Author's Note: This was one of my favorite shows that I haven't yet written fanfiction for. Since the new series for it is due out in 2013, I figured now is as good a time as any at playing in this particular fandom's playground. I am currently rewatching the series, so please let me know if there are any canon violations. I'm mainly writing from memory here.
"So, now that the bad guys have had their butts handed to them," Raimundo cracked his knuckles and wiggled his eyebrows, "I guess we can get down to –"
"Not so fast, Raimundo," Master Fung interrupted. "As the Shoku Warrior and the leader of the other dragons, there are certain responsibilities you must take on. If you will come with me…"
"Reckon you better go," Clay insisted. "We'll just be here practicing."
"Yep," Kimiko echoed, "Practicing."
"Indeed," Omi nodded, "And most certainly we will not be attempting to spy nor be a spider upon the window sill.."
"That's fly on the wall, Omi," Raimundo shook his head. "I'll let you guys know what's up afterwards. Promise." The Xiaolin Dragons all nodded and waved him off, but they looked skeptical. It took him a few moments to catch up to Master Fung, and the two walked together to the library.
"There are many things you must learn, Raimundo. Your acceleration from monk to apprentice and then to leader has shown that your heart is in the right place. You are also a capable warrior. But are you ready to take responsibility for your friends?"
"I guess they're cool," The teenaged Brazilian shifted slightly, feeling impatient. "When you say responsibility…is that, like a pet?"
"As their leader, you will participate in their failures as well as their victories. Praise will not always be yours for assistance, but blame is likely to be heaped on your shoulders, even when it is one of the others who failed. As the leader, you take responsibility for them in all situations. This means that discipline, from now on, falls to you. As does training the others."
"I get to discipline Omi?" Raimundo rubbed his hands almost greedily.
"Not so fast. Remember that I said their failures will also be yours?"
"Not word for word…"
"As such," the master continued as though he hadn't been interrupted, "Any punishment they take, you will also take. If you violate a rule, you will do twice the amount of what you expected of them. Say that you decree that if you slurp your soup at dinner, you must run a mile. If Omi breaks that rule, you will both run the mile. If you break that rule, you will run two miles."
"Is it too late to give this robe to Omi? I think he wanted it more…" Raimundo tugged at his Shoku robe, noting that it suddenly felt much heavier than it had a few moments ago.
"You were chosen for a reason, Raimundo. It is your burden, but it is because you are as gifted as you are. But if you wish, you can give up the role. Let someone else lead."
"Are you kidding?" Raimundo smirked. "I'm the only one that can pull off this outfit."
"I am glad to hear it. Now, the books…" Master Fung began grabbing books, seemingly at random, and throwing them backwards in Raimundo's direction. The Dragon of the Wind raced rapidly around the room to catch each book, very nearly spilling them all as each new one came towards him.
"How many of these do I actually have to read?" Rai groaned.
"Those are the first forty volumes you'll be expected to memorize."
"Yes. We'll start on the other eighty-four after you have implemented successful training programs for the others."
"Does he look kind of …scary to you guys?" Kimiko asked, dangling off a tree branch before flipping herself onto it. She perched in the tree and continued to watch Raimundo. He was under the shade of an oak tree across the way, furiously taking notes as he read through a dusty old book.
"He looks like he's mighty focused. Maybe it's an interestin' book?" Clay suggested.
"Doesn't look like it has pictures, and I don't see a swimsuit model on the front," Kimiko rolled her eyes. "So I can't see how it's keeping Rai's attention."
"Perhaps he is seeking wisdom in order to better himself?" Omi suggested. He shook his head before the other two could answer. "No, I suppose that could not be it, either."
"Keep it down over there!" Raimundo called. "I'm trying to study! Kimiko, you look a little slow, go run a lap. Clay, punching bags. Omi, work on your slang."
"Who am I supposed to work on slang with?" Omi called back.
"Run with Kimiko and practice with her. You have to start over each time she loses patience with you or you get a slang term wrong."
"That hardly seems fair," Kimiko muttered.
"Just do it!" Raimundo insisted. There. That should buy me at least another hour to study. Then we have to start the real training, Raimundo thought to himself before sighing, Ai. This is hard work.
"Need a studyin' partner, Partner?" Clay asked, taking a seat by Rai.
"Thought I told you to go punch things?"
"Reckon I already know how to do that. So you may as well let me help you. You're the leader, I know, but ain't no rule says you have to do it all by your lonesome. …'Less it's in that huge book you've got with you. I've never read that one."
Rai considered his options. On the one hand, Omi and Kimiko were going to be furious when they realized Clay got out of his training. On the other, Clay had proven time and time again to be very intelligent and prone to memorization of things others would over look.
"Oh, all right," Rai conceded. "We can look over the book together and you can give me a hand. I'm supposed to memorize it."
"Word for word?"
"You know, I never actually asked…"
"Seems to me this particular book," Clay leafed through it, studying the pages carefully, "Merely says to treat people right. Can't find a chapter that has any different message. It's all 'give a cup of sugar to your neighbor, even if he won't let you borrow his best racing horse'."
"I have to report to Master Fung after the end of today, so hopefully you're right and it doesn't have to be verbatim. Thanks, Clay."
"You know…you were the right choice."
"I mean it. I knew it wasn't going to be Omi – still a little unsure of himself. Couldn't be Kim…she's getting better, but still a hothead."
"What about you, though? You would have made a good leader…"
"Reckon I didn't want it that much. Making decisions for everybody, not allowed to do things at just my own pace…wouldn't fit me well."
"Yeah, but you never-"
Clay shook his head. "Don't you get started on the 'You never went to the Heylin side!' speech. I know you did. I was there. But I also know you' been beatin' yourself up about it since you got back. That's why you're going to be good at this. You learn from your mistakes. Just don't forget that sometimes you can let go of those mistakes, so long as you keep the lesson."
"Thanks again, Clay," Raimundo said before he whistled loudly to get Kimiko and Omi's attention. The dragons of Fire and Water came racing towards the other two, Kimiko looking irritated and Omi's mouth constantly moving.
"But then, I responded with 'HOLO' – Hello Only Loves Otters…At least, this is what I think it means," Omi was saying. Kimiko sighed.
"Do I have to run for that?"
Rai shook his head. "No. And Omi, that's 'YOLO'-and it means…you know what, you figure it out. It's starting to get dark out. We had that fight with the big bads at the gate this afternoon. Feels like we haven't had a break in months. What do you guys say we take a night off and go get some tea?"
The idea was greeted with a lot of enthusiasm from the other dragons.
"So, whaddya think?" Dojo asked. He sat on a window sill, watching the teenagers. "Was Raimundo the right choice?"
"So it would appear," Master Fung nodded his approval. "But only time will tell for sure."