A/N: Saw the movie. Loved it. Saw the Secrets thing. Loved that too, so I thought I'd give this story a shot.

Disclaimer: KFP, its characters, etc. all belong to Dreamworks. There are a few original characters and naming rights that belong to "Peter The Muggle," and I have gained his permission to use them in this story. All other original characters belong to me. Anyway, let's get this thing started.

A Crane's Tail, a Kung Fu Panda Fan Fiction: by runia24

Chapter One: Surprise!


It had been two months since Po, the Dragon Warrior, had defeated the menacing Tai Lung, and things were finally starting to get back to normal… or at least as close to normal as possible. The Furious Five had been aiding the Dragon Warrior in mastering the Thousand Scrolls of Kung Fu, one of the few things Po wanted to do besides eat. After all, kung fu was his passion, and training day after day with his lifelong idols felt like a never-ending dream come true.

Of course, all work and no play makes for a rather boring lifestyle, so when the day of the Moon Festival came, Po and the Five were elated to find out that their master, Shifu, had given them all a day off of their rigorous routine. Even Tigress thought that a day of relaxation was a good idea. Perhaps Po's…unique mannerisms were starting to rub off on her, or maybe Tai Lung's defeat left her with less strenuous priorities.

The Moon Festival was one of the most important festivals of the year, where friends and family would gather and celebrate a successful harvest. What the others didn't know was that Shifu had planned something special. Not terribly long ago, he had sent his messenger fowl, Zeng, to deliver invitations to the Jade Palace to the family members of each of the Furious Five. Since Po's father already resided in the Valley of Peace, the red panda would use his noodle shop as a meeting place for the family reunion. If all went according to schedule, each of the family members would arrive in the Valley of Peace in a matter of hours.

After the typical morning gong wakeup and breakfast, Zeng, carrying five scrolls, made his usual clumsy entrance into the palace.

"Ah Zeng, I assume you are bringing me the accepted invitations," Shifu asked.

"Um…yes, yes I am," the goose answered nervously. He slowly lifted himself off the ground and brushed himself off. One by one he handed the scrolls to the master.

"Shifu…there's something that I," Zeng started to say as he unwilling gave the red panda the final scroll, but Shifu put a hand up, signaling that he wanted to finish reading the scrolls first.

"Let's see, Viper's parents, Monkey's sister…"

"But sir, I need to tell you…"

"Mantis's mother, Tigress's caretaker at Bau Gu…"

"Crane's parents aren't coming!" the goose blurted out. He covered his beak in embarrassment.

There was a long awkward pause. Shifu didn't want to believe what Zeng had told him, but had no choice but to after he read the letter. "So…they really did decline the invitation then…but why?"

"I'm not sure; they wouldn't answer when I asked them. His father had simply said that they didn't 'associate' themselves with him anymore. He was rather rude about it as well, now that I come to think of it." Suddenly, a rather peculiar thought entered his mind. "Sir, you don't think they…disowned him, do you?"

If it weren't the day of the Moon Festival, Shifu would have been halfway to Crane's village by now, with all the fury of a thousand storms. The declined invitation was bad enough, but the thought of one of his prized student's parents disowning him made the red panda's blood boil. But as much as he wanted to go, he would have to wait for another time to settle this issue.

The previous thought raised more questions. Did Crane know about this? Did he know that his family felt this way about him? And why did they feel this way? Before Po came along, Shifu and the Five never made much small talk, but now that he came to think about it, the bird had never mentioned anything about his family, his childhood. Nearly his entire life was a mystery to everyone.

He'd have to talk to him about this, especially if no one from Crane's family would show up for the gathering while everyone else was represented.

Shifu sighed in disappointment. Every time something appeared to be going just fine, there was a last minute twist that seemed to ruined everything, like when Po first showed up. Of course, that didn't turn out so bad in the end.

"Maybe this will too…" Shifu finally said, Zeng looking on anxiously as if waiting for Shifu to dismiss him. "Maybe…"

Before the diminutive master could finish his thought, multiple thuds could be heard coming from the main hall.

"Sounds like someone is at the door," Zeng pointed out.

"At this hour?" Shifu asked, his curiosity rising. It was barely an hour after sunrise.

The pair swiftly made their way through the Hall of Heroes, to the door, and opened it. A female messenger goose, similar in Zeng's height and stature, was the one who was knocking. Clasped in the fowl's left wing was a scroll.

"I was told to bring this letter to a 'Huang Jien', the female goose spoke in an authoritative tone.

"May I ask who sent you to deliver this letter?" said Shifu, raising an eyebrow.

"If you really need to know, the writer of this letter is none other than Master Mountain Cat, Mei Ling, of the Li Dai Academy of Kung Fu," she answered in her quickly established professional, and quite irritating manner.

"I will see that he gets it promptly," the red panda assured, taking the scroll that was handed to him. With that, the female fowl took off in a way that Zeng swoon.

"You have a little drool, right there," Shifu said, pointing with a grin to the bird's beak. As Zeng quickly tried to awkwardly slurp his drool back into his beak, the red panda left to go find Crane. He figured that best place to start looking was the bird's dormitory.

As he made his way to his student's private quarters, Shifu couldn't help but feel relieved at this turn of events. What supposedly was a ruined plan was just saved by a letter out of the blue.

To no surprise, Shifu found the avian master in his room, currently preoccupied with his calligraphy practice. To his surprise, Crane lost concentration as the red panda barged in his room.

"He could have at least knocked…but it must be important if he didn't bother to use manners," the kung fu master thought as he put the brush down.

"Master Shifu?"

"I have a letter addressed to Huang…"

Before Shifu could finish, Crane rushed to grab the scroll from his master and immediately opened and read it. The red panda smiled, expecting as much.

"When did I start smiling so often?"

"Only one person I know calls me by my birth name," Crane giggled with glee. He always felt so happy when she sent letters to him. It was the first she had sent since they last saw each other a month ago. Those two months felt like an eternity compared the ten years prior to that visit.

"To my good friend, Huang Jien,

It feels weird, huh? I haven't seen you in so long, and now I'm about to visit you twice in the same year. This time I'm not coming alone.

I recently received an anonymous letter from 'an old friend of ours,' saying that he will be there as well. He says it has been over ten years since he last saw us, though why he's going to show up now is beyond me. Either way, the two of us will be there on the day of the festival.

Hopefully this isn't some dumb prank or lame excuse for a trap, not that a couple of kung fu masters should be worried anyway.

Can't wait to see you again, Mei Ling."

"An old friend…hmm," Crane thought for a moment.

"Do you know who this 'old friend' is?" asked Shifu, who had been looking over Crane's shoulder, reading the letter.

Normally Crane would have jumped in shock, surprised at how close his master was. He always seemed to do this while he was engrossed with his letters from the mountain cat, like it was some sort of cruel joke.

Not this time, though. He was too preoccupied thinking on whom she could be talking about. "Ten years… if my hunch is correct, that means it's one of three, but since Mei Ling said it was a he, that narrows it down to two," he muttered.

Shifu was going to ask Crane about his old friends, but right now he was elated with the fact that someone close to Crane would be coming to the festival, and he could put off that awkward conversation about him and his family… and perhaps his whole life before he came to the palace to another time.

"Well," Shifu started, "it appears we still have several more hours before the Moon Festival begins. I'll leave you to your calligraphy, but I do expect you, Mei Ling, and this old friend of yours at Mr. Ping's noodle shop by sundown. Don't tell anyone else."

Before Crane could ask why, Shifu had already left the sleeping quarters and off to the Sacred Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom for his usual morning meditation. Crane resumed his calligraphy, grateful that the interruption didn't last terribly long and also brought good news.

Unfortunately, the avian's current work of art wasn't getting any further to completion. His mind was too preoccupied with the thought of Mei Ling and mystery guest visiting.

"She said he hasn't seen either of us in over ten years, and from what happened around… that time, I think I can understand why. But something seems…off. Mei Ling said only one other person was attending. You'd think after ten years of not seeing me, all of them would come together with her. Either one of them died within the past ten years, one just never got the news, or this is someone else entirely. I shouldn't worry about it too much. Whoever it is, I'm sure it's someone I know and trust, and I can't wait to see him again."

A short, but heavy gust of wind blew inside from Crane's open window, scattering dozens of finished and half-finished pieces of calligraphy across the room, some of them finding their way outside.

"I hope that wasn't one of those 'ominous winds'," Crane said to himself, gathering the papers one by one.

Morning quickly turned to afternoon, and soon the time was approaching. Shifu was busy at the Jade Palace, making sure everything was ready. Po and the Five were currently mingling with the villagers, the day off giving them a rare opportunity to further get to know the Valley of Peace and its sights, sounds, and smells. Most of the time they remained at the palace, which seemed to watch over the village like a mother eagle over its chicks. Although the were trying to act casual and simply explore the town, they couldn't prevent all the shouts and stares directed towards them.

"Look, it's the Dragon Warrior!"

"And the Furious Five!"

"Our heroes!"

"So Crane's getting two visitors for the festival, one of them he hasn't seen in over ten years," Po recapped to the group, trying as hard as he could to remain humble and not let the positive comments of the crowd get to him.

"Actually there's quite a few people I haven't seen in over ten years," Crane thought bitterly.

"Any ideas on who it may be?" Viper asked.

No answer.


Still nothing. Crane remained locked in his own little world. A tail slap by Viper soon changed that.

"Well, I've narrowed it down to a couple of suspects, but after that, not a clue," the bird answered as if everything was normal.

"Are you feeling alright?" Viper questioned.

"Don't worry, I'm fine. I just have a lot on my mind right now. Once I see who this 'old friend' is, everything will be crystal clear."

The others knew that Crane wasn't going to deliberate about it any further, so they chose to drop the subject for now.

The six of them ventured down to Mr. Ping's noodle shop, hoping to have some afternoon tea before heading back to the Jade Palace.

"Hey Dad, I'm here," Po called out, but there was no answer. Curious, Po took another few steps closer. "Hey Dad, it's me. Are you there?" Po took a big whiff, but no sensation met his nostrils. Nothing was cooking, but something was up.

"Sorry, but we are closed for the rest of the day except for reservations, and I'm sorry to say we can't accept anymore of those," a voice called out from inside the shop. The voice was way too young to be Po's father, which only made the current situation even weirder.

"Uh…is Mr. Ping there?" the panda asked awkwardly.

A head poked out from under the serving cart. It was an otter's. "Nope. He's currently out on business, but he should be back pretty…soon?" the otter paused for moment, looking at the group of kung fu warriors in awe. "The Furious Five and the Dragon Warrior! To what do I owe the honor?" the otter exclaimed as he bowed to the six.

"Uh, I was just looking for my father, Mr. Ping, the owner of this shop," Po said, still not completely used to people bowing down to him.

"You mean Mr. Ping is your father? I can't believe he never told me…"

"Who are you?" Tigress asked sharply, cutting off the otter's train of thought.

He prattled off in one breath, "Oh of course! How rude of me. My name is Bo, just Bo. Mr. Ping hired me just one week ago. He said his previous worker was his son, but he left to go do more important things, and I guess being the Dragon Warrior is pretty important. But wow, I actually get to meet you all and…"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa…take a breather kid," Mantis said.

The young otter nodded enthusiastically and decided to let Po and Co. have a turn to say something.

"Thank you, Mantis. Now then, you said my father was on business. Do you know where?" Po asked.

"Unfortunately I don't," Bo answered. "He's mostly kept it a secret, only telling me it's for a special surprise tonight. He told me to start getting the place ready and to tell anyone that the place is closed except for those with reservations," the otter explained cheerfully.

"You mean we can't even have a quick cup of tea?"

"Sorry, Mr. Ping said no one, no exceptions, which I am to assume includes the Dragon Warrior and his friends."

Tigress frowned at this comment. The powerful kung fu warrior wasn't fond of being just a part of the Dragon Warrior's entourage. Now I'm going to ask you to leave. If my boss catches me with nothing set, I'm going to be in really big trouble, so if you need to have your afternoon tea, just go back to the Jade Palace, please?" Bo pleaded, not wanting to risk his employment status so soon after getting hired to help run the noodle shop.

The panda sighed, not wanting to complicate things any further, and he agreed to leave the shop area without any further provocation. The group headed back to the palace, moving through the busy, murmuring crowd.

While walking up the many steps (going slower than normal so Po could catch up) Monkey spoke up, "It's been an odd day, hasn't it? It's been full of surprises."

The others nodded their head in agreement, though none of them knew that more surprises would soon cross their paths.

Soon enough, they finished climbing the enormous staircase and went back inside the palace.

"Master Shifu, we're back!" Po yelled, his voice echoing throughout the Hall of Heroes. He got no answer, so he called out again.

"Where could he be?" Viper questioned. "He's not out on business too, is he?"

"I'm not sure, but I know a way to draw him out," Po stated, grinning sinisterly, "Oh well, looks like Master Shifu isn't here. I guess we can go into his roo-whoa!"

Before Po could finish that word, he found himself on the floor, his eyes level with his master's.

"No one is to enter my quarters, now pick yourself up and all of you follow me. I have something you should see."

"Told you it would work," Po grinned.

"Are we in trouble, master?" Tigress asked as the group followed their master.

"Quite the opposite. I think you'll be rather satisfied with this surprise."

"Great, another surprise," Mantis mumbled.

Shifu rushed ahead of everyone and went inside the dining area, which perplexed the other masters. Not bothering to ask what was going on, they soon followed the red panda in. A few seconds of silence occurred, then suddenly…


A large group of animals suddenly emerged from the dining area, including Shifu.

"Mother! Father!"



"Auntie Ning!"

"Hey Dad."

Each family member started talking and hugging and I-can't-believe-you're-here-ing, at least, all except Crane. He wasn't too worried though.

"Mei Ling and her companion would arrive soon enough…I hope."

As the conversations started flowing like a bunch of tributaries, Po asked Shifu, "Did you plan all of this?"

The red panda nodded. "I figure if we're going to have a day off for the Moon Festival, we should spend it with family…and friends," he quickly added., keeping the avian master in mind. "I'll let you all get caught up, just remember as soon as Crane's friends show up, we're heading to your father's restaurant for a celebratory dinner. I'm sure it will be quite enjoyable. Of course, after the celebration it will be right back to training."

"I'm not expecting anything less," the large panda replied "Dad, were you in on this too?"

Mr. Ping shook his head. "It was all Shifu's brilliant idea, right down to the last detail. It's always great to see you and all, but I must get back to my noodle shop. I bet Bo needs some with all those place settings, and those noodles aren't going to cook themselves! See all of you soon!"

With that said, the always-energetic waterfowl made his way to the front door, but before he could open it, it flew open, accidentally slamming Ping between the door and the hard wall of the palace.

The unknowing culprit, Mei Ling, rushed inside. "Crane! Crane!"

"Mei Ling?" the avian called back, idly making his way to the front door.

"Crane, oh thank the gods I found you. Come here!" the mountain cat commanded as she grabbed Crane's wing, forcing him to come along.

"Wait, why did you call me Crane and not Jien like you always do?" the straw-capped bird asked, nearly tripping several times being forced to run down the stairs at the blistering pace Mei Ling was setting.

"Because screw the formalities, this is an emergency!"

"Emergency? What's going on? And where's your guest?"

"He's down these stairs," she answered as the two of them continued running down, each taking heavier breaths as the descent got closer to its conclusion. "But it's not where he is that's the problem. It's who it is."

"Well who is it?" Crane asked, keeping his unoccupied wing on his straw hat so the wind wouldn't knock it off.

No response.

"Who is it!"

"See for yourself," Mei Ling replied, the pair finally reaching the bottom of the stairs.

Crane took a quick look at the rooster standing there in front of them, with a casual smile on his face, way too casual for the occasion. He was two, maybe three inches shorter than Crane, and looked around the same age. The most shocking feature was that he wore a hat that was completely identical to Crane's.

Mei Ling and Crane just stood there, looking at each other for a moment. Neither of them spoke aloud, but it looked like they were trying to communicate telepathically, both trying to express their non belief somehow. No double takes, no uttering gibberish, no "hummana hummana hummanas." The only thing that could be heard for the next several minutes was the occasional gust of wind, one of which inexplicably picked up several peach blossoms.

Finally, Crane turned back towards the other bird, and broke the silence. "Duyi? Is that…you?"

The rooster smiled and nodded. "Long time no see, huh?"

Not a second later, the rooster found himself embraced in Crane's arms.

A/N: And that's chapter one. I don't have much else to explain, other than things in the story will be clarified in the later chapters. It's supposed to be a bit confusing because it's a cliffhanger.

I would like to personally thank Luna Goldsun and Peter the Muggle for both peer reviewing this. Any questions, comments, or reviews? You know what to do, but if it's something you don't want everyone else to look it, just drop a PM and I'll be sure to get back to you as soon as I can.