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The night was young at the Xiaolin Temple, but it was aging rapidly as the sun faded further away. A breeze would pick up every now and then, sweeping leaves across the cold empty courtyard outside, while the moon kept glowing brighter and brighter in the starlit sky. It was at this time when two silhouetted figures could be seen creeping out to the middle of the training grounds for some secret martial arts exercises, right before going to bed.

One of the silhouettes started to whistle as he strolled nonchalantly into position. "Okay Kim, you know the routine. You're gonna wanna try to knock me down without having to burn me to a crisp first, got it?"

Kimiko was busy getting pumped, stretching and running in place. "Which is like another way of saying you want me to go easy on you, huh?" she replied as a joke.

"Actually it'd be like saying no 'easy cheating.'" Rai cracked his knuckles with a smile, preparing for action. "I won't use wind if you don't use fire."

"Fine then. Just keep in mind exactly what it is you're getting yourself into." Kimiko undid her pigtails and flipped her long black hair flamboyantly as she strutted past him.

"Heh," Rai scoffed at her phony narcissistic attitude. "Whatever you say."

The two young Dragons stood across from each other and took a bow, right as the natural-born wind whistled its way around them. Then all of a sudden they lunged for the attack, battle cries maniacally sounding.

Raimundo rushed in and tried a quick palm strike, only to have Kimiko block it with her arm and attempt a punch with her free hand. Rai grabbed that fist of hers and began pushing it back. Next he immediately ducked and swept her off her feet, but she reacted by rolling along the ground and then lunging again. Rai got down in a flash and kicked her in the jaw, causing her to stumble over and then reflexively make a backflip into the air.

Once she had found her footing again, Rai stood upright and pretentiously wiped his nose. "You're gonna have to do better than that," he advised quite wisely.

Kim was panting, yet she resumed a fighting stance nonetheless. "Teach me some of those Capoeira techniques and I am sure to make you proud, 'Shoku-san.'"

The Shoku Warrior grinned. "Ooh... weeell I hate to break it to ya," he began to admit, "but I don't think you have the bod," he finished with a senseless chuckle.

"Oh really? Let's see if your man hands don't have the dexterity of a hippo's foot."

"...Huh?" Kimiko instantly dove in behind him and used her tiny nimble fingers to tickle his neck and ribs.

"...AH-HA-HA! What're you DOING?"

"Ohhh... fightin' dirty."

"NO, but you CAN'T! Ha-ha-ha! New rule says you can't tickle your opponent!"

"Yeah-yeah, okay, I gotcha." Kim was about to put an end to the torture when she suddenly shouted, "Now here comes the WALLOP!" and elbowed Rai square in the side of the head. The mighty Shoku Warrior fell down flat from there.

While the triumphant monk brushed strands of hair out of her face her leader eventually arose from the ground to rub his head. "Good job Mayweather Junior."

"No applause necessary," said Kim with a simple hand wave. "Phew. May a particular Dragon allow me to get him to his feet?" She bestowed her waving appendage unto him. This, however, turned out be a mistake.

"Um, why should I? You never let me help you," asserted Rai out of the blue yonder.

"...Oh," Kim reacted, marginally bewildered. "...Is this a problem?"

The monk turned over so he could sit straight. "Nah, only the fact you never accept a helping hand with the littlest things."

Next Kim had to glance to the side before looking back. "Do you WANT to help?"

"Not necessarily... anymore." Rai found himself fumbling on that last word.

Kimiko thought about this and twiddled her thumbs together, contemplating ever deeper. "Hmm, ya know, I kinda need to 'talk' to you about something."

"Yeah? What about?"

"Well, for some time now I've been getting these... impressions," Kim began, staring off into the distance. "From, say, you."

To that, Raimundo only felt a sweltering wave of heat hit him. Not good.

"O-kay..." he spoke uneasily.

Kimiko held her arms behind her back. "Yeah, we haven't really confronted this little issue, but, oh boy..." she looked down, thinking about proper word choice. "...Ya know how we're 'friends' and all that, but it seems to me there's also this 'double-like' mixed in with the 'like.'"

"Whaddo you mean?" Raimundo brushed his palms against the cold stones beneath him.

"You know. The whole 'like-like' deal. And if YOU happen to feel it or anything. ...NOT that I really expect as such," she ensured jokingly.

"Uh, huh. Well, I dunno... why are we talking about this? What do you want ME to say?"

"Your honesty, that's what! C'mon, shouldn't be too hard."

"Look, can we change the subject? This is pointless."

"That would be a nice idea... but... yeah, I need to know. Now." Kimiko's attempt at light-hearted conversation wasn't working so well, and she was quickly losing patience.

Rai huffed and figured it would in fact be best to get something out. "Fine. How about... you're a very good person?"

Kim twisted her mouth a tad. "Uh, thanks? Looking for a bit more info, though."

"Well sorry, it's all I got. Now let's drop it." Rai lowered his head and massaged it as if he had a headache.

By this time Kimiko sincerely wished she could backtrack and rethink things. Yet more words kept coming anyway as she unwittingly compiled a scheme. "...Aaall right then, you're gonna make me assume more... more about you and me and just my 'pretty face.'"

Raimundo arose from the ground and cocked his eyebrow suspiciously. "...What're you saying."

"Hm, I guess I AM quite the catch," she continued, sighing and primping her hair. "Boy does that sound stupid. But... to you it might as well be the truth. Correct me if I'm wrong."

"Wait now, hold on!" Rai exclaimed in defense. "...Okay, yeah, SURE I might've been... crushing on you a little... not because of GOOD LOOKS though! I'm not struck dumb by 'pretty faces' – didn't you already know that?"

"...Sooo you're saying I'm NOT a catch."

"WHAT? No, you've got great complexion; that's beside the point."

"Mind telling me your point?"

"I just did! See how whacked-up this is? Seriously you're my BUD – or whatever." He stopped and slunk back down on the ground with a discouraged grunt.

"I know-I know! Don't sweat it." Kimiko then decided to sit down next to him, not making him any more at ease. But she was certainly aware she'd riled him up pretty good.

"But there IS somethin' going on, right?"

"Yes, yes and yes."

"...Egh, doesn't surprise me."

"Well look I'm sorry; there you have it, clear as the Crystal Glasses."

Kim laughed lightly in assurance. "It's okay Rai, I'm not particularly MAD or INFURIATED or anything."

"So what else WOULD you be, if not on fire?"

"You had to get it out somehow! Well uh, I'M the one who should be sorry, actually..."

"Really?" Rai paused a short while. "...Oh right. Yeah, you were playing those mind games weren't you. Gee..."

"Eh-heh-heh..." Kim smirked sheepishly however, hardly believing herself to have resorted to such "tactics." After a few seconds of gazing into dark nothingness, she loudly breathed in and out.

"Welp, anyway, I'm calling it quits." She returned to her silly mannerisms as she lowered her voice and peered at the monk sitting next to her. "Needa hand?"

"No." Rai kept staring away with his arms folded against himself.

"How 'bout a pat on the back then." She leaned over and did just what she said, which caught his attention, and proceeded to get up on her feet.

"OKAY, that's enough." He brought himself up as well, with a hint of self-reflective amusement in his voice.

Kimiko stretched high for the sky, putting that awkward conversation to eternal rest. "...You wanna have a little late-night pizza raid so long as Old Man Fung doesn't wake up?"

Raimundo yawned, and then he itched at his abdomen. "Naturally," he answered as easy as one-two-three.

The Fire Dragon reached and placed her arm on his shoulder as they left the arena, both of them exhausted for multiple reasons. The Wind Dragon, too, put his arm around her shoulders. Hopefully Master Fung wouldn't awaken and find the duo sneaking about in the kitchen for leftover pizza slices.
Something nice for Valentine's Day, methinks. Although this fanfic is far from romantic (it actually shouldn't be, to be frank).

Raimundo and Kimiko... to me they're more like two big goofs than a couple. The rambunctious "dynamic duo" of the Xiaolin team. And they are having lots of fun tonight! :D So it seems at first...

Now I've read too many a fanfic where Kim is portrayed as a fragile little girl who constantly needs to be protected by her boyfriend (namely, Rai). But what happened to the tough warrior who controls Fire, a very masculine element? Speaking of which, what happened to interdependence?

I'm an aspiring writer-person, and this aspiring writer-person needs some serious critiquing on these stories or else she will probably go crazy. Do you REALLY want me to go crazy???
Whoo, okay first critic ever; let's hope I bring this piece justice.

First off, love how you write, straight off the bat. It's smooth and clever and has just the right amount of pacing. Whatever you are doing there, you're doing it right.

The dialogue is quick, funny and smart, perfect combination for these two characters. I could almost hear Grey Delisle and Tom Kenny saying the words. Though sadly, this is probably too intricate for a kids' show. Not that it's bad, it's just disappointing that this sort of topic wasn't executed further.

Your take on the RaiKim relationship interests me and I don't think I've heard such an opinion before. I am a person who likes to read RaiKim that is written just so there isn't too much fluffy, gooey romance or practically nothing at all and the two just instantly fall in love and I think you wrote this piece in a way I was not expecting. It's hard to say if I enjoyed it or not. It intrigues me is all, how you take the relationship which I already mentioned but there you go.

How you handled the situation is also something I want to go into. For one thing, you didn't make Kimiko completely oblivious to Rai's obvious feelings towards her and that is something I rarely see in fanfiction. She knew and she waited for the right moment. Or she just couldn't take it anymore. Either way, you totally kept Kimiko canon. Also how Raimundo tried to dodge the question and not outright say "I'VE GOT THE HOTS FOR YOU!" was clever as I imagine it would be something Raimundo would do. He strikes me as the person who has a little trouble with er, um, expressing those touchy-feely feelings that all of us possess for our fellow loved ones. Maybe I'm looking too much into this but I thought you handled the whole crush thing perfectly.

I have almost no critic for this, and it may be just because I'm not quite that insightful but even so I look forward to more of your writing work; especially if you do anything RaiKim related as I like your theory despite it not being my exact views on the relationship myself.

The last thing I want to add is that I like that you ended the story with an open ending. It makes me wonder just exactly what would've happened to them after that or would they have just stayed buds *sob* or something different altogether.
The mentioning of pizza was also a nice touch as they ARE teenagers afterall, and I can imagine that the original writers would write something like that along those lines.

I really enjoyed this to the bottom of my heart and it was refreshing to see a different type of RaiKim fic and for that I thank you.

What do you think?
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February 14, 2012
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