This was written for a writer named
Isabeau in the Yuletide 2010
challenge. I'd just watched the movie, and one of her prompts inspired
me. Incidentally, the title is nonsense; I was running short of figuring out what to title fics by that point.
Li Shang studied the scroll before him, frowning at it, or at least at
the characters inked upon its surface. Just a few years out of their
last one, there was another war brewing, and the call to arms had
begun. The army was starting to conscript and bring out of retirement
its old warriors, and two of them resided in his house. The orders were
clear: Li Shang, and his wife Mulan, were to return to duty.
As head of the family, he could make a decision about whether his wife
went to war or not. He should forbid her to go. But Mulan didn't belong
to just him; she belonged to China as its hero, and who was he to deny
his country the hope that she brought? Did he have the right to deny
them the quick-thinking heroine who had saved them all? She was an
asset to the imperial army, and by all rights, belonged there, out in
But she was also his wife, the mother of his children. When his father
had gone to war, he at least had his mother. If they both went, they'd
be leaving their children alone.
Clenching his fist, he remembered when he'd discovered the remains of
his father's army, just before he himself had nearly been killed - had
it not been for Mulan's quick, crazy thinking. He had lost his father
that day, and could only grieve afterwards, in private. He had come
close to losing Mulan too, abandoning her because there would be no
women under his command. But he would not lose her that day. And he did
not want to lose her now. She, with the energy of a teenager, even as a
wife and mother. She, who trained with him so that they were both fit,
because they both knew that a day like this might come, even as they
hoped it would never come.
Listening to his children run about, he closed his eyes, something
inside him telling him he should consult Mulan. But she was a soldier;
she would follow orders, even if it meant leaving their children
orphans. Mulan was a solder just as she was a mother and a wife; it was
what she was meant to be. It was not a woman's work, but it was Mulan's
work, and he could not deny her that.
Opening his eyes, he went to tell his wife.