Re: Fail. Fail. Fail. I think I just epically failed this. I'm okay with how it turned up, but I think it came out OOC. Basically, I was doing a character analysis, trying to get into the characters' mind and see what they were thinking. I'm pretty sure Raimundo and Kimiko threw me to the other side of the Jungle of Neither Here or There. Blehh… whatever, I'm in love with the story line, and I hope you will be too.

Rano-chan: Enjoy!

She rested her fingers against the wall, listening to the quiet conversation between the cowboy and Brazilian. Her heart stuttered from the idea of eavesdropping, but it was Omi's idea. Master Fung had created a short game to strengthen everyone's skills, even though it was clear that things have calmed down ever since Raimundo was named Shoku Warrior. But this was Master Fung, and regardless of anything that was going on, they'd have to train for the worst.

So here Kimiko was playing a silly game of capture the flag. She was paired up with Omi, and Raimundo was with Clay. Personally, Kimiko would've preferred to be with Raimundo, but it's not like she was planning to admit that anytime soon. Master Fung had given them only half an hour, and they were allowed to do whatever they pleased. This explained why Raimundo and Clay were still planning their attack. Kimiko had already finished her plan with Omi a little over five minutes ago, and they already had figured out how to bag this in less than ten minutes.

"Alright, obviously chrome-dome is going for offense, with his ego and everything. So that leaves Kimiko with defense," Raimundo explained to Clay. The Texan murmured in agreement, and Kimiko bit the insides of her cheeks to keep from laughing. They had fallen right into her trap. Initially, they would have been right. But Kimiko knew Raimundo well enough to know how his mind works. All it took was some future guessing, and she had a plan that was better than any that Raimundo could devise.

"I guess you could be right about that, partner. But don't you think Kimiko is just a wee bit more tactic than that?" Clay asked with his Texas drawl. Kimiko silently cursed him. She had forgotten to add him to this equation of hers. But it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway, she reminded herself. Kimiko would never know Clay's mind the way she knew Raimundo's. So it was a hopeless thing.

"What do you mean?" Raimundo questioned, sounding annoyed. He hated when he wasn't right.

"I'm saying that Kimiko knows you as much as I know how to milk a cow. She probably could recite your plan right to you." Kimiko seethed, oh how she hated that big Texan right now. He had no right to figure everything out in a one shot.

There was a short silence before Raimundo answered, "I can handle whoever's guarding the flag."

Clay scoffed, "Sure, I can see it now. You moseying right up to her and getting the flag. With your luck she'll fool you with that big, blue-eyed smile of hers, and kick you right back over here like Jack Spicer in a rodeo."

Raimundo snickered in spite of himself, "That's a good one, dude. But what are you saying?"

"That I can handle Kimiko without going completely moon-eyed," the cowboy answered. Raimundo looked like he was going to protest, but Clay held up his hand. "And Omi's no threat to me, I could probably just fool the little feller' into running off somewhere and catching the flag for us. And if worse comes to worse, I'll have to face him off. Big deal."

Raimundo glared at his friend. In a way, he was right. They didn't know who was guarding the flag, but they couldn't take the chance of sending Raimundo out there if Kimiko was there too. Plus, as much as he didn't want admit, he had a weakness for the Japanese girl. And boy did Kimiko know that.

"Alright," he sighed at last. "I'll guard. Just go out there and capture the damn flag. And for you information, I'm completely fine with Kimiko."

Clay chuckled, "Whatever you say, partner. Just don't let her grab the end of your rope."

"She already did," Raimundo mumbled under his breath. Clay and the spying Kimiko didn't even hear it.

With that, Clay left home base to catch up with Omi. Kimiko sighed, she'd have to improvise her genius plan. She pulled out her cell phone, and quickly dialed the number for Omi's."

"Hello?" answered the monk. He sounded a little thrown off by the advancement of his cell phone.

"Hey Omi, its Kimiko," she responded. He sounded like he had a huge speech to make about the device, but Kimiko cut him off. "They're sending Clay to your side."

"But what about Raimundo? I thought he would be a cock, just like you said."

"That's cocky, Omi," she giggled.

"That too!"

"Well I was wrong. Do you think you can handle Clay?"

"Oh yes! I refuse to manipulated and afraid of his large size and wit!"

Kimiko was about to answer, when suddenly a hand yanked the cell phone away from her. She squeaked when that same person wrapped an arm around her waist and threw her over their shoulder.

"Sorry, but Kimiko has to go on time out now. She's been a bad girl for obvious reasons." Kimiko growled at the voice. It was none other than Raimundo Pedrosa.

"Raimundo!" she yelled, just as he shut the phone. He sent her a wicked smile that made her heart do jumping jacks.

"Well it seems we've captured the great Kimiko, guess no one will be needing that flag anytime soon," he teased, making her angrier.

"Stop fooling yourself," she growled, leaning forward so that way she could grab his waist. Using it to balance herself, Kimiko swung her legs over so that she was behind Raimundo. She was now in a sort of bridge position, with her arms still around his waist. She leaned forward, and with a little extra strength, managed to fly him over her head and make Raimundo land on his head.

Or at least that was the plan.

Raimundo did a back flip and managed to land a few feet away from her. She knew he had gotten cocky ever since he was named Shoku Warrior. But Kimiko had to admit that he had gotten a little better in terms of skill. In fact, if he was just a bit harder on her, he would beat her in no time.

"Well, Kimiko, I guess you're not coming quietly," he grinned. "That's fine, otherwise I would get bored waiting for Clay and our flag."

"Yeah right, Omi's going beat Clay for sure. Just like me," she hissed, before jumping at him. Raimundo was already on guard, and easily dodged the first hit. He felt a little weird fighting Kimiko, normally they were on the same team. And if he admitted it, this whole in-your-face fighting was starting to make him red. Really red.

Suddenly, Kimiko slammed him the face with her fist. The impact was so strong, Raimundo flew back right into a wall. Her power proved rather strong, Raimundo made an indent in the wall. In the back of his mind, he knew Master Fung would get pissed about that. But then again, the temple was always being destroyed by some kind of evil every other week.

"Ai, girl, watch it! You hit hard!" Raimundo complained, rubbing his sore cheek. Kimiko scoffed, before running straight for the flag. Crap, I forgot, Raimundo growled before chasing after her.

Now, technically Raimundo was faster, because not only was boy (as if that really helps), but his element, wind, pushed him much faster than Kimiko's fire. For some odd reason though, he couldn't get his powers to work for him. In fact, they seemed to work against him until the last second. When Kimiko's outstretched hand was an inch away from the flag pole, Raimundo's last resort was to slam himself into her. And of course, the wind decided to give him an extra push, which made the force that much stronger.

They ended up about a good ten feet away from the flag, which in Raimundo's opinion was far enough. He had Kimiko's head in one hand, and her waist in his other. Kimiko muttered something against his chest, but Raimundo was frozen. From embarrassment or the impact, he wasn't sure.

Kimiko poked her head out and managed to look him in the eye. Their faces were so close to the point where her lips were against his ear.

"Care to get off of me?" she asked politely, a little too politely.

Raimundo was about to make a sarcastic comment, but then Kimiko wedged her feet between their chests and kicked Raimundo away. He managed to land on his feet again.

"Geez, can't you give it a rest?" He groaned, his entire body would be sore by the end of this.

Kimiko laughed, "I barely scratched you, Rai."

"Just my dignity," he muttered. Raimundo had just realized that this whole time he was getting his butt whopped by a girl. Kimiko, no less. That last fall seemed to finally knocked some sense into him

"Alright Kimiko, give me your best," Raimundo taunted. Kimiko came straight for him. But this led to another problem.

Kimiko knew all his moves, and he knew all hers. It was impossible to for Raimundo to fight her, and the same went for her. They might've already begun a second round, but Raimundo knew this wasn't going to end unless someone forfeited. And Kimiko was definitely not going to do that. Unless he could pull out a move she didn't know, there would be no winner.

Then he got an idea.

Raimundo forced Kimiko to face the wall. She seemed wary of it, but not entirely concerned. He smiled inwardly. Instead of blocking her next shot (which would've been a miss anyway), he slammed them both into the wall. He managed to get her wrists above her head with one hand and had his other was on her stomach. He pressed his knees against her thighs, and with the height difference, Kimiko's feet were forced off the ground. It was silent for a moment.

"This is new," she finally managed. Her face was starting to heat up. When Raimundo noticed the pink tint in her cheeks, he realized how awkward this position really was. He had to play it off, immediately.

"Relax, Kim. Clay's going to be coming in with my flag any minute now. Just get comfortable," He smirked, though it was ruined by the redness in his face. Kimiko resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Even in this position, Raimundo was still worried about the silly game. Well, not for long, Kimiko giggled inwardly.

"Come on Rai," she told him, her voice being just above a whisper. She leaned in toward his face, noticing the color of his face visibly brighten. Hers was probably a tomato by now. "Just let me go, and we can forget all about this silly game. Maybe head back and…" She left the rest to his imagination. This was seriously a horrible thing to do, but if he pulled out a new move, then she had to do the same. In the back of her mind, she knew that this was seduction, and Raimundo did not deserve all this affection from her. Or did he?

Her mind quickly skimmed all the moments they had together. How close they had gotten over the course of two years. They were best friends, she could trust him with almost anything. Practically everything except her feelings. Not that she minded, he was a guy, and it was obvious he'd have trouble understanding. But did she actually take Raimundo seriously?

She would've pondered it a little more, but then suddenly and idea hit her. Oh, he'd hate for it too. Kimiko smirked inwardly, deciding she'd give him time to answer before taking action.

"Umm…" he stuttered, trying to get a concrete answer. This game they were playing was starting to become really cruel. "No?" It was supposed to be a statement but it ended up a question. Almost immediately, he could hear the gears click in her head. Kimiko's facial expression changed.

Swinging her leg, she hit him right below the belt. And like the rest of her abuse, this one was enough to get him to back away from her. Truthfully, she put very little force into it, but everyone knew that that area was fragile. Raimundo cursed under his breath, and muttered something along the lines of "Ai girl, what the heck do you…"

Watching her sprint toward the flag, Raimundo knew he had to catch up. He struggled to ignore the throbbing pain and catch up to her. But he knew she'd bag that flag. Sure enough, she had it in her hand, and was running back to her base. Raimundo was distracted by his pain, so he couldn't concentrate on summoning his power.

Just then, they passed the Clay, who was running toward their home base. Raimundo grinned, all he had to do was peg down Kimiko and they'd win.

"Keep running, Clay!" He shouted.

"Omi, get back to base!" Kimiko ordered at the same time. He swung his head to look at her backside. What was she doing? Didn't they want to catch Clay? Omi didn't look like he appreciated the idea either. But Raimundo watch something click in his face and then saw the cheese ball run back to base. What was going on?

As Raimundo finally gained speed, he chased after Kimiko like his life depended on it. Finally her base came into view, and he was only a hair away from her. He'd catch her, he knew he would.

"Omi!" Kimiko yelled at the last second. She flung the flag like a javelin and used her fire to give it that extra push. Raimundo tackled her to the ground at the same time, and they went rolling on the ground. Omi used his water to make a frozen hand and grab it from the air. He pulled it back to base and rang the bell, just a short second before Clay did.

Raimundo groaned, and cursed off himself for being so dumb. Kimiko watched him smugly, but she secretly felt bad for her best friend. Omi was laughed and yelled triumphantly at him. Kimiko rolled her eyes at his childish ways. Clay grunted in defeat as he came over, clapping Raimundo on the shoulder and muttering some kind of comfort. Dojo flew down from him perch on the roof.

"Wow! That was amazing, I haven't seen stuff like that since Dashi was around!" he stated, making everyone feel just a bit better. He continued on about their greatness and his stories of his past, when Master Fung came up to them.

"Well done young monks, and congratulations to Kimiko and Clay for your, ah, diverting tactics."

"Just doing my best," Clay nodded, tipping his hat. He wasn't taking the loss as hard as Raimundo was.

"Same," Kimiko answered, even though she was still looking at Raimundo. He did look pretty upset.

Master Fung took in the situation before continuing, "Well Kimiko you idea was very… Ingenious, especially when you used your wit and ah, femininely ways to win the game." Everyone other than Raimundo looked at Kimiko oddly, and she couldn't help but blush.

"It was nothing," she finally answered. Raimundo finally looked at her, watching her face attentively. Kimiko pointedly ignored it. She didn't want to start something, not until everyone else was gone. Master Fung nodded at everyone and Dojo said his goodbye before the two left.

Clay seemed to get the idea, "Come on Omi let's see if I can teach you how to ah, round up a bull."

"But Clay, I already know how-" Omi was about to say.

"An angry bull!" he shouted back, grabbing Omi and jogging off. Kimiko rolled her eyes again and Raimundo snickered.

"Well I guess that can't be anymore obvious," Raimundo sighed, folding his hands on top of his head. He heard the crack of his elbow and cringed, he'd feel all Kimiko's smack downs tomorrow. She just nodded rubbing her sore arms. When Raimundo looked at it closer, he realized it was scraped. "C'mon," he sighed again, grabbing her hand and leading her to his room. Kimiko was strangely quiet. But by the look on her face, he knew she was lost in thought, and would only get pissed if he distracted her.

They sat down on the mat, and Kimiko quietly snapped back to reality when Raimundo returned with the first aid kit. Her hands were scraped as well, and Raimundo felt a little guilty about ramming into her. Twice.

"Sorry," he whispered, and Kimiko noticed the sincerity in his words. And something else too…Gentleness?

"Its fine," she muttered, still trying to slow her crazy thoughts. Was she… Falling for Raimundo? It seemed ridiculous, he was cocky, annoying, and had turned to evil! Plus there was a bunch girls in Brazil, ones that she heard from Clay. And he couldn't possibly, it couldn't be… It wasn't right for her to feel so… close with her best friend. But why did she feel so helpless to her emotions right now?

Raimundo's own head was spinning, he admitted to taking an interest in the Japanese girl over a year ago. So there was nothing except the fear of her not accepting him. The woman was always showing up in his dreams, in that gorgeous pink kimono... And –

He shook his head, refusing to think like that again. Raimundo knew from experience that he wasn't very good at controlling himself, and often gave in to whatever pleased him the most. And I joined Wuya for it too, he reminded himself. If anything, he'd wait for Kimiko to make the move. But, God was it hard.

Finally, Kimiko decided. She like Raimundo, and that was it. There were no ifs or buts, and no ending for her love for him. She just loved him. And honestly, as stubborn and hot-headed as Kimiko was, even she could accept that.

That's how it hit her. There was no love at first sight, no sudden epiphany, or even a sign. It just was what it was. The only thing she heard was the click in her brain, if it was even real.

Kimiko sighed, now how was she going to possibly explain this to him?

"Umm… Listen-" She began, but Raimundo cut her off.

"Can I talk first?" He asked. Kimiko nodded, this conversation was really started to get awkward, but they hadn't even started talking yet. "Uh," Rai began, and Kimiko couldn't help but smile.

"Take your time," she shrugged, feeling strangely calm because of his nervousness.

"I'm sorry I rammed into you!" He blurted. They both turned red at the memory of that moment. But the problem was… They actually liked it. "I mean," Raimundo struggled to explain, "like I'm not sorry I stopped you from getting the flag, and um… You know, holding you and stuff… But, um…."

Kimiko was a tomato at this point. Was he… trying to tell her something? If this was a confession, that would explain is stuttering. Should she say something?

"I like you too!" she yelled, probably a little too loud. Kimiko immediately covered her own mouth, not believing she had just done what she done.

"Uhh..." The Brazilian looked completely thrown off. Had he just heard what he thought he heard? Raimundo wished his brain would start working. "That's good… I think?"

Kimiko lost it, she laughed. This wasn't how it was supposed to come out, or how she expected it to be. But it was them, and that's all that mattered. "You dummy!" she giggled, pulling him into a hug.

Raimundo's brain finally woke up. So they had just confessed to each other… And now they were hugging. Are we together? He wondered.

Raimundo was just about to ask when Omi and Clay suddenly broke through the door.

"Well it's about time!" Clay bellowed and Kimiko immediately jumped away. Her face was red, and Rai was pretty sure his was too.

"I see. So what you said about the foreshadowing of events, will lead to this?" Omi asked, looking intrigued by Raimundo and Kimiko. Everyone rolled their eyes.

"Yes, Omi," Kimiko answered, and Raimundo realized what that meant. They were together! He would've quite literally jumped for joy, but that would make him look weird.

"Alrighty then, now that that's settled, I say we hit the mess hall for some grub," Clay grinned, leading the way out of Raimundo's room. Of course he would be the one to think about food. Kimiko snuck her arm through Rai's as they walked out, he gave her a look, and she threw him an innocent smile.

"So how long do you think it's going to last?" Dojo whispered to Master Fung when the couple entered the dining room.

"In time, Dojo, we will have all the answers," he answered. Dojo grunted, he knew he would never get a straight answer out of this man. But Master Fung just smiled.

"My instinct tells me you already know the answers, Master Fung," Omi whispered, coming into the conversation. The master was going to answer, but then a servant came out with the food, and everyone's questions were gone.

"They don't miss many meals, do they?" Dojo mused, curling around the master's neck. The man couldn't help but smirk.

"I suppose not. But I can tell you that those two are off to a good start."

"What?" Dojo wondered, before comprehending, "Oh! You mean-"

Master Fung clamped his mouth closed before the information was revealed. He watched Raimundo as he whispered something into Kimiko's ear. It was easy to read it from his lips: "Meet me on the roof tonight."

The master smirked again. Yes, those two would last a very, very, long time.

Re: That ending was dumb. I should've continued the roof scene, but this fic was already 10 pages long. And to me, that's long. Oh well… Tell me what you think!

Rano-chan: R&R!