Full Summary: Kimiko lives in the lap of luxury. Clay studies for a double major. Omi lives in the Temple, training the next generationofElemental Dragons to defend the Shen Gong Wu. Raimundo is broken and hurt. When the four are reunited under less than wanted pretenses, how will each react to the other? Has too much changed? One-sided RaixKim.

A/N:Hey, my name is Kai. This is my first Xiaolin Showdown fanfic. I thought I'd give this a hand while I'm waiting for more ideas to pop in my head for my Avatar fic: Reborn (go check it out, please?). Some background info on the fic: I've never really written ina style like this. At first its very metholigical, going from Omi to Clay to Kimiko then Rai. But then...I got lazy I guess and just centered it on Rai. If anyone is confused with my style, just say so and I'll edit it. Feel free to rip this to shreds anyway. This isn't beta-d or really edited and I don't have MS Word. It's a long story, but basically I'm stuck with Works which sucks ass. I've only seen a few episodes of XS (like five), so I hope I didn't bastardize the characters too horribly. Warning, I'm not very kind to Rai and there's two long monolouges. Hope ya'll like long one-shots. XD Kai :D

Disclaimer: I do not own Xiaolin Showdown. I own the plot and a nickle named Fred. That's it.

Twelve years too long.

Twelve years since the small Oriental/magic/alien boy butchered English slang. Twelve years since the porcelain Japanese girl slapped the dark one for his cutting remarks. Twelve years since the dark Brazilian waved off her warnings with a smirk and a spark of delight. Twelve years since the tall blonde enlightened his compadres with his old axioms and warm embraces.

The Oriental dubbed Master Omi, remained at the old, dilapidating temple. His ego and posture now at a reasonable height, he just reached five-two. His use of English depleted as he claimed Mandarin Chinese as his primary tongue. Wisdom of many years and studies etched deeply in his small dark eyes. Agility and speed had not ebbed a bit. He grew stronger with age, just as his element: Water.

Because he was the Water Dragon, it was his responsibility to clean the body.

The frail Japanese girl they called Kimiko was no longer small and frail. Her Oriental genes stunted her growth at five-four. Her ever changing hair color remained stagnant at a dusty hazel/auburn/blonde. Her blue eyes sharper with book smarts, backed with the street smarts of a forty-year old. Currently, she studied at Tokyo University, learning all she could so she could run her father's business properly soon.

Because she was the Fire Dragon, it was her duty to burn the body.

Twelve years did a man good, Clayton thought. He grew taller, became less top heavy. Dusty blonde hair bleached almost white from the blistering Texas sun. His arms were hard and dark, holding the manual labor of cattle ranching. His benevolent eyes still kind and open, sparked with a surprising knowledge. He wasn't a simple hick anymore. He was the first in his family to attend college--Texas A&M. His thick southern accent softened with an impressive vocabulary.

Because he was the Earth Dragon, he had to bury the urn which held the body's ashes.

Twelve years had not been kind to the smart mouthing Brazilian. Like his Element, he had not been able to settle. Like a malevolent wind, he blew from town to town, ciudad to ciudad. He worked various low paying jobs and attempted many "get rich quick" schemes. His fun loving smile now donned a white cigarette. The youthful twinkle in his eyes had disappeared many years ago after being sent to juvi (San Diego), jail (Mexico City) and 150 hours of community service (Austin).

Because he was the Dragon of the Wind, he had to send the ashes' smoke to the heavens, praying that the Higher Beings would accept the old man's soul.

The wake for Master Fung's funeral was slightly dull. Raimundo excused himself for a smoke. Kimiko had to "make phone calls." Clayton "just wanted fresh air." They all needed an excuse to get out of the temple, memories too strong for them to handle. The desperateness to leave the pressure pushed them even further away from each other. Omi was the only one who remained (once again). He held a cup of water and looked skyward.

"Master Fung, please…help reunite the lost Dragons."

Clayton found himself far from the temple grounds. The darkened sky exploded with different constellations, bordered by equally dark mountains. The moon shone brightly on the ground, illuminating his path. Dried grass crunched under his feet. Rocks kicked up with each step. He shoved his fists in his jacket pockets; winters in China were much, much colder than they were in Texas. When would spring finally catch up with March?

Despite the cold, Clayton couldn't help breath the word: "Beautiful" at the sights. The nighttime bugs chirped in agreement. He heard a cough, unmistakable--a smoker's cough. Clayton turned, his suspicions confirmed.

"Hey, Raimundo," he smiled.

"Hey yourself," Raimundo replied, tongue curt.

"How've ya been?" Raimundo shook loose a bang from his sullen eyes. A short chuckle escaped his lips, the amber light from the cigarette dancing in the dark.

"How do I look?" Raimundo replied harshly. "I haven't slept in two days, this is my second pack today, I can't stop shaking…" he faded.

"Anything I can do to help? Anything you wanna talk about?" Raimundo kicked a stray rock from the path of his beaten in Adidas shoes.

"Nah. Everything just sucks." He placed the cigarette between his middle and forefinger, exhaling. Clayton, determined not to end the conversation like that, ebbed on.

"Where do you live now? I'm sure a guy like you's got an awesome pad out in Diego or something." He added a warm smile to encourage his long-lost friend to speak.

"Around. I lived in the States for about a month and a half. Lived inBrazil for a couple months. Mexico mostly, but right now I'm just outside the Mexican-Guatemalan border." He looked up from the ground. "You?"

"Texas A&M campus. Gettin' a double major in agriculture and business."

"Good for you," Raimundo added, not so enthused. "Livin' with anyone?"

"'Er name's Samantha Thomas."


"Not yet. I wish we were…I hope we will. But I don' thin' she wants anythin' but friendship right now. She's absolutely amazing. Here, look." Clayton pulled out his leather wallet and showed Raimundo a picture of his roommate. She was tall, fair, redheaded and donned the greyest eyes he'd ever seen. "That's 'er."

"Very nice," Raimundo gazed at the picture, reminded of his own unrequited love. He turned to his friend. "Don' give up. Go for it." He took another drag and exhaled.

"Excuse me, pardner?"

"Don' let 'er get away. She could be waitin' for you and she ain't gonna wait forever." He placed the cigarette back to his lips.

"Hey guys," a female voice joined them. It was Kimiko. She rubbed her bare arms as a brisk wind blew. "Pretty chill out here, huh?" Raimundo automatically shucked his leather jacket and placed it gently over her shoulders. She grimaced at his scent.

"When did you start smoking?"

"Sxiteen," he said simply. "Year after they let us loose."

"Some year that was," she said rolling her eyes. Whether she was commenting on his year or her own, he couldn't tell. "How're you doing, Clay?"

"Mighty well, Kimiko. Mighty well.Thanks for askin." He grinned at her.

"I know that look, Mister. Who have you fallen for now?"

"Her name's Samantha. She's my roommate."

"And you haven't asked her out yet? Clayton, come on! I told you about this with the last one!" Kimiko giggled as she placed her hands on her hips. Raimundo rolled his eyes, not wanting to engage in topics of the heart with her. He knew girls; they'd get all…girly.

"So sorry that this conversation is boring you, Master Pedrosa. What invigorating topics would you like to discuss?" Raimundo shot a look at her, telling her to shut up. Her big words weren't enough to impress him like they did when they were fourteen.

"Oh no, I'm fine. Your debonair vocabulary is simply astounding, Mistress Tohomiko. Tell me, where did thou learnst such fine vocabulary and sentence complexivity?" Clayton scrunched his face, trying to stifle bursting into laughter.

"That's not a word, man. You totally ruined it--ahh!" Clayton jumped a bit. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a vibrating cell phone. He flipped the top. "Hello? Oh…are you ok? Yeah, I'm here. Keep talking…" He pulled the phone away and mouthed apologies to the two and walked away, continuing his string of comforts.

"How are you, Rai? You doing ok? Tell me honestly."

"I'm all right," he muttered, flicking the ashes off his cigarette.

"Where do you live?"

"Around. I'm just like the wind, you know." He smirked, a flash of his old self flashed through her mind.

"Uh-huh. Well, glad to hear it." She glanced at his arm. There was a peak of tattooed ink, that hue of blue was unmistakable. "Where'd you get that? Is it new?"


"That!" She cocked her chin in the general direction of his arm. Raimundo looked and rolled the sleeve, exposing the ends of dragon wings and talons.

"It goes around my back too...and no. It's not new," he added.

"Why?" she asked, totally confused with his behavior and appearance.

"Thought it would look good. Got it in Mexico." Her eyes widened.

"Mexico? Oh my God, Rai. Was it sterile? Did you get some weird-ass infection or anything? Are you sure that it's alright. Let me see your eyes…nope, that's from the nicotine." She turned to his back, running her fingers up and down, looking for some sort of laceration.

"Whoa, chica, I'm fine.

Her touch lingered, a trail of gooseflesh tracing their steps.

"What were you thinking? Don't you know anything about L--" She caught herself, but too late.

"Latin American countries?" Raimundo finished for her. "You mean that they're third world countries with some of the worst sanitization and law enforcement problems short of the Middle East and Russia? Yeah I know. I grew up in Brazil, remember? Just because a country is sparkling and techno-y like America or Japan, doesn't mean that it isn't good."

"I didn't mean it like that."

"Then what did you mean?"

"I'm just worried about you. Just because I haven't heard from you in twelve years doesn't mean that I no longer care." Raimundo scoffed.

"Does he care?"

"What?" He nodded to the shining rock on her left ring finger. He caught a glance at the engagement ring before Clayton left. The annoyance with himself and anger at her threatened to bubble over now.

"The ring on your finger. You're engaged, aren't you? Does he care?" Kimiko retreated, cradling the gem on her finger, shock glazed upon her face, highlighted in the moonlight.

"How dare you! And for the record, Raimundo Pedrosa, he does care!" Raimundo turned from Kimiko. Anger peaking, his hands began to shake.

"How can he?"

"Excuse me?"

Raimundo sharply turned to the not-so-small Japanese woman.

"Does he know you have five different smiles? One for protection, like when Omi says something stupid, you laugh but at the same time you'd always look for me, ready to strike me when I said something back. One for sheer laughter, when someone said something that totally hit you and you thought was hilarious, like when your friend Keiko would call. You had another small one when you were totally into someone, like Jerid (she shuddered at the name). The fourth one is your sly one, when you've got something tinkering in your techno-mechanic head of yours. The last smile that you have is when you're trying to hold back your tears, because you'd rather be seen as happy than as sad…

"Does he know that you'd rather talk things out than argue them because you're horrible at arguing? Does he know that your favorite flower is a pink plumeria because that's the kind your dad brought back from a trip to Hawaii and that was one of the few times you felt that he actually cared? Does he know that your biggest fear is rejection and you'll do anything to fit in? Even so much as to change your personality or your…looks? (he was implying her J-Pop craze when they were living in the Temple. It hit a nerve--he could see it in her face.)

"Does he know that your eyes are the color of a river just before the sun sets upon its horizon? Does he know that you are truly a wonderful person with a kind soul and a fierce protection streak? Does he know of your undeniable wit and quick-no-shit personality? Does he know that Sunday mornings you're always slightly more grumpy because that's the day your mother passed away?

"Does he hold you until the late night, comforting your when you have nightmares? Is he the One you want to spend your life with?" His voice cracked at the end of the last phrase, every ounce of his being trying to keep the tears away.

Kimiko stood, mouth ajar. Yes, it was true. Everything he said was true about Charlie. Charlie loved her with every fiber of his being.

What she didn't know what that Raimundo felt the same way.


"Forget it, Kimiko. Just forget it."

"I'm sorry," she said a little louder.

"Forget it." He turned from her and lit up another cigarette. He inhaled a long drag and exhaled, turning to her again. "You know, when we left the Temple, I never stopped thinkin' about you. This," he held up the cigarette to her, "was the quickest way for me to forget about you and what happened around here. It went downhill from there…" He turned away, the memories burning through his mind.

"Rai," she placed a hand on his shoulder. "Talk to me. You need to talk about this. I'm sorry…" Raimundo scoffed. He couldn't deny her request. No, he was always there fulfilling her desires. Jump. How high? He thought bitterly.

"After we left the Temple, I went home to an empty house. They were all gone: Mama, Papi, Carmen…all gone. The neighbor said somethin about the family movin to Los Angeles or El Paso…oh hell. It would be impossible to find them. They were there illegally; I could just imagine that. Dad hated to wait and was always complainin about the house and Brazil. I didn't know what his problem was. I loved it there. He was intent about going to America. He was going to go someday. I just didn't know that it was going to be so soon. I tried to get a job. You know, not holdin a high school diploma makes findin a job hard anywhere. I ended up livin on the streets for the longest time.

"I went north. Just hopped on a bus and went north. Kept goin until I landed in Mexico City. Learnin Spanish was a bitch, but at least I can say that I'm trilingual now," he smirked. "I got this job workin on a Texas farm, pickin stuff and then going back. It was alright. I made crap money, but it was better than the streets. I had a home…at least until the land lord thought I was smuggling cocaine into the complex. Ended up in jail. Did some drugs. Got out. Stopped the drugs. The nicotine kept me goin. If it wasn't for the cigarettes, I'd be a shaking ball of shit right now.

"Moved north again. To Los Angeles. I tried to find my family, but do you know how many Pedrosas or Pedrosa-Somethins there are in Los Angeles? I didn't bother to look too much longer. I managed this far on my own, right? Worked on another farm but got hurt." He lifted his other shirt sleeve, exposing a long, thick pale scar under his tattoo. "They sent me to the hospital. I tried to tell them not to, that I'd be fine. Feds found out I was illegal and fucking deported me. Oh, not to Mexico or Brazil. No, jack offs sent me to Colombia. That's a fucked up country, mind you.

"Somehow I got my sorry ass back to Mexico (Brazil isn't too much of a home, now is it?) and I was a mess--just about as bad as you can get before totally running off the deep end. I ended up training again. Just simple stuff. A few punches, a few kicks…just something to get my mind focused from the hell that was Colombia. Some guy saw me and asked if I wanted to teach some kids; they needed something to get them off the streets and from killing each other, I'm not kidding, Kimi. They really do shoot each other.

"So that's where I got to where I am now. And then this happened." He flicked the last of his cigarette on the ground and snuffed it in the dust. He fired up another one. "Just peachy, huh?"

"Rai, I'm so sorry. I really am."

"I know you are." He paused. "Come here." They embraced in a tight hug. Memories flooded their minds. Both knew that things would be different from here out. He loved a girl, no woman, who was to be married. She loved a man and still cared for another man who had gone through some pretty bad, no horrible, life.

Raimundo, a whopping six-one, easily outsized the Japanese woman. He planted a short, chaste kiss on the top of her head. He didn't want to let go. Not just yet…not again.

She pulled away first. "Take care, Raimundo." She slipped something into his hand as she kissed his cheek. "Take care." She turned and began to walk back to the Temple where she was greeted by a beaming Clayton and worried Omi.

Raimundo glanced at the paper. The moonlight illuminated it perfectly for him.

You are cordially invited to participate in the marital ceremony of

Charlie James Winston and Kimiko Tohomiko

August 12th, 2017

Koi Gardens in the West Wing of the Tokyo Hilton Hotel

Arrive Promptly at 7:30 PM

Reception afterwards

His face remained stone as he place the invitation in his jeans pocket. A cold wind blew by. He wanted his jacket back.

May slowly crept into June, which faded into the blazes of July.

Clayton turned on the air conditioner. He continued to take notes from his textbook, his thoughts on Samantha. She was in California visiting family and tending her sick grandmother. He glanced at his phone. Maybe he should call…

Kimiko slipped into another bridal dress. It was a traditional Western dress. She was marrying into the Catholic Church, Charlie's religion, and needed a proper dress. This one was much too…foofy. She scowled and shed it, trying on another, she couldn't shag Raimundo's eyes that night outside the Temple grounds.
Omi bowed as a group of four gawky teenagers entered the room. They were variant in size. There was a tall, dark (most likely of African decent) boy with stringy, coarse hair and mischievous hazel eyes. A paler boy stood next to him with flaming red hair, an explosion of freckles, and shy green eyes (Irish). The two girls were complete antitheses of the other. One donned the "Goth" look (a sudden revival from the early to mid 2000s; she was Mexican) and the other a more trendy, "preppy" he believed the word was look (American). He bowed to them and they returned the gesture.
Raimundo leaned into the sharp move, oxygen escaping his lungs. Sweat beaded down his back, submerging the flying dragon. The sun beat on his old, tired muscles. His arms begged him to stop, but he pursued. Punch, breath, punch. Keep it steady, Raimundo, keep it steady, he told himself.
Clayton picked up his cell phone and pressed the green button. A picture profile waited for him in the "Recently Called" list. He bit his bottom lip. Now or never. He hit the green button again, screen fading to a telephone symbol. "Now Calling: Sammy," it read.
"Charlie! You're supposed to be in Alaska! You aren't supposed to be back until next week!" He smiled and embraced his soon-to-be wife in a welcoming hug. Kimiko felt like she was on wings when he held her, flying, flying so high…
"My name is Master Omi. Welcome to the Xiaolin Temple. You will be trained for the next three years to defend the Shen Gong Wu. If you so choose to remain after that time, you may. After, you are free for the world to embrace."
"Raimundo! Estas bein, hombre? Que pasa?" Another man entered the alleyway Raimundo was training in. The other man threw him a small Gatorade bottle. Raimundo knew better than to ask what the bottle's real contents were. Whatever it was, it quenched his thirst.

"Gracias. Nada. Que ese?"

"Limonada. De mi abuela. Thought you might like it," the man slipped into heavily accented English.

The ringing stopped. He heard her pick up the phone. "Hey, what's up, Clay?"

"Hey, Sammy. How's California?"

"It's beautiful. You'd love Santa Barbara. I'm right on the beach, and there's this wonderful cool breeze coming in. It feels good. What's up with you?"

Charlie pulled back, gazing at his soon-to-be-wife. "I came back to surprise you. Please tell me that you aren't going to pick that dress," he said in a defined British accent.

"Of course not, honey. I'm still looking. You shouldn't be here! Seeing a woman in her wedding dress before the actual date is bad luck."

"I thought you weren't superstitious, Fire Dragon?"

"Stoppit," she said as he muzzled her neck lovingly.

The Goth girl raised her hand, bracelets falling down to her elbow. "I have a question. Are we gonna be learning all those cool kick-butt movements like Jackie Chan?"

"Dude, how old are you?" the African boy said.

"Shut up, Tyreke," the Goth girl said.

"Make me, Vampira." He stuck out his tongue. Omi couldn't help but smile. Wind and Fire had found themselves again.

"What's up with you, Felipe? You normally don't track me down like this."

"This is for you." The other man thrust a white envelope in Raimundo's direction. Raimundo looked at him confused as he blindly opened it up. "It's a plane ticket to Tokyo, you know, where that Kim-chica is getting married." Raimundo glanced down.

"How did you get the money?"

"The family and I pitched in together. We figured it'd be good for you." Raimundo looked back up. "Go get your woman, hombre."

"Nothing. Listen…there's something that I want to tell you ("Don't let her go.")"
"So, do we have a final tally for the guests? Rachel is burning my arse about the details." (I couldn't tell you for sure.)
"Are we, like, gonna fight evil and stuff?" the blond one asked. Omi nodded a solemn look upon his face.
Raimundo pulled his friend in a tight hug. "Thank you," he said.
"What is it Clay? You can tell me anything."


"I'm not sure. I've still got one on the maybe list." He was on the maybe list for a lot of things, wasn't he?
"You will begin your training tomorrow as Xiaolin Dragons. Tonight, rest. You will need it."
"Go man! You have to go pack!"
"I love you," he managed to breath out. There was silence on the other end. Idiot. You blew it. Last time I take advice from Raimundo Pedrosa. "Sammy?"


"It's ok if you don't feel the same way. I just…I just wanted you to know that."


"I'll talk to you tomorrow?"

"Sure," she muttered. They hung up at the same time.

"One one the maybe list? Well, why don't we just put him down as coming and if he isn't there, then, that's…"

"153 dollars and fourty cents down the drain. This wedding is expensive enough as it is."

"How did you--?"

"Asian, remember?" she smiled.

"What am I getting myself into?" Charlie asked, playfully rolling his eyes.

The four tweens walked away and into their rooms. A shriek of protest came from one of the girls. Omi jogged down the hall and found it was the American girl.

"Master Omi! Like, I don't have a bed!" She pointed to the mat on the ground. A pillow came swiftly in her direction from the Goth girl.

"If you say 'like' one more time, the next thing at your head will be harder than a pillow." The American glared her eyes at the other. Omi was waiting for an explosion, hair being pulled, a major fist fight breaking out.

"You suck," was all the American said.

"Shut up, Lianne!" Tyreke shouted.

The plane ride had been smoother than he thought. Luckily the security at airports had loosened since the early 2000s. He easily made his way to his seat without being checked too much. He was a citizen of Mexico. He didn't have to worry about faking anymore. He settled into the coach seat in the back. He had a window seat. He looked out; it was foggy. He remembered his first plane trip--it was the same trip that took him to China so he could become a Xiaolin Warrior. He scoffed. Some warrior, he thought. He looked at the ticket. It was August 9th. Kimiko was to be married in three days.
August days faded peacefully into autumn. The leaves had taken to delightful reds, yellows and orange hues. The sky was a bit crisper, holding whispers of winter. The ground, dirty brown, now the residence of many leaves and dying flowers.

Raimundo stepped off the plane. His legs were a little shaky. He glanced at the city in front of him. It was nothing like Los Angeles or Mexico City. It was more like Hollywood, Anaheim--perfect and sparkling in the afternoon sun, void of the brown smog or overriding scent of homelessness and decay. It smelt…clean, and like cherries. He almost had forgotten what they smelt like…and it reminded him of her. He placed his backpack on his back and continued walking through customs and on to the hotel.

Kimiko stood at the wedding site. It was to be outdoors. The Koi fish ponds were to the near right of her. The altar was behind her, on top of a very small incline. White furniture dotted the aisles, a white carpet parting the sea. She'd be here in two days. Two days she'd be up here, reciting those ancient vows. She stood on the oak perch, looking to the right, imagining Charlie was there. She said what she could remember of the vows. "Do you take thee, Raimundo Pedrosa…" she caught herself mid-sentence. She leaned on the pole and slid down. The tears wouldn't ease.
Clayton nervously fumbled with his plane ticket. He never liked riding in the blasted vehicles. But, he was going for Kimiko. He wasn't going to let a little claustrophobia get in the way of his making his friend's wedding. He thought back to Sammy and glanced at his cell phone. It simply read the time and date. She had not called back. He never wanted this to happen. "Please call me, Sammy. Please…"
Today, the four Dragons-in-training were introduced to Dojo, the small sarcastic dragon. They laughed at his size, but when he grew to his full stature--Omi could hear the jaws drop on the ground. He had to leave the four in Dojo's care today. He had to go to Tokyo to celebrate Kimiko's union with that man, Charlie, if he remembered carefully. Using the Golden Tiger Claws, he vanished and reappeared in a deserted street corner. As he checked his surroundings, he began to walk. As he made it to the hotel and checked in, he wondered slightly…whatever happened to Kimiko and Raimundo…
There was a knock on her door. She looked through the peephole. It was him…no way…it couldn't be…but there he was…right…She opened it.

"Raimundo, what the hell are you doing here?" Raimundo, the sly, boyish grin she remembered so many years ago plastered on his face, pulled out a crème invitation.

"You gave this to me, remember. I'm coming. I just wanted to say…good luck and congratulations."

"Thanks, Rai. Hey, do you want to come in? Charlie is out with Rachel, our wedding planner. They're making last minute checks. Oh, I'm so happy that you're here. Here, have a snack." She maneuvered around several boxes and escorted him to the kitchen/dining area. She threw a bag of Ritz chips at him from the pantry. He sat on the barstool and smiled.

"So…you're really getting married," he said. "Big jump."

"I know. But, I'm ready. I can't wait, but at the same time I'm scared out of my wits. I'm going to be Mrs. Kimiko Tohomiko-Winston. After the wedding, we'll be moving back to his hometown, England, a few days after the wedding."

"Explains the boxes," Raimundo concluded. He took a bite of a cracker.

"How did you get here? It must have cost a fortune!"

"Some friends back home. They've got connections." He winked. Perhaps maybe just a little flirting wouldn't hurt.

"Hey…let's go to dinner. You, me and Charlie. I want him to meet the esteemed Dragon of the Wind."

The plane touched down lightly at Tokyo International. More people bustled around then the blonde had seen in a long time. He had an experience similar to this when he traveled to New York with Sammy. Clayton fought his way through the madness and somehow made it to his hotel without being mauled by the masses.

He opened up the door to his hotel and threw the suitcase in it. He turned on a light.

There she was.

Dressed in her most casual clothes (a t-shirt and sweats, flip flops donning her feet), she dashed to him, wrapped her arms around his neck and fiercely kissed him. His hands found her hair and the small of her back. She pulled back.

"I love you too, you dolt. Couldn't you tell?" Then leaned back in for more.

It was the day of the celebration.

Kimiko waited in the bridal room, putting on the dress. Her sister awed at the design and the way it rested on her body. All Kimiko could do was smile at her remarks. She whispered a few more words in Japanese that she couldn't make out, but she knew it was all good.

"Ready, Kimiko?" her father asked at the door.

"Ready as I'll ever be."

"Raimundo?" Clayton asked, arm and arm with a lovely red-headed woman he recognized as Samantha. "What are you doing here?"

"I was invited thankyouverymuch!" He popped the collar of his tux jacket.

"Raimundo! It is very nice to see you here," Omi said, bowing. He looked absolutly rediculous in the suit, but Raimundo held his tongue. "Are you excited for Kimiko? I am. I can't wait for the ceremony to begin! It's supposed to be Western. I've never seen a Western marriage ceremony."

Raimundo stopped smiling. His eyes fell slightly.

"Yeah. I'm bursting with joy."

"Clay, who is this?" Omi asked, turning to Samantha. "She is very pretty." Samantha laughed and shook Omi's hand.

"I'm Samantha. I'm with Clay." As she said the last phrase, she leaned into his arm, interlocking her fingers with his.

"Oh, I see. Well, I wish you well. Hopefully we will see you in a similar scenario in the future?" Clay turned a deep red. Samantha's face paled. They just began to date.

"We'll see," Clayton said, recovering. "Oh, sweetie, this is Raimundo. He was my other friend I met in China." Samantha and Raimundo exchanged their greeting. She's gotstrong hands, Raimundo noted. She'll be good for Clay.

"Come friends. Let us make like a ball and bounce." Raimundo automatically opened his mouth to correct the young monk but stopped.

"You got it right." Now he was confused.

"I've been practicing." Omi smiled widely.

The four made their way to whatever empty seat they could find in the horde of people and white wooden lawn chairs. Raimundo took a seat at the far right had side, Omi a couple rows back and in the center, and the two new lovebirds far left a few more rows back.

Music started.

People rose.

Raimundo couldn't see anything, but he knew Kimiko was beaming wide and her father was trying hard to keep his composure.

Charlie stood at the altar, smiling just as wide. It was almost unbearable to watch. Omi watched and almost heaved in despair. What happened to Fire and Wind? They complimented each other…they were meant for each other.

Sammy held the tissue to her eyes (she was always teary at weddings) and asked Clayton if this wasn't the most beautiful thing he'd seen. Clayton slightly nodded. He knew he should be happy for Kimiko, just something wasn't right about her marrying another man.

Raimundo sat, along with the rest of the congregation, when Kimiko reached the altar.

Kimiko looked into her soon-to-be husband's eyes and almost swooned. How handsome he looked with his brown-black hair tied into a short ponytail and brown eyes ablaze with love. She felt her cheeks get warm. When she blinked, she could have sworn she saw green in his eyes…but she shook it off as a trick of the light.

"Should anyone have any reason that these two should not be wed, speak now, or forever hold your peace."

Raimundo's muscles clenched as half of him tried to stand up and the other half kept him down. Don't ruin Kimi's day you retard, he spat at himself. If something was to happen, it would have happened already. She was with Charlie. Stop pretending like you're in a high school drama. You're not. You're a Dragon! The Dragon of the Wind! Keep your composure!

"I now pronounce you man and wife."

Raimundo looked away as the two kissed. The congregation cheered with happiness at the union. He should be happy. Really he should…

He turned out to take a smoke.

Kimiko watched Raimundo leave the area. A small frown appeared on her lips, but quickly evaded as she turned back to her husband, grinning like a buffoon.

The cigarette dangled over his lip. He had been out there for a good thirty minutes. He had heard the commotion as the two newly weds left the building for the reception. The smoke escaped into the night wind. He received odd looks from bystanders, as if smoking was some sort of unethical activity. He chuckled sardonically. Perhaps it was…

"Rai?" a small voice said. Raimundo turned, seeing her in that white beautiful dress that hugged her curves and flowed out just as a princess' dress should. He could not deny the speck of longing that held in his eyes. He should have been at that damn altar. Why did he let her go?

"Yeah?" he replied, voice coarse.

"I just want to say thanks for coming. It meant a lot to me for you to be here."

"Well, you know…I try…" he said, a weak chuckle escaping him. "You look beautiful."

Her cheeks turned a shade redder. "You clean up pretty well too. Now we just have to work on the smoking." Raimundo smiled and rubbed the back of his neck.

"Maybe." He looked down to her. "I wish you well in the journey."

"Come to the reception," she said, tugging his arm slightly. Raimundo shook his head.

"Can't. I've got to get back to Mexico."

"Well…I'll see you around?"

"I'm like the wind: I'll always be around." He kissed her forehead. "I'm always with you."

At that, he turned and walked away; the smoke trailing his footsteps. He finally realized the axiom: "if you truly love someone, let 'em go." She was happy with Charlie. Knowing that and seeing her eyes today settled in his chest. He didn't want to, but he knew he was going to have to let her go completely.

"Goodbye Kimiko Tohomiko," he whispered as he left the hotel room. He shook his hair. "God, I sound like I'm emo." A quick run of his hand through his chestnut locks and a breath of fresh air, he plastered his old fun-loving smirk and walked out of the hotel. He felt a great burden lifted from him and he greeted the day with a smile, head-up confident…

Just like he used to, Kimiko thought as she saw him from the end of the corner. Just like he used to.

AN: Well, it's done. Hope I didn't butcher the characters too badly. Now, hit the mauve button and make me happy! D

"You ok, man? What's up?"

"Thanks. Nothing. What's this?"

"Lemonade. From my grandmother."