Kai is a flirt out of necessity.
He likes to show off. He likes to feel wanted. He likes to know that if he did decide he wanted a serious relationship - not that he does, of course - he’d have no problem obtaining one. He’s a hero to the people who shows up, saves the day and ultimately walks off into the sunset without anything to worry about but how he’ll save tomorrow. He doesn’t think he’ll ever have time to be anything else, and he’s fine with that. As far as girls go, he doesn’t expect anything beyond sighs and giggles. He doesn’t expect anyone to exist who would put up with his one-track mind. He doesn’t expect to meet anyone who would make him question his extreme dedication to all things violent.
And, most of all, he doesn’t expect to see a girl in an orange hood at the docks with eyes that spark and glow like the white-hot swords he used to strike in his past life. As he waits in the line of competitors, Kai’s best laid plans turn into shivers that run over every inch of his body before making their final exit.
He wants to be her friend, so he wastes no time making enemies.
He fights a battle that isn’t his for a girl he barely knows, and Sensei says it’s foolish, and a part of him knows its foolish. But he’s spent the last several months fighting dumber fights with less motivation, and the only thing that he now remembers clearly from his time as the Red Shogun is how much he hated being alone.
Of course she could take care of herself - everyone on this ship is no doubt capable of that - but he thinks she shouldn’t have to.
Skylor. Her name is Skylor, and she’s the master of “wouldn’t you like to know?” And they’re neighbors. He’ll get to see her, talk to her, and watch her dazzling eyes flutter open and close every single day of the tournament.
That is, if she doesn’t get him eliminated right away.
She pushes him to the ground. He falls in more ways than one. He almost beats her, but she says she needs help and he falls for it. Her earlier words about being able to fend for herself echo in his ears. For the sake of his family, he tries not to forget them again.
But that doesn’t mean he he has to steal that blade back. There are plenty of other blades, after all. Blades being held by people who are neither his team nor ridiculously attractive.
He’s still nauseous from learning that she’s a fire user, and he mentally kicks himself for still being excited to see her in battle. He’s an idiot. He’s completely head over heels for the one girl on the island who is probably his cousin.
Except, Garmadon clarifies, she’s not.
He ignores the glares from the competitors to his left when his cheering drowns out the match. In his fit of joy, he finally lets himself completely fall for the Master of Amber.
He hates roller skates. He hates falling. He hates falling over in front of the girl he’s fallen for. “I can handle myself,” she said. “I can handle myself.” He can’t say that as he stumbles desperately to keep his footing.
The first time she took his hand, it burned from the power transferring to her. That doesn’t explain why, when she grabs his hand a second time to help him up, it feels both incredibly warm and totally numb.
There’s no way she’s the spy, but he has to ask her to show her back anyway. She scowls at him, and it hurts way more than it should coming from someone he’s only known a few days.
He’s starting to wonder if saying he trusted Skylor was a mistake. Not because she could be the spy - no, she’s not - but he makes a habit of not trusting anyone who could break him.
She uses ice, and a thousand tiny hairs on the back of his neck shoot up as he tries to think of any explanation besides the obvious.
She’s the spy, and she’s seen Zane. She’s touched Zane. She’s probably hurt Zane. She’s the daughter of the man who used Zane to bring them here, and she no doubt has known where he is for the entire tournament. She lied to him. She lied to him and he, the first one to usually be suspicious of anyone that could harm his friends, fell for it.
She says she has no choice in the matter. He knows better. After all, “I can handle myself.”
He still wants to tell her.
He still thinks there’s good in her. Or he wants to spite her. He’s not even sure anymore. She seems reluctant to hurt others, but she also used to seem like she was on their side. He tries to reason with her and receives the same tired excuse as she pushes the blame for her actions to somebody else.
He hates people like that. He hates her.
He knows, as he tells himself this over and over, he’s horrible at lying to himself.
“Was it his idea to make me fall for you? Or your’s? Because it worked.”
She’s in pain.
Her powers are draining away. Her father is an absolute lunatic who couldn’t care less about her. Everything he said would happen is happening. She should probably be left to stew in her own juices.
But he loves her. Despite everything, he really loves her, and maybe she can’t really handle herself all the time. Maybe she just needs to realize what a real family looks like.
He volunteers to show her, and vows to rescue her.
She winds up rescuing herself, which isn’t nearly as romantic as all the micro-daydreams he had while he was looking for her, but he quickly realizes that he likes having her as his teammate way more than as his damsel in distress.
She’s strong. She’s clever. She’s witty. None of that was an act. None of them was an act. They fall back into their places as if nothing ever shook them, and he can already see how she’d fit into the bigger puzzle that is the entire team.
He lets himself get excited at that possibility even as the world is crumbling before them and her skin is being replaced with scales.
She declines the offer. His daydreams of forever shatter.
But she wants to see him again, and she will. Countless times. She’ll spend aeons frustrating him by being just a little further from his reach than he wants, but he’ll know that’s exactly what he needs.
She shows up, saves the day and ultimately walks off into the sunset.