A/N: Hmmm… where did I leave off last time…? Oh yeah, I remember. I apologise profusely to those of you who have been waiting months for this, please don't hate me.
Summary: Contrary to what I wrote in the previous chapter, this will not be the final chapter; I've had to cut it in half. So, in a way, this is the first half of the final chapter. The other monks find out about Rai and Jack! And Chase makes a reappearance. This is building up to what I hope will be a spectacular ending.
Clay awoke from what had been a fantastic sleep to the winter sun blazing through the window. He yawned, stretched and got up, not forgetting to set his hat atop his head before making his way to the kitchen for a hearty Xiaolin breakfast.
Omi, Rai and Jack were already sat at the table, a delectable platter already laid out: Fried eggs, bacon, sausages, beans, cereal, toast, oatmeal…
Clay salivated, grunting in reply to Omi's cheerful 'good morning', he sat down, grabbing a fork he piled food onto the plate in front of him. It was only once he'd filled his mouth with bacon that he noticed the mischievous looks being exchanged between Raimundo and Jack.
He narrowed his eyes in suspicion,
"Wha'sh goin' on?" he asked,
Jack looked up, innocent surprise on his face. Raimundo on the other hand had started to go pink.
"Uh, nothing?" Rai replied, trying to keep his expression… expressionless.
Clay opened his mouth to argue, he was concerned that Rai might have, once again, turned to the Heylin side, but he was cut off as Kimiko made herself known with a loud yawn.
"Wow, who made breakfast?" She asked, pouring cereal into a bowl.
"Me and Jack." Raimundo replied, pride showing in his smile. The smile faltered a little, and he spoke again. "Listen, guys?" He looked nervous now, and for some reason turned to Jack.
"You alright, Rai?" Clay asked, he could definitely tell there was something wrong.
"Jack and I are… together." Raimundo blurted, then, as if to emphasise his point, he swung an arm around Jack's shoulder.
Clay suddenly felt very uncomfortable, why had Rai never told them he liked guys? Hadn't they been best friends for years? He shifted his gaze to Jack; the boy looked incredibly nervous. Kimiko looked surprised… but not too surprised. Omi looked confused.
"Together?" He asked, "But I thought that Raimundo normally liked girls."
Clay cringed, if there had been a way to make the situation more awkward, that was it.
"Yeah, and when people die, they normally stay dead, too." Kimiko growled.
Rai felt crushed. They'd left the kitchen rather swiftly after Kimiko's comment; the breakfast hadn't gone as planned.
Poor Jack looked distraught.
"I guess I should go home." He muttered, staring at the ground.
"No, you're staying right here." Rai grabbed hold of Jack's hand and yanked him back into a hug. "You're staying with me."
"I guess at least they know now." Jack hated himself at that moment; Rai was going to lose all his friends, and it was all Jack's fault. He wanted to go home to his basement laboratory where he was safe.
"Jack." Rai held Jack's shoulders and looked into his shining red eyes. "They'll get used to it. They'll get used to you."
Somehow, that was all it took; Jack smiled, he felt warm all over, and it had only taken a few words from the boy he'd fallen in love with.
"Now, I'm gonna go shower."
"Can I come?" Jack asked, hopefully.
Raimundo laughed, it certainly would be damn nice to share a shower, but it wasn't a good idea; there was no lock on the door of the shower room.
"I'll only be fifteen minutes, 'kay?" He planted a soft kiss on Jack's lips, then turned and walked towards the main building.
Jack didn't particularly feel like trying to make conversation with the other dragons at this point, so he did what anyone in his position would do; he hid. He thought he'd found the best hiding place in the world – a tiny alleyway between the main building of the temple and a temple of worship. But his discovery was in vain, he'd been there not ten seconds before he saw a rather angry looking Kimiko standing at the entrance.
"Uh, hi Kimiko." Jack stuttered, he was well aware of how violent Kimiko could get when she was pissed off.
"What exactly did you do to Raimundo?" She demanded, balling her fists.
"I didn't do anything!" Jack suddenly wondered if she'd seen them together the previous night.
"Bullshit, you must have used some kind of wu, or a spell or something; Rai would never want to be with you otherwise." She sneered spitefully.
Jack got up off the ground, fear starting to mix with rage.
"Yeah? Well maybe you just don't know him as well as you thought you did." He might have been offended at the idea of needing to use mystical powers to get someone to love him, but what annoyed him more was the territorial manner in which Kimiko spoke about Rai. As if he was hers. "I'm sure you had plenty of chances with him." He added almost as an after-note.
Kimiko looked shocked, then humiliated and then she lunged for him.
Clay had just finished explaining to Omi why it wasn't necessarily a good thing that Raimundo and Jack were 'together'. Omi, in his refreshing innocence, had noted that a bond between them would serve to draw Jack and his mechanical skills to the Xiaolin side, and maybe love was just what Jack needed to see the good in… good. Clay hadn't been able to convince him that Jack was 'not the right person' for Rai. Omi couldn't understand why people should only be allowed to love people of the opposite gender. After much arguing, Clay started to doubt his own logic.
His father had always told him that men who loved other men were disgusting, that homosexuality was wrong. Back in Texas it was still illegal for two men to have sex, and Clay had never questioned his father's judgement.
Something about Rai being in love with Jack was still wrong though. Clay's plan was to speak to Raimundo on his own and ask how certain he was about his feelings, but before he could find his friend, he was distracted by a fight in the courtyard.
Kimiko was holding Jack on the ground and raining punches down on him. Jack struggled and, surprisingly, was able to smack his elbow across her face, knocking her onto the ground beside him.
"Whoa, easy there!" Clay shouted, sprinting over to them and pulling them apart. "What's goin' on?" As if he didn't know.
"I think she's jealous." Jack scowled, prompting another attack from the irate Japanese girl.
"I said, calm down!" Clay yelled, stepping between them. "Kimiko, Master Fung wants you to do the dishes from breakfast. Jack, I want to talk to you."
Kimiko slouched off, muttering curses under her breath.
The boys waited until she was out of earshot, then Clay took a deep breath.
"What exactly is going on with you and Rai?" Suspicion evident in his voice.
At first Jack displayed an expression of defiance, but when he realised Clay wasn't going to attack, he emitted a heavy sigh.
"I always thought he was a total ladies-man." Jack said, staring at the ground. "But I think it's obvious to everyone that I never had an interest in girls." Jack went on to explain how his first crush had been a burly mermaid-hunter – something about that rang a bell in Clay's subconscious – and how soon after that he'd fallen head-over-heels for Chase Young. But all along he would sneak glances at Rai, especially when he was bent over to pick something up. Clay cleared his throat as a signal that Jack didn't need to dwell on 'Rai bending over'.
"I didn't understand the expressions on your faces until I saw the blade sticking out through my chest."
Clay hung his head, half through respect, and half through embarrassment.
"You guys all looked horrified, but Raimundo looked like it was him who'd just been stabbed." Jack took a deep breath, he couldn't recount what had happened between his death and his resurrection. "Next thing I know, it's freezing cold, I can hear my blood pumping, my breath tastes stale, and there are these two huge green eyes looking down at me, filled with hope, fear and something that I didn't recognise at the time, but I think it was love."
He stopped there, staring into nothingness, trying to remember how he'd felt to see Raimundo there; he'd been surprised, obviously, but also suspicious, he certainly never would have guessed that Rai had risked everything for him because he loved him.
"But how do you feel about him?"
Jack looked up in confusion.
"Isn't it obvious?" He replied, looking up at the large Texan, "I love him, I would do anything for him."
Clay had to admit that Jack's voice and expression were both sincere, but how were they to learn to trust someone they'd been at odds with for so long?
Half an hour later, Jack was starting to worry. Raimundo still hadn't returned from the shower block. Panicky thoughts began to form in his mind; maybe Rai had decided he didn't love him, and had made a break for it whilst everyone thought he was showering? Or, maybe he'd slipped in the shower and cracked his skull! Jack was running before he realised it, the shower block seemed to be miles away but he was getting closer.
"Rai!" Jack shouted, pounding on the door. When he received no reply he twisted the door-handle and was surprised when it turned in his hand; unlocked.
The shower was running, steam filled the room so Jack couldn't quite see properly. He heaved a sigh of relief when he was able to just about make out a large dark shape in the mist.
"Rai, you've been in here ages." Jack started towards the silhouette, "You had me wor-"
It wasn't Raimundo.
A low rumbling growl emanated from the throat of the large leopard. Jack didn't need to study the slightly deformed head shape of the creature, nor it's malicious eyes, to know that this was one of Chase's minions.
Jack screamed; he felt rather stupid just standing there screaming, but he wouldn't stand a chance in combat with the creature, he wouldn't stand a chance running from it either, but most of all he was screaming because he knew that Chase had Raimundo.
Clay had attempted to make peace with Kimiko, but she was adamant that the relationship between Rai and Jack was wrong. She'd insisted that Raimundo was most definitely not gay, she seemed to believe that Jack was using some kind of power over him. Clay had given up trying to convince her, and had started toward the shower block in order to talk to Rai and apologise for not being more understanding earlier, when he heard the scream.
He knew it was Jack screaming; they all knew the sound of Jack screaming, but did that mean he'd hurt himself? Or had something happened to Rai?
He broke into a run.
Jack was facing a huge leopard – undoubtedly one of Chase's 'pet's.
"Where's Rai?" Clay demanded.
"I think Chase has him." Jack replied without moving his lips, he seemed to be frozen in fear, and it wasn't exactly a surprise. Clay leapt forward and tackled the giant cat to the ground earning himself a bite on the shoulder, he seemed to be losing his hold on the animal when the door burst open again.
"Kangaroo knitting mittens!" Omi yelled as he landed on the leopard's back. He performed some strange move that was too quick for Clay to even see, and suddenly the leopard was defeated. "Chase Young sent this animal." Omi stated, looking rather proud of himself.
"Yeah, and he took Raimundo." Jack shouted, "I'm gonna find him!"
Jack instinctively reached over his should to pull the motor-string on his helipack, completely forgetting that he no longer had the device. He turned and started running for the gate.
"Wait up partner!" Clay was shouting, "We'll take Dojo!"
Jack stopped running and dropped to his knees, sobbing.
"It's my fault, it's my fault Chase took him!" He beat his forehead with his fists until Clay grabbed his wrists and pulled him up.
"C'mon, we're gonna get him back." Clay beckoned Omi and Dojo over and explained the plan, a rather simple; let's go to Chase's lair and get Raimundo back.
"Where's Kimiko?" Dojo asked, looking around for the girl.
"I don't know, but we don't have time to find her."
Raimundo woke on a cold marble floor, dressed only in his underpants. His first thought was that he must have slipped in the shower, but as soon as he'd had a brief look at his surroundings it became obvious that Chase Young had used the Displacement Charm to bring him here.
"Where are you?" Rai shouted, getting to his knees and vigilantly monitoring every corner of the room. He soon realised his vigilance was futile as Chase appeared to materialise out of the shadows.
"You stole something from me." Chase purred, his words dripping with malevolence.
"You stole it from us first!" Raimundo replied, jumping to his feet and preparing himself for a fight. "And I only took it 'cos you killed Jack!"
Chase smiled, it was always creepy when Chase smiled, his thin black lips looked like a leech curled between his nose and his chin.
"Yes, I believe I was as surprised as anyone when you revealed your 'feelings'." Chase sneered the last word as if challenging the young monk's emotions. He circled the room with his hands loosely clasped behind his back looking at Raimundo with a knowing expression. "But as you've gone to the effort of reviving Spicer, I may as well use him."
Rai frowned, he didn't understand what Chase was saying, but he knew it would be bad for everyone, specifically himself and Jack.
A/N: Sorry about the wait, guys, also sorry that this wasn't the last chapter. The next chapter will be the last, I swear.
In the final chapter we will see everything come together and hopefully a satisfying conclusion, but I have loads of work to do at the moment, so I will warn you in advance, this may take a while. Sorry.