Sage's decisions on whether he can change or not is still weighing on him. Think he could?

Chapter 21: Little Promises

Sage couldn't help but think about what Shifu just said to him and he knew that he was right about everything he just put out, but at the same time...he wasn't quite sure if he's ready to change yet. He still believes he has to be the tough guy that everyone wants to stay out of the way and also a hot-tempered fighter who's not taking aby B.S. from anyone or anything, yet at the same time...he learns that it's not the way to gain people's respect based on fear, intimidation and fury.

"Hi, Sage."

Sage's ears perked up and he turns around and saw Max standing there and the white wolf looks up at him as he walked towards him and asked, "What do you want?"

"Just wanted to see if you're okay." Max replied, standing at his side.

Sage slowly got down to Max's level and looked at him straight in the eye and replied, "I'm okay. I just...need to be alone right now, all right?"

"You know, I can help." Max added.

Sage didn't really feel like he needed Max's help for his personal issue he was facing and he wasn't quite sure if he needed it or not and he replied, "Thanks, but this is something I have to do for myself."

Suddenly, Arizona comes by and he sees both Max and Sage in the front of the Jade Palace and he comes up to the white tiger cub and he said, "Where ya been?"

"With Sage." Max replied.

Arizona looked at him for a bit but not before Sage turned away and he knew something was up and he looked up at Max and said, "Hey, why don't you go and play with Hope and Po for a few, all right?"

"Okay. We'll play a little game of 'pouncing strike'." Max replied, with a sneaky chuckle.

Arizona pats his head as Max went off and then tells him, "Don't claw anyone by accident. Last time you did that, Po's butt had to get 18 different stitches and Hope had to get a few bandages on his butt too."

"I'll try." Max replied.

After Max was gone, it was just him and Sage standing towards each other in an awkward silence and they weren't sure what both of them were gonna say to each other and Arizona tried to lighten it up by saying, "So...what's on your mind tonight?"

"You know...I'm not even sure what's on my mind. I'm just kinda confused." Sage replied.

"About what?" asked Arizona.

Sage closed his eyes for a second and scratched the back of his head and told him, "If I'm able to tackle problems that I've had and face them head-on."

It was pretty intriguing the way he put it out that he wasn't sure if he was gonna confront his personal issues face-to-face and all of those facts that involve his past and Sage continued on saying, "I've always been used to just running away from those things because I thought it would go away all by itself, but it always comes back at you twice as hard. All the walls I've built up, it's just hard to keep them in."

Arizona came closer towrds Sage and he replied, "I think you're in a crossroads."

Sage opened his eyes and slowly faced Arizona and asked, "Crossroads?"

"Like...whether you want to stay where you are; fighting and giving people a hard time dealing with you or go to another road where you leave one part of yourself behind and go into another. Choosing those different paths aren't always easy to cross, but the hardest part is deciding for yourself." Arizona answered.

"What do you think I should do?" asked Sage.

Arizona looked at him in the eyes and asked, "What do you think the hardest thing about this change of yours?"

"I'm used to fighting and losing my cool because I always felt like it's all I know. When I get mad, I can't stop myself and I don't even think before I act. I just do. I just have no idea how it would affect anyone." Sage answered.

Arizona blinked his eyes a few times and he said, "Our actions and words can sometimes make us do things we might regret someday, but the last thing you would want is for someone to single-handedly give up on you. You've been good at pushing people your brothers and your adopted panda dad because you always feel like they won't understand you based on what you've been through and I think fighting is just a way for you to not deal with your feelings. Each time you do that, you hurt yourself much harder."

"They've tried giving me a chance, haven't they?" asked Sage, feeling a little guilty.

"They have...and you always rejected it." Arizona answered.

Sage blinked his eyes and didn't know what to say about this, other than the fact that he felt geniunely hurt by his own actions and felt like he would've given them that chance if not for his pride and self-righteousness and he said, "Arizona...I'm sorry."

"I accept your apology. And I think you owe it to your family." Arizona stated.

Sage nodded his head a little in agreement and he said, "I'm not gonna make any big promises about changing myself, but I'll try my best to not let my anger get in the way."

"Fair enough." Arizona added.

"And I'll try to give them a chance. I'm not one to get too soft for anything." Sage replied.

Arizona agreed in response because he already knew that Sage is a work in progress and for that, Arizona sticks out his paw in hopes for a handshake and Sage didn't really know if he could take the gesture and then Arizona told him, "Don't shake unless you mean it."

Sage could tell that he meant what he said and he lets out a very sincere handshake to Arizona and that was enough for the grey wolf to convince him to keep that promise and said, "All righty. And I'll still help you out if you're willing to accept it."

"All right." Sage replied, with a smile.

Just then, Max comes out, whooping in victory and said, "I won! I beat Po and Hope at something!"

Both wolves came into the palace and they saw Po and Hope wearing some girls' clothing as part of the game Max made and both wolves snickered then burst out laughing at this, leaving both bears completely embarassed.

"Aw, come on...this is humiliating enough as it is." Hope whined.

"You're telling me. At least you don't have a ginormous butt crack." Po said, blushing.

"Funny you could say that." Max said, from behind Po.

Po froze for a second and figured out what Max meant...he saw his butt crack and he said to Max, "Now you know I'm very sensitive about this."

"Arizona...if I ever have a bad day, looking at these two will make me feel better." Sage said, still snickering.

Thought I might add a little humor in this. Hazards, weigh in please!