A tall girl walks down the long street, towards the boarding school she's attended for five years now. The first four of those were blurry moments, like when you try to go to a station on television that doesn't exist. The fuzz and harsh sound deter you away, covering up any sign of a program that would've been there... But the fifth year was when every changed.

She'd gone to her self-defense class, as she'd done for the past two years.. always alone. Except this time Jim wasn't the only one she saw upon walking into the gymnasium. A fairly tall boy with brown hair and deep brown eyes looked back at her. Who's this she wondered, not a fan of having an audience during her lessons, especially not a guy. The look on her face must've revealed a lot, because Jim spoke up quickly, "Now don't worry about this one, Yumi. He's a good kid. Wanted to try out this class. So don't scare him away," he added on the end of his summary. "Oh, and his name's Ulrich."

Ulrich she thought, trying to decide if she liked him by the sound of his name. I can't tell anything. I'll have to see how he fights. After all, actions speak louder than words.

"Ready?" she said this almost like a greeting to the boy.

"When you are," was his quick reply. Ah, he's confident. That's always good she thought, before she made her move.

They dueled for a fairly long time, at least in Yumi's opinion. She'd never met someone so fierce and so coordinated before at this school, muchless anywhere else she'd been. "You're pretty good," she admitted at a point when she stopped briefly to catch her breath. Then she went to kick his side, but he blocked her leg with his own.

"Same to you," was his reply, kicking her leg away and getting into his practiced fighting stance. They went on like this for a minute or two more, before it happened.

She guessed they'd just gotten far too into their fight. One move, that's all it was. One move. And everyone knows that this ancient martial art was based on every move having a "reply" made by your opponent. So he made his reply... but somehow he tripped, knocking them both to the ground. The boy landed, rather awkwardly, right on top of her. At first they didn't realize what had happened, but then Yumi's eyes widened. His cheeks reddened first, then hers. Sheepishly, he placed his hands on the gym floor to lift himself up and off of her. He was so startled that he couldn't get his muscles to cooperate, so he ended up flopping down on the cool floor beside her. "Sorry," he managed to breathe quietly.

"S'alright," she replied calmly, her face returning to its normal complexion. But her heart was still beating at the speed of sound. At the speed in which he'd accidentally collided with her and brought a feeling into her mind she'd never felt before. A crush? Yumi Ishiyama? No way. That would never happen to me.

Jim broke into her thoughts with his polite applause. "Good, good," he complimented them. "You two make quite a dueling pair. I'm looking forward to seeing you practice together more often." He gave them that goofy smile of his, then held his watch up to his face. "Well, time to quit for today. See you again Wednesday. Same time, same place." With that said, he half-walked half-marched, as was his style, from the gym, leaving them alone.

"Have I seen you around school before?" Ulrich asked. "I'm in ninth grade."

"Probably not," she replied, smirking a bit. "I'm in tenth grade."

"Oh. Well, I could've sworn I saw you on campus somewhere..." he said thoughtfully. "Jim never told me your name, but I've heard it somewhere before. You're Yuri, right?"

At this, she glared teasingly at him. She gave him a swift kick at his calves, knocking him off balance and causing him to fall. It took him a moment to register what happened, but he was able to keep himself from getting hurt by landing on the palms of his hands. "What was that for?" he asked.

"The name's Yumi."

Ever since that day, nothing had been the same. Everything seemed to come in a whirlwind - Ulrich, his strange friends, fighting on Lyoko, meeting Aelita... They'd fought and fought so long, they were so close... she expected that any day now, the pink-haired beauty that she knew haunted Jeremie's dreams would be materialized onto Earth and attending Kadic School with them. But until then, she'd keep on fighting alongside Ulrich and Odd, doing whatever she could to help out.

He sat outside school, trying to remember if there were any homework assignments he'd forgotten. School started in a little over 10 minutes - just enough time to get some B+ work done. (He knew never to hope for an A-, much less an A.) Just then, he was distracted from all thoughts of responsibilites, because he'd spotted her... She was a few hundred feet away, coming down the road towards the school. She probably didn't even see him. In truth, he almost didn't want her to; he wasn't certain at all what she thought of him, of them... if they were more-than-friends, less-than-together? He could only wish... Oh, to just watch her walk. When she got closer, he could just barely see her lips curving into a smile... closer still he could see her eyes glimmering with the new morning's light. If only she were truly mine he wished, telling his eyes to stop staring, because she'd gotten close enough to tell if he had been... "Good morning, Yumi," he called out.

Then she looked his way. And she grinned wildly. Such beauty, such elegance... why hasn't someone taken her by now? I mean, I'm definitely grateful for this, but also confused... I'm quite sure she's the most desirable girl in school. Yet why hasn't she had any guys pining after her? "Hey there," she returned, finally reaching the boy seated on the splintery school bench. "Where are the others?"

"Odd's getting fifths at breakfast, Jeremie's working on some kind of computer program... thank goodness I haven't seen Sissi all morni-" Just as he spoke, who did he hear but the Queen of Whining herself? Speak of the devil Yumi thought, narrowing her eyes at the raven-haired girl sauntering towards them.

"Oh Ulrich dear!" she practically screeched, planting her feet at his side and reaching out with both her hands to grab one of his. He tried to pull away, but she has a fairly strong grip. "Remember that mumbo jumbo Mrs. Hertz taught last Biology class? Well, I think I've got most of that worksheet figured out, but I'm having trouble with one problem.. and school starts in 4 minutes, so I was wondering..."

"Why don't you get Herb to help you? I've heard he's excellent at science," Ulrich countered, finally managing to pull his hand free of her grasp.

"Yeah," Yumi added. "He's so good, he's tutored me in Chemistry once." She feigned a grin at the obnoxious girl. "Go on, run along now. After all, there are only 3 minutes left before the bell rings." With that, Yumi gave the girl a light shove on her left shoulder, directing her towards the school's front entrance.

"But..." she replied weakly.

"Go on," both of them told her. At last she got the message and walked forlornly through the main doors and down the hall.

Glad Ulrich never fell for her little pouty act before I met him... Yumi thought gratefully. "So... only a few minutes left.." Yumi commented.

"Yeah," was Ulrich's quick and brief reply. Then they stood, a bit awkwardly. We're alone. Ulrich thought. Should I tell her? This will be my only chance for a while. After all, it's rare that we're left alone together...

"Yumi, I..." he started a bit hesitantly. Just then he was interrupted.

"Hey there, I'm new here and I don't really know where to go..." a boy's voice broke through Ulrich's thoughts. So much for that...

Ulrich didn't bother to turn and look at him. But Yumi did. And she couldn't help it, but.. she liked what she saw. Pale blue eyes glanced back at her from beneath thick black lashes. "Someone told me to go to you, said you'd know where I should go.. you're Yumi, right?" he said to her. "I'm William," he continued, extending his hand towards her. She met it with her own and, for a moment, dared to look directly into his eyes. "So, where do I go first?"


So far, just a bit of an introduction. This is when William first came to Kadic. So, how do you like it so far? Ulrich's got competition. Will this finally prompt him to tell Yumi how he feels? And what's going on with the other three, anyway? Review, and the next chapter will be yours for the reading. )