Chapter 5: A Matter of Trust
Within five minutes Jeremie was back, panting, with his three best friends in toe.
"Einstein, what is going on?" Odd whined.
"Yeah, Jeremie, has there been a Xana attack or something?" Yumi inquired, a look of worry in her eyes.
"What is Xana?"
Yumi and Odd gave a start. They hadn't noticed Matt sitting there. Ulrich hadn't either, but he didn't jump. He just stared at Matt. "Jeremie," he finally growled, "What is he doing here?" His voice carried of tone of such complete loathing that it would have made any normal man cower. Fortunately for Matt, he was not "normal."
"I," said he, rising to his feet, "Happen to be Jeremie's new roommate. Do you have a problem with that?" His voice was calm, and his face, though outwardly impassive, had a spark of anger behind his blue eyes.
"As a matter of fact," Ulrich replied, "Yes, I do!" And he sprang on top of Matt.
"Ulrich, No!" Jeremie cried, but it was too late. Ulrich was punching every bit of Matt he could reach, and Matt was returning fire with equal ferocity. "I WILL NOT HAVE YOU ENDANGERING THE LIVES OF MY FRIENDS, XANA!" Ulrich cried, as his hand connected hard with Matt's stomach. "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?" Matt shouted back through a bloody lip, his foot finding Ulrich's chin. Yumi and Odd were shouting, Jeremie was pleading for the pair to stop, the dorm was being destroyed with the effectiveness of a tornado until, finally, Ulrich grabbed Matt's hat and yanked it off his head.
"THERE!" Ulrich cried. He was pointing at Matt's forehead, where the Xana emblem was exposed. Yumi and Odd now took up fighting stances, too. Ulrich wiped a drizzle of blood from his chin, then, face full of hatred, he said, in a deadly whisper, "Explain that away, Xana!"
Matt stared at Ulrich for a few seconds, his mouth hanging open and a look of rage on his face. "What the hell is going on? Why is my stupid birthmark such a big deal? Jeremie freaked out, now you three – what is going on?"
It was instantly apparent that Matt's remark had momentarily disarmed Ulrich. He looked confused for a second or two, before a look of realization followed by (yet again) rage came back over his features. "You're a good actor, Xana, but we've been fighting you for more than a year. You think we can't tell it's you? Give it up. We know you're in there. Why don't you-"
"What's going on here?"
Jim's sudden appearance caught everyone by surprise. Jeremie, Odd and Yumi all gave a start and turned to face him, but Matt and Ulrich gave no indication they had noticed anything, and their eyes remained locked onto one another.
Jim looked furiously around at the trashed beds, Matt's belongings now scattered all over the floor, and finally to Matt and Ulrich's bruised and bloody faces. He swelled like a balloon. "What is going on here?" he repeated. "Have you been fighting?"
Jeremie, Odd and Yumi glanced nervously at Matt and Ulrich.
"Well?" Jim persisted.
"No," Matt said, still eyeing Ulrich's throat, "We haven't been fighting."
"Really?" said Jim, incredulously. Again his eyes swept over the beds, the floor, and the two boy's faces.
"Really," Matt responded. "Ulrich and I have just invented a new full-contact sport."
"Right," said Jim, apparently delighted at the chance to expel this kid on his first day (Ulrich silently agreed). "Please tell me the name of this new sport, because if you don't, I might just take you to the Principal!"
"Extreme housewarming," answered Matt, without missing a beat.
"Oh," said Jim, dispirited and deflating rapidly. "I guess that makes sense... you did just move in..."
Odd, Yumi and Jeremie all breathed a sigh of relief, thanking heaven for Jim's pea-sized brain.
"But," Jim went on, determined to punish someone, "Odd, Ulrich, Yumi; you shouldn't be in here! This isn't your dorm room! Wait a minute. Yumi, you shouldn't be up in the boy's dorms - or any dorms, for that matter, but especially the boy's ones – at all! Get outside, all three of you!" And with that, Jim stomped off in a towering rage. Kids were too smart these days.
Odd and Yumi started towards the door, closely followed by Jeremie. "Ulrich," Jeremie said, tensely, "Let's go outside..."
Finally Ulrich looked up. "Fine. I'm coming." And with a last, icy glance at Matt, he followed the others out. Jeremie stood alone in the doorway. "Matt, I think you should-"
"I'm staying here," Matt said coldly, fixing Jeremie with a frigid stare. "I need to clean the blood off my stuff. See you later." He walked to the door, and slammed it in Jeremie's face. Jeremie sighed, and wiped the sweat from his forehead. Good. Matt volunteering not to come near Ulrich again was a good thing.
Less than a minute later, the Lyoko gang was assembled at their favorite tree, and in the midst of a heated discussion.
"We can't trust him," Ulrich said, stubbornly.
"Why not? I know he's got the mark of Xana, but he did seem really confused when Ulrich mentioned him. It could just be a coincidence! And don't forget what he told us about" Yumi lowered her voice to a whisper "Being hunted by those scientists."
"Oh, come on!" Odd said, with a snort of laughter. "That was the dumbest thing I've ever heard! I agree with Ulrich. This kid has something to do with Xana. Psychic. Ha! Yeah, right."
"How do you explain him reading our minds, then, huh?" Jeremie retorted. "His psychic abilities are actually the only thing I know to be true about him."
"Come on, Jeremie, be realistic!" Ulrich snapped. Some younger kids passing by were gawking at hisblossoming black eye, and he gave them a look of pure evil. As they were running back inside as fast as they could, Ulrich turned back to Jeremie. "I never thought you would believe in that kind of thing. His 'mind reading' could be lucky guesses!"
"That's not all he can do," Jeremie replied, quietly.
"What do you mean?" inquired Yumi.
"He's telekinetic, too."
"Tele-whata?" said Odd. "Sounds like some kind of weird TV repair company."
"It means he can move things with his mind," Yumi explained.
"And how do you know this, Jeremie?" Ulrich asked incredulously.
"I saw him slam my door with a flick of his wrist," snapped Jeremie.
"So he can shut a door, big deal!" Odd said carelessly.
"How do you know that's all he can do?" Jeremie fired at Odd. Odd shifted uncomfortably and stared at the ground.
"Let's say for a minute that Ulrich is right, and Matt is an agent of Xana," Jeremie continued. "If he is very good at telekinesis, he could do a lot of damage if he was let into the city. Imagine cars flying around, trees flipped through the air like toothpicks, people yanked from buildings and dragged down the street!" Everyone was silent for a moment as they considered this terrifying possibility.
"So what do you suggest we do, Jeremie?" asked Ulrich, shaken, but not about to show it.
"We need to go to Lyoko. Now. We need to see if anything is up. Last time I talked to Aelita she said she didn't see anything suspicious, but even she – as much as I hate to admit it - can be fooled by Xana. Let's just go to the factory and see if there are any activated towers, or anything that looks like Xana activity at all. Agreed?"
Yumi, Odd, and Ulrich all nodded; Ulrich still looked grumpy.
"Agreed," said Matt's voice from behind the tree.
Ulrich gave a roar of fury and dashed around to the back. The others followed to find Ulrich clutching Matt's shirt and pressing him into the tree.
"You followed us?" Ulrich hissed in Matt's face.
"No, dumbass," Matt answered calmly, rolling his eyes, "I'm just having an out-of-body experience."
"Why?" asked Yumi, hands on hips, frown on face.
"Why not?" retorted Matt, unhelpfully. "I just had a fight because I'm apparently accused of being someone – or something – I've never heard of. I figured a little eavesdropping might be able to tell me why I almost lost a couple good teeth. Plus," he went on, with a glance at Jeremie, "I got the blood out of my clothes." The Lyoko gang stared at him, livid. Matt sighed. "Listen, take me to this factory of yours, and I'll forget this ever happened. I just want to know why you guys are so uptight about me."
"Absolutely not!" Ulrich spat. "We-"
"-Haven't got a choice," Jeremie finished for him. "He's already heard too much. He knows our secret. Well, enough to turn us in, anyway." Jeremie said with a sigh. He gave Matt a furious look. "I was almost ready to trust you," he said.
"I did trust you," Matt said, "Until you started accusing me of being a 'zana,' or whatever."
Everyone glared at everyone else for a few more seconds, then Jeremie turned away.