Oh man… I can't believe I've reached the end of these. I've had so much fun doing them, and I've rediscovered my love for a show that I've never stopped being a fan of.

But I couldn't have done it without your support, so thank you all for reading! And thank you, semie78, for starting this challenge to begin with! I've had a lot of fun and I'm very grateful for the opportunity to have done so.

As for what theme to go with for today…this was pretty hard to choose, but in the end I decided, why not write about my OCs? :D I've had an all-female team of Lyoko Warriors on file now for some time, and I haven't really had the chance to write about them yet. So here we go, a scene from a story I will never write! Enjoy.

Day 31: Free Day

"Well, here it is." Colby uncrossed her legs, lowered her boots down slowly from the desk, and turned the chair around to face the door. "Took me a whole night, but I've tested it a few times and I think I've got it working."

"Working? Already?" Aelita stepped inside, closed the door behind her, and set her bookbag down on the floor next to Eva's bed. Then she stepped up next to Colby, and stared wide-eyed at the screen. "You've done quite a lot since yesterday…"

"What can I say? I hit a groove." Colby tried to lean back in her chair, and wished at that moment that she hadn't moved at all. She would've done a much better job of looking cool and effortless if she still had more room to stretch out across, and she couldn't reasonably put her feet back up without making a complicated show of it. "So, is it… I dunno, is it what you were looking for?"

"If you tested it and it works, then it is." Aelita took the mouse and scrolled through the lines of code, narrowing her eyes as she examined them. "You don't have to act like you don't know what you're doing."

"If I knew," Colby said, "I wouldn't need you to double-check me."

"Well, you're still learning. But you've come a long way from where you were a year ago." Aelita reached the end of the document and stood up straight, tapping at her chin, before she moved to execute the program. The document closed out, and a window titled "VEHICLE SIMULATION" opened in its place, displaying a static 3-D motorcycle on a horizontal plane. The image was just an open-source stand-in, but aesthetics were something Colby and Aelita could work on later.

"You test the controls like this," Colby said, sliding over to take the keyboard. By carefully tapping the arrow keys and top row of numbers, she was able to make the motorcycle move forward, backward, and even upwards and around in a circle. "The haptic inputs for use on Lyoko are there, of course, but we'd need to test it in the field…"

Colby took a quick glance over at Aelita as she worked, trying her best to focus on her and the program at the same time. Her growing smile had to be a sign that she'd done something impressive - at least, that was what she'd hoped. If she could master coding then she could have a sense of confidence about it, which would be a relief after so many months of impatience and false starts. "So?" she said. "Are you wowed? Impressed? Greatest thing you've ever seen?"

"Hmm…" Aelita cupped her chin in her hand and nodded sagely. "You havedone a very good job," she said. "There's a long way to go, of course, but you've got a terrific foundation for the work we still have to do."

For Colby, this was an amazing compliment - encouraging and kind, but still honest, and not overly flattering. "I'll go ahead and transfer it to the supercomputer after class," she said. "And then you can work your magic with it whenever you want."

"It's hardly magic." Aelita leaned against the desk, looking much more relaxed than Colby felt. She wore the bright yellow sundress that Eva had bought her the other day; Colby wouldn't have been caught dead in it, but Aelita made it look radiant. "You only see it that way because it's still unfamiliar to you."

"You can't stop me from calling it magic, Princess."

"I don't think I could stop you from doing anything." Aelita laughed. "Not without getting my ass handed to me."

"Hey -!" Colby's face felt hot, and she hoped to hell and back that she wasn't blushing. "Who taught you that kind of language?"

Aelita gave Colby a sardonic glance. Colby sucked in her breath through her teeth, and let it back out again as something like a laugh; not because it was funny, necessarily, but more because Aelita had her compromised again, like she did almost every time she spoke. "Okay, okay. You… you know I'd never beat you up, not even if I was being real stupid…"

"I know." Aelita's smile faltered. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-"

"No, no, it's fine. If you were anyone else I'd be proud of it." She flipped a strand of hair out of her eyes, but only ended up pushing it all to the wrong side of her head.

"Does that make me different somehow?"

"Not in a bad way!" Colby pushed back slightly, and pulled on the ends of her flannel shirt. "I just - I respect you too much for that crap. And it's not many people I think of that way." She looked off to the side. "I'd be totally lost at this stuff if it wasn't for you."

"I'm not so sure about that," Aelita said. "If you hadn't had a drive to succeed, all the help and expertise in the world wouldn't have made you a better programmer."

"That's just what I'm talking about," Colby said. "You don't know how rare it is to hear that kind of encouragement. Especially in this dump." She sighed. "Everyone here thinks I'm a failure."

Aelita bit her lip, and gave Colby a look that seemed to be concern. "If anyone thinks that, then they're writing you off too soon," she said. "I certainly don't think you are."

"Yeah. You don't." Now Colby knew she was blushing, and she was glad no one else was there to see it. If someone had told her a year ago that she'd be making these kinds of simpering compliments - well, like Aelita said, they would have gotten their ass handed to them. "And it makes all the difference."

"And I'm not the only one," Aelita continued. "Jamila, Mirabelle - even Eva appreciates you."

"I don't think Eva'd give me the time of day if it weren't for all this." Colby stood, stretched, and windmilled her arms. "Whatever. I've had enough sappy talk for one morning. Do we have any classes worth going to?"

"Sure do," Aelita said, moving for her bag. "All of them."

"I knew you were gonna say that." Colby laughed - and then, on a whim, she stepped up to Aelita and put her arm around her shoulders. "So, shall we get going?"

Aelita didn't seem at all fazed by the hand. If anything, her smile seemed wider and brighter; Colby felt it pulling her in now more than ever. "Don't you need your bookbag?"

Colby pursed her lips. "Eh. Maybe. Actually, definitely." She removed her arm. "I can probably afford one good student day."

- Carth