This is a romance story between Ulrich and Yumi, but that appears more at the very end. It deals with drug use (not addiction, just one-time use) and an accidental OD. Please read and review!
It was the last period of school on Friday at Kadic Academy, and Ulrich Stern was staring blankly at the board as Mrs. Hertz, the science teacher, explained Newton's Second Law of Motion. To his left, his best friend had a book standing up in front of him to hide his face, but Ulrich had a feeling that he wouldn't be able to hide much longer. Ulrich looked at Odd, noting that his breathing had become relatively heavy in sleep. In front of them, their genius friend Jeremie chuckled a bit. "Leave it to Odd to sneak a nap in the middle of science," he said. Aelita also giggled from beside him.
Ulrich nodded. "Not for much longer," he whispered. "Once he starts snoring… In three, two, one…"
A loud snore echoed through the room, and all of their classmates started cracking up.
Mrs. Hertz sent a harsh look in the direction of the tall blonde hair poking over the top of a book. Ulrich, Aelita, and Jeremie all looked away from Odd with exaggerated innocence as she approached the table the Odd and Ulrich sat at.
"No, Giant Sissi," Odd mumbled between snores. "Don't kill him…"
Ulrich looked through the corner of his eye when Mrs. Hertz got to the table and saw her slowly pulling the book away from Odd's head. Ulrich squeezed his eyes shut and braced himself as she snapped the book shut loudly by Odd's head.
The scrawny blonde jumped to his feet and looked around edgily. "Watch out Ulrich!" he shouted. "Sissi's going to squash you!"
The entire class went into hysterics while Sissi blushed angrily and uttered profanities and death wishes about Odd under her breath. Mrs. Hertz glared at Odd as he suddenly realized where he was. "Mr. Della Robbia, I am sorry if I am boring you," she said harshly. "I hope it isn't too much of me to ask you to stay awake while I am giving a lesson."
Odd sat back down. "Of course not Mrs. Hertz," he said apologetically. "Your lesson was so interesting that I was trying to read ahead in the book. I didn't get much sleep last night though, so I accidentally fell asleep while I was reading."
Mrs. Hertz raised an eyebrow. "Reading ahead about Newton's Laws of Motion?" she said skeptically. She held out the book for Odd to take back. "Next time you may have better luck reading that if you look for it in your Physics book."
Odd looked down and saw that he'd had his Health book propped in front of him. He grinned sheepishly as he accepted the book and looked at Mrs. Hertz. "It all makes sense now," he said. "Of course I fell asleep. Health is much less interesting that Physics!"
Mrs. Hertz rolled her eyes as she walked back to the front of the room. "I suppose I will just end the lesson here for today," she said. "I have your tests from last week to return to you. For the most part, I was quite satisfied with your grades."
She began to hand back their papers, and many of the kids talked excitedly about their good grades. Ulrich tapped his fingers nervously on his desk until the teacher set his test face-down in front of him. "I'd like to have a word with you after class Ulrich," she said quietly.
Ulrich nodded apprehensively before looking at his grade. His face paled as he saw '48' written on the top. "Another F?" Odd asked incredulously. "That's the second one you've gotten back today!"
Ulrich looked at Odd's grade, an 82. Grimacing jealously, he crossed his arms and rested his head on them, looking away from Odd. He didn't even bother finding out about Jeremie's and Aelita's grades, knowing that they would both bee 100s.
2 minutes later when the bell rang, Ulrich slung his book bag over his shoulder and waited by Mrs. Hertz's desk as all of his classmates left. Once everyone was gone, Mrs. Hertz looked at Ulrich seriously. "Ulrich, I am very concerned about your grades recently," she said. "You were the only student in the class who got below a C on this test. I think that maybe you need to pay more attention to your studies."
"Mrs. Hertz, I do," Ulrich told her defensively. "Whenever I'm not at soccer I study." Well, that wasn't the complete truth. Whenever he wasn't at soccer or in Lyoko he studied, but he couldn't explain that.
"I don't understand how you could possibly be," Mrs. Hertz replied. "Maybe you should take a break from soccer."
"I can't," Ulrich said. "They're depending on me to help them win the big game on tomorrow, and my dad really wants me to win."
Realization dawned on the science teacher that Ulrich was under a lot of stress with school and soccer. "Well, why don't you go run along to dinner?" she said sympathetically. "Just try a little harder in your classes. You know that I'm available whenever you want to stay after for help, right?"
Ulrich nodded. "Thank you," he said before heading off to meet his friends.
Yumi was waiting in the courtyard under the shade of a large tree when he got outside. He didn't bother to greet any her as he walked past her to the cafeteria. "Ulrich!" she shouted as she jogged to catch up with him.
"Oh, hi Yumi," he said distractedly.
"Aelita and the guys went to the factory," she told him. "There was an activated tower, but we don't know what the attack is yet."
Ulrich sighed angrily. "Damn it," he muttered.
"Come on," Yumi said, grabbing his hand and dragging him off towards the woods. "We have to try to help Aelita deactivate it before anything happens here."
They ran to the factory as quickly as they could. As they took the elevator down to the scanners, Yumi noticed that Ulrich appeared to be very grumpy and she mentally noted that she should talk to him about it later. As the elevator doors opened Ulrich threw his school bag to the floor. "Jeremie we're getting in the scanners now," Yumi said.
"Any attacks on our world?" Jeremie's voice asked.
"Not that we know of," Yumi told him as she and Ulrich stepped into their own separate scanners.
"Alright, you're headed to the polar region" they heard Jeremie say. "Odd's almost got Aelita to the tower, but a group of Krabes is headed their way. I'm going to virtualize you between the Krabes and Aelita." The doors closed. "Transfer Ulrich. Transfer Yumi. Scanner Ulrich. Scanner Yumi. Virtualization."
Yumi and Ulrich opened their eyes as they landed on the icy ground. Ulrich instantly felt pain as a laser shot him in the torso. He heard Yumi yell his name as he hit the ground. He stood back up and looked in the direction the laser had come from. Four Krabes were heading towards them, and Yumi had already destroyed the fifth. "Their attacks are taking away more points than usual," Jeremie's voice said. "You've only got fifty life points left Ulrich."
Ulrich growled as he drew his sword and charged at the monsters. He managed to destroy one, but as he leaped away to escape the explosion another hit him in the back with its laser. "Ulrich!" Yumi shouted, hitting the target on his assailant with her fan. By the time she looked at him again, he was almost completely de-virtualized.
Ulrich stepped out of his scanner furiously and punched the wall beside it. "I can't do anything right anymore!" he said angrily as he sank to the ground. "It took two seconds to get de-virtualized!"
He vaguely heard Jeremie say that the tower was deactivated and that the others were being materialized, and he decided to get out of there. He grabbed his bag and took the elevator up, heading back to school. He turned his cell phone off when Yumi tried to call him. He skipped dinner and went straight to his room, changing into a t-shirt and a pair of gym shorts. He kicked the clothes he'd just worn under his bed to avoid leaving a mess on the floor. Ignoring Kiwi's barking, he grabbed a soccer ball and went down to the soccer field, glad that he didn't cross paths with any of his friends along the way.
Once he was there, he decided to practice his penalty shots over and over again, eventually tiring himself and his frustration out. He'd lost track of time, so he didn't realize how long it was before someone else joined him on the field. "Looks like we had the same idea," a voice said from behind him.
Ulrich turned around to see Theo standing there with his own soccer ball. "Hey," he said frigidly.
Theo kicked the ball to Ulrich and he stopped it with his foot. "Trying to keep your mind off of your grades?" Theo asked. It wasn't a big secret from the rest of the school that Ulrich was doing poorly. At getting no response, Theo changed the subject. "So… are you ready for the game tomorrow?"
"Your game has kind of been off lately," Theo said.
"I have kind of been off lately," Ulrich mumbled.
"Well what's up with you?" Theo asked curiously.
Ulrich glared at him for being so nosy, but he felt he owed the boy an explanation all the same. "I'm just exhausted, you know?" he said honestly, kicking the ball back. Between school, Xana, soccer, Yumi, and his father's pressure to succeed, Ulrich was feeling both emotionally and physically tired.
"Then why aren't you resting up for the game?" Theo asked as he stopped the ball.
Ulrich shrugged. "Because I need to be better tomorrow," he said.
Theo smirked. "I think I know just what you need," he said as he pulled a small bottle of white pills from his pocket.
Ulrich eyed the pills suspiciously. "What are those Theo?" he asked.
Theo walked up to him and put the bottle in his hand. "Just some amphetamines," he said. "Nothing too strong though. Take some tomorrow before the game. You'll have all the energy you need."
"I don't know," Ulrich said. "I don't do that kind of stuff."
"Well take them with you just in case," Theo told him. "I promise that they'll do you wonders."
"Fine," Ulrich said unsurely as he pocketed the pills. "Do you know what time it is?"
Theo looked at his watch. "7:30," he said.
"I've been here for a long time," Ulrich said, picking up his soccer ball. "I'm going to go back to my room now. I guess I'll see you tomorrow."
"Bye," Theo said. "See you at the game!"
When Ulrich approached his room he heard Odd's voice coming through the slightly opened door. "Have you checked the entire forest?" Odd was saying. "I realize that your parents will get mad if you're out too long, but what if he's in trouble?"
Ulrich entered the room and Odd nearly dropped his cell phone in shock. "Uh, Yumi, scratch that," Odd said. "Ulrich just walked in the door. Call Jeremie and tell him the search is off. Bye."
Ulrich lied down on his bed, sneakily hiding the pills under his pillow as he reached behind his head. "Where the hell did you go?" Odd asked him angrily. "You left the factory without a word and we couldn't get a hold of you or find you!"
"I was practicing for the game," Ulrich said simply, staring up at the ceiling.
"Do you have any idea how worried we all were?" Odd asked. "We were afraid that you were in trouble!"
"When did you become my mother?" Ulrich snapped, giving his friend a nasty look. "I had a horrible day and you aren't helping!"
Odd looked genuinely hurt by Ulrich's callousness. After staring at him silently for a moment, he turned and went to the door. "I'm going to go to Jeremie's room for a little while," he said as he shut the door behind him.
Ulrich sighed, pulling the pills out again to look at in contemplation. He really wanted to go to sleep already; he was just so tired. He was doubtful that even a full night of sleep would help him for the game. "Maybe I do need a boost," he said to himself. He put the pills back under the pillow and went to go take a shower so that he could go to bed.
When Ulrich woke up at 10:07 the next morning, Odd had already left the room. Ulrich groaned, not wanting to get out of bed, and put his pillow over his head to block out the sunlight. He felt something plastic touch his ear and suddenly remembered the amphetamines he'd hidden the night before. He shot up in bed. "Shit! The game starts at 11! I was supposed to be at practice 10 minutes ago!"
He jumped out of bed and changed into his uniform, cursing Odd for knowingly leaving him asleep. He halted as he headed out the door, thinking of the pills. He turned back into the room and poured quite a few into his hand. "He did say they weren't very strong ones," he told himself. "I should be fine with this. It's only just this once."
He quickly swallowed the pills and then ran down to the field where Odd, Theo, and the rest of the team were already running laps. By the time he got there, he was already feeling more energy, and he wasn't really so angry at Odd anymore. He ran up to Jim and came to a stop. "I'm sorry Jim," he apologized. "I accidentally overslept."
Jim grunted. "Just go run with the team," he said.
Ulrich did as he was told happily, lapping all of his teammates at least once. As everyone sat down to stretch, Theo approached Ulrich and sat beside him. "Was I right or was I right?" he asked quietly enough for just Ulrich to hear.
Ulrich grinned. "I feel amazing!" he said happily. "I am totally in this game today."
"Glad to hear it," Theo replied, though he looked a little suspicious. "How many did you take?"
"Enough," Ulrich told him. "Don't worry about it. I'm fine, and we're going to win this game! That is all that matters."
At the end of stretches Ulrich ran over to Odd to pair up with him to kick a soccer ball back and forth. Odd accepted reluctantly, but Ulrich didn't seem to notice. "You forgot to wake me up this morning," Ulrich said, though not angrily.
"Yea," Odd said. "Sorry. I was really hungry."
"You aren't still made at me are you?" Ulrich said. "I'm sorry. I was having a bad day, but don't worry about it. Today is going to be a really good day."
Odd quirked an eyebrow at him. "You're energetic today," he stated.
"Hey Ulrich!" Yumi's voice said loudly as she got to the field.
"Yumi!" Ulrich shouted as he ran over to her.
"Are you ok?" Yumi asked him. "You left so fast yesterday, and I know something was bothering you."
"Don't worry about it," Ulrich told her. "It was just a bad day."
"Ok," Yumi said. "I'm going to go sit with Jeremie and Aelita. Good luck."
Ulrich watched her walk over to the bleachers where his parents and his friends were all waiting for the game to start. He ran back over to his team and sat down on the bench as Jim began to give the team a pep talk. He tapped his foot impatiently, not really listening to a word that was said until Jim told them to get out on the field. Odd noticed that Ulrich's hands were shaking slightly, but there was no time to worry about it as the game began.
In just the first fifteen minutes of the game, Ulrich was running faster across the field than anyone had ever seen him do, but Odd and Theo were watching him carefully. "You ok buddy?" Odd asked as Ulrich ran back to centerfield after scoring.
Ulrich was out of breath and shaking pretty badly, but he still seemed to have so much energy. "What do you mean?" Ulrich said, agitated by his friend's worried. "I'm playing great!"
"Yea… You are…"
The ball was put back in the center again, and the whistle was blown. Ulrich went after the ball again, leaving Odd behind.
As Ulrich ran with the, he began to feel lightheaded and the ball was taken from him easily by the other team. He turned sluggishly to chase the boy, but he began to stumble over his own feet.
Odd saw this and completely forgot about the fact that the other team was about to score. "Ulrich!" he cried as he watched his friend put a hand to his head. He ran to him, but he was too late to catch him before he hit the ground.
Odd heard other people shouting Ulrich's name as he got to him and saw that he was unconscious. "Wake up," he said shaking him roughly.
Yumi was the first of the others to get to Odd and Ulrich, with the Stern's and Jim close behind. She pushed Odd off and was much gentler in handling Ulrich. She laid him flat on his back and put an ear to his chest. "His heart is beating so fast!" she cried.
"What happened to him?" Mr. Stern questioned as his wife cried hysterically.
Theo stepped up nervously. "I think I know what happened," he said. "Ulrich was really stressed out about school and stuff… And he… I gave him… some energy pills… He must have taken too many…"
"Oh my God," Odd gasped.
Yumi squeezed Ulrich's hand tightly and didn't take her eyes off of him. "Theo, you idiot!" she shouted angrily.
"Somebody call an ambulance!" Jim shouted. "And get the school nurse here immediately."
Tears came to Yumi's eyes as she rubbed the back of her hand on his cheek. "Please be ok," she whispered.
Yumi, Aelita, Jeremie, Odd, Jim, and the Sterns all sat in the waiting room of the local hospital, waiting for news on Ulrich's condition. They'd all been questioned by the cops and by some of the hospital's psychiatric ward staff about indications of substance abuse. After his confession, Theo had been taken to the police station until his parents' arrival and was facing almost-certain expulsion from school.
Of Ulrich's four friends, Yumi and Odd were the most panicked. Yumi was a mess from crying and Odd was so scared that he was shaking. Jeremie helped keep Aelita calm, though she didn't really understand too much about drug use. Mrs. Stern was still crying silently with her head on her husband's shoulder.
The last time they'd been updated about his condition had been 45 minutes earlier when he'd first arrived by ambulance. Yumi had ridden with him and had seen him, barely conscious, fighting the paramedics weakly as they tried to pump his stomach.
Yumi held Ulrich's hand in the ambulance as the paramedics checked his vitals. Ulrich had woken, but he was barely conscious and very confused.
Around them, the paramedics were saying things about high bloodpressure and his body overheating. A male paramedicwas trying to talk to Ulrich and give him directions as a female paramedic checked the length of a tube to match the distance from his mouth to his throat and to his stomach. The female paramedic lubricated the tube and then put the end into Ulrich's mouth. "Ulrich," the man said. "You need to swallow it like I told you a minute ago."
Ulrich however began to panic. He gagged on the tube and tried weakly to push the paramedics away from him. The male paramedic held him down. "Just swallow it Ulrich," he told him calmly. "I know it's hard, but you need to do it. Just get it over with and you'll be fine."
Ulrich shook his head and pulled it away from the tube, trying to get out of the man's hold, but he didn't have the strength to do much. Tears filled Yumi's eyes again as she watched him struggle. She squeezed his hand reassuringly. "Ulrich, please just try," she pleaded desperately.
Ulrich looked at her and stopped struggling. She put her hand on his forehead, stroking it soothingly, and smiled weakly at him. "See?" she said. "It's ok. I'm here with you. It's all going to be ok."
The paramedics took this opportunity of Ulrich's stillness to shove the tube all of the way down. A pained look appeared on Ulrich's face, but he held onto her hand as long as he remained in his half-conscious state.
A doctor that they recognized as Ulrich's finally walked into the room. Ulrich's parents stood quickly as he approached. "How is our son?" Mr. Stern asked. "Is he going to be ok?"
The doctor nodded. "We had to pump Ulrich's stomach," he said. "He had a great deal of amphetamines in his system, and we inserted an IV to medicate him."
"What kind of medication is he on?" Mr. Stern asked, suspicious that the doctors were trying to give his son antipsychotic medication.
"Just something to counter the effects of the pills he took," he explained. "And we are keeping him mildly sedated so that he doesn't endanger himself any further. You understand that your son is going to have to meet with one of our psychiatrists? And I'm sure that his school is going to set up a meeting with its substance abuse prevention coordinator."
"Yes," Mrs. Stern said. "Can I please see my little boy?"
The doctor nodded. "He may only have a few visitors at a time, though," he said.
"Can I go too?" Yumi quickly asked before anyone else could.
"Come on," Mr. Stern said, motioning for her to follow.
The doctor led them to Ulrich's room in silence and pushed open the door for them. "Try not to make too much noise," he said. "He'll probably have a bit of a headache when he wakes up."
"Alright," Mr. Stern said as he walked in the door, his wife behind him.
Yumi held her breath as she walked in and saw him lying in the bed, with a tubes giving him air through his nose and an IV in his arm. She pulled a chair up on the opposite side of his bed from his parents. Ignoring their presence, she took his hand in her own and used her other hand to brush his hair from his face. "Oh Ulrich," she said sadly, cupping her hand around his cheek.
Ulrich coughed weakly, his throat dry, as he leaned into her touch. "Yumi…" he whispered sleepily.
"I'm right here Ulrich," Yumi said, rubbing his cheek with her thumb.
Ulrich groaned as he slowly opened his eyes. He blinked a few times to clear his blurry vision. "Thirsty," he choked out, not completely aware of whom was around.
Mrs. Stern kissed her son's forehead lovingly and stood. "I'll go ask a nurse for some water," she said before leaving.
Mr. Stern squeezed his son's shoulder and looked at Yumi. "We'll give you a moment," he told her as he followed his wife.
"Hi Ulrich," Yumi said, tears filling her eyes. "How are you feeling?"
Ulrich looked in her direction through half-lidded eyes. "Yumi?" he asked, his voice raspy. "Where are we?"
"The hospital," Yumi told him. "You passed out at the soccer game."
Ulrich nodded as he remembered the past couple of days.
"I was so scared," Yumi said. "I thought you were going to die Ulrich!"
"It's ok…" Ulrich looked into her eyes, hopeful that she would agree.
"It's not ok!" Yumi cried into his chest. "You overdosed… And you almost did die… Why would you do something so stupid?"
"I… didn't mean to…"
"But you took those pills!" Yumi said angrily. "You don't do drugs! You're stronger than that Ulrich!"
Ulrich looked down guiltily. "I… I'm not… I haven't been…"
"I don't understand why you would do this!" Yumi shouted. "I don't understand how you could nearly kill yourself! I don't know what I would… w-what… I would have… done… if you'd…" She broke down and threw her arms around him. "It hurt… so bad…"
Ulrich put an arm around her comfortingly. "Yumi, I'm sorry," he said. "I just couldn't handle everything that was happening, and I took the easy way out. I would never purposely hurt you… Never. I… I love you Yumi."
Yumi pulled away with a gasp and looked him in the eye. He lifted his hand up and wiped the tears from her cheeks. "Ulrich…" She smiled and began to cry some more. "I love you too…" She quickly kissed him and then pulled away to look at him again. "But I don't forgive you just yet. You screwed a lot of things up today. You're going to have a long way to go before any of us trust you again."
"I know," Ulrich said sadly.
"I'm pretty sure you're going to be getting a lot of unwanted, negative attention from everyone at school," she added.
"And you've probably got yourself a year's worth of therapy in case you ever do something this stupid again," she continued.
Yumi pulled his hand up and kissed it. "But I'll stand right beside you for all of it."