It was a shock for Susan Hertz, the biology teacher of Kadic Academy, to walk into her classroom and actually see Odd Della-Robia with his head up, eyes open, completely alert. It was such a shock, in fact, that she exclaimed, "Holy crap, Della-Robia is actually awake!" It brought about both a stunned and awkward silence from her students. With a small blush, she cleared her throat self-consciously. "I mean… Nice to see you among the living, Odd."
Odd chuckled nervously, the snickers of two of his best friends ringing in his ears. "Well, I heard rumors of there being a new girl today. And what if she's cute?" He widened his eyes comically, making Ulrich and Jeremy laugh louder. "I can't exactly let anyone get to her first, now could I?" He yelped as both Ulrich and Jeremy respectively hit him with a book and a paper ball. "Ow! I was kidding, guys!" He rubbed his head, glaring at his German best friend. "And you! What has been with you and aiming for my head lately? This is the fifth time since yesterday that you've hit me there!"
Ulrich chuckled, balancing his chair on their back legs. "And you deserved all of it." He retorted.
Odd met his smirk with a pout. "The one in the park?" Ulrich's smirk grew. "The one in lunch?" Still, it grew wider. "The hit this morning, when you were getting me up?"
At that one, Ulrich shrugged. "No, that one you didn't really deserve. I just wanted to hit you." Odd whined as the class started laughing. No one laughed as hard as Sissi, who found anything relating to Odd in pain hilarious. Bloody psycho.
Ms. Hertz settled the class down, sporting her own mildly amused smile. "Alright, class, settle down. As Mr. Della-Robia stated, we have a new student joining the class today." She motioned to the door, and a familiar figure walked in. "Why don't you introduce yourself to the class, Miss Faye?"
Alana smirked and nodded a greeting to the class. "Yo. My name is Alana. I won't stand for a nickname, because it's not a very hard name to remember. Seriously, there are three freaking vowels in it." She scowled at the chuckles that came from the classroom and went on. "Anyone that wants to be friends must put up with a nickname from me, however. Example numero uno." She sauntered forward, leaning an elbow on Sissi's head. "This chick here, ya'll know as Sissi. She's my cousin, and her name is Lizzy-chan."
Sissi whined and swiped half-heartedly at Alana. "Why? Why must my family insist on humiliating me with my real name?" She cried, bashing her head on her desk. Herb and Nicolas cried out in shock. "Oh, shut up you simpletons!" Sissi hissed at them.
Alana laughed and poked at Sissi's head. "Ooh, simpleton? That's a big word for you, Lizzy-chan. Have you been reading the dictionary again?" She clicked her tongue mockingly a few times, waving her finger in a 'no-no' fashion. "You really shouldn't read too much, dear cousin of mine. You know what it does to that oh so tender brain of yours."
Odd and Ulrich laughed loudly at Sissi's look of outrage while Alana just grinned. "You were right, Odd." Ulrich said. "I like this Alana chick already!"
Odd grinned at his best friend widely, flashing his white teeth. "Hey now buddy, you've got Yumi. Leave this to one to me!" He dodged Ulrich's punch by leaning forward, laughing louder at the blush on his face.
Alana turned to grin at them, walking away from Sissi to lean on their desk. "And this is my newest friend named Oddball." Here, she paused and swiped at Odd's hair, making it bend backwards before going back straight. "All though, I may alternate that with troll, since his hair kinda reminds me of those stupid little troll dolls Lizzy-chan used to collect."
Odd glared at her half-heartedly, pouting again. "Oddball is bad enough. Why do you have to call me troll as well?" He whined, giving her the magical teary wide-eyed look that so many girls had fallen to in the past.
Instead of blushing and taking it back like an idiot, Alana squealed and hugged him to her. "You are just adorable when you made that face!" She released him, and grinned at his gaping face. "But I'm still not taking it back."
Odd copied Sissi in thumping his head on his desk, before throwing his head back and covering his eyes with an arm. "Oh, Alana, you wound me so!" He whined dramatically, leaning back into his chair. Ulrich took the chance to kick Odd's chair out from under him, making him tumble to the ground. Alana was forced to take a step back to avoid getting hit by his flailing arms. "Oomph!" Odd released as his butt collided with the ground.
Again, the class erupted into laughter, this time Alana and Ulrich being the loudest. For a second, their eyes met. In that second, Alana stopped laughing and narrowed her eyes at him. Ulrich's laughter dimmed into a nervous chuckle. Alana looked him over, raising an eyebrow. "You are 'Ulrich Dear'?"
Ulrich gulped, not liking that glint in her eye. "Um… Yes?" It came out as a question rather than an answer.
"Ah. I see…" No one immediately understood what was happening. One moment, Alana was staring at Ulrich with Odd on the floor between them. The next, Alana had jumped over Odd to punch Ulrich in the face. He was so surprised that he yelped, and it was all he could do was defend himself. "Never," punch, "ever," punch "come near," punch, "Lizzy-chan", punch, "ever again, Stern!" She punctuated the last statement with a kick to his gut. Ulrich pulled his hands down from his face to hold his stomach. Alana took the chance to bop him on the face, and Ulrich fell over Jeremy's desk.
It took another second for everyone to understand what had happened. This new girl had just attacked one of the strongest and most popular guys of the school. Pure chaos erupted. Sissi jumped out of her see, eyes blazing, as she stomped over to Alana. "What was that about, you crazy idiot!" She hissed, trying to tug Alana away.
Alana didn't move. She kept her eyes on Ulrich, grinning sadistically as he groaned and held one hand to his bleeding lip, the other on his aching gut. "That was for all the torment you put my kin through. Like I said, Stern, never come near Lizzy-chan ever again, and we won't have a repeat of this little discussion." Every single word came out in a hiss, her amber eyes narrowed into dangerous looking flints.
Everyone but Alana and the Lyoko Gang jumped as the door was slammed open, and Francois Delmas stomped in. Ms. Hertz peeked over his shoulder, an upset frown on her wrinkled face. "What is going on in here!?!?" He roared. He didn't seem surprised to see Alana standing over Ulrich. In fact, he groaned and hid his face behind a hand. "Alana, dear, what did I tell you a week before you came to live here?" He sighed, shaking his head.
Alana did a 180, both physically and in personality. "I believe, Uncle, that you said," she struck up a pose and pointed a finger in the air, screwing up one eye. She purposefully made her voice low and gruff, imitating Mr. Delmas. "I will not tolerate you getting into any fights, young lady! The first person you get into a fight with, you will…" She trailed off, eyes going wide in seeming horror. "No. I refuse."
Delmas gave a smile that seemed very creepy to those who were watching silently. "It seems, Alana, that you have no choice in the matter. I gave you a clear warning long before you got here. Until you've learned your lesson, you will be made to live with Ulrich and Odd."
He was bombarded with several different complaints. "But sir, that would be co-ed!" Ulrich protested.
"Y-Yeah, what would the other parents think?" Odd stammered. He was really only worried about how they'd hide Kiwi from her.
"What they said, old man! Besides, I refuse to live with Stern while Sissi is so bloody enamored with him!" Alana scowled, hands on her hips.
That brought a confused look to both faces of Sissi and Odd. "What's enamored mean?" Odd whispered to Sissi. It was met with a shrug and a short 'I'unno.' Odd looked over at Jeremy to ask him, but saw him already texting on his cell phone. 'Probably sending a distress to the others.' He thought.
When Jeremy looked up, there was a defeated look on his face. With a sigh, he stood up and intervened in the discussion. "Sir, while I don't entirely agree with the punishment, may I offer a compromise?" Everyone blinked in surprise as he stepped up. Mr. Delmas nodded, letting Jeremy continue. "Since you already warned Alana, it's only proper that she be punished." He flashed a look at Alana's snort before going on. "But the problem would be a male and female sharing a room. So my proposition is this: why doesn't she room with Aelita and spend the day with our entire group?"
Delmas still looked unsure, so Alana heaved a miserable sign and nodded. "Yeah, I guess that works out. I'd rather not have to move away from Lizzy-chan, as we literally only just finished unpacking my shit-"
"Language!" Delmas said sternly.
Alana sighed exasperatedly, rolling her eyes. "Yeah, yeah. Whatever. My crap only just got unpacked earlier, now we have to pack it all up again." She and Sissi shared an anguished look that spoke of sadness more than just the reasons Alana had given. It was the first time Ulrich and Jeremy thought of Alana as real. Ever since Odd's story, they'd thought of her as a fairy tale, or a story he'd made up to make himself not feel as lonely. Now here, in front of them, were two girls, kin, that were being torn from each other as soon as they'd come together.
Delmas nodded agreement, the stern 'authority' look on his face. Authority… Ha, yeah right. "Yes… Well, then…" He looked at Ms. Hertz and nodded to her. "Carry on with your class, Ms. Hertz." He glared at Alana once more, gave Sissi a hug, and left the classroom.
Ms. Hertz nodded and looked at her students. "Go back to your seats, students. All of you, now!" She snapped fiercely. Well, as fierce as an old lady with a crinkly voice can get. Everyone but Alana scrambled back to their seats. Hertz sighed and rubbed the bridge of her nose, pushing up her glasses. "What now, Miss Faye?"
Alana laughed nervously, rubbing the back of her head. "Um… I kinda don't have a seat yet, ma'am." Outside, a bird suddenly flew from its perch at the enraged scream from the science building.
Odd shoveled the food down his throat, happily filling his stomach for the first time since all of his friends paired up. The others, while happy he had his appetite back, watched in mild disgust. No one watched with more disgust than Sissi Delmas, who had refused to leave her cousin's side. Alana was more fascinated than disgusted. "Dude, how the hell are you still so skinny?" She asked, blinking at him.
Odd looked up, his cheeks puffed out with food. He didn't have to say anything; his group said it for him. "He isn't skinny, he's svelte." They chorused in unison. Odd glared at them all, though the effect was kind of ruined by the crumbs of food around his mouth. Everyone shared a nice little laugh at his misfortune before they started glaring at each other again.
The spiky-haired blonde swallowed and sighed, reaching over to poke Alana on her arm. "Hey, what's your schedule like?" Alana blinked in surprise before digging through her bag, pulling out a paper and handing it over silently. Odd mumbled out-loud as he compared her classes with his own mental list. "Gym with Jim next," he chuckled at Alana's snort/snicker, "math with Arwin, and… French with Pietro?"
He raised an eyebrow at her in wonder. She returned the gesture, leaning her cheek against a fist. She shrugged at him, playing with her own food. "I'm not a native to France." She explained. "My father grew up here. Mum is full-blooded American. Grew up in the States with two best friends, pen-palled Lizzy-chan, and learned very minimal French."
Sissi had visible stiffened while Alana was speaking, and she kept her eyes on her own tray of slop. The Lyoko Gang exchanged confused looks, sensing the sudden tension between the cousins. It was Ulrich who broke the silence. "So, why did you get sent here?" He ventured to ask.
He wished he hadn't, though. Alana glared hatefully at him, hissing her response between clenched teeth. "That isn't your business, Mister Grumpy Pants." She said, ignoring the bewildered looks of Aelita and Jeremy at the nickname. The pink-haired angel only sighed and shook her head, standing up. "Going somewhere, princess?" Alana asked more sharply than she meant to.
Despite the tone, the pink-haired angel of the group smiled gently at her. "I've heard that you're going to be my new roommate. I'm going to go clean up your side of the room so that you can move in easier." She bowed to the group as a whole with her hands clasped in front of her and smiled brightly at Jeremy. "Will I see you in the computer lab, Jeremy?"
Jeremy chuckled, fixing his glasses on his face so that the light hid his eyes. "But of course, Aelita dear. Where else would we meet for a date?" He ignored a small 'The movies, like normal people' from Odd and stood up to give his girlfriend a small peck on the lips.
"NERD LOVE!" Alana shouted loudly. Heads from the neighboring tables turned to stare at her as Jeremy and Aelita sprang apart, their faces burning. Alana cackled at Jeremy's glare when Aelita practically ran away. "Get used to it Einstein! As long as this punishment holds, you two are going to be hearing that a lot!"
She grinned when Jeremy turned away. Sissi stiffened again at her side and growled darkly. Alana frowned and looked where she was looking. Yumi was hurrying over to them, discreetly slipping her cell phone back into her pocket. She didn't pay Sissi and Alana any acknowledgement. Word got around fast about Alana beating Ulrich up. "Hey guys." She said, leaning down to kiss Ulrich's cheek. "Sorry I'm late; I called the hospital to get an update on William's condition."
Alana's brow furrowed in confusion as the three boys frowned and became serious. "And?" Jeremy urged her forward. He learned against the table and folded his hands together, resting his chin on top of his interlaced fingers. "Do they have any guess on when he's going to wake up?" Yumi shook her head slowly, and he gave a dejected sigh with closed eyes. "Well, at least he's alive. We've got to thank our lucky stars for that. Those wolves really did a number on him."
Sissi gasped at the same time Alana said, "Wait, wolves?" Yumi glared at her angrily, putting her arms protectively around Ulrich from behind. Alana kept her eyes on Jeremy, not moving as she flipped the Japanese girl the bird. "There shouldn't be any wolves at all here. They were either killed or moved to the US long ago." She looked around subtly, motioning to Sissi to move and hide her. She took her phone and flipped it open, scrolling through something. She narrowed her eyes at it. "Three wolves escaped from the zoo last week. They were seen by a few keepers fleeing into the forests in an easterly direction."
She raised her eyes to meet the gazes of everyone. "It also says that these wolves were born in captivity. They were hand-raised by the vet of the zoo, and taught never to raise a paw or snarl at a human. Either your friend antagonized those wolves into attacking, or something was wrong with them."
At first, there was silence after her proclamation. Yumi and Ulrich exchanged uneasy looks. Alana was too close to the truth for comfort. Jeremy and Odd stared at her in mixed shock and amazement. Sissi didn't react, staring down at her food with clenched fists. "Dude…" Odd said in awe, "that… that was awesome…" He yelped when Ulrich swiftly bopped him on the head from across the table. "Dude!" He said again, this time with a considerably far less amount of awe. "Where did that come from? Completely uncalled for, Ulrich!"
Completely uncalled for it was, it did the task of lifting everyone's spirits. Sissi and Yumi were both laughing at Odd, seeming to momentarily forget their rivalry in their shared pleasure of Odd's pain. Even Jeremy couldn't stifle a small chuckle at the craziness of his friends. Alana's mouth twitched, like she was trying to hold back a smile, and leaned against her fist with her elbow on the table. "My my, why so abusive, Mister Grumpy Pants? Oddball did nothing wrong!"
Sissi snorted, swiftly jabbing a finger into Alana's side to bring about a small squeak. "Says the girl that says 'The worse I treat my friends, the more I love them'." She ducked under Alana's fist, sticking her tongue out and flicking a bit of mashed potatoes at her. "Don't deny it; it's on your blog from before you came here. After all," she gave the evil little Sissi-grin, the one that makes you want to shrink back in fear, "why else would you call me a bitch if you didn't love me?" Silence. "…Oh, I hate you all." She scowled, glaring at her food.
Alana laughed softly, taking a glob of what was supposed to be spinach and swiping it across her cousin's cheek. "You know I love you, Lizzy-chan. But you know as well as I that your mean streak has gone way overboard in the past." Sissi grumbled something incoherently, turning her nose away from everyone. Alana frowned before smirking. She took the edge of Sissi's lunch tray and flipped it up, splattering her with all assortments of supposed-to-be food.
At first, she was still. Everyone watched her, waiting for her reaction. Then she turned slowly. The look in her eyes made everyone but Alana take a gulp. But instead of retaliating, Sissi stood up and walked away, toward the bathrooms. Odd let out a breath he didn't know he was holding, and stared at Alana. "I don't know how you got away with that without a single word." He told her.
Alana shrugged, wiping off the food Sissi had put on her. "Don't worry too much about it. Lizzy-chan's bark is worse than her bite. That and she knows that I'll bite back." She laughed at the look of alarm on their faces and waved it off. "I repeat, chill! She may be mean, but my cousin would never intentionally hurt someone. Accidents that seem purposeful, there are plenty of." Odd noticed the way her amber eyes flashed, but the moment passed so fast he doubted it even happened. "But Lizzy-chan is a good person, if you just give her a chance."
With a sigh, she rose in her seat and pushed her tray over to Odd. "Here you go, Oddball. Take the rest of mine; I'm going to our… Lizzy-chan's room to pack my shit." She gave the peace sign to everyone, though she made the 'I'm watching you' gesture to Ulrich. "Remember my warning, Mr. Grumpy Pants. Stay away from Lizzy-chan!"
Ulrich raised his hands, and the group watched Alana stalk away to the stairs. "I don't like her." Yumi grumbled, taking the seat that Sissi's cousin had vacated. "She's way too loud and violent, and she thinks that everyone should listen to her!" She scowled and crossed her arms, glaring at Odd as he shrugged and went back to eating. "Can't you even try to calm her down, Odd? She seems to only listen to you."
Odd shrugged, pulling Alana's tray closer. "I would, but I don't want to risk scaring her away. She feels like the type that wouldn't hide herself just because I ask her to. And besides that, I like her loudness!" He gave the wide Odd-grin to his friends, bits of food still in his teeth. "It's not everyday I meet someone able to beat Ulrich up."
None of the others spoke, looking at something beyond his shoulder. He turned and saw Sissi standing there, the front of her shirt free of food. She was looking at him with an expression they'd never seen on her face: thoughtful and curious. "You only met her a few days ago, but you already know her so well…" With a sigh, she took her original seat next to Yumi. "She won't thank me for this, but would you guys like to know why my aunt and uncle sent her here?" They all nodded eagerly. With a sigh, Sissi began to tell Alana's story.
((Next chapter will be Alana's story. Review, please!))