Right, first of all, I do not own Kung Ku Panda or any of its associated stuff. Secondly, this story takes place after the movie, thus everything that happened in the movie happened prior to this story. The one exception is that Tai Lung trained with the Furious Five before he was imprisoned, and after that he was only in jail for 5 years, to fix a gaping age difference between him and the members of the Furious Five. My first fanfic, so hate lovingly.
It was a cold, clear night in April, and a sinister wind blew across the Valley of Peace. A cloaked figure slowly climbed the steps of the Jade Palace. At the top of the steps, an elderly red panda was waiting, watching the shadowy form draw nearer. The ghastly figure reached the top step, and kneeled before the panda.
"I have come home, master," it said in a voice that implied neither aggression nor submission. The red panda kept his face completely neutral as the dark figure rose. Its hood fell back, revealing the face of Tai Lung.
"I come asking your forgiveness," Tai Lung continued, "and that I may once again train under you, Master Shifu."
"I knew that the Wuxi Finger Hold would not destroy you," Shifu stated, avoiding the question. "I knew that you would return to the Valley of Peace, and to me. If you are earnest in your resolve to train as a true warrior here, then I have no objection." There was a long pause. The wind whipped around the two kung-fu masters, making them shudder involuntarily.
"But know this." Shifu's voice had broken the silence, and was very different from before- all the cold loathing that he could muster had manifested itself in his words. "Give me one reason to suspect you of treachery- one reason- and you'll wish they kept you nice and safe back in Chor Ghom." With that, Shifu turned on his heel and walked back into the Jade Palace, leaving Tai Lung alone on the windy landing.
"Students," Shifu called, walking into the dormitories of the Jade Palace. At once, the Furious Five appeared at their doors, and Po half a second behind everyone else.
"Students," Shifu began calmly, "I have an announcement to make."
"You're not serious!"
"With all due respect master, I don't think…"
"SILENCE!" Shifu bellowed. He knew that this wasn't going to be easy for his pupils to accept. "I believe that Tai Lung sincerely means to better himself by training at the Jade Palace."
"Master, please," Tigress began defiantly, "It's bad enough that Tai Lung is still alive,"- she cast a meaningful look at Po- "But to have him train here? At the Jade Palace?"
"That's crazy!" Mantis said in disbelief, nervously grinding his forelegs together.
"The last time he was here he almost destroyed the village! And you!" Monkey added.
Viper was the next to speak. "How can you trust such a conniving…"
"SILENCE!" Shifu was genuinely annoyed now. "Tai Lung will be moving in tomorrow, so I expect ALL of you to welcome him as you would anyone else." For the second time that night, Shifu turned around curtly and retreated back to his office.
A long, awkward, silence followed, during which the Furious Five looked at each other incredulously.
"Dinner, anyone?" Po asked tentatively.
Shifu settled into a meditative position and tried to clear his mind. He could understand his students' concern, especially after all the trouble Tai Lung had caused the Valley of Peace. There's something different about him now, though, Shifu thought. When Shifu had looked into Tai Lung's eyes that night, he no longer saw the mad hunger for power. He no longer saw the unquenchable desire for the Dragon Scroll. Instead, Shifu saw his son, desperate and lost, needing guidance. Convinced that he had made the right choice in accepting Tai Lung into the Jade Palace, Shifu fell into a deep meditation.
Back in the student dormitories, the Furious Five and the Dragon Warrior were beginning to go to bed, minds laden with their own thoughts and feelings about what was to come. Everyone had put out their lamp; most of them were asleep. However, although Tigress's light had long since been extinguished, she was not in her room. In fact, she was no longer even in the Jade Palace. Tigress was walking quietly down a street in the village, with a specific destination in mind.