I don't own it. Just so you know.
Ulrich was worried.
He was worried about his math grade, which wasn't so hot. He was worried about how he would ask Yumi to the dance. He was worried about skipping yet another science class because of a Xana attack.
But most of all, he was worried about Odd.
Odd had always been different. His name fit him so well. He just didn't seem to care about what other people thought, which was why everybody was naturally attracted to him. And of their little group, Odd was definitely the one who was most comfortable around other people, or at least he had been.
Lately, Ulrich had been woken in the middle of the night. He never knew exactly what woke him, except that he always had a feeling. Like if he didn't wake up right then, something terrible would happen.
So he'd wake up, and look at the small window that was built into the wall. And there'd be Odd. He wouldn't be moving, or making any noise. Just sitting there, shaking. Like he was afraid to move. Afraid to breathe.
And Ulrich would go to him, touch him on the back of the neck. Odd would whip around so fast that Ulrich could barely see it. He'd be afraid of Ulrich at first, cowering, turning into a ball. Ulrich would sit down next to him, stroke his thatch of blond hair, telling him everything would be alright.
Night after night this would happen. Odd was getting further away from being "all-right". It was at these times that Ulrich would remember how young Odd was. Just barely thirteen, while he and Jeremy were fourteen and Yumi was fifteen. Aelita had no age.
Ulrich hadn't told these midnight awakenings to anyone. He hoped they would just go away, like the stages a five year old passes through.
Then they got worse.
Odd started waking up screaming. Not a human scream, more like the yowl of a cat, mixed with hissing. When this happened, he didn't recognize Ulrich when he tried to comfort him.
"Get away from me!" Odd's eyes were glazed over, like someone in a fever. "No! Please don't!"
Ulrich pulled Odd closer, ignoring the smaller boy's attempts to get away. Eventually he stopped struggling, let his body hang limp in Ulrich's arms.
He started to cry.
Ulrich didn't know what to do, what to say. He held the boy close to him, waiting for the sleep to come. For another nightmare to take him.
And he'd be there, to wake him up. To tell him it was another bad dream.
Slow begining. It'll get faster. Just review.