Riding with the Wind
A story dedication to the people who read Very First, and enjoyed it. By your request, I made a happier Rai/Kim story. Happy reading, and I hope you like this story as well.
"It wasn't funny, Raimundo," said Kimiko crossly. "Not at all, so wipe that stupid smirk off your face, will you, ole chum?"
The Brazilian-born Dragon of the Wind merely shook her annoyance off with a careless shrug. "Humor is in the taste of the beholder. I mean, it's not everyday that you challenge the evil dork Spicer guy into a showdown and—"
"Enough!" she yelled, cheeks turning hot.
"—Spicer refuses because he didn't want to fight a girl, a girl that according to his feline teammate is actually his secret crush—"
"RAIMUNDO!" She slammed her elbow on his backbone with all her might.
"Oww!" He turned to face the girl who was riding on him in a piggyback, still wearing the smirk that the Fire Dragon had been wanting to get rid of since he sort-of rescued her from the lair of the mad boy genius Jack Spicer and the ancient witch Wuya. "And Spicer was like," He launched into a Jack imitation mode, copying the flustered expression on the boy's face. "Not true! I-I mean, yes, Kimiko is cute, and she's smart and sassy and…GAAAAH! NOT TRUE!" With that, Rai burst into laughter.
She cupped her chin, eyes narrowed. "Well at least some people appreciate the beauty of a female form when they see one."
"Beauty? Female?" He doubled over. "YOU? Man, if he only knows that his fair lady is actually a boxer-in-the-making."
"You, my friend, are slowly working out a vein of annoyance unto my forehead," she said, rolling her eyes. "Anyway, what were you doing there?"
"Aside from saving you from the clutches of your admirer-slash-evil boy nerd?" He looked up, chuckling. "Count yourself lucky that Dojo was able to sense a Shen-Gong-Woo near your area. Omi and Clay went for it, while I was assigned to get you."
"And you did not refuse?" she asked, curious despite of herself.
"Why the sudden interest?" he asked back.
"What is it to you if I do harbor some interest on the answer to your question?" she retorted.
"What is it to you if I ask you why you harbor that kind of interest?" he replied.
She groaned. "We're not making much progress, are we?"
Rai smiled mischievously. "Nope."
"But maybe you will enlighten me as to why you had to meddle with my challenge," she said, looking at him intently. "Shortly after Jack Spicer said that, you launched a wind assault against him. It was my battle, you know."
"What battle?" he asked. "There was no battle. He refused your challenge. And my mission was to get you out of there."
"Well he wasn't planning to do an offensive. You shouldn't have—"
He paused. "So you're taking his side now."
She sighed. "Well…no, but Master Fung said you shouldn't wage battles against those who come in peace, or peace will give you a taste of your own medicine."
"So is that why you used the Mantis Flip Coin to jump in front of him and protect him using your flame technique?" he asked wryly.
"Yes." She fumed silently with the way he was making her feel…well, dumb.
"Is that your way of saying that you actually like that…that dork?" he asked, voice rising.
"Maybe," she said. "Why shouldn't I? He likes me back. He's nice. He thinks I'm sassy."
He rolled his eyes. "Kim, fact number one: he's our enemy. He's Wuya's baby. Fact number two…" He raised a brow. "He's a dork. He loves bananas too much. He puts too much foundation on his face. He's a robot freak. He's not your type at all."
She looked at him with heavily-lidded eyes. "Is that a discouragement?"
"Call it whatever you want, just…just forget that stupid idea, Kim." He gestured to her right leg. "See that? You sprained your ankle in protecting him! If you were a bit saner, you should be talking about medical accountabilities for him now instead of how wonderful he is."
"And if you were a bit smarter, you should recognize the word 'accident'," came her own riposte. "Or else, you are as much to blame for this. If you didn't use your wind attack—"
"If I didn't, you would be kept there forever," he snapped.
"I was going to come with you."
"Well you looked like you had no plan of leaving."
"And you looked at me wrong!"
"No, I did not. You just admitted you like him!"
She shook her head in exasperation. "Yes, I did. And I like Omi and Clay as well."
He froze. "Then…"
"And I do not need to be rescued, Raimundo." She flicked her wrists gracefully. "Unlike the previous incident where I was replaced with a robotic me, this time, I was invited formally by Jack to visit his laboratory and check out the gameboy that I asked him to fix because you and Omi broke it."
"We did not!" said Rai indignantly. "It fell into the water. By accident," he added quickly. "Anyway, if what you're saying is true, then why is it that when I arrived, you were challenging him to a Xiaolin showdown?"
"Xiaolin showdown?" Her eyes widened. "I was not challenging him to one because I wasn't bringing a Sheng-Gong-Woo with me."
"Yeah sure." His mouth curved in disbelief. "So if it's not a Xiaolin showdown, then what is it?"
She held up her video game. "A round of Guilty Street Gear X. He refused to fight me because he hasn't practiced for it yet."
"Yes way," she said quickly. "So when we come right down to it, all these things that happened awhile ago were…simply put, unnecessary. Including this sprain, if I may say so."
His forehead creased. "G-Gee, I didn't know…"
"I know," she said, eyebrow raised knowingly. "It's part of being a guy."
"Look, I apologized already!"
"Accepted," she said. "So…" She looked up at the skies, searching the azure space for a giant flying dragon with green scales serving as passenger vessel to two more Dragon Apprentices. "…where are the others?"
He didn't answer his question. Instead he said, "If you wanted to fix the game, why didn't you ask me?"
She blinked. "W-Well, maybe because I know that you're not…inclined to electronics and stuff."
He craned his neck sideward to face her. "Granted. Then you should have asked me instead to do the video game sparring. And don't tell me I can't do that!"
"I'm always ready to help someone as yourself, Kim," he said quietly. "Because…you are…my girl." A hint of crimson crossed his face quickly when her creasing forehead met his statement. "I-I mean… you are a girl…I find… important. You are my friend, irrespective of how you feel about me, or the fact that you didn't include my name in your liked people list."
"R-Raimundo…" Her uneasy laughter tried to break the tension slowly filling her. "O-Okie-dokie, I'll remember that next time."
He exhaled, then shrugged. "Geez, what can that guy do that I can't?"
"Put foundation on his face?"
"Erm…other manly things in the list?"
"Why think about that?" she asked, brows knitted.
"I'll think what I like to think about," he sniffed. "Argh, my shoulders and arms are aching!"
"It's not my weight!" she clarified quickly.
"Insecure, ne?" He found a tree and dragged themselves to the spot. She gracefully limped down and sat her back the bark of the tree as he kneaded his muscles on the upper part of his body.
"You know, carrying me on your back when you can just call for Omi and Clay to fetch us—"
"—is unlike of the Raimundo I know, and for that, I thank you." Her eyes softened just as he hesitantly looked her way. "Next time, when I need help, I'll run to you first."
His eyes twinkled. "Yeah. And I promise not to charge a high consultation fee."
She cupped her chin, rolling her eyes.
"Why did it take you so long to find us, Omi?" asked Kimiko minutes after the green dragon swooped down and landed in front of them.
"What are you talking about, Kimiko?" asked the monk, eyebrows meeting. "You should have not waited for us to come and find you. Friend Clay and I only ventured for this search because Master Fung is most worried about you two already."
Clay raised his cowboy hat to scrutinize the scene before him. Raimundo had already fallen asleep on the girl's lap while her hands rested on his shoulders, massaging him. "Well, how about that? You two make a mighty fine couple!"
Kimiko glared at her fellow Dragon for the lack of a snappy comeback, and then she turned her attention back at the diminutive monk. "Rai told me that you guys were out hunting for the Sheng-Gong-Woo, so he was the only one left to retrieve me."
Omi blinked. "But Kimiko, that is not possible. He specifically instructed us to let him do the handling of getting you from Jack Spicer's den alone. Thus, Friend Clay and I had spent the whole day practicing bull-sliding."
"Riding," said the Earth Dragon.
"And that too," agreed the dragon apprentice with the water sign.
"I was the bull," supplied Dojo, returning to its small size.
"We learned from Raimundo that you were lured by that Jack Spicer into his hideout, through a secret message sent to your computer," continued Omi, narrating.
"Oh? The email?" No one knew about the electronic mail, unless Rai was…eavesdropping. Peeping, even. Yet strangely, she didn' feel irritated at all with his espionage.
"He said that he'll teach that doggone evil boy the first thing about properties," said the cowboy, grinning. "And marking them."
"Properties…" She gazed down at the boy still fast asleep on her lap.
"Well, it's quite some distance already from Jack Spicer's lab." Omi pointed to her bandaged leg. "And if I infer correctly, you are not able to walk, yes?"
"How were you able to reach this place then?" Dojo wanted to know.
Her eyes gazed at her friend's sleeping face. "He carried me on his back."
"HE DID?" A joyous smile spread on his face. "Why, that is good news, indeed!" He shook her hands vigorously. "I wish you much luck, prosperity, and happiness, dear Kimiko."
Omi smiled sagaciously. "In our traditions, when a boy carries a girl on his back, it means he respects her and cares for her very much."
She felt her heart skip a beat. "Y-You're kidding…"
Clay smiled. "Considering that we're talking about Raimundo, well yeah he really should regard her so highly to do that."
"I do not ask you to believe me. I merely said that for your information, Kimiko." The bald monk crossed his arms. "Ah, now I am enlightened as to why he has insisted on rescuing her on his own. He is truly a romantic person, and—"
"Wha…what's with all the noise?" yawned Rai, rubbing his eyes sleepily. "Oh geez, I fell asleep." Groggily getting up and not noticing the two boys and the dragon yet, he held out his hand to her. "Let's go, Kim. We still have a long way to go."
"That is unnecessary, my friend," said Omi from behind, startling the brown-haired boy. "We brought you a transporter with much fasted speed capabilities…and it breathes fire too!"
Rai's eyes narrowed. "Don't tell me…they're behind me, snickering."
"Pretty much that," said Kimiko, smiling a bit.
"Man," he groaned, whirling around to face them. "You guys are not very cooperative, aren't you?"
"We were mighty bored then," complained Clay.
"We missed you!" wailed Dojo.
"And Master Fung is looking for all of us already. Let us make haste and take our ride home." Omi gestured to the dragon that had transformed into its gargantuan size.
Raimundo glanced her way, then back at his friends. Making a decision, he finally went to her and knelt before her, his back facing her.
She looked at him in surprise.
"Well?" he prompted, glancing her way.
"You…were not traumatized by the experience awhile ago?" she wanted to know.
He gave her a quick grin. "Right back at you."
She grinned back and placed her arms around his neck, ignoring the meaningful looks that her friends were exchanging.
Whether it was what Omi revealed awhile ago or the smile that Rai himself gave her that prompted this light-heartedness she was feeling right now, she couldn't say. But this certain Dragon of Fire was going to lose all her worries today and ride blissfully along with the laughing wind.