Rated M for Violence and Adult Situations. Please do not read if you are easily offended, or are not old enough. Don't ruin it for everyone else. Please and Thank you.
A/N: Warning to all! Spoiler Alert! Takes off after Season 3 Finale! I do not own Xiaolin Showdown, nor any of its characters. Since their was no discernible outcome from the end of Season 3, I'm pretending the big battle never really happened. Or maybe it did and I haven't thought where to incorporate that yet. No worries, though. I got this. Little bit of a time-skip, so that the romance part is a little less statutory rape-esque. Though there will be no rape in this fic, if that makes you feel better? Just pretend nothing interesting happened and everyone was basically training for a year or two. Three max. Promise.
'You surprised me, Spicer. I'm rarely surprised. But never fooled.'
He leaned forward then. She flinched; visibly wincing away at his increase in proximity. Kimiko felt a sudden warmth rush her body, starting where she felt the heat of him by her face. Her instincts screamed at her that the seriously deadly enemy should never be allowed to breathe on her face! By any means! Ever!
'By the way,' he had said with a teasing arrogance. 'Love the perfume.'
After that moment, Kimiko started thinking differently.
At the Xiaolin Temple
'He noticed by the smell..' Even with the power of the Treasure of the Blind Swordsman, Chase Young had been able to tell that she was Kimiko Tohomiko, instead of the 'Evil Boy Genius,' Jack Spicer.
'The Heylin Side is so powerful. I got my butt handed to me in that fight. Even if I did manage to win that Showdown, next time I might not be so lucky. I need to be stronger. Everyone: Omi, Clay, even Raimundo, they've all been desired for their strength. After today, I'm not sure if I could save MYSELF from the Heylin Side.'
A Japanese girl standing at 5' 3'' gazed up at the brilliant night sky. Star and moonlight illuminated her path through the dark shadows of the temple garden. She sighed for the first of many times that night.
'How am I supposed to save the world from a bean that can kick me across a giant, magical chasm? Dragon of Fire? More like Tiny Gecko of Moderate Heat. Why choose me?' She frowned, eyes searching the sky for an answer to her silent question. Kimiko had always felt blessed for having been chosen as the Dragon of Fire In-Training. It wasn't even a hard transition to give up her life in Japan to reside at the temple with the three strange boys. Three strange, and very powerful boys.
'The Heylin Side doesn't seem to find me worthy of their stupid attention... Maybe Omi and Raimundo are right. I am just a girl. A girl who works her butt off and everyone still overlooks. A girl who works her butt off and gets beaten up by a weak Chase Young and a small, evil bean. Yeah, after three years of training, a girl starts to doubt her life choices.'
She sat on the bridge over-looking the garden's Koi pond, and curled her knees up to her chest. Arms wrapped securely around herself, she rested into the simple bridge post behind her. Her reflection was lost in the dark water, so she turned her gaze back to the starry sky. Wide, sapphire orbs shimmered in the ethereal glow of the heavens above.
'I just can't let myself be forgotten.. I don't want to fall behind everyone.' Her eyes blurred; unfocused as she recalled past memories. Omi and Raimundo both were coveted by the Heylin Side.
'Because they're strong.' Kimiko's frown deepened. When she had fought against Chase and Hannibal Roy Bean, sure, she wasn't exactly dressed as herself, but her performance was a mockery to everything she'd learned and she had been almost too happy for the guise. Because she had not spent the last few years being trained in the Art of Being a Beachball. At least Clay had grown up having adventures with his sibling in Texas. 'Kami knows what happens down in that desolate wasteland...' Growing up in a bustling Tokyo didn't exactly teach a girl vital wilderness and survival techniques- beyond planning for traffic and not wearing short skirts on crowded subways.
But she wasn't in Tokyo anymore. Daddy couldn't airlift her to anywhere in the city to avoid the pedestrians and the perverts. She had to fend for herself and keep up with the boys with her own skills; her own strength. Raimundo was now the leader of their team. Kimiko had never been sure that she would have wanted the position had she been picked. To be responsible for all of their lives? Their family?
She agreed with Master Fung's decision to make Raimundo their leader. The young girl felt an ache in her heart at the thought of being responsible for the deaths of her friends. To her, they were as close as brothers. Even though it was sometimes difficult to be able to relate to Clay, and especially Omi, they had all grown close to one another and protected each other with their lives.
'But now that he's leader, will things change? Will he and the others keep getting stronger? We're Wudai Warriors, now. So, I know we're all still about the same level. But for how long? Is it silly to pray for us to all continue to grow together? Will we be enough to save the world again?' This thought brought her back to the man that had started her disheartening second-guessing of herself.
Half-man? All evil.
'I never knew that his lizard senses affected his human form. I guess it makes sense, though..' Kimiko blushed lightly, remembering how close Chase had been to her and the way her heart had raced in her chest. Since they'd met the man, she had been telling herself that she was 'Hot-Guy' deprived. There was certainly no lack of males in her life. Whether or not any of them were to her taste was a different story, entirely. Of course, her friends had aged well. Omi was now a normal-sized 15-year-old Chinese boy. He looked up to her as a big sister, even though he had outgrown her in height last Spring. His previous prejudice against women was still steadily decreasing, for which Kimiko was thankful. For both of their health's. Clay had also grown, his muscular build seemed even more rugged now that he reached a full 6' 2''.
'I'm pretty sure that kid is still growing, too.' She grumbled inwardly, cursing her short stature. She would be turning 18-years-old in about a month, and she had barely grown three inches since her arrival at the Xiaolin Temple.
Raimundo stood a head taller than her still, despite her increase in height. His dark brown hair had grown more shaggy and fell into his still mildly-boyish face.
'It adds to his charm,' she mused. 'But his kindness is his best quality.'
Their first Wudai Quest: locating the Bird of Paradise. At the end, the bird had told them their best redeeming qualities: Omi had his loyalty. He always kept his word. Raimundo had his kindness; he always helped anyone in need. Clay had his strength, though, it still did not deter him from his gentle ways.
'No wonder he was chosen to be the Dragon of Earth. It's weird to think that someone so strong and manly could be such a giant teddy bear.' Kimiko snorted quietly in amusement, and recalled her own special trait: her courage- for which she had felt proud.
'Is courage truly that important?' She paused, listening to the crickets chirping against the quiet of the night. As if maybe one of them would be the one to give her her answer.
'I suppose I couldn't do anything if I didn't have the guts...'
Kimiko's eyes widened in realization:
Courage is its own strength.
"I shouldn't just be sitting here." A determined look set in her eyes, and she rose confidently from the wooden bridge beneath her. "I'm the one who jumped into the battle for Jack before the others could think. I won't let myself sit and be glum about it! If I'm so courageous, I should be training by any means necessary to be able to beat the Heylin Side. I'll prove my worth to everyone who ever doubted me. I'll train harder than ever before! I'll jog more laps, I'll do more push-ups, I'll practice more martial arts, and I will never back down! I refuse to be the weak link!"
Kimiko's face was solemn. She knew that if she were to push herself hard enough, she would become stronger. Though time was not an option. The stronger she was now, the better off their team would be.
"I will become strong. I will be able to protect my friends."
If only she hadn't meant what she said by 'any means necessary.'
The following day...
The boys woke that morning to see Kimiko training in the garden. Despite her high-tec devices, she was raised in a city with little access to nature. So, when it came to downtime, Kimiko spent hers in the quiet of the Temple Garden. Nature to Kimiko was not necessarily foreign, but a delicate commodity. It was powerful, yet swayed by so many things. She liked to watch it when it was peaceful, and she liked to watch the way it changed when influenced by the elements: drenched from the rain, blown away by the winds, up-heaved by the earth, and burned from the sun. The young girl who coveted nature was loathe to admit that her element could only bring destruction to something so beautiful.
Sometimes, she prayed to the Gods that she would never hurt her friends on accident. Only pain came from fire. She had never seen it bring life to plants or animals- only death. Never saw it deliver a cool breeze on a hot day- only burn from the intensity of the sun. Fire had never been able to harbor and grow life- again, fire could only burn.
In the garden, there was no fire. Often, the pond made the air moist and the trees kept it cool with their bountiful shade.
Nothing could bother her here. Her fears could fade, and be replaced with peace.
It was here that she focused on her goals. Her desires. Kimiko strove for greatness. How else does one prevent themselves from being but a memory? She was to be the Dragon of Fire. But how many Dragons of Fire had come before her? How many names lost in the Sands of Time?
'I wouldn't fade if I were immortal..' The thought fluttered across her mind, and she paused to wipe the sweat from her brow. Realizing the out-of-character thought, she stepped back from the post she was beating and raised her arms above her head in a tight stretch.
'Where the heck did that come from? Immortality? That sounds like something Chase Young would talk about. I wonder if the desire for immortality comes with being evil or if desiring immortality leads to being evil?' Kimiko resumed her training at the thought. Mind wandering into the pros and cons of chasing eternal life-
Pro: living forever.
Con: eating dragons in exchange for living forever.
Con: doing whatever Wuya did to live forever.
Another con: being a bean.
'No, thanks.' Kimiko quite liked being Good, and being a girl, so until immortality came without turning evil (or changing into the shape of a small legume) she was going to have to settle for being a kick-ass mortal girl with fire powers.
Sensing that her fellow monks were watching her, Kimiko focused harder on her training. There was nothing special about it today, as she was only using the basics. Building a strong foundation would help her be better at advanced techniques. The faster she became with these, the easier more difficult techniques would be to learn.
Today, she had decided to focus on hand-to-hand. No element involved. While she was confused as to why her teammates only watched, instead of joining, or even greeting her, a part of her wanted them to notice her skill and dedication. That maybe they watched with awe and admiration, instead of focusing on the faults she was trying desperately to erase.
Little did she know, the boys were indeed staring in awe at the movements of their female compatriot. She moved fluently and gracefully, while still striking fast with a fearsome accuracy. With each pummel to the post in front of her, an orange fire started to surround her form. The wood would scorch; splintering as fire blasted in a random direction. The fire was seemingly unnoticed by the training girl. It wasn't until the fire continued to grow exponentially around her that her teammates began to worry. Her eyes became engulfed in blue, leaving no whites visible, similar to when they were in their Wudai Warrior state. Was the Dragon of Fire inside her rising?
Kimiko felt her body heating up, and felt a swell of pride that her training was causing a sweat. Her skin felt hot- tingling like when she was out in the sun for too long, but without the hurt of a sunburn. Power was taught in her muscles, and each blow to the post came with less difficulty than the one before. A strong desire to keep pushing her limits started to flood her thoughts. Urging her to unlock her inner strength and experience her full potential. But before she felt the bonds of her earthly form fade into this new power, she was suddenly blasted with something very wet and excruciatingly cold.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AHHH!" Screeched the very drenched girl. Turning quickly to face the perpetrators, she was met with an Omi, a Rai, and a Clay. They were all throwing the Orb of Tornami back-and-forth in a 'Hot Potato' motion, as if it were the thing that had been on fire moments ago.
'If they think THAT'S hot, wait until they see their butts after I'm done scorching the crap out of them!' She growled silently to herself. Kimiko swore she felt steam coming out of her ears from the absolute rage she was seething.
Of course, she was only partially right. Steam was rising, but from her entire being. A slight hissing sound could be heard, though Kimiko dismissed it as the audible manifestation of her ire.
Whoever had done this was going to receive the physical equivalent of her fury.
"Oh, booyyss?" Came the ever-so-sweet call of the now innocent-looking Kimiko.
They turned slowly, dread confining their movements into careful, nervous ticks. Clay tossed the orb back to the hands of its owner, Omi, who caught it out of sheer reflex and clutched it to his form like a child does a stuffed animal or blanket.
"Which one of you decided to drench me?" She asked sweetly, doe-eyes wide and deceiving.
They were so afraid of this Kimiko that if she were to suddenly turn angry, they thought it would be less scary.
"Don't worry, I won't be mad! I just want to know who did it. That's all." She said this with a pouty lower lip and large sapphire eyes.
Omi trusted Kimiko with his life and decided he should tell her the truth. After all, he had doused her for her own good. She couldn't possibly get mad at him for saving her life, could she?
"I am sorry, Kimiko, but it was I who used the Orb of Tornami...on..you..." He realized while saying the name of said Shen Gong Wu, that he accidentally called on said Shen Gong Wu's powers to spray the already sopping Kimiko. It took but a second for the small girl before him to radiate such an intense heat that she visibly dried before his very eyes.
"Omi, if you thought you were dead before.. you were WRONG! DEAD WRONG! I'M GONNA BEAT YOU INTO THE GROUND, YOU LITTLE SQUIRT!" Clay and Raimundo watched as the harpie that had replaced Kimiko chased Omi around the gardens. Zipping in and out of their sights, it seemed like Kimiko was actually gaining on the poor little cue ball.
"How long do you think she was training out here for, anyways?" The Brazillian teen asked without looking at his friend.
"I dunno. But ya figured she'd be exhausted by now. She can nev'r catch Omi, even when she hasn't been trainin' all day, an' now it seems like she really is gonna get 'im." He too, did not look at his friend while he spoke. Both tried not to blink as the other two zoomed across the small enclosure, yelling boisterously as one chased the other. Omi was blessed with the agility of Water, so it was surprising for them, to say the least, to see Kimiko compete with the vigor of a drunk Clay chasing after a pink Armadillo.
"Better pray for the little dude."
Praying indeed helped the 'little dude,' for as soon as Kimiko was going to pounce on the scared little Omi, a small green dragon holding a scroll scuttled before all of them. For it just so happened that Kimiko chased Omi back in front of Raimundo and Clay.
"Hey kids, hold on for a sec! A new Shen Gong Wu has revealed itself!"
'Whew! Kimiko was about to get me! What gooood luck I have today!' Omi sighed in relief.
'Feh! I was about to get Omi, too.. I must have bad luck today.' Kimiko huffed in exhaustion.
"Well, what one is it?" Raimundo asked.
"Yeah. It's been months since we've even heard a whisper about any Wu! I thought that we already had most of them?" Kimiko questioned while trying to catch her breath.
"Obviously not if another one is revealing itself!" Replied Dojo in a 'duh' tone of voice. She huffed again, glaring at the small dragon in hopes that maybe he would spontaneously burst into flames.
"I should have seen it coming, too, what with how big my fingernails have been getting! I've had to clip these babies three times a day for the past two weeks!"
Dojo raised his hand and displayed his twisted fingernails. Each one curled several times in random directions. An ugly yellow coated his cracked claws and actually seemed to give off a malodorous scent.
The group reeled back in disgust and horror, many of them gagging in response.
Dojo didn't pay any attention to them and opened the scroll nonchalantly.
"It's called the Fuchi Flower, the user is able to bend and manipulate fire to their will!"
The man in the center of the scroll raised a Shen Gong Wu that looked like a Lily that's petals ended in tips that resembled flames. The Wu flashed brightly in the picture and made a column of fire bend and twist around the man's body before absorbing into the flower as the display ended.
"Ohh, Kimiko! That would be the perfect Shen Gong Wu for you!" Exclaimed the ever-so-youthful Dragon of Water. Clearly forgetting about the last five minutes, instantly.
"I agree. We should leave now before Spicer or Wuya can get to it and use it against me." She grimaced. 'That's too big of a handicap to give them.'
"'R worse- that varmint, Chase Young."
Kimiko shivered, and a rush of tingles ran up her body starting from her toes.
"Don't worry, Kimiko. We won't let that nasty Chase Young get a hold of the Fuchi Flower. No worries, girl." Raimundo patted her shoulder, trying to comfort her from seeing her reaction.
"Yeah. Heh, heh." Kimiko looked down, trying to hide the blush on her face. Unfortunately, she wasn't quite sure if the shiver was from anticipation, fear, or worse- the realization that that sensation came whenever she thought of.. Him.
The determined girl squashed the thought down as Dojo transformed into his 50 ft. form. There was no way that she was going to let herself become distracted when such a vital Shen Gong Wu was at stake. So, they left quickly in hopes of finding it before anyone else.
They were all in their traditional, red, Dragon robes, and Kimiko found herself wishing that she had had time to put on something... more pleasing.
Kimiko started panicking at the thought that she must look a mess after having been drenched twice in a row without proper time to take care of her hair and make-up. As small as these tasks were, they were still very important to her in her daily routine. She had an image to maintain, after all. One doesn't go from looking super stylish everyday to looking like they stepped out of the jungle. It was uncouth, and maybe even against her religion.
'It doesn't matter, and I shouldn't be panicking! Nobody there is going to care how I look, not that their opinion would matter even if they did! So, stop! I can do this, I just have to breathe!'
Taking her own advice, she breathed in deeply before exhaling, and repeated the process. She tried to convince herself that the warm feeling rising in her was due to the close proximity of the large, active volcano that they were nearing. But as three shadowy figures stood standing at its edge, she realized that there was a burning growing under her skin, and butterflies fluttering in her stomach...
A/N: Well, I'm revising the story, because when I started writing it I think I was about 15, and you, loyal readers, have all continued to encourage me to write more over the years. So, in honor of Chapter Six that will be coming shortly, the previous chapters are being rewritten in hopes of maintaining a writing style, correcting spelling and grammatical errors (-as best I can... I'm sure there will be many that will be overlooked), and making Kimiko, our heroine, more in-character.
I was trying to convey doubt before, but I felt like she was a little too whiny and OOC. I'm much happier with this revised chapter's outcome.
The Fuchi Flower is my new name (it was originally Thorn of Flames, but I stopped that. Then it was Staff of Flames, but I stopped that, too, because I knew I could do better). The etymology is japanese, like, ancient Ainu, before Japanese-Japanese. Kamuy Fuchi, is the goddess of the hearth and lives in the fire. At least, that's from the brief wiki-article I read.
I hope none of you past readers will mind the changes, and that more of you will continue to read as the story progresses.
v. it's what you should do so that I can hear your opinions. :)