Story Title: Moment of Tranquility
Category: Code Lyoko
Warnings: Slash, Season 2 Spoilers
Summary: "Don't move," whispered Odd, his voice choked with unshed tears. "Just let me have this one moment. Don't take this away from me, Ulrich, please."
Disclaimer: Code Lyoko and its character, places, situations, etc. do not belong to me.
Dedication: This was written for Lira-chan for Christmas because she's the one who finally managed to convince me to get off my ass and actually write something for this fandom.
It was Christmas again. Odd laughed and rubbed his fingers together, feeling the soft cotton brush against the tips. He sat outside, but the weather wasn't cold enough to chill him, so he did without much.
He let his fingers glide through the air, attempting to amuse himself through tiny distractions. Given his attention span, it usually helped whenever he wasn't feeling bad.
He gave another half-hearted chuckle and his fingers twitched in response before letting the purple cloth that was within them loose, returning his shirt to it's normal position.
Odd knew that he shouldn't be out there, should be inside with the others at the party... but he couldn't bring himself to care. He wanted this to himself, wanted the peace that the night brought, broken only by the stars and the lights of the school. Out here, he could ignore the cheery Christmas music, could ignore the way that everyone moved so fluidly around each other... and simply be.
The way he wanted it.
Laying down on the cool bench, feeling the cold stone beneath him suck away his warmth, he wondered why he was out here. If fighting XANA for so long had taught him something, it was never to take life for granted. Too many times had they stared death literally moments away, had seen people come so close to dying, that they would have been foolish of them to simply go on as they were, as simple people.
But Odd couldn't bring himself to go in there, into the joy, into the laughter, into the warmth that radiated from the cafeteria, decked out in red and green and white and filled with people who were spending their Christmas break at school... he couldn't find it within himself to go.
Closing one eye, he laughed mirthlessly to himself. When had he, the eternal jokester, ever felt this down? There was no reason, no reason why it should have been...
...only that it simply was.
He touched a finger to his neck that, not a few days beforehand, XANA had almost crushed before Aelita had managed to deactivate the tower. He still felt phantom pains sometimes, just like the previous attacks... but nothing that warranted why he suddenly felt like saying wishing the Christmas never existed.
Odd gave an uncharacteristic sigh and turned away from the lights and the sounds, fully intent on letting the cold chill him into a sleep where he might not dream.
"Odd?" whispered a quiet voice as he felt footsteps approach. He cracked an eye open to see who it was and he plastered a smile on his face.
"Hey Aelita! Why aren't you inside hanging out with Jeremie? I'm sure he's missing you right about now!"
The pink-haired girl merely stared at him and he shifted uncomfortably, sitting up. Aelita quickly took the vacated seat and turned to him as he carefully avoided her piercing eyes.
"I should be asking you that question, Odd," Aelita responded, her tone soft.
"Oh I'm just enjoying the stars! They're really pretty tonight, don't you think?" he grinned, pointing up at the multitudes of shining lights above them. The diversionary tactic was useless though as Aelita continued to stare at him and he quickly lost his composure, squirming in his seat.
As he was about to bid a hasty retreat, Aelita took his hand, touching it with her own.
"When did you become so cold?" she questioned, her sentence layered with multiple meanings.
Odd grinned in response. "I've been out here for quite a while! That's why it's so cold!"
Aelita clucked her tongue, looking disapprovingly at him. "That's not what I'm saying and you know it."
When Odd didn't respond, she sighed heavily and stood. Odd's eyes trailed her as she returned to the party... and winced when he saw who she began talking to.
He rose and vacated the premises, returning to his room, fully intent on going to sleep before anyone could talk to him. Patting Kiwi on the head once when he reached his room, he slipped his headphones on and played some meaningless music, flopping down onto the bed and turning to the wall, not bothering to change out of his clothes.
He pretended not to hear the heavy footsteps that signaled someone's approach and the following creak of squeaky hinges as the door opened. He tried not to notice the way that the bed dipped down when someone sat on it or the warmth that the person was emanating.
"I know you're awake Odd, so don't try to fake it," came the familiar voice, slightly dry.
Odd's lips twitched as he turned around, slipping the headphones off and saying, "How'd you know?"
"Aside from the fact that you're my best friend," Ulrich snorted, "you always snore loud enough to make the dead."
"Hey!" Odd protested indignantly, "I don't snore loud enough to wake the dead."
Ulrich rested one hand on his shoulder, his eyes dancing with a rare mirth. "Let's face it Odd, it's time that you've accepted it. You do snore that loud," and he quickly descended into quiet chuckles.
Odd stared at him for a moment before laughing as well, but never taking his eyes off of Ulrich and the arm that attempted to comfort him.
He thought that he found the reason why he was outside.
When Ulrich's chuckles trailed off, dark eyes found Odd's face and held him in their entrancing gaze.
"Why weren't you at the party?" he asked simply, his voice colored with hesitance that Odd knew came from the fact that Ulrich didn't usually do this kind of thing.
"I was enjoying the starlight," Odd repeated, though it didn't work any better on Ulrich than it did on Aelita. Dark eyes focused on him again, tinged slightly with anger.
"Then why'd you run when Aelita came to talk to me?" asked Ulrich, his emotions coloring his voice.
Odd's eyes turned away as he tried to back away, but Ulrich's hand on his shoulder kept him in place. Ulrich's left hand came up and gently, but insistently, turned Odd's head until their eyes met once more.
"Why'd you run away from me?" he asked, his voice carrying a tone of slight betrayal. "Is it... Is it something that I did? Is it me?"
"No!" Odd instantly shouted, his eyes burning with emotion that he knew he needed to convey. "It's not you..."
"Then why won't you talk to me?" Ulrich demanded as his left hand found Odd's shoulder and he began shaking the smaller boy. Odd let out a small whimper, not at the fact that he was being shaken, but at who was doing it.
The sound snapped Ulrich out of his rage as he released his friend, his eyes burning with shame. "I'm sorry Odd... I didn't... I mean, I shouldn't have..."
He awkwardly wrapped his arms around Odd's body and then Odd lost his control as he let a few tears escape from his eyes, falling into Ulrich's chest. He wanted to stay in this embrace, the embrace that he'd dreamed about for a long time... but he knew he couldn't.
And he wanted to savor it, damn the consequences.
"Odd?" Ulrich questioned, his voice hesitant as he began to back away.
"Don't move," whispered Odd, his voice choked with unshed tears. "Just let me have this one moment. Don't take this away from me, Ulrich, please."
Ulrich froze at that voice, that voice so filled with emotions that even Odd was sure that he couldn't have figured it out.
"I need this," Odd continued quietly. "I need this little piece. And when this is over we can go back to how it was... Fight XANA, watch Jeremie and Aelita fall harder and harder for each other, let you and Yumi dance around your feelings until the dam finally breaks, and I stand back and be happy. It can be like that later... but now, let me be selfish and don't break this, okay?"
Ulrich didn't know how to respond—so he didn't. He watched as Odd's eyelids slowly drooped before he fell asleep.
His eyes burned with a pain that couldn't be said. He lowered Odd's body onto the bed, brushing his lips against the boy's forehead.
"Maybe one day I can find the courage to give you what you ask," he whispered, his voice broken, "with my words. But today... I just can't. Sorry Odd, but, for now, let me be selfish for a little longer." He left a small gift by Odd's sleeping body, brushing his lips once more against the face of his best friend... though the line was quickly becoming blurred.
Ulrich sighed once as he left to rejoin the party, intending on lying on what had just transpired. "Forgive me Odd... Merry Christmas."
But the words felt so hollow as he turned and left, his steps quickening the farther he got from the room.
He didn't notice the silent tears that leaked out of Odd's eyes, even in his sleep.
I'm so sorry. I tried to make this fluff, I truly did, but it came out this way. Forgive me Lira?