Authoress' Notes: Just a little experiment in first-person POV from Jeremie's point of view after the episode "Opening Act". By the way, you have to watch the episode for parts of this to make sense, sorry. Nothing long, complicated, or even good, probably OOC, definitely not a piece I could add on to, but for what it's worth I actually finished something. (ignores shocked gasps) Well, why are you still reading this? Go on to the story!

Closing Performance

"Jeremie?" Aelita called softly from the elevator door.

"I'm here Aelita." My voice was tired, the endless click-clack of keys eating away at my energy.

"You gave Chris the disk, didn't you?" Aelita accused, already knowing the answer, but not seeming to understand it.

I stared at the screen, worried that looking at her when I was so tired and drawn would break down the barrier I'd placed between us in my mind. That I'd slip and tell her how much I missed staying up all night talking to her instead of working, how badly I missed doing things with her and showing her things.

Or worse, beg her to stay so I wouldn't be alone when the hours started to draw out between midnight and sunrise. What I wouldn't give to laugh and joke with her again, to get more than a couple hours' bad sleep a night, to have her help. To be close to her again. "Yeah."

"Why?" Aelita came to stand by my chair, the damned metal contraption I'd spent more hours in than my own bed. Her voice was gentle, curious. I hated and loved the sound of it at the same time. On the one hand, it was one of my two favorite sounds -the other being her laugh- but on then other, it reminded me of everything I lost and would lose.

"Why not? It was important to you. And you're good at it. Extremely good."

"But you said it was stupid." Aelita still sounded confused. Couldn't she just stop, before she tore me down completely?

"So? If it's important to you Aelita, it doesn't matter what I think or don't think. I gave him the disk because it's what you love, music, and what you deserve to be able to do." I stared harder, willing Aelita to let it go. I was fine. I didn't need her to hang around while I finished all those god-awful programs and codecs. While I was hungry and tired and shaking with fatigue and wasn't even sure if I could handle what I had to do.

"Thank you." Wordlessly I nodded, blindly reaching for my coffee with one hand still typing away.

"Here." She handed it to me carefully, mindful of the hot liquid. Finally my other hand stopped typing, but only long enough to fish eight small brown capsules out of my pants pocket -caffeine pills- and stuff them in my mouth, gag reflex deadened enough by now to down them all in one swallow with a swig of coffee and the ease of far too much practice.

"What were those?" Wonderful, she was worried. I hadn't been particularly up to acting, but . . .

"Nothing, don't worry about it Aelita." At least my voice hadn't wavered. Something had gone right today.

"If you say so Jeremie. We've got a test tomorrow."

"Physics right?" I stopped typing for just a second, my mind slowly switching gears from binary code and program parameters to basic Newtonian physics.

"Newton's laws and their applications in modern day cellular research." Aelita would study in the morning with Odd and Ulrich I was sure. Luckily I didn't need to study, not that I would have had the time. Studying was not a luxury I could afford, not with Xana breathing down our necks. Not when there was so much to do.

"Ah." I honestly didn't know what else to say. It'd been a long time since we had been alone and not talking about restoring Lyoko.

"How's it coming?"

'Maybe you would know if you stuck around for a while.' I couldn't stop the bitter thought from crossing my mind. None of this was her fault. I was being horrible. Coding just wasn't her thing. After being stuck on Lyoko for ten years, she had all the rights in the world to do whatever she liked. I was just being selfish. Sure I missed her company and her help but that was no reason to be upset with her.

"The ice sector's coming along. I might have it ready by the time I go to bed." Nevermind that I usually turned in at sunrise. She didn't need to worry.

"Really? How's the mountain sector?" She sounded odd, like she was caught somewhere between wistful and detached. At that time of night I couldn't make heads or tails of it, so I filed it away to think about when I had a spare moment.

"In the works. The basic layout is there, I just need to fine tune it and add the details. I'll probably end up finishing it in a week or two. Right now I'm more worried about our ship." The one we had been working on sporadically for weeks. The one I'd spent hours working on that very day.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw her nod absently while she watched more and more green lines of computer code fly across the screen. I wasn't making bad time for this particular hour of the night and was mildly proud that my hands didn't shake.

"It's almost curfew, we should head back to the school." I wouldn't have any trouble sneaking back in around 4:30 -too much practice- but I wanted to walk Aelita back, if only to spend a little more time with her. Saving my progress to disk I popped it out and stood up, following Aelita to the elevator.

"Jeremie, do you really think we'll free my father?" I smiled and reassured her, inwardly wondering if I was up to the job. But I had to be, for her. For everyone. Xana wasn't going to win.

"I can't wait until tomorrow. Odd's going to help me work on my mixes to send to Chris. It'll be wonderful." I envied Odd. Maybe that's why I was so hard on him. He was everything I wasn't and it scared me because in the end he or someone a lot like him would be the one to hold Aelita's heart. But as long as she was happy, it was okay. I could take anything but her being unhappy.

"That's great. I want to listen to it once you finish, if you don't mind." I meant it too. It would be a nice break, and I could see her for a little while.

"Really Jeremie?! Thank you. I'll bring it by as soon as we finish." Absently I wondered when 'we' had changed from she and I to her and Odd. But she was happy and that was what counted. The sooner I got over the fact that we were drifting apart, the better.

We reached the dorms sooner than I would have liked. It was nice, being outside with her and talking about normal school stuff, even if I only had the vaguest idea of what happened outside my room or the factory. There was always another Sissi scheme to laugh over. "We're here."

"Mm-hmm. Good night Jeremie, and thank you again." Aelita smiled at me, that beautiful smile that turns my insides to mush. I managed a smile back, for once meaning it. Even it had only been ten minutes, it was the best ten minutes I'd had in a long time. All thanks to my angel.

Aelita grabbed my hand, "You don't know what that meant to me."

I was fairly sure I did, but I didn't argue. "It was nothing Aelita."

It really wasn't. All I'd done was hand the guy a disk. But it made me proud I'd made her so happy anyway. Aelita shook her head and smiled again.

"Sweet dreams Jeremie." I couldn't tell her all I had were nightmares.

I nodded and watched her climb up the stairs to the girls' dorms, her hand slowly slipping from mine. Just like she was slipping away from me. As long as she was happy, it was fine . . . Or at least that what I kept telling myself. She turned the corner into the girls' hall and was out of earshot before I whispered again, "Good night Angel, sweet dreams."

With a bitter little smile I turned to the hall and headed to my room. There was a lot to do before sunrise.

Disclaimer: Just because I speak French does not mean I own any French TV shows. Like CL for example. So there.

Authoress' Notes: Well, there you have it. Poor Jeremie. Oh, I and if I made Aelita sound kinda selfish or oblivious, it was unintentional. Chalk it up to Jeremie being tired, okay? Anyways, considering this is an experiment, please let me know what you think. Specifics extremely appreciated, as I didn't send this to my beta first. Time to go, see you later minna-san!

Sword of Romance