If Only I Could

Summary: Ulrich was killed by XANA, but that never dampened Yumi's resolve. One-shot. Please review.
Genre: Angst
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer : Code Lyoko™ © MoonScoop / France 3 / Canal J – 2006. All rights reserved.
Feedback: Please review!


If Only I Could

Ulrich Stern.

He bled to death. It must have been so slow, so painful. It feels terrible to know that your own lover is dying, fading away right before your eyes, and that there is not a single thing you can do in the world to help him.

He wasn't supposed to die so young, but there he lay, his eyes fogged over and his body trembling, soaked in that dark red blood. Three thick, serrated fiber-optic cables; right through the torso, piercing his stomach and slicing through his spine. He was impaled on the very lines that held up the world. Lyoko had betrayed him.

How could something so beautiful harm its savior? How could a place, where Ulrich and his friends fought so hard to protect both worlds, turn its back so coldly upon the brave warrior?

The only thing Ulrich ever did was try to save the world his friends loved. Was that such a crime?

.

.

Jealousy never suited him well. It made him so mad just to see his crush within thirty feet of the school's frisky playboy, Theo Gauthier. A champion heartbreaker, that one was.

It was worth it, to test Ulrich's love. Delightful, to see that handsome face flush with anger and bitterness. Just harmless teasing, was all the little date was made of. He thought otherwise.

When he found out the truth, he was so embarrassed.

His smile... It was just as rare and brilliant as the stars. He never smiled in public unless something was funny, no matter the situation there was always that cold, calculating frown. One last smile for his girlfriend, that was all she ever wanted in the world.

"Yumi."

Ulrich's head was bent forward at an excruciating angle, his arms dangling lifelessly at his sides. He coughed, a horrible sound, and blood splattered the ground underneath his swinging feet.

Almost time, now.

.

.

"Don't cry for me."

Ulrich was no longer young.

His voice, so unlike a man who was about to die. It was full of warmth, but the pain could be heard no matter how hard he tried to mask it.

More blood dripped down from Ulrich's shadowed face. He must have known his time was up, and he never fought it. The world had decided this boy had outlived his usefulness.

"Earth and Lyoko... we all need you to fight."

Another hacking cough, and deep rattling gasps; the sounds only heard in nightmares. There was, yet again, the sickening wet plop of bile hitting the floor.

"Yumi, fight."

He just barely lifted his head, and a lovely smile graced his features. Even through the blood and tears, it was beautiful. How could he smile when he was nearly dead?

.

.

Ulrich was Odd's first true friend, and Jeremie's first true confidante. He knew how to keep a secret, even at the expense of someone else's safety. But his emotions were the real problem.

He was so moody at times that sitting next to him was overkill. Ulrich had that kind of infectious aura: if he was happy, everyone was happy, but if he was pissed, he made sure everyone all the way to hell and back knew it. Those eyes could make anyone squirm underneath their hardened gaze, or melt into his arms.

No wonder all the girls fell in love with him.

When Sissi was told Ulrich had died, she said nothing. She merely walked away as she couldn't care less, and even tossed her hair back in that arrogant way. If anything, her eyes seemed to grow brighter.

But it was from tears.

.

.

Later, it was found that Sissi had spent the entire night locked away in one of the empty administration offices. On some days, terrible screams would erupt from the building. She refused to leave her father's room.

No one tried to help her. She was beyond repair.

The next week the reporters arrived, all trussed up like holiday dinners. They bombarded the staff with questions about Ulrich's death, but they never managed to get anything from any students in Kadic College. No one would talk, only send cold glares to the unwelcome people. There was a tension in the air.

Because that day, Sissi came out of her locked room, her eyes still bleary red and body slack. But her emotions were coiled dangerously like a tightly wound spring.

So were her fists.

Her undying dedication to protect Ulrich from any outside forces finally made itself known, but in a violent manner so unlike herself.

Seven journalists were escorted off the campus, their faces bleeding freely and adorned with bruises and scratch marks. Sissi might have given chase, but instead she sank down to her knees and wailed. Screaming and screaming, but she never resisted when the officers took her away.

Elisabeth Delmas now resides in a mental hospital not far from the school.

She loved him too much to let him go. She must have known how important he was, she must have remembered something from all those trips back in time.

Because she knows now, and she remembers now, and nobody will believe her.

Only Ulrich would.

.

.

If Ulrich had known how much Sissi had been willing to defend his honor, he might have actually gone out with her.

But Ulrich never truly loved her. Love was a very touchy subject for him, not even he could figure out what it was. All he knew was that he didn't love Sissi. Not in the conventional sense, anyway. His heart only held room for his friends. Everyone else had been shut out.

But why then did his heart deceive him so? It was pumping his life out of his body, out of the ruptured veins. It was pumping his life onto the floor, over the thick black cords.

The acids in his stomach seeped out and slowly corroded the inside of his body. So terrible, to have your mind and your body fail, to see them wither away while the girl you love is crying, begging for you not to leave her.

No one could possibly imagine what pain he must have been in.

.

.

Aelita could not cry over Ulrich's death.

She was pure application. Not a single byte of her held the capacity to understand human emotion. Oh, yes, her programming could make her think she was feeling sadness, or at least show it. In that way, both Aelita and everyone else thought her emotions were real.

But they can never be. Computers cannot feel pain, they cannot comprehend the meaning of love, anger, hate, sadness. One couldn't hate Aelita for this flaw though. If anything was to be felt for her at all, it should have been pity. A person gifted with the power and intelligence she had could not comprehend the effects of certain actions.

Talking with her was comforting, though the reason continually escaped. It was because no matter how much you talked to her, she acted as if she understood, as if she knew the pain. But Aelita didn't, and it was a breath of fresh air in a world filled with smoke, blood, evil, hate, and tears.

Perhaps it was compelling, not to be understood, but just heard. It felt good to talk to someone who didn't try to interpret your feelings. Aelita could try, but it was never necessary.

Ulrich poured out his soul to me that moment, where his life was dripping out of him and onto my hands.

.

.

I threw my arms around him, crying into his bloody neck. I felt his hot cheek brush against my hair.

His body twitched spasmodically, but I could feel his breath dancing across my ear. He might've whispered something, but all I heard was air and my own gasps.

"Please don't die!"

Ulrich smiled at me, and it was all coming to an end.

Those simple words, the words that Ulrich had always struggled with, indefinitely—

—issued forth from his mouth in a dry, cracking voice.

"I love you, Yumi."

Then, he was gone.

A mere shell of his body hung where his soul should have been.

.

.

My name is Yumi Ishiyama.

I was Ulrich's friend and lover.

He sacrificed everything for us, and in the end, he was sacrificed as well.

A beautiful, crimson angel, crucified on a cross of wire and steel.

No more people can die because of us. From now on, it will never again be our fault when a person dies.

Only in the line of duty.

To protect humankind, for him.

To save the earth, for him.

To give our all, for him.

To create a world without danger...

For him.

We will make his wish come true.

End