It's a crisis. This situation was a crisis and he was having a major panic right now. Why you ask? What's going on? What's the problem? Who's having a crisis?
You see, my dolls and gents, Li Shang is having a crisis. A upcoming mental breakdown, if you will. All because it can't seem to utter the words "Would you like to go on a date?"
Shang, he is a lot of things. Manly, some may considerate. Athletic, chivalrous, level-headed (to a certain point), smart, handsome. A lot of things. Including courageous. But that courage will go only so far. Ask him to climb a mountain? He'll do it. Swim through a coursing river? Where's his swimsuit?! Sit through a great typhoon? Piece of cake! Sit through Yen Sid's hour long speeches of good student conduct at the academy? Fetch him a pillow and some coffee and he's good.
But ask out a girl?
No can do. Nuh uh. Nah. Can't do. He won't do it. He just can't!
This girl isn't just some girl. She wasn't some daddy's little girl or beauty extraordinaire, alright? This girl was the definition of a warrior.
She was equal to Shang in everything and then some. This girl is tough, no doubt about it. This girl is Shang's dream girl.
When it came to Shang's attraction to people, he isn't picky. He was good with boys as he was with girls.
But at this very moment, he was sure his sexuality was just this girl.
He remembered the first time he saw her. He had mistaken her to be a boy, having wearing a wool baggy white sweater with the sleeves rolled up, red jeans and black boots that day. Her hair wasn't down, tied up in a bun. For hours, every time he had seen her he just thought, 'Wow, that boy is hot.'
However, behold his embarrassment came crashing when he saw her walk into the girls' locker room and then come out into the gym in clothes that defined her curves and chest. He had still found Mulan attractive though. She looked beautiful as a girl (in sweats) as she did as a guy.
It wasn't until the two actually talked and got to know each other that Shang had an awakening. He was Mulan-sexual.
A Mulan-sexual that couldn't bring himself to spit out the question he desperately wanted to ask.
He needed some advice.
"I am aware."
"Like... very hopeless."
"It's kind of sad."
Seeing how distressed his friend appeared, Eric patted him on the shoulder in comfort, nodding in understanding. "Alright. I'll help you ask this girl out. Let's start with some practice, okay?"
"... like one of those scenario type practices where you pretend to be Mulan and I have to try asking you out?"
"Don't make that face."
She noticed. Shang has been acting very strange as of late and as amusing as it was, it was odd. Shang was a collected guy. He never shown any hint of being nervous. Not like he had a stick up his ass, he smiles and laughs, but he never stumbled over his words or jumped.
What made it odd was he had only seemed to be this way around her.
Mulan observed him from afar sometimes and seen him act his normal self and then got closer and there goes a different persona of Shang.
It bothered her since she had a crush on the guy. It would suck if he didn't came to dislike her and decides to not be friends anymore. She could handle him saying "I'd like to be friends" if she had told him about the crush. It wouldn't be the end of the world. But she knows that she really likes Shang. He is a great guy. She believes that he wouldn't just be a good friend, but he's quality boyfriend material.
"Something is wrong, Mulan?"
Brown met brown briefly before she answered Jasmine. "I'm good. Just thinking." She scratched the back of her neck, a quick thought of getting an undercut coming to her, and slurped the smoothie in front of her. Across from her, Jasmine pouted.
Despite Mulan's words, she knew something is wrong.
"Mulan, don't lie. What's going on?"
"Any stress? Sleep deprivation?"
"I'm doing fine."
"Boy troubles then?"
At that, Mulan's usual cool face turned a hot red. Immediately, a grin spread on the other's face.
"Oh, I see. It's a boy." She leaned closer, one perfect eyebrow raising. "Let me guess. Shang, right?"
Mulan groaned, covering her head under her arms. That had confirmed it. Solid. "..."
Jasmine chuckled, reaching over the table. She rubbed her friend's arm. "Oooohh, called it."
"Mulan, I'm not blind, sweetie. I've noticed the looks and I say go for it."
Mulan uncovered her face, sitting up with a pout. "I can't exactly go for it. He probably doesn't feel the same. I mean, Shang has been acting weird around lately. What if he actually hates me or something?"
"Doubt it.", came the quick disagreement, a shake of the head following. "So doubt it. I've noticed his odd behavior, too and it doesn't come of as hatred. More so like he's crushing on you."
"I know. I've seen the same behavior with Aladdin before we started dating. So I asked him about it and now we're a couple."
Jasmine got up out her seat and rounded the booth, taking a seat next to Mulan and hugged her. "I assure it will probably work out in your favor." She pulled away and placed her hands on Mulan's shoulders, turning her so they were face to face. "Now, do you trust me?"
"... would I offend you if I answered with a no?"
In response, Jasmine just rolled her eyes and got up out her seat. Mulan was smart enough to look a little shook when Jasmine shot her a hardening stare, hands going on her hips.
"Grab your bag, grab your smoothie. Let's go."
Aladdin was quite amused and concerned at what he just walked into, but he was sure he didn't want to know exactly what the situation is. Nonetheless, his lips moved before his brain stopped him.
"Do I want to know why I just heard Eric speak in the worst girly voice ever and why Shang is blushing like crazy? What is going on? Why in the heck are you standing so close?"
"I'm helping Shang get over his fear of asking out Mulan. He's being a baby.", Eric admitted without any hint of shame. Shang, on the other hand, appeared to be murderous.
"What? For real? I thought you would have been did this? Shang, you're like the manliest of us and yet you can't ask out a girl?"
"Whoa, hold it. If I recalled you were just as scared when you crushed hard on Jasmine."
"... you got me there. Ooh. Speaking of my beautiful diamond, she just texted me and asked if we're still hanging out? She's waiting for us."
"Well, let's go. I have nothing better to do right now anyways.", Eric said, Shang shrugging in agreement. "Ariel is having one of hangout days with her sisters."
Aladdin chuckled, nudging him with his elbow. "So I guess you're missing your girlfriend so much that you pretended to be Shang's?"
"I WAS HELPING HIM!"
To say the least, both were equally shook to the core when their eyes met just feet away from each other. Eric, Aladdin, and Shang had met up with Jasmine at their town's park fountain. Mulan had been present as well, pretty much held captive against her will since Jasmine taken it upon herself to keep a firm grip on Mulan's wrist.
Shang swore his heart stopped and restarted while Mulan tried not to be too obvious in struggling to break free and go soaring away.
"Hey, sweetie.", Jasmine greeted, still holding onto Mulan's wrist as she kissed Aladdin's cheek.
"Hi, babe. Hey, Mulan. Didn't know you were joining us today."
"Well, I was in the mood for some company.", she smiled, still eyeing Shang who still eyed her. The other three were able to see the red coating their faces, both done and humored by their display. It's adorable to see the toughest of people they knew turn into such lovesick puppies.
"Anyways, lunch first?", Eric interjected.
For once, Shang actually looked away from Mulan, clearing his throat. "Uh, sure. There's that one food place I know we haven't been to."
"Are you talking about that fish and chips place?", Jasmine asked. By now, she had released Mulan since Aladdin was hugging her around the waist. However, she still had Mulan stand close. She wasn't playing games. "I've been wanting to go there."
"Great! Let's go there!"
"Okay, seriously, Eric. You're scaring me."
The group found themselves in a booth after some time. Jasmine, Aladdin and Eric made sure Mulan and Shang sat next to each other. They practically blockaded them. Aladdin was sure Shang was sweating bullets right now. Mulan was faring better though, seemingly calm. Although, her eyes stayed on Shang, reading him. Other than that, nothing was too weird. Small talk happened here and there.
Nothing out of place.
To say the least.
"Say, I'm going to the little girl's room. I won't be gone long.", Jasmine announced, leaving the booth without nothing much else. About a second later, Aladdin got up, too.
"I got to get more napkins and ketchup packets. Might grab a little dessert, too."
"I'm coming with you. I want to refill my cup."
Neither Shang and Mulan said anything as the other two left them alone. For a while, silence sulked between them. Once in a while, they should look at each other and then look away. It seemed forever before their friends would return and save them from this. However, maybe it was best they take their time. Shang was hyping himself to finally ask the girl of his dreams out while Mulan contemplated about questioning his odd behavior.
Eventually, both cracked and began to speak.
"I have to ask---"
They stopped, letting out soft chuckles before Mulan spoke again.
"So I have something to ask you."
Shang nodded, giving her the green light. She sighed, propping her elbows on the table, pushing her tray away a little. "Alright. I kind of noticed how odd you've been acting lately and, not to be so blunt, but I wondered if I did something wrong to make you upset or uncomfortable?"
"What? No! No!" He cleared his throat, composing himself. "No, you haven't. Sorry I worried you. I actually feel quite the opposite around you.", he stated, hinting his feelings.
He wasn't too sure if she caught on, but it made him happy to see her smile. "Oh, good. I thought I did something wrong. Hate to lose your company."
Okay, he definitely felt his heart combust. 'Did she have to wear her up like that today? Doesn't she know she looks badass and cute like that?!'
"But why are you acting so weird?"
"Well... I... for a while..." Yup, incoming panic. Should he abort?! Abort?! "... I kind of have... I wanted..."
Mulan somehow felt as if she have seen this behavior before. Then she thought about it, thinking about her conversation with Jasmine earlier.
'She said Aladdin acted this same way before they started dating. Wait! Shang must really does...!'
A bigger grin graced her face then. A spike of pride blessed her. The realization that Shang liked her and was fidgety about it was amazing. One, the feelings were mutual. Two, she could so hold this over his head.
"Shang, are you trying to ask me out?"
He froze. He froze.
"It's cute when you're nervous.", she teased, reaching out and pinching his cheek.
Shang groaned, his hands covering his face to hide his shame.
"You can't stay quiet forever. If it makes you feel better, I do like you, too. As in, I would love to date you. Have been wanting to since probably forever."
"Are you serious? You're not saying this to pity me, are you?", he asked, finally finding his voice again. Mulan's words did ease him enough to uncover his face, but he was sure he was still scarlet.
"I'm very serious. So when is our first date?"
"Um... how about you choose?"
Mulan leaned against him, brave enough to do so. "How about tomorrow since it's Saturday? Say arcade and ice cream?"
"Is this fine?" She took his hand and laced their fingers together.
He smiled back, beaming. He sighed, content now. Any anxiety he had before was gone. Like gone. "This is fine."
The two looked up to see that the others standing there. Eric was slurping on his refilled soda, Aladdin was smirking like some cat that ate the canary and Jasmine was squealing.
"I'm guessing you two are going to date now?", she had asked. She was pleased.
"Yup. You were right. Shang was just pulling an Aladdin on me."
"Wait! What is that supposed to mean?!", Aladdin scoffed, offended and a little confused. Jasmine patted his cheek and then gave it a kiss.
"Don't worry about it, sweetheart."
"By the way, I ship this.", Eric stated, gesturing between the two. "Have been since your pining became obvious."
"We were obvious?", Mulan questioned.
"Well, Shang was. You hid it better though."
"I would attack you, but I'm too happy right now.", Shang said.
"Not my fault you were being a pining baby."
"I take back what I said."
Mulan embraced his neck then, kissing him on the cheek. It made him freeze up again, but this time a smile graced his face.
"Eric is just being silly since Ariel isn't here right now."
"You know what? You are perfect for each other. Sassing me. I was probably your first shipper!"
"I don't know. Pretty sure your girlfriend probably noticed before you.", Aladdin teased, Jasmine giggling.
"... I'm guessing this is what being a 'fifth wheel' is."