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Author's Note: Just some flowery overly-flowery prose, gilding attached and all. Princess Mononoke is a fantastic film, and I admit I was always quite taken with San's character. I admit, one highlight for writing for her is that you cannot humanize her – at least not entirely – without losing a lot of her actual characterization. San is essentially not a wolfish girl, but a girlish wolf, least from my interpretation of her (and mileages often differ) and that is incredibly interesting to write.

Either way, here's a short piece on San's opinion of clothing. Or thoughts, speculations on it. Some discussions of San having the hots for Ashitaka - her body is human enough, I imagine. Hots is a cruder word than I'd really want to put on this, but I suppose it's better than saying she desires or lusts after him, haha. Nothing nearly so refined, of course.


Wolf in Girl's Clothing.


She is first grateful for her clothes in the dusky night-chill, as it coats and lathers her body in prickling shivers, the way the too-short hairs on her arms stiffen like the raising of her hackles. Ruffling her joints in a ballet of movement, she curls into the thin loose fur she has been given by her mother. San knows she is too proud to coil closer into Moro's side, and her brothers would only find panting laughter in the little ice that runs up and down her spindly limbs. Quivering, she bites down on her wrist to stop the harsh chattering of her teeth (like speaking voices, and kodama, and snapping twigs; traitorous sounds) and the muffled hum of her breath threads across her skin.

A humid breeze of breath. She sticks her head down her shirt, covering herself in the dark of the skinny cloth, she breathes hot air until it curls about her face like steam. She huffs and puffs into her little knot of arms and spine, legs tucked into the jut of her body, until it is warm.

She is not resentful of the useful fabric, as it grows damp from the water on her hot, flavoured breath.


San brushes her fingers over the arch of her ribs, and the shadows of her breast, palming along the soft skin that has stretched and pulled and pushed out to the new shape of her. By the standards of men and women, she is empty, flat (devoid) but in the eyes of young girls, which even San is sometimes, her body is foreign. Sliding away from familiarity, as if she has grown another skin. The smell of it bites at her nostrils, tasting and completely alien. In the eyes of wolves, San is an expectant dam, but nobody says that to her face. There is the dim feeling (dull, listless, not-sharp, almost languid) that she is not really a wolf.

So, San pushes her fingers into the curve of her body. The bite of hipbone that curls out, marring her straight sapling body with the barest hint of fluid, of smoke, of curling, coiling things. She is full of curling, coiling, smoky things these days.

Built on them. The shiver-pattern of water on her empty (devoid; furless) flesh finds her fingers pressed to the turning undersides and sidesides of her chest. They warm her palms, and she tucks her fingers under her armpits, keeps her palms hooked at her front, avoiding anything except the innocuous, if alien, curve.


She doesn't remember feeling ashamed of going without clothes, being naked. Devoid, or furless, or full of too many curves that don't fit (and not enough in all the right places, like her brittle spine). San remembers feeling ashamed that she would think she should be ashamed.

She reasons to herself;

Of the comfort of bareness and movement. Of the soothing balm of no catching, marring – like dust, mud, clotted fur – clothing.

It makes sense and she agrees enough with it, but, the surging spit of self-loathing and hatred drills into her from the lungs outwards: she should not even have to reason to herself.


Her unclean body is rebellious, and she tucks it under layers of filthy human things, too choked on her own she-knows-not to protest. Moro procures furs for her, and they begin to mask the nausea bit by (traitorous) bit.

She is full of delicacy.

Tough feet, hands, and cherished calluses are not enough to forever bring peace to her skittered skin.

She is full of fragility, frailness, and all those brittle, rusty springs (excuses for bones).


Desire settles in her stomach like a dead-weight; like a hardened, heavy stone that she cannot wash from her gut. With startled yips, she thinks of strands, and guards, and tailbones, and the dull snatch of scrambling teeth. It is not enough to entirely swallow up the traced memories (some things, aye, they run deeper than memory, right in the blood. Angrily,) and destroy the flat want of protruding collar bones, like wishbones and snapping twigs, the pointed ask of smooth, juddery length of neck (pulse flickering, dancing, jittering, fluttering like a bird in death throes), the demanding hiss for articulate, lithe fingers. It hisses through her veins, low, moaning.

Yet, the long, vicious, and euphoric howl that rips through her arteries, her nerves, her pores is every bit as sharp, but permeated into the fabric of identity.

Desire settles in her stomach with the melancholy of a lead-weight; lifeless, and unmoving from her tract.


Inexorable, her body feels dissected down to the bone. The muscles carefully flayed (splayed, spat out) and twitching fitfully. Impossibly her teeth nick at the air, and her flesh, forgotten as it hangs off her ribs and wolfish spine, growls deep at her.

Human things slip and slide like needles in her, and her heart (unrelated, but bloody all the same) feels numb, like pins and needles. The imagery is faintly lost on her, between the snarls of her rib-bones and long laughter of her lungs. She slips and slides the knife through his skin, because, he (like her) is made of fragile, frail, delicate things.

Somewhen her pulse burns out.


Her hands are clenched like leaves and thorns, and they shed their fists like autumn and hungry deer. Choking, and sniffing angrily over her highly-human tears, she rubs the heel of her hand across her eyes, turning the skin an angry (irritated, frustrated) red. Glumly, she takes the blue-shift from Moro's jaw, and petulantly unslips her teeth.

Moro bowls her over with the flat of her snout and soft-fronts of her teeth, and San squeals like a wolf-cub.

San is still forced to wear the half-skins, even though she does nothing but whine and complain and scrape her angry hands along her brothers, who rarely dare to laugh at her. She is a little thing, and vicious she is in defense of herself, because she must be. Defiantly, she reacts, until even her quick-fanged brothers do not anger her without wariness for her cunning retribution.


Anger flows through each inch of her, justified and helplessly fatalistic.

San cannot remember wanting her clothes, only needing them. San cannot remember wanting her skin, merely letting it keep her sewn together. Passively, she keeps her organs zipped together. Fearfully, she swallows. With the same sudden gasp of spring that clacks and rattles against winter, he undoes her. Unzips her hide of knives and defiance. She stabs him for it, slip and slide of sharp human things into silly, trivially delicate human things.

He has left her naked, and she cannot forgive him for it.

May your quills be ever sharp.