I love Kouyuu. Next to Seiran (squee!) he's my fav XD. This was originally for an English assignment at school as a "creative" response to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay interesting no? This is slightly AUish not much but I did make up some stuff to make it flow better. Minor spoilers up to around episode 19 or something like that. It's just the connection between Reishin, Kouyuu and Shouka.
Disclaimer: I don't own Saiunkoku Monogatari nor do I own any of the Characters. This is just for fun.
Assistant Secretary of Civil Affairs Kouyuu Li hated his many things in life: he hated the sniveling, air headed beings known as women—well, Shuurei Kou was an exception, she was, after all, the daughter of his long admired hero Shouka Kou, head of the Archives; he hated the idiot emperor, Ryuuki Shi, into whose pathetically wilted brain he had to cram years of political history; he hated the Prime Minister, the sly, conniving, and all-round evil old fart, Shou Taisho, who assigned him to tutor the idiot emperor; he hated the way the buildings mysteriously moved around and rearranged themselves when he wasn't looking—those stories of him getting lost were completely fabricated; he hated General Shuuei Ran, his long time acquaintance–not friend, contrary to popular belief–who often invited him on his weekly trips to the red light district where he spent the night in the "pleasurable" company of women, the disgusting pervert; most of all however, he hated his name.
Kouyuu's name was something Reishin Kou, his boss and legal guardian, gave to him seemingly on a whim. Kouyuu supposed he should be grateful to the obnoxious, conceited, arrogant aristocrat for picking him off the bandit infested streets of the southern Kou province, clothing him in intricately embroidered silks, feeding him food from the kitchens of the illustrious Kou manor, raising him as the ward of one of the most powerful men in all of Saiunkoku, instructing him in the fine art of politics, and sponsoring him so that he could take the national exams (which, at age sixteen, he passed with top marks to become the youngest government official in history). It wasn't that Kouyuu wasn't grateful; in fact, he wanted to serve and support Reishin for the rest of his life. What irked Kouyuu was that Reishin simply didn't seem to care. Ever since Reishin took him in as his ward, Kouyuu toiled day and night to win his approval.
The court officials never did view him as Reishin's heir, the future head of the Kou family. Kouyuu doesn't mind; he's more than satisfied with his position in the imperial court (though he could do without tutoring the idiot emperor). He just wanted Reishin to like him, to acknowledge Kouyuu as his son. He wanted to be able to greet Reishin after a long day of work with a "Welcome home Father" rather than a "Welcome home Lord Reishin."
There was one, and only one, person Reishin worshiped: his older brother Shouka. As the oldest of three brothers, Shouka should have been the Kou clan's head. However, for reasons unbeknownst to Kouyuu, Shouka gave up his position in favor of a quiet life with his daughter and manservant in an old dilapidated ghost of a manor on the outskirts of the Shi province. All this did nothing to lessen his esteem in Kouyuu's mind; after all Shouka was the most important person in Reishin's eyes. When Shouka invited Kouyuu to his humble abode for tea one night, Kouyuu, though surprised, accepted without hesitation. As they sat down together on the ramshackle terrace overlooking the garden, quietly sipping tea, Kouyuu waited for the reticent archivist say something.
"That plum tree was sent by Reishin earlier this year."
Kouyuu look to the lone blossoming plum tree amidst the orchard of dying cherry trees.
"He always liked plum blossoms the best."
"But there's not a single plum tree at his residence," Kouyuu said, as he watched the moonlight filtered through the white petals.
"My younger brother isn't the type to openly show what he likes or dislikes." Shouka said, casting a meaningful glance towards Kouyuu. "That one doesn't like the Kou family. But even so he couldn't escape from becoming the head of the Kou clan. If he gave you the Kou family name, you would have ended up getting caught up in the ugly darkness that surrounds the family."
Kouyuu trembled, unable to look away from the plum blossom petals dancing in the brisk night wind.
"Reishin himself couldn't escape that, so how could he drag someone important to him into that?"
"'Li' is for plum isn't it?" Kouyuu asked, his cracking voice barely above a whisper.
Shouka nodded. "The character "kou" in Kouyuu is an even deeper, pure red than crimson. And the "yuu" indicates how water runs. Your name shows his pride in thinking of you as his own child and his hope that you will live freely like the running water."
"I never knew." A single petal floated in Kouyuu's tea, guided there by a gentle breeze.
"Why do I work with such doddering dolts?" Reishin moaned as he gracefully dropped himself onto his favorite chair. Kouyuu, who stood dutifully next to him, sighed. In the end Reishin was Reishin: no matter how thoughtful, considerate, compassionate he may be, he had an urge to hide all of his pleasant qualities from the world. But Kouyuu supposed, it was understandable; after all court life was difficult and often times dangerous, full of deceit and treachery. Sometimes the only way to protect those you cared about was to pretend you didn't care at all.
Kouyuu held back a chuckle as Reishin started ranting about the officials from the Finance department, headed by his closest friend–though he would never admit it–Kijin Kou.
"What are you smirking about, Kouyuu? Are you laughing at my struggles?"
Kouyuu laughed at the indignant look on Reishin's face. "Not at all, I would never dream of laughing at you, Father."
Though the last word was no more than a barely perceptible murmur, Reishin heard. His eyes widened in surprise for a split second, and then he smiled. "Keep that up and you may end up with a bonus in the near future."