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As you walk along with the group, the only thing you actually pay attention to is how close you are to throwing yourself on the ground. Raiden is talking, explaning the situation to Kung Lao, Liu Kang and the Special Forces. The sun is glaring down at you and you do your best to hide the discomfort the heat brings you. You've never dealt well with the summer. Dizziness and nausea are always present, partly because of how much your blood pressure drops. The fact that you haven't eaten anything all day also doesn't help.

You focus on powering through until you reach your destination and soon you realize you're standing in the Fire Gardens and Grandmaster Hasashi's voice brings you back to reality. You greet him with a nod and wait by Raiden's side as they go over the plan. That's when he comes out from the dojo, hands behind his back. Kuai Liang greets everyone with a small gesture, but when he catches your gaze, he offers you a small smile. For a second his expression changes into a frown and you curse yourself for not hiding your discomfort better.

As Hanzo offers to talk while taking a stroll through his Gardens, you glance at Kuai Liang and then sneak your way out of the group, heading to the opposite direction. You can feel Kuai's eyes on you the entire time but you don't look back. You need to sit down or you're going to pass out, no doubt about it.

Shelter is found at the backyard of the dojo. You sit on the wooden stairs of the porch and take a deep breath. You're wearing denim shorts, a white tank top and combat boots. Yet you feel like the fabric of your clothes are clinging to your skin, almost suffocating you. Hands are shaking, body is aching. Perhaps Raiden is right; you have been pushing yourself too hard. You hear your name being uttered by a familiar voice and your heart starts beating a little faster.

You look to the side to see Kuai approaching you.

"Are you alright?" he asks, and you shake your head.

You stretch out a hand for him and he smiles, takes it in his while sitting next to you. You take the moment to grab his other hand and bring both of them to each side of your face. They're cold and gentle and you sigh in relief, earning a small chuckle from him. When you let him go he moves to sit behind you. You adjust yourself between his legs as he places his hands on the back of your neck, slowly moving then to your shoulders.

"I hate the summer," you say, annoyed and aware you sound like a child.

"I know you do," he says, still with his hands on you, easing the tension from your shoulders. You two stay like this for a little while until his voice breaks the silence again. "Everyone is wondering where you are, I offered to come find you."

"Can't we pretend you're still looking for me?"

"As tempting as that is, we should head back." He stands up first, pulls you up to your feet. He's tall and handsome and cold and sweet and you want to melt right into him. "Do you feel better?" he cups your face as he asks and you lean into his touch.

"A little."

"Good, let's go then."

"Yeah, wouldn't want one of Hanzo's students seeing the Grandmaster of the Lin Kuei acting dishonorably, would we?"

"Exactly how am I acting dishno-" You cut him off with a kiss.

It's supposed to be a quick peck on the lips, something silly to mess with him. He's not known for PDAs and you're not a fan either but since it's just the two of you here, you figure there's no harm. But what surprises you is how fast he is to deepen the kiss, even going as far as pulling you closer, one hand wrapping around your waist, the other placed neatly on the small of your back. When you pull apart, you're a little out of breath, feeling refreshed, a much welcomed chill running down your spine.

"Grandmaster," you say, teasing. "I've missed you, too." A little flustered, he takes a step back and utters a sentence you'll never tire of hearing:

"You're making an animal out of me."

"I'm not apologizing for that." And as he leads you back to the group, he gives you a smirk that lets you know there's nothing to apologize anyway.