Crack a Smile

"Sooo… never knew the Shaolin Temples were so huge." Johnny stammered uneasily, in an attempt at a conversation with his new acquaintance, Kitana.

"Mmh, quite." she replied disinterestedly, inspecting her manicured, scarlet-painted nails.

It had been only two days since they all had escaped the false tournament in Outworld with their lives, bringing back their newest teammate to the Wu Shi Academy with them. Johnny felt a bit unsettled around the Assassin Princess, rightly so given their first encounter back on his movie set, and the fact that she was supposedly that-Wrestler-Guy-with-the-Cow-Skull's daughter. Liu Kang had assured them all that the stoic, aloof beauty could be trusted, with Raiden affirming it after looking into her soul.

The action star honestly had a bit of trouble seeing whatever it was Liu saw in her (it was obvious something was going on with them). Sure she was very lovely to look at, but something about the way her eyebrows were screwed into a hard, thin line, and those apathetic, icy blue eyes of hers glared above her mask was… intimidating. Looking at her, Johnny thought she might have been better suited for a similar warrior from the tournament he was reminded of, and he actually could manipulate ice.* She had loosened up some since coming here, and her now unmasked face looked a bit more relaxed: But that rigid, unimpressed air she carried kept the majority of them at arm's length.

Johnny pulled his right hand from his jacket's pocket, glancing anxiously down at his Rolex. Liu had wanted to train out on the lei thai, and both he and Kitana had asked to come along. They had all been on their way when one of the younger monks came up to the Champion asking some martial arts related question or another, and he went off to help; leaving them both alone. It had already been an awkward, almost completely silent fifteen minutes, with all of Johnny's trials of striking up conversation ending in Kitana responding in two (flat) words or less.

'Damn it Liu, how long're you gonna take?' he mentally grumbled.

He peered over his trademark sunglasses to the brunette warrior standing a few meters from him. She stood with that same nonchalant, unreadable attitude; her weight shifted onto her left leg, right arm folded across her, beneath her ample bosom, and her left held up as she raked the nail of her thumb beneath that of her ring finger. Scratching the back of his neck uncomfortably, he decided on another attempt at small-talk.

"That Liu sure is a tough guy…" Johnny began. He gazed at her for any sort of reply. Kitana glanced up momentarily from her nails. Time to inject a little humor. "He runs me through without a hitch whenever I try to spar with him. But then again, if he can beat the crap out of Shang Tsung, Goro, and Kahn, he shouldn't have any sort of problems with little ol' me."

"Indeed." came another blasé reply from the kunoichi.

Johnny dropped his head and shoulders, arms dangling, in mock defeat.

"Come on Lady! Am I that boring?" he moped.

This time Kitana only shrugged, not bothering to even look at him.

"Come on, I'm not that bad." he said. "Most ladies can never completely resist my charms."

"Your blonde friend, Sonya I believe, doesn't seem very 'charmed' by your advances." Kitana stated plainly.

Johnny's jaw nearly dropped at her bluntness. The Edenian Princess quickly noted the somewhat crestfallen look on the jocular man's face and realized she might have struck a low blow unintentionally. Her expression did not change, save the slightly downward, sympathetic arc of her brows. The actor noticed.

"It may not be because of you." Kitana amended, keeping her voice schooled blank. "Perhaps it is just these circumstances you all are in."

"Maybe…" Johnny said. He waved his hands about. "But anyway! We're talking about you here." he said with returned jolliness. "You may be acting all tough and what not, but you know I'm a pretty cool guy. And besides, I'm waaaay more fun than Liu." Kitana raised one eyebrow, and the minutest of smirks twitched at her full lips.

"is that so?" she asked, a hint of amusement in her voice.

Finally, he was getting somewhere! Johnny grinned.

"Oh yeah. I mean, don't get me wrong, Liu's a nice dude, but a little bit on the stiff, structured and serious side, yaknowhudimean?" he asked. He scoffed teasingly, gazing her briefly up and down. "Then again, maybe you two are a perfect match." Kitana's eyes averted, and the barest hint of pink tinged her cheeks. Johnny jumped on it. "Aha! So you like him too, eh? Good, he'll be glad. The guy is already head-over-heels for you."

"Yes? So then… he has said things to you about me?" Kitana implored cooly, though she could not completely hide the bit of almost girlish shyness in her regal voice.

"You're name might have come up once or twice…" Johnny teased.

Just then 'Kung Fu Twin #1', as Johnny affectionately called him (much to Liu's annoyance), finally ambled up the pathway.

"Sorry about that. We got a bit caught up." the young monk apologized. "So, have any interesting conversations while I was gone?'

The actor and the princess glanced to each other.

"Eh, just small talk." Johnny said, mimicking Kitana's impassiveness.

Llu shrugged and then led them off to their destination; with Kitana picking up the rear of their little procession. She gazed at the back of action star's head, shaking her own at the thought of his silliness.

She was smiling, but he was totally oblivious.

*My little nod to the Sub Zero/Kitana lovers out there. If that's your thing then whatever, but I seriously don't get it. Is it because of the colors?

Anywhooo, I was having a really rough day today, and I came up with this humorous (or at least I tried to make it funny :P) bit. I sort of wondered about how Kitana would acclimate to the other Forces of Light in the very beginning after leaving Outworlld, and other than Liu, I pictured Johnny would try to broach a friendship first. This is also an attempt to relieve some of my "Writer's ADD", as my friend so eloquently calls it. Plus too, I wanted to break away from the Liutana for a little bit, so I can give it my all when the inspiration strikes.

And I'm sorry if I cheesed out with Johnny's MK9 quotes, but I couldn't resist ^W^

This oneshot is first of hopefully many, so stay tuned. And please drop a review...