This originally wasn't supposed to be Xiaolin Showdown fanfiction at all, and was really supposed to be something to help me get through a particularly stressful time with university and real life, but it somehow morphed into a modern day university AU sort of story about one a pairing that had been one of my favorites since I first watched the show when I was a kid. (Coincidentally, I am currently doing a rewatch of the series right now.)

And with that preface, I leave you to the fic itself. I do hope you enjoy it.

on how to write a love story

i.) boy meets girl.

It's the start of a new semester when they first meet; he's just a graduate student working as a barista trying to make ends meet (he works as a tutor in the university's math department on the side), and she's still an undergradute trying to make sense of her life. Their meeting is innocuous, nothing special: she buys a small coffee (medium roast, with room for lots of sugar and cream) and he rings her up, and after she pays she retreats to a small table near the window, where she begins typing away furiously at a sleek silver laptop and scribbling in a neat black notebook, and he continues on with his shift. She's still sitting at the table when his shift ends an hour and forty-seven minutes later, and he wonders briefly what it is she's working on so devoutly before he realizes that he's almost late for class, and then, without a second thought, he's flying out the door as if the wind's given his feet wings, even though all he really wants to do is go back to his apartment and sleep until dinnertime the next day.

She's already at the cafe when he comes in to work a day later, sipping idly at her coffee while intently reading something on her laptop, pausing now and then to write something in her notebook or answer another text. Surely, he thinks, she can't be doing course work—it's still only the beginning of the semester, after all—but he doesn't think much of it after that. It isn't his business, after all, and he much prefers watching her as opposed to thinking about those sorts of things. He likes watching the way her long, slender fingers fly over the keys of her laptop (briefly, he wonders if she ever played piano) and the way her brows furrow and lips pout when she's deep in thought. She's small, and delicately built, like a doll, and since he's never been particularly eloquent, it comes as a disappointment to him when the only word he can come up with to describe her is "pretty". It certainly isn't untrue, of course, but a part of him feels as if the word doesn't do her justice at all.

It soon becomes apparent that he isn't the only one who's noticed her, either; Jermaine quickly notices his fascination with the girl and somehow, in the way only Jermaine is apparently capable of doing, convinces him to talk to her.

"You've been watching her for almost a month now, man," Jermaine says while casually wiping down a blender when he tries to argue exactly why he can't talk to her. "Either introduce yourself now, or wait for her to finally notice how you've been creeping on her for the last few weeks and get a restraining order put on you. It's your call, bro. Either now or never."

In the end he concedes, and a few days before Halloween, he musters up the courage to finally talk to her when she comes in for her daily coffee.

"Hey," he says. "Name's Raimundo."

She seems surprised by the fact that he's taken the initiative to speak to her, but smiles at him nonetheless. "Kimiko," she replies. "Nice to meet you."

He gives her his best flirtatious smirk and attempts to rest an elbow on the counter, only to slip and bang his chin painfully on the hard surface. Kimiko laughs and asks if he's alright, even as he berates himself mentally, and somewhere along the line of their conversation he asks her out to dinner. For some reason she accepts his offer and gives him her number (it takes him a moment to remember to giver her his in turn), and they agree to meet at the coffee shop tomorrow evening after his last shift before she looks at the time on her PDA and tells her she has an appointment to be at, can I text you later? And Raimundo tells her of course you can, I'll be waiting. He smiles at her and watches her leave with her now-cold coffee, and it's only after Kimiko is out of sight that Raimundo finally takes a moment to hit himself in the forehead for acting like such an idiot.

ii.) girl meets boy.

They end up going to a local Italian restaurant for dinner. She ends up ordering the fettuccine alfredo and a lemonade, while he gets the chicken parmesan and a Coke (they end up sharing the salad and breadsticks between them, and then the tiramisu for dessert), and the entire affair is, overall, really quite nice.

Kimiko never thought she'd be going on a date anytime soon—and with the cute barista from her favorite coffee shop, no less—and so thinks she is much more uptight than the she ought to be when she meets Raimundo at the cafe, only to find her tensions melting away as he drives them to the restaurant and the awkwardness between them dissipating in the form of idle chit-chat. He is warm and sweet, if a bit more sarcastic than she'd originally thought (but, then again, so is she) and a much better dresser than what his uniform at the cafe would otherwise indicate, and she finds that there is so much more to him that she wants to learn, and though she is loathe to admit that such a superficial attribute could have any bearing on such a situation, the fact that he's one of the most attractive men she's seen around campus certainly helps. Or ever, really.

He's about two years older than her, almost twenty-three years old to her twenty-one, and in the first year of his graduate program. He'd like to try and get a doctorate after earning his masters degree, he says, but what he really wants is to work to find a way to use wind power as a cleaner energy source.

"It's actually pretty dumb, I guess," he tells her over the salad and breadsticks. "I've always loved the wind, ever since I was a kid, and so I always wanted to do something that dealt with it. Of course, by the time I was in high school, I realized that I needed to do something more than that. So I did some research, and found some things about wind and electricity and engineering, and decided that was what I wanted to do with my life. So here I am today." He stabbed a stray tomato with his fork and bit into it for emphasis.

She regards him in legitimate admiration. "That's amazing," she tells him, and she means it. "I'm sure you'll do really well."

Raimundo beams at her and scratches the back of his neck almost bashfully. "Well, thanks," he replies, "That means a lot." And then he looks at her. "What about you?" he asks earnestly, and she feels her stomach drop a bit.

She gives him the response that's become automatic for her, now. "I'm an only child," she says, "so I'm probably going to end up taking over the family business when my father retires. So I'm in business school so I'm ready enough to do that."

Fortunately, he doesn't press her any further about her career plans; instead, he cocks an eyebrow and exhales slowly. "An only child, huh?"

"What?" she replies playfully, curious where the conversation might lead.

He grins. "Nothing," he says. "I can't imagine being an only child, that's all. I mean, I come from a huge family—I have eight siblings, for starters."

Her eyes widen. "Eight?" she asks. "That's amazing."

"Not when your parents start commenting on exactly how you and your brothers and sisters are the living proof of their 'true love'," Raimundo replies as he makes a face. "It was our parents' way of explaining the birds and the bees to us when we got older."

Kimiko laughs. "I think it's very sweet!" She rips off the end of a breadstick and holds it between her fingers thoughtfully. "It sounds like something straight out of The Princess Bride."

Taking a sip of his Coke, he shrugs. "Yeah," he says, "but it's gotten to the point that I can't ever look at the kitchen table back home the same way again."

"Oh. Wow." She blinks. "I see what you mean."

He laughs. "Sorry," he says. "Too much information?"

"A bit," she replies, and pauses to take a sip of her lemonade. "But I still think it's adorable, in its own way. It's kind of beautiful."

"Me too," Raimundo responds, looking right at her and meeting her gaze. He smiles, and she feels herself blush. "I agree."

iii.) boy and girl share a kiss.

She's the one who asks him out, this time, just before the Thanksgiving holidays, though it doesn't quite go according to plan; what the weather report originally said was going to be a gentle snowfall quickly escalates into a veritable blizzard, and their original plans to go to the university's annual Winter Wonderland exhibit are put on hold. Kimiko's apologetic about the entire situation, but Raimundo doesn't seem to mind at all.

"To be honest," he tells her, "I've always been a bit of a wimp when it comes to the cold. I'll use any excuse I can to stay out of it."

It's petty, she knows, but irritation begins to spark within her nonetheless, even if it is slight. "If you didn't want to go," she says, hating the fact that her temper's already begun to show, "then you should've told me. We could've done something else."

"It's not that!" Raimundo tells her, holding his hands up in front of his chest in a placating sort of gesture. "Do I look dumb enough to turn down an opportunity to hang out with you?"

At that her temper cools, but she still can't help but punch him in the shoulder for good measure. "That's what I thought," she says. "But what are we going to do, now?"

He laughs sheepishly and rubs his shoulder ruefully, and looks around her dorm room quickly, grinning when he sees the Xbox in the corner by her roommate's television set. "Do you have Netflix?" he asks.

They spend the rest of the evening curled up together on the futon watching the entire Star Wars trilogy (the original one, of course) and eating microwaveable cups of ramen under piles of blankets before Kimiko finally suggests a change of pace and offers Raimundo one of the Xbox controllers and asks if he'd like to play a few rounds of the new Goo Zombies multiplayer game with her. He takes the controller from her and stares at it for a moment before he smirks and cocks an eyebrow at her.

"What do you say we... up the ante a bit?"

She crosses her arms over her chest and looks at him. "Let me guess—loser has to give the winner a kiss." His expression falls, and Kimiko can't help but laugh at him. "I'm in, don't worry!"

His face lights up instantly, and she's reminded of a puppy given extra treats for being good. "Really?"

"Yeah," she says, feigning nonchalance with a shrug as she gets up to put the disc in the console, suddenly very glad that Keiko's gone home for the weekend. "You're cute, so I guess I don't really mind."

Oh, yes, she is incredibly glad Keiko went home. Explaining the very large and very conspicuous hickey on her neck when her roommate comes back Sunday evening, however, is another thing entirely—Kimiko's main consolation is the fact that the one Raimundo has is even bigger.

iv.) boy falls in love with girl.

"So, how's that sweetheart of yours doing?" Clay asks one evening shortly after winter break's ended and the new semester's begun, looking knowingly at Raimundo over his bottle of beer. Neither of them have work tomorrow, and they're taking the time to just relax and watch some television, and maybe even play some video games later (even though Raimundo knows Clay is awful at them).

Raimundo blinks. "Sweetheart?" Then it hits him, and he blushes. "Oh. Kimiko."

Now it's Clay's turn to stare. Raimundo Pedrosa never blushes. Clay has to take another sip of his beer to hide his own confusion, but his amusement at the situation is still apparent when he speaks next. "When am I finally going to meet her, Rai? Never thought there'd be a women out there who'd have you so whipped—aside from your darling mother, of course." He grins.

Now Raimundo's face flushes an even brighter red, and Clay can't help but laugh when his friend begins to down his own beer in an attempt to hide his embarrassment. It doesn't work—as he nears the bottom of the bottle Raimundo ends up choking, and Clay kindly pats him on the back to help ease his spluttering.

"I'm not whipped," Raimundo finally manages to cough.

Clay only shakes his head. "Sure you're not."

Raimundo scowls. "And leave my mom out of this." He glares at Clay and stands up, finishing off the bottle defiantly before heading to the kitchen of their shared apartment to get each of them another beer from the fridge. He feels his phone vibrate, signaling a new text message, and when he pulls it out of his pocket and sees the name of the sender flashing on the screen, he smiles.

Clay smirks at him from his position on the couch. "Come on, lover boy. I'm still waiting on that beer."

Raimundo flashes an obscene hand gesture in his roommate's direction before answering the text, and only then does he finally open the fridge and pull out two new beers from them, taking the time to set them on the counter and open them before heading back to the living room and giving one to Clay before taking a seat beside him on the couch.

"She's something else, man," Raimundo says. "I don't know how to describe it."

Clay pulls the brim of his hat down low over his eyes. "Because you, my friend, are whipped. Hogtied like my Aunt Pearl when she has too much pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, and we've got to do something to keep her from eating so much she'll explode. Little Miss Kimiko's got you wrapped around her little finger!" He takes a contemplative sip of his beer. "I like her already."

"Yeah." Raimundo allows himself a small smile. "Hey—you know that famous video game company, Tohomiko Electronics?"

"Mm," Clay responds. "What about it?"

Raimundo grins. "Her father's the president. She's in school for business, so she can take over the company when he retires." Then his expression grows somber. "You can't tell anyone, though. She doesn't want people to think any differently of her. It's why she came here instead of going to a private business college; she wants to do it on her own."

Clay shrugs. "To be honest, partner, I don't care who her parents are—she got into this school on her own, and she tamed one of the biggest Casanovas I know just by being herself. That's more than enough for me."

"I'm not a Casanova, and you know it."

"It's an expression, Rai. You know that." His gaze turns back to the television for a few moments; Family Feud is on, and Clay watches the contestants struggle to come up with possible candidates for "things you find in a lady's purse" before he answers again. "I'm happy for you, though. I really am."

Raimundo smiles. "Thanks, man," he says, before looking back at the television screen. They're showing the answers for the category, and he frowns. "I can't believe no one said tampons.

Clay nods. "I know." He drinks his beer and shakes his head sadly. "Tampons."

v.) girl falls in love with boy

Kimiko is an Aries. Kimiko is most decidedly an Aries. Aside from a passing interest in horoscopes whenever the mood strikes, she doesn't put much stock in astrology. But, lately, she's been curious (though Keiko's magazines and all the love horoscopes in them—not that she's read them, of course—may have something to do with it) and one day when they're getting lunch together in one of the university's dining halls, she asks him when his birthday.

"January thirty-first," Raimundo answers before biting into a fry.

An Aquarius, then. Alright. But then she thought about the date, and the realization came to her much harder than it probably should have. "Your birthday is next week?" She frowns as she feels the familiar twinge of irritation in her chest. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I was going to, actually." He shrugs. "My parents and a few of my siblings were going to come up next weekend to take me to lunch. I, uh, was wondering if you'd like to come along?"

She blinks and looks down at the sandwich in her plate in contemplation. "Are you sure it's alright if I go?"

"Well, I don't see why not," he tells her. "There's something else, too."

"Oh?" She raises an eyebrow expectantly. "What did you do now, Rai?"

Instead of answering right away, he deliberately takes a large bite of pizza and chews it slowly. She watches him expectantly, and after he swallows, he finally tells her. "I told my sister about you."

Kimiko can't tell if it's her temper or something else stirring in her, now, but she watches Raimundo closely. "...and?"

He sighs and looks at her. "Well, I'd originally planned on doing this a bit differently—flowers and chocolates and the whole shebang. Well, maybe not the chocolate; I can't afford that much."

"You're acting really weird."

Raimundo sighed again. "I know I'm lazy, and I'm kind of a jerk, but you do know I consider you my significant other, right?"

Now that was unexpected. "Well, yeah." She blushed. "And I consider you mine." She frowned. "You already knew that, didn't you?"

He shook his head. "No," he said. "Well, I hoped you did. So I'm glad I was right."

They sat there awkwardly for a few seconds. "So, now what?" she finally asked. "Are we together, or what?"

"I guess we are," he responded. Then he sighed again. "Good talk. Glad everything's settled."

"What do you mean?" she asked.

He looked down at his lap pointedly. "Like I said, I told my sister about you—I tell her everything, I'm sorry—and she told my youngest brother, who told my mother, and basically my entire family thinks you're my girlfriend." Then he looked up at her. "I didn't tell them about your family or anything like that, don't worry. But I'm sorry, and I hope you're not angry." He looked at her eyes, trying to discern whether he could see the familiar flash of anger in them. "I really hope you're not mad." He's seen her when she's angry; it's actually rather terrifying.

But she shook her head. "I'm not mad," she said. "Just..."

"Just what?"

She shrugged. "I just realized I don't have anything to wear."

vi.) confessions are made.

Raimundo has never pegged Kimiko to be an animal person. Or, at least, an animal person where reptiles were concerned. But there she is, sitting on the floor of her dorm room, an assortment of electronic objects and books scattered around her as she holds in her hands a small green lizard, of all things.

"Hey, Rai," she says nonchalantly, petting the lizard's head gently with her fingers.

He sets his backpack on the floor and closes the door behind him. "What's with the gecko?" he asks.

"Meet Dojo." She holds up the lizard so Raimundo can see it better. "Dojo Kanojo Cho."

Raimundo blinks and kneels down so he's at eye level with the lizard. "Pleased to meet you, too."

The lizard stares back at him and licks an eyeball. "He's a red-bearded dragon lizard," Kimiko says. "I'm pet sitting for someone."

"For who?" he asks, settling himself down beside Kimiko.

She runs her finger along the yellow crest running down the lizard's spine. "A friend of mine," she replies. "Omi had to go home for a few days—his uncle's sick. So he asked me if I could watch Dojo for the rest of the week."

"Wait, you mean the weird little bald guy? That was nice of you." He means it, too; she's always doing nice things for the people around her. "Can I hold him?"

"I never thought you were a lizard sort of guy," Kimiko tells him, but gently places the lizard in his hands anyway. "You seem more like a dog lover, to me."

He shrugs. "We had a lot of animals growing up, and my sister Gabriella even had a snake when she was still in high school, so I guess I'm used to it." He scratches one of the ridges along the side of the lizard's head. "This little gecko's not so bad, though."

As if in response, Dojo sinks his teeth into the base of Raimundo's thumb, and Kimiko laughs when the man lets out a small yelp of pain. "He's a bearded dragon, not a gecko."

"Yeah, yeah," Raimundo replied. He winced and gingerly gave the lizard back to Kimiko before inspecting the wound. "Little guy packs a punch, though. Or a bite, I guess."

"Maybe you shouldn't have called him a gecko, then." She scratches Dojo's soft belly slowly, and the lizard opened his mouth in content.

Leaning back against the futon, Raimundo shrugs. "Slip of the tongue." He smirks. "The way you get along with him, though, makes me wonder if you're Medusa's long lost sister or something."

She frowns. "He's not a snake." Her eyes narrowed. "And I'm not a monster."

He smirks, even though he knows how dangerously close he is to triggering her temper. "You really don't know how you get when you're angry, do—hey!" Raimundo winced again and rubbed his side ruefully. "Damn, girl. You hit hard!"

"Do that again and I'll show you hard."

"That could be taken in a few different ways," Raimundo says with a wink before settling his arm over her shoulders.

She leans into his solid, muscular warmth. "If you're going to put the moves on me, at least let me put the lizard away." She leans forward and crawls to a clear tank in the corner of the room, deliberately taking the time to be as slow as possible as she sets Dojo inside and makes sure the lid is secure.

With a sigh, Raimundo stands and walks to the other side of the room, picking Kimiko up and throwing her over his shoulder before moving back to the futon, ignoring her cries of surprise and the way she pounded at his back in an attempt to force him to set her down. He only pausedsonce, long enough to lock the door. "I thought you said he was a dragon."

"Slip of the tongue," comes the reply as she's gently deposited on the futon.

He smirks again. "I'm sure," he says before leaning onto her and resting his head on her shoulder. But he doesn't do anything more, and neither does she, and they stay like that for a few minutes.

"I turned in my thesis today," she says, sinking down deeper into the futon. "And I graduate in a week. I can't believe I'm done."

"It's weird, isn't it?" He shrugs noncommittally. "School never used to go by so fast when I was a kid."

She turns to face him and nestles into his side. "Sometimes I wish I was still a kid. Part of me doesn't want to grow up."

"I'm fine being an adult, actually," he replies. He settles an arm around her shoulders again. "Don't get me wrong. I had a great childhood, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world." Raimundo pauses for a minute, lost in thought. She lets him have his moment, brushing her fingers along her collarbone absentmindedly as she does so. "But I'm one of the youngest of my siblings, and after all the things my parents and my older sisters and brothers had to go through to get where they are in life now—it's a lot to live up to, you know?"

Kimiko nods. "I think I know where you're coming from." She moves closer to him, and he adjusts to accommodate her. "My dad is one of the wealthiest businessmen in Tokyo, and my mom was a really brilliant scientist. But everyone thinks I'm this spoiled little rich girl who can't do anything on her own." Her voice falls, barely perceptible. "Except, I'm not."

"I know that," Raimundo says, "and anyone who knows you would know that, too. They'd have to be stupid not to." And then he lets out a small laugh. "Look at us, sharing our feelings and insecurities."

She laughs with him. "Better out than in," she says. She shifts a bit, and presses her lips to his cheek. "Thanks, Rai."

"Not a problem, doll," he says, and he smiles.

From where he sat perched on a rock in his tank, Dojo opens his mouth and shudders a bit, as if he was gagging. Not that either Kimiko or Raimundo see, of course; they're far too busy otherwise.

vii.) and then a proposal.


Kimiko makes a small noise in her sleep and turns over.

"Wake up. Hey, Kim."

She pulls the covers over her head and lets out an angry huff—can't Raimundo see she's trying to sleep? Its not like she slept much last night anyway, after all, and he knows full well the reason why. "I'm tired, Rai. Let me sleep."

He refuses to desist. "I'm serious, Kimiko. Wake up. It's important."

Bleary-eyed and irate, she turns back to face him and glares. "What."

"Take a look at this." He's sitting up in bed, leaning against the headboard and reading something intently on his laptop.

She shifts and peers at the screen, and then feels her lips curve up in a smile. "An offer for a paid internship? Raimundo, that's great!" She reads further. "And they'll give you a job when you graduate, too!"

"Yeah, but look at the sender."

"Takahashi Incorporated? ...hey, Keiko's uncle is the president there! They're a really famous energy company."

He's still staring at the screen. "I applied, but I never actually thought I'd get it." Then he looks at her. "Did you do anything?"

She frowns and props herself up on one elbow. "I didn't even know you applied there," she says. "And even if I did, do you really think I'd do something like that? I thought you knew me better than that."

"Of course I don't," he replies, still staring at the screen. "I just can't believe I got it. I had to make sure."

Her eyes narrow as she glares scathingly at him. "Sure." And then she smiles. "But I'm happy for you."

"I'd have to go to Tokyo for the internship, though." Raimundo looks at her pointedly. "I've never been to Japan before."

With a sigh Kimiko turns over and glares at him half-heartedly. "Yes, Rai, I will show you around Tokyo, and I can help you find a place to stay, and I will talk to my father about you getting a tour of the Tohomiko Electronics building." She closes her eyes. "Can I go back to sleep, now?"

Raimundo nods and closes the laptop before setting it down beside the bed and laying back down on the pillow. "Yeah, fine, get your beauty rest."

"Thanks," she says as she nestles herself closer to him. "And congratulations."

He just smiles and watches her until she falls asleep again.

viii.) and they live happily ever after.

She comes back to the cafe once after graduation and orders another coffee—medium roast, with lots of room for cream and sugar. He's there, too, but he's not in uniform, anymore, and taking his coffee black. It's Jermaine who rings them up, and he gives the two a knowing look as they stake their place at a table by the window, beside the biker guy with the spiked leather jacket and his red-headed girlfriend, and the pale goth guy next to her, and at the tale beside them, a girl in a cat-eared cat was eyeing the trio with vague interest—the usual interesting crowd that was drawn to the cafe.

"I'm really going to miss this place," Raimundo says. He looks around the cafe and smiles fondly as he takes a sip of his coffee. "I've been working here since undergrad. It's weird thinking that I won't be here anymore."

Kimiko nods her head in agreement. "Yeah, I know. I always liked coming here."

He smirks at her. "Are you sure you came here only for the great coffee?"

"No, I came for the excellent tea and pastries, too." She looked at him pointedly. "But I think the cute barista helped."

"Aw, you think I'm cute."

She rolls her eyes and takes a sip of her coffee. "Of course I do." And then it's her turn to smirk. "Fortunately, I know how smart and beautiful and amazing you think I am."

"Wait, how do you know—"

"Clay told me." She sticks her tongue out at him for good measure.

He blinks. "Oh." He takes another sip of his coffee and rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. "I didn't think I talked about you that much."

She laughs, and raises an eyebrow. "He said you talked in your sleep. Apparently, you like cuddling with me more than your teddy bear."

At that, Raimundo blushes. "Oh," he repeats. "Yeah."

They fall silent after that, and sit in amiable science, simply watching the people around them. The goth guy takes out his cell phone and starts playing a game on it while the biker and the redhead begin arguing about something or the other, and the cat girl seems to be listening in on their conversation.

Finally, Raimundo turns back to Kimiko. "You know," he says, "you were working on something the first time I saw you here—I never really thought about it, but it didn't seem like homework or anything like that."

She looks down and stirs her coffee idly. "Do you really want to know?"

"If you don't mind talking about it." He shrugs.

"Only if you promise not to laugh."

He places his hand over his chest. "I promise!"

Kimiko sighs. "Fine." She looks at him. "It was a story line for a new game I was going to tell my dad."

Raimundo cocks an eyebrow. "A new video game? It sounds awesome." He grins at her. "So, what's it about."

She smiles at him. "Well, it's about these four kids who live in a monastery in China, and have to help keep the world safe from the forces of evil..."

the end.

Some notes. (And by some, I actually mean, "Sorry if this gets way too long—I apparently like talking about pointless things way too much.")

Like I said earlier, this fanfiction began as an original piece I started working on a few days ago (as opposed to studying for exams and working on thesis papers and the like—standard university fair and whatnot). Somehow, this ended up becoming a modern day AU take on Raimundo and Kimiko in university, and even though I'm not entirely happy with the premise of the fic itself, I am happy with the content; it's exactly the sort of story-without-an-actual-plot sort of thing that I'd been itching to write, as of late.

The fic itself intentionally doesn't mention the passage of time; I've left that up to the reader. Personally, however, I see it taking the course of just under a year, from spanning from the beginning of a new school year (the fall/winter semester) and extending into the following summer. Raimundo's getting his masters degree at the same university he got his undergraduate bachelor's degree in, and Kimiko's a student there as well, and is still an undergraduate student in the business college (although she's also taking courses in creative writing and design on the side, in my mind, only for kicks). The way I see it, they're both trying to prove themselves to the people most important in their lives: Raimundo to his parents and elder siblings (many of whom have become successful through their own hard work, making him feel the pressure of living up to them) and Kimiko to her father and mother (as well as the people around her, who assume she can't do anything on her own due to being the only child of a wealthy business tycoon).

I tried to tie as much stuff back to the original show as much as I could, such as Dojo being an actual lizard and some other lines and scenarios that are probably familiar to most fans, as well as cameos from favorite characters like Omi, Clay, Jermaine, etc. Other vague cameos include Master Fung, who is meant to be the "uncle" Kimiko refers to when lizard-sitting, and the "biker guy" in the leather jacket is none other than our very own Chase Young—I'll leave it to you guys to find the others.

One of the most annoying things about this piece was figuring out birthdays. As an Aries myself, I'll admit to a certain bias on my part (though I actually don't know much about astrology myself), but as a star sign associated heavily with fire and quick tempers, it seemed a proper match for Kimiko. I was a little wary about making Raimundo an Aquarius, despite the fact that it is a star sign heavily associated with wind (mostly because the Homestuck in me can't help but associate it with water and the seadwellers) but in the end, it seems like a surprisingly good fit for Raimundo. Plus, Aries and Aquarius are very, very compatible, and I was too tired, at that point, to make any more changes.

The other thing that drove me crazy was figuring out what Kimiko and Raimundo were in school for. It was fairly easy to decide for the former; I'd always thought that Kimiko would take over the company after her father retired, out of her sense of duty and of her own accord. Raimundo was a bit more difficult to figure out, but in a strange why, I do think he would be willing to put in whatever energy was required of him to make something of his life despite his more insolent and carefree attitude—or because of it, actually. And who knows; if Raimundo ever comes across a way to harness wind energy for efficient use in electricity, maybe something could come of his relationship with Kimiko and Tohomiko Electronics in that vein.

At the end of the day, however, I'm actually really quite pleased with how this fic turned out—especially because it's the first fic I've written, edited, and published in almost a year, and also because it was my first Xiaolin Showdown fanfiction ever. I do see myself writing more for this fandom in the future, especially with Xiaolin Chronicles coming up, so if you liked this fic, you'll hopefully see more from me in the future.

That being said, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the fic—any feedback or critique you have to offer is most appreciated.