NOTE: Kung Fu Panda and its characters are property of Pixar! Please forgive my horrid writing skills.
SORRY EVERYTHING IS UNDERLINED. I HAVE NO CLUE AS TO WHY. I HADN'T SET IT THAT WAY. I SUPPOSE IT MAKES READING IT EASIER?
"I win again!" cried out the eccentric noodle maker joyfully as he placed his last mahjong piece in its appropriate slot upon the board.
Sighing in aggravation, Shifu managed a friendly smile. It had only been one of many failures he had come to face since the unexpected arrival of his most recent student's father. A kind and generous man, however his was proving to be more trying than the panda himself. "So you have, my friend. Why, that must have been the 16th winning in a row."
"18th." Monkey corrected, only to be silently scolded with what was one of master Shifu's most incredulous stares. "Master…." He bowed quickly, returning to his meditation.
"Ahem. Yes. Well, nonetheless; I commend your skills. It has… been quite some time since I have faced such a challenge."
Shaking his head slightly, the older goose only smiled. "Nonsense! There is no need for such formalities Shifu." The red panda visibly twitched at this, rousing a bout of giggles from his students to which he stifled with a look of warning. "Though, I must admit, my luck isn't something easily defeated. In fact my family is renowned for its mahjong skills! My father had it, my grandfather had it, his father's father had it, his aunt twice removed had it, her-."
Shifu nearly jumped out of his skin and his was pulled from his deadened trance by the voice of none other than what was humorously the dragon warrior.
Standing awkwardly at the entrance of the room, Po juggled what appeared to be a number of personal possessions within his large arms, many of them adorned with various forms of noodle shop memorabilia.
It was only yesterday that the young panda had begged him to allow his father to reside within the temple walls.
At first, he was ready to ardently deny his student's immature wishes, however when faced with pathetically brokenhearted expression (as well as hours of obnoxious begging), he had reluctantly complied, granting him a room just within the temple gates.
"Po!" the goose smiled delightedly, completely forgetting his rant as he ran forward to embrace his son, halting only momentarily as his son set each item noisily upon the floor, leaving his arms free to return the gesture.
"Hey dad. Having fun?" he smiled embarrassedly after finally escaping his father's affectionate grip, moving to once again tediously gather the majority of the man's items.
"Oh. Things are going splendidly. Shifu here really has his work cut out for him I see. Tell me, did you get everything I asked?" he inquired brightly, looking over the contents of his son's arms.
"I did dad. Would you like to see your room?" he added hopefully, nervous as to the aggravated training that was to come from his placing his father within Shifu's care for the day. Lord knew, their master had little patience.
"Oh, yes! I would like that. Well, thank you for your company Mr. Shifu. It has been lovely meeting you all. I shall see you all soon. After all, I want to see my son at training." He nodded, gathering a few things to assist his son as they made their way in the direction of his new home.
Once gone, Shifu let out a long sigh, small hand moving to massage his temples.
"This will certainly be interesting." Crane smirked as he landed beside the older man.
"Annoying, you mean?" Tigress huffed, arms crossed sternly, though with a hint of
"Well, I think he's sweet. I say we give him a chance. In fact, he might just motivate Po to work harder, don't you think?" Viper smiled sweetly. "It's a nice change to the formal setting of the temple."
Shaking his head slowly, Shifu stood, mahjong piece firmly at hand. "Very well. However…" fluidly, he lifted the piece in front of him and with one swift motion, it went flying in various splintered pieces across the room. "I hereby ban mahjong from the temple."
Laughter at this was shared, before they all retreated to their rooms with fatigued minds but light hearts.
"So…Here we are." Po smiled, quick to decorate the fairly large room with the remnants of the noodle shop.
Pausing for only a second, Mr. Ping took the time to marvel at his surroundings, having not expected such a spacious living area.
"Do you like it?" his son questioned, hope gleaming brightly within the panda's dark eyes.
Shaking it off, the goose returned his son's delighted gaze, patting the boy gently upon his arm. "I do… Thank you Po. This is really… more than I expected." He laughed lightly, placing his hat neatly atop the large wooden chest adorning the room.
"Aw. Nothing's too much for you dad. I'm just happy you're here." He smiled sweetly, an expression that caused his father's heart to churn guiltily.
His boy really was happy here. And he wouldn't have it any other way. After pushing himself to get past that fact that his son's life and career would be elsewhere, he had easily conceded to full support of his interests, having found delight in it himself. He couldn't even begin to express how impressed he was with Po's talent. He only wished he could have seen it sooner.
Po halted his antics at his father's distant but thoughtful gaze, wrenching his hands slightly before choosing to speak up.
"Um… There's a really lovely peach tree near here. With a great view! Would you…um; like to see it dad?"
Breaking from his thoughts, Mr. Ping turned his attention back to his slightly distraught son. "Oh… Yes! Po; that would be lovely." He chirped, in his usual carefree voice, casually following his son past the sliding doors that lead to the outside.
Once at the peach tree, he was met with the most wondrous view he had ever seen. Having grown up in the Valley, there were hardly any such places unless one took the time to seek them out. Namely climbing. Something he wasn't accustomed to doing, having realized this upon their venture to the Jade palace.
"It's beautiful Po. What a pleasant place this is." He smiled, turning to face his son, only to be met with the unsettling sight of the panda seated so dangerously at the edge of the cliff. "Uh; Po. Please be careful!" he squawked nervously, tugging back upon his son's arm.
Laughing jovially, Po moved away from the ledge, much to his father's relief, moving to sit beside the large roots of the peach tree.
"Don't worry dad. I wouldn't let that happen. I've had my share of falls anyway so I doubt too much harm would come of it." He chuckled as the goose took a heavy seat beside him, only to be met with a disapproving yet worried gaze that left his laughter deflated. That was certainly not something the shop keeper wanted to hear.
Sighing softly, Po fell silent, instead, turning his attention to the setting sun before them, its fading rays turning the clouds a radiant orange-ish red.
Little did he expect the silence to extend into an agonizing ten minutes before his father unexpectedly spoke up.
"I'm… so proud of you Po." He said softly, wings resting neatly within his lap as he kept his gaze forward.
Po flinched awkwardly at this, eyes wide with surprise at the sudden seriousness in his father's usually ecstatic voice.
"I remember it as if it were only just yesterday… The day the gods gave you to me." He smiled, the cheeriness returning to his voice.
"Dad…" Po chuckled embarrassedly, moving to rub the back of his neck as the goose continued.
"You were such a precious thing. So small, yet so strong and full of energy." He giggled, waving the thought off warmly. "Why, by the time you were able to crawl, I spent nearly every waking hour trying to keep you out of trouble… Woks and ladles scattered every which way upon the floor, you're fur completely soaked in broth. Most of my time was devoted to keeping you clean."
Po smiled softly, finding solace in his father's stories, having not been able to recall much of his childhood. For as long as he could remember, he had always possessed the strangest feeling of not having been his father's son. He could never quite place his finger on it, though he got the sneaking suspicion it had something to do with their taste in soups.
Despite all this however, he couldn't have asked for a better father.
"But…" his father continued, eyes shining warmly. "I loved every second of it." He said, patting his son's hand gently.
Content, Po allowed another extended pause between the two of them, oblivious to the troubled expression that was slowly dawning upon his father's seemingly aged features.
If only this were easier.
"Po… I… I may not be able to remain here with you much longer." He added softly, watching as a single peach blossom fell gracefully to the healthy earth.
"Dad?" asked the Panda, startled by the ominous tone his father's voice had taken.
Upon receiving no reply, he found himself becoming all the more anxious, leaving his mind to assume to worst. "Dad. Dad? What's wrong? Are you sick?!" he gasped, panicked.
Having also been startled by his son's outburst, Mr. Ping placed his wings on either of Po's hands, forcing him to remain still as tears began to gather within the panda's eyes.
"No, no, no! Po, calm down! You silly boy. I simply meant that I may not be able to remain 'here' within the Jade Palace." He sighed, unable to contain a bark of laughter at how easily his son became flustered.
However, his laughter was short lived upon noticing the faint glimmer of tears that currently stained the black fur adorning his son's eyes, reaching forward to brush them away tenderly.
"Oh, Po. So much fuss." He smiled sadly as he ran a feather lightly along the surface of Po's cheek, urging the young Panda to calm himself before speaking.
"But dad… don't you want to stay here with me? Have I disappointed you?"
The question nearly broke his heart. He never wanted his son to believe that he was ever disappointed in him.
"Po… You are a strong, intelligent and sweet boy. There is no possible way I could ever feel those things." He smiled, squeezing his son's larger hand reassuringly within his own. " There could never be a prouder father… but…." He paused, trying to find the right words.
"I do not belong here."
Confused, Po shook his head. "Of course you do dad. The others love you; really. And I would love it if you could stay here. Please don't feel as if you have burdened us." He pleaded desperately, only making it more difficult for his father to express his point.
"Oh no, son. I had never thought this. It's just that… well." He laughed lightly, gesturing towards the valley. "My shop."
Further perplexed, Po followed his father's gaze. "You mean… You want to go back… to work?"
Mr. Ping chuckled at his son's surprise. "Yes.
Huffing softly, he looked to his father, not having expected this at all. "But I don't understand. You'll be able to stay here with us. You won't have to work another day of your life."
Shaking his head knowingly, his father smiled. "Surely you know me better than that Po. That shop is my life. I grew up there, I raised you there and I love what I do as you do your training. It may not seem like the most extravagant living, but… it makes me happy."
"Ohhh." Po nodded, finally understanding. As if his father's constant noodle rambling hadn't been enough of a hint. It wasn't an obligatory job. His father genuinely loved his work. "But… will I ever-."
"Well, I never said I wouldn't come to visit! I was thinking I could leave half of my belongings up here and come to stay every other week. How does that sound?" he smiled widely, bringing an immense sense of relief to his son.
"That sounds great dad." He smiled in return, blushing faintly at the scene he had made. So much for a warrior's composure.
"Splendid! I'll make arrangements with Shifu in the morning. Ha! Leaving forever. And what were I to do if my son were to have children? Especially with such lovely training partners? Why I might have a daughter in law by the end of this week. That Tigress girl is quite a darling." He chirped, causing Po to blush violently.
"Dad…" he coughed, nudging the goose gently in the side while having managed to laugh himself.
As their laughter died down to a comfortable silence, both watched as the last sliver of sunlight disappeared behind the endless sea of cloud, the glow of the moon quickly taking its place to provide what could be considered and even more brilliant lighting which bathed all it touched in silver.
Wordlessly, his father leaned to the side, providing the best hug he could manage with his smaller wingspan, causing Po to tense slightly before once more relaxing under his father's affectionate gesture.
"I love you Po."
Smiling, he brought his arms to encircle his father's smaller form, giving the goose an affectionate squeeze before replying with soft "Love you too, Dad."
They stayed that way for a moment or so, before pulling away slowly, both feeling much more at peace than they had been in a long time.
Careful not to stumble, Po rose from his position upon the ground, assisting his father in doing the same before they began their trek back towards the palace a smile on each of their faces.
However, the contented silence was interrupted as a loud growling erupted from Po's stomach, bringing a knowing smirk, fairly uncharacteristic of his father, to appear on the goose's face.
"Always hungry Po. It is good to have a healthy appetite." He chuckled, patting his son's side lightly.
Po grimaced slightly as his stomach growled once more. "I wouldn't say it was necessarily healthy. Hey… You don't think You could whip me up a bowl of your famous secret ingredient soup do you? I'm starved." He laughed, rubbing his stomach in a vain attempt to silence it.
"Certainly! But, you must assist me. I don't want you loosing practice, especially with the possibility of a family being on the way! A father needs to be able to provide for his children." He smiled teasingly as they approached his new home, causing yet another blush to appear upon his son's face.
"Dad…" he chuckled lightly, inwardly praying he made no such jokes in front of the others. He was almost positive Master Tigress would kill him if she caught wind of it.
Ok. Really sappy, but there isn't enough Mr. Ping love out there! And I love his and Po's relationship despite the misunderstandings. XD Anyway, I considered writing another about Po's childhood. Specifically giving a reason behind their differences and how Po may have come to be Mr. Ping's son. I dunno. Please read and review! Hopefully I don't yank this from the site. (