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.
Kyuhyun noticed quickly that people were avoiding him. People that used to politely bow their heads or greet him as a superior now turned their heads, refusing to look at him. He guessed it was because of Hangeng. He hadn’t thought before that maybe peoples initially respect for him had been because he was the popular Eighth Prince’s brother-in-law but it seems that it had been.
Shindong came to visit him in the tea quarters where he had been hiding himself. “Kyuhyun, my master wanted me to bring you a message,” Shindong told the younger man with a careful tone that said he wasn’t here for a social visit. “You are allowed to continue to serve the Emperor. He said that if you can be safe today when you go to His Majesty, you won’t have to be concerned about being implicated. Do you understand?”
“Yes.” Kyuhyun nodded. He knew what was happening, people tend to distance themselves from the one who is marked. If anyone thought that maybe he had been telling Hangeng information on what the Emperor was talking about and doing than he could be arrested. Because he wasn’t on the Eighth’s estate he wasn’t protected by them, he wasn’t protected by anyone. He could be executed if he displeased someone or drew attention to himself. He needed to be quiet and unnoticed. The Emperor wouldn’t bother to look after him when he had other things on his mind and he probably wouldn’t even be notified that a servant had been imprisoned until later. His position was precarious. “I just hope I’m not the only one who can remain safe.”
“Master Leeteuk thinks you are smart enough to navigate these times,” Shindong smiled briefly trying to encourage even though he looked pale and skinnier than usual, the stress piled on him also.
Kyuhyun watched Shindong leave as he hurried back to his duties and he thought about what he would do today.
Kyuhyun approached the Emperor silently with no tray or drink. He wasn’t on duty yet but the guards recognised him as one of the Emperor’s personal servants and yet him pass them easily. Leeteuk looked at him in alarm, his eyes telling him to leave before Kangin spotted him from his position reading at the side of the room.
“Your Majesty,” Kyuhyun spoke respectfully as he bowed to the monarch, “I have something to say.” Kangin looked up in surprise at the younger male.
The Emperor also had a knowing look on his voice and spoke firmly yet not unkindly, “You know I have ordered that if anyone tries to speak up for the Eighth Prince again, I will execute them.” His tone was one of light reprimand. “Do you still have something to tell me?”
“Kyuhyun, His Majesty is showing you mercy. Leave now.” Leeteuk’s voice had a hint of pleading as he begged Kyuhyun with his eyes to say no more.
Kyuhyun closed his eyes for a second before opened them and falling to his knees. “I’m sorry if I offend you but I must speak my mind.” His face remained defiantly turned up towards the Emperor.
Leeteuk jerked forward while Kangin held his hand up, “Let him speak, Leeteuk.”
Kyuhyun then bowed his head slightly away from the ruler, “I have served Your Majesty for several years now. I have seen how much you love your children first hand. When the Eighteenth Prince passed away you were heartbroken, you even fell sick. I can see the love for your children.” Kyuhyun stated firmly. He looked up at the Emperor again, his eyes resolute. “But, Your Majesty, why can’t you be more lenient to the sons that are still around you?”
“Enough,” Kangin stated as Kyuhyun went to continue on. Kyuhyun paused before deciding he needed to finish this. He may have already damned himself so he may as well try as hard as possible to use his position to beg for his friends.
“Your Majesty is a benevolent father. I’m sure you also want to enjoy fatherly love from your children. There is an old saying – ‘if a father is benevolent, the sons will be filial’.” Kangin’s face became angered as he heard the criticism being directed at himself.
“Leave.” The Emperor ground out, his voice forceful yet incredibly quiet and restrained.
Leeteuk rushed forward as Kyuhyun left the room, “Your Majesty, you didn’t punish him.” The chief eunuch worried that no punishment now meant a greater one later. Kangin ignored him and stood up, walking away from the other man and towards his desk.
“Your Majesty, while Kyuhyun was reckless, he has always remained calm and grounded no matter what praise he has been given or who favours or disfavours him. He is no doubt speaking out of concern for Your Majesty.” The servant followed his master around the room, talking softly.
Kangin paused and looked at his faithful shadow, the one person who was to be with him every day, the person who was to be the most faithful and loyal, the person who was supposed to know him better than he knew himself. He saw the eyes that asked for mercy and he found himself knowing that he couldn’t harm Kyuhyun anyway. He nodded slightly before marching back to his seat and resuming the read of a report that Kyuhyun had interrupted with his unannounced visit.
Siwon sighed as he returned back to his estate. He had been to visit the bedridden Sungmin, concerned about how he was coping since the incredibly active boy was unable to move without wincing in pain. He had been rebuffed however for his inquiry by his peeved younger brother. Sungmin was annoyed that Siwon had taken Yoochun’s side and how he hadn’t begged for Sungmin nor gone to his aid when he was trying to help Hangeng. He also seemed to believe that Siwon should have tried to stop their father sooner when he had grabbed the sword and also tried to prevent him from being punished. Being cooped up in bed had made Sungmin hard to reason with and Sooyoung who had been there to tend to her youngest son had gently told her elder child that maybe he should leave for the time being.
“Fourth Brother, I brought some new wine, would you like to try it?” Changmin’s voice called out from a table situated in the courtyard in from of Siwon’s personal quarters. A bottle of wine was sitting on the table in from of him. He took in the slight furrow of his elder brother’s brow as well as the silence that greeted his suggestion. “You knew that Sungmin would be angry.” The Thirteenth Prince told him as he decided to change his tactics.
“Fourth Brother, I know that you are cool headed not cold hearted. I know that you couldn’t possibly watch anything bad happen to Fourteenth Brother, let alone any of our other brothers.” The soft spot that Siwon had for his younger and only full blooded brother was well hidden. The elder often wished that they were more similar yet it seemed that they argued about everything.
“It was impossibility that Imperial Father would kill Fourteenth Brother. Even vicious animals look after their offspring. Let along Imperial Father who values his family above everything else. He would never allow serious harm to befall any of us even if he was in the worst mood.”
“You are right. If you had pleaded Imperial Father would have felt ganged up on and it may have made the situation worse. It would have been out of everyone’s control.” Changmin agreed with his elder.
Siwon cracked a small smile, “No one knows he better than you.”
“I know,” Changmin grinned smugly. “Now come and drink with me.”
“You know I do not drown my sorrows in wine. I am feeling better already from your understanding words.”
“Your cool words and actions make people misunderstand you,” The younger admonished the older.
“If even one other can truly understand you, your life is without regret,” Siwon quoted as he eyed Changmin fondly.
“Since you have no regret you aren’t allowed to sulk.”
Changmin smiled cheekily at the other man.
“No regrets.” Siwon smiled in return.
Hangeng opened the door to his Ce’fujin’s chambers and approached the praying man.
“Mi,” he called out.
The other man raised his head and looked at his husband before quickly rising and bowing to the prince.
“Sit with me,” Hangeng spoke gently. “Mi, you never ask about anything that is happening beyond your own quarters and there are some things you may not know.” He sighed and looked sadly at his emotionless wife. “I have been stripped of all my titles. Everyone had recommended me as Crown Prince but the Emperor…” He trailed off as he looked pleadingly at the man who hadn’t moved a muscle, his eyes remained distant and empty.
Silence filled the room. “Don’t you have anything to say?”
“What would Your Highness like me to say?” The sad eyes turned on the prince who just beseeched the younger with his eyes to comfort him in some way.
“Please Mi,” Hangeng’s voice broke.
Mi didn’t say anything though his eyes seemed to focus more on his husband rather than whatever had previously been occupying his mind.
Hangeng realised that he was fighting a losing battle and retreated for his pride’s sake. Also because he did not think he had the emotional strength to be rejected once again by a man he so desperately wanted love and support from. “I will leave you to your scriptures.”
“Thank you Your Highness,” was the quiet reply he received as he swept from the room.
Hangeng headed towards the tea quarters of his father’s palace still defeated after his struggle to gain ZhouMi’s sympathy. As he approached the courtyard he bumped into Siwon who was walking in a similar direction.
“Fourth Brother, what are you doing here?” Hangeng enquired genially.
“I was just wandering. I didn’t expect to see you here either,” Siwon replied, a small smile on his face.
“Although the palace is large, it is still contained within 4 walls.”
“If one wants to find a truly peaceful place there are few options,” Siwon added.
Hangeng nodded his agreement as Kyuhyun walked into the courtyard and saw the two men conversing in from of his room.
“Greetings Fourth Prince, Eighth Prince,” Kyuhyun bowed, feeling incredibly nervous.
“Rise,” Siwon said, the elder prince being the one in control. “Eighth Brother, since we met so fortuitously, why don’t we ask Kyuhyun to make us a cup of tea?”
“That sounds like a good idea,” Hangeng smiled lightly at his elder brother.
“Kyuhyun, we will have to trouble you then.” Siwon turned to the servant who waiting patiently while watching them both with wide eyes.
“Yes, Your Highness,” Kyuhyun lowered his gaze and hurried into the tea room to prepare a drink for the two princes who had appeared on his doorstep.
When Kyuhyun returned with his tray of tea stuffs he found the two princes seated opposite each other on the small table.
“Kyuhyun, we are not at Qianqing Palace. You should sit with us.” Siwon stated quickly at seeing the boy remain standing as he started to pour the drinks in the specific way all the tea servers learnt to perfection.
“Your servant does not dare,” Kyuhyun spoke out demurely. Both men secretly smiled when they thought of the Kyuhyun of a few years before who would have plonked down and showed both of them the minimum of respect. This boy in front of them had matured so well over the years and become a beautiful young man who had learnt to be the perfect servant of the palace. He had learnt discretion, respect, the ability to withdrawn from potential conflict, avoidance. Kyuhyun was no longer the uncouth child he had been.
“We are only two brothers having tea,” Hangeng argued. “Not to mention we are guests in your house.” He pointed out that they had been the ones to enter the tea quarters which was were Kyuhyun reined above all the other tea maidens. “You should sit with us.”
He sat down between the two older men and silently poured the tea into the cups starting the intricate tea ceremony that he had been taught when he first entered the palace and was assigned to serve the Emperor with no knowledge of the fine art of tea craft.
He passed each of them a small cup of a jasmine tea he had already had prepared before he went out to see the Emperor.
“How rare to still have something sweet even with all the hardships,” Hangeng met Kyuhyun’s eyes as he spoke those words.
“Eighth Brother,” Siwon spoke kindly with a reassuring tone. “Imperial Father was merely in a fit of temper when he stripped you of your titles. I think given some time, Imperial Father will recognise Eighth Brother’s talents and capabilities.”
“Imperial Father,” The other prince sighed. “He still dotes on Second Brother very much.” Kyuhyun paused for less than a second in his motions of pouring tea over the clay teapot, before carrying on, “I was the one who did not realise the severity of the situation. I have implicated all the Princes and ministers who supported me.”
Suddenly the Eighth Prince gasped, “How is Fourteenth Prince? How are his injuries?”
“It was only 20 strokes. He can take that.” Siwon assured the younger, who at tensed up once again at the thought of his younger brother in agony because of him. “However his heartbreak isn’t just from the 20 strokes.”
“Fourteenth Brother is angry that you did not speak up for him?” Hangeng asked knowingly.
“My own brother is upset with me,” Siwon sighed at the memory of the dismissal he had received from his brother earlier that day and his immediate decision to hunt out Kyuhyun.
“Do not worry. You still have Thirteenth Brother. He will always understand you.” Eighth Brother rushed to do the reassurance this time. His normally cold elder brother was looking sad at the thought of Sungmin.
Siwon looked down at the little tea cup that he held in his hand as he drew the warmth from the clay. “It seems that a little warmth can help one express their emotions more clearly.”
“I’ll use your advice. I’ll give it some time.” Hangeng smiled weakly.
“It is hard to meet up for light tea, today was a rare meeting.”
“Since it’s so hard to meet up, Kyuhyun, you should drink a cup with us,” Hangeng smiled a little brighter as he looked at the youngest there.
Kyuhyun poured a cup for himself and smiled as he looked at the two brothers. He didn’t know how to feel about these two, they had a cordial relationship. They were brothers that weren’t close yet were relaxed with each other. He looked at the two who were smiling at each other with such warmth and thought of the bitter relationship and the fighting that would occur between them in the future. He wanted this time to last longer. He didn’t want the future to get here any sooner than it had to.
“Let’s have another one,” he said when he noticed the empty cups.