A/N I'd like to start by saying that this is the longest chapter I've ever written. Ever. For anything. I like it, too. It's a bit different from the last and is hopefully not overly clicheed in anything. If I'm mistaken and it is, I know I can always count on you readers/reviwers to point out my shortcomings.
Speaking of reviewers (yay transitions!), I'd like to thank my reviewers from NM thus far, namely Japanese-Fanatic, Raikimlover, Cursed Destiny, XiaolinFireGirl, -x-Beany413-x-, obsessed-fic-fan, deniserichardson, iRebel, Leca B., Raigirl, SnowCharms, and Mrs. Radcliffe 13. You all rock.
I'd also like to apologise for my long absence. I was unable to use my computer for a long time and, unfortunately, it has affected all of you. For that, I am sorry.
Oh, and I used for the name definitions. And the flashbacks are both from episode 3 - Tangled Web.
Disclaimer: If Xiaolin Showdown was actually mine, would I be writing fanfics about it or would I be making them into episodes? Needless to say, I own naught but the plot.
Maniacal laughter, like someone was trying to be evil or something. Oh, and she was dangling off a narrow bridge over lava.
"That's a good look for you!" she heard over the roar of the earthquakes. He sounded nasally, like he was just going through puberty. Looking down at herself, she realized that this must have been the continuation of her previous dream. She wore the same kimono and same hair style, although she'd managed to get rid of those horrible geta shoes. Hopefully straight into the lava.
"Stupid showdown," she muttered to herself. Again, she didn't have much control over what she was saying, so the words themselves had little meaning. She was just focusing on not being burnt to a crisp.
She heard the prepubescent idiot call out something to her, but she was too busy getting herself back on her feet that his wrods were rendered meaningless. This was a guy that no one paid attention to, of this she was sure. She felt triumphant for a mere moment before another earthquake sent her up in the air, landing on her butt. "It helps if you don't fall on your butt," the evil wannabee called to her.
Kimiko gasped as she looked at her tormenter. He wore all black over his pale skin, making his shocking red hair stand out. His similarity to Snow White, however, went unnoticed as she saw that he had a tail. A monkey tail. And fangs. What the hell IS this?, she thought to herself as Monkey Boy ran off in a different direction.
She took the comb out of her hair. It looked ancient and as out of date as her kimono costume, but she knew it was important. The words seemed to bubble out of her mouth as she shouted, "Tangle Web Comb!"
The comb's teeth lashed out like arms toward Monkey Boy at an alarming rate. She stared at the cmb in her hand, amazed at its power, even more amazed that she could wield it. Oh, wait, no, apparently she couldn't. Instead, it backfired as the teeth raced back toward her, binding her like it was rope. Monkey Boy simply laughed at her as she struggled with her bindings.
She almost gave up. She wasn't proud of that, but she almost gave up. But then an old man appeared in the confines of her mind, a forgotten memory restored. His voice was sothing, like the rushing water of a brook. "You must drown out all distractions." She could feel her eyes slipping closed. "Quiet the storm of your mind. Only then will you achieve absolute focus."
Kimiko simply lie there, meditating as she pictured the moon come out from behind a group of rainclouds. In a matter of seconds, her bindings unwrapped themselves from her delicate form, reaching out instead toward Monkey Boy. She grabbed his ridiculous staff from his hands and watched in unmasked awe as his tail and teeth retracted. "It worked," she breathed to herself in relief.
"Big deal, you got the monkey staff," Monkey Boy sneered, not noticing the earthquakes beginning once more. "Too bad I'm only one...small...step..." Being a rather oafish boy, his hand knocked a glowing object, the one that they had been battling over, off its pedastal and toward the lava. He jumped off the small bridge, trying to obtain the object quickly. Kimiko, seeing this, used her comb to swing out in front of him and grab the object from right in front of his face!
The rush she got from the almost free-fall...it was enough to turn her cheeks pink and make her eyes glisten. She knew she was giggling. She landed gracefully back on the bridge as Monkey Boy fell, presumably to his death.
"Told ya she would." A familiar voice sent her head spinning off to the side. Oh. It was that arrogant guy who teased her, the one she met on the beach. Along with the cowboy and the bald kid. She had been wondering where they had gone off to. Although because of the way they had treated her before, she wasn't exactly ecstatic to see them again. Especially the guy who had shamelessly made fun of her. Let him try to walk in geta anytime soon, see how he likes it.
She saw the cowboy reach out to shake hands with the guy from the beach. "Looks like you win the bet, pardner." Bet? The one he made against me? Kimiko thought to herself, a small frown crossing her features.
"I never doubted her for a second."
Kimiko's eyes snapped open, her breathing more shallow than usual. Blindly, she groped for the alarm clock. 3:45 AM. Great.
She was still somewhat in shock from her newest dream. What did that mean? Who were those people? What was with the comb and the staff, not to mention the mysterious object that she and Monkey Boy fought over. And, most importantly, what did that guy mean? He never doubted her for a second?
But he had so plainly insulted her in her previous dream; why would he care enough to make a bet for her instead of against her? Probably thought I would get him a better prize if I went against the odds, she thought grimly. But then why would he care enough to not doubt her, even when she doubted herself?
Did that make him a good person?
Was she too hasty in judging him?
Who was he?
With all of that still fresh in her mind, Kimiko blindly reached for the covers of the motel bed as she prepared to go back to sleep.
- - - - - - -
The sun glistened, hovering on the line of the horizon. As usual, Rai was up and ready to greet the day. He'd brought his longboard for some more practice with hanging ten. Hell, he still needed to learn that cheater five. The day was looking to be slightly gloomier than the day before, the top of the sun already cover with what looked to be storm clouds. But whatever, Rai was used to practicing in all types of weather, rain or shine, so he wasn't fazed.
He pushed his board a little ways out before pouncing into the ocean. After all of these years, he still reveled in the feel of salt water against his skin. He resurfaced, paddling to his board, and observed the sight before him.
The waves were a bit choppier, likely due to the storm from the day before, and they came crashing down with twice the speed and twice the force. Yeah, he was already missing the perfection from the day before.
Again, Rai searched for a suitable wave before paddling into it. This time, he managed to shakily place a foot on the nose. He stayed there for about three seconds before the force of another wave knocked him over and face first into the water.
For some reason, the pull of that wave was stronger than it should have been, keeping him submerged. Rai kicked his legs as hard as he could manage, futiley trying to come up to the surface, but that storm wave just kept him under. His breath had been knocked out by the force of his fall, so he wasn't exactly in the best shape.
Shit, he thought seconds before he blacked out.
- - - - - - -
Kimiko woke to the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore. Her hotel was only a short walk away from the beautiful Rio beach, so she had decided to let the ocean be her alarm clock. With a yawn and a stretch, she rose from her bed to start the day.
She walked into the small bathroom on the other side of the room. Glancing at herself in the mirror, she groaned. "I so shouldn't have spent so much time at the beach!" she whined softly. "Now my hair's all frizzy from the salt water."
Sighing, she picked up the brush that lay carelessly on the vanity. She did not want to think about the day before. That made her think of that guy. She remembered the dream from last night, of course, and she wasn't stupid. She knew that she had jumped to conclusions and beat up some guy that was quite possibly an innocent bystander in the cycle of her rage. But why did I dream about him in the first place? And what the hell was he doing on my chest?
Still, she felt bad for what she had done. She was capable of remorse, dammit! But would her pride let her just go back an apologize?
"Yes," she mumbled, rolling her eyes at her thoughts. Just because she'd had anger management issues all her life didn't mean that she never fized them. She would be friendless if that was the case.
Kimiko quickly showered and dressed before heading towards the beach. She had no idea where this guy lived, or his name, so she figured that it was her best shot. Lost in her thoughts, she made her way across the mostly empty street (who woke up at this hour during the summer?) and toward the ocean.
She was only a few feet away from the sandy edge of the beach when she spotted a lone figure sprawled across the sand. From the looks of it, he'd been beaten up pretty bad. I should go and make sure the guy's okay, Kimiko thought. She couldn't stand to see someone who was hurt and then just walk away; it had happened far too often in her own experiences.
The sun was up just enough to shed some light on the scene before her as she jogged toward the figure. Kimiko was ten yards away when she realized that it was that guy from yesterday, the guy from her dreams. She was six yards away when she noticed that he wasn't breathing.
"Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit," she chanted, her eye wide in horror at his mangled-looking body. Noting the board some yards away, she guessed that he must have taken a spill while surfing. His legs were spread wide apart, one of them bending outwards at the knee. The left side of his face was buried in the sand, blocking his air.
Kimiko knew that she couldn't just leave someone like this, no matter how mixed her feelings about him were. Gingerly, she lifted his head and turned it downwards, lightly pounding on his back to get at least some of the sand out of his mouth. Grasping his wrist tightly, she felt for a pulse. His skin was cold, but he had a pulse. Faint, but there all the same.
CPR - she knew it was what he needed right now, but she had never taken a class before. What if she did it wrong and wound up killing him? But of course, she had to try, or else he was dead for sure.
His mouth was already slighty open. Taking a deep breath of her own, Kimiko pinched his nose closed and leaned down, covering his mouth with her own. And she breathed.
- - - - - - -
Rai immediately knew three things. One, his throat hurt like hell, but that was to be expected when he had just inhaled a gallon or so of sea water. Two, he wasn't in the water anymore; he was on semi-dry land, the beach if the sand indicated anything. Three, someone was holding his nose closed so tight he'd get a bruise. And kissing him?
His eyes shot open as he turned over to cough out all of the water that had been inflaming his lungs. It felt like hours, but soon he felt a warm hand on his back, rubbing in circles to help ease his pain. In his confusion, he glanced to his left. Holy crap, it's psycho chick!
"Nyaaaa!" he cried, backing away from her in a bad imitation of the crab walk, falling to the sand on his ass after a few steps. "Wh-what are you doing here? I didn't do anything to you! L-leave me alone!"
Her eyes narrowed, but her gaze held no real fire. "I just saved your life," she said in a cold voice that held no real ice. "Why would I want to end it after all of the trouble to keep you alive?"
Good point...wait, she...she...? "You...you saved my life?" He must been under longer than he thought. If nothing else, the salt water he coughed up only added to credibility of her story. Suddenly, he remembered something. She hated him. Or acted like she did. "Wait, why? Thought you couldn't stand me?"
The girl simply rolled her eyes. "I can't. But that doesn't mean I'm going to leave you to the buzzards."
Rai sat up on his arms. "Ain't no buzzards around here, girlie. The seagulls are near deadly, though." He thought he saw a shadow of a smile flicker across her face, but as soon as it came, it became imperceptible again. Sitting up fully, he extended his arm toward her. "Thanks for the save. The name's Rai."
The girl cocked an eyebrow, apparently amused. "Rye? Like rye bread? How'd you get stuck with a name like that."
Rai frowned, drawing back his ignored hand before answering. "Okay, first off, Rai like R-A-I, not R-Y-E. Short for Raimundo."
A beat of silence came and went. "And?"
The girl sighed rather disgustedly as she rose to her feet, extending an arm out to help up poor Raimundo. He gladly took it as he hoisted himself up from the ground. "And. You said 'first off,' indicating that you had something else to say. So say it."
He raised a finger as he opened his mouth, obviously meaning to dispute her claim, before shaking his head and returning his arm to his side. "Well," he started, his eyes slightly angled toward his feet, "I'm pretty sure I was going to say something along the lines of 'who the hell are you?' You know, considering that I don't actually know who you are." Just because she had saved his life didn't mean he was going to completely forget about how she completely tossed him over her shoulder by his wrist.
For some reason, she looked confused and ready to dispute him. Rai's eyebrows shot up at that. Yeah, you could technically say that they "knew" each other, but only in the sense that they'd met once before. "No," she finally said, looking a little defeated. "I guess I don't know you."
- - - - - - -
What was she supposed to say to that?! 'Oh, yeah, actually, I've dreamt about you twice: once before I woke up to find you on my chest (you were a real jerk, by the way), and once this morning where you were less of a jerk.' Uh huh. Right.
But still, he was technically right. She didn't know him. Those dreams could be completely coincidental. Maybe. The dreams seemed kind of conflicting, but they had obviously been part of the same dream. Maybe, if he hadn't woken her up that one time, it would have just been a natural progression where he was a jerk and then he wasn't. Wait, what? Now she was just confusing herself. Whatever. Either way, dreams don't for the basis for any type of relationship, not for three hundred years or so. And what she'd seen of him so far, while not exactly promising, was far from completely awful.
"So then who are you?" His voice stirred her out of her musings as she turned to him.
"Oh." Right. My name. "Kimiko. My name's Kimiko."
"Kimiko, huh?" He sounded bemused by something. It better not be her name; the last person who made fun of her name, before her anger management classes had started, anyway, had found themselves with two bruised ribs and a swollen eye. "Is that Japanese?"
"Yes, actually." She couldn't keep her surprise out of her voice. How did he know that?
The guy, Rai as she now knew him, seemed to hear her thoughts. "I took Japanese for awhile during grade school. That was before I realized that English had about three less alphabets." He said the last part with a bit of a smirk.
Kimiko laughed. "Actually, that's one of the reasons I decided to take English, too. Chinese looked kind of hard, mostly because I'd have to rememorize one of the alphabets that I already knew with completely different meanings. Arabic...eh, it really just looked like a line with some indentations in it." Rai chuckled a bit at that. "English was the only language with Latin letters, other than Latin, that didn't have any accents. And Latin's dead, so a fat lot of good that'll do in life."
Raimundo laughed full out at that, grabbing his stomach with one hand. "That's what I told my old man back then when he tried to make me take Latin." His face darkened slightly after he realized what he had said, looking a little sad as well. But Rai managed to cover for it as his smile from before once more made its way to his face. "Uh, so what does Kimiko mean?"
"Well, its obviously Japanese." Kimiko had seen his expression change and didn't quite know what to make of it, but for now, she didn't ask. "It means something alng the lines of 'child without equal.' My mother picked it out for me." Her last words had a wistful tone to them.
Apparently, Rai hadn't noticed. "Child without equal? Meaning that you're the best or the worst?"
"Haha, funny, Rai." Kimiko rolled her eyes as she pushed him in the shoulder a bit. "What about your name?"
"Well, my native language is Portuguese, but my name is Hispanic." He must have noticed her look as he heatedly replied, "What? I had to know for a project back in third grade. Anyway, it means 'advice, decision, protector.' "
"Funny. That's what my teacher said before she asked who would listen to any of my crazy advice."
Kimiko looked up at the sky; the sun was now steadily approaching the top of the sky. "Wow, we've been here for awhile."
Rai glanced up at the sky. "Yeah, about three hours now. Judging from when I actually wiped out, anyway."
Kimiko's mouth dropped open. "How do you know that?!"
"I've been surfing for years. Waterproof watches always fall off; I've had to find some way to tell time," he said with a shrug.
"Wow. What about during the night?"
"Huh?" Rai was apparently puzzled.
"At night, moron. What about when you surf at night? How do you tell time then?"
"Oh, I don't surf at night."
He smirked. "Well, for one thing, I can't tell the time."
She rolled her eyes. This was a witty one. "And?"
"Come on, we've been through this already. You said 'for one thing' which implies that you had a second thing to say. So say it."
"Oh, no, that was it, actually."
"Oh." After that bit of witty banter, the conversation seemed to die a little. An uncomfortable silence followed for a few minutes while neither one could think of anything else to say. "So, um, I've actually got to go," Kimiko finally said. "I have a friend back home that I promised to call; it can't be after eleven there, so I'd have to call now for it to be today...I hate timezones."
The corners of Rai's mouth lifted slightly. "Ah, well, I guess I can forgive you for that. So, I'll see you?"
"Eh. We'll see."
- - - - - - -
Rai watched the girl walk back across the beach. Kimiko. Interesting name for an...interesting girl. In the span of a little more than a day, she;d gone from hating him to saving his life to talking to him like a normal human being. Now the question is what made her do a whole freaking 180? Something I said? Well, no, I was unconscious...maybe the fact that I was dying gained me a few sympathy points, he thought dryly.
He kicked the sand as he gazed out to the ocean. I still don't get why she hated me in the first place. Doesn't make any sense. What did I ever do to her? Granted, she woke up to find me lying on her boobs, but come on. I said I was sorry, dammit! And the whole thing where she fucking flipped me? What the fuck was that about?
It just didn't add up, he thought as he looked over to his board. Hmm. He'd almost died today trying to get that fucking cheater five down. Day before he'd gotten his ass handed to him. Maybe he should lay off the waves for awhile.
In a flash, Raimundo picked up his board and started paddling out again. He didn't have a specific trick he wanted to do, like the cheater five. Instead, he just let loose. By that time, the storm clouds had subsided and the waves were slighlty less choppy, so he had the time to just do as he pleased.
Looking back toward the beach as he gained some momentum, he realized that he couldn't see that Kimiko girl anymore. Must've gone back to her hotel to call taht friend of hers. Huh. And here he'd thought she was lying. Hell, he was almost ready to say something to get out of that awkward silence.
One thing was for sure. The girl was strange.
- - - - - - -
Kimiko had called Keiko two days earlier, as soon as she'd gotten off of the plane. By this point, Keiko already knew that her friend had made it to Brazil in one piece. But hey, Raimundo didn't know that.
Raimundo. Funny how two different dreams can make your whole outlook on a person change. Well the circumstances did their part, too, she supposed. Waking up with some guy on your breasts after seeing him as a jerk in your dreams was bound to form a prejudice of some sort. And seeing the same guy after having him be nice in your dream nearly dead on the beach...well, she'd certainly felt bad.
Kimiko still didn't like him all that much. She didn't despise him, but she didn't like him, either.
She pulled out a book from the nightstand that she had placed there the previous day. Her journal. Anger management had dictated that she write her thoughts and feelings down every day in order to try and quell some of her temper. It worked; some of her temper was, indeed, quelled. But she didn't write about her day; Kimiko had always thought that a waste of time. No, she wrote poetry.
And so Kimiko wrote in her journal for a few more hours before heading out to lunch at 3 'o clock, just as the moon had appeared, hovering across the sky from the sun.