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Fic Mulan/Phillip

Hello, inactive journal! This is a gift fic for spartan_muse of the onceuponaland comm, and was (unexpectedly, really) too large for the comment box. It is, for the moment, untitled. I do plan to update my journal more... when, I dunno.

Prompt: There's a song I happen to like a lot. I never thought I'd use it with them but why not?

"Not Strong Enough" by Apocalyptica feat. Brent Smith (Shinedown)

Basically that one's about being unable to stay away from their beloved one. In one line he even compares himself with a moth drawn to the flame. I kinda like it. For me it applies to the fact that Mulan went though many things to accompany Phillip in his quest to find Aurora and that just speaks volumes.

Word count: 1242. Mulan/Phillip

Her papery skin was pasty pale and sagged off of the thin bones of her face. One eye of milk-white, the other black as pitch, both framed by hanging wisps of cobweb hair. A witch. She sat in a creaky chair, and with creaky bones leaned forward. "I know you," came a whisper like firelight. "I know you inside. I know what you want." One corner of that hollow mouth tipped up. "What you seek."

An ivy-ridden tower, cracked and grey and oh-so-tall, flickered through Mulan's mind. A princess tower for a princess fair. A threat to Phillip's princess, no doubt. Mulan's hand was already on her hilt, a few inches of naked blade peeking out. But she kept silent.

"I can give him to you."

Through the air rang the clean sound of a blade unsheathing, the flash from its metal, and the wind-whip of an expert strike. The witch bled dust and disappeared. A bowl of porridge sat on the table. The creaky chair was stone.

Mulan heard Phillip's voice outside the cottage, too distant for words to be discerned. Calling out; to whom she did not know. She could not run, not with her lead limbs and head of water. Up the walls crept a thicket of briars, and the dark room grew darker still.

Brown eyes close to hers, eyebrows knitted in worry, one callused hand raised to her face. "Mulan! Mulan, wake up!"

She was Mulan, he was Phillip, they were questing together and this was a tent. She blinked once, twice, and breathed hard. "It was the witch again," she said, and propped herself up to a sitting position. "More hideous than the last time."

"Are you alright?" He put his warm hand to her clammy forehead.

She closed her eyes till he pulled away. "I'm fine. There was no physical harm. It was still just a dream." No ordinary dream, recurring in all the three days they had journeyed through the land. The Illusory Forest was a treacherous but necessary region to cross, the resident witch a fading power everywhere but on her own territory. Here she was deadly. Fatal.

"No physical harm, that doesn't mean much," Phillip said. "I expect dream magic would target your heart."

"Or my mind," she said, raising her eyebrows. "Influencing my mind would be far more potent."

The worry melted a little from his face. "Hasn't your heart more often overridden your mind?" His smile was disarming and warm, eyes with a sparkle. He could look so boyish, even with the stubble and angular face, for such a warrior. There was something in him untouched by the world.

"I work to keep them in harmony," she said. "I follow honour and respect."

He nodded. "True enough." He continued to stare at her.

"It is the way of my people," she added when the silence grew too long.

That half-smile again. "You don't follow it because of your people."

She didn't understand what he was saying. "I am a warrior of my people."

"But that's not all you are," he said, and this seemed to be a passionate topic for him. "You follow them because you're you. You're Mulan."

And the way he said it, the way he said her name... Her treacherous heart picked up speed, and she felt colour rush to her cheeks. Thank the heavens it was too dark to see. They sat there for a few moments, in that darkness, in that heat, and then she finally said, "We should sleep."

The next day they were separated. A maze of illusions, of dreams separated them. He saw Aurora on one end and she saw him on the other. Silly, really. He would always be with Aurora, in mind or body. Hasn't your heart more often overridden your mind? This was a dangerous place to be in. Reality ought not to be mixed in dreams. When she finally tracked him down, he was soaked in water, eyes wide and mad.

"Phillip?" she said. She reached out to him slowly, cautiously. "I'm here now." There was no telling how much time had passed for him, what trials he had--she had her suspicions. When he did not speak, she voiced them. "You saw Aurora, didn't you?"

"At the end, at first..." He wasn't looking at her.

She could not understand his words. "I think... was it a siren?" Again, he remained silent. "You killed it, Phillip. It's gone, and so is the lake. You didn't really kill her." All she wanted was to wipe the haunting from his eyes, the weight from his brow. Wanted to banish the nightmare from him.

He gave a harsh laugh. "Oh, I know..." One hand out to touch her arm. "I know." And he finally looked at her, ghosts in his eyes. "And sometimes, I don't understand. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I want... Sometimes I wish it were gone, then hate myself for it."

Something in that felt eerily, unerringly familiar to Mulan. "What are you talking about?"

"I don't know. Are you alright?"

"Phillip. Phillip, it wasn't real."

"Are you alright?"

She studied him, checked him for warmth and found only spectres. "I'm fine. Are you?"

"Same as ever! Eyes a little clearer, perhaps."

She reached out this time, felt his arms beneath her grip, concern written all over her face and voice. "You're worrying me. It's the siren, I know. But please... remember yourself. Recall who you are."

He looked at her like a man starved, searching for meaning. "And who is that?"

She felt the words flowing from her, trapped in her mind so long and now free, longing for him to know himself. "A great man and a great warrior. A relentless hound, and full of love. Your sight is clear, and heart true. You always follow yourself yet sacrifice so much for your friends, trust yourself yet put more stock in your allies. And you care, so much, with a heart so large it cannot ever be filled. Curiosity never sated, learning never ceased, humility never forgotten, respect ever won. Your strengths are your weaknesses and you would reject neither. You are everything and so much more. You're Phillip."

He looked at her for a long while, now with wet eyes and wonder, until finally he threw his arms around her. "It's a marshland here. Take care not to sink."

"To lose ourselves." Too close, too close. Reassured that he was fine, she was overly conscious of this intimacy. It did not feel like fellow warriors. Not even like friends. But she pushed the thought down because that was what it was, was what it always was and always would--

Sometimes she thought she could not stay away.

"We are each other's anchors," he said firmly. "That is how we will pass through this land." When he withdrew, his expression changed. Now with slightly creased brow, like he was looking at a puzzle. "So much is changing so quickly."

"When the winds of change come, some build walls while others build windmills," Mulan advised. "We must make the best of everything. Of this place? We may know the secrets of our heart. Look directly upon our weaknesses even as the witch tries to trick us."

He gave her that boyish smile and she knew she could not stay away.

"This," she continued, "is a test of the heart." And I have a feeling that I have only just begun.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 14th, 2013 07:58 am (UTC)
Wow, thanks for the glowing compliments! I hope Mulan returns written 100000x better in the show. Mulan/Phillip was so unexpected in such a fairytale love thing that it intrigued me.
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