Freedom Doesn't Always Mean Free
By Flying Star
Disclaimer: I can dream, can't I? In other words, no I don't own Code Lyoko
Can't give away much, but I did this sortof in the vein of one of my Teen Titans fics ( Drifting). Though this will only be a one-shot, no additional chapters or other views. Well, unless an idea strikes me, so okay maybe in the future. This is angsty/tragic stuff, just to warn you.
Aelita thought she was free, but fate dealt her a cruel hand.
Another day has gone by. Another day without them, without him. It still doesn't feel real, even after all this time. You think I'd be used to it.
Yes, countless millennia ago my precious Jeremie found the means to free me from my virtual prison, destroying the virus in me, and bringing me to Earth permanently. Yet, my happiness was premature. Finally free of XANA's virus, I thought the worst was over, but I was wrong.
It took a little over a year to realize the problem. On the one year anniversary of freedom from Lyoko I tried my hand at needlework, sewing. The books made it look so easy. I wanted to make Jeremie an embroidered hankerchief, a little anniversary gift. Maybe I wasn't paying attention, but the needle slipped, puncturing deep into the tip of my finger. I yanked the needle out, instinctively putting the throbbing appendage into my mouth, tasting the metallic tang of blood as it seeped from the wound.
Removing my finger I expected to see a small puncture wound, but was surprised when whole flesh greeted me. There wasn't even a mark where the needle had entered, no traces of blood, and no pain. For a moment I wondered if maybe I'd only imagined piercing my skin. But no, there was still the taste of blood in my mouth, and the white cloth I was stitching had a drop of crimson on it's surface. Unsure of how fast humans healed, I chalked it up as normal.
I washed the fabric to remove the stain, though a faint pink mark remained. I stitched over it, hiding it under a layer of thread. Jeremie accepted the gift with a smile, his cheeks red as he handed over his gift, a blood red rose. Maybe the rose was a warning.
It was about three months later when I was chopping up some carrots that it happened. The knife missed, cutting a long gash into my flesh. I couldn't help it, I cried out in pain. Instantly Jeremie, who had been assisting me in the dorm's kitchen, was beside me. He noticed the blood immediately, grabbing a wad of paper towel. But as he turned around, he gasped. I looked down, gasping as well as I watched the blood slowly return to the wound, the flesh knitting back together until nothing remained but pure unblemished skin. Jeremie's eyes traveled to mine, only uttering one sentence. " We need to go to the factory."
I merely nodded, too perplexed to even question him as we made our way to the factory. The silence between us was almost deafening as we reached the elevator, Jeremie punching in the numbers with practiced ease. It took a few minute for the elevator to rumble to life, at which he took that time to turn to me and ask. " Has this happened before?"
I didn't meet his eyes. " Once, when a needle pricked me. But never before that, never like this." I saw him nod out of the corner of my eye.
The elevator stopped at the scanner room, at which I gave Jeremie a questioning look. I had thought we were going to the supercalculator.
" I can't restore full power without bringing XANA back to life. So I'm temporarily powering up one scanner." He explained, opening the back access panel to the nearest scanner.
It was then that I noticed he'd brought his laptop. This laptop was of the best quality, able to hold large amounts of information, including some of the programs from Lyoko that he couldn't resist parting with.
My attention back on him, I observed him fiddling with the power cords that ran to the scanner. He placed his laptop on the floor, hooking it into the scanner base. After typing for a few moments, the scanner came to life, it's interior lighting up as he looked at me.
" I need you to go inside."
I didn't hesitate, Jeremie would never do anything to hurt me. Standing inside, I watched the doors slid shut. For a brief second, I felt fear clench in my gut as the last of the light vanished from my vision. Seconds later the band of scanner light encompassed me as I felt my body rise up, the scanner reading my body from head to toe. And then it was over as I was lowered to the floor, the doors parting to reveal Jeremie's worried face. He turned the laptop to me, allowing me to read my own data.
I was shocked. According to Jeremie's program, I wasn't virus free.
A virus within a virus is what Jeremie had called it. We had eliminated one, with another taking it's place soon after XANA's demise. But this virus, unlike the other one, had stayed hidden while making radical changes to my genetic makeup, altering it, freezing my body's physical age and making my body self-repair itself whenever any injury was present.
I wasn't in danger of dying, far from it. In fact, if anything, I was in danger of outliving my friends, and everyone on this planet. Even if I wanted to, I could never die. Forever living, or immortal, as Jeremie had called it.
It took a bit for the information to sink in, but as it did I broke down. Tears falling down my face as I realized that just as in Lyoko, I would eventually be the sole occupant of Earth, alone again.
Through my sobs I heard Jeremie's soothing voice as he wrapped his arms around me, telling me we'd still have many years together. I wanted to believe him, I really did. I thanked him back, knowing my fears would not be washed away so easily, but I tried.
The others had been just as shocked after hearing about my condition, but had accepted me as they always had, and I loved them for that. I'll cherish the friendship I had with them.
Yes, originally there was hope that the process could be reversed. That I could live my life like a normal human. But it would never come to be. Jeremie examined my virus day and night, eventually finding out that the virus had completely compromised my systems. If he even tried to attempt another anti-virus, my new immune system would reject it. Even the the rejection wouldn't kill me. In other words, there was nothing he could do.
And so I lived my life.
Ulrich and Yumi waited until they were old enough and then married, having two children that they loved dearly. Jeremie and I got married as well, but our wish for children was denied, a routine gynocologist visit showing I was irreversibly sterile. Jeremie, of course, never blamed me. Odd remained a single man, never staying tied down for long. He and Samantha stayed close though.
I could never hate Jeremie, nor his friends for what they did for me. A chance to be a living, breathing being, instead of a collection of data. It was more than I could ever ask for. To be human, to be free.
But now it's a hollow call that whispers in the wind, it's voice devoid of human thoughts or feelings. It mocks me as I sit on a hill overlooking the ruins of France. They're all gone, and it's on nights like this, with the full moon hanging overhead and the stars dotting the sky, that I most miss them. Even the people who couldn't accept me.
Humans fear what they don't understand, they fear those who are different. It took a little while for me to notice, to realize. Fearful gazes and whispered words of contempt followed me. And over the decades their anomosity grew as they realized my physical appearance never changed.
Jeremie was spared the jeering. Never hearing the names thrown in my direction, the cries of freak and monster. I never let him hear, keeping us away from the people who hated me so. Jeremie didn't question me, maybe he even knew.
But I never found out for he succumbed to a brain tumor just days after his fifty-sixth birthday. I enjoyed every day of his company, and never regret loving him. Odd died five years before him, his life taken by a vehicle accident. Yumi fell ill one day, slipping into a coma from which she never awoke. They never figured out the cause. Ulrich lived well into his nineties, dying of natural causes. Their children lived long full lives, accepting me as my friends had. But they moved from France as soon as they were old enough.
Watching as your fiance and friends die, while you remain young and healthy, was the cruelest of tortures. I attended each of their funerals, steeling myself against the glares thrown in my direction. And I always stared back, letting them know that I would not be deterred from giving my goodbyes to the ones I considered my true friends, my real friends. Jeremie's funeral was the hardest, watching as his coffin of smooth wood and brass was lowered into the ground, I couldn't help the tears that rolled down my face. My only sign of weakness in front of their prying eyes.
And my friends came to each funeral as well. Jeremie, Ulrich, and Yumi saying goodbye to Odd as we stood over his coffin. Then Ulrich and Yumi when Jeremie died. When Yumi died, Ulrich almost didn't attend, his heart heavy with pain. But he did come, and I let him cry on my shoulder. And finally, when it was his time, I let a few tears slip again, knowing I was truely alone.
Days, years, decades, millennias, they all became a blur as I watched the world die. Generations of families being born, aging, and dying. I watched nations clash, and wars ensue. I witnessed countries rise and fall from power, hundreds, thousands, millions dying for worthy and unworthy causes.
And I observed it all, keeping my distance, staying away from the people who feared me, becoming an undying legend. The girl who never aged. A ghost of the land. I learned everything about the Earth, everything. And I didn't care, all this knowledge at my fingertips, but with no one to share it with.
Until finally it came to an end, the last of humanity dying out, it's final cries echoing over the land, everything dying as the Earth became like Lyoko, empty, barren, dead.
Only I remained, the last living thing on the planet.
As the years stretched on into millennias, I felt my fragile sense of hope, the sense that I would be free, like them, erode and whither. I found myself trying anything to end my life, but the virus wouldn't let me die.
I feel this was XANA's final act, his last cruel gesture. Showing me that even in defeat he would have the last laugh. Keeping me alive to watch the downfall of humanity, alone.
I asked Jeremie once, long ago, just what happened to humans when they died. He remarked that when their earthly bodies died, their spirits traveled to the stars above, to a place of infinite happiness. I didn't realize what he meant originally.
But now I do.
And I observe every sunrise and sunset with a bitter sense of longing, knowing it will never be for me. I can never be with the ones I love, their spirits in the heavens above, a world where they are truely free.
And I'll sit and wait for an end....
That will never come for me.
Another one of my depressing fics. Made possible by my mood. Makes you think, doesn't it? The idea just wouldn't let go until I wrote it. Now maybe I can get to work on my other story. Well anyway, if you read, please review. I like people's thoughts.