Glad to be writing in the first wee hours of 2016! Happy New Year, all!

Also, sorry about the intense profanity on Yao's part. It was the only way I could think of to balance real human behavior, Disney human behavior, and Yao's "tough guy" image.

Disclaimer: I do NOT own Disney's Mulan, nor do I ever claim the contrary. I make no money from the online publication of this free-to-read FANwork.

Yao in the Snow

A Mulan fanfiction by WolfishMoon

Word Count: 1,145

Yao was not fucking afraid. He wasn't. It was that mysterious battle rush that had fueled him back at the site of the avalanche, not fear. Ping collapsing? No big deal. That kid could survive anything.

He could. No sword-brush with that Shan-Yu mother-fucker would - could - kill Ping. Still, as the medic rushed the boy into a hastily set up tent, Yao followed the Captain. The Cap was cradling the boy, like a baby, and Yao could sorta understand that. Ping looked goddamn puny, hanging limp like the ragdoll the fuckin kid'd picked up at the burned-out husk of a village.

Yao, with Ling and Chien Po behind him, solidly followed the Cap as he brought Ping to the medic's tent. Fuck Ping looked bad. They stepped through the flaps of the tent and dutifully followed the Cap where the medic directed. As Captain Li positioned the boy over the indicated cot, Ling took Ping's feet, and Chien Po gently supported his head so as to keep the boy straight as the Captain set him down.

Spirits, Yao hadn't seen anything so tender since the draft had called his name up. "Thank you," the medic said. "Now get out. I need space to treat him."

Yao's brows shot up at that. Even Ping at his worst never spoke like that to the Cap.

Looked like Cap Li was surprised too. "You-!"

"Respectfully, Captain, there isn't much you can do. You'll only get in the way." The medic put both hands on the Cap's shoulders, gently pushing him - and therefore also Yao and the guys, given that they were behind him - out of the tent.

And once outside, the Cap paced. Pretty boy was so calm all the damn time, Yao wasn't prepared for the sight of the man pacing, pacing, pacing.

No change for hours. The Cap alternated between sitting dumbfounded on a rock and pacing. Yao found a stick and started drawing naked women in the snow. He was a damn good artist if he did say so himself. Ling glanced over his shoulder, managing a lecherous snicker before worry took him over.

Pussy. Yao squelched down the doubts in his gut. Ling is a goddamn pussy. The boy's gonna be fine.

He will be.

Unbidden, the memory of Ping hanging like a ragdoll in the Cap's arms invaded Yao's mind. Ping was just so young. He wore a great bravado to hide it, but lying there, bleeding in the snow, Yao realized he couldn't be older than fourteen. And he was probably thirteen, if Yao was being honest.

That really made him wanna punch something. The stories be god fucking damned, the legendary Fa Zhou was a little shit of a parent, letting a son so young go off to war. Just to save his own fucking neck.

Yao snarled, pushing his stick harder than necessary to draw the nipple of the woman in the snow. It crunched into the ground, broke. Chien Po placed a consoling hand on his shoulder.

"Breathe, Yao."

Yao breathed, but breath halted again when the medic stepped out of the tent.

Instead of announcing "he's fine" or "he's stable" or, damnit no, "he's dead," the medic went to the Cap, a bewildered look on his face. He said something about Ping in an undertone that Yao couldn't catch, and the Cap went rigid, eyes wilder than Yao'd ever seen 'em.

Cap Li pushed passed the medic, stalking into the tent with long, purposeful steps. What? Yao looked to Ling and Chien Po. They both shrugged, faces crinkling in worry. The medic looked after the Cap a moment, then turned to Chi Fu. In that same fucking infuriatingly quiet tone as before, he spoke to Chi Fu. A look of shock, tempered with that bastard's usual self important face, and Chi Fu followed the Cap into the tent.

And the Cap came right back out. A look of just fury on his face. What the shit? Chien Po slung his arm over Yao's shoulder. They shuddered in unison. Chi Fu followed, towing a horrified looking Ping behind him.

What the shit was that goddamn Chi Fu doing, dragging a wounded boy stripped to the waist into the the snow? Ping had hastily wrapped a blanket around his shoulders, sure, but Yao was cold in his armor.

"I knew there was something wrong with you!" he said, pulling Ping's hair from its topknot. Why? What did his hair have to do with anything? Chi Fu continued. "A woman! Treacherous snake!"

Oh. Yao could see it, the swell of her breasts beneath blanket and bandage. Ping - was that her name, really? - glared daggers at the -fucking turd - man.

"My name is Mulan!" she said. Magnolia blossom. Ping had never been particularly manly, but magnolia blossom? She crawled to face the Cap, who turned away from her, face grim. "I did it to save my father."

"High treason!" Chi Fu declared from his high horse. Chien Po's grip on Yao's shirt was the only thing that kept him from lunging. Mulan kept focused on Captain Li, ignoring him.

"I didn't mean for it to go this far," she said, shaking her head.

Noting her ability to ignore him, Chi Fu got into her face. "Ultimate dishonor!" Ling's hand joined Chien Po's on Yao's shirt. He hadn't moved yet. But. Oh boy.

The girl, woman really, flinched, scowled, but continued undeterred. "It was the only way!" She said. The Captain had turned to face her, eyes wide, and she continued. "Please, believe me!"

Chi Fu marched to him. "Captain?" he said, expectantly. The Cap nodded, turned to Ping - no, Mulan's horse and drew the sword that was tied there. Kahn reared, beginning to charge. "Restrain him!" Chi Fu demanded, a soldier - Yao didn't look to see which - did so.

But really, kill a man with his own sword? When they charged, they charged together. But they weren't quite blacked out enough to continue when Chi Fu extended a hand to Yao's chest. "You know the law."

The Captain - the goddamn Captain! - raised the sword, and Yao could see the fear and horror in Mulan's eyes turn to solemn acceptance. She lowered her head.

Even Yao was surprised when the sword came down, not on her neck, but by her feet. Mulan looked up, eyes wide.

"A life for a life," the Cap said. "My debt is repaid."

And at the next order, Yao and the others were forced to leave a wounded woman on a frozen mountain pass alone with her horse, a blanket, and a basket of dumplings.

Fuck. Yao thought. Aren't we all just a bunch of pussies. Because in the end, none of them had risked their own lives to defend the woman who'd saved them all.