The next day came in bright and early, as though mocking Kimiko of the dullness she was feeling. She checked the other rooms and saw that the others had already gone for breakfast. Raimundo had always waited for her so they could have breakfast together. That's another thing I've ruined, Kimiko thought miserably.
She went to the dining hall, her eyes downcast, refusing to meet the stares of the other people. She replied a quiet "Good morning" to Omi's cheerful "Nice day, sun! The earth gives its greetings!", with a pasty smile. She didn't have the heart to correct him, and judging from the silence in the hall, no one else did either. She kept her head bowed down, only focusing on her plate, although she didn't have that much of an appetite. Unknown to her, a pair of green eyes filled with concern were watching her.
After breakfast, she pleaded suffering from a Shen-Gong-Wu side effect and asked to be excused from training. Master Fung, obviously not believing her, chose to let it slide and gave her permission.
"What's up with her?" Dojo asked, crawling up Master Fung's leg.
"Time heals all wounds," Master Fung said philosophically.
"Nice," Dojo said approvingly. "Where did you get that?"
"May 1975, Teddy Bears edition," Master Fung said solemnly.
"Oh… I see… Can you excuse me for a minute?" Dojo then slithered out of the hall. As soon as he got out, loud whooping sounds could be heard, the unmistakable noise of a dragon laughing his heart out.
Kimiko lay on her side in her room. He loves me, she thought. He really does love me. She tossed around. I've been so blind, she thought. All this time, Raimundo was taking care of me, and I didn't see it. She lay on her back. But what do I feel? Do I love him back? Is this what love feels like? As if my heart's being stabbed ten million times? She looked back at the memories she got to see again. Raimundo. The one who had selflessly helped an old woman even when Omi told him not to. Who single-handedly rescued his hometown, even while knowing that using the Shen-Gong-Wu would have an adverse effect on him. Who would readily risk his life for his fellow warriors, but for her in particular, Raimundo, who had constantly been there for her. She didn't need the Wu to remind her of the times she had with Raimundo, as he had accused her. Even without those, she knew just how much he meant to her. But to what extent? she wondered.
She closed her eyes. In her mind's eye, she seemed to see her doppelganger laughing down at her.
Come on, Kimiko! We didn't go through your past for no reason!
But I don't know what to do! I blew it!
Why did you blow it?
I snapped at him, I insulted him, I didn't get a chance to…
Didn't get to tell him you loved him?
No! Do I love him?
You tell me.
I don't understand myself!
You haven't answered my question when we were in your head, you know.
Why did you kiss him?
And why do you have so many memories of him in your mind? You even remember things about him that you're not involved in!
See? You've known all along what you feel for him. You're just afraid to admit it.
I just… I just don't want to be hurt again.
People get hurt all the time. Besides, you won't be.
How do you know?
Don't you remember what he told you?
What did he tell me?
For someone who's trying to remember, you sure forget about a lot of things.
Yeah, I got that from him. Was that what you're trying to remind me?
Alright, don't get snippy.
He said he loves you.
But he hates me now.
Love is not about "how", Kimiko. It's about trusting the other person implicitly. If he does love you, he'll be willing to give you another chance.
You sure are smart for a kid.
Thanks, but I know I'll be smarter when I'm older.
Oh whoops, he's coming. Here's your chance.
What do I tell him?
Oh, I'm sure you can think of something.
She drifted off.
Raimundo came in the sleeping quarters quietly. He was worried. He knew Kimiko had a reason to dislike him, but avoiding training just to avoid him was too much, even for her. She never missed a day in training, even when he and Clay tried to convince her to play hooky. She was like Omi in that respect. Maybe she is suffering from a Wu side effect, Rai thought worriedly. After all, there have been no record of someone being zapped by three Shen-Gong-Wu in one go. He tiptoed into her room and peeked inside.
She was sleeping. Raimundo smiled softly at the sight of her. She really is so beautiful, he said. It's not just about her physical appearance, although she had plenty of that. Raimundo had seen his share of pretty women, but none struck him the same way that Kimiko had affected him. There was something about her that pulled him in, and no matter how many times she'd beaten him, or insulted him, he couldn't have kept away had he tried. He didn't anyway. He knew it would be pointless to fight it, so he tried to tell her the best way he knew how. He couldn't with words: he thought himself as the worst speaker to walk the face of the earth, so he tried showing her by his actions, and he thought she understood. Her eyes would always search the room until they found him, and then they would light up, and she'd immediately go to him.
He sighed. He made a mistake, he knew that now. He should've told her what he felt. Now he'd blown it.
Yet try as he might, he can't stay away from her. There's something about her that Raimundo can't define, but he felt drawn to it, like a moth to a flame. And I'm the moth, he thought wryly. Kimiko may never forgive him. Still, it's worth trying, he thought, squaring his shoulders. He knelt down beside her. "Kimiko?" he whispered, gently shaking her shoulder.
"Hmmm… Rai?" Kimiko said sleepily, smiling up at him. Raimundo smiled back gently. She doesn't hate me! he thought, in relief.
"Hey, Kimi, how are you feeling?"
"Better, now that you're here," she said, blushing. Raimundo also blushed. Is she saying what I think she's saying? He wondered. His heart hammered wildly.
"You want to go for a walk?" He said, offering his hand, which was trembling. Whether she didn't notice it or did but just didn't, she smiled up at him and took it. He pulled her out of the door and out into the garden, and he guided her to one of the stone benches there. Kimiko noticed he still hadn't let go of her hand. She smiled to herself, and didn't say anything.
"Ssshhh…" Kimiko said, putting a finger to his lips. "I know, Rai. I know. I'm sorry too. I've been so blind, never noticing just how much you've done for me, how you've looked after me. Like an angel," she finished, smiling gently at him.
"Kimiko, I don't deserve you. I was unfair, expecting you to know what I wante…"
"Ssshhh…" Kimiko said again. "I won't pretend and say that you're not wrong, because you were." Raimundo smiled wryly at this. One of the things he loved most about her is her blunt honesty. "But I'm not faultless either. We were both wrong, and the sooner we both leave that behind, the sooner we can look forward."
"I love you, Kim," Raimundo whispered.
"I love you too." She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him hard. Raimundo gladly responded. They remained in that position for a long time, until Raimundo remembered something.
"Kim, do you remember that part in your dream sequence that wasn't really a memory?"
"You mean, the one with you and me watching a movie? What about it?" Kimiko said, looking up at him.
"What were we watching then?"
"Really, Rai, why are you so concerned about it? It's just a glitch, anyway."
"It might not be," Raimundo said seriously. "What was it about?"
"Fine," Kimiko said huffily. Really, this was robbing them precious cuddling time. "From what I remember, we were watching clips of your moves. Satisfied?"
To her surprise, Raimundo began chuckling to himself, which rapidly turned into a major laugh trip.
"What's so funny?" Kimiko asked crossly.
"No, it's not about you, Kimi, I…" and he collapsed into laughter.
"Are you going to tell me, or should I leave you so you can continue laughing to yourself?" she said, crossing her arms on her chest.
"I'd prefer you staying here, thanks," Raimundo said, wrapping his arms around her again, but still grinning widely.
Kimiko gladly sank in his embrace. "So what were you laughing about?"
"Nothing, Kimi," he said, still grinning.
"Rai…" she warned.
"Okay, okay…" Raimundo threw his arms up in mock surrender. "If you must know, that was actually my memory, not yours. Well, more of a dream than a memory."
"What?" Kimiko was surprised. "How did that happen?"
"Maybe because I was in your head with the Changing Chopsticks," Raimundo said somewhat sheepishly.
Kimiko rolled her eyes, but wasn't really upset. She knew now why he did that. "So you really dreamt about us watching a movie together?"
"You have no idea, Kimiko," Raimundo almost groaned. "That wasn't even a dream, more like a wish I had for the longest time."
"Then why don't you see if it could come true?" Kimiko asked him, determinedly looking at his medallion instead of at his face, blushing.
Raimundo grinned, and gladly obliged. "Kimiko Tohomiko, would you like to catch a film with a lowly Shoku Warrior this Friday night?"
Kimiko rolled her eyes again. Even when he tried to act humble, he still had to boast. She's not complaining though, that's the Raimundo she came to know, and love. She pretended to consider it. "I'll think about it," she said teasingly, then ducked, laughing, from under his arms.
Raimundo chased after her, laughing as well. When he caught up with her, he wrapped his arms around her and twirled her around. "The offer's only good once, Kimi," he warned. "Take it or leave it." He began tickling her.
"Alright, alright," Kimiko gasped, laughing hard. "I'll take it!"
"That's better," Raimundo said smugly.
They stood there, smiling at each other, enjoying the sun on their faces and the warmth inside them.
In Some Unknown Place
"Hey Rai, you want to play?" A pale-skinned, pigtailed girl approached a little brown-haired boy wearing a pair of shorts and carrying a soccer ball.
"Sure thing, Kimi!" the little boy, Rai, responded enthusiastically. They began kicking the ball around.
"It's a good thing they settled things, right, Rai?" The little girl said as she chased after the ball.
"Yeah, or else we wouldn't be able to play anymore!" And both kids continued to giggle and play with the ball.
- End -