Fandom: Once Upon A Time
Timeline: Post-Season Five's The Bear King
Notes: Character spoilers for Season Five. For Ladies Bingo, prompt "pretending to be married", and a prompt at The Annual Femslash Kink Meme.
Summary: Mulan's happy to help save Arendelle. She's less happy that it involves her and Merida needing to be married to stop an evil curse. The problem is that Mulan's fallen for Merida, fallen for her deeply, something she's been hoping Merida will never know.
“To the happy couple!”
Glasses are raised once again, the banquet hall filling with another round of cheers, and Mulan smiles, teeth digging into her bottom lip and her head ducking shyly. She’s not used to attention like this, but Merida takes it in stride - Mulan can’t tell if it’s because Merida’s used to being royalty and all the attention that brings, or if she just loves a good party.
“How are you going to explain this to your subjects back home?” Mulan mutters under her breath, because in all the excitement of the ceremony and the party that’s followed, they haven’t exactly had a chance to discuss the finer details of the plan.
Merida just shrugs, bumping her shoulder against Mulan’s and grinning from ear to ear. “Don’t worry, the land of DunBroch doesn’t recognise troll union ceremonies as an official marriage.” She pauses, a crease forming between her brows. “I think.”
Mulan’s mouth drops open a little. “You think?” she hisses. “Shouldn’t we have checked that before we let the trolls marry us?”
Merida waves a hand dismissively, looking caught between worry and finding the whole thing hilarious. “There wasn’t time, the sun had almost set.” She nudges Mulan again, tilting her head a little to catch Mulan’s gaze where she’s glaring down at the table. “Arendelle needed a royal marriage, or the kingdom would be cursed. It was us or nothing.”
“Well, there was Hans’ plan to coerce Elsa into marrying him,” Anna chips in from beside them.
“Are all his evil plans that terrible?” Red asks conversationally.
“Yes,” Kristoff replies gruffly. “All of them.”
“I wonder how long it’ll take for his feet to unfreeze this time,” Anna muses.
Kristoff snorts into his drink. “She should have frozen more than just his feet.”
Anna takes Mulan’s hand gently. “I’m sorry you got drawn into all this, but we are so, so, super grateful.” For all of Mulan’s concerns, Anna’s happiness is infectious. “Kristoff and I would have volunteered to be the ones in the royal wedding ceremony but, well, we’re already married.”
Kristoff tries to hide his proud smile in his drink, but Merida claps him on the shoulder, laughing as his ears turn pink.
“In the meantime, the least we can do is give you a proper celebration!” Anna continues, beaming at them. “We can worry about everything else in the morning.”
“Hey, maybe the trolls can give you an annulment,” Red suggests.
“What’s an annulment?” Merida, Mulan, Anna and Kristoff all ask in unison.
Red just shakes her head and laughs.
The party does turn out to be fun, though. The food is incredible, and Mulan’s never seen so many desserts in her entire life. Anna seems determined to sample them all, and makes the mistake of challenging Merida to do the same - they both end up with chocolate smeared across their fingers, woozy on sugar and wine.
Once Elsa has greeted each of their guests, she joins them at the main table. Mulan hasn’t had a chance to spend much time with her, thanks to Hans kidnapping her before Merida and Red and Mulan’s arrival, but Elsa turns out to be sweet and kind and a little shy but fiercely loving of her kingdom and her family.
Mulan’s starting to grow comfortable in the noise of the room, in the general chatter and excitement, and that’s when somebody calls for the first dance between the new brides.
The bottom drops out of Mulan’s stomach, feeling all eyes turn to her - she’s certain she’d rather take on a whole hoard of ogres than walk into the centre of the dance floor.
But then Merida’s hand is at her elbow, and she’s smiling at Mulan, tugging her across the room.
“I don’t know how to dance,” Mulan whispers hurriedly.
Merida raises an eyebrow. “You think I do?” Her hand slides across Mulan’s waist, and Mulan presses her lips together, trying to fight back a shiver. “Just follow my lead,” Merida smirks playfully. “If you think you can keep up.”
They end up swinging wildly around the floor, spinning together, the band swiftly changing the tempo of the music to match their pace. Merida’s hair bounces as she moves, her face flushed pink and her eyes sparkling. She’s so stunningly beautiful, vibrant and alive, and Mulan’s cheeks hurt from smiling so much.
She catches sight of a flash of blue at the edge of the dance floor, a light glowing around Elsa’s fingers, and snow begins to drift down from the arched ceiling. It swirls around them lazily, swept up in the way they turn and dance together, and Merida tips her head back, letting Mulan’s grip at her arm and waist support her, face turned up toward the snow.
Mulan watches the way snowflakes settle on Merida’s mouth, and has to fight the urge to chase them away with her own lips.
This is only a pretend marriage, after all. A necessity to save Arendelle, a royal marriage to fight off a curse. Merida is the royalty, she could have chosen anyone to join her in this charade - Mulan was apparently the most convenient.
It’s not real, none of it’s real.
The music draws to a close, and there’s a coldness lodged in Mulan’s chest that has nothing to do with the snow. Merida pulls her into a hug, laughing breathlessly as her face presses to Mulan’s hair, and Mulan could let it warm her. She wants to let it warm her.
But she mustn’t. She mustn’t forget that it’s all pretend.
The night stretches on, the party still going strong. Mulan doesn’t avoid Merida, but she ensures she doesn’t find herself alone with Merida either. The next time they end up on the dance floor, Mulan pulls Red along with them, and Anna appears too, and they dance as a group. Merida drinks and tells stories and Mulan stays a careful step back, letting others stand between the two of them.
Many of the guests have left or have passed out in their seats, content smiles on their sleeping faces, when Elsa admits she’s ready to retire for the evening. Mulan has a sneaking suspicion that Merida and Anna could keep going until morning, but Red and Kristoff manage to coax them from the hall.
Mulan takes in the details of the castle as they’re escorted to their rooms, the plush carpets and beautiful paintings and ornate woodwork. It’s easier to let herself be distracted by her surroundings than to be drawn in by the way Merida strides along at her side.
“The honeymoon suite!” Anna announces grandly, clearly more than a little tipsy, and Red makes a terrible attempt at hiding her laughter behind her hand. “Enjoy your wedding night!”
Kristoff clears his throat, also doing a poor job of hiding his smile. “I think I’ll be getting this one to bed,” he says, and then he lifts Anna up in his arms and carries her down the hallway, Anna’s delighted giggle bouncing off the stone.
Elsa’s hand touches Mulan’s elbow, drawing her attention from the sight of Anna waving enthusiastically at them over Kristoff’s shoulder. “I can see you and Merida care for each other very deeply,” she says quietly, and Mulan feels her face heat up, her gaze flickering to where Merida is thankfully still distracted by Anna’s antics. “A bond like yours should be cherished.”
Mulan flounders for a long moment. “Thank you, your majesty,” she manages to make herself say. Because she knows that Merida cares for her, but she also knows that it is a different form of love to what Mulan feels in return.
Mulan’s heart has already been broken once. She’s been trying to protect it ever since, but Merida has chipped away at Mulan’s walls with just her presence, and Mulan feels exposed with her, vulnerable and open. The pretend wedding has made that clearer than ever.
“Would you mind showing me to my room, your highness?” Red asks politely, interrupting Mulan’s thoughts. She blinks in confusion - on their travels, Red has always shared a room with her and Merida.
But this time Elsa takes Red’s arm and is already guiding her away before Mulan can think to protest. “Of course,” Elsa replies, and Mulan thinks she catches a glimpse of a knowing smile on Elsa’s lips.
She definitely catches the wink Red throws at them before she and Elsa disappear around a corner.
“Let’s check out our bedroom, then,” Merida says, throwing the door open and herding Mulan inside.
It’s a beautiful room with a large window that stretches from floor to ceiling, giving them a stunning view of the night sky and the kingdom below, snow-white mountains gleaming in the distance. The bed is huge, its thick wooden posts draped in gauzy material. Merida instantly falls against the mattress, laughing as she bounces and settles.
“I’ll sleep on the floor,” Mulan blurts out.
“What are you talking about?” Merida asks with a frown, pushing herself back to her feet. She grins again, moving forward to slide a friendly arm around Mulan’s shoulders. “I won’t have my wife sleeping on the floor!”
It’s an obvious joke, light-hearted and fun, but Mulan feels herself stiffen at the words. And clearly Merida feels it as well, her breath catching sharply. Mulan can feel Merida’s gaze searching her face, and she steps back slowly, carefully extracting her arm from Mulan’s shoulders and reaching for her hands instead.
This is it. This is the moment where Mulan’s heart gets broken again.
“You’re right, we’ll share the bed,” Mulan says quietly. “And in the morning, we’ll figure out how to undo this marriage.”
Merida sighs, her hands squeezing Mulan’s fingers. “And what if I don’t want to undo it,” she asks, and her voice is quieter and more raw than Mulan’s ever heard it.
Mulan’s heart skips a beat, and she forces herself to look up, to look into Merida’s eyes. What she sees there is as vulnerable and open as Merida’s makes her feel, emotion thick and roiling as Merida looks at her, looks into her.
“If you want to undo the marriage, I will, I promise,” Merida tells her softly. “But I -” She inhales through her nose, stepping back and releasing Mulan’s hands to shove her fingers through her unruly hair. “Urgh, this isn’t how this was supposed to go!”
Mulan’s fingers feel cold - she wants to reach for Merida’s hands again. “How was it supposed to go?” she asks tentatively.
“Well, I was supposed to get to ask you to be my bride, for starters!” Merida huffs, starting to pace across the room. “I was supposed to woo you, and take you riding, and fighting, and for picnics, and all that sort of stuff. I supposed to date you, that’s what Red says, to let you know how I feel and spend time with you. And then I was supposed to propose.” She gestures sharply toward the window, and Arendelle below them. “Not get swept up in some magical troll ceremony for the greater good without even getting to tell you that I love you first!”
Mulan’s knees feel weak; she can’t catch her breath. “You love me?”
Merida freezes, still mid-step, her eyes wide. Mulan watches her steel herself, all that passion and strength that she wears in battle gathering around her, and then she’s moving back into Mulan’s space, her hand cradling Mulan’s jaw.
“I love you,” Merida tells her clearly, her thumb brushing Mulan’s cheek. “There’s nobody I’d want to pretend marry but you. And I know this is too late and too fast at the same time, but will you marry me? For real, this time?” She smiles softly. “Or date me, if you’d rather.”
Mulan’s moving in an instance, tumbling forward into Merida’s arms as if her body can no longer support her. Merida’s lips are warm under her own, sweeter and more lovely than Mulan could even have imagined. Her arm wraps tight around Mulan’s waist, the hand at her face moving to tangle in her hair, and they both make a soft noise into the kiss at the same time, the sound of it vibrating against their lips.
“Marry!” Mulan gasps the moment they break apart for air. “I want -” She kisses Merida again, kisses her as if she’ll never get enough, and she won’t, she already knows she won’t. There’s no such thing as enough, no such thing as too much, there’s only how much she needs this, how much she’s been aching for it.
They fall back against the bed - Mulan was barely aware they’d been moving towards it. She swings a leg over Merida’s thighs, straddling her lap, kissing her deeply. “You’re sure marriage isn’t too fast?” Merida asks, sounding distracted by the way Mulan’s fingers play with her hair. “I don’t want to rush you - I know you’ve been hurt before, Red said I should take things slow.”
Mulan shakes her head. “You’ve been taking them too slow,” she insists. “I didn’t even know how you felt about me.” She tugs impatiently at the white gown Merida’s wearing. “Marriage isn’t too fast.”
Merida grins up at her, her hand settling over Mulan’s where she’s still pulling on Merida’s dress. “And what about you trying to undress me?” she teases. “Are you sure we’re not going too fast?”
Mulan smiles, leaning down to brush her lips across Merida’s mouth. “Well, it is our wedding night,” Mulan reminds her, voice low and husky.
She can see the bob of Merida’s throat as she swallows thickly, and then Mulan’s yelping as Merida grabs her hips and spills her sideways across the large bed. She laughs into the next kiss as Merida tugs at the white tunic Mulan’s wearing over her leggings, and her own hands feel clumsy as they fumble at the lacings of Merida’s bodice.
“Tch, forget being patient,” Merida grumbles, reaching down to unsheathe the knife Mulan always conceals in her boot. She turns the blade upwards, slicing cleanly through her bodice’s laces, and then grabs a handful of Mulan’s tunic and cuts a line down the front.
“Hey, those don’t belong to us!” Mulan points out. Anna had leant them outfits she considered more appropriate for a wedding than Mulan’s usual armour - the trolls were apparently big on tradition, and that included attire.
“We saved their kingdom,” Merida snorts. “I’m sure they won’t begrudge us a couple of dresses.” She tosses the knife off the bed, sending it skidding harmlessly across the floor, before she yanks the bodice off and starts pulling the dress up over her head.
Mulan is quick to help her.
Once Merida is stripped down to her undergarments, Mulan arches up against her. Her hand grips Merida’s ass, her thigh pushing up between Merida’s legs, and the growl against her neck makes her gasp. “Want you so badly,” Merida groans, grinding down against Mulan’s body.
Mulan turns her head, kissing Merida’s chin, her cheekbone, her nose. “I’ve never done this before,” she confesses, feeling so overwhelmed, like now she finally can touch Merida she has no idea where to start.
“Me neither,” Merida admits. “But whatever you want, whatever you like, just tell me.”
It’s a good thing the bed is so huge, because they end up rolling together across it. Merida’s in such a hurry to take off Mulan’s leggings that she forgets to take off her boots first, and Mulan winds up thoroughly distracted when Merida shrugs off her undergarments before Mulan’s even pulled off her ruined tunic. But eventually they’re both naked, and Mulan’s hands move everywhere, tracing pale skin, following her freckles. Merida moans when Mulan cups her breasts, her head falling back when Mulan squeezes her there, thumbs pushing in just beneath Merida’s nipples.
Merida takes one of Mulan’s hands, guiding it down between her legs, and Mulan can feel how hot Merida is there, how wet and soft she is when Mulan slides fingers across her folds. She strokes Merida slowly, using the same pressure she likes to use on herself, and Merida cries out her name when Mulan eases two fingers inside of her, feeling the flutter around them, feeling Merida tighten and open to her.
They kiss distractedly as Mulan makes love to her, feeling inside for that sweet spot that always makes Mulan see stars when she touches herself, and when she finds it Merida’s hips buck up, panting and squirming beneath Mulan’s hands. She coaxes at it, draws Merida’s pleasure higher and higher, and when she comes, her whole body pulled taut as a bow, Mulan holds her through the shivers and the sighs.
Merida’s breathing heavily when she urges Mulan on to her back, her hair turned a deeper red at her hairline where she’s sweating, a flush staining her skin all the way down her chest. “I want to try something,” she murmurs, and before Mulan can even ask, Merida’s crawling backwards, her hands on Mulan’s hips and her face lowering between her legs.
The first touch of her lips makes Mulan whimper.
She licks at Mulan, spreading her and opening her up, Merida’s tongue lapping at her until Mulan’s trembling and pulling desperately at Merida’s hair. It’s so different to anything Mulan’s ever done to herself; warmer, hungrier, more intense. She can feel her heartbeat racing under Merida’s tongue, can feel the muscles in her legs twitching uncontrollably.
There’s white across her vision, chills racing down her back, and when Merida purses her lips and gently sucks at Mulan’s folds, she hears herself scream, arching off the bed as her mind blanks out.
Merida’s smiling when she pulls herself back up Mulan’s body, her eyes almost all pupil. Mulan kisses her, tasting herself on Merida’s lips, and it makes her groan, rubbing herself against Merida’s hip.
“Again already?” Merida laughs.
“Wedding night,” Mulan shoots back.
The sun is rising beyond the window when they finally curl up together, exhausted but content, Mulan’s head pillowed against Merida’s chest, her arm slung across Merida’s waist.
“We said we’d worry about everything in the morning,” Mulan muses.
Merida presses a kiss to the top of her head. “There’s nothing to worry about, though, is there? We’re staying together, right?”
“Of course,” Mulan assures her, fidgeting so she can look up into Merida’s face. “Although this means we’re going to have to break it to your subjects that their queen just got married.”
Merida’s eyes widen, her cheeks paling. “Oh hell, how am I gonna tell my mother that I had a wedding without her being there to see it?!”
Mulan considers it for a moment. “Well, you said troll union ceremonies aren’t recognised as official marriages in DunBroch. So once we get home, I suppose we’ll just have to have another ceremony.”
Merida’s smile is slow and wicked. “Another wedding, eh?”
“And another wedding night,” Mulan agrees.
“You’re going to make a wise queen,” Merida chuckles, and pulls her into another kiss.