By Flying Star
Disclaimer: Blasted firewall prevents me from aquiring the rights. In other words I don't own Code Lyoko.
Highly unexpected are the first words that come to mind. I really didn't think I was going to write another fic in this catagory (besides the oneshot). But fate works in mysterious ways. As for this story, well it focuses on my favorite pair, Jeremie and Aelita. I can't give away the plot, but let's just say that after a XANA attack the two see each other in a different light, literally. This story is in no way connected to " The Enemy Within". Takes place a little bit after season one.
" Two Wasps on your right, Odd!" The blond-haired genius cautioned, watching in dismay as Odd's beacon and avatar card flashed red. " Ten life points lost, you have to be more careful. You've only got fifty life points left!"
" Yes, sir!" Odd's voice issued forth from the super-calculator's speakers, prompting Jeremie to sigh. ' Sometimes I wonder if he even takes things seriously.' He thought as he checked on Ulrich's progress. " How are things on your end, Ulrich?"
" Pretty good, " came the reply. " Aelita and I are nearing the tower."
" And Odd?"
" Doing what he does best, distracting and toying with XANA's monsters while having fun." Jeremie could hear the exasperation in his voice, and frankly he couldn't blame him. To Odd, being in Lyoko was a game, he enjoyed battling XANA's creatures, even though his rash actions usually caused him to be devirtualized before time was reversed. ' Now if only he could focus that energy into studying.' Jeremie thought with a bemused smirk.
Yumi's mobile phone number appeared on screen, bringing him back to the task at hand, and the current danger.
" Yumi, what's your status?"
" Hectic, " was the frantic response. " it's like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's " The Birds" over here!" A chorus of bird calls could be heard over the phone as she continued. " I'm trapped in the school's gym, along with most of the school's students." She yelped as a crow divebombed her, it's mouth just missing her head and instead grabbing her mobile phone from her hand.
Jeremie blinked as the connection between him and Yumi was severed, the phone having been crushed in the bird's beak.
" Not good. " he muttered, turning his attention back to the map layout. Ulrich's and Aelita's icons were almost at the tower, while Odd's was still a ways off. And while the Wasps icons were gone, two Crab icons were in their place, surrounding him.
Jeremie glanced at the status boards. Odd had thirty life points left, while Ulrich had sixty. Aelita still had her full amount of points thanks to the two warriors.
" Ulrich?" he questioned.
" Don't worry Jeremie. We're at the tower now. Aelita, do your stuff."
Jeremie relaxed, watching as the usual string of commands entered the screen, followed by the Enter prompt. " Return to the past, now!" he yelled, pressing the button.
A bright white light washed over the factory, taking it, and everything else back to the beginning of the day, complete with...
" Aw MAN!" Odd moaned, ruffling through his stack of laundry and then his CD collection, frantically searching for something.
" What's going on Odd?" Ulrich sat up on his bed, eyeing Odd's antics with a slight smile.
" Why, why of all days, did XANA decide to attack on the biggest TEST day?! And I didn't study for it...again! Ah!" He cried out triumphantly as he pulled out his history book. He turned around, facing a rather stern looking Jeremie, who was standing in the doorway. " Oh, hey Jeremie. Uh, you heard that last part, didn't you?" Odd nervously rubbed the back of his head as Jeremie closed the door. Ulrich leaned forward, curious as to what was going to transpire.
Jeremie eyed him for a moment, adjusting his glasses before sighing. " You know, Odd. If you took even half the energy you expend while fighting on Lyoko and focused it on studying, you'd ace the test."
" Well ah, it's just that..um." Odd stammered, at first trying to avoid Jeremie's piercing gaze, but instead found himself asking. " You know Jeremie, you haven't been studying as much either. In fact, I didn't see you in history class the first time." He raised an eyebrow. " And I don't think those dark circles under your eyes are a shining testament to your attendance record."
Jeremie moved to argue, but Ulrich interupted as he got a good look at Jeremie's face. " Actually I have to agree with Odd. You've been cooping yourself up in your room more frequently, we hardly see you anymore."
" Could it be that a certain pink-haired princess has been keeping you from slumberland, and us?" Odd interjected, watching in satisfaction as Jeremie blushed deeply.
" I..uh.." Now it was Jeremie's turn to stutter as he took off his glasses, wiping them on his shirt before shaking his head. " You know I have to find the anti-virus for Aelita. I can't afford rest."
" What about us? You're so fixated on bringing her here for good, that this makes only the second time I've seen you this week, and it's Friday. I have to ask, are we still friends? Because friends don't isolate themselves."
Odd's words struck a cord with Jeremie, as he hung his head. " I'm really sorry, you guys. I guess I haven't been thinking clearly these last few weeks. " he said quietly, shuffling his feet as he felt a hand on his shoulder, and looked up into Odd's sympathetic face.
" I'm not mad at you, Einstein, just worried. When was the last time you got a decent night's rest?"
Jeremie frowned and shrugged. " Don't know, I haven't really had time to rest much because of XANA." his expression darkened considerably.
Both Ulrich and Odd noted his change in demeanor. It was a look that was becoming increasingly common on the stodic genius's face.
In fact, ever since XANA infected Aelita with the virus less than a month ago, the two noticed Jeremie had taken to brooding silently before, during, and after classes. Only speaking when they or the teachers asked. And as soon as the bell rang, he would leave quietly, heading to his room, presumedly to work on Aelita's anti-virus program. And that's when he was able to stay awake, as he was falling asleep in class almost as frequently as Odd.
To Ulrich, Jeremie was the most emotionally sound of the group. And seeing him look so angry was about as odd as....well Odd acting normal. He decided to change the subject. " Jeremie, has Yumi contacted you yet?"
His question apparently caught Jeremie by surprise as his angry expression melted away. " Yes, actually.." A knock on the door halted the conversation. " That would be her now." he opened the door, revealing the Japanese girl.
" Hey guys."
" Hey Yumi." Ulrich said, not really looking at her as he stood deep in thought.
" So, how did things go in the gym?" Odd asked.
" Well, as I told Jeremie, it was hectic."
" Any purpose to why XANA used birds?" Jeremie asked quietly, studying his hands.
Yumi caught a glimpse of Ulrich's face as he quickly looked between her and Jeremie. She nodded, knowing without knowing what he was indicating. " No, he just seemed intent on causing general chaos."
" Were there any injuries prior to the time reversal?" Again it was Jeremie that asked, though he still kept his head down.
Now Yumi saw the worried looks on both Odd and Ulrich's faces as she spoke. " There were two, just some minor lacerations from what I saw. Nothing life threatening."
" Let me guess. " Odd placed his fingers to his head, screwing up his face in mock concentration. Then he started humming. " Hmmmm, I see Sissi, and......Jim!"
Yumi couldn't help but laugh a little, even Ulrich and Jeremie cracked a smile. " Wow, Odd. You sure you're not psychic?" she kidded.
Odd bowed with a flourish. " I am but a humble observer of the obvious." He grinned. " Besides, those two attract trouble like a magnet."
" Too true." Yumi acknowledged, then noticed the time. " We better get going, class is about to start."
The statement brought a look of absolute horror to Odd's face. " I'm so dead." he muttered, his head hanging, his gait like that of a man walking death row as he exited the room.
"What's with him?" Yumi whispered in Ulrich's ear as the two started walking, with Jeremie a few paces behind.
Ulrich gave her a sideways glance, before smirking. " Two words, History test."
Yumi winced. " Let me guess, he didn't study for it?"
Ulrich nodded, then leaned over. " We need to talk, after class." he whispered, looking over his shoulder quickly for emphasis, before his gaze returned to her.
Yumi nodded as the four made their way to class.
On the outskirts of Lyoko, it's sole inhabitant searched her surroundings. Her optics surveying the rocky terrain calmly, her keen vision able to decipher and record any anomalies in the area. While her audio sensors listened for subtle shifts and changes in Lyoko's auditory data stream.
After a few more passes, Aelita finally allowed herself to relax fully. This area was the last region on her search protocol, and the final analysis turned up nothing.
Which meant that Lyoko was safe, but for how long?
How long before Jeremie's world needed her assistance again, and she needed theirs?
Jeremie, the very thought of seeing him again made her smile. She enjoyed their conversations, his company, although....
Her smile became a frown, a look not often seen on the pink-haired sprite's face. Recent talks with Yumi had yielded some troubling information on the quiet boy.
For it seemed in recent weeks that he had begun withdrawing himself from the others, while he forgoed sleep and social contact to continue working on the anti-virus. How long could a human function without proper restoration?
It was a question she could never bring herself to ask. And she also wouldn't get to ponder, as she sensed Jeremie connecting to Lyoko.
" Jeremie, it's good to see you." Aelita smiled warmly at the one she considered her 'best friend'. " I assume school is over for the day? Is there anything you wish to speak about?"
Jeremie nodded as he booted up the anti-virus program, his fingers flying over the keyboard as he addressed her. " I'm just curious about XANA's last attack. Yumi thinks.."
While she did listen as Jeremie began describing Yumi's thoughts on the matter, Aelita also paid particular attention to Jeremie's face for what Yumi had called ' signs of fatigue'. Sure enough, dark circles under half-lidded eyes confirmed his lack of sleep.
" What do you think?"
Aelita mentally shook herself, pushing the matter aside for the moment. " Perhaps XANA's testing you?"
Jeremie blinked, obviously surprised by her response. " Maybe, " he admitted. " but what kind of test? Did he want to test our reactions or was it merely a way of toying with us?" He took off his glasses, rubbing the bridge of his nose before putting them back on. It was an action he did whenever an answer eluded him. " Maybe I'm thinking about this too much." He smiled at her as he pulled up the anti-virus configuration.
" Jeremie." Aelita sighed as he began to engross himself in his work.
" Yes, Aelita?"
" You don't have to work on the program today. I'm sure XANA won't try anything so soon, you should get some rest."
Jeremie was already shaking his head, even as he continued to type. " You know I can't do that. XANA's been very active these last fews weeks. He won't rest until we're dead, so I won't rest until we stop him, permanently."
He didn't pause in his typing as Aelita watched him work, her gaze a mixture of sadness and concern for the one who worked so hard to free her, yet didn't allow himself to be free.
Yumi sat on Ulrich's bed, watching as he finished putting away his books. After a few minutes she broke the silence. " I assume you wanted me here for reasons other than feeding Kiwi." She looked down at the small dog chomping at his food. Odd had been asked to stay after class, no doubt because of his lack of answers on his test.
Having finished his task, Ulrich sat down next to her. " I'm sure you've noticed Jeremie's recent mood swings, not to mention his rising absentee rate?"
" Yes I have. He's working himself to death trying to find the anti-virus."
" Have you tried to talking to him?"
Yumi frowned. " I did a couple days ago. He refused to acknowledge that what he's doing is affecting his health." she shook her head. " He needs to rest, or else he'll burn himself out."
" But what can we do, he won't listen to reason."
" I'm not sure, Aelita hasn't had much luck either. But she isn't really one to talk back to Jeremie in the first place."
" That's true." Ulrich sighed, then a mischievious smirk appeared on his face.
Yumi cringed, knowing full well what that look meant. " Okay, what crazy plan do you have in mind?"
" Why not hogtie him to his bed, he'll have to rest then."
Despite herself, Yumi smiled. Odd was truely rubbing off on him. " I don't think he'd take too kindly to that, not mention it's pretty hard to fall alsleep with your hands and legs tied together.."
" Maybe Odd or I could stand watch in his room at least a few nights a week to make sure he's asleep instead of on the computer."
Yumi shrugged. " Not the best idea, either. Maybe we should talk to Odd about it first, that is after he gets out of his afterschool chat with the teacher."
Ulrich smirked. " Yeah, he's not very good at lying. Didn't help that he said his dog ate his notes, especially since he knows Kiwi isn't allowed here. Ah well, he's pretty good at finding his way out of tough situations."
Yumi nodded, then stretched. Well, do you have anything planned, because I feel like taking a walk, want to join me?"
Ulrich smiled. "Eh, why not. Odd should be back by the time we get back." After hiding Kiwi in his usual spot, the two left the room.
Odd's ability to weasel out of things was almost second nature to him. After apologizing for his miserable grade, Odd twisted the truth a little by saying he had been busy the previous day with a very important task that had taken up all his free time. The teacher was understandably skeptical, but she gave him one chance. He'd have to do a makeup test the following day, with failure bringing detention.
He was now standing outside the teacher's classroom, looking very smug. " I wish to thank the acting gods for such a brilliant performance." he said quietly, in case Jim was around. Walking down the hall, he barely avoided Jeremie's door as it swung open.
" Hey, careful Jeremie." Odd recognized the look on Jeremie's face. " Oh great, XANA again." he moaned.
"Actually, I'm not really certain. Aelita said she felt pulsations, but I haven't been able to find any activated towers. I was just about to go to the factory to run a more accurate scan."
" Mind if I join you? Compared to the cross examination by my history teacher, going to Lyoko is a walk in the park. At least there the monsters have a visible weak spot." Odd grinned.
Jeremie nodded. " You can go in to help Aelita, but only if she needs help."
Odd gave him a thumbs up as the two ran the familiar course to the forest entrance.
Seating himself in the command chair, Jeremie opened up a commuication window to Lyoko, while simultaniously running the tower scan.
" Jeremie." Aelita's face appeared onscreen. " I'm still detecting pulsations, but I don't see a tower."
" Neither do I." Jeremie said just loud enough for her to hear. " What's XANA up to?"
" I don't know, but I'm going to check the polar region." Aelita closed the communication window, as Jeremie continued scanning. Odd paced behind him.
After a few minutes, Aelita's face reappeared. " Jeremie, I found a activated tower, it's in the western polar region."
"Strange, my scan shows no activated towers in that area." Jeremie said, perplexed at this bit of information.
" I can see the tower just over the ridge, XANA definitely has control, Jeremie." Aelita insisted as she gazed at the ominously glowing tower. " I'm going to check it out."
" Aelita, wait. I'm sending Odd in to accompany you, just in case XANA has an ambush waiting."
Jeremie turned to Odd. " Listen closely Odd, it feels like there's more to this than a simple escort. I want you to keep a close eye on Aelita, and if you run into more than you can handle, hide with Aelita and I'll contact Yumi and Ulrich."
Odd nodded, cracking his knuckles in anticipation of the possible battle. " No sweat, just leave it to me." He boarded the elevator, riding it to the scanner room. Once inside, he entered his scanner, feeling the usual flow of air and energy as his form was scanned and transfered.
Bending his knees to absorb the impact, Odd land lightly on the icy ground. Aelita came up to him, pointing in the distance.
" The tower's there."
Odd shielded his eyes. Indeed there was one, and it was glowing red. " Okay, Aelita, let's get to that tower."
Aelita nodded as the two made their way across the icy terrain, nothing jumped out to challenge them.
" It's too easy." Jeremie muttered, watching the green and yellow icons traveling across the map. " XANA doesn't activate a tower for fun, and he shouldn't be able to mask it's location in the scan." he continued to ponder as the two icons arrived at their destination.
" Where's the welcoming committee?" Odd joked as they made it to the base of the tower. " I was so set on kicking some monster butt."
" It looks like you get your wish!" Aelita gasped as two blocks climbed up from below the ice bridge.
" Good, just the exercise I need. Aelita go, I'll handle this."
Aelita nodded as she entered the tower.
Outside the tower, Odd leapt up. " Laser arrow!" his first shot hit the XANA symbol, the block shattering as it's core was penetrated. But the second block scored a direct hit to Odd's back, and then to his chest as he turned around.
" Twenty life points lost, Odd, be careful."
" Don't worry, Einstein, Aelita's already in the tower, and I've got this fight wrapped up." Odd grinned as he leapt wildly around the area, enjoying toying with the remaining block.
" Odd, be serious."
Odd could hear the annoyance in Jeremie's voice as he stopped jumping. " Aw, spoilsport. Laser arrow!" The second block shattered, leaving him to mill about the tower, waiting for Aelita.
Aelita rose to the second platform, each ring lighting in turn as she walked to the identification screen. She glanced nervously at it as she placed her hand on the identification imprint. Something felt very wrong.
She waited for a moment. The screen suddenly glowed red.
VIRUS PROGRAM INITIATED.
" Jeremie! It's a trap!" she cried out as a stream of black mist shot out from the screen, slamming into her body. The inner workings of the tower began to shake as Aelita stumbled back, her scream of fear echoing throughout as Odd looked up from the tower base, wide-eyed.
" Aelita?!" Odd barely got the word out before the world of Lyoko vanished, the three formerly hidden Crabs choosing that moment to delete his avatar. The last thing he heard was a familiar male scream.
Back in the super-calculator, an eerily similar scene was taking place. Jeremie screamed in fear and pain, his body almost convulsing from the black mist's intrusion as it continued to pour from the screen.
The palms of his hands struck the console with a thud as he continued gasping, his head down and eyes clenched shut as he endured the pain thrust on his body.
Finally, mercifully, it stopped.
The room fell as silent as a tomb as he raised his head. Eyes that were still closed, opened as he looked around the room, his expression one of intense confusion.
On the screen in front of him, Aelita appeared, looking equally confused.
Odd groaned as he almost fell out of the pod. Sure, return trips from Lyoko were no cakewalk. But not like this, he felt exhausted as he gave himself a moment to rest.
The tower had been a trap, with Aelita walking right into it. And XANA ambushed him, keeping him from helping her, Jeremie wasn't going to....
" Jeremie!" Odd's head flew up as he remembered the cry of agony that had echoed over the land, just as his form vanished. Fresh adrenaline surged through him, pushing away the fatigue as he ran to the elevator. How could he of been so stupid, playing around in Lyoko, he let his pride get the best of him.
No. He shook his head as the doors closed. Now was not the time for blame, it was time to act. He pulled out his mobile phone.
" Guys, emergency!" he screamed as soon as he heard Yumi's voice answer.
" No time to explain, just get your and Ulrich's butts to the factory!" With that said, he closed his phone, pocketing the device as he reached the main floor. A strange sight greeted him as the doors opened, for everything looked...normal.
Jeremie was sitting in the command chair, his eyes glued to the screen. While Aelita stared back, her eyes held a look of silent contemplation.
" Aelita?" Odd gasped, glad to see her alive.
"Yes?" The reply, however, came not from the virtual girl. But from the figure seated in the command chair as Jeremie looked over at him, his voice sounding strangely feminine, and very familiar.
" Yes?" Onscreen, Aelita shook her head in slight amusement as she answered in a perfect imitation of Jeremie's voice.
Odd continued to glance between the two, before he did what comes naturally to someone whose brain couldn't quite handle the situation.
Part one done. Well what did you think? Do you get the title? The next part may take awhile as I'm still gathering ideas on what direction this is going to take, so I offer no guarantees as to when I'll post next. I don't really have much else to say except if you read, please review. I love people's thoughts.