The Thin Grey Shawl
By Morgana Ravenheart
A/N: This is kind of a sequel type thing to Advice and Counsel and you do have to read the first to get this one. I may do a chaptered sequel to this and A&C, but I'm not sure. But anyway, Enjoy and drop a review to tell me if it lives up to my other stories. Morgana.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot, Jen-Shu, Jen, Jia, baby Jia, Ming, Bao and Jao.
NOTE: Jen-Shu is Mulan and Shang's daughter, Jen is Shang's guardian, Jia is Mushu and Jen's daughter, Ming is Captain in the army, Bao is his guardian. Baby Jia is Jen-Shu and Ming's daughter and Jao, Jia and Bao's son, is her guardian. Baby Jia will be referred to as such and Jia the dragon will be just 'Jia'.
Mulan lie in bed; sleeping fitfully. Faces loomed in her brain: The Matchmaker, her father, Chi Fu, Shang.
"You may look like a bride but you will never bring your family honour!"
"Mulan, you disgrace me…. I KNOW MY PLACE! It is time you learned yours."
"Treacherous Snake... Ultimate dishonour!"
"You're unsuited for the rage of war so pack up, go home. You're through. How could I make a man out of you?"
"NO!" Mulan yelled, bolting upright; breathing heavily. Shang also sat up, putting a hand on his wife's shoulder. Mulan's shoulder wasn't bare; though she was naked. It was covered by a thin grey shawl Mulan had had since she was a girl.
"Are you alright? Mulan?" Shang asked. Mulan got out of bed; pulling the shawl from her shoulders.
"I'll be right back," she said.
Mulan walked through the house and into her ten-year-old daughter's bedroom. Jen-Shu was sleeping as fitfully as her mother was. The quilt was round her mid-thigh and Jen-Shu was throwing her head side-to-side muttering "No…. Please, no….Leave them…. Please….."
"Mushu, Jia?" Mulan called for her guardian and his daughter. Together, they got Jen-Shu into sitting position. Mulan wrapped the shawl around her daughter's shoulders and gently returned her to prone and pulled the quilt back up. Mulan kissed Jen-Shu's forehead and quietly left.
Jen-Shu bolted upright. The quilt fell away to reveal the shawl. "Mama's shawl." Jen-Shu whispered. She clutched it tighter around her shoulders and settled herself back into her slumber, a small smile upon her sleeping face. Mushu and Jen, the two dragons Jen-Shu was named after, watched her sleep.
"Y'know, awake, Jen-Shu's a mini-Mulan but slumbering she wears her father's face," Jen remarked. Mushu nodded, agreeing with his wife.
Eight years later, Jen-Shu was in her tent, sleeping in Ming's arms. Ming gently shook his fiancée awake.
"Huh? Is it the baby?" Jen-Shu, disorientated asked.
"No, Jao's got her. Jen-Shu, where did you get this shawl?" Ming asked. Jen-Shu sat up and rubbed her eyes.
"Shu? The shawl?" Ming asked again.
"Huh? Oh the shawl. It was originally my great-grandmother's and she gave it to my grandmother, who passed it to my mother, who in turn gave it to me when me when I was 10. I was having a nightmare and suddenly, I woke up with this wrapped around my shoulders. I've kept it ever since," Jen-Shu explained, clutching the shawl even tighter.
"Y'know, when I was on watch duty, I would stick my head in the tents I passed. The soldiers I saw were always shivering; with the blankets thrown off. But when I looked in on you, you were never shivering, the blankets always tucked in, sleeping contently. And when you sleep, you look just like your father. I remember think 'He looks so much like the General when he sleeps.'"
The baby started to wail lightly but was soon soothed by Jao, her guardian. At 5, he was fully grown. Jao's parents were Ming and Jen-Shu's guardians, Jia and Bao. Bao was green and Jia purple which made Jao brown.
Jia was the daughter of Mushu and Jen, Jen-Shu's parents' guardians. In fact, Jen-Shu was named after the two little dragons who kept her parents safe in the Hun war. Ming and Jen-Shu settled and went back to sleep. Jao, Jia and Bao had been listening in on the conversation. Not intentionally of course, but they still heard. They also heard Ming whisper "I love you" when he thought Jen-Shu was sleeping.