Disclaimer: I do not own Code: LYOKO.

Between Friends

Aelita didn't like sleeping. The concept was completely bizarre to her. A self-initiated shutdown? Ridiculous! How would she get a complete analysis of the world around her? The spell in the factory, at least, had been something she was used to: shutting down with no real say in whether she wanted to or not.

Aelita drew the blankets over her face, and closed her eyes. She had assumed that the back of her eyelids would be black; her eyelids were supposed to block the light, after all. Instead, the back of her eyelids were red--red from blood vessels and the trickling moonlight from the window. The human world was full of surprises. She opened her eyes and her world went from reds to a moonwashed silvery monochrome. Her blankets rustled as she sat up, and Yumi stirred beside her.

"You still aren't asleep?" Yumi grumbled, stretching and feeling around for her night shirt. Aelita looked away, embarrassed. It was a warm night, and Yumi had chosen to sleep without her shirt. Nudity, too, was another human quirk she wasn't sure how to react. She almost went to sleep with her school clothes, but Yumi let her borrow an oversized shirt.

"I'm sorry for waking you up," Aelita said, staring hard through the window. Yumi shushed her.

"My parents are in the next room. You don't want to wake them up."

Sleeping really was a strange thing: if Yumi's parents were supposed to be unconscious, why would they be awaken by her voice? Aelita shook her head and chalked it up as another flaw in the human body.

"I understand," she said, although she didn't really. Yumi threw the blanket on the floor. (Aelita was relieved to see that she had put her shirt on. Now she could look at Yumi in the eye rather than... elsewhere.) Aelita shot her a quizzical glance, and Yumi's face reddened slightly.

"It's too warm in here," the Japanese girl said. Her black hair was beginning to slip out of its makeshift bun. Aelita suppressed the near-instinctive urge to reach up and fix Yumi's hair. After seeing Yumi with her hair up in Lyoko so often, it had been a little strange seeing her friend with her hair down. She thought that Yumi looked much better with her hair up, when Yumi's eyes seemed to sharpen and her face more angled. It made her look... attractive. When Yumi had her hair down, she looked younger, maybe even smaller. Less like a noble protector and more like a teenager--but Yumi was a teenager more than she was the digital warrior, so logically, Aelita shouldn't be bothered by the change. But it did bother her, like how it bothered her that Ulrich didn't carry a sword or how Odd looked strangely off-balance without his tail. "So why were you out so late tonight?" she asked, eyes twinkling. "And with Jeremie, too. Did anything happen?"

"Nothing," Aelita said quickly, but when Yumi's smile turned knowing, Aelita figured that there was no point in hiding it. It would at least help prevent any misunderstandings. "After I woke up in the factory, Jeremie walked me home." She tucked her knees under her chin and faced the window. A gust of wind blew through the panes as she recalled the walk to Yumi's home. "It's so strange at night… everything feels so different."

Yumi blinked, and looked at the window too. "It does," she agreed. "Especially the clouds. In the day they seem white, but at night they look more… purple."

"Purple?" Aelita wondered aloud. She looked through the tree branches and to the dark blue sky. "They look grey tonight."

"Sometimes they look this weird reddish-purple," Yumi said, fiddling with a strand of her hair. The moon profiled her head, casting silver light on her forehead, cheeks, chin, hair and nose. Aelita wondered if the moonlight did the same to her face. "I don't really like that. I think it's better when it's grey. It feels better, I guess."

Aelita blinked at the clouds. The grey clouds did look nice, almost like silver, fluffy slippers. Then again, they were the only such clouds she had ever seen. Lyoko never had much of a skyscape.

"So what did you do?" Yumi said, snapping Aelita out of her trance-like state of thinking. "I know Jeremie wouldn't be satisfied just walking you home."

Aelita felt the blood slowly going to her face. "We took pictures in a—photography booth? I think that's what it's called. He gave me a flower."

"And?" Yumi seemed very close all of the sudden. Aelita's face felt like it was about to burn into ashes. "What else did he do?"

"I—um. We."

"Yes?"

"I kissed his cheek."

Yumi's eyes widened. A sly smile flitted on her face. "That's it?"

"Yes," Aelita said firmly, not wishing Yumi to get any bad ideas. She wasn't sure what such thoughts Yumi might have, but it was best to be careful. "An innocent peck on the cheek."

"Have you ever thought about—you know." Yumi made a vague gesture at the tree. "Kissing his lips?" Aelita gasped loudly. Her hand slammed against the floor, and the board creaked loudly. Yumi shushed her again. "Is that a yes or a no?"

"Yumi!" And then-- "Well, yes. I've seriously considered it… but…"

"Yes?"

"…I don't know how." Aelita laughed. "It's not like my creator programmed me for such things."

"You could always learn," she said. "I could show you."

Aelita blinked. She wasn't expecting that at all, especially from Yumi. Odd, yes, but Yumi? "No, that isn't necessary, Yumi."

Yumi waved off the pink haired girl's concern with a wave of her hand. She was leaning close now, and Aelita could feel her mind freezing up. "Don't be silly, Aelita. It's just a kiss between friends. It means nothing. I mean, I got lessons from Jean when I was in seventh grade and nothing happened after that. So..."

"Yumi…"

The kiss hit her like running into a brick wall. Aelita's body didn't seem to want to respond; her arms were stiff against her side and her brain simply wasn't working. Her heartbeat had taken a temporary vacation from its job and when Yumi withdrew, she felt her heart going at twice—no, thrice—the normal speed.

"Well, that's not terribly impressive," Yumi said, crossing her arms. "Respond a little next time."

"Uh-huh," Aelita said, not quite able to make coherent sentences.

"Maybe you're better at initiating," Yumi mused. She smiled and licked her lips. "Okay. You try this time."

"Wha—what?"

"You know. Lean forward, pucker lips, apply, and insert tongue when in lust." The Japanese girl smirked. "Think of it as a challenge."

Aelita blinked. She considered refusing—Yumi wouldn't force her to kiss if she didn't want to. If she went through with this, that kiss would mean absolutely nothing, just like Yumi said it would.

A carnal hunger was awakening in the back of her mind: one that moved her, tilted Yumi's head back, and drew the older girl in for a kiss. Now it was Yumi's turn to be surprised. Her mouth parted, shocked. Aelita, too, was surprised by her own boldness. The hungry urge that swelled in her mind had died down, and Aelita was suddenly uncomfortably aware of her nose against Yumi's cheek. She tried to withdraw, but-

Yumi's tongue brushed against Aelita's lips, and Aelita felt a pair of cool palms running up and down her body. She shivered under the touch (Yumi always had cold hands) and breathed in sharply when the kiss became deeper. One of Yumi's hands pushed them closer together and another tugged at Aelita's borrowed pajamas, trying to tug the oversized shirt off. Aelita, too, was eager to disrobe, and boldly cupped a breast in her hand.

Yumi's hands and tongue withdrew suddenly, and the spell was broken.

"Wow," Aelita murmured. It was cliché, but she found her fingertips brushing against her lips--or was it trying to erase the fact it happened?

"You are better at initiating," Yumi said, looking too much like the cat that ate the canary. Her cheeks were pinker than they normally were. Aelita wondered if she looked similar to Yumi: disheveled, pleased, and flustered. "You do that with Jeremie some time. He won't know what hit him."

"Uh-huh," Aelita said. Her brain was nonfunctioning again. "You're—very good. A teacher. I mean."

"Thanks," Yumi said. She put her hair back in a high ponytail, and fell back on her mattress. "I'm going back to sleep. Night, Aelita."

Aelita took Yumi's lead and went back to lying on the cot. She turned to face the window, watching the branches' shadows dance on the floor. It was very strange how different things were at night. Feelings seemed to change, heartbeats seemed to go through the roof, noses seemed even more awkward than usual…

The room felt a lot cooler now. Aelita got up and close the window, and then laid back onh er cot next to Yumi's futon. She sighed, and pulled the covers up to her chin.

"What did it mean to you?" Aelita asked the ceiling.

No response. How silly to expect a reply from a ceiling, of all things. Aelita exhaled slowly, and closed her eyes, but opened them again quickly. When she closed her eyes, she could feel cold palms going up and down her side, and teeth nipping against her lips, and a promise of something more.

'A kiss between friends means nothing.' She shivered, and drew the blankets a little closer to her body.

Maybe it would mean something in the morning, when feelings would change.


Author's Note: Hoho. I'm still not too great with kisses, but it'll have to do.

A random giftfic for Starway because I can.

March 9, 2006 - Because I'm anal, I changed a few things, addeda few things, and subtracted a few things to make the story flow a bit better. Nothing has been really changed other than that.

July 18, 2006 - Formatting errors are a pain. Fixed spots where spaces got deleted.