A/N: Yes, I'm giving you two chapters. Why? Cause I just feel like it.

Episode References: New Order


"Now THIS is a race," I said I was using Force Sprint to dash ahead of the others. "You better ramp up those vehicles guys! Even on those things, you are still eating my dust!"

"Oh, now you're asking for it!" Ulrich yelled back as he pulled his right handlebar further back and upped the speed, pulling him right next to me. "Man, your Super Sprint is much faster than mine."

"Force Sprint. How many times do I have to remind you?" I told him. Ulrich rolled his eyes as Odd came speeding up to us.

"Forgot about me, didn't ya?" he said. I gave him an amused grin before upping the rate of my footsteps. I just edged ahead of Ulrich's bike as we came in the tunnel. I jumped from the ground and onto the wall, quickly making my way to the top. Once near the edge, I made a big leap off the edge while also using Force Jump to propel myself really far. So far that I would've gone off the ledge if I didn't force myself to slow down. I had a cocky grin on my face as I walked up to a sprawled Odd, who had obviously crashed.

"Now that's what you call leg power," I said, pointing my index fingers at Odd like they were pistols. Ulrich landed smoothly from a ramp jump and let out an entertained laugh when he landed. Then I could see Yumi and Aelita coming up from behind Ulrich.

"Odd!" Yumi exclaimed. Aelita jumped off the... whatever the hell Yumi's vehicle was called to check on him.

"Are you ok?" she asked.

"Oh, yeah. There's still some work to do on the overboard Jeremy," Odd said.

"Uh, maybe it's the rider who needs work," me and Jeremy said at the same time before I spread my arms wide and pointed at myself while grinning. "But how about we congratulate the devilishly handsome winner of this race?" I could see everyone roll their eyes at me. And I didn't have to be a psychic to know Jeremy was doing the same.

"To be fair, you've gotten a lot faster. But you did great nonetheless," Aelita said kindly, regardless of her exasperation.

I smiled warmly at her before turning to Odd, still smiling. "No autographs, please."

"You're flattering yourself too much," Odd said stubbornly. My smile turned into a wide smirk, and Ulrich smirked at Odd as well.

"What happened Odd? You miss a step?" he said, laughing at Odd's epic fail.

"Very funny. I'd like to see you on a overboard," Odd said, pointing to where he crashed.

"I guess surfing's not my thing," Ulrich said, waving his arm to emphasize his point.

"Uh, sorry to interrupt your fascinating conversation, but it look like XANA has spotted you. There's something coming your way," Jeremy warned us. I turned my neck from side to side to crack it before flexing my shoulders.

"Excellent. Entertainment," I said with an amused smile.

"That's really weird. I... I can't tell what it is," Jeremy said, before Yumi tapped me on my shoulder.

"You recognize that?" she asked me, pointing the direction the monster was coming from. I could see a Tarantula quickly making its way over here like its life depended on it. Knowing XANA, probably was. Doesn't mean it wasn't going to go down when it got here though.

"Yup. It means business. Odd, climb on top of that rock and take a sniping position. Yumi, I want you on the other rock, ready with those fans of yours. Ulrich, distract it with a triangulation. Me and along with you and your clones will converge on it at the same time while you two are providing overhead cover. When I say now, everyone act," I explained to the group, quickly taking charge. They all nodded and immediately went to go take their positions. Then I took a few steps before looking back at Aelita.

"Might wanna gain some distance away from here. This could get hairy," I told her. She nodded and turned around before getting ready to run. I walked up next to Ulrich, who already had his sword drawn before I drew my own blades.

"This thing's got more life points than all the others," Jeremy said.

"They aren't things to be trifled with. They can fire fast and have pretty accurate aim. Do not underestimate them. Stick to the plan and back each other up. We got this," I said in a serious tone.

"Let's do this," Ulrich said, eyeing the monster with a deadly expression.

"Now!" I exclaimed, running up towards the monster. It immediately began firing, not at me, but at Yumi who was already at the top. She didn't even have a chance to throw her fans before she was forced off of the platform from the fast rate that the lasers were heading towards her.

"Triangulate!" Ulrich exclaimed, trapping the creature. But the monster still was concerned with what was going on from above him rather than what was going on at his level. He then began firing at Odd, who began firing back enthusiastically. Lasers met Laser Arrows in mid-flight before I jumped at it at a fast speed.

"Now!" I exclaimed. The Ulrichs quickly jumped at the creature, but it batted away two clones like they were flies. The real Ulrich quickly jumped on it while drawing his sword. It attempted to raise its arm to try and shoot Ulrich off, but I severed both of its arms in one quick slice with each of my swords.

"Impact!" Ulrich exclaimed, stabbing it in its target area. He then jumped off, but didn't seem to be completely destroyed yet. Now that surprised me.

"That should've killed it. Even though it has a lot of life points, that should've killed it," I thought to myself. But Odd still had the situation covered as he began raining down Laser Arrows on it, none of them hitting its target area, but they were hitting its body and head. So it was still decent damage.

Then I heard a yell from Yumi as her fan sailed towards the monster. With no guns available to it because they were severed, it had no choice but to take the fan straight to its target area. That did it in and it finally exploded.

"Holy crap. That thing took a lot," Ulrich said.

"No kidding," I said before thinking. "I just hope this was a one time thing."

"It didn't stand a chance," Odd said in a cocky tone. I rolled my eyes before addressing Jeremy.

"We're compromised. We need to go ahead and get out of here before he sends more of these things. And fast before we get overwhelmed," I said.

"There's a deactivated tower not far from you. Direction: North by northwest. I can transfer you all back here," Jeremy said. "And before you can ask Odd, I'm bringing you your vehicles."

"You know me all too well Jeremy," Odd said as their vehicles were being virtualized. But I gave them all a two fingered salute.

"You're still going to eat my dust," I said before dashing off towards the tower, leaving a cloud of dust in my wake. I ran into Aelita on the way and picked her up before quickly stopping directly in front of the tower.

"Even when you're fighting things, I can't beat you anywhere," she said, shaking her head. I smiled.

"I'm Fast and Furious baby. You can't touch this," I said with my arms spread. I was tempted to start doing the Hammer Time, but she probably wouldn't get the reference. But she still laughed at my antics nonetheless.

We walked inside of the tower and it took Yumi and the other two a few seconds to get here. I pretended to yawn once they got inside.

"What took you so long? The both of us were just about to fall asleep waiting for you," I said before my fake tired look turned into a teasing look.

"We get it. You're faster than our vehicles. No need to rub it in," Odd said.

"Says every slow person ever," I teased.

"Now I'm tempted to punch you," Yumi said. I still had a grin on my face.

"It won't hurt very much on Lyoko and I've taken lasers to my kneecaps and face. Go ahead if it makes you feel better," I said.

"How about you all stop acting like clowns so I can get you back here?" Jeremy interjected.

"That works too," I said, before noticing something. "Uh, there are only three scanners. You plan on two of us coming back in the scanner at the same time?"

"Well, two people are going to have to wait," Yumi said. I immediately turned to the other two boys.

"Odd? Ulrich?" I said.

"Wait, why do we have to go out?" Odd questioned. "This is an outrage! I demand to see a lawyer!"

"I won the race, and ladies first," I said, gesturing to Aelita and Yumi. "Wait outside." Odd found that he had no retort to that and walked out of the tower. And Ulrich didn't really care. But I had to hold back a laugh at how defeated Odd looked. It just looked so... ridiculous! But before I knew it, I felt myself being devirtualized back to the human world.

"If XANA's gonna start programming new monsters, it means our troubles guys have only just begun," Jeremy said, leaning on his chair with his fist under his cheek.

"One thing is for sure Einstein. You're gonna have to program our vehicles faster. That way we can have an easier time against those Tarantulas!" Odd exclaimed. I shook my head as I was leaned on the wall. I really wasn't even involved in this conversation.

"Your aunt what?" Yumi asked.

"Tarantulas. The new monsters. I like to give my enemies a name," Odd said.

"What worries me is that our friend XANA obviously found a way to increase his power," Jeremy said. I started gnawing on the side of my mouth in slight nervousness from that statement, but I kept my cool. I didn't really have any proof that it was true yet, so I had to be sure.

"You think he's still evolving?" Ulrich said.

"Maybe so. In any case, from now own, we have to be ready for anything and everything," Jeremy told us.

"XANA's what you call a learning AI," I said, getting off the wall to walk in the center of the group. "At times, you don't really defeat him. You teach him. He's trying different things. Learning. Adapting. And the more he does it, the more dangerous and elaborate his plans become."

"That makes a lot of sense," Jeremy said, his index finger and thumb under his chin in thought.

"I'd better get back to Lyoko. If XANA activates a tower, I'd better be there," Aelita said. I looked at Jeremy strangely.

"How about you tell her the 'surprise' that you mentioned. I'm sure we'll be really surprised as to what it is," I said in a teasing tone.

"Well, I wanted it to be a surprise!" Jeremy exclaimed defensively. I grinned.

"It's so easy to wind you up, isn't it?" I said, still grinning like an idiot. Jeremy looked slightly abashed for a minute before seemingly scolding himself on the inside for falling for my bait.

"Keep what a surprise? Can someone please tell me what's going on?" Aelita asked. I then gestured to Jeremy to start talking.

"Over the past few weeks, I've spent all of my time developing vehicles and trying to find out where XANA might be withholding your memory. And I've also perfected a whole new program for detecting activated towers," Jeremy explained.

"A Super Scanner. Much more accurate than the old one," Odd interjected.

"With instant detection. Meaning, you don't have to stay on Lyoko all the time!" Jeremy said in an excited tone. Aelita's expression immediately turned into one of surprise.

"So I'm gonna live..." she said, unable to finish her sentence. I immediately walked up next to her and put a hand on her shoulder.

"Here. With us. Deep breaths gurl. Deep ones," I told her. She then immediately looked up at me.

"How come they told you?" Aelita asked. I grinned at Jeremy while having my arm around her shoulder.

"Why don't you explain that one, Einstein?" I said with a cocky grin and my hand gestured towards him. "Cause the thing is, I forgot this was even a thing, so I would've been surprised as well." Jeremy looked slightly irritated, but he spoke up anyways.

"He figured us out. He knew I was acting weirder than normal, and so were Odd, Ulrich, and Yumi. He asked us why, but we said nothing. But what we don't know about him is that he is a master of snooping. He heard what we were saying when we even tried to double check that we were clear to discuss if everything had gone to plan. And he still slipped past us. And the most insulting thing is that we wouldn't have even known that he knew if he didn't confront us about it. He even had the nerve to do it after we had the conversation while you were in the same class," Jeremy explained, making me grin like a madman.

"What can I say? I'm a mean, green, stealthier than night machine. Well, even more so since I got the artificial ninja skills from Lyoko, but I was a good one before," I said before bowing. "I know, I know. You're impressed."

"More like irritated. It was supposed to be a surprise," Yumi said, crossing her arms.

"Yeah, well I like spoilers. Don't beat yourself up over it," I said, moving away from Aelita and patting Yumi on the head like a child who had done something commendable. She immediately twisted away from my pats, her cheeks red from embarrassment. I threw my head back and laughed. It was so fun messing with everyone. And so easy too. But Aelita still seemed to be in a shock from Jeremy's words.

"But... I... This is so wonderful! I can't believe it!" Aelita said with a wide smile.

"How about we stop wasting time and move into the dorms? Hmm?" I questioned.

"Good idea. We've wasted enough time," Jeremy said.


"And this is your room," Jim said, showing Aelita her room. I had my bag with me as I was moving into a dorm too. But me and the others decided to be with Aelita when her new room was presented to her.

"It's not very big, but you'll like it here Ms. um..."

"Stones. Aelita Stones. Like the rock group," Aelita said, making me grin at the reference to the Rolling Stones. "I'm Odd's cousin from Canada."

"So is this your brother?" Jim asked, pointing to me.

"Nope. One of Jeremy's pen pals. As for my parents well... I'd not talk about that," I said, restraining myself from smiling at Jim's favorite phrase. The best part is that it wasn't even intentional. (No, really. It wasn't. lol. Too convenient)

"I see. Well Aelita, breakfast starts at seven AM, and dinner's at seven PM. It's against the rules to be in your room between eight AM and four thirty PM. You can ask your friends Della-Robbia, Stern, and Belpois to fill you in on the rest of the rules. That is, if they can remember them!" Jim exclaimed, turning towards the three of them. Then he turned to me. "I trust you caught all of that so I don't have to explain it again?"

"Loud and clear," I said, giving him my signature two fingered salute. He nodded in satisfaction.

"Good. Now, if you'll follow me, I'll show you to your room," Jim said, walking out of her room and down the hall. I turned to Jeremy.

"You can help Aelita unpack her things. I don't need an escort," I said, twirling my bag with both straps in my grip.

"If you say so. But... I thought we were going for the brother-in-law angle here too?" Odd questioned.

"Just trust me on this," I told Odd. He nodded before walking in Aelita's room. I walked jogged to catch back up to Jim, who was looking behind him when I was doing so. He was probably just about to yell at me to catch up.

I was silent the whole time he was leading me, but he was the first to break the desired silence. At least, I was the one who desired it.

"So, uh... how did you meet Jeremy?" Jim asked me. I cleared my throat before answering.

"Through a trip him and his parents took down to the United States. It was a while since we've seen each other, but we've kept in contact through a ton of letters. Believe me, we've spent a lot of money on stamps keeping in contact. But I have to say this is much better than any letter," I explained to him.

"I'm sure. Well, I hope you enjoy your time here," Jim told me. I have to say, I'm glad he didn't do any more questioning. Personally, I really wanted to get to my dorm while keeping a nice silence to settle in my bones.

"Thank you for the words, but I know I'm going to enjoy it," I said before thinking, "Well, other than XANA being a bitch, but everything has some type of consequence." But I saved having to talk more as we approached my room.

"This is your room. You heard everything that I said to Ms. Stones, so this is where I leave you. You can go ahead and unpack," Jim said, walking out of my dorm. I simply laid my bag next to my bed instead of unpacking cause I'm a lazy son of a bitch and decided to lie down on my bed with my right leg crossed over my left knee. Felt good to have my own space again.

Then I heard my door open, and I opened my eyes automatically. I saw that Jeremy had walked into my room.

"I see you're already getting settled in," Jeremy said, lightly kicking my unpacked bag. I grinned coyly.

"Well, I'm a lazy bastard. Takes me twenty years to do anything that isn't very appealing to me. Of course I'm exaggerating," I told Jeremy.

"Well, I would hope so. Cause with XANA, we don't have twenty years to spare," Jeremy said with a small grin.

"Yeah, I realize that. Anyway, where are the others?" I asked, sitting up to sit on my bed.

"Preparing for the field trip that we had just recently remembered," Jeremy said.

"Ah, field trips. The very thing most students love just to get out of school. And I'm one of those students. What's the trip all about?" I asked.

"We're going to make a bio-diversity scrapbook. Mrs. Hertz wants us to take pictures and to draw plants and flowers. That kind of thing. Since Sissi can get away with having three people in her group, I'm sure she won't mind if you get partnered with me and Aelita," Jeremy said, making me smile.

"Good. I don't think I could stand getting partnered with Nicolas or Herb. I think I'd probably end up breaking the neck of one of them. So thanks for having my back," I said gratefully.

"No problem. No come on. It shouldn't be long before we have to leave," Jeremy said. I stood up from off the bed and followed Jeremy out to the courtyard where a struggling Odd was trying to keep an erratic Kiwi in his bag.

"Uh! Kiwi! Stop wiggling around! Five minutes, and you can run around all you want to," Odd told his dog.

"Give him some incentive to want to calm down," I told Odd before noticing Aelita coming up to us. "Hello Lita."

"Hello everyone," she said.

"Is everything ok, Aelita? Are you all settled in?" Jeremy asked.

"Yes I am, and I love my room. Hey, what's this field trip everyone's talking about?" Aelita said.

"We're going to make a bio-diversity scrapbook. Mrs. Hertz wants us to take pictures and to draw plants and flowers. That kind of thing. You, me, and Robert are going to be working together," Jeremy said.

"Great," Aelita said before I noticed that Ulrich was walking up to us with holding a camera that was around his neck.

"Hey Odd. Almost ready to go?" he said, seemingly checking over the film in the camera.

"You aren't going to wait for Yumi?" Odd asked.

"She's got her own partner. Might as well see if I can squeeze any work out of you on this trip," Ulrich said with a good natured smile. I smiled. He seemed a little more detached from his attraction to Yumi. But who knows how long that would last.

"Hmm. You know how that goes, but you just might be surprised," Odd said grinning at his friend. I clapped my hands together loudly.

"Then lets get going," I said, following the class as we made our way to the woods we were taking notes on. Odd and Ulrich had quickly went ahead of us cause they wanted to get done faster than us for once, but the three of us would rather talk on the way rather than rush.

"Did you know that trees grow new branches from one year to the next according to an exponential ratio of one point six?" Jeremy asked us.

"One point six eight to be exact. It's the golden ratio," me and Aelita said at the same time. We looked at each other and I grinned somewhat shyly before shrugging.

"Good timing, maybe?" I asked.

"Or maybe you aren't the only one who benefited from Lyoko's infinite knowledge," Jeremy said.

"That could also be it," I said, pointing at him.

"Do you think nature will base non-linear equations systems?" Aelita asked.

"Well, considering plants have a natural growth within themselves and non-linear equations are not directly proportional, it's highly unlikely," Jeremy said.

"Then again, plants have a number of factors that completely stop growth. And there's the fact that some plants reach maturity. It's likely that you'll be able to factor linear equation systems with plants still in growth and fully matured or defective plants with non-linear ones," I said, throwing my own two cents into the equation.

Then I smiled. I found it was so liberating to be a know it all. No wonder they kept blurting out answers in class. It was so fun. Granted, I was far from a dummy, but I wasn't this damn knowledgeable. But again, it was extremely satisfying.

"Can you believe those three? Misters and Missus Einstein," I heard Sissi say from behind me. Since I was unnatural flexible for a guy, I bent my back so my face was facing an upside down Sissi, but I was still walking.

"Aw. Are you upset that you can't follow along?" I said in a teasing tone. Granted in my dimension, I wouldn't have been able to follow along either, but at least I wouldn't act salty about it.

"In your dreams," Sissi said. I noticed that Herb looked a little pissed, but I was certainly not intimidated by this trio. I had stared into the heart of darkness and came back somewhat untouched. This was nothing I couldn't handle.

I simply smiled at her with more warmness than was natural before moving my head up and opting on walking backwards. My neck started to feel a little uncomfortable.

"You need to hit the textbooks more gurl. You know, smart people actually have the right to be narcissist. So do sexy people to an extent," I said, eyeing her deliberately. "You are neither, so what's your excuse?" Sissi seemed relatively speechless for a moment and I gave her a double thumbs up before turning back around and walking straight.

"Ouch," Jeremy said, not sounding sorry for her at all. I grinned.

"And that is how I handle people who talk more shit than they're worth. It's like a phrase I've heard: 'Don't write checks your ass can't cash.' That applies somewhat literally and figuratively," I said.

"I'm not even going to ask," Jeremy said, shaking his head.

"I think that's for the best. Now, we have a project to do. Let's get it done," I said. Both of my partners nodded and we went walking through the woods. It didn't takes us incredibly long to make decent drawings of the plants we needed. Thank God Jeremy and Aelita could draw, cause if they couldn't, we were all screwed. My drawing was as stylish as Herb's pimples.

"Are you sure there aren't any monsters in these woods?" Aelita asked for what seemed like the twentieth time.

"No. This isn't Lyoko. Unless XANA sends more of them, you don't have to worry about that," I assured her. "Dangerous animals, however, are a completely different story."

"Don't worry. There aren't really any dangerous animals here. Not if we stay within a certain section of the woods. As for the monsters however, they only exist in fairy tales and silly horror pictures that Odd likes. And Lyoko of course," Jeremy added as an afterthought.

"You don't like horror films?" Aelita asked.

"I find them inaccurate scientifically speaking," Jeremy said.

"That's because the purpose of a horror film isn't to be scientifically accurate. In my dimension, people make video games that are better horror than the movies," I said.

"They're that good?" Jeremy asked.

"Very. For example, one game that I've seen. It's called Outlast. You're a reporter who infiltrates an asylum to find out what the Murkoff Corporation, the corporation that owns the asylum, is up to. Because someone who worked at the corporation sent you a message that the company was up to no good. Illegal experimentations on the patients who resided there, abuses, things of the sort," I explained.

"Well this seems scientifically accurate so far, but where does the horror genre play in?" Jeremy asked.

"I'm getting to that. Once you get further inside, you discover the dead and mutilated bodies of Murkoff workers and mercenary soldiers. One of them impaled through a pike originating from his anus and the tip coming out of the side of his neck here," I said, pointing to said area. Aelita suddenly stopped and put her hands over her mouth. Her eyes were wide and her expression was truly horrified. I felt a little bad about it. I forget sometimes that you can't talk about things like this in a time that's not my own.

"If she found this bad, then I probably shouldn't mention the Nazi Holocaust," I thought to myself before I spoke up. "I think I should stop here."

"Yeah, you really should," Jeremy said, looking a little pale himself. "Just how can you describe something like that so... casually?"

"Quite simply, I've grown used to the idea of horrible things. Unless it's happening right before my eyes, I don't think I'll actually feel horrified. Ever. Even then, my reaction will be pretty level. And if you thought the description was bad, you definitely don't want to see what it all looked like," I explained to them. "Anyway, I'm done with that since you both can't seem to handle it. Do you think we have enough drawings?"

"Yeah, we should have-" Jeremy cut himself off as he was groping in his bag. "Huh? Oh no! I don't believe it! I left my laptop in my room. What if XANA attacks?"

"Calm down. Just go get it. He's not active one hundred percent of the time. Plotting, maybe. But never active," I told Jeremy.

"He's right. We can just keep working. With the number of drawings we've done, we're sure to get the highest grade," Aelita assured him. I tilted my head at her right there. She look confident and self-assured. To be honest, it was really attractive on her.

I had to rub my face down to try and smother my embarrassment. I hoped I wasn't staring longer than I thought. Cause that would make hanging with Aelita a lot more awkward, and that I did not want.

Then I saw Jeremy running off in the other direction as I came back to the real world mentally. Maybe girls have a point when they say boys will be boys. Our thoughts usually ending up going in that direction at least once with female friends. Lyoko logic was seeping its way into my brain more and more, and I felt very philosophical. It was refreshing.

"You ok?" Aelita asked me.

"Fine. My thought process is just a little skewed, but I'm fine now," I said.

"Skewed how?" Aelita asked.

"This I'd rather keep to myself. Mainly to save myself some embarrassment," I said.

"Come on. I won't tell," Aelita said.

"I know. But it involves you," I said before grabbing the pad out of her hand as a distraction. "You figure we ought to get some more of these drawings done?"

"Yeah. Wouldn't hurt," Aelita said, before her voice turned teasing. "That is, if you're willing to draw."

"Hey! I told you. My drawing is atrocious. Odd could be even more dead-brained than he is now and still draw better than me," I told her. Aelita giggled.

"You're either giving Odd too much credit or you're not giving yourself enough," she said.

"I'm doing neither. But-"

"What have you done?! What have you done to my son?!" I suddenly clutched my head hard and felt myself run down to my knees.

"Robert?" Aelita said, but I could barely hear her.

"It is fine. We have it under control. You may wish to remain here while your son recovers."

"Damn you!"

"Sir, calm down. We will forcefully subdue you."

"Yeah, I'm not surprised. After all, you can nearly kill a child and not feel a damn thing."

"He is not dead. He is simply... drifting for a lack of a better term. Where, we don't know. But-"

"This is my son!" Suddenly my head felt painful. Like it was about to crack open. Then the feeling spread to my entire body. Like I was being moved back and forth with two forces fighting for all of me. I felt to the ground and I suddenly started spasming with pain. My hands were halfway clenched as I tried to fight the pain. Then I could see that Aelita had started to run. Just started running as fast as she could. But I found solace from the pain in my unconscious state.

"Wake up! Wake up! Robert, this isn't funny!"

I suddenly opened my eyes like I was shocked out of my sleep. I wiped the cold sweat off my forehead and started mumbling, "Dad" unconsciously. There was no mistaking the voice that I heard yelling. But the second man I did not recognize.

"What is he saying?"

"I think he's saying dad."

"Dad? Why dad?"

"We don't have time! Jeremy needs our help with XANA now!"

"Well, we have to go find Aelita. Robert's in no fit state to try and even deactivate the tower." I then clenched my right hand tightly before slowly rising to my feet.

"I can... I can move. Where's Aelita?" I asked.

"We don't know. We thought she was with you," Ulrich said.

"She was, but... then she ran. But before then, I started hearing voices. Familiar voices and unknown voices. Voice that spoke about me. Beyond this world. I think my human body's still back in my dimension," I explained, finally piecing it together. The three of them gasped at my revelation. "We need to find Aelita."

"Do you have any idea where she would run to?" Yumi asked.

"Franz Hopper's old house. He owned it. It resides somewhere in the forest," I said before I could feel Kiwi sniffing on me. "Hey, what's he doing?"

"Smelling you. I think he's getting Aelita's scent off you," Odd said before raising an eyebrow. If I wasn't black, I'd likely be red as a tomato from his stare. "Care to explain that?"

"No," I said, standing up and looking at Kiwi. "Lead the way boy." Kiwi instantly started sniffing towards a direction, and we didn't hesitate in following him. I tried to stifle down my own concerns I had for my regular body still residing in my regular dimension to focus on the here and now, but it wasn't easy.

"You look on edge," Ulrich said.

"I am on edge. I just found out that my parents have just found out that my body is lying motionless on a bed somewhere in some government facility. Whatever the fuck they did to me is the reason that I'm here right now. No one else likely knows that I'm there. They'll probably threaten my family to lie to the rest of the world. Say that I'm dead when I'm really alive. All my friends, my family. My sisters, my cousins, my aunts will all think I'm dead with sandbags lying in the grave instead of my corpse," I explained with a hollow tone.

"They would do that?" Odd asked, his tone sounding horrifyingly serious.

"You know, I tried to imagine that the government isn't like the type you see on movies. But what happened to me is straight out of a movie. So yes. I do believe that they would do that. Ruin one person's life, ruin hundreds, they don't care. As long as they don't have to take responsibility for what happened to the people that suffered," I said, my tone bitter. "If I ever get the chance, I want to see them go down for this. Death, prison, I don't care. They're threatening my family, and if I ever go back, I will make them pay." This is the first time in my life where my tone held actual anger. I felt so furious, I was trembling. My hands were balled into fists and I could feel that my expression was contorted and twisted in a way that was unfamiliar to me. Yes. I feel as if I'm actually angry. It's so weird. And I feel empowered and completely engulfed by it.

"I don't necessarily say I blame you. But... I really don't want you to leave," Ulrich admitted. That softened the anger I felt and made me smile.

"Well, if previous experiences are anything to judge, then it won't last forever. But... I'm so torn. I want to stay, but I feel as if I can't let this slide. If this is happening to other people..."

"We understand. Just don't forget that we're with you. No matter what," Yumi said. I bit my lip. That just made it even harder to choose. But I had a feeling that my decision was going to be made for me in some type of way, which was somewhat comforting. But I never really saw myself growing attached to everyone more personally than I ever imagined. It was weird, scary, and plain unnerving.

"Where's Jeremy?" I asked.

"At the factory waiting for us already. I'm gonna call him. Telling him we ran into problems," Odd said as we approached the mansion.

"No need. This is the place," I said, hopping over the fence and running in the mansion. I could hear the others call after me, but I paid them no mind as I ran inside. But I could hear the door snap shut behind me.

"You don't scare me XANA. Aelita?" I yelled before I noticed a desk was propelling itself at top speed towards me. I immediately jumped high in the air to avoid it and manage to clear it, the entire desk smashing into pieces when it made impact with the door. "This is not Final Destination. It's not mine at least."

I turned around and saw that there were two options. Up or down. I remember getting trapped in a boiler, or at least Ulrich and Yumi did, so down wasn't the smartest option. But I knew for a fact that's where she was. So I went down there anyway.

Didn't take me long to find her unconscious body. I instantly ran over to her and threw her out of the door as fast as I could. I ran to the door to quickly get out, but I was too late as the door quickly closed on me and trapped me inside.

"Fucking hell, why me?" I said as I pounded on the door frantically, but it was solid steel. No way I was gonna get through it. Maybe if I had my swords instead of my Kung Fu Fury power.

"Robert!" Aelita exclaimed through the door.

"Don't worry about me. Find a way out of here and get to the others outside. They're waiting for you. GO!" I yelled at her hesitancy. She started running off in the other direction and I started removing my jacket and shirt, already knowing what he had in store for me.

"Fine. You want me to burn to death, you sadistic son of a bitch?" I said as the temperature of the boiler began to rise. "I never liked the cold anyway." I stripped off every part of my clothing because there was no point in leaving anything on. No one was here anyway. Even if they were, I want to last longer in case things turn out different. Modesty be damned.

I could feel the temperature began to slowly rise, but I hadn't even broken a sweat yet. Unfortunately for him, I'm in my element when it comes to the heat. I can stand in the summer time with two jackets on and barely sweat. This would not be a problem in the slightest. (No, seriously. I do this shit. People actually ask what's wrong with me when I do that shit. I just respond, 'Cause I'm not hot.' Weird, but that's how I work)

I was tempted to start talking shit, but I'm pretty sure that it would end up with XANA just increasing the temperature faster. So I was patient and just let him try to kill me at his own pace. I had no problem with how slow this felt.

Then I felt the heat start to get to me. I had finally started to sweat, and I was starting to feel tired, but I didn't feel hot to the point where I felt like I was going to pass out. I blinked rapidly a few times while I was panting, but I was still holding out.

"My pores... feel great XANA. Thanks," I said with a grin, seemingly unable to stop myself from talking shit. I'm playing with death and I'm talking shit. Man, even Lyoko's infinite knowledge can't stop me from being a dumbass.

My statement did the trick, and the temperature quickly started escalating faster. Now I was sweating more than I ever remembered sweating. To the point where the sweat made my skin feel like melted chocolate. But that barely lasted long before white engulfed my vision and I was back with Jeremy and Aelita in the middle of the forest. But the change was so suddenly from heat to cold, that I ended up shivering from the sudden change.

"Hey, you alright?" Jeremy asked me.

"XANA trapped him in a boiler room. The temperature must've been awful," Aelita said.

"The most I got was intense sweating. Black people were made to take the heat. I'm easily the most capable for that climate," I said, waving a dismissive hand. "Enough of that. Our drawings are finished, aren't they? Well, your drawings and my pictures." Aelita and Jeremy both grinned and my rephrase of the situation.

"Yes, they are. We can head back to the school now," Jeremy said.

"Then lead the way Einstein," I said, putting my arms around Jeremy's and Aelita's shoulders as we walked back to the school. But my smile quickly disappeared when I thought about my parents all over again. I knew that my world would come back to affect me later on. But nothing I could do about it right now.