Well, this is my first fanfic...my friends were pretty heavy into this stuff. I might as well give it a try.

Of course, I don't own code Lyoko, or any of its characters. This is not copywriting...this is a cry of help from a person who obviously desires more adventure than getting lost on a road trip.

The day begins...

I watched the clouds rush by at two-second intervals, trying to keep an eye on the road at the same time. The past few weeks have been rather hellish, to say the least. All of my things packed up in the trunk, on my way to a strange school, still romantically frustrated...not exactly a pleasant era in my life. Early dawns were always kind of pretty, I suppose.

After about an hour of searching through the city, I finally pulled into the gated parking lot of my new school. Cadic... the name was posted in iron letters over the entrance gate. Of course, I'd be one of the oldest. After all, I study a... special field.

"Who are you kidding man?" I laughed to myself. I'm not coming here to study...pass classes, yes, but nothing I haven't already completed. No, I was here for a different reason. Changing transcripts was nothing; I found them...the beacons were definitely from this school.

Parking my car in the designated lot on the transcript, the only thing I took with me was my bag of...tricks I like to call it; a simple ragged satchel with my own artwork for décor. I glanced around the semi crowded courtyard, and met eyes with several astounded young teens. I smiled and went on, knowing exactly what they were staring at, and I took pride in it. Spotting a lovely little girl in head to toe black. I began to walk in her general direction, and pretended to look around, very interested in school.

POV CHANGING TO THIRD PERSON, FROM THE GANG.

"Are the rumors true, are we getting a new student today?" Odd was acting jittery all day, trying to find confirmation, and make sure his rep as the weird one was maintained.

Ulrich spoke without looking away from the parking lot.

"I think so...but I never found out where the guy is from."

"So it's a guy, huh?" the group looked at Yumi staring off into space, and Ulrich felt a warm rush flood his face. Jeremie, who had been quiet even through the gang's previous conversation about Aelita, leaned close to him and whispered.

"I don't think you have anything to worry about, Ulrich, unless this guy is a practical Greek god, you're fine." With that, he returned to his reclining position, staring at the sky.

The entire while the talking took place, Odd was watching a young man walk across the courtyard in somewhat of a confused sate.

"That's gotta be him!" And he took off toward the interesting student, with the group all intently following him with their eyes. Ulrich's mind surged with thoughts of Yumi and this strange boy together, and he grew hot with inexplicable jealousy.

"Hey buddy, can I help ya with something?" Odd's sunny personality seemed to almost surprise the new kid campus.

"...I just need to find the Dean, and get my room. And after that, I'm going to need someone to show me around." In the nervous fiddling, he dropped his car keys, and Odd immediately lit up.

"Oh man, no way." Realizing the kid was walking away from the parking lot, he put the pieces together...Odd style. "You drove here?" "That is so cool!" The boy laughed a bit and slid the keys into his pocket.

"I suppose it is...what's your name, dude?" The boy smiled and finally warmed up beyond his stranger status

"I'm Odd, and those guys over there, well, ones a girl, and from left to right, its Ulrich, Jeremie, and Yumi" Odd was obviously proud to show off his friends

"Well, my name is December, and it is very nice meeting you, Odd." He led the new student over to the group, and introduced him. Upon closer view of the boys walk, he had a noticeable limp, and a nice sized scar on his right ankle. Not wanting to say anything, as one found that polite, Odd just watching in a childish awe.

"Guys, this is December, and don't bother telling him your names, because I already beat you to it." Jeremie smiled, and Yumi sighed heavily. She rose from her seat and walked right up to December.

"Hey, I'm sorry for the strange one over there... I'm Yumi." From three feet away, they could finally see each other's eyes. Yumi's gaze was caught as soon as December returned the stare, and they locked. Just that moment, something moved inside of him.

For some strange, inexplicable reason, he felt like he'd known Yumi for years... In one fell swoop, Decembers life came to an abrupt halt...time itself ceased to exist for one brief instant. The thoughts fighting for control of his body brought about colors and swirls of light. The entire courtyard seemed to run away from under his feet. His thoughts danced around her absolute beauty, which pierced him to his soul...he came for a mission of clarity, and found only more confusion in this one perfect being in front of him. Her air of absolution started to physically hurt him. And as quickly as it had come...it was taken.

Ulrich suddenly rose, and stepped nearly in between he and Yumi.

"Ulrich." A single, solitary word that placed all of his manhood at the tip of the bow, and he forced his hand out. December took his hand, and noticed a very unnatural firmness in the gesture. His eye quirked and he nearly looked away.

"Pleasure." Returning a word for a word, December reinstated his hold on the persona of masculinity." And you must be Jeremie, a pure pleasure." Jeremie nodded and went back to thinking. He glanced around the courtyard, trying hard not to look at Yumi again, and avoiding another painful moment. "Well, I suppose I'd better get to the Dean's office before I'm kicked off of campus for impersonating a student." Every sense under his control except sight went to Yumi, hoping for her sudden volunteering to escort. Attempting one more look, as a sort of hint, he supposed...his head felt like four hundred pounds of steel, swinging on a single pin hinge. The desperate moment was finally broken with Odd's voice ringing clear, as it always does, at the wrong time. A hearty laugh escaped his chest, and December felt a solid thwack on his back, as Odd leaned in close.

"Just follow me, buddy, I'm always in the Dean's office. I know exactly where it is"

"Wonderful...lets go." The sound of December's response practically waived a flag at Yumi. She decided to let the moment go, and began to walk in the opposite direction of he and Odd. Watching her walk away from him, was comparable to watching the sky get further away as he sank under the waves.

THOUGHT PROCESS

POV CHANGED FROM THIRD TO FIRST PERSON (Yumi's pov.)

Several hours later, I found myself still staring into the water. These past two years since we found Lyoko have been pretty hectic. I'm sure we all wish for normal lives now...especially Ulrich....

"Ulrich." I didn't know what to say to him. Leaving like that probably wasn't the best idea in the world. What was it about him?

"December." Well, needless to say, it's going to be quite awkward now. Odd seems to have boded pretty well with him.... I'm so confused. I want to be with Ulrich...but...I've never felt like that before. We seemed to lock eyes for an eternity...but it feels like it wasn't long enough. Everything was moving, like being underwater. I could feel my heartbeat in my fingertips, and yet there's something wrong. Then it hit me...the reason that I could never see him...and the tie that kept my emotions bound to Ulrich.

"Ha." Even if December and I were to become close...he can never know about Lyoko. And that's our curse...we are doomed to be the quiet protectors of humanity, and are exempt from leading happy lives. We can't involve ourselves with the unknowing. And they will always stay unknowing...they'll never realize that its us. Hell, they'll never even think that something is wrong, even when Xana is breathing down their neck.

"...Xana." Every fiber of my body held that foul thing in utter contempt. Because of him...its because of him that I can't be normal...its because of him that I'm tied to this half life of secrecy...its because of him that I can't see December...its also because of him that Ulrich and I are so close. Remembering all of out adventures...watching him. Always watching his every move. It always fascinated me seeing Ulrich battle with the monsters. His motions were always so fluid... so second nature.

"But what if...just what if..." my thoughts went again to December. What if December had been with us that whole time, instead of Ulrich? Would it really matter? Ulrich is quite possibly the most wonderful person I've ever met...but what is it I feel when I looked at December? It was as if everything in me was drawn to him. Like a magnet. I don't get it.

"I just don't get it...I JUST DON'T GET IT!" Anger erupted within me. Finding a large piece of stone in my hand from the roof of the factory, I threw it as hard as I possibly could out into the bay... a streak of warmth ran down my face. I hadn't even noticed I was crying the entire time I was here.

"I DON'T WANT TO BE CONFUSED ANYMORE!" I shouted out to the water...I forced so much out in that one burst, the taste of blood was in my mouth. My throat felt as if it were on fire. By then, the sun had set completely, and the light of the moon casted my shadow out beyond the edge of the roof...I turned to walk home, and then I saw him. I didn't know how long he had been there, but there was Ulrich, staring at me with some sort of look of disapproval.

CHANGE FROM FIRST TO THIRD PERSON (FROM YUMI AND ULRICH)

Ulrich had followed her there earlier that day. After he saw that she went down the manhole, he just waited until she was already at the factory to go there. Just before sundown, he went to her. His intension was to talk to her about the meeting of December. When he found her on the roof, he decided not to disturb her. And then he heard his name. Turning to see what she wanted, he realized she was still in thought, so he sat behind a large piece of concrete, and just listened...

"I heard my name..." He shifted his weight, wanting to step forward. "I also heard his." His eyes moved from Yumi's to the ground, almost tearing up as well. She stepped out and took him by the hands.

"Ulrich, I know what earlier today looked like, but I can't explain it." At hearing the second part of her speech, he removed his hands from hers, and turned his back to her.

"So what is it...you found something more interesting?" the moonlight accenting their skin, and reflecting off of tears was bright. Yumi stepped forward once again, and wrapped her arms around Ulrich. She leaned her head down, and nudged it against his neck.

"Ulrich, these past years have been wonderful, you know that." She tightened her embrace, and buried her face further into Ulrich's neck. "I could never replace you... I only met him...I don't have any feelings for him..." Her grip further tensed, and her voice began to crack as the tears flowed freely now. "Dammit, I don't have feelings for him...I can't." Piecing together what he could from her earlier mentioned hatred for Xana, he figured it was only because of him that she couldn't.

"Yumi?" His voice was very soft...and sounded sincere.

"Yes, Ulrich?" her eyes opened, and waited for anything that she might miss, not wanting to upset him further. With that, he opened her arms, and walked forward toward the stairs. And spoke without stopping...

"Go home."

And she was left there in the dark...all alone. Crying, she picked up the pieces of what she could hold onto of her emotions, and began the longest walk from the factory shed ever taken.

MONDAY ARRIVES, AND CLASSES BEGIN

POV CHANGED FROM THIRD TO FIRST (YUMI'S)

The alarm clock rang on for an eternity. Staring at the ceiling from under the covers, all that reached me was a dull roar of constant noise. I felt numb to the world...the only thing that made it through rang clear as the moment it was presented. Ulrich's words impaled my heart, and never left. My blinking eyes were heavy, and everything was so very slow. I told my body that it had to get up and get ready. Without even realizing it, I sat up, threw off the covers and rolled out of bed. It was like watching a movie. I never really controlled anything...I was running strictly on reserves, it seemed. I hadn't slept at all the night before. The walk home was very cold. I remember it as if it were happening at that very moment. I watched Ulrich getting smaller and smaller, both in my eyes, and in my heart. His cold exterior has finally added me to its presentation list. Looking down, I found that I was already dressed. I picked up my book sack, and floated out the door...everything seemed so unreal.

POV CHANGED FROM FIRST TO THIRD (MOSTLY FROM ODD)

Passing the windows in the hallway, Odd squinted from the sunlight. It was mostly quiet, with half of the residents still in bed.

"Man, I hope December is up by now...I dun wanna miss breakfast, and I'm gonna show him around!" Odd was talking obviously to himself...Ulrich was still asleep. Odd wasn't very surprised considering all of the Nyquil that he took before passing out on his bed, clothes and all. 'He was acting very strange last night...beyond the mindless babbling, that is' He thought to himself as he made his way down the hall to December's room.

"Ahh, here we are." He stopped in front of room 756. With an Odd style knock, the door swung open...December had forgotten to close it all the way. Odd stood there, and almost choked on his breath. The door panned a view of December on the floor, his clothes slightly torn at the collar. Odd's vision turned to the desk...pictures...drawings...anything that December could do with a pencil... of Xana's monsters. Symbols of Xana littered paper all over. The floor was barely visible through the mass of familiar images of Lyoko itself. Landscapes that Odd himself has personally seen, and even a crater that was created from a particularly large monster, just recently was one of the images in Odd's eyes. He stepped back, and fell to the ground. His legs went numb, and his voice left him entirely. Along the walls, were countless renderings of huge beasts. Hundreds of different beings all adorned with Xana's icon. Odd recognized a few, but the ones he couldn't account for, were truly barbaric in proportion to the ones Odd had so much trouble with previously. Practical titans, they were. The next few moments to Odd were a blur of images as he ran back to his room, and burst in the door.

"Ulrich, wake up, man...WAKE UP!" "We have a serious problem!" To Odds dismay, Ulrich didn't even stir. Odd's breathing became erratic, and uncontrollable. He left Ulrich there to recover, and sprinted to Jeremie's room.

Odd was always the most athletic of the group. Weaving through the waking students in the hallway, and sliding around the corners were as a second nature to him. When he was two hallways distance away, he began screaming jeremies name...

SEVERAL MINUTES EARLIER

The morning sun shone brightly through the window, as jeremie sat at his PC, just as he had been doing all night. Talks with Aelita were getting longer and longer. The two have grown even closer over the past two years, almost to the brink of an actual romance, by any standards, considering that Aelita had yet to even learn about such an emotion. The news this past night...as well as over the past few weeks, was not good. Glitches in Lyoko were spreading...though very tiny, were very noticeable.

" What do you think about this jeremie? It doesn't seem to be Xana...no pulsations occur at any time during the images." Aelita seemed very worried. Lately, she had seen the static image of a person. Sometimes even for a second, and not even moving, to a full-bodied being, and talking. Jeremie leaned back, staring off into the courtyard, and thought for a moment.

" From what you're telling, this past one has been the longest yet...and probably lasted for several hours." he began to run different scanning programs, trying to locate any remnants of what ever it was that has been punching into lyoko, and disappearing just as abruptly.

" I think that's right." before He could continue with the questioning, Jeremie was distracted by Odd's voice.

"What on earth?" He got up, and went to the door, hearing the thudding footsteps grow louder and louder. Before jeremie reached halfway across the room, the door flew open, with Odd hanging on the handle. The gust of wind from the swinging ruffled jeremies hair. The moment he was in the room, Odd had slammed the door behind him. The heavy breathing took the silence by the throat. Sweat rolling off of his face, Odd gasped for breath...

"Its...-gasp-...December..." Odd's body fell against the door, and slid to the ground, still groping for air." Xana...drawings...those monsters...everywhere." jeremies response was caught in his mouth.

"Xana? You think that December is Xana?"

" I don't know...all over his room...are drawings...Xana" jeremies mind went into overdrive.

"Ok, there's got to be some sort of leak." he began to pace the room. Aelita piped up from the monitor.

"What's the problem, jeremie?" her look was unquestionably fear.

"Something's up with that new student, Aelita...Odd says he's drawing all sorts of Xana related images." he was practically tripping over his words, trying to sort out his thoughts at the same time.

"Could it have anything to do with the glitches?" she responded...then it clicked. In Jeremie's head, he went over several different scenarios, but only one seemed to fit at the time.

"Aelita, didn't almost all of the glitches happen at night...well, our night that is?"

"Now that you mention it, yes, they all happened around the same cycle of day in lyoko."

"And that cycle of the day happens to be our 'night'." it almost seemed clear to Jeremie, but, having the larger intellect, everyone had yet to catch on. He turned to Odd.

"Show me..."

The still sleepy students whom Odd nearly plowed through moments before simply cleared the way for he a jeremie. Side by side they walked. Long strides, and a determined look garnished their faces. A dark mood was felt in all directions. The following gazes burned into their backs as the passed the ignorant flock that they had saved day after day for so long.

"Where's Ulrich?" Jeremie's over tone of caution rang through his minimally worded conversing. Odd just looked over at him.

"He obviously took something pretty hard...last night, he just drank nearly half the bottle of Nyquil, and cried till he passed out." they continued to walk down the numbered sets of doors, and started approaching Odd and Ulrich's room.

"He needs to see this."

"Don't even bother, he wont be up for a few hours, by my figuring...besides, I already tried to wake him up." they exchanged glances, and knew what was going on with Ulrich, but the situation was still much too tender to raise questions.

Upon reaching room 756, they slowed to a cautious pace, and saw that the door was closed. Odd reached up and stopped jeremie.

"I left that door wide open..." the faced the door, and turned the knob. Odd gave it a small nudge with his foot. They both pried for as much of the room as they could see. As the door panned right, bare walls, and a clear desk was all that was there to greet them. December's bags were still packed... and there was December... sitting in the middle of the floor between the two beds looking at them. Lying in from of him was a large, flat portfolio. Two or three white corners of artwork poked out, but nothing could be deciphered from it.

"...Can I help you?" December half glared at them, with circles under his eyes. He look utterly exhausted...even though Odd did see him sleeping earlier, granted it was on the floor, but out like a light none the less. His voice was raspy and worn thin...as if he'd been screaming the whole night. Jeremie nervously shifted his weight, and looked down at the portfolio.

" Just coming to see if you needed some help finding classes...that's all..." If ever there was a person to lay on a cool side story to throw off suspicion...jeremie was not the man to go to. December glanced down at the work in front of him, and seeing his opportunity, Odd shot jeremie a 'just don't talk anymore' look. And with that...Odd took the reigns.

" Come on, dude, were gonna be late for breakfa--"

"Where's Yumi?" December questioned as if he hadn't heard a word they said...silence was the only thing that answered. He looked up at them with a strange look on his face. The look caught them off guard. It was a look of worry.

"Well, first off, she doesn't live at the school like we do." Odd nervously explained, raising a brow at the simplicity of his answer to the perplexed question of December's." she's usually around at lunch.... we don't share the same classes..." a sudden look of revelation brightened Odd's expression. " But you guys might have a class together, I think you're old enough." ...and with the review of his outburst, he decided to give the power of maintaining the conversation back to Jeremie. December stood to his feet, and kicked the portfolio under his bed, with Odd making a mental note of where it was.

"I'm glad to hear that. She's a cool person, I hope to see her today. when do you guys usually hang around?" December returned to friendly banter as though hed just woken up rested and happy. True his physical tell tales of fatigue were still in place, he seemed perfectly fine otherwise. "what about this Ulrich character, too, tell me a little about him...he was obviously not very quick to welcome me, unlike you guys are, don't get me wrong." He walked across the room to a suitcase, looking over his shoulder at Odd and Jeremie while he questioned. Odd took this one.

"well, Ulrich's not a very open person...he tends to clam up around strangers." With December unpacking clothes, he turned to jeremie and gave a shrug as to what else to say about Ulrichs behavior. Finally selecting a band shirt, his hands went to the bottom of his skull t shirt, and he hesitated...Odd and Jeremie were still in the room. December's eyes fell on them in a blank stare, and he stood there, static. The awkwardness finally clicked in Odd's head, and he grabbed jeremie by the sleeve, and pulled him out of the room. They continued their covert conversation about him.

"man, they were all over the place...every god damn inch of that room was covered in paper. I couldn't even see the floor." Odd rasped at jeremie. "there's no way in hell he could have gotten them all down in the time it took me to get you." He was getting restless.

"Odd, freaking calm down, I don't want him getting nervous around us, he may think we know something about him." Jeremie's words offered no less, if not more panic to Odd's paranoia. "We really need to get those pictures and show them to Aelita and see if she recognizes some of those new monsters you were describing... and if she does, I think were in for a huge surprise the next time you guys are virtualized into Lyoko. Odd looked up at Jeremie, and wrapped his arm around his shoulder.

"what if he doesn't even know what they are?" Odd's face broke into a small smile as Jeremie thought about it.

"I can see how that could be possible" With Jeremie's obvious approval ( at least to Odd) he ran back to the room, and opened the door to ask December if he could see a few drawings. Locked in thought, Jeremie heard the door open, and Odd's voice beginning to speak.

"hey, dece—"

THE REVELATION

Only a fraction of a second separated Odd's broken sentence, and the ear splitting sound of shattering glass. Jeremie whirled around. Odd staggered back, and hit the ground, blood practically flowing from his forehead.

"Odd! Oh my god...Odd, hang on—December, you bastard!" Odd's blood was running onto everything, pooling around him. Scattered about were tiny shards of glass, and a large chunk that resembled part of a tiny glass globe. Jeremie hoisted Odd up into his arms, and half waddled down the hallway, becoming more hysterical with every step.

"jesus, some body help! For the love of god!" Several students peeked out of the classroom, and greeted with a most disturbing sight. Jeremie was standing there, holding Odd in his arms. Blood completely covered Odds shirt, and a good portion of Jeremies sleeves... run off was trailing in strings down to the floor all the way from Decembers room. They were utterly horrified, and started talking very loudly, and three rushed out to help carry Odd to the infirmary. December's door remained closed throughout the entire ordeal, and would remain closed for several days after.

Down in the infirmay, Odd was unconscious, and Jeremies mind was breaking land speed records. In his head, counltess scenarios were taking place...

POV CHANGE FROM THIRD TO FIRST (JEREMIE'S)

'if anyone finds out about this, December wil be removed from the school, indeffinatley...but we need to find out what those pictures were of...dammit, jeremie, think! We need to keep decdember enrolled, and figure this out...Seeing Odd lying on the table, with gauze wrapped around his head, and blood stil seeping through to the pillow made me honestly considering turning December in for the sheer justice of it...but this goes beyond justice... I looked at Odds face...it was very calm. He must have been dreaming. A smile reached across my face. 'About Lyoko' I thought...Odd certainly loved to visit. I really do think he enjoys the battles...he obviously our best fighter. Over the course of the next few hours, I delivered a speech about Odd trying to Open a stuck steel door, and the jam suddenly opening, cathing him in the forehead with the corner...and I believe they bought it... the idea came from a janitors closet right across from Decembers room that had a steel plating on the edge, to discourage forceful prying.

And there it was...December was safe...Odd was recovering...I could resume the investigation, and Yumi and Ulrich...well, who knows what theyre going through right now. I figured it was best to leave Odd to his dreams for now...he needed a break. Xana had been attacking frequently in the past few weeks, and Odd had made every Virtualization. On the last visit to Lyoko, Odd single handedly took out three crabs and little under a dozen cubes. All I could do was watch in awe. A thought further amused me, as I continued with the reminesinsce. I also had to run my reloading program for his arrows at least four times...heh, what would he do without me? A long sigh escaped my lips, and I looked down at my now reddish black sleeves...'and what would we do without him?'

--Nearly a week had passed since Odd's hospitalization. The tension between the entire group had lessened...almost. No one had seen December, either...not even his teachers. His papers, however, were turned in by email from his room, where hed barricaded himself since the incident. For days, grey clouds hugged the sky, and the rain never stopped.

December stared out the window from behind his computer. He couldn't remember how long hed been sitting there, looking at the same piece of sky...hours maybe. The soft greay filled the entire room, wrapping around him. He sat and lisened...for hours on end, he heard the rain come and go. In his mind, he heard the rain create patterns...but if he listened even harder, and concentrated until every portion of his body was numb, he heard Yumi's voice...in the rain. It strained through the breathy noise of the constant downpour. This was his daily routine...

Yumi's nerves were just about gone entirely. Ulrich hadn't spoken to her since the night at the factory, and December was locked away...Odd was still in the infirmary, and Jeremie stayed by his side. Her day mainly consisted of class in the morning, and the walk home during that no one worth talking to was actually around.

Ever since the ordeal, shed sworn to talk to December, and knock sense straight through his pierced little lips. She remembered his face...what she felt when they were frozen in that moment of time...and the burning sense of betrayal from his attack on Odd. Jeremie had given her the story he knew from listening. They left because December was trying to change shirts...which seemed strange to Yumi why he would want them to leave while he changed shirts... Odd went back to talk to him about the drawings (of which, Yumi was also notified). He opened the door, and poked his head in, and that's when the glass flew. Jeremie also added the strange pause between Odd's cut off speech, and the shatter. He said it like maybe he saw something... Odd doesn't remember anything, though...the force that was required to break the Globe on impact with Odd's skull caused a slight concussion. The scene played over and over in her head for days...she'd become perpetually agitated, and snapped with the slightest pressure.

"Dammit... that's it...todays Saturday, I'm going to fucking strangle him." She screamed as the flew out of her room, and down the hall. Her parents were in the kitchen, and heard her barreling down the stairs...before they could ask her, she shouted to them as she almost ran across the welcome mat. "I'm going to the school."

Her thoughts were boiling inside of her as she stormed across the courtyard of Cadic. Everything seemed to zoom by. She was too angry to even blink. Down the hall of the dorm, she could hear students talking, and music. As she passed each door, her anticipation grew...she almost stopped when a thought that she hadn't anticipated streaked through her blood soaked mind. Every step toward December, was a few steps sooner to Ulrich... she had to pass Odd's room to get to Decembers. The triviality of the problem imploded upon itself as she came to the sudden realization...that she didn't really care.

The numbers growing higher and higher...her adrenaline had nearly peaked. She felt the muscles in her legs grow hot and taut. A warm rush flooded her ever sense, and the edges of her vision blurred with rage. She reached the door, and raised her arm to assault it and announce her presence.

In his room, December turned to the door an instant before Yumi had barraged it with fists. Before even a second of the banging had past, he leaped to the door, yanked the knob, and dragged her inside. Yumi nearly bent in surprise, but rose up and met him eye to eye. He swung the door shut behind them, and simply stared into her. She drew breathe, and opened her mouth to lay into him. Catching her short, he shoved her back into the chair, and she fell into a sit.

"Now..." he began calmly. His eyes were cold...ice compared to the warm windows that Yumi had come to remember so frequently. "I don't know who you people are...but I think you know something about what's happening to me...and to be quite honest... I'm scared." Yumi's mind raced with questions...after the initial shock of his statement. She finally regained control, and managed to shove out a response.

"What are you talking about...whats happening to you?" His hands gripped the bottom of his shirt, and he began to raise them upward. Yumi found her hands gripped to the arms of the chair...she was damn near terrified at what December was revealing.

As the shirt lifted over his head, his torso was slowly revealed...close to what seemed like dozens of decent sized scars riddled his chest and stomach. "oh my...god...who did that to you...was it Ulrich?" she raced for clues in her head, but the jealosy issue was the only one that seemed to fit." He finally spoke after the shirt had been cast aside altogether.

"Odd definitely recognized something...something so mortifying, it sent him running to rally his friends." Without another word...he turned toward the door. Yumi's eyes widened, and her mouth was left gaped when his back was in her view...

From the base of his neck, to the small of his back, and as broad as his shoulderblades...there in from of her was the symbol of Xana....carved into his back. The wound was still bruising from the the blood loss, and was obviously recent.

"I couldn't change fast enough..." his words broke her trance, as she realized what he was saying. He couldn't change his shirt fast enough, the motions would further damage his back...and that's why Odd's intrusion frightened him. "I didn't know how hed react to the him fetching Jeremie just from the pictures." Then it snapped, Yumi remembered the drawings that Jeremie had told her about...the new monsters, and unfamiliar landscapes.

"December, show me the drawings...and tell me how you saw them...and..." she hesitated at the thought. "tell me how the cuts were made."

The next two hours proved to be the most intense concentration of strange tales that Yumi could remember. December went on with his confessions and explanations. At night, hed have these dreams...he wouldn't even remember falling asleep. Over the past week, they had been the longest. The monsters would attack, him, and all he could do is run...while going into detail about the encounters with the more gargantuine beasts, he began breathing very shallowly, and rocking back and forth...tears formed in his eyes. He was practically reliving the visions in each explanation. After a particularly brutal description, he broke into tears, and clenched his chest. Blood seeped through his fingers...the intense talk had actually caused the conversationally specifc wound to open again. Yumi rushed to him, and threw her arms around him, and just rocked with him.

"Shh, shhhh shh, its ok, December, I'm here...I'm here..." the feeling of being this close, and actually being able to comfort him filled her to the brim with emotion...she opened her eyes...and for the first time in two years...she had been opened to someone outside of the group. December's obvious ties to lyoko made it possible...yes...her mind raced as she held him in that wonderful embrace...yes... 'we can be together...we can be together...' the words ran over and over in her mind, and her eyes burned with tears. "We can be together. " she finally said aloud. The two were intertwined in that comforting hold, and her hand drew to his face, and lifted it from his hands... She leaned in, and pressed her lips against his. The glorious rush of the entire new revelation electrified her body, as the warm touch of his lips resounded in her heart as she repeatedly ran he hand through his hair. After what seemed to be hours of intimacy, which may have been only seconds, she finally let go, and inched away from his face. Her eyes slowly opened, and the only thing in her sight was his beautiful, beautiful eyes staring back into hers. As she gazed into them, she saw streaks of blue, and green...but there, just around the infinitely balck mirror of an iris, was a tiny explosion of yellow, reaching out between the clash of green and blue. The rush of emotion from when they had first met had come flooding back in ten fold. With December still engulfed in her warm arms...she began to fall back onto the bed. She had suddenly felt very tired... but it was a good tired...one of those cold winter mornings under a warm comforter, next to the that wonderful person who was still sleeping...and you'd stare at them with your eyes half open. Then, looking up at the ceiling, you'd smile, and bury yourself even further into the entaglement of skin and warmth.. The feeling covered her like a blanket, as she closed her eyes, and drifted asleep to the sound of December's breathing, with an undertone of a rainstorm.

Ulrich's problem

It had been three hours since Yumi was pulled into December's room. She had caught the attention of several students with her march of death down the hallway, Including Ulrich. He had seen her pass, and watched as she stormed away, and disappeared into 756. The rain had worsened. Seeing Yumi go into his room...Filled Ulrich with an air of hatred. Contempt for the two ran deep in him, like tree roots. Yet, for a reason that escaped him, he couldn't help but force himself to think of the sick and twisted things that December could be subjecting Yumi to. In his mind...Ulrich had already analyzed December as a manipulative bastard. The incident with Odd didn't help either. Even the aura around Ulrich darkened with a jelous resentment of Yumi's miniscule possibility for feeling remotely attached to that monster. The constant noise in ulrich's head reflected the music on his stereo. Ever since the day at the factory, Ulrich had slept at every opportunity. And when he wasn't sleeping, he was watching yumi in the courtyard from his room, burning a hole through her in his mind. The sound from the speakers was harsh and emotionless. At the moment, strains of Static X filled the room, as well as ulrich's heart, with a sinister taint. At that moment...Ulrich made a decision. With Odd in his condition...yet soon to recover, thankfully...and jeremie not leaving his side, Ulrich was going to storm 756. He realized that he actually wanted December to be mistreating yumi, so that Ulrich could come to her rescue. Through his thoughts, images passed that churned his stomach. Possibilities of what could be going on behind that door rang in his head, and he shuddered. The same thoughts ran over and over again, as if on repeat...and to some extent, Ulrich didn't' want to stop thinking about them. They fueled him. He stood, and walked to the door. His walk was staggered with rage. With his entire body shaking from the rush of apathy, he turned back around, and removed the dagger from his dresser drawer. At this point, Ulrich was anything but thinking clearly. His mind was tainted with a dark desire to end December's life, no matter the status with yumi. He began his walk to the room, the dagger sheathed in his shirt, and him hugging at it as if it were the holy grail in a room full of thieves. Very slowly he strode up the hall. To his eyes, he seemed to float there. An adrenaline rush that would make any Olympian lust after its magnitude nullified all minor vibration. The entire scene played over in his mind...

He would open the door. And there would be Yumi, nude and beaten, with December standing over her. He woul lunge at Ulrich, and just as they made contact, he would drive the dagger straight through his heart, returning yumi to her rightful place...in my arms.

He drew the blade, and reached for the doorknob, ready to let blood fly. Closer and closer the moment came when Yumi would be returned to him...after all, they could never be together anyway. She was lying to her self, thinking she could have him...ulrich's thoughts became more and more delusional with every moment that passed between him, and staining his hands with the untimely death of December. Just then, everything that seemed to hold the fabric of ulrich's world together suddenly abandoned him...the muffled sounds of soft sighs, and heavy breaths wreaked havoc on every system possible within every system possible in his body. His hand fell lifeless to his side, and ulrich's vision had blurred. The hallway had turned downward very rapidly. He was surprised to find the floor leaning against his left shoulder, and the ceiling getting further away from him. The door has sunken to his feet, and through it all, he still clutched the dagger with a death grip...even then, ready to pierce December with it. With his world gone post modern cubism, he managed to stand up, and navigate back to his own room. He figured that he would never be able to fight December in this condition...he would just take a little nap, and then try again. Ulrich's reality was unwraveling in front of his eyes. He woke up that morning at two a.m., but to his surprise, he wasn't wearing the same clothes as he was earlier. He finally came to what he had left of his senses, and was once more filled with the desire for December's body to be held accountable to him... he rose up off the bed, and noticed a smooth surface in his hand. He held an empty Ziploc bag. The more he noticed the real world around him, the more alien it became. He started a hunt for the knife to again make a try for December's life, but came up fruitless...and the more he thought about it...he couldn't remember ever even owning a dagger like the one he had earlier... feeling dazed and confused, he sat back down on his bed, and began to weap uncontrollably

The day came for Odd to be released from the infirmary. Jeremie had gone into the dorms to spread the good news his friends. As he traveled up the hallway, his heart practically sang. It was the best he'd felt in weeks. Over the course of staying with Odd, Jeremie had only talked to Aelita twice. The first stop was his own room, to notify her of the passing of their time apart, and the promise of keeping the saparation from happening again. "and just to say once more, I'm so sorry, I really didn't mean to go for so long without talking to you." The sound of Jeremie's voice was practically to the point of a beggard's. the image of Aelita on the screen smiled, and began to respond.

"its ok, jeremie, Odd was in trouble, you don't have to apologize for something like that. If there's one thing in understand about your world, its that your friendships run deep and unbreakable. Its why you guys have been helping me. If you didn't care about each other, you wouldn't care about me either...and would have just deactivated the entire lyoko system." Her voice was halfway garbled through jeremie's inferior connection to the factory's super calculator. The memories of time that he'd snuck out of his dorm room to the factory, just to be as close to Aelita as possible, and not have to listen to her voice through a secondary system. But hear it almost from her herself, through the headphones, of course.

"Please don't talk like that...it hurts me to think of you not being a part of our..." he stopped short... and truly thought about his answer. "...my life." He looked at his watch, and got up from the chair. "Sorry, but I have to go. I need to get the others"

"I'll be here when you need me, Jeremie." The screen then went black, and back to the desktop. 'I will always need you, Aelita...youre the reason I get up in the morning now.' Jeremie's thoughts revolved strictly around her unitl he reached ulirch's door, and knocked. A voice emerged from inside, that barely sounded like Ulrich.

"who is it." Jeremie shrugged, and continued.

"Its me, Ulrich." The door opened three inches, and Ulirch's eye came into view.

"hey, I'll be ready in a few minutes...whats going on?" Jeremie gave a smile, and delivered the news he'd practically practiced for the past day.

"dude, Odd's being released today—"

"really?" Ulrich sounded almost surprised, and opened the door all the way.

"yeah, only thing is...I'm on my way to get December as well." The tone suddenly turned ill, and Ulrich slightly closed the door, and pretended to lean on it, to cover up his uneasiness. "Listen, I know you have issues with him..." Ulrich laughed to himself at the understatement. "But I really think that somethings up with December and Xana...for all we know, he may not even know what he did. I'm going to find out what it is about these 'pictures' that Odd was going on about before the accident...and I'm even considering trying to virtualize him later." Jeremie's voice seemed to trail off a bit. "if what I think is right...he's already been inside of Lyoko, and doesn't remember it." The idea sounded like insanity to Ulrich, but in no way would he be associated with December, in his book.

"hey, uh...you go ahead and go...I'll meet up with you guys at lunch." Jeremie then gave him the strangest look, and rolled his eyes as he heaved a sigh and continued to walk down the hallway to December's room.

'man, why can't he let it go? I know he has feelings for Yumi, but Yumi is also her own person...' Ulirch's strange behavior lately baffled Jeremie, yet he rode it off as jelousy, and approached December's room. Upon reaching the destination, Jeremie rapped on the door, and sounded off.

"December?"...no answer from inside. "December, its Jeremie...I need to talk to you."...he waited, and placed his hand on the knob...remembering what happened to Odd, Jeremie very slowly opened the door, and talked through the gradually opening space, to announce his presence, and not catch him off guard.

"December, I'm coming in, ok?...I know that this is strange, but Odd's being released today, and I want you to come with me..." Jeremie finally came to the conclusion that something was wrong, and he opened the door the rest of the way, and gazed in upon the inside of the room. No December...but when his eyes traced over the bed, his eyebrows crinkled and his mouth semi gaped. There, on top of the covers, fully dressed, was yumi...sound asleep...

"can I help you with something?" Jeremie physically twitched from surprise, and spun around. There was December...in a bath towel, and black T shirt, his dredlocks still dripping. A straight expression adorned his face, as he stared blankly at Jeremie.

"....oh, uh...This is weird and all, but I want to you be there when Odd is released from the infirmary...if you can, that is..." he talked about as well as a deer in the headlights... and had the face to match. Not that un reasonable, considering that December was a good bit taller than all three of the guys. December stood there, and then raised his arm, and placed a hand on Jeremies shoulder. He looked straight into his eyes, and the expression on his face softened.

"I want you to know that I'm infinitely sorry for what happened...but I don't think I can face him right now...imean...in his eyes I must look pretty terrible, you know." Jeremie just smiled a bit.

"actually, he doesn't really remember much of the incident itself, I even mentioned your name, and he had to think." "I think itll be just fine..." December looked at the ground, and exhaled.

"still the same... I'm going to stay here." He looked in on yumi and smiled...

as Jeremie started to respond, December walked into the room, and gently shook yumi awake. She sat up and squinted her eyes around the room, and then, spotting Jeremie at the door, gave a confused look to December. He took her hand, and helped her stand.

"Jeremie tells me that Odd is getting out today." Her eyes lit up, and she smiled big. Looking at Jeremie, she began to speak.

"what time?" she enthusiastically asked, and Jeremie stepped in the room, and looked at both her and December.

"pretty soon actually, I was just asking December if he wanted to go down and see him." Yumi's eyes went to December, as if waiting for a confirmation. He looked ashamed, and glanced at the floor.

"you guys go ahead, I'll stay here... besides, I have to get dressed." Jeremie looked back at the door, and looked as if her were about to start walking out at the mention of December getting dressed.

"Oh, come on, December, go and see him with us...I'm sure he'll understand, he's Odd for christ's sake." She laughed at her association with Odd and forgiveness.

December turned from them, and walked to the window, letting the sunlight bathe him like the the shower he'd just emerged from.

"no, its ok, I have some work to do...for a class. As you remember..." he turned his head, and glanced in their general direction. "... I was absent for a week." Yumi walked over, and wrapped her arms around his waist, and laid her head against his back. Jeremie looked off in another direction, pretending to be distracted by something in the room.

"Well, ok...I'll tell you how he is..." she walked over by Jeremie again, and nodded her head toward the door. "I'll stop by later, ok?" she said before following Jeremie down the hall.

"I hope so." He called after her, and closed the door. Returning to his chair, he slowly removed his wet shirt, and hung it up to dry. He sat down, and rolled to the window, and felt the sun warming his beaten chest.

Down the hall, Yumi and Jeremie were walking in strides, and Jeremie felt very uncomfortable with the situation they had just exited...

"Yumi...can I ask you a question?" Her eyes glanced at him behind her hair, and gave a small smile, already knowing what he was just short of asking, and answered before he even had the chance to embarrass himself further.

"Jeremie, theres no need to be uneasy about where I was this morning...all December and I did last night was sleep, I promise...and as for my parents, I called and told them I was spending the night at the school with Tamika...and they're fighting again, so they didn't argue against me being out of the house."

"I see, well, its not like I was inferring that you and he...uh...oh my...you know what I'm trying to say, right?" Yumi just looked at him, and placed her hand over his shoulder as they walked. He smiled back.

looking at his watch, he picked up his pace.

"They should be letting him walk around on his own." Yumi caught up with him, and brushed her hair back behind her ear. She looked at him with a puzzled look.

"normally, head trauma's don't take a week to recover, Jeremie, what happened?"

"Well, Odd lost a considerable amount of blood...we just couldn't get him there fast enough...hes been building up his cell count...not to mention trying to remember everything that had happened that day." They flew down the stairs tandem.

"so hell be able to go to lunch today?" she threw him a look of hope.

"For today, hell be in a wheelchair...but yes, he should be able to leave the building permanently, and return to his room." Rounding the corner, they opened the door, and exited into the courtyard. Across the campus, they saw Sissi and her tiny entourage talking to three freshmen. Yumi exchanged a glance with Jeremie as they passed, and entered the infirmary building.

"Follow me...he's in room four." Jeremie led the way, and pushed open the double doors, and there was Odd.

The nurses were about to put him in the wheelchair...he looked very awake, and just as always...very much like Odd. He noticed them come in, and livened up.

"he guys, long time no see...well, yeah, I've seen you jeremie, but whereve you been yumi?" he shot her a quisitive expression.

"well, as you know, Ulrich and I have been having problems...I haven't been at the school very much... "She quickly tried to change the subject. "Odd, I want to know your opinions on December..." After the rapidity of the words, she almost cringed up to hear the answer. Odd looked down at the bed, and then at the ceiling, as if searching for his answer somewhere in the room. "I'm asking...because he's been worried about you...he hasn't left his room since the accident."

Odd's gaze centered on her again. " is he still in his room?" he asked, half of him wanting to know, half of him not surprised.

"he didn't want to come...because he wasn't sure about your reaction to him." Yumi stood, and hoped that Odd would see it like she did. While she waited for his response, she wished with the whole of her that she could tell them what she saw the day before...December's scars justify the entire incident... ' he doesn't want me to reveal anything...I know it...' the thought almost hurt her. Of course, the news of his encounters with things pertaining to Lyoko would never bring Ulrich around...speaking of which, he had rarely been seen...even in his classes. When someone does manage to get a hold of him...he seems to be in a perpetual state of confusion and slow motion. Her wandering snapped to attention when Odd had finally spoken about December.

"I want to see him..." Yumi looked at Odd...and he had taken on a strange air about him. He sat up very straight and still...and was looking out of the window as he spoke. Very unlike himself...his hands were folded in his lap on top of the covers.

"Odd, you should rush—"Yumi began. And was immediately cut off by Odd.

"I want...to see him..." His eyes lazily floated to hers..."I saw something."

Her mind went back to December's scars...'Odd had caught a glimpse of them just before the concussion'. Yumi looked up to Jeremie, and requested a conference outside...they turned and walked out of the room, leaving Odd looking once again out the window, at the sun drenched courtyard.

After the door had closed behind them, Yumi stopped Jeremie by placing both hands on his shoulders...

"Jeremie...what Odd and I are about to show you...its just like Lyoko...it must be kept strictly between us...but not even Ulrich can know." Jeremie's eyes widened, and he nodded his head...he didn't quite understand what that was..but he did understand Yumi's infamous sparring techniques he'd seen in action before.

The doors swung open with Yumi striding in, with a smile...

"are you ready to go, Odd?" she glanced at the nurse, who gave a nod of approval. Odd draped his legs over the side of the bed, and slid into the wheelchair with the nurse and yumi's assistance. Jeremie stood at the door, ready for Yumi to wheel him through. On the way back to the building several students waved and smiled at Odd, trying to welcome him back into circulation...he sat vacant, and ready. Reaching the elevator, and pushing the seven hundred block, they started to rise. The feeling of upheaval made Odd a bit queasy, but it had soon passed after the elevator stopped on the seventh floor. The door opened, and they continued down the hallway. All of them were silent...which was rather strange for Odd. Down the doors they strode, with Yumi pushing Odd, and Jeremie following close behind. As she walked, Yumi's thoughts lie ahead of them. ' I wonder if December will be as willing to show them as he was to show me...I can only hope...that's not something very easy to unwrap for anyone' the droning of Odd's tires echoed through the hall as her monologue progressed in her head, this time to more pleasant tings. ' last night was wonderful...all night, I could feel his heartbeat...sometimes, all Ulrich would want to do is try to get into my pants...but just laying there...sleeping...everything was so perfect...' Finally reaching the room, Yumi had turned to Jeremie.

"Listen, I think I better go in first and try to talk to him..." At her words, Jeremie nodded in total agreement, not wanting to invoke December's anger in any way.

POV CHANGE FROM THIRD TO FIRST (FROM DECEMBER)

' No doubt...I'm finally finding answers...for as long as I can remember, those nightmares tore at me. And now...as if fate brought us together, Yumi is now opening my eyes. Yes, granted I came here looking for them, I never expected a person to be those long awaited cries of relief. Everything seems so clear when I'm with her...as if she knows exactly how to fix my broken past....my past...its been weeks since I last tried to remember. All those horrible nights seem so far away ever since I met her. Thinking now...I'm probably ready to just go on with my life...its not like I need my beginnings to reach my end...' I laughed to myself. ' no, I think I can manage reaching my ends quite easily. If I'm not careful, a little too easily.' I stood, and walked to my bags, now on the floor to make room for us last night on the bed. Halfway unpacked, they stared at me and resonated with memories of the incident with Odd. Two knocks on my door dissipated my thoughts, and the door opened as Yumi slid into my room, and closed it behind her.

"Hey...you ok?" she asked me with a worried look on her face. I looked down, and realized I hadn't gotten dressed yet.

"yeah, I'm just...thinking, that's all." I picked up a shirt, and started to pull it over my head when I felt her hands on my arms, prompting me to stop. I removed the cloth, and looked down at her.

"Odd's here...I want you to show him what you showed me...Jeremi's here as well. They can help." Her voice was like mother's kiss on a fresh cut. Normally, I'd cast aside any sort of inference of needing help for anything. Yet for reasons that escape me, I dropped the shirt to the ground, and gave a tiny smile of approval. In a sudden jolt of liveliness, she threw her arms around me. Her hair brushed against my face, and I wreathed her waist with my arms... she was so warm. She pulled from me, and went to the door. Grasping the knob, and looking at me one more time...I nodded my head.

The door practically creaked open, and the sound of turning wheels filled the room. As Odd and Jeremie rounded the corner, I stood there as if on display. To my surprise, I didn't feel uncomfortable at all. I was completely serene...even when Jeremi released an audible gasp when the sight of my chest came into his view. The only reason I wasn't instantly volatile...was because she was there. I trust her. If she says that jeremie can help, then he can. I haven't yet revealed my back, but they seemed astonished just the same. Yumi looked me in the eyes, and gave a heavy sigh...I knew it was time to turn around, and unveil the real terror. Odd had been placed center view, and Jeremie had stood at his side, next to my bed. Yumi was still at the door, but all had a clear sight of me. I began to rotate my entire body. The room's walls went by in streaks and blurs. The window was a bright flash. As everything came into focus again, I was looking out of the window...into the same courtyard I had spent entire days studying. The squeak of my bed springs echoed throughout the room. ' Jeremie fell.' I thought. Not a word was cast at me. I could feel the stares burning into me.