|snarky_panda (snarky_panda) wrote in mulanficspace,|
@ 2007-07-21 01:29:00
30 Kisses: Mulan and Shang, Part Seventeen
Written for the 30_kisses challenge.
Title: Unforeseen Events, Part 3: The Mountain Hut
Pairing: Li Shang/Fa Mulan
Theme: #22, cradle
Disclaimer: All characters, etc. from the Disney movie belong to Disney.
Leaves rustled and a large shadow crept toward him. Muscles tensing, he crouched, ready to pounce, knife poised.
This was tigers’ territory, cradled among the slopes of the high mountains. He could always hear them prowling, stalking him, but he never saw them. His fires kept them at bay at night, and he always kept several branches on hand to use to hold them off should they attack. But he hadn’t been able to build a fire yet tonight.
Golden eyes gleamed in the dark and he stared into them, remaining still. His breath caught in his throat momentarily with his tension, but he released it quietly, letting it flow in and out evenly. He could feel that he was upwind. Perhaps the animal hadn’t picked up his scent, though he was sure that he could see him.
Shang could sense that the large cat was crouched in the brush, ready to spring. But he didn’t pounce. Neither man nor beast moved, each eyeing the other warily in the dark. An eternity of silence passed and Shang could feel his heart pounding thunderously in his ears.
He woke with a start, blinking up at Mulan in bewilderment. His head was cradled in her lap and she was stroking his hair. The other blankets had dried and two of them were now draped around her shoulders.
“You never finished your story.”
“I didn’t? Oh…I’m sorry. I fell asleep.”
“It’s okay. I know how tired you are.”
It took him a moment to remember where they were. The hut in the mountains. This had all been part of his survival training and his lessons in the art of Kung Fu, observing the tiger’s swiftness and sharp precision. He’d camped outside in the mountains every day, armed with nothing but a small dagger. As the days went by, he’d ventured further up through the pass, climbing higher. After two weeks he’d made it to the top, surprised to find the hut and the old hermit that lived in it.
Even more surprising was that the old hermit had been expecting him and knew his name.
“What have you learned of tigers, Li Shang?” was the first thing he asked as he set a cup of soup down before him and coaxed him to eat.
And Shang had told him what he’d learned from observing the tigers and the other animals that he found there. Their movements, their style of hunting, their way of being in the world. And he learned how to be like the tiger, maintaining the poise, grace and balance of the great cat. A silent, elegant and deadly hunter that could strike swiftly, with precise aim, killing in the blink of an eye when necessary.
Mulan listened as he recounted tales of his training there, fascinated.
“Did you ever come face to face with a tiger?” she asked as he finished his story.
“No,” he answered. “But it’s odd that I was just having a dream about it before I woke up.”
“You are like a tiger, and not just when you’re doing Kung Fu,” she murmured softly, leaning over, her lips coming to rest on his.
“Behave yourself,” he chided teasingly, his heart beginning to flutter at the quiet half-brushing of her lips against his.
He puckered his lips to kiss her more fully and she obliged. Then she lifted her head and gazed down at him adoringly.
“Are you hungry, Shang?”
“Mm-mm. No. But tomorrow if it lets up a little I should go out and try to hunt down a rabbit or two for us. We’ll run out of rations eventually. I need to start supplementing our food supply, being as we’re stuck here until the snow stops and we can find our way again.”
He glanced at her worriedly. She’d been exposed to the cold for as long as he had been.
“Are you alright, Mulan? You were affected by the cold, too.”
She shook her head.
“I’m fine. You’re the one who had a blue face.”
He shifted off of her lap and reached up to pull her down beside him.
“Come and warm me up more.”
With a soft smile, she shifted and stretched out beside him, snuggling underneath the blanket with him and wrapping the other ones around both of them too.
“You look much better,” she remarked, expertly running her hand underneath the layers of blankets and over his torso. “And your skin is warm again.”
“I’m fine. Don’t worry so much about me.”
“You could have frozen to death, Shang.”
He chuckled. “You could have also.”
“I saw you stumbling out there. You were much worse than me.”
Her arms entwined around him and he closed his eyes with a sigh as she pressed her body up against his once more.(Link here to continue)