Fandom: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Word count: 273
Summary: Shu Lien is old.
Notes: This was written for Pixie as a Yuletide Treat, but through some technical difficulties, I couldn't upload it in time. So here it is, instead.
Shu Lien is old. She can feel it in the way her bones creak and her muscles strain. Her hair is not what it once was, dark and thick. Strands of silver mingle with the black. She has no husband, but she has many children. They are the sons and daughters of the men who work for her, and they call her gu ma, my father's sister. In the afternoons, they visit her, asking her for a taste of the sweet cakes she buys at the market.
Her time is passing, Shu Lien knows. It will be their time soon. Amongst the children, there is a girl not more than thirteen years old, a quiet one with serious eyes. Shu Lien knows she will be a great warrior. The girl has the focus and strength of any Wudan, and when she practices her skills with her father, she moves with an easy grace.
She is beginning to grow too old to be satisfied with mere sweet cakes however, and so Shu Lien drinks tea with her on the fourth day of every month. "Gu ma, I wish to have a life like yours when I grow older," the girl says to her one day, her eyes warm and hopeful.
Shu Lien laughs. The girl is young, and her future is bright. She cannot understand what Shu Lien has lost. Meng, her betrothed; Li Mu Bai, her dearest friend; Jen Yu, her almost sister. "No," she says to the girl as kindly as she can, the sadness seeping into her voice. "You must wish to have better."