Kimiko liked to think of herself as an idealist when it came to things like love. She still believed in the silly, ancient relics of old fashioned romance. She secretly delighted in hoping that somewhere a boy was setting his coat over an ominous puddle of mud to protect the object of his desire's new shoes. She giggled every time she imagined someone showering her with brilliant, personal poetry and sweeping her off her feet with words and chocolates. She would love to think that someone was thinking of her as they picked a bouquet of fresh wildflowers or bought a bottle of her favorite perfume.

Kimiko enjoyed keeping her private reservoirs of flirtations, titters, and longings to be the center of that special someone's doting affection. She liked being a little girly. It kept her sane in the otherwise testosterone driven nuthouse that she lovingly called home.

Kimiko also, however, was a realist, and though she was smitten with visions of heartfelt confessions and candlelit dinners, she knew it was extraordinarily unlikely that any of her fancies would transpire. Kimiko had never been in a real relationship, since she had been swept up in the solitary (and involuntarily virtuous) life of a monk in the springtime of her adolescence. Even if she were pursued and, heaven forbid, caught, she wouldn't know what to do or how to act, and the whole ordeal would end in heartbreak.

Not to mention, as a Xiaolin Warrior, she couldn't very well be tied down with the literal weight of the world on her shoulders. With her and the boys jet setting every fifteen minutes to find a new Wu or stop the latest evil plot for world conquest, it wouldn't be fair to have a significant other; they'd never see each other, and probably never talk, either. The only thing that would bound them together would be the title, and if that's the only thing two people have in common then the relationship wasn't worth the hassle. Kimiko had accepted (although was none too pleased with) her fate, and reasoned that she simply would have to wait. How long, or for who, were yet to be determined, but she dejectedly figured it would be a very, very, very long time.

But figures can always be wrong.

Kimiko had been alone for most of the day. The others had engaged in separate activities, all of which required seclusion; Omi was meditating, Raimundo was training, and Clay was...eating. (The last one didn't technically require seclusion, but everyone had resolved that once Clay got started, no one wanted to be around him.) She'd been fine by herself, though; she'd just emailed Keiko, downloaded the latest oh-so-trendy but oh-so-cliche album of the band of the week, and beaten her own high score on Goo Blasters Two.

It had been a quiet morning, but silence was so rare around the temple it was happily accepted. Kimiko was enjoying herself, and after defeating the last boss in The Legend of Helga: Bagpipes of Next Week for the 4th time, she resolved to go back to her room to try on a few new outfits that her dad had sent. She'd been meaning to accessorize her pink and blue pinstripe capris, anyway. Maybe she'd experiment a little with her hair as well; test out a couple of colors, see whether she should wear it long or short, twist, turn, and knot it in fifty different directions, that sort of thing.

She absently wandered down the corridor, inky hair wound around an ivory finger and thoughts comfortably jerking from one direction to the other, never settling long enough for her to recall them. It was most likely because of this that she failed to notice minuscule details of her surroundings that would have otherwise leapt up and screamed at her had she been paying attention. She didn't notice Dojo skittering across the hall, bowl of rice in hand, and nearly tripped over him. (Thankfully he yelped out in terror before she crushed his tail and no damage was done, but not before a healthy amount of white grains scattered on the tile.) She also didn't see that one of the statues had been moved, or that a decorative banner had been torn somewhat severely and was frayed along the bottom edges.

Or that someone had left a letter in her room.

Kimiko had been at her vanity for about fifteen minutes before her vacant haze lifted and her senses reverted back to their normal states of alertness. She was applying eyeliner when it happened, when she instinctively glanced to the side and saw the reflection of the delicate white envelope nestled on her pillow in the mirror. She blinked, confused, and after setting the makeup down, she glided to the entrance and poked her head back out into the hall, hoping for a sign that someone had previously been there.

"Hello?" she called, after she was unable to find a trace of anyone. She received no response but still did not trust what she found and called out again, this time a little louder. Nothing but her own echo replied. Kimiko shrugged and, after surveying the area one last time, disappeared behind the cloth barrier and back into her quarters.

She sat down in the lotus position on her rice mat and cautiously lifted the frail, pale paper. Her name had been scrawled in what she assumed was meant to be neat handwriting; the first three letters of her name looked as though they required much effort to create, whereas the last three looked as though the writer had given up hope and quickly blurred everything together. She flipped the envelope over and opened it, careful not to rip the fragile paper anymore than necessary. As she removed the letter from inside, she was inundated with the scent of coffee beans and morning glories. It was an odd combination, but intoxicating nonetheless, and she breathed it in again with a satisfied smile.

The letter itself was in the same contorted handwriting on the face of the envelope in intriguing, bold black ink. It was peculiar, the author's style; the loops were all far too wide and in unneeded places, like at the bases of 'r's and 's's. Also, the crosses for the 't's were overly thick and hovered above the letter itself, and the disconnection made it appear like an 'l' at first glance. The 'i's were dotted with messy checkmarks, and every 'q', 'j', and 'z' was printed as opposed to the otherwise cursive marks.

Kimiko heard movement outside her room, and turned back just in time to see Clay peak in, his trademark grin plastered on his freckled face.

"Here ya are, Kim! Sorry if I'm interrupting, but Master Fung asked me to find you to...hey, whatcha got there? A letter?"

"Oh, yeah." she answered, moving her entire body to face the cowboy. "I just found it now...I don't know who it's from." Clay nodded, and awkwardly looked at the ground after a moment, gnawing slightly on his lower lip. Kimiko giggled; she'd always admired his gentlemanly manners. "You can come in, Clay." she invited with a warm smile.

Clay beamed and gladly stepped into her nook, confidently striding towards her once he entered. "Shoot, I thought you'd never let me in!" He crouched down beside her, glancing at the letter she still clutched. "I don't mean to be a nosy ninny, but what does this mystery note say?" Kimiko shrugged again, excited beyond reason but able to conceal it with quiet composure.

"Well, let's find out." She cleared her throat and read aloud.

Kimiko, these are the words I dare not utter, in a voice I dare not speak with. The language I use now is too precious for my ignorant tongue to employ, and so I must write it for fear of being able to not communicate it at all. I have long since admired you and your haunting beauty, but only now am I able to reveal it to you. It is cowardly, I admit, to not identify myself, but it seems I still fear that you will not accept the love and devotion I offer you. It is because of this fear that I remain in the shadows, but soon enough I will emerge. Until then, I shall leave you several gift; small, trite tokens of my feelings. Naturally the gifts I give don't hold a candle to my real emotions, but I leave them anyway in hopes that, perhaps, you will eventually adore me as passionately I adore you.

Forever yours,

Your Secret Admirer.

By this point, Kimiko's cheeks burned so hotly that she honestly expected them to be aflame. Clay whistled in awe and smirked, tilting his hat back to look at the blushing, stunned girl.

"I guess someone's got a crush." he laughed, rising as he spoke. Kimiko tightened her grip on the letter, ocean eyes wide and shining.

"I...I don't...I mean...Wow!" was all she could stumble out. She was far too elated to articulate anything else; everything within her was exploding into colorful, elaborate fireworks of joy and happiness. She smiled as wide as her face would allow, and soon found it impossible to relent her grin. "Who do you think it is?"

"Beats me." Clay said, helping her to her feet. "But I'll tell ya, whoever it is sure took a shining to you! You better keep an eye out for these 'tokens', little lady. If they're anything like the actual words, they're sure to be good." He moved to the door, and beckoned her to follow. "Now, c'mon. Master Fung asked to see us a dog's age ago, and the last thing we ought to do is keep him wating!"

Eeek! Cliche! And silly! But FUN! OH SO MUCH FUN TO WRITE!

This is a bit different than One. Actually, it's entirely different from One, because it's happy and bursting with love and not-angst. And there are, like, jokes. Yes, I know it's a mehhhhh plot, but it gets better, I swear. (Or rather, I hope.) I also hope you like's my first pseudo-mystery and I want it to be good. They'll be a few twists and turns, and I promise the chapters won't be as sucky as this one. (But you know, I had to introduce the plot somehow.) Anyway, please tell me what you think, good or bad! And...enjoy!