voice humming as he tried to avoid raising his eyes to meet the princes.
“Do you know what the punishment for lying to a prince is?” Siwon spoke quietly.
Kyuhyun froze, his breathing halted as he thought that this person wasn’t actually going to do anything was he?
Changmin grinned at the look on both of their faces and said, “Fourth Brother, you shouldn’t tease in this way. It isn’t funny and you are scaring Kyuhyun.” Siwon lips quirked into a quick smile, his dimples flashing as Kyuhyun raised his head in surprise. The smile was gone as suddenly as it had appeared but Kyuhyun had seen it; the rare smile of the Fourth Prince. It had lit up the whole face and Kyuhyun froze this time in shock of the attraction he had felt shoot through him. He let his face fall again so his head was bowed, and he felt his face flush in embarrassment, he hoped the other two didn’t know the real reason for his blush.
“Kyuhyun, Fourth Brother asked with no prompting at all if you could come on the tour with us. I just stood there and agreed.” Changmin smirked when he noticed Kyuhyun’s red cheeks. “You should at least greet us when you see us,” He continued with fake sadness in his voice.
“I am sorry if I have offended you and I thank Fourth Prince for his kindness, I will definitely find a way to repay it.” Kyuhyun dropped into another slight bow as he tried to excuse himself, “If there is nothing el-”
“Wait.” Siwon stopped the escape and Kyuhyun gritted his teeth as he prayed for a way to keep his patience. The man in front of him was going to make him go crazy. Couldn’t he just leave him alone? “The expedition will be different from the city and you will not be able to refill your supplies. Take double the expected amount needed and pack it in two separate carriages.”
Kyuhyun was surprised at the useful advice. He expected something else but was glad off any help he was given. This would be his first tour and he would be in charge of his duties, with no one to report to but Leeteuk and Leeteuk had many areas to supervise, Kyuhyun couldn’t run to him with every problem. “Thank you, your Highness,” his voice hopefully telling of his sincerity. “I will do as you suggest. Excuse me, I will take my leave.” He bowed and walked away with the elegance all the servants carried after a certain amount of time in the palace.
Changmin eyed the older in curiosity as Siwon watched the boy walk away. “When did you suddenly become so interested in tea?”
Siwon snapped his attention back to his younger brother and spoke deeply, “I am careful with everything, especially if it is to do with my duty.” He reminded the younger that he was assisting the Crown Prince with organising the whole tour. He tutted as he remember something, “Go and ask Eighth Brother if he needs anything at all, he will be left in the city so we should offer our assistance in case he needs to take care of anything. It is not easy running a country and we do not want him to get into any difficulty in our absence.”
“Of course,” Changmin easily spoke, knowing that Siwon was genuine in his care for all his brothers.
Siwon’s head turned back down the path that Kyuhyun had disappeared down before he walked off, trailed by a smirking and all-knowing Changmin.
Kyuhyun opened his door from the careful knocking expecting Shindong or one of the palace servants, what he did not expect was the serene smile of the Eighth Prince. He came out of his quarters and into the little courtyard that was situated in front of them, he bowed automatically.
“Dispense with formalities,” Hangeng spoke slowly as he examined the area. “This is the first time I have seen where you live. It looks peaceful.”
“It is. I am a head officer now, where I live can’t be shabby,” Kyuhyun smiled at his brother-in-law, happy to see a familiar face, but curious as to the reason for his visit. “I share this place with Ryeowook and Jinki but they are on shift at the moment.” He shut his eyes as he realised that he may have implied something. He sometimes didn’t think before he spoke. He opened his eyes to the princes amused face.
“I will be staying in the capital during the tour,” Hangeng told the younger, his voice had dropped and his face serious.
“I understand.” Kyuhyun’s eyes fell.
“I will not be able to help you and the expedition is long and hard. You must be careful.” Hangeng spoke firmly, concern peppered his speech.
“I have changed,” Kyuhyun’s voice was gentle and reassuring as he replied. “I am no longer the careless boy I once was. I have been in the palace a while now.”
“You have done better than I thought you would have,” Hangeng remembered all the fear he had felt when Kyuhyun had first entered the palace had had been given this position. “I never thought that Imperial Father and Leeteuk would both value you so highly. But I am still concerned that one day you will lose your temper and you will get yourself into trouble.”
“You have to give up something to gain something. If I was how I used to be, I would not be here living peacefully and I wouldn’t be able to talk to Eighth Prince peacefully.” Kyuhyun’s face became contemplative, but still calm; it seemed to embody the stillness that ZhouMi was capable of.
“To gain something, you must first give something.” Hangeng smiled wryly at the still so innocent boy in front of him, who was protected from the fierceness of the court.
“Master, Master,” A harried looking Minseok rushed around the corner and bowed to the prince. The prince didn’t say goodbye but swept the back of his hand across Kyuhyun’s cheek before he left and followed his servant out of the courtyard. Kyuhyun watched him leave and questioned in his mind, “What will you give up to get what you want? What do you want the most?”
Kyuhyun already knew what the Eighth Prince wanted though and he knew what that person would do to try and get it.
Heechul was seated outside of the main residence of his husband, in the vast estate. He had been sat here several hours, even with his maid asking repeatedly for him to move somewhere warmer. Hangeng hadn’t visited him in months, his heart broke daily as he sat and waited for the person to appear, but he never did. Hangeng entered the courtyard heading towards his chambers when he saw his primary wife shivering on in the outer courtyard. He gulped but still felt the anger and moved to avoid the pale man. Heechul rose and approached the prince as soon as he noticed his arrival, “My lord, I haven’t seen you in so long.” Heechul as soon as he saw his missing lover ignoring him followed him, tugging again at his arm. “Please, I am sorry, I have waited for so long. Please see me.” Heechul begged, willing to humiliate himself in this way if only his husband came back to him. “What can I do who you to forgive me? I will do whatever you want.”
Hangeng face was cold and hard as he harshly told the tearful man, “Let go.”
“I won’t do anything to make you unhappy again. Please forgive me this once.” Heechul’s face was torn and desperate. He had been abandoned by his lover and this was the most painful time in his life, he couldn’t live like this. He needed the other so much.
“Let go,” Hangeng grasped his wife’s wrist but heard a whimper of pain, confusion marred his face since he hadn’t held it that tightly, he pulled the robe back to reveal a bandage. Heechul turned his face away in shame as his husband looked upon his wound. “Come with me.” Hangeng sighed as he brought the trembling man into his personal residence, a place that Heechul had not been allowed access in several months.
Hangeng slowly unwrapped the bandage and redressed it with fresh cloth after he examined the slightly deep gash in the others inner arm. “It was an accident. I dropped a knife.” Heechul spoke weakly, barely convincing. “When will you forgive me?” He was seated on a love seat with Hangeng being tender and kind to him once again; he wondered if he was dreaming.
“I have already forgiven you,” Hangeng was gentle with the delicate man.
Heechul’s eyes filled with tears, but this time they were happy. “I thought this day would never come. I felt like I had been ignored forever and I waited so long and so bitterly.” He snivelled as he continued. “I know I shouldn’t be selfish and jealous but I love you, my lord, with all my heart.” Hangeng rose at the others declaration, he felt unable to reply with the same. Heechul followed him as he always would, pressing himself against his husbands side and clinging, not daring to let go yet for fear of the other disappearing again. “Nothing will ever stop my love. I will always stay with you, I can’t live without you. This punishment was the cruellest I have endured.” His voice broke as he thought of the past months and his depression.
Hangeng closed his eyes at the love and devotion he heard, he maybe was too hard on the other, but he had been so angry.
“I will do anything for you, anything.” Heechul whispered, knowing that this was the truest thing he could ever say.
“I know you will always stay loyal and do your best for me,” Hangeng murmured. “You will always be my Di’fujin.” Heechul smiled at the small reassurance, willing to take any kindness his husband showed him.
A/N: A character guide - here. Because there are a lot of characters apparently...