Inspired strongly by the song, "Sarah Brown Eyes", which I've chosen as Koto and Yin's theme. :D

Koto & Yin belong to me!! No stealing, please.

We know about Shifu's bamboo reed. It's used as both an instrument and a weapon. But if it could talk, it would have a story to tell – the love story behind its origins.

"…What's your name?"

"…Yin… Kuan-Yin."

"Doubtless named after the Bhuddist goddess of mercy."


"I'm Chen-Koto… Uh, Captain Chen-Koto."

"I know… I like the song you were just playing on your flute, Captain."

"Thank you. I wrote it myself."

Indeed, it had been his music that had first turned her chocolate brown eyes towards him. He could see her… There she was, just like he had been on the day they met eyes. She walked elegantly through the streets behind her two sisters in a lavender blue cheongsam, a matching parasol held over her shoulder and a blue orchid blossom behind her ear. The sun traced itself in a golden glow on the edges of her dress and the snow-white fur of her tail.

She had been slightly surprised to hear the captain of the Chinese army playing so softly and sweetly. She had strayed away a bit from her sisters to listen to that music that had somehow intrigued her.

Yes… She recognized him from before. She'd seen him on the streets now and then for a few weeks now. The first time she had noticed him, he had been carrying a small, freshly-cut stalk of bamboo over his shoulder. The second time, he had been at a cart and negotiating with a rather stubborn merchant hog for a fine, flint carving knife.

And every time afterwards, he would either sit outside against a shop wall to work on his craft or disappear up the stairs of the Jade Palace. Clearly, this was how he spent his free time. He was very handsome… Yin had to give him that. And he had the deepest blue eyes she had ever seen.

Koto smiled at the memory and stood still in the middle of the room. Now she was smiling at him, drawing so close that he could see the flecks of brown dusting her mahogany irises.

She just felt and looked so real… He could smell the sweet petals of the blossom behind her ear, and could practically feel the warmth of her fur against his face. Those brown flecks, so soft that they were barely noticeable. Those eyes that seemed to penetrate to his very soul, loving and mischievous and genuine. He gently cupped his fingers around her chin, gently shortening the distance between their lips.

…But nothing lasts forever. Just when she was so close that her lips nearly grazed his own, cruel reality made itself known. Her fingers, once so carefully entwined in his, slid away to nothing. She stepped away with a playful smile across her features, very much the same way she had the first time he had tried to kiss her.

She then vanished out of sight and scent and touch. The distant sound of her silvery, slightly teasing laugh drifted across the parting air, leaving him standing and gripping no more than a nil hand. Once more, he was standing in the middle of the humbled little training room.

"Baba?" A small, sleepy voice broke him the rest of the way from his trance, and the red panda captain turned to behold his tiny son standing in the doorway. He'd obviously just climbed out of bed – his fur was ruffled and unkempt, some of it sticking up at weird angles. One ear was slightly and adorably lopsided, indicating he had been sleeping on it. The blue color of his little sleep outfit was slightly faded at the knees. One tiny paw sleepily rubbed a bleary eye as the other limply clutched the red blanket that Yin had made while he had still been growing in her stomach.

"Baba…" Shifu gave another sleepy whimper, blinking a few times up at his father. "What is't?"

"…Nothing, little one," Koto smiled gently, walking over to his son. "Back to bed…" He lifted him up just as the cub was about to drop asleep into his arms.

"Nnn…" Shifu's head almost instantly hit his baba's shoulder, and he was out before they got back into the toddler's bedroom.

Koto lovingly tousled his son's white head fur. He and Yin had gone on to get married and have a cub that, only three years into his young life, had just had his mother cruelly snatched away. But, although Koto didn't know it, that boy would grow to rise as Grand Master of the Jade Palace and come to train six of the most respected warriors in China's history. The Valley would remain protected for at least one more generation.

All because a cocky, young red panda that had somehow worked his way into the position of an officer had the thought to make that first notch in a humble little bamboo stalk.