"Gimme a minute, Omi!" Kimiko quickly sauntered to her desk and picked up her most favorite technology in possession. "I'll show you those pics of Clay I took while he was trying on my hair clips!"
The little monk appeared beside her, looking quite intrigued. "Clay has been permitted to try on your accessories?"
She flashed him a conspiratorial smile. "Sure did. I was bored."
"And he permitted himself to serve as your entertainment in your moments of tediousness?" he asked, even more astounded.
"Why, he's a gentleman!" She giggled when she remembered what was the cowboy's first and last statement all through that one-hour hair fashion show.
"All in a day's work, ma'am," he said as he tipped his hat's rim down towards her.
"Okay, Omi, prepare to see the most spectacular display of dyes and hair ribbons on this side of the temple!" she announced excitedly.
"I'm preparing, I'm preparing!" said the bald monk, quite keyed up himself too.
The minute she opened her PDA, she immediately knew something was wrong.
A Rai x Kim Humor Request by babbikitti. For infos on making RaiKim requests, visit my RaiKim website that is in my profile page.
A self-satisfied smirk formed on Raimundo Pedrosa's face when he heard his name screeched in a high-pitched voice that could only belong to one person. "She got it, alright."
Minutes later, he heard footsteps coming his way. He pretended to turn his attention back to his soccer ball that was bouncing up and down his ankle.
"Okaaaay. Raimundo, game over!" Kimiko Toho arrived in the scene, searing with infuriation. "I knew you did it, so come clean and confess!"
"No, Kim, I did not touch your hair clips. But you can ask Clay, I think I saw him yesterday poking interest on them. He never struck me as the beauty-conscious type of guy but—"
"Not my hair clips!" she hissed. With that, she took out her PDA and thrusted it on his face. "There! Whose handiwork do you think this is?"
He raised an eyebrow, and then peered down at the display. His face was on the screen, his lips making puckering motions. His smirk widened. "Whoa, didn't know that I was THAT photogenic…"
"Because you aren't, baka!" she snapped. "Look, mister. I don't know why you fancy sending me viruses so much, but if you must know, they're starting to get irritating."
He grinned. "My virus saved your butt once."
"For which I am eternally in gratitude," she said, rolling her eyes. "But in my scale, the amount of your viruses sent and the time you cost me in cleaning my stuff still outweighs that little thing you're proud of."
"Like I care." He continued his interrupted ball session. "Now if you excuse me…"
"You are not excused!" she yelled, making him glance back her way again. "Raimundo, I've got a hundred things to do with my PDA, and your virus that is freezing all my applications' attempts to start is certainly not helping my cause!"
"You're the techie, not me." He shrugged his shoulders casually. "Why don't you try solving for the password?"
"Password?" Her voice's certainty lessened a degree. That was the first time he made use of passwords. She silently wondered how fast a learner he was for him to quickly grasp the concepts of virus creation so easily.
"Yes, passwords. Those asterisk thingies that appear when we type on a text box so we can gain access to a—"
"I KNOW WHAT PASSWORDS ARE!" she snapped. Tinkering with her gadget, a screen appeared after Raimundo's face zoomed out. Indeed, a dialog box opened, asking for the password.
Her eyebrow arched.
The corners of his mouth twitched.
"I'll solve this even if this is the last thing I do!" With that, she turned her back on him and walked away, her pigtails bobbing up and down as she walked in glowering annoyance.
"Good luck, Kim! You can do it!" he said teasingly. Hah, he would have a field day with this one today.
"A string made up of eight characters." So far, after a couple of hours working on her laptop to figure out a way to open the backdoor of the virus program, this had been her only finding. If Raimundo would say that he was taking classes under Bill Gates, she could have believed it at this moment.
Tipping her chin, she punched in some letters, forming his name.
"Access denied. Keep on trying, Kim!" was the message from the computer.
She glared at the screen as if the actual virus creator was in front of her. Simply stated, the look she gave the computer was not healthy. Not that it would react, just like Rai who never seemed to be bothered no matter how much unrestrained annoyance she showed towards him.
Her laptop beeped. "No float, no integers, no double figures." It was settled then—it had to be a word, with no numbers in it.
Then the word must mean something to him. Knowing him, he wouldn't come up with random eight-letter words. It should be something that would cause a vein to pop on her head.
Something like what then?
As she played with her pencil, she silently went over everything she knew about the Dragon of the Wind. She knew he loved soccer, surfing, and other sports that require immense physical and mental concentration. She also knew that he was a typical honey bee that finds its bliss in jumping from one pretty flower to another.
Her grip on her writing utensil tightened. Yes, typical male he surely was. It was something she wouldn't allow herself to voice out, but truth be told, it was all she could do not to pummel him whenever, amidst their Shen-Gong-Wu –finding quests, he would get distracted by the attractive girls they see in the location.
She knew she shouldn't feel that way, but she couldn't offer any rational explanation for this either. She once theorized that it could have been because she was used to being the center of attention of everyone. She was her father's apple of the eye, she was Omi's big sister, and was Clay's little sister. And she was Rai's…
She shook her head. Anyway, she told herself that it could have been just because she wanted his attention alone. But the operative word, 'wanted', was difficult to accept for her. 'Alone', the possessive keyword, was even harder.
Deciding that contemplating on that when she should be solving the mystery of Rai's virus would be a real time-waster, she shifted her gaze back at the figures before her.
"Things related to Raimundo…" She started her train of thoughts again. "Betrayal…"
She was never the one to voice out emotions, but the minute it hit her that the Wind Dragon had left them, her first instinct was to deny it. She believed that he was stronger than that. She knew that the confidence within him could defy even the strongest temptations of power.
However, she too, was never the one to let her emotions rule her mind. Fighting with the person she used to nudge on the ribs, the person who used to beg for a turn on her videogame, and the person who would start silly trivial matters of discussion between them just to get the rise out of her…
A sad smile spread on her face. She may bring this secret right down to her grave, but she knew what her heart knew: back when she and Clay were fighting him, she knew she wasn't doing this for the Sheng-Gong-Wus or to get the Dragon of the Wind back to their side.
She just wanted Rai back. Cheerful, annoying, high-spirited Raimundo Pedrosa.
Shaking her head, she forced her awareness back to the problem before her. Eight characters. Betrayal? No. Her mind estimated how many tries would the virus give her. "Maybe it's an infinite loop," she mused.
"Fat chance." The next thing she knew was Raimundo placing a tray of drinks and a sandwiches beside her computer. He then sat down on the desk, swinging his legs up and settling into an Indian seat. "FYI, Kim, that virus increments only up to four. Five wrong answers, and you have to say Sayonara to your beloved PDA."
She gritted her teeth. "Your murder is a good ten seconds away, Pedrosa. Now leave before I lose restraint."
"Relax, Kim." He gestured to the tray. "I made you some snacks."
"And?" She cocked her eyebrow.
"And they're delicious!"
A groan of exasperation. "You're hopeless." She turned her attention back on-screen. She still had two safe attempts left.
"You know, Kim—"
"Shut up. You're disrupting my mental functions."
"You can always ask me for the password." He wiggled his eyebrows. "That is, if you ask me nicely."
She gave him an incredulous stare.
"What?" he asked, shrugging. "You know, I can be a gentleman too."
"Gentlemen don't plant kissy face viruses on a lady's PDA," she said pointedly.
Cupping her chin, she tested several words on the Notepad. His surname wasn't made up of eight letters. So were his hobbies and favorite sports, even his favorite ice cream flavor. Think, Kimiko, think, she coaxed herself. She knew he was watching her every move intently, waiting for her to mess up or something.
"You sure you don't want my help?" he asked in a sing-song voice when she received another 'Access Denied' message.
"I still have one chance left," she said defiantly, flipping her hair over her shoulders.
"Fine." He bent down slightly to see what she was going to type on-screen. "This would be rich—RETARDED!"
Even with the 'Access Denied' message flashing, she still managed a grin. "At least you're a bit more literate than I give you credit for."
"I'm wounded," he said, rolling his eyes. "Anyway, it's now a do-or-die, Kim. Either you place the right password or you send that piece of metal to the junk shop."
She gave him a haughty smile. "Like I don't have back-ups!"
"You haven't made a copy of those Clay Fashion pics, Kim," he reminded her with a canary-ate-the-worm smile.
Her scowl returned. Those pictures were precious alright, but would it be worth swallowing her pride and begging him for the password?
She visualized the image of Clay's blonde hair parted into two and braided with neon green elastic bands and decorated with authentic Indian beads, and then an image of Clay's hair dyed red, with black ribbon headband tied under his chin.
The decision was made.
"I have been pleading to you for the past five minutes, Raimundo!" she said through her gritted teeth. "What else do you want me to do!"
He looked at his fingernails casually. "Well… there is this one thing I have in mind that I had been thinking of before…"
"Yes?" she said warily.
"…which I am hoping you would do now…"
"Yes, yes," she hissed. "Whatisit?"
He gave her an affable smile. "I want a picture of us. Together."
Her jaw dropped, speechless. That was it? But why…
"That's all. Just one good shot of us." He looked out at the window. "I told my folks that…" It was his turn now to fumble for words with significant coherence at that time. "…that…"
She recovered her vocal ability. "What?"
"I told them that I have a girlfriend," he burst out, still refusing to gaze her way. "A cute but hot-headed Japanese techie who motivated me to learn about computers and stuff. And they want to see what she looks like!"
Of all the things he said, what registered most in her mind was, "You think I'm cute?" she asked cautiously.
"Not you, the hypothetical girlfriend!" he exclaimed, unable to keep himself from turning her way.
"Which is hypothetically me," she replied.
"Hypothetically," he insisted, faintly turning crimson.
"Hy-po-the-ti-cal-ly," she agreed in a sing-song tone.
He cleared the heavy mantle of stillness with his throat-clearing. "S-So…will you do it?"
Her eyes crinkled in amusement. "Hypothetically, yes."
"Great!" He was the one who fixed the webcam in place. "My parents have an email address, so we could just send it there."
"Why did the hypothetical girlfriend have to be someone like me?" she wanted to know. "You're not like Omi who has limited access to girls."
He gave her a brief glance. "No comment."
"What about the 'cute' part?" she asked some more.
"What about it?" He tested the angle of the camera.
"Why can't you admit you find me cute?"
"The same reason why you can't admit that I'm charming," he replied, smiling.
For some reason, that deprived her of words. Again.
He giddily went to her. "Okie-dokie, it's studio time!" Placing an arm around her shoulders, he pulled her closer and waved to the screen. "Hi Mom! Hi Pops!"
She had to smile at his simply wacky ways on-screen.
He glanced down at her, a tentative smile on his face. "Will…it kill you if you do something a girlfriend would do to her man?"
She blinked, and then grinned. "Fine." Without warning, she tiptoed and pulled his sweatshirt down to her. A smack landed on his cheek. Releasing him, she asked, "Will that do?"
Rai stepped back, face a blatant palette of scarlet. "T-Thanks."
"Hmm…these shots are good," said Raimundo as he copied the pics to a new folder. "I was born a ramp model."
"Still hallucinating, I see," she said, although she had to admit, he did look good in the photographs. If one would look closer, one could actually see the mischievous twinkle in his eye, the one she often sees when he had just pulled something funny and the person still didn't know…
Wait a minute.
She eyed him distrustingly. This was quickly noticed by the Brazilian boy.
"I don't do drugs," he said, rolling his eyes.
"Baka." She placed her hands on her hips. "Now what is the password?"
He gazed at her for a minute or two silently, deciding what to do.
"You promised," she added, emphasizing the P word.
"I haven't forgotten," he said, sighing. "Here, give me your PDA and I'll—"
"The password," she said through gritted teeth.
He smiled nervously. "Y-You might not want to hear it."
"THE password, Raimundo," she said, tapping her shoes on the floor impatiently.
"Fine!" He deposited both his hands into his pocket and began to spell. "I. L."
She followed his dictations quickly.
"I, K, E…"
"…Y. O. U."
Her pen stopped in mid-air. "Raimundo—" When she looked up, he was nowhere in sight. "Hey, I was going to thank him—" She recalled the password. "Matte…" When it all came down together, her heartbeat skipped a beat.
"Oh my Kami-sama…" She settled on her mat, still in a daze.
Raimundo grinned when he finished sending the pictures to his parents back in Rio de Janeiro. After months of telling his parents about a certain lady that was everything he didn't find ideal in a girl but he still liked secretly, he finally managed to send them her picture. Technically, they were just asking for her picture, but Kim didn't need to know that the girlfriend shots were for his personal custody.
He grinned as he right-clicked and hid his favorite picture: the one where she kissed him. It was…what? One minute? One and a half?
But it was the loveliest high he ever had, even when compared to his best surfing experiences and best goals scored.
But then again, Kimiko did not need to know that.
At least until he finds the courage to say the right words properly without having to use asterisks anymore.