i’m reading a very manly 1950s account of a hunt for el dorado but i’m thirty pages in and the narrator has already described his traveling companion as “handsome” 4 times, “extremely handsome” twice, “exceedingly handsome” once, his voice as “quietly husky” and “a husky whisper,” his fingers as long and deft, his body as “tall and cat-like,” and his eyes as some variation of ice-blue at least three times.
just men being dudes. dudes being pals. it’s great. this is great.
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.
Sometimes I have to laugh at the galra designs, from a purely affectionate frame of mind, because like. They’re so goshdanged lanky.
When they’re in action or in movement it’s all fluid and streamlined and intimidating looking, like- this species was probably developed at least partially to run down prey in a savanna or comparable setting like a pack of hyenas or a lion pride hunting- they’re built like sprinters, with those long, whippy limbs and big powerful hands.
But just hanging around, they look. Kind of hilarious, honestly, like. there’s just too much limb and shoulder for their head. If Kolivan, Antok and Ulaz didn’t have their fingers curled their fingertips would be on a level with their knees. They’re practically noodle people. Even more sturdy-built ones like Antok, Morvok, and Varkon have that whippy, elongated quality to them- stark with Morvok because he’s not even particularly tall, making his proportionate gangliness even odder-looking to a degree.
And I mean, on a general level, the looking a little silly thing is pretty much par the course for most creatures in nature. A cheetah could sure mess me up but their body and legs look too long for the rest of them. If anything that similarity between cheetahs and the galra might suggest galra are generally built less for endurance and more for sprinting, which would be reinforced because a common tactic in the Blade of Marmora’s fighting style is taking opponents on at a full run. (Keith does this too, even!) Big ribcage for big lung capacity, quite possibly a larger heart, long legs with (generally) well-defined calves and thighs- probably a build for running.
…Now I’m stuck on stuff I’ve said before about prey drives, and if the galra are more adapted to run things down rather than ambush them, they’re probably pretty good at tracking movement. Especially smaller things running in front of them.
Please fire me. I work at a small bookstore in an airport. Because of our limited space, we’re very strict about what titles we carry: we only keep books that sell. Sales are carefully monitored and if something isn’t selling at a sustainable rate, it’s pulled from the shelves.
One book we don’t sell is the Bible. We periodically have customers asking for a Bible, but aside from mild annoyance, they rarely make an issue when we inform them we don’t have any. However, I had a customer come in a few weeks ago and ask where we kept our Bibles.
“I’m sorry, we don’t carry any Bibles,” I told her.
“Why not?” she demanded.
“Our store is small and we don’t have the room for them,” I said.
“No room, huh?” she said. She pointed to a book on display called Ghost Bride. “But you have room for books on ghosts?”
“It’s one of our staff picks for the month.” It was my staff pick, actually. “If you’re interested, we do have a small religion section.”
She grumbled a bit, but let me take her to the shelf of religion books to browse. She returned to the register a few moments later with a used copy of A Purpose-Driven Life. I rang up her book and handed it to her, thanking her for her purchase. She lingered by the register, packing her book into her luggage, gathering up her bags, checking to make sure she had her boarding pass and ID.
Once she was all situated, she straightened, looked me in the eyes and announced, “I will PRAY for this store,” and swept out.
The next day I told this story to a coworker who’s been at our location for 7 years. After I’d finished the story (and he’d finished rolling his eyes), I said, “Why don’t we have any Bibles? Enough people ask for one, I’d think we’d be able to sell a copy or two.”
“We used to have Bibles,” he said, “but they barely sold. People would come in and ask for one, but not buy it. They were just checking to make sure we had them. I think we were being tested.”
You cannot say to the sun, ‘More sun,’ or to the rain, 'Less rain.’ To a man, geisha can only be half a wife. We are the wives of nightfall. And yet, to learn kindness after so much unkindness, to understand that a little girl with more courage than she knew, would find her prayers were answered, can that not be called happiness? After all these are not the memoirs of an empress, nor of a queen. These are memoirs of another kind.
nicky forces neil to get a new phone and eventually neil makes an instagram and as he starts getting more followers he gets more comfortable with having social media and does 60 second Q&A’s with the team at the fans request
the first one he does is with kevin because of popular demand
neil does it on the court after night practice with kevin and he reads a few questions that exy fans have commented on his previous posts
‘kevin, what are you a queen of besides exy? no I’ll answer this, the answer is nothing, kevin sucks”
“fuck off neil” kevin gets serious and the rest of the video is kevin extensively and aggressively talking about exy until the timer cuts off
he does dan next and it’s the cutest 60 second video out there okay dan is sitting next to matt on the couch while neil is filming
he asks her how it feels to be “the best female exy captain in the NCAA” dan gets the biggest smile on her face and scrunches up her nose before she answers
‘oh that’s sweet, who wants to know? I like this person. It feels great! but it’s stressful at times, there is a lot of sexism in the world but I usually ignore it in favor of focusing on how lucky I am to have such a great team.”
matt’s looking at her while she’s talking and u can literally see the love and admiration in his eyes, fans are crying in the comments about how cute they are, so am I
when he does renee, most of the comments are asking about her hair so she explains how she dilutes the bright colors by mixing them with conditioner to make them more pastel
“but that’s the easy part, root upkeep is the worst tho, I hate touch ups.”
neil vaguely knows what she’s talking about cause he’ll sit in the room when andrew helps her with her hair
nicky manages to tell half his life story in 60 seconds
neil uploads a second video of nicky giving advice to queer kids afraid to come out because of strict and religious parents or unsafe home lives
aaron walks away when neil tries to do his so instead neil uploads a five second video that’s just him zooming in on aaron sitting in a beanbag chair playing video games “aaron’s a dick.”
matt gets asked about his boxing background and he beams at the chance to talk about his mom
“she’s so badass, she taught me everything I know, she could kick anyone’s ass” he points at the camera “she’ll kick your ass. better watch out”
allison gives fashion tips, she also roasts neil for how he dressed when he first joined the team “god u guys should have seen him, fucking awful. nicky and I fixed him up tho, but it took a lot of work cause neil likes to make things difficult”
when neil gets to andrew nobody expects him to actually upload anything but when he does the results are hilarious
neil sits next to andrew with the camera frontfaced so half of neil’s face is in the frame, andrew is curled up on the couch with a pint of ice cream and his glasses on “it’s time for your interview andrew”
andrew just stares at him
“why didn’t you sign with the rav- wait that’s a stupid fucking question, we’re not doing that one. alright. how many times have you and aaron been mistaken for one another?”
andrew stares at the camera in silence
“tragic. next question. how are you so good at blocking goals?
“incredible. what is your honest opinion about kevin day?”
andrew stares for a couple seconds before rolling his eyes and getting up to walk away, neil laughs and nods “I agree”
BONUS: andrew has neil’s phone while they’re on the roof, neil is holding his cigarette and andrew starts filming, pointing the camera so you can only see neil
“hey junkie, it’s your turn to be interviewed” “alright”
“how does it feel to finally have a real home?”
neil smiles softly, but he’s looking at andrew not the camera “like I’m finally living, like I’ve got everything I could ever want”
there’s a short pause before you can faintly hear “285%” and the video cuts off