A/N: And here's the end!
Shang's arms were still wound tightly around her and his face was nuzzled in her hair when Mulan woke up in the morning. Her eyes fluttered open and she blinked, letting them adjust to the dim room. It was still early, before sunrise.
They both lay on their side, his body curled around hers and his top leg hooked over her legs. She lay still for a moment, reluctant to leave his cozy embrace. She finally inched toward the edge of the bed, attempting to extricate herself from him slowly without waking him. She had almost freed herself when his arms and legs tightened around her and he moaned softly, pulling her back in a tight hold and refusing to release his grip on her.
"You're awake, you faker," she giggled.
"Mm. Where are you going?" he mumbled, sleepily.
"To pay my respects to the Li ancestors. It's the morning after the wedding."
He pressed his lips to her bare shoulder and began to kiss it, working his way up from there to her neck.
"You don't have to do that until dawn. It's still early," he murmured, nibbling amorously at her neck.
She closed her eyes with a sigh, enjoying his efforts.
"I never thought I'd see you getting up this early voluntarily."
"Not exactly voluntarily. It's my duty as a new bride. And I want to be an honorable wife."
She turned to meet him full on the mouth for one more kiss before getting up.
"I love you," he whispered.
"I love you, too."
She began to move toward the edge of the bed again but he pulled her back into a tight embrace with a playful laugh.
"I want to stay in bed with you until we have to go visit your family in three days."
She laughed. "So do I, but you know I'm supposed to do this."
She stroked his cheek tenderly.
"I'll come back to bed when I'm done."
He finally sighed and released her reluctantly.
She got up and put on a robe and slippers, preparing to go to wash and dress before visiting the Li family temple to pay her respects. Shang raised himself up on one elbow and watched her.
"What were you guys going on about yesterday at the banquet?" he asked suddenly.
"What are you talking about?"
"I heard you talking to Yao, Ling and Chien-Po. You were saying something to them about rabbits. What was that all about?"
"They were still at a loss to understand how I could have passed for so long as a man without everyone knowing the truth."
"How did rabbits figure into that?"
"Well, it's easy to tell the difference between men and women."
He grinned at her. "Oh? You did fool us all for a long time. And so did Hui-Ying."
"It's just that you saw what you expected to see. In general, though, it's easy to tell the difference. But it's different with rabbits, you see. The differences are much more subtle."
"I didn't know you knew so much about rabbits."
"It's something my father taught me. They have different feet and different eyes. But when they run side by side, close to the ground, it's impossible to tell which is he or which is she. You don't see their feet or their eyes."
Shang gazed at her with an adoring expression. She walked back over to the bed with a smile and sat down on the edge of it, leaning down to kiss her husband once more before going off to perform one of her first duties as a new member of his family.
A/N: I thought there should be a little scene in the story showing them already married and I wanted to tie the poem back in a little, too. The reference about rabbits is from the last stanza of the poem The Ballad of Mulan. I've really enjoyed writing this story and I appreciate all who have read it. Thanks to all of the reviewers, listed below as promised:
Angel452 – special thanks for reviewing me every step of the way through this story (and don't worry – I haven't forgotten about Shan-Yu's Victory)
Clueless Angel – special thanks to you as well for reviewing me every step of the way through this story
celest4 - thank you for all of your reviews and for adding my story to your C2. I was excited to see that you had added it!
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