Kimiko's Dilemma

A RaiXKim Story

Kimiko peeked out of the cubical that was her bedroom and looked both ways down the dark halls. The coast was clear. She made her way down the hall with her towel and toiletries, her head down, towards the bathroom.

A shower. That's all she needed to clear her head. A nice, long, hot shower.

Kimiko's head was still swimming from what had happened earlier. She and Raimundo had been out in the field, sparring, as they always did.

Kimiko hopped quickly in the air as Raimundo slid his leg on the ground, trying to trip her. Kimiko was quick to act, lashing her leg out while still in the air. Raimundo was also fast, blocking her blow with his forearm.

They continued to fake-fight each other for another fifteen minutes until they fell to the ground, both panting heavily. Kimiko closed her eyes, trying to take in as much oxygen as she could. She had to admit, ever since he had become a Shoku warrior, Raimundo had become way stronger. Omi would still argue that Rai was lower than him, but he was quickly proving him wrong.

She opened her eyes and looked over at her friend to find him resting his head on his arms and looking at her with an expression that was hard to read. His green eyes were resting on her face, staring at her in a way that made her creeped out and intrigued at the same time.

"Um, what's up?" Kimiko asked. She sat up, too. "Is there something on my face?"

Rai didn't answer, instead he just sat up, and his eyes still fixed on her.

"Rai, is something wrong?" Kimiko asked, still a little confused.

"No," he said, his adorable accent sprinkling his words. She'd never tell him, but the Brazilian accent in his voice sent shivers down her spine. Good shivers. "Kimiko," he said, suddenly serious.

"Yeah?"

"You know that…." He hesitated, as if he couldn't decide whether or not to go on. Then he took a deep breath and continued; "You're my best friend, right?"

Kimiko's breath caught in her throat. She felt her cheeks redden no matter how much she begged them not to. What brought this on?

"Like, more than anyone I've ever met, even back home in Rio," he said.

Kimiko couldn't think of anything to say. She groped the very corners of her mind to find a response, but all she could think to say was, "Uh-huh."

"I mean it," he said. She noticed that his hand was scooting slowly closer to hers.

"Rai, I-" But before she could say anything more, Raimundo suddenly placed his hand on the back of her neck and pushed her head forward, forcing their lips to meet.

Kimiko closed the door behind her and set her towel on the counter. Her cheeks were reddening just from thinking about the incident. Even if she didn't like to admit it, Raimundo was indeed very special to her and she considered him her best friend, too. But what happened… It was so sudden; she hadn't even had time to think about what she did next.

Right after the kiss, Kimiko had separated, pushing him away. After that, he studied her face, looking almost scornfully at the petite Japanese girl, then got up and stormed off.

Kimiko started to strip off her clothes, first untying the sash around her waist and letting the red tunic drop to the floor, then she removed her white leggings and undergarments, tossing them into an unimportant corner of the small bathroom.

Naturally, Kimiko felt horrible about it, and not just because she'd hurt Raimundo's feelings. She hadn't even had time to respond to him; instead she had just sat there and babbled like a moron. She probably made Rai feel like she didn't like him, resented him even. Which, in all honesty, wasn't true at all.

She'd kept it to herself for a long time, but the truth was she adored her Brazilian teammate. More than she ever though possible. But they were both always trying to keep the world safe from ten thousand years of darkness or whatever Master Fung was rattling on about that week, so she had barely had time to even think about her feelings, let alone act on them.

Even if she felt confused and frustrated inside, she couldn't help but feel a surge of excitement coursing through her veins. Raimundo had kissed her! Could this mean that he liked her too? That there was a chance for her to be with him?

She walked over to the shower and turned the knob on the shower's faucet to a temperature near burning, which had never bothered her, even before she became the Dragon of Fire.

As she stepped into the burning stream of water, she thought of what Raimundo had been like when they'd first met.

Kimiko stood outside of the temple, looking around curiously while dialing her cell phone. She placed the pink flip to her ear and waited. After two rings, Kimiko's best friend, Keiko, answered the phone.

"Moshimoshi?" answered her friend.

"Moshimoshi, Keiko," Kimiko said cheerily. "I just got to the weirdo temple place."

"Hey, Kimi!" her friend said. Kimiko rolled her pale blue eyes. She loved Keiko but calling her by such a childish nickname seemed so ridiculous now that they were both fourteen. "I miss you already."

"I miss you, too," Kimiko said, smiling. "I can tell by the look of this place that its gonna be a real bore. I wish you were here."

"How long are you supposed to be there anyway?" Keiko said. "Your dad said something about it being pretty long-term."

"I don't know, I just-" but before anything else could escape Kimiko's pink, glossed lips, she caught a glimpse of a boy coming her way. She gasped and instinctively pressed End on her cell phone, which she had long since forgotten what she was holding it for. The boy was gorgeous. He looked to be about the same age as Kimiko, only seeming to be miles taller (well, it was to be expected as Kim was extraordinarily short, as was her father.) His tan was deep and dark, showing his Hispanic descent pretty clearly. His forest green eyes were electric against his skin, but they could barely be seen under his messy brown hair that spiked up in a way that seemed to defy gravity.

When he got to her, he looked her up and down. Kimiko blushed, subtly looking down at herself, checking for flaws, a loose hair, an outrageous piece of clothing out of place, but found none.

The boy's mouth broke into a smile and he said, "Ai, girl, you look like a kids' dress-up box threw up on you."

Kimiko couldn't believe her ears. She was caught slightly off guard by his accent but ignored it and pressed forward to the real problem. She'd never even met this boy before and he was already picking a fight with her? She had to admit that her clothes were a bit unorthodox, but they were only a little strange back home in Tokyo.

"Look, buster, I don't know who you think you are, but-"

"I think I'm Raimundo Pedrosa. Actually, I don't think, I know," he smirked. "And who might you be?"

"I'm Kimiko Tohomiko," she said. "And I don't care who you are, you have no right to-"

"Hm," Raimundo interrupted her again. "Your clothes are weird, but," he grabbed her chin tenderly with his hand. "Your face is cute, so I'll give you a seven."

She couldn't believe this guy. Was he flirting with her genuinely or was he just acting like a playboy? An untimely blush stretched across her pale face as she slapped his hands away.

Unfortunately, Kimiko was quick to learn that Raimundo was an immature, sexist, lazy, reckless, over-the-top, prankster playboy that had somehow become her new teammate and some time later, her team leader.

Kimiko then thought about it more clearly. Yeah, Rai was now the team leader and stronger and more powerful, but that, under no circumstances, meant that he had matured any. It all dawned on her quickly and when it did, it was painful.

What if Raimundo was just screwing with her head? What if he was just fooling with her, looking for a good time? She sat down on the slippery floor of the shower, never minding the hot spray that sent little droplets of water sliding down her body and over her hair.

Raimundo walked into the bedroom that he shared with his three other teammates and slammed the door angrily. He started towards his cubical, although he bolted past Kimiko's, which was right next to his (he was unaware that she wasn't in it.)

When he got to his cubical, his lowered himself onto the mat that was his bed and lay back with his hands behind his head. He couldn't believe how badly he'd screwed himself over. He'd kissed his best friend and teammate without any warning! And it was pretty obvious by the way she'd pushed him away that she wasn't interested. And now she never will be. He'd taken a chance and he blew it. And he was positive storming off the way he had had won him no points with her whatsoever. He probably made it seem like he was mad at her, but he had just wanted to get away. He had been really embarrassed.

At this point, Rai wasn't even sure what he'd been trying to accomplish by randomly telling her stuff she probably already knew and then kissing her. You don't kiss your best friend, even if she's a girl. Even if you've liked her. Even if you've adored her from afar for a long time…

Raimundo stepped out of the taxi that had brought him to his new home, the Xiaolin Temple.

Now remember to write us, Raimundo, his mother had said before he left. She kissed him on his tan forehead and stroked his face tenderly. We'll miss you, baby.

Bye-Bye, Raimundo! His little siblings had said, hugging his legs and sniffling. Good luck with training.

He sighed. Whatever was here better be pretty damn good for him to have to leave his family behind.

He heard someone talking and made his way around the large building, looking up at the large pagoda-style roofing. He had been called to the temple because some Master guy had told him that he was in training and he was suddenly a Xiaolin Dragon of the Wind. He had no idea what that meant or why he had been chosen, but he apparently had no other choice.

When he finally rounded the building, he saw a girl, chatting animatedly on her cell phone. Her pale blue eyes sparkled as she giggled at whatever the person on the other end of the phone was saying. Her hair was blonde, almost a bright yellow and was tied back by a long blue ribbon. Her complexion was extremely fair but it suited the small Japanese girl. But what interested Rai most was her attire. A blue turtleneck with no sleeves and long fingerless gloves were wrapped around her top half, a red and white striped skirt on her bottom. The way he saw her, this girl was beautiful.

But unfortunately for both of them, Raimundo was cocky and immature and he greeted her the only way he knew how.

When she saw him walk over, she hung up her phone and looked over at him. Her eyes studied him, but she said nothing.

"Ai, girl, did a dress-up box throw up on you?" he said, and immediately hated himself after he said it. What the hell was he thinking? God, he was such a jerk.

He watched as the girl looked surprised and a little hurt, then recovered and said, "Look, I don't know who you think you are, but-"

He quickly introduced himself, without even waiting for her to finish, and then continued to curse himself off inside his head.

"I'm Kimiko Tohomiko," she said. Kimiko… What a gorgeous name.

Now, two years later, Raimundo had become the team leader but he still hadn't matured at all. He still was impulsive and reckless and couldn't think things through at all.

And now Kimiko probably hated him. But at least at this point she probably knew how he felt.

He stood up and wiped off his pants. He knew he couldn't talk to her, at least not yet. He knew she must be as embarrassed as she is. Maybe he needed to talk to someone else about it. Omi was out of the question, as he had lived in the temple all his life and became over-excited when Kimiko did so much as compliment him. Dojo was a huge blabbermouth, so he was a no, so that left Master Fung or Clay. Clay, he thought as he made his way down the hall.

And where does he get off just running off after he kisses me? Kimiko ranted on in her head as grabbed the shampoo bottle angrily, but with so much force that it slipped through her hands and fell to the ground. She groaned and picked it up, then squirted some of the gel into her hands. She lathered it into her ebony locks, then let her arms drop to her sides, letting the suds flow off of her hair and down her body. Stupid jerk. He's always been like that. He probably thinks he's so hilarious.

She put some body wash onto her red pouf and brought it up her arms and over onto her back.

"Clay?" Rai called down the hall. "You here?"

"Hello, Raimundo," Omi said as he walked up to him. Rai watched as his short, inappropriately bald teammate walked over to him. He was holding a black box in his hands, a GamePow, which wasn't very surprising, as Kimiko had gotten a new version of Pochika Raider recently and he'd been completely engrossed in it for quite some time now. "Are you perhaps looking for our comrade, Clay?"

"Wow, what gave it away, the fact that I was just yelling his name down the hallway or…?" Raimundo said, annoyed.

"Your sarcasm does not faze me, although it did just make me lose a life," Omi said, staring down at his GamePow intently. "And if you must know, Clay is in the dining hall."

"Stuffing his face, probably," Raimundo said, knowing all too well that food was the Texan's number one priority. "Well, I'll go talk to him, thanks."

Omi waved him off and started walking back down the hall, yelling, "Go Pochi, go!"

Kimiko finally turned the knob on the shower, shutting off the water and leaving her standing in the shower, shivering as the sudden rush of cold air hit her bare skin. She grabbed her towel and suddenly realized that in her rage she'd neglected to grab any clothes to wear and she couldn't risk wetting her only clean tunic…

She sometimes being the only girl on the team, in fact she almost always hated it. Having three teenage boys running around and popping out at her God knows when, added with a bunch of old monks and a male dragon had never bode well for her, especially now. She couldn't very well ask one of her friends to bring her her clothes, which included her underwear. She sighed and wrapped herself in her towel tightly, then opened the door a crack and peeked out. The dark halls were empty but she'd never know if one of them would start walking by randomly. She also couldn't fully see the bedroom either, so she couldn't tell if there was anyone there.

God, being the only girl sucks. She took a deep breath and opened the door fully. She just had to get to her chest, get some pajamas, run to the bathroom and change. It was ironic how such a menial task seemed so complicated to a Xiaolin Dragon. She sucked in her breath, and then stepped out into the hall. She exhaled as she noticed that no one was around. She walked briskly towards her small cubical, holding the top of the towel tightly in her fist. Her long hair was sticking to her body and getting in her eyes but she pressed on.

She finally got to her small sectioned-off area and dug through her trunk for something to wear. She finally found an old, over-sized t-shirt and a pair of bright orange pajama pants to wear. She was digging through her underwear drawer when she heard a small, scared squeak behind her. She whirled around to see Raimundo, his eyes wide and his mouth hanging open, and his feet in mid-step. A deep red blush stretched across his face.

Kimiko immediately blushed too. She'd needed two hands to rummage through her things, so her towel had started to slide down over her breasts, revealing a considerable amount of cleavage. The way she was kneeling brought her towel dangerously close to showing her butt.

"Uh…" Raimundo tried to form a coherent sentence, but all that escaped him was a confused and embarrassed groan.

Kimiko's eyes started to fill with tears and the back of her eyes started to sting. She stood up and pushed past him, running away, leaving her clothing behind as well as the dumbfounded Brazilian.

"Kim, wait," Rai, said, after he had regained himself and started to run after her. Kimiko only ran faster, trying to get away from him, trying to get away from that moment, when he'd come upon her, dripping wet and half-naked. But she knew it wouldn't ever go away, no matter how many times her body screamed, it didn't just happen, it didn't just happen, IT DIDN'T JUST HAPPEN. But it did happen and now she'd never be able to face Raimundo again. Hell, she'd be lucky if she could face anyone again. Ever cocky, Rai would probably tell everyone in the temple about the incident and she'd never be treated the same.

Kimiko's legs started to hurt and her breath came in short bursts. She wouldn't be able to run much further, but she couldn't just stop. She needed to find a place to just hide for a while… or maybe forever. She saw a door and the end of the hall and sprinted to it, whipped it open, and ran inside. Then she froze.

She'd neglected to pay attention to where the hell she was going when she'd been running and had somehow accidentally led herself into the common room.

Her heart stopped as she saw, staring back at her, were Clay, Master Fung, and Dojo. Clay's face was completely red, a piece of meat was halted halfway through its journey to his mouth. Master Fung looked uncomfortable, but said nothing, while Dojo looked on with a cocked eyebrow.

Rai finally caught up with her, but hadn't noticed that she'd stopped and barreled right into her. They both stumbled but somehow managed to keep their balance. After a long, uncomfortable silence, Rai finally looked up and saw what he'd done. He'd managed to single-handedly humiliate Kimiko and probably ruin her life forever.

Kimiko's lip quivered. Tears were welling up in her eyes and it took every ounce of sheer willpower she had to keep them from spilling over in front of everyone.

"Kimiko?" Omi suddenly called walking into the room. His head was still down, his small, black eyes concentrating intensely on the GamePow. "How do you get past the level with the lasers and-" He then looked up, noticing now what he'd stumbled upon. His face took on a confused expression and he said, "What is going on? This was never in 'The Ancient Guide to Females'."

After that Kimiko snapped. Her face scrunched up as tears started falling down her face and she began to blubber. Then, she burst into hysterics, wailing as she tore out of the room.

It took a few seconds for Rai to regain himself before he turned around, trying to run after her. But a large hand caught him on the shoulder and Rai turned around, shooting a glare at whoever was holding him back.

A surge of rage and guilt washed over Clay as he gripped Raimundo's shoulder tightly. No one ever deserved what just happened, but Kimiko was like a little sister to him and seeing her so upset broke his heart. The small group behind him dispersed, sensing a bloodbath in their midst.

"Raimundo," Clay growled, his voice almost shaking with rage. "What the hell was that?"

"Clay, I don't have time for your hillbilly lectures, I need to talk to her," Rai said impatiently.

"The way she came in here made it pretty clear that she was trying to get away from you," Clay said.

It was just then that Raimundo realized how bad this all must look. Kimiko, running full speed away from him, almost completely naked and dripping wet. He scoffed.

"Clay, you don't actually think I'm that kind of guy, do you?" Rai said, incredulous. "Do I look like a rapist?"

"You don't but after that, I don't really know anymore," Clay said, finally releasing Raimundo's shoulder and staring at him.

"Oh, don't you go all acting like a hero," Raimundo shot back. "We all saw the way your face turned red when she ran in."

"Don't you turn this on me, Rai," Clay warned, his blood boiling furiously. The urge to punch Raimundo's lights out presented itself and Clay was dangerously close to following through.

"With all due respect, Clay, I really don't have time for this and I honestly don't have to explain myself to you," Rai snapped. "So I'm gonna go find Kim now."

"Rai, I'm telling you, she won't want to see you!" Clay said. "She's obviously not gonna-"

"SHUT UP!" Rai exploded, turning on Clay. Clay was taken aback slightly by the anger that blazed behind Raimundo's eyes. "Look, I didn't want any of this to happen! Do you honestly think that I would want for any of you to see her like that? Because if you do, you better get your head out of your ass. You may think that I'm still that stupid, immature, little kid that I was when I first came here, but I'm not! Now, I'm trying to go after Kimiko because I care about her and every second you make me waste here is another second that she's alone, feeling like crap, because of me. I know that I screwed up and that I'm an asshole, or whatever. All I wanna do is make it right. So just let me the hell through already."

Clay studied his friend's face, trying to catch any signs on insincerity. But all Clay found was genuine concern in Raimundo's emerald eyes. Clay's expression didn't change but he stepped aside and cleared the way for Raimundo.

Rai nodded, then ran down the hallway. Clay followed him down the hallway, watching him until he disappeared into the darkness at the end of it. Then, he grabbed the tip of his hat, tipped it a little over his eyes, and smiled. "'Bout time," he said.

When Kimiko finally stopped running, she was in the middle of the forest that bordered the temple, her clothes in hand, along with the Shroud of Shadows. She figured that as long as she had the opportunity, she might as well be invisible. She got dressed amidst her tears, then covered herself in the shroud and curled into a ball and wept.

How could this happen to her? She had been able to live with these boys for so long and nothing like this had ever happened before. Most people would've been more comfortable around boys she knew so well, but something about it happening in front of her master and Raimundo just destroyed her.

Maybe she should leave. Just flee the temple and never come back. She'd return home and live with her father again and get every gadget she'd ever want and be with Keiko and…. But she knew she couldn't leave. She had a duty here and she couldn't leave it behind. But what was she going to do? No one would treat her the same ever again, even Omi, who would eventually figure it out on his own or have what had happened explained to him. She dug her face into arms and cried harder.

About ten minutes later, the tears stopped and she just sat alone in the woods, surrounded by the sounds of animals and the darkness. She rested her head on her arms, which were folded over her knees and she closed her eyes and listened to the sounds of the forest.

She sat there for a long time, losing herself in her thoughts and the darkness. She figured she must've been outside for an hour before she realized that she was getting cold and the guys must've been worried about her by now and she should probably return home.

She'd decided that she was going to play it off as if it was nothing and try to acoid everyone until the next morning. By then everything would hopefully have blown over. She got up, removing the shroud and slinging it over her shoulder, and started back.

"Alone, are you, dear girl?" a raspy, feminine voice suddenly hissed in her ear.