okay so i LOVE mulan okay. as far as i’m concerned it’s a Perfect Movie and doesn’t need any fixing. but i was thinking today and -
- what if mulan didn’t go to war to save her father?
say her father is dead, okay, killed by the previous war. so she’s raised by her mother and grandmother, women who’s complacency and softness has been worn away by necessity. she needs to marry well, for her family’s sake, because her mother has refused the hand of every man who offered. but mulan is even more rough around the edges than before, is educated not only in books (her mother said men wouldn’t find smarts attractive and grandmother pointed out that men aren’t always around and off to school mulan went) but in the sword too, taught to her by her classmate, ping.
mulan is considered in the lower end of the upper class, coming from a family of military men and scholars and successful merchants. ping is near the top, the son or nephew of an advisor to the emperor. his family is very rich and very important, and the reason they become friends is because mulan manages to notice something about him that he’s been hiding from everyone else - he’s going blind.
not totally blind, enough to get around, but blind enough that reading is difficult and swordplay is even worse, although once he has it down he has it. ping is no fool, he’s not weak or bumbling. his eyes just don’t work. so mulan notices and confronts him about it. she promises to keep it a secret, and hey, she’ll even help him with his assignments by reading the books out loud and helping him study. but in return he must teach her the sword, must teach her about military and tactics. he agrees.
ping and mulan become very good friends and there’s some raised eyebrows about it but they are TOO far away in class for it to be inappropriate, so they make tutting sounds and disapproving faces and let it go.
then the draft happens. ping can’t go to war, he won’t survive it. not with his eyesight like it is. so mulan offers him a deal - she’ll go to war for him, in his place. in return, if she survives, he must marry her. if she dies he must take care of her family.
ping can’t make this kind of family decision on his own, so he goes to his mother and tells her everything, about the eyesight and how he’ll die if he goes and mulan’s offer. his mother says he must keep it a secret from his father, but agrees - if mulan fights in her son’s place and survives, a wedding will be arranged. either way, mulan’s family will be taken care of. ping will be sent to live with some cousins in the meanwhile.
“you’re not in love with me, are you?” ping asks, helping mulan saddle her horse in the middle of the night. she scoffs and rolls her eyes, “not even a little. but marrying you will make my family happy, and besides, you’re my best friend,” she says, smiling, “better you than some grabby old man.” he smiles and hugs her and says, “i’m not in love with you either. but don’t die out there. we have a wedding to plan.”
so mulan goes to the camp, pretending to be ping, and she’s a little bit less lost but things still go as they go. she’s educated and trained, so it’s not hard for her to pass as ping. shang is keeping a special eye on her, thinking that she’s the son of an advisor, one of his father’s friends. and he sees how easily she excels, how quick thinking and smart she is, and starts giving her more and more responsibilities. by the time they’re called out, shang considers ping ie mulan to be his right hand man, and possibly his best friend.
he’s also a little bit in love with ping, and he’s long known he’s attracted to both genders, so he watches ping laugh and smile and the crease between his eyes when he frowns and does his best to let his feelings chase away the best soldier he has. every time shang looks at ping his heart clenches and he things to himself: i wish i could have you, i wish this was a time and a place where one man could have another, i wish you were a girl, is wish i was a girl - i wish we could be together. he’s literally a step away from doodling ‘li ping’ with little hearts over his battle plans.
so the battles happen. shang and ping lead their men together, respected and loved. they each get promoted, and promoted, and promoted. it’s been years, and it comes to a point where they’re both generals in their own right. they trust each other, care for each other. and are both secretly in love with the other.
mulan is so conflicted. because she wants this war to end and to go home and settle back into life and become ping’s wife, so she can have an easy life spent studying and learning with her family taken care of. that’s what she’d wanted. but now what she wants is shang, her best friend, her brother in arms, her fellow general. she wishes to be everything to him, aches to be the woman on his arm and in his bed, but knows it’s the one thing she can never be.
then that final battle happens. mulan’s quick thinking saves them all and ends the war - but she’s injured.
shang finds out the ping has been a girl all along. he demands explanations - so she tells him everything, that she traded places with ping to save him, to become his wife.
and the lies should sting the sharpest, but they don’t. she’s still the same person, after all. it’s that she’s promised to another man, for one second he’d thought he might have her, but no. so he agrees not to reveal her but he’s furious and furious at himself for being furious and they’re not the same now, broken and splintered and neither of them know what to do.
the war is over. they leave. mulan returns home, and thanks to her ping is now known as a respected general. she’s done her part and survived, and now she gets her reward - ping’s hand in marriage.
but she sees ping for the first time and flings herself into his arms and starts crying. she tells him everything, because he’s still her friend, her very best friend besides shang, the man whom she lied to and betrayed and loves. and ping listens and takes her by the shoulders and says - i’ll uphold our bargain, if that’s what you want. you can be my pampered wife, you’ve more than earned it. but if you want to go to shang, i won’t blame you. you deserve your happiness.
and mulan goes back and forth, but ultimately she decides she has to try. if shang rejects her she’ll return and marry ping and uphold her family honor. but if shang wants her - he’s not as high up as ping, but he’s high up enough to satisfy her family, and also she would love him and want him if he was no more than a farming peasant so it doesn’t matter much anyway.
she rides to the capitol. she finally meets ping’s father, running into him while looking for shang. “ah mulan,” says this man who was never supposed to know of her until she became his daughter-in-law, “i didn’t expect to see you here. how fortuitous. walk with me.” she does, wary, and that’s how she discovers - he and the emperor had discovered her deception a year in, but at that point she’d already proven herself too skilled and valuable to lose. he tells her that he will uphold his son and wife’s deal and gladly welcome her to his household - but that she’s earned her rank as general, and that he and the emperor have no problem with letting her keep it.
she says thank you, shocked and joyful, but that she has to talk to someone first. “ah, yes, young general li,” he says, eyes twinkling, “i do believe he’s around here somewhere.”
she has no idea how he seems to know everything, but she finally tracks down shang who’s ecstatic to see her and hates himself for it. she confesses - says she loves him, that she’s engaged to ping but willing and able to break this engagement for shang. who is dumbfounded and elated and says yes, of course, finally and forever.
and mulan accepts her rank and marries shang, and they become the literal power battle couple of the general li mulan and general li shang. ping becomes a scholar and marries a very nice young woman who loves reading and is happy to read aloud to her husband with his failing eyes.
My country is celebrating 100 years of independence this year and we are also achieving marriage equality on the 1st of March. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our achievements as a nation than celebrating equality and human rights. Congratulations, Finland, may there be many more victories such as this and may your freedom last a thousand years!
(yes, the Finnish flag appears backwards because she’s waving it around)
fics are my absolute favorite type of fanwork, and i’ve been meaning to compile a list of my favorite macdennis fics for a while now. i recently hit 1000 followers here (which is absolutely wild, thank you so, so much
), so i figured this was as good a time as any to do this. here are some of my favorite macdennis fics, in no particular order. if you read any of these, this is an open invitation to come cry with me over how freakin good these are:
The Inevitable by runningwafers (explicit, 11k words) | Mac is in a lot of denial. This is a story about what happens when he finally snaps. [This one is an absolute treasure. Everyone is written impeccablyin-character and there are parts that genuinely made me laugh out loud. The ending is near and dear to my heart.]
each the other’s world entire by quixoti (explicit, 13k words) | Mac and Dennis survive each other. Mac and Dennis will always survive each other. [This one follows Mac and Dennis from high school onwards, and it’s heart-achingly good. The references to direct scenes from the show are so spot on.]
we sinners bend by infinitevariety (explicit, 64k words) | Mac and Dennis have been sleeping on Dee’s floor for months. Something’s got to give. [A long one but a damn good one. Also, it’s a classic, so go read it now.]
Mac and Dennis Conduct an Experiment by pavonine (explicit, 36k words) | Dennis convinces Mac that the only surefire way to prove his straightness is to sexually experiment with another man. Of course that man happens to be Dennis. Of course Mac buys into this as a reasonable plan of action. Of course it backfires on them both. [Another classic. There’s so much to love about this one, but I’m especially fond of the dialogue.]
you’re the one i wanna watch this ship go down with by lagaudiere (mature, 4k words) | Not dying on a Christian cruise ship sometimes means having to face hard truths about yourself. Mac’s never been very good at that. [Good cavity-inducing fluff, complete with a great dancing scene.]
thick thighs make a dick rise by reflektions (explicit, 6k words) | In which Dennis does drag for the first time and Mac’s dick has an existential crisis. [DENNIS DOES DRAG. I don’t need to say anything more.]
the spell that you’ve created by peskyfeelings (mature, 7k words) | Mac is in bed but he can’t find sleep, because Dennis Reynolds lit a match and it’s still burning him up. [Internally tortured Mac and manipulative Dennis strike again, but this is a fresh and well-written take on it.]
the day you move (i’m probably gonna explode) by sinnabar (explicit, 7k words) | He could maybe get addicted to this, if he let himself. Or: five times Mac and Dennis toed the line between friends and lovers, and one time they crossed it for good. [A good old 5+1.]
remember the things that make you feel by blackmountainbones (explicit, 9k words) | AU: Dennis Reynolds is a heroin addicted prostitute and Mac is one of his johns. [AKA the AU that tore my goddamn heart into a million pieces. This one will ruin your life, but you should read it anyway.]
Mac’s Day Out by adrianicsea (gen, 1k words) |
With $14 to his name after paying arbitration fees, Mac celebrates his first full day out of the closet. [This one’s not macdennis, but it’s short and sweet. I wanted to include an s12 fic on this list, and this one’s my favorite.]
And you don’t make me feel impossible. You don’t make me feel like I’m impossible to love and I cannot thank you enough for that. You could of loved anyone on this planet and you picked me and I cannot say how grateful I am for that. That you picked me. Me. Me. You picked me to love and I think that is the most magical thing ever. You picked to love my laugh and my obsession with animals. You picked me and you picked to love my love for books and all things nature. You picked to love my four year old boy laugh and my harshness when the world get’s to hard. You picked to love me and my pills that I take every day to battle clouds that seem to always follow me. You picked to love my scarred skin from night’s when everything got to much and you picked to love my stubbornness on what I want to eat for dinner. You picked to love my small hands and my small personality which you make me feel like it’s big and beautiful. You picked to love my 4 pm I love you’s and my 2 am I don’t want to be here’s. You picked to love my love for animals and homeless people and my uncontrollable laugh when you make a stupid joke. You picked to love my long brown hair and my dull brown eyes. You picked to love my love hate relationships with my mother and my sad life story. You picked to love me and you not only have made me feel loved, you have made me feel like I was beautiful when all I have ever felt my entire life was unworthy. You showed me that I did not need to live in a world of black and white and you opened my heart to color again and I cannot thank you enough for that but I’d like to start with our little “forever”. I hope you do too.
Thank you for loving me when I do not love myself. // Deeply Feeling Series