My first Christmas story! Been working on this one a few weeks, so I hope it shows.
Dedicated to my good pal Animation Universe 2005
After spending the autumn holidays with his foster parents, Jo is now back to stay at the Jade Palace where he has met Musaki
A Lasting Friendship
A Kung Fu Panda
The bunkhouse was still and quiet. The sun had been up for nearly an hour now, but no one in the bunkhouse was awake. It was a Saturday, so the morning gong hadn't rung. Master Shifu had given the 8 of us the day off from training. Everyone was sleeping late and graciously taking advantage of the opportunity. The last time he'd done this for us had been too long too stand. He was probably being generous with the holiday mood. The Christmas season does that to you.
I stared bleakly around my own room taking in the comfortable laziness I had been deprived of for so long. I forgot how good sleeping late felt. It was a cheap luxury you have to give up when you start extensive training.
I guess I'll get up now.
It wasn't until 20 minutes later that I actually got out of bed. I willed my self up, walked to the door and slid it open. Looking down the hallway I saw everyone else's doors were still closed.
I liked these early morning moments of solitude. I was used to having them back down in the village. Those daybreaks when I was up and my parents weren't. It was the best time to write poems for two reasons; Since my parents weren't awake I was be free to write in secret, and the moments of silence held a lot of inspiration for the poems.
Realizing this was my first opportunity to do this at the Palace I got out a piece of paper and started writing.
A Winter's Morning Thought
With the sky a milky gray
And the ground cold to the touch
There's nothing else in this solstice
That travels through you as much
It comes early in the day
Filling every spiritual hole
It is not the chill of winter
But the chill from your very soul
It draws you out of your sleep
Yet it makes you yearn to rest
It relaxes your bones and mind
Yet it fills you with a sense of zest
And yet I welcome this chill
I let this feeling grow
For this internal cold is just
Another welcoming of snow
Jo Dakota Crevan
X. T. G.
A creak from the hallway made me turn around. Slowly wandering into the doorway came Musaki. He had obviously just woken up. He stood there in his same green shorts as always, seemingly shaking the sleep off of himself.
He smiled back. "Good morning, Jo." He stretched his arms flexing his joints. "Is it Christmas yet?" He asked jokingly
"Less than a week to go now." I said. Waiting for Christmas was even harder to wait for than waiting for a day off from training. Now we had fewer than seven days till the birthdate of a savior.
As his eyes came out of lassitude they caught sight of the paper in my hand. "Is that one of your poems?"
I looked down at it. "This? Yeah. How did you know I write poems?"
"Po told me a few days ago."
"I forgot that I told him about it. I'm so used to keeping it a secret."
Musaki looked inquisitive. "Why don't you tell anyone?"
"I don't know." I shrugged. "I guess I feel like it's just something alot of people don't understand."
"Po didn't mean to tell. Once he realized what he said he told me not to tell anyone. He let it slip one day when I was showing him one of my songs I wrote."
"You write music?" I asked.
Musaki said "Only when something comes to me. If that makes any sense."
Makes perfect sense to me
"That's the way I feel with the poems. It's just something I don't tell a lot of people about. I've never even told my foster parents about it."
"Really? How come?" Musaki sat down on the floor cross-legged. I suddenly felt like I was in a counseling session. But I was also vaguely reminded of the late nights of me and Po swapping secrets. The atmosphere was filled with mixed feelings, but I didn't mind.
"There's just always been a lack of connection between me and them. I know it's nothing that's their fault, but it's still there. It's hard to talk to them about certain stuff. I don't have any siblings so they've pretty much been all the family I've ever had… Until I came here that is."
Musaki nodded with an perceptive smile. "I understand. That's the same way I felt when first I came to the Jade Palace." He paused for a second reflecting on memories past. "I lost my parents at a young age too. They were killed by Tai Lung."
I was met with a feeling of familiar grief. I rememberd the fiery eyes of the ferocious snow leopard. I chewed on the bottom edge of my lip for a second. "I'm sorry."
Musaki shrugged. "It's ok. It gets easier over time, but it still hurts every once in a while." He fidgeted with his fingers for a second. The same way one does when they are trying to make a consequential decision. He was thinking over a decision. "If you don't mind me asking, what happened to your parents?"
I quickly answered "Don't know. Doubt anyone will ever know."
Musaki raised an eyebrow. "You said that awfully fast."
His blue eyes met my turquoise eyes. There was connection. A bond. Like two magnets. It felt like he was looking right into my thoughts.
"Do you wanna talk about it? It's ok if you don't."
What can he expect? I can't tell him everything. I had just met Musaki a few days ago. I mean, I had told him about the summer camp, and how I came to be the Next Dragon Warrior, but his was something personal. It was something I haven't told any one else. I hadn't even told Po (although I kept planning to) What makes Musaki any different?
That was the question. Musaki was different. But what was it?
There was a differing aspect with Musaki. He gave off some vibe that made me feel comfortable. Like I could tell him everything. Well maybe not everything, but a lot.
The same way when I first met Po.
I walked to the door and looked down the hallway to make sure everyone was still asleep before saying "It's not exactly something I've told anyone else."
Musaki's eyes lightened with intrigue.
I sat down on the floor like he was, facing him. Like a person standing before a pool of icy water, I took a deep breath before diving in.
"My parents weren't killed. They were drug dealers. When I was three the authorities found out and they were arrested. When they saw my bruises-"
"Bruises from what?" Musaki asked.
He let out a soundless gasp.
"They said I wasn't safe there, so I was brought to the Valley of Peace."
Musaki's eyes were somehow wider than before and his mouth was halfway open. He was silent for about a minute. He probably didn't know what to say. "Woh… I'm sorry about that. That's terrible. You remember all this at the age of three?"
"Not exactly. I sorta dreamt about it."
"Dreamt it?" he asked looking confused.
"It's strange." I said knowing I was explaining something that was out of the ordinary. "It was like I'd forgotten my whole past. One night it came back in a dream, but all of it came back. Suddenly I could remember everything that happened."
"I've had nightmares remembering what happened to my parents before too, but it was nothing like that. It's a bit uncanny." Musaki was silent for a bit and then gave a thoughtful look. "It's not such a bad thing though."
I stared at him strangely. Did he hear anything I had told him?
Noticing my expression didn't exactly cope with what he said, he went on "Well think about it. If your parents hadn't been….." he paused trying to use careful wording "what they were, you never would have come to the Valley, and heard about Po. You wouldn't have come to the camp, been put through training, and discovered you were destined to be the Next Dragon Warrior."
I opened my mouth to contradict him but nothing came out. Even if there was something worth saying I wouldn't be able to say it. I was lost in thought for a few minutes over what he'd said. Had he really given my miserable life meaning and purpose with out changing a single circumstance? Had he simply seen something that went unnoticed? How had I not realized this? Was it that easily seen by someone else?
"Wow…. I guess I never thought about it like that."
Musaki nodded. "Everything has a purpose."
"Master Oogway?" I asked.
Musaki said "Po told me it, but I think he heard it from Oogway."
"Sounds like a lot of other stuff Po has taught me before."
"Has he taught you the 'Panda head hold?' yet?" Musaki asked wilily.
Without warning Musaki had lunged forward, grabbed me in a headlock and started grinding his knuckles into my scalp.
"what is this?!" I shouted
"I told you; the Panda head-hold." he said continuing.
After a few seconds I yanked myself out of his noogie. My head was spinning.
Before he could grab again I came from behind and put Musaki in a full nelson hold. He futilely struggled against my grip.
I said "Come on! Say Uncle! Say Uncle!"
Instead of wriggling free he quickly leaned over pulling me off the ground.
My grip failed and I did some weird roll over his back landing on the floor.
Before I could even get up Musaki sat on me pinning me flat on my stomach. I struggled as much as I could but I couldn't extricate my self from beneath him. "Ok I give!" I shouted through the laughs.
Musaki lifted himself off me as we both panted deeply.
"You won this round. I'm gonna get you later." I said warningly.
"You name the time and the place." Musaki said instilled with pride after his win.
"I can't do that. It has to be a surprise. That's what makes it fun."
"Yeah, I guess I like it better that way too."
A slight cough from the doorway told us we had a spectator.
"What's going on here?" Po asked smiling with his arms crossed.
Musaki and I both looked at each other for an answer, but he smiled and said "Just getting to know each other."
Po grinned. "Well I came to tell you some good news. I think you both will be pleasantly surprised."
"What?" Musaki and I both asked.
"Look outside." Po said pointing to the window.
We ran to the window and lifted the bamboo blinds. Our eyes were immediately met with a blinding white. During the peaceful night while we were all still sleeping it had snowed. Not a single speck of the ground was visible through the thick blanket of white. Trees and were covered in the flurry and the large rocks were given the appearance of tiny snow-capped mountains.
Musaki was the first to say something. "Awesome!"
Po said "Well, are we going to just stand here and look at it or are we gonna actually go outside and enjoy it!?"
We all put on our coats and gloves preparing our selves for the drastic change in weather.
We made our way outside. I stepped off the porch and my feet sunk maybe 3 inches deep into the snow. I pulled my collar up a little more to cover my exposed neck from the cold. I took a deep breath of the chilled air. It felt like I was breathing fresh air for the first time.
Walking around in it was definitely different from looking at it from the window.
I felt myself overcome with the joy of feeling…. I don't know what the word would be… Free? Alive? Open? Liberated? Well it was one of them, or maybe it was all of them, I didn't care. Just for the heck of it I spun around with my arms out looking straight up at the sky.
Musaki and Po snickered a bit. I said "You know you're thinking about doing it too."
They both exchanged glances conceding I had been right. They both started spinning too.
Po smiled. "You're loving this, aren't you, J.C."
I looked at him peculiarly. "Since when have you started calling me 'J.C.'?"
"A few seconds ago when I just said it." Po said smirking.
I looked over at Musaki and saw he wasn't facing me or Po. He had his back turned to us looking at the rest of the scenery.
I looked down at the snow covered ground. It was too perfect of an opportunity to pass up. I scooped up a large hand-full of snow and held it behind my back.
"Hey Musaki," He turned back around. "The time and place is here and now"
I chucked the snowball at Musaki and it hit him square in the nose.
Musaki wiped the slush off his face grinning. "The next one is aimed for your head." he said as he bent over to grab some snow. I ran for cover.
As he threw I dove behind a bush. His snowball struck the bush and shattered spewing snow fragments through the spaces in between the branches speckling me with snow flakes.
Once again the fight was on.
Musaki continued hurling snowballs at the bush managing to land a few behind it on me. I was using the standard duck-and-cover maneuver. On my third throw I hesitated too long and he got me in the ear. But I was able to hit a large snow covered branch above him dropping a load of snow onto him making him look like a walking snowman.
Shifu was leaning against the porch railing of the bunkhouse. He had woken a few moments after the three had walked outside. He was finding the snowball fight between the Palace's two youngest quite entertaining. It wasn't long before he was joined on the porch by the rest of The Furious Five.
Po sighed happily standing next to them. "I think I'm gonna try and get in on the action before they use up all the snow in the Valley." and he ran in to grab a handfull of snow himself.
Viper said "Those two met just a few days ago and already they're inseparable."
Shifu beamed. "That's how you know it will be a lasting friendship."
Hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed yours A. U. !
All I want for Christmas is a review!
From Joe Navark,
Jo and all the Kung Fu Panda characters
HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!