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.
Kyuhyun was present when Kangin received the missive from the capital that day. He saw Kangin freeze and let the paper fall from his hands as tears started to fall silently down his face. Only Leeteuk, Shindong, Ryeowook and himself were in the room at the time and they all fell to their knees, bowing their heads so they didn’t witness the most powerful man in this part of the world break down. Mourning is a private moment and it was intensely personal to see a man read that his child was lost to him and crumble, let alone that man be the Emperor of Qing China.
“Everyone leave.” Kangin spoke, his voice steady and strong as he didn’t allow himself to let go completely in the presence anyone else. As they respectfully exited the room Leeteuk bowed to them before he shut the door, whispering weakly, “Do not allow anyone to enter under any circumstances. Dismiss the servants.”
Shindong and Kyuhyun exchanged glances before they looked at the eunuchs and maids that they were in charge of that were lined up outside the Emperor’s chambers. They were currently residing in one of the imperial houses that were between Mongolia and Beijing. The Emperor was not expected to camp daily so when possible he rested at houses of noblemen, some owned by the crown. This estate was one of the Emperor’s own. Kyuhyun spoke first, “We should dismiss them. I will stay on duty with Ryeowook in case the Emperor needs anything during the night. Tell the eunuchs on duty tonight quietly what has happened and for them to be extra alert in case anything is required of them.” Shindong nodded his agreement before hurrying over to the eunuchs while Kyuhyun dismissed the maids that he was in charge of.
The princes approached the Emperor’s quarters as soon as they heard the news, all going to tend to their father in his time of grief. Shindong stopped them politely and told them that the Emperor was resting and would see them tomorrow also that he would tell them if they were needed. Changmin nodded, “We should rest brothers so that we will be alert for tomorrow. Our Imperial Father will need comfort and support.”
While they turned and left Siwon sent a look of sorrow towards Kyuhyun, making the younger’s heart ache. He quietly told Ryeowook, “I am going to get some calming tea for the Emperor.” Slipping away from the Emperor’s courtyard he headed towards the small servants’ area that he, Ryeowook and Jinki had been assigned. He heard footsteps behind him and Siwon lowly call out his voice once he had turned the corner.
“Greeting Fourth Prince,” Kyuhyun bowed.
Siwon’s eyes were sad as he took in the younger man. He spoke carefully, “Kyuhyun, I ask you to take extra care of the Imperial Father on my behalf. A death of a child can break any man even an Emperor. He has said that he views you as another of his children before, will you please give him comfort?” The pleading and heartbroken face of the stoic Fourth Prince pierced Kyuhyun’s shell further than he wished.
“I understand, your Highness,” Kyuhyun closed his eyes and bowed once more as the other man left, trying to block out this prince from his mind.
Later that night Kyuhyun brought the Emperor his tea. Leeteuk had been with the Emperor since he had received the news and now Kangin had allowed Kyuhyun to also enter his room. The Emperor was looking out at the rain which was pouring down; he thought this was appropriate weather considering how his heart felt.
“This is nerve calming tea your Majesty. Please have some.” Kyuhyun spoke kindly, trying to tempt the elder man.
“I don’t want to drink,” Kangin’s voice was gravelly indicating his intense emotions that were within him.
“Your Majesty, the Eighteenth Prince was an intelligent, obedient and filial child. He was beloved by all that knew him. That’s why heaven wanted him back.” Kyuhyun felt tears well up as he spoke but he hoped to comfort the listener.
“Amongst my many children, Luhan is the most intelligent.” Kangin used the prince’s private name. No one referred to royalty by their names, only the princes’ mothers called them that and only in private. Not even their wives would call them by their given name. “He is as handsome as the Crown Prince. He is the son I am closest to. He writes and paints to cheer me up and plays jokes and sings songs to distract me when I am working too hard. He brought me endless comfort and joy.” Kangin’s voice cracked slightly.
“To have received so much of the Emperor’s love and affection, Eighteenth Prince will have no regrets.”
“Amongst my many children, there were not many as close to me as he was,” Kangin smiled slightly as he looked as Kyuhyun for the first time, turning away from the rain. He became grave once again as he continued, “They are all my children.” Kangin found he could not keep looking at the sympathetic face of the young boy beside him and returned to looked out of the open doors. “I raised the Crown Prince myself. When he was four he could recite the Five Classics, when he was eleven he could speak fluent Manchurian, Mandarin and Mongolian. He was so close to me.” Kangin’s pride as he remembered the young Crown Prince turned to confusion as he thought of the present day Crown Prince. “But as he grew up, he became…” The man sighed as he didn’t know how to describe the man he didn’t remember bring up. The beautiful and precious boy he knew had turned so unmanageable and unruly.
“The Empress died not long after the Crown Prince was born, making him motherless. The only thing I could do was dote on him more. It was all I could do for the late Empress.” Kyuhyun heard the quiver in Kangin’s voice as he was clearly affected remembering his dead Empress. Kangin’s devotion to her was well noted; he would never replace her or give any other the title of Empress. Kyuhyun felt himself ache as he didn’t know how to help his hurting master. This man who had been through so much since he became Emperor at the age of 7, who had built a mighty Dynasty out of the crumbling former one, who would suffer so much more before he left this life for the next one.
Yoochun advanced toward the Emperor’s quarter and Shindong rushed to meet him. “Your servant greets you Crown Prince.”
“I am here to see Imperial Father,” Yoochun spoke arrogantly, determined to see his father after being rebuffed earlier.
“The Emperor is resting,” Shindong bowed apologetically.
“Where is Leeteuk?” Yoochun’s eyes flashed at the denial. He would get his own way and no one could tell him otherwise.
“My master is attending the Emperor. I cannot get him at the moment.”
“If the Emperor is resting then you should be able to get your master to come out and speak to me.” Yoochun’s tone was disdainful as he glared at the servant.
“Crown Prince, I did not mean to cause offence. I am afraid you will alarm the Emperor if you appear. You should come back in the morning.” Shindong tried to tell the royal before he was pushed aside.
“Open the door now!” Yoochun barked at the eunuchs who gaped at seeing their senior pushed to the floor.
“What are you doing?!” The Crown Prince stumbled back as he came face to face with his father. Kangin had heard Yoochun outside and the man’s attempt to barge through and intimidate the imperial servants did not please the elder. “Detain him and call my advisors.” Kangin bit out before withdrawing into his chambers letting Leeteuk met out the orders. Leeteuk always knew what he meant; it came with years of Leeteuk standing by his side and in his shadow. The aide knew what he was thinking when even he himself did not know.
He could feel the knowing eyes of his closest friend and advisor when he came back into the room. They both knew what would happen next and there was no need to say the words out loud. Leeteuk helped him don his imperial court robes and massaged his shoulders as they silently went performed the rituals they had many times before then the servant followed his master as they headed towards the audience room of this house.
Kangin sat before a full court of advisors and princes, all of whom had accompanied him on the trip to Mongolia or who had ridden to meet him as he had neared the capital. They must be aware that something big was going to be said since they were all called in the middle of the night. Some seemed half more ruffled than normal though all were incredibly alert as was expected when you are called to attend the Emperor at this time of night. Only something incredibly serious would cause this.
Yoochun was on his knees hunched forward surrounded by the others of the court in similar positions. The atmosphere was grave as the Emperor started speaking.
“The Crown Prince is unrepentant. He has no respect for the law or propriety. I’ve let him have his way for over 20 years. But not only was he unrepentant, he is getting more worse by the day. It would be difficult for him to take of the mantle of our forefathers.”
The court was silent as they waited for the fuming Emperor to continue.
“The Crown Prince is unqualified. He does not listen to my teachings and he acts out repeatedly. He holds no esteem for anyone. In my 29thyear of reign, when I was forging ties with Geerdan, I fell ill and longed for the Crown Prince. Therefore, I summoned him to my side. At that time, I already saw that the Crown Prince had no kindness or love for his father. And since the Eighteenth Prince has passed away, due to my advanced age, everyone was worried about me. But you… only you…” Kangin spoke to Yoochun. “Only you, his own brother, showed no signs of love or compassion. You have caused me great grief and distress.” Yoochun trembled as he felt the Emperor’s wrath pointed towards him.
“The Crown Prince took recklessly from the state treasury and interfered with state affairs. His transgressions are countless. I had hoped that he would turn over a new leaf, which is why I bore with this until today. But the Crown Prince shows no repentance or remorse. The Crown Prince does not have me in his eyes.” Kangin rose up and paced towards the kneeling prince who was quivering at the anger his father was showing towards him for the first time in his life. “If such a person was to take on the mantle of a ruler, he would only ruin our country! Ruin the people. I will not tolerate an unfilial person with no benevolence to become Emperor. I declare to the world and to the heavens, the Crown Prince is stripped of his title!”
At calling out the words, Kangin collapsed as all the stress of the past few days descended onto him and he let himself fall into the darkness. He heard his sons start to call his name and for the imperial physician to come before he couldn’t hear anymore.
Changmin followed Siwon out of their father’s chamber. The doctor’s had said that stress and grief had caused him to become ill. They told him to rest and take calming medicines. Kangin had placed Siwon in charge of the Crown Prince and also in charge of dealing with everything until they reached the capital.
“Fourth Brother, what are you planning to do with Second Brother?” Changmin asked once they were away from the prying eyes of their other brothers.
“This will be difficult.”
“Are you still going to defend him?” Changmin spoke in disbelief. “He deserved to be stripped.”
Siwon sighed as he stopped and looked disapprovingly at his younger sibling.
“It’s the truth. The Crown Prince’s nature is normally covered up by either you or Imperial Father. You always help him!” The accusation was in his tone. “Yet he never changes. He continues act in the same manner, embarrassing us all. This time he acted this way outside of the capital and in front of an ally. He went too far. He humiliated our country as well as our Imperial Father. This time even Imperial Father is unforgiving, so are you really going to keep defending him?”
“Our Imperial Father may have acted out of anger and frustration. We do not know yet whether he will continue to hold the deposition. We should just do as we are told.” Siwon told his younger brother. He then added, “Patience.” Before he turned and carried on walking leaving Changmin once again in a mixture of contemplation and frustration.
“Minster Feng was in such a rush outside the palace that he bumped into Minister Wong and his court hat nearly fell off!” Shindong laughed as he recounted the madness of court that morning. “It was such a sight I had to bite my tongue to prevent myself from laughing. All the ministers are in state now that there is no Crown Prince. They just continuous run around in circles from one group to the next and they have red flustered faces.” He continued chuckling at the image while the Jinki joined in.
“Everyone is going crazy now there isn’t a Crown Prince.” Ryeowook added from where he was mixing certain leaves together to create a brew. “When I went to serve the Emperor I had to weave through half a dozen groups who were trying to get into to see the Emperor.”
“All the ministers have their own opinions on which prince they want to be the Crown Prince.” Shindong added while stealing some of the pastry that Jinki had just finished preparing.
“Who do you think will be the Crown Prince?” Jinki asked eagerly as he swatted away further attempt of Shindong to steal his creations.
“Well, when it comes to intelligence, the Eighth Prince is the best,” Ryeowook spoke brightly.
“For charisma, courage and strength of will there is Fourteenth Prince.” Shindong added. He had spent a lot of time listening in to the conversations that were floating around the court.
“Thirteenth Prince has just as much of that as Fourteenth Prince,” Jinki pointed out.
“True. Also First Prince is still the eldest and that might give him the superior edge,” This time Shindong spoke, speculation high as he thought of all the arguments in favour of various princes.
“What do you think Gege?” Ryeowook asked the silent Kyuhyun from his place in the corner where he was reading the inventory of his stock.
“About what?” Kyuhyun asked as he looked up, he had only half been listening to the conversation.
“About who should be the Crown Prince?”
“The Emperor probably already knows in his heart who the Crown Prince should be. We shouldn’t gossip about this. It doesn’t happen who our master is, we will still continue on our work. Nothing will change for us, we should just take good care of whoever the master is. More work, less talk.” Kyuhyun yawned slightly as he got up to pour himself some tea. They had been back in the capital a month and everything had been incredibly hectic. The court and palace was in an uproar when they arrived back because of the news about the deposition of the Crown Prince. The Emperor had remained ill for a while and was still weak. His grief was still there and his sadness about Yoochun compounded to make a despondent Emperor.
“That is a good way to put it,” The voice of Leeteuk floated through the doors as he entered the room.
“Eunuch Leeteuk,” all of them bowed to the more senior man.
“You should all follow Kyuhyun more closely,” Leeteuk lectured gently to the gossiping bunch who looked slightly abashed. “With you being so wise, how could I possibly advise you anymore? You have grown so much since you entered the palace.” He spoke fondly as he looked upon the young boy who had grown so much since he had entered the palace so long ago.
“No one knows what their future will be in the palace. I still need your guidance in so many areas.” Kyuhyun spoke just as fondly to the man who had helped him immensely since he had been assigned to work with him.
“Get back to work everyone,” Leeteuk told the group. “I just came to fetch Shindong. He was taking longer than he should have.”
“Sorry master,” Shindong apologised while bowing, following his master out of the room.
Kyuhyun knew that Shindong would just get a verbal telling off. The other servant was constantly wandering off when there was nothing for him to do and Leeteuk had never punished him severely for it. The eldest wasn’t a harsh man and treated the younger Shindong as his own child or younger brother. He remembered his fear when he was told he would enter the palace and knew that if he had been told he would have such good friends here he wouldn’t have believed it.
The call of a familiar voice which he hadn’t heard in a while brought a smile to Kyuhyun’s face as he opened the door of his room onto the courtyard. He came face to face with a smiling Sungmin who seemed just as happy to see him.
“Greetings Fourteenth Prince,” Kyuhyun said the customary greeting though he barely bowed before he launched into a hug for his friend who he hadn’t seen in what felt like forever.
“You’re supposed to wait until I excuse you,” Sungmin teased as he returned the hug before releasing the other boy.
“I haven’t seen you in so long! I’m surprised to see you at all. Surely you are busy?” Kyuhyun was happy though bemused about the appearance. All the princes were just as panicked as the ministers, no one should have any free time to come seek out a friend for a social call. Sungmin didn’t say anything but gave a smug smile before handing Kyuhyun a letter with Hangeng’s handwriting.
“Eighth Brother might be busy, but he still thinks of you. He told me to deliver this in person.” Sungmin told Kyuhyun who felt a rush of pleasure at seeing that Hangeng hadn’t forgotten him. “In my opinion, you are just as important to him as state affairs.”
The prince continued with his satisfied grin as me turned and left his friend who had flushed a bright red. Kyuhyun watched until Sungmin was around the corner before rushing back into his room. He opened the letter not knowing what to expect, he smiled when he saw it was a poem and rolled his eyes slightly as he reminded himself that this was the 18th century.
Among the beautiful clouds and shooting stars,
Over the heavenly river they cross to meet,
A night of rendezvous across the autumn sky,
Surpasses all the joy on Earth.
Moments of tender love are akin,
To a beautiful dream.
They endure the parting on the magpie bridge,
But if there is true love between them,
They don’t have to be together every day.
Kyuhyun gulped as he read the love poem. To have someone write like that for him, it made him feel even more flustered than he had been earlier when Sungmin gave him the letter. He giggled at the feeling that bubbled in his chest before slapping his cheeks and looking around quickly. He wouldn’t be able to deal with the embarrassment if Jinki, Ryeowook or one of the other maids caught him squealing. He shook himself before going about his duties after hiding the letter in his personal box. He couldn’t however wipe the smile from his face all day.
A/N: I know this is slightly shorter than I normally make the chapters. However I decided to cut it here because the next part is a little complicated and so the next chapter will be longer!
This is once again unbetaed not because I was disorganised but because my beta is having a melt down over finals. So I decided to spare her the pain of dealing with me.