Disclaimer: I do not make any pretense or allusions to owning any creative or intellectual rights to Kung Fu Panda. It's the sole property of DreamWorks, I'm afraid.

Rating: K+

Genre: Action/Adventure, with a healthy dollop of romance between our favorite Panda and Tigress.

Author's note and Manifesto: Kung Fu Panda is more than just another run-of-the-mill film. Or film in general, for that matter. I think I can safely say that it's been a very long time since I've so thoroughly enjoyed any story that Hollywood has produced, animated or not.

I mean, come on—DreamWorks has given you everything here—amazing plot, stunning visuals, strong, believable characters (and when you can do that with talking animals, you know you've got something good), along with higher moral truths, and of course, lovely hints of a burgeoning romance with two of our favorite main characters that I'm sure so many of us will be glad to see progress in future sequels.

That being said, I've done this for fun. I know it will feel like forever has passed before the 3rd movie finally arrives, and because I personally don't feel like waiting that long and suspect that there's a severe shortage of good Kung Fu Panda fan fiction out there as it currently stands, I've decided to make my own version from where our characters left off in Kung Fu Panda 2—with my own ideas of where I think they might be headed.

I can't give you a regular schedule of when I plan on updating as I am currently writing my own young adult novel, but I can tell you that I will likely see this piece through. Please don't be offended if my updates don't come with the predictability of laundry. More than anything else this fic has been created as a lighthearted distraction from the writer's rut—a way of keeping my writing fresh and practiced.

Thanks for reading. I really hope you enjoy this.

Kung Fu Panda 3

Tale is told of a time when a Legendary Warrior who was already so Legendary that new synonyms had to be invented to describe his Legendariness, risked his life to rescue his Lady Love from the clutches of a villainous band of marauding…marauders.

"I will find her," The Legendary Warrior proclaimed to the Heavens, vowing that Nothing and No One would stand between him and his Love's Silky Pelt of Awesomeness, or her Liquid Eyes of Enchantment, or her Sinuous Tail of Seduction, or her—

"Po?"

—Smoky Purr of Perfection, or her Supple Legs of Legginess, or her Flexible Ba—

"PO!"

"Eeeaaaah!"

Po's eyes flew open. Monkey's head was suspended upside down above him, concern written across his dark face.

"Finally. I've been trying to wake up you up for the last 5 minutes. An Emissary has arrived and he is requesting an audience with you—he says he's on urgent business and must speak directly with the Dragon Warrior."

Po sat up. He rubbed the back of his neck, wincing. "An Emissary? From where?"

Monkey shrugged. "He won't say."

Po sighed. "What time is it?"

"Still early, but you missed morning meditations. We were all wondering where you were. Viper and I drew straws to see who should come in and make sure you hadn't tossed in your sleep and trapped yourself inside your reed mat again. I lost."

Po chuckled nervously. "I'm fine, I just overslept. I was having a dream."

Monkey eyed him curiously. "Must have been a nice one."

Po blinked. "How'd you know?"

"Because I've never walked in on someone making out with their pillow before."

Eyes widening, Po turned and looked behind him. His pillow was a sopping wet mass of saliva that had pooled into a puddle on the floor. He swallowed.

"Well, it's not like that, you see, I was just, um—you know—ssssleep—sleep eating again."

Monkey's tail curled and uncurled thoughtfully. "I didn't know that was possible."

"Oh, yeah—it's just like sleep walking, only worse. You ever heard of Dim Sum Dynamite?"

"Uh—No. Why?"

"It's delicious. Not your average dim sum—this one is, eh, EXPLODING with flavor—can't get enough of it once you start. My dad just learned to make it from a noodle maker friend of his that lives on Taro Mountain—he decided to add it to the restaurant's menu, and he's got me testing batches for him. The only danger is it's so good you get these really wild nightmares and end up, um…wanting to chew on your pillow. Heh."

Monkey coughed.

"Right. Well, I'll leave you to your—pillow—and let Master Shifu know you'll be out soon. He's entertaining the Emissary in the tea house as we speak."

Po nodded. "Great. I'll be right there."

"Sure."

"Sure."

"Okay."

"Okay."

Po smiled. Monkey sighed.

"I'm—really going to leave now."

"No problem."

Po watched his friend turn to go and coughed. Monkey rolled his eyes and walked back toward him.

"What is it?"

"Nothing. No biggie. Just—could we—could we keep this pillow-chewing thing between you and I?"

Monkey stared. "Absolutely."

As soon as he left, Po slumped back down into an unceremonious heap on the wood floor, throwing his arm over his eyes. The sunlight from the tiny window in the single solid wall of his room illuminated the three other rice paper walls that surrounded him with a brilliant glow. He groaned miserably.

Ever since the defeat of Shen, he'd been having dreams of Tigress. Not the dreams he'd always had of her and the rest of The Five, the ones where they'd fought valiantly together and slain countless foes with their Righteous Kung Fu Prowess, but stranger ones, ones that left him making stupid mistakes in practice and getting a number of interesting bruises shaped like provinces in China because he was too busy fantasizing about the particular shade of orange in her fur, or the way her silk pants clung to her—

"Man oh man," Po panted, wiping a sweaty paw across his forehead. "That's an image."

It was true that he admired Master Tigress—she had always occupied a special place in his thoughts, and it wouldn't be wrong to call her his favorite among The Five even before he met them all, though he'd never admit that to anyone else.

And it wasn't as if he'd never looked at her—any idiot could see that she was beautiful—beautiful and untouchable, a flower encased within a thick wall of thorns. And wasps. And broken glass. And many other sharp-edged pointy things with stingers he couldn't think of at the moment. He sighed.

He was stupid to be having such dreams. Tigress was a warrior—a Kung Fu Master—she didn't need saving from anyone, she wouldn't swoon at displays of strength and skill. She wasn't the type to be easily impressed.

"Ah, who are you kidding, Po? You've been trying to impress her for years and she's never…"

He trailed off.

Even as Po said the words, familiar to him many times over after repeating them silently and aloud for so long he couldn't remember when he first began, a small part of him wasn't sure if he believed them anymore. Things had been changing lately—changing between him and Tigress. He thought back to the first time she'd hugged him when they were in Gongmen City—the way she'd told him that she could not stand by and watch him be killed, the way she'd saved his life multiple times, always watching his back, always near. Most of all, he thought of the softness in her eyes whenever she'd sneak looks at him from across the room when he'd be talking with Mantis or Crane, never suspecting that he noticed, that in the back of his mind he wanted to know more than anything else what would happen if he just stopped talking in mid-sentence and met the intensity of those golden eyes. Would she look away and pretend it was nothing? Or would she be brave enough to let him see what was hidden on the other side of them?

Po breathed deeply. He was the Dragon Warrior. He could defeat the greatest of foes, save China, and discover Inner Peace, but he still couldn't tell the girl of his dreams how he felt about her. Oh well.

At least for now he could make a mean bowl of noodle soup.