Disclaimer: All characters belong to Disney except Li Chen, Li Kong, Captain Tang Tien, Jiang Shen-Li, Xin Shen-Shu, Xin Jia-Nin and Xin Su-Tan.
Summary: Sequel idea to the first movie that does not have anything to do with the events of the second movie. Picks up after the end of The Misfit.
Homecomings by lightbird
Chapter 1: Homecoming
Mulan went out with Shang to see him off after his four-day stay. He told her he would come back in a week to pick her up and take her to meet his family. They embraced and kissed goodbye, then he mounted his stallion and headed off.
She watched him go, smiling, then turned and walked back through the gate. She went to walk in the garden, thinking about the events of the past few days with joy.
"So, the captain was falling in love with you all along. That's why he kept your secret."
She jumped. "Mushu! I hate it when you sneak up on me like that!" She recovered from her shock and stared at him. "You were eavesdropping the other day. Why weren't you back in the temple?"
"I came out to check on you when I saw you two alone."
"Oh, Mushu, you were worried about what he was going to do with me?"
"I was worried about what you were going to do with him."
She scowled at him.
"Well, I don't want people thinking my baby is scandalous. Even though I know it."
"They already think it, Mushu."
"Well, who would have thought that Shang loved you so much, too? And now you're going to be getting married to him!"
Later that evening Mulan worked in the kitchen with her mother and grandmother. She had always been interested in Kung-Fu, reading books and riding Khan more than cooking. She had learned how to cook a little, but she was going to be a wife now. Her mother and grandmother insisted that she had to learn more so that she would make a good wife for Shang. Mulan rolled her eyes when they first said it, but conceded. She didn't know if Shang would care whether she cooked or not. But if nothing else, she could surprise him with her new-found talent.
The wedding was going to be fairly traditional, according to her mother and father, even though the rest of their courtship had been anything but traditional. All she knew was that she would be wearing a red dress and veil. She wasn't supposed to see the groom before the wedding night and her face would be completely covered. In fact, she knew that in many cases when couples went through the matchmaker they didn't even meet until the wedding night. Mulan shuddered at that thought. She felt lucky that she was marrying someone that she already knew; someone that loved her very much and that she loved with all of her heart and soul.
Shang had spent four days with the Fa family. He had asked Fa Zhou for permission to marry Mulan after he had spoken to her in the garden the day of the festival for her. Fa Zhou had told him that as long as it was what Mulan wanted, he would have his blessing. She immediately came into the room at that point, saying it was. Shang had smiled with amusement as her father chided her for listening outside the door.
"Well, it's my future that you're talking about, Baba," she insisted, smiling sweetly.
Shang kissed her goodbye at the gate of her home and left for his own home, thinking with a smile that soon it would be their home. In a week he would be bringing her to meet Chen and his grandfather. Now he had to take care of his father's affairs and he had to see Chen and his grandfather and tell them about what would be happening. He would also have to break the news to them about his father. He wasn't looking forward to that. But he hoped Chen would be happy to have a new big sister who would care for him, too.
Shang continued up the road to his house, pausing before he reached the gate and taking in the view of the house. It had been so many months since he'd been here and his homecoming felt bittersweet. His life had changed so much. He had changed so much. He was filled with joy now at the prospect of spending his future there with Mulan. But his heart was heavy as he looked at the large house, thinking how empty it would feel now without his father's powerful and imposing presence.
His stallion knew where they were and seemed anxious as to why they weren't going forward. Shang sighed and continued up to the gate.
"Shang!" Chen came running out of the house toward him, screaming his name.
Shang stopped his stallion and dismounted. His little brother barreled into him, throwing his arms around his waist.
"Chen." Shang extricated himself from his little brother's wild grasp and knelt down, hugging him. "I'm glad to see you, too."
Chen buried his face in Shang's shoulder and Shang realized that he was crying. Had he heard already?
In answer to his question, their grandfather, who had come through the door, said, "A messenger arrived three days ago and told us about the general."
Li Kong hobbled toward Shang and Chen. Shang held Chen and stroked his hair until his tears stopped, then stood up to greet his grandfather.
"You have his sword," Grandfather commented.
Shang told him about the village near the Tung Shao Pass and the memorial he had made with his own sword and how one of his men had retrieved the general's sword for him. They walked inside together. Chen walked with his head bowed, holding Shang's hand tightly.
Once inside, the three of them sat together and talked about the past several months. Shang told them about his experiences at camp and his first assignment as captain.
"You're a captain now, Shang?" Chen asked, his eyes wide with excitement.
"Yes. Father made me a captain before he left and assigned the training of the new troops in camp to me."
"Are you going to teach me more Kung-Fu now that you're home?"
"Of course. How have you been doing in school, Chen? Are you learning your lessons well?"
"Yes," Chen answered, looking at his feet.
Shang looked at him sternly. "If not, we will only be working on your school studies, not more Kung-Fu. Okay?"
Shang turned to his grandfather. "How have you been feeling, Grandfather?"
"Alright. My legs hurt a lot of the time when I walk. But otherwise I'm okay."
"Shang, are you going to get married now?" Chen asked suddenly.
Shang stared at him in surprise. Then he told them that he would be leaving in a week to bring his future wife to visit and meet them.
"You are getting married!" Chen chirped excitedly. "Who are you marrying?"
"Her name is Fa Mulan, and she will be my wife and your new big sister."
"Fa Mulan?" his grandfather exclaimed. "The woman warrior that they're talking about?"
"Ooh, Shang! You're going to marry the woman warrior?"
"There are already many stories about her," Grandfather said, frowning. "So you are the captain whose camp she was in. Are you sure this is what you should be doing? This is awfully quick and it is not in keeping with tradition, Shang."
"I know. But we will have a traditional wedding, and we will follow all of the customs. We love each other. I am at home today because of her and we are all safe because she exists. She saved my life twice and she saved the Emperor."
His grandfather sighed, obviously unhappy. But Chen was thrilled.
"When are you getting married, Shang? I can't wait to meet her!"
"Grandfather, I know that when you meet her you will see all the wonderful qualities that I see. She is brave and noble and honorable. She is my soul mate."
"You know that after such a short time?"
"Not that short. I knew about her before. When we were still at camp."
His grandfather raised an eyebrow and Shang felt his face turn red.
"Her reason for doing it was selfless and honorable and I didn't think she deserved to be killed. It's a good thing, too. She made all the difference. And then I…" Shang trailed off, thinking about her as he spoke. "She's very different from me in a lot of ways; in fact, she's the complete opposite of me. Yet in other ways we are so much alike. I couldn't be with anyone else."
Grandfather shook his head, resigned as he looked at his grandson's expression as he thought and talked about the woman he was going to marry.
"Ah, you're just like your father," he sighed. "Well, I can certainly see that you're in love, Shang. Hopelessly. I guess it runs in the family."
"What do you mean?"
"Your own mother and father didn't get married through a matchmaker either. They married for love. So to speak. So I don't know why I thought it would be different with you."
"I had no idea. How did they meet?"
"At a banquet at the palace."
Shang was waiting for his grandfather to tell him more, but his grandfather changed the subject, apparently not wanting to tell him the rest of the story. But Shang was too intrigued to let it go. He tried to subtly steer the subject back to that. His grandfather gave him a look, then rolled his eyes toward Chen, indicating that he would not discuss it in front of him.
Shang came up with a way to dispatch Chen from the room and pressed his grandfather for the rest of the story.
"They met at a banquet at the Imperial Palace after your father returned from his first battle. It was a victory party in his honor and he received a medal. Your other grandfather, your mother's father, was also at the victory party. He was the general that commanded your father. Your parents were a good match, both by lineage and by personality; a matchmaker might have easily put them together. But it didn't happen that way. Your father…well, he always had a hard time controlling himself with beautiful women."
Shang gaped wide-eyed at his grandfather.
"He was an honored soldier who came from a long line of generals and was on his way to gaining a title, and she came from a good family. They wanted to be with each other and he didn't want your mother or her family to be dishonored. None of us wanted that. The marriage was arranged quickly and quietly after that," his grandfather explained, shaking his head at the memory.
"I don't believe it!" Shang exclaimed, utterly flabbergasted. "He was always trying to teach me discipline and self-control."
"Your father was a brave and honorable general who did great things, Shang. And he was a good man. But he was still human. I know you always looked up to him and that it's hard for you to believe that he had weaknesses. But we are all human and we all have weaknesses. Even him. He wasn't perfect."
"Was I already…?"
"Oh no, no. You were not born until over a year after they had been married. But it could have happened. Your father and mother wanted to be with each other and he wanted to do the honorable thing for her. There's no chance that Fa Mulan…"
Shang blushed. "No! Nothing like that…I didn't…"
His grandfather just laughed.
Shang was silent for several minutes, thinking about his parents and what Grandfather had just told him. Then he thought of Chen.
"How has Chen been during the time I was away?"
"Having difficulty. In school he is inconsistent. He is either too quiet or he ends up in fights."
Shang sighed. Chen had always been an odd little boy, at least since he was old enough to walk around on his own. He was very sweet and joyful, but he would have sudden outbursts very often. His mood could shift in an instant. Shang would be playing with him and they would be laughing and having a good time and Chen would suddenly get completely over-excited and burst into tears.
Chen was very intelligent and he seemed to be unusually, almost eerily, insightful. Like when he asked Shang if he was getting married before he even said it. Sometimes it was as if Chen could pull the thoughts Shang was thinking right out of his head. He was also, unfortunately, very sensitive. Shang had been sensitive, too, but his father had taught him to toughen up. He would have to do the same thing with Chen. Maybe martial arts lessons would help. It would at least teach him to focus and have more control. He would just make sure that Chen also had time set aside to work on his lessons for school and that he did well.
"We were devastated when the messenger brought the news of your father three days ago. But Chen was already grief-stricken a couple of weeks before. He had a nightmare about your father and was terrified when he woke up that something had happened to him."
After his discussion with his grandfather, Shang went outside and headed up to the family shrine. He lit a stick of incense and placed it in the burner, then knelt before the wooden tablets, bowing to the ground before them. He prayed to his ancestors, thanking them for his safe return and for his meeting Mulan, and begging them to give him guidance and assistance in dealing with his very difficult, very troubled younger brother that he was responsible for.