Warrior, I Am
Chapter One: A Disgrace
Disclaimer: I own it. All mine. Mwhahaha! No. I'm kidding. I don't.
I decided to write this because the idea was burning my brain up. Ok, it's the basic story line of Mulan, with Yuffie being Mulan. I said basic story line because it's not going to follow the Disney movie exactly. The beginning (this chapter) will feel very familiar, but things will start to change later on. So I want to clear up (do I have to!) that I DO NOT own any of Mulan's story line, or any lines from the movie that might be referenced.
The title of the story is like a conviction—it basically summarizes what Yuffie is trying to prove to everyone. Despite that though, this story is mainly romance between Cloud, Yuffie, and Squall. Action won't be implemented into later on.
Read on and enjoy!
Fire burned high in the sky, smoke churning and writhing like a belly dancer. All around her people were running, screaming for their lives. Whatever their lives were worth anyways. The girl couldn't see past the wall of fire, but she knew that his men were chasing those people. Murdering without a cause was what they were doing.
"You'd give your life up for those people you call your friends?" He bellowed to her, his long sword piercing her throat. He could kill her and they both knew it. "You'd sacrifice everything you had to make them happy?"
The girl stuck her chin up defiantly. She never did know when to keep her mouth shut. "I would."
The man was infuriated by her determination. "Then die a worthless death—!"
—a doodle doo!Cocka doodle—d
The shrill caw of a rooster broke the morning silence of the soon-to-be-bustling town. Seeing barely any people inhabiting the streets, the bird ruffled it's feathers, raised it's regal head, and was about to let out another ear-piercing screech when a few rocks came flying at it's perch, scaring it. It crooned softly in irritation, scratched its claws on the tiled roof, and flew away. Somewhere inside the house, a small feminine figure let out a relieved sigh and turned over to go back to sleep. Conveniently, there was a pile of rocks at her bedside.
Yuffie had made it her duty to rid the people of the rooster each morning. She was being careful now though. She believed the creature was catching on, and the last thing she wanted was an aggravated and incensed cock to be attacking her in her sleep.
She flopped around in her bed some more; realizing dismally that the scratchy stuff at her feet was the remnants of her midnight snack. She kicked and twisted until she found her head solidly connecting with the wall. She grunted as a light lump of paper fell on her head. She glared at the calendar and threw it disinterestedly across the room. She lay back down, but something was nagging at her.
"Ugh, too much thinking in the morning," she moaned, putting the pillow over her head. That calendar just wouldn't go away. It was blaring in her mind like a large, yellow sign. 'Wasn't there something I had to do today?'
She ran through the things that she had to do that week. 'Clean all the toilets, nag my dad, swoon over the mailboy…' She trailed off and bolted up in bed, covering her mouth with her hand. Oh no.
"DAD!" She screeched, tumbling into the kitchen like an acrobat. Her father sat calmly at the table, sipping a cup of tea. He glanced up as his panting daughter entered the room.
"Good morning Yuffie."
"DAD!" Yuffie wailed, throwing her arms up. "Where's mom! Don't you know what today is?" She grabbed a dinner roll from the breadbox and shoved it callously into her gaping mouth. "Iffph mafmafer's daiffh!" Chunks of bread flew everywhere. Her father put his hand up, eyes closed.
"Yuffie, please. You're spraying everywhere." He thought for a moment. "Your mother called a minute ago." Yuffie stopped blowing bread and paled considerably. "She said that if you weren't at your ma's shop in five minutes she'd hang you by your scrawny neck."
All of Yuffie's bread came flying out. Saliva dribbled down her chin. "She said that?" Yuffie demanded in disbelief. Godo, her father, tried not look at his daughter's horrendous oral cavity as he answered, "Yes."
"Ahh!" Yuffie was out the door screaming before Godo could even blink an eye. She ran to the stables at the back of her house, opening the first door available. She'd run downtown herself if she had more time.
The horse inside this stable was huge. He was one of her father's favorite, and he rarely obeyed anyone but Godo himself. He was a midnight black color and he eyed Yuffie contemptuously. When she reached for her he tried to rear back, but Yuffie was in too bad of a mood to fight with him.
She spat in his face.
"Come on, can't you go any faster, horse?" she demanded, even as the creature broke into a run. The spitting had done the trick and he had let Yuffie ride him. Horses could be ridden as long as they took the back route into town. That way, they traveled faster and didn't trample on people in the main streets.
She took the horse as far as she could and left him to graze in the back of the buildings. She walked stealthily into the alleyway next to her mother's shop, expecting to sneak into the side door without her mother noticing. Luck was not with her this particular morning though, and her mom had her by the ear the moment she stepped in the shop.
"Didn't think I'd predict that one, eh?" Her mother demanded, shaking her roughly. Yuffie whimpered and muttered "hag" beneath her breath.
"For heaven's sakes, where have you been?" Her mother fretted. "Just look at your hair!" She tugged her into her shop. Her mom owned a salon of sorts, where women went to pretty themselves up. Yuffie thought it was all a bunch of crap, but she never said that to her mother's face.
"Why didn't you wake me up?" she retorted. "If you cared that much, you would at least bring me with you!" She wanted to continue to rant, but screamed instead as her mother's friends came up to her and yanked down her pants and pulled up her shirt. She made shrill noises as she realized the door hadn't even been closed halfway yet. She cringed, trying to rid herself of the images of lewd men gawking at a half-naked teen.
"This is sooo embarrassing," she grumbled as she was pushed butt-naked into a tub. "You never told me people were going to strip me!"
"Honestly Yuffie," her mother chided. "Do you really think that I would be able to repair you by myself?"
"No but-" her head was forced under the water. A few seconds later she came back up, spitting and coughing. "Hey! I almost drowned! And what do you mean by 'repair'? What's wrong with me?"
Her mother didn't answer her, and it got her pretty steamed. There was nothing wrong with her! Right…?
So far, nobody had ever told her about any problems she had. All the boys she lived near seemed to perfectly accept who she was, but that was because someone told her she acted just like them. Of course she'd been told she was a bit too hyper, but wasn't everybody once in a while?
"Ahh!" she moaned as a gunk of smelly shampoo was put on her head. She didn't mind scented things, but this shampoo was so strong that it was making her nose hairs curl. It smelled like pure perfume instead of just a hair cleaner.
"Oh stop complaining. A boy doesn't want their wife to smell like horse dung."
"Oh ok, I so do not smell like stallion shit. Who said I was going to be a wife anyways? The guys will all reject me." She had long ago admitted that she was not the prettiest girl in town. Her only pride in her life was her waist long hair, which was a deep chestnut brown. She liked to wear it down sometimes because it made her feel more…feminine. Not that she really had anyone to impress.
"Not when I'm done with you they won't," her mother said with a crazy glint in her eye. Before Yuffie could even protest, she was forced under the water again, and after that, everything was a blur.
"There you go," her mother whispered in her ear after what felt like an hour. "You look like a goddess."
"Yeah right. Just kill me now." Yuffie groaned. Her mother tutted at her, and in response turned Yuffie around to face the body-length mirror. Yuffie's eyes almost fell out of her sockets.
The person in the mirror could not possibly be her. She was far too…beautiful to ever be the scrawny little brat that she'd come to identify herself with. Maybe she was dreaming, because Yuffie was positive that she could never look any better than she already did.
"Hurry! You will be late soon!" And her mother ushered her out of the door, sending her along. "You know where to go."
"Unfortunately," Yuffie muttered, forgetting about her beautified state. She was being condemned to hell. No; matchmaking was worse than hell. It was—well, whatever is under hell, that's what matchmaking is.
As she walked to the matchmaker's house, she found that she sympathized mummies greatly. Her dress bound her up so tightly that she felt like she was wrapped in saran wrap. She stumbled several times and got her dress snagged on random objects. She fought the urge to look back at the hem of her dress because she was positive it was sporting new, haphazard editions (like a fishing line or someone's earring).
She made it to the matchmaker's house without any other obstacles. (Relatively.) By the time she came bursting into the room, there were already six couples sitting on small mats, conversing softly over cups of tea. She nervously watched how they stared at her. Why did she always have to be so damn late?
"And who must you be?"
Yuffie jumped at the booming voice, and turned to face a rotund woman that looked like the devil himself. She looked perfect. Her dress was perfectly aligned, not a cloth out of a place. Her nails were nicely manicured, and her hair was fixed into the tightest bun Yuffie had ever seen. She was surprised the woman's hair hadn't all fallen out yet. It looked painful; no wonder the lady was so grumpy.
"Kisaragi, Yuffie, I presume?" Yuffie gave a weak nod, reaching up to scratch her eye. She jumped in surprise as her hand was slapped away. "A lady never rubs her face when wearing makeup." She glanced at her slightly messed up lipstick and eyeliner. "But I see you've already done that. Come with me." She led Yuffie down the row of couples, coming to the last mat, where a man sat tolerantly. Yuffie blushed furiously when she realized that she'd made him wait for her.
"This is Jing Masao. Lucky for you, he knows the virtue of patience." She glared at Yuffie over her small spectacles, and slowly stalked away. Yuffie nodded awkwardly to the man who looked about four years older than her.
"Are you going to sit down?" he finally asked politely. Yuffie smiled weakly.
"I don't think I can," she glanced meaningfully down at her dress. "Can you help me?"
Jing let out a soft laugh. He tilted his head to the side and regarded her quietly. 'Now this isn't so bad,' Yuffie thought. 'He's not that bad looking..' "As much as I would love to, the old hag would kill me if I got up from my seat."
"Oh, you too?" she asked sardonically, and forced herself into a sitting position. She grunted softly, flailing and nearly knocking the teapot into Jing's lap. "Sorry," she mumbled, feeling extremely embarrassed about her clumsiness. It was bad enough that she was late; being an inept elephant was even worse.
"It's ok. At least my lap is still here." He reached over and poured her some tea. "I didn't drink any of it. I don't really like the flavor."
"Does it have sugar?" She sighed when he shook his head. "Dang, I probably won't like it either." She glanced around. "Uhh…what are we supposed to do anyways?"
"Talk, I suppose. Something about testing our chemistry with each other."
"Oh…ok, who starts first then?" Yuffie reddened slightly as the man gave her a winning smile.
"I will, if you don't mind." Jing paused for a bit. "Well…"
Well, that wasn't so bad, Yuffie tried to reason with herself. It felt good to spill her feelings to someone for once. And Jing never once made fun of her for anything she said. He had a pretty colorful background himself. A father in the military, no mother to support him…she was surprised he was such a genial guy.
She was walking home with her high heels in her hand. The ground was dirty, but it was better than having her toes smushed into a tiny shoe.
Suddenly, she heard a flurry of 'clotting'. It sounded like a herd of horses. She muttered a few things and remembered sourly how, if her mother hadn't taken the horse back, she'd be home by now taking a bath. But then again, with the mutual feelings of dislike that the girl and horse shared, she probably would've ended up walking home all the same.
"Move, girl!" a voice yelled, and before she knew it she was laying on top of some crumbled bamboo cages in front of the fishing store. She rubbed the place where she'd been rudely shoved, glaring at all the soldiers on horses that were snickering (and hooting) and her.
"HEY! I'M TRYING TO WALK HERE!" She screamed, scrambling to her feet and waving her middle finger like a banner. Stuck-up bastards, always thinking they could have their just 'cuz they were in the damn navy. Or army, or whatever.
"Hey baby, why walk when you can ride with me?" a seedy man asked her from his vantage point on his horse. She had to admit the horse and him had similarities. They were both old, bony, and missing quite a few teeth.
"Yeah right pervert," she snapped, and tried to walk away as fast as she could with a dress. "I don't date old men!" She ran faster, not caring that her clothes were ripping at the bottom. The line had stopped and a man wearing a blue robe was making an announcement, and she wanted to hear.
"Sephiroth's troops have passed our walls. He wants to infiltrate our cities! We need all able men from every family—"
"Oh no," Yuffie whispered, picking up her dress. The men on horses were handing out forms and calling out family names. And two of them were heading to her parent's house. Oh no.
Hitching up her long dress, Yuffie ran as fast as she could back to her house. No one would have ever guessed that this speedy girl sat on the couch and ate doughnuts more than she exercised. Yuffie made it to the side of her house before the men were even halfway up to the front door. She burst inside and spotted her mother, who was standing outside looking very white.
"Mama, dad can't fight," she whispered quietly, clutching onto her arm. Her mother looked at her sadly. "He's too old, ma. He can't. Tell them he's too old." She was pleading this now. She hated how her father always tried to control her life, and she had some pretty vicious fights with him that ended in a 'whatever father' and a slamming of a door. But she still didn't want him to go to war! He was far too old to fight such an army, particularly if led by Sephiroth.
"I can't, Yuffie. We have no son, and he's too proud. He'll fight to his death."
"But mom! He has arthritis! He can barely move without it hurting! And he has gout. You know all they serve at the camps is liver!"
The men were at the door now. One of them wore a long red robe. The other had a cowboy's hat on so Yuffie couldn't see his face.
"Sorry to bother you ma'am, but is Godo at home today? We need to build up our ranks—"
Before Yuffie could stop herself she had shoved the man off his horse. His hat fell off and long, wavy brown hair fell everywhere. His eyes were wide as he stared into her face.
"Fuck you," she said with as much menace as she could and stomped away. She ran to the door of her house. Her father blocked her entrance, looking infuriated.
"Dad—" she tried, but he slapped her across the face. Yuffie's mouth opened and closed like a fish. Then—
"Fine. Fuck you too. Go die in some war for all I care."
Yuffie bolted inside the house, rivulets of tears coming down her face. She ran into the garden out back and collapsed on the grass beneath her favorite cherry tree. Her whole body heaved as she let everything out.
There went her big mouth again. She didn't want to condemn her dad like that. Right now, that was the last thing she wanted. She just lost her anger so quickly though. She was used to acting angry to hide up her embarrassment or pain.
"Yuffie?" The grass crinkled under someone's footsteps.
Yuffie froze. She sat up, glaring into the face of the man she had met before. She realized then what she must look like. Running eyeliner, smudged lipstick, and grass stuck to her wet face.
"Get out of here!" the girl snarled. "What are you doing here? Get out!"
Jing cleared his throat apologetically. "I'm sorry, dearest Yuffie, but your parents invited me. How are you?"
"I'm not ok," Yuffie snapped at him. Did he just "dearest" her? "And I want to be left alone."
"You know, my father had to go into the military when I was younger." He started to talk like he hadn't just heard her subtle way to tell him to leave. "I really didn't want him to leave. I mean-well, the whole point is, I was acting just like you. Childishly."
Yuffie blanched. "I wasn't being c-"
"I mean, it's ok," he interrupted her, and it took all her will not to sock him. What was his problem? What happened to his soft nature? "But you just have to accept that your dad has to fight. I did. And my father's a great man now because he fought back then."
The distressed girl was pulled to her feet and into Jing's warm arms. It was a stalwart embrace, but only on Jing's side. Yuffie stood like a wet rag doll, too shocked to move. She didn't want to hug him back, no matter what happened. She would not hug this foreign man that was trying to force ideas into her head.
"It's all right," Jing murmured into her hair. "I'll protect you."
It was nice to hear that, Yuffie decided. Even if she didn't know him very well, and even if he just pissed her off, it was nice to hear that.
Good feelings gone. He was groping her butt!
"What're you doing?" Yuffie screeched, trying to shove him back. Jing was strong though, and before she knew it he was trying to force his tongue down her throat. "Geoffmee!" She writhed and struggled. She opened up her mouth wide and bit forcefully on his tongue. His response was only to hold her tighter. His right hand came up and painfully squeezed her left breast. Yuffie wanted to murder him right then and there.
Yuffie managed to secure her left foot to the ground. Using her other leg, she angrily kneed the aroused man in the groin. He doubled over and fell to the ground with a small gasp. Yuffie kicked him again in the stomach, just as her parents came running into the backyard.
"Yuffie Kisaragi! What are you doing?" Her mother bellowed at her. Again, she was slapped across the face. "I invited this young man over and you beat him up?"
"Don't blame her ma'am, I was a little too forward—" Jing began, but her mother interrupted him. Yuffie's eyes narrowed. That slick bastard—acting sincere to make her look worse. She could strangle his worthless throat—!
"No, Mr. Masao, please do not cover up my daughter's insolence. Yuffie, go to your room and behave yourself for ONCE! You are such a disgrace to this family…"
That's all Yuffie heard as she tore into the house and stomped into her room. Disgrace? Disgrace? She was going to show them. She'd show them all. There was no way she was going to let that slide. How could her parents trust some random, horny man over her? How could they hit her, when all she wanted was for her father to be safe?
Yuffie tore open her closet and began to throw myriads of clothes and accessories into a duffle bag she'd found in the closet. She packed sweaters and workout clothes and plenty of sports bras. She'd need it for where she was going.
The idea had come to her in a flash, and it shocked her. She was going to fight in her father's place. It was an insane idea, but was there anything better to do? She was killing practically…three birds with one stone! Her father would be safe, she'd prove to everyone she was worth something, and it was the ultimate revenge on her parents. Maybe now they'd see what happens when you put no faith in your children. She had always talked of running away, but now she was flying-fart serious.
She knew of the rules about the military. Absolutely no women allowed. She knew that; she didn't care. She packed hurriedly and then relaxed after a while. She wouldn't have to leave until tonight. Tonight. She'd eat dinner with her family, pretend like everything was ok, and then leave.
Dear Mom and Dad,
I'm sorry that I'm not how you wanted me to be. I guess that life never lets everything be perfect. I was the one imperfection you guys ever had. It's ok though; I'm going to fix that. I won't be at home for a while, and you will not find your military registration anywhere. I have taken father's clothes and his favorite horse. We all know that you can't tell anyone about this, so don't try to alert the officials. And I know that you can't come and get me without having me beheaded. So let me do this. I'll prove I'm not such a disgrace after all.
As she mounted her father's horse she was crying. She hated feeling so wimpy, but she figured if there was anytime to cry, now was the best time to do it. It was in the middle of the night and there was no one to see her.
She had chopped off her beautiful hair. It sat unevenly by her chin when left down. She had tied it up into a bushy ponytail so that the ragged cutting job wasn't so noticeable. It would have to do until she found spare time to fix it.
She suspected that she would not have much "spare time" for a while.
"Goodbye," Yuffie whispered, closing the doors behind her. "Sleep well."
A/N: It's choppy, I know, but this was a bore to write. I almost wanted to just put, "Go watch the beginning of Mulan!" Because really, that's basically what this was.
Next chapter: Yuffie walks into camp for the first time and meets some colorful individuals…