A.N. – I recently rediscovered this in my old private messages on Lyoko Freak. It's been three years since I wrote this, and five years in total since I started this story, so going back and editing this was fun and made me look at the story with new vision. The old author's note I wrote is below for the still-relevant parts. A new A.N. is at the end of the chapter.

I'm finally finishing this fic. Two seasons of CL have aired since I last wrote on this, so consider this story definitely AU now. The rating is earned manly from language, as the violence is over and done with. Oh, and other stuff, but you'll get to that if you read on. Oh, and I don't own CL, and do not profit from this fic.

Hazed, Chapter 3

Ulrich swiftly made his way down the empty hall. He had to talk to Sissi, to sort out everything. He had a hunch what was eating at her, at it wasn't just William divulging the secret of Lyoko.

When he got to Sissi's room, the door was closed, and music was audible through the heavy oak. Ulrich wasted no time in knocking a rapid staccato against the frame.

"Go away!" came a barely held together voice from the other side. Ulrich ignored this and knocked faster and harder. The music shut off after a minute of this, and the door was weakly pulled open.

Sissi looked as if she'd been crying. Ulrich wasn't quite prepared for this, but he soon composed himself and asked, nicer than usual, if he could come in.

"Why would you want to do that?" Sissi retorted.

"Can't a guy just want to sit down and talk?" At Sissi's incredulous look, Ulrich added an, "Honest." Sissi acquiesced and patted her bed, which Ulrich sat down on, and Sissi joined him.

"So to what do I owe this honor, Ulrich?" Sissi tried to muster up a sneer, but only managed a half-frown.

"You know why I'm here. We need to talk," Ulrich replied as patiently as he could.

"Why, so you can go report it back to your friends?"

"No. I'm here on my own, for my own reasons," Ulrich started. "Though it would be nice if misconstrued events wouldn't get spread around by a certain someone." At this Ulrich raised an eyebrow in Sissi's direction.

"I wouldn't," Sissi said after a while. "I'm too involved."

"But how? I just want to know how you fit in this…" Ulrich's resolve faded, and his voice broke slightly. "…this whole fucking mess."

Sissi looked askance at Ulrich, bangs shielding her eyes. Ulrich could tell she was debating whether he could trust her, so he gently laid an arm around her shoulder.

"I promise, no harm no ill intent will come of this. I just want answers, for peace of mind. Both of us, to certain extents, have gotten embroiled in some scary things lately. Mutual understanding, I think, will help us both."

Sissi seemed to visibly relax into Ulrich as he spoke, as if her walls were crumbling. Finally, she said, "All right. What do you want to know?" Then she smiled for the first time since Ulrich arrived. "You're better at this than Jeremie."

"I'd hope so," Ulrich said, and the pair tittered nervously. "So, you deserve some truths. And Jeremie wouldn't like it if I told you. But I want to know what William told you — all of it — in return."

"All business now, aren't you?" Sissi sounded tired in her ribbing. "Fine. Where to start?"

"How about why you stormed off all of a sudden?" Ulrich intoned.

"You sure get to the heart of the matter," Sissi replied dryly. "Tell me what you think."

"Now who's doing the interrogating?" Ulrich grinned half-heartedly before mellowing. "Something about Odd's jelly legs comment got to you, didn't it?" Sissi nodded. "So, what was it? A bit too close to home?"

"Not just that," Sissi began slowly. "William and me, we really did have stuff in common – more than I thought. But when you guys treated it all like a joke, like you always do, I'd had enough. So I left."

"But that's not all of it," Ulrich pressed. Sissi snorted at him, but continued.

"We both felt like unaccepted outsiders. I guess that's why we first started talking, oh, a month or so ago. He's deep, if you get past the flaky exterior. Was…" she amended. "A great guy. But so full of conflicting emotions. He had so much love…" Sissi trailed off, a small blush on her cheeks.

"Did you…" Ulrich ventured, but Sissi cut him off with a vehement, "NO!"

"He never hit on me, and we never did anything. I did become his sounding pole, and I in turn confided in him. He was so confused about why you guys wouldn't accept him, but especially you and Yumi in particular."

"Shouldn't it be Yumi first? He always seemed so smitten with her," Ulrich couldn't help the slight waver of anger from creeping into his voice.

"Oh he was," Sissi seemed comfortable now, like she was merely dishing schoolyard dirt. "But then, he was that way with almost everyone." Sissi's look and tone suddenly changed. "Do you know the first person here at Kadic William hit on?"

"It wasn't Yumi?" Ulrich asked, a bit surprised.

"He never said he'd actually hit on Yumi, but he sure flirted with her," Sissi smiled ruefully. "It was Christophe M'Bala."

"The kid in the headphones? Really? How'd that go?"

"Chris smacked William upside the head and stalked away. From then on, William decided to tone his advances down, at least on that end."

"So he's interested in guys?" Ulrich carefully said, burying any surprise from the turn the conversation had taken.

"And girls. He was really hard up for Yumi." Sissi added helpfully.

"That's blunt."

"And you." Sissi's voice had shrunk to almost inaudible decibels.

"What?" Ulrich managed.

"I think it was because of the both of you that he agreed to join you guys in…, well, whatever it was."

"Is. And wow," was all Ulrich could say.

"So, I spilled. How about you?" Sissi unconsciously batted her eyes at Ulrich, who didn't notice.

"I sorta just did, a bit," Ulrich hung his head a bit until he noticed Sissi hadn't heard that one little word before wow, so he backpedaled. "Now just a minute; I'm still processing this," Ulrich paused. All he could say after it was, "Odd was really insensitive, wasn't he? If only he knew…"

"But that's the point!" Sissi was adamant. "He didn't want you to know, or anyone, after what had happened. He walled off that part of himself, an only let it out for me."

"Why me? Why not Odd?" Ulrich was grasping at straws.

"You're going off stereotypes, dear," Sissi reprimanded.

"Sorry." and Ulrich meant it.

"Would you honestly have treated him at all well if you knew that not only was he hitting on your crush, but he wanted a piece of you as well? Would you still have understood, still have included him in your gang?"

"No, probably not." Ulrich paused again. "Does everyone know of my crush on Yumi?" It felt weird saying it aloud, and that was only compounded by who he was saying aloud to.

"When one spends as much time studying you as I did, it's obvious," Ulrich looked ready to say something, but Sissi went on. "I'm over that. And you, for the most part. I just want to be treated with some respect, acknowledgement. Friendliness, even." Ulrich nodded at each of Sissi's verbal bullet points, but couldn't dodge the last one. "Now weren't you about to start spilling, or were you just pumping me for information all along?"

Ulrich had to good grace to look sheepish. "I can sure work on that. As for that…" And Ulrich pulled himself together and told Sissi how William really died.

A.N. 2 – Originally, this was going to be the concluding chapter; it still may be. But the idea of the next chapter being the converse of this one, with Ulrich divulging Lyoko to Sissi and not RTTP-ing her, has appeal to me. I sorta like this as is, just to say this story is finally over, so it might be a while before I change my mind. Thanks for reading.