A/N: Hello all! Here is my other Kung Fu Panda story and my first one-shot done in this series! Enjoy!
Tigress stood on the edge of the cliff, looking over the mountains. The rest of the kung fu masters were helping repair the panda village after Kai's attack. Tigress was taking a small break, encouraged by the others after the monumental effort she put forth during the whole mess. She stood by Li Shan's hut, taking a chance to breathe clearly. With so much silence, her mind wandered. She thought about how close they came to losing to Kai, closer than any time before it seemed.
But, what bothered Tigress more than that, was how close she came to losing Po.
And it bothered her how much that bothered her.
What bothered her the most was the fact that she almost lost Po, legitimately and thoroughly, terrified her.
It put her in a place she wasn't used to. And forced her to face something she'd been denying for a very long time.
As she silently contemplated all of this, Po walked up behind her, "Well, talk about a whirlwind day. Like, man, what happened?! Right?!"
Tigress didn't move.
"Ahhh, I'm right! But we did it! Woo! We got 'im! Kai is gone and the world is safe again!" Po threw his right paw in the air. "High five!"
Still, Tigress made no motion.
"Oh, come on, Tigress! One high five! Just once!"
Tigress still didn't move.
Po stared at her, curiously. "Uhhhhhh, Tigress?"
Tigress was trying to remain steady and calm. But, much to her surprise, she couldn't hold back.
"You're such a fool, Po!" Tigress shouted.
Po jerked his head back and, quickly, lowered his hand. "That's a 'no' to the high five, right?"
She spun around to face him, "What were you thinking? What's wrong with you?! How could do something like that?!"
"Uh, real quick," Po said, "what did I do that you're mad at me for? 'Cause it's a long list."
"This isn't funny, Po!" Tigress insisted. "You performed the Wuxi Finger Hold on yourself?! You took Kai to the Spirit Realm and you didn't even know if you would come back!"
Po stood, wide-eyed. "Oh. That."
"Yes! That! What's wrong with you, Po?! Why would you do that?!"
Po exhaled. "Okay. Okay, yeah. That was stupid."
"Yes, it was!" Tigress yelled. "And it's not the first time you've taken risks like that! You act so reckless! All the time! It's just like with Shen! You don't think! You just act!"
Po looked down in sadness.
"You keep putting yourself in harm's way! Over and over again and I can't take it! I can't stand it! You jump into danger and I think I might never see you again! You keep doing this and you need to stop! I can't take it when you do this! My heart breaks every single time!"
That caused Po to perk up. Some things may go over his head but that did not. "Wait," he said. "Wait, wait, wait. It… does?"
Tigress stared at him, shocked.
It barely even registered to Tigress that she had admitted that. She wasn't even sure if she would've stopped herself had she fully realized it. She exhaled. "…Yes."
Po looked around confused. "Why?"
"Why?" she asked. "Why?! Why! Because you're my friend, that's why! Because you're my best friend! Because I need you around, that's why! Because if I lost you, I would…" Tigress considered what she was about to say. If she said this, she could never take it back. Nothing would be the same. But decided to say it. "I would… I would never recover."
"If I didn't come back?" Po asked.
"If you didn't come back, Po."
Po was stunned. "Tigress, I didn't know. I'm… I'm so sorry. Really, I am. I didn't mean to hurt you, at all."
"No," Tigress said, calming down. She took a breath. "I'm sorry. You did the right thing. You saved everyone. I shouldn't have shouted at you. What you did was… very heroic. I never meant to make you feel bad."
"You didn't," Po said. He shrugged, "Well, you did. But I get why you did and I'm not mad that you did. A little yelling at me isn't a bad thing. I'm really sorry, Tigress."
Tigress walked over to him and hugged him with all she had. Po couldn't believe how these events were transpiring but he hugged her back. It wasn't the first time they had hugged but this time felt different from the rest.
"I never thought I'd feel like this," Tigress whispered, leaning her head against his neck. "It's just… way too hard to imagine life now… without you. I can't."
"What do you mean?" Po whispered back. "Feel like what?"
Tigress pulled away but she wouldn't look Po in the eyes. "I love you, Po."
Po stared at her, blankly. He blinked his eyes, rapidly. "Run that by me, one more time."
Tigress groaned and, frustratingly, declared, "I said…" She wanted to get angry but, when she thought about it, of course, it was hard for him to grasp that. And she couldn't blame him. It was just hard for her to realize and she thought it would be harder to say it. It didn't seem as hard as she thought. In fact, it seemed rather easy. "I said 'I love you.'"
"Tigress," Po whispered.
Tigress shook her head. "Forgive me, Po. I… I shouldn't have said that. I didn't mean to unleash all of that on you like that." She turned away. She wanted to hear him say it back. She didn't realize how much until she said it first. But that wasn't fair. She just finished yelling at him and she confessed her love for him. What was he supposed to do with that? What would anyone? What would she even say to that?
Tigress kept her gaze fixed on the ground, "I'll… leave you alone."
Tigress started to walk away when Po grabbed her wrist.
She looked at him and, while she could just barely see the side of his face, it looked like he was smiling.
"Remember when I was chosen to be the Dragon Warrior?" Po asked, rhetorically. "There was no one I wanted to be like more than you." He looked at her.
Tigress was right. He was smiling.
"And the more I got to know you, the more realized there was no one I wanted to make friends with more than you." He thought about that. "Well, all of the Five, really. But you seemed like you'd be the hardest to win over. I kinda made it a mission."
She smiled. "Mission accomplished."
Po chuckled. "I guess… I don't know much about being love and everything. But I do know… I feel a lot stronger with you than I ever did. And, I mean, long after we became friends, even best friends. Dragon Warrior, Inner Peace, Master of Chi. I know I only got those things because of you. Not just to help me train but because you've been there." He stared at her. "That's my really long, confusing way of saying… I love you, too."
Tigress's eyes widened. He said it. And it was even better than she expected. "I, uh… I don't know what to say…"
"That's okay." Po shrugged, "I just… decided to be reckless one more time."
Tigress smiled. "This time… I'll allow it." She hugged him, again. This time, as tight as she could with Po returning the hug.
"By the way," Tigress said, followed by kissing his cheek, "thank you for saving us."
"I'm the Dragon Warrior," Po said with a smile. "It's what I do."
A/N: What did you guys think? Let me know! Thank you all and see you soon!