All but Gender

"Yumi, sweetie. Are you awake?"

Yumi had gone back to sleep despite her meeting with Delta. She didn't know whether it was a dream or not, but she didn't want to dwell on it because even if it was a voice that came to her in the night, with no one else but her to hear it, she had admitted how she felt about Ulrich. This "just good friends" statement she gave to Ulrich and William constantly was starting to wear on her, especially William because unlike Ulrich, William is more assertive with his desire to be with her. This wasn't to say she didn't find it flattering, not a whole lot of guys would like a girl who wears black on a daily basis, but William is more likely than Ulrich to do something so severe that it would haunt for an extensive portion of time.

"Yumi, it's almost 6:45. If you don't hurry, we won't get you to the Academy on time."

She looked on her phone and sure enough, the clock on her phone was close to a quarter to 7. She quickly put on her boots, her shirt, and unfolded her hair from its bun. She came downstairs and quickly ate her breakfast and headed out to her parents' car.

"So, what kept you in, dear?"

"It was nothing, just…simple insomnia."

"Was it about something at the academy?"

"No, it was…"

"Was it about Ulrich?"

At that point, she had remembered that her little brother, Hiroki Ishiyama, was sitting next to her. Hiroki enrolled in the Academy last year, so he would join her in the car on the way to the academy.

"No, it was not about Ulrich!"

"You were probably all-" He began to talk in a lovey-dovey girl's voice, "Oh, Ulrich, Hiroki was right about you all along! We should've done this sooner!" and he was probably "Come on, Yumi, it's only gonna better."

This is what Yumi hated-no, abhorred about Hiroki. He's already given Ulrich his approval to date Yumi, he even announced in front of Jim, Emily, Tamiya, Milly, and worst of all, Sissi that he always tells her to go out with him. (Their memories were erased but it still bothered her like an involuntary moment played in the mind over and over.) She responded to his innuendo by smacking upside the head which let out an audible "ow!"

"No, Hiroki. That was not in my dream AT ALL! I didn't even sleep that much, to tell you the truth."


"Stayed up all night thinking about Ulrich?"

"That's not it, either!"

"Were you thinking about handsome he is, how cool he is, and how well-built he is-ow!"

"One more Hiroki. Just one more!"


Yumi was walking across the courtyard when she saw her amber, Ulrich Stern walking into the hall. There was something different about his appearance. His brows were furrowed, he looked grouchy, and other than the fact that his hair was savagely unkept, he…kinda looked hot. But he was a mess.

So this is what they call a "hot mess."



She then saw her pink-haired friend, Aeilita, running towards before stopping midway, noticeably captured by Ulrich's gaze.

"Okay, so Aeilita likes hot messes. That's something."

Then she saw her sniffing Ulrich like a bloodhound, while cooing.

"Hey Aeilita, w-w-what are you doing?"

"Oh I'm doing nothing, just…taking in the air."

More like eating Ulrich alive with your eyes.

"Why are you here?"

Well, I was going to ask you about this "Ulrich Stern", but it seems that he's been taken hasn't he?

"Calm down, Aeilita's in love with Jeremy. She and Ulrich are like siblings."

Are sibling supposed to rub their hands all over each other?

"Well, duh! They're-wait, what?"

She looked back and saw Aeilita tracing her finger across Ulrich's chest before rubbing the dirt on his cheek. "I never knew you smelled like Balsam, Ulrich. The scent makes you so…urbanely delightful."

Okay, now that's provocative.

"Shut up Delta, I'm sure this is nothing." Pushing Delta out of her mind, Yumi was walking into the school then all of a sudden she fell over, smelling Balsam. As she looked up, the proximity between her and her amber was so close, it made them both blush.

"Um...Someone…get the…license…of that…hit?"

"Um...Yumi...your...friend...feeling...a bit...awkward?"


"Hey…so…sleep good last night?"

"Yeah…how about you?"

"Well, nothing new…wait, is that smell coming from you?"

Ulrich helped Yumi up then immediately turned in the direction of his dorm. "Screw this, I'm going to the showers. I knew this smell was going to be a-"

"I didn't say it was bad."

"Problem. Wait, what?"

"Let me guess, Balsam and bed sweat?"

"How did you…?"

"Odd told me."

"It figures."

"Well, I'll be off to class now. Later, you little hot mess." She said, ruffling his hair before running off.

Yumi walked into her classroom, worried about the trig final she was going to take in a few weeks. She had studied consistently but always felt as if even the slightest slip-up could butcher her entire grade. This is one of the many reasons she created that would explain why being in a serious relationship with Ulrich would not be the right course of action. But still, the thought of being in a relationship with Ulrich sounded very pleasant to her.

I bet it does.


Listen, Yumi. It's no secret that you are in love with Ulrich. It should be obvious that he loves you just as much.

"That's the problem. He and I love each other. If we were like brother and sister, kind of like me and Hiroki, this would not be an issue!"

And why is that?

"He gets jealous every time he sees me with other boys and I can't stand to see him with another girl. When he was with Sissi before I knew that she was blackmailing him, I nearly walked over and kicked her head right off her body!"

What about him seeing you with other guys? Hasn't he done anything to keep you away?

"Well, there was this one time…"


2 months ago

Yumi and Ulrich were practicing Pencak Silat in the courtyard since they had nothing better to do with their time. Between fighting X.A.N.A, school, and martial arts, the two rarely had time for themselves, let alone each other. Their practice concluded when Yumi sweep-kicked Ulrich onto his back, pinning him with her legs.

Ulrich sighed pleasantly despite losing. "Is it wrong that I enjoy doing this with you?"

"Not really, but this is the 30th time I've beaten you with a sweep kick. Your edge is dulling, Ulrich."

"Probably because I spend so much time with you; fun does come at a price."

Yumi giggled and leaned over Ulrich to kiss his forehead.

"Well, I'll be. Looks like our two lovebirds made it after all!"

Who but Odd, Jeremy, and Aelita to come at a time like this? Sure enough, Ulrich was supported by everyone else in his group to make a move. Yumi found it bold and decided to oblige but they agreed that an official relationship would end their friendship due to the levels of jealousy they reach easily.

"Anyway, we just received an exchange student from Chicago, Illinois. His name is Phillip Brooks and he's trilingual!"


"It means 'three languages.' He can speak three different languages."

"Really, which ones?"

"He can speak English, Spanish, and Japanese fluently."

"He's also very skilled in martial arts. You know, Ulrich, I think he could actually beat you!"

"Phillip could actually beat me? Einstein, currently only Yumi has the privilege of saying that. No one other than her can beat me."

"He's also doesn't chivalry. Actually, he usually beats everyone he fights, male or female, and he's a big fan of bloodshed."

"I'll kill him." Ulrich said, a deadly aura now brewing around him

"But he hasn't done anything yet-oh, I see, you're trying to protect your damsel in distress, aren't you?"


"You think about her, even though you're opposing her?"


"She's a girl?"

"I just said no!"

"She makes you feel scared?"


"…She's a-"

"God Damn It, Odd, another one of those, and you can consider yourself finished!"

damsel in distress who you need to protect?"

"I swear, Odd, in a trunk, off a cliff!" Ulrich said as he tore off, chasing Odd who was laughing his head off.

"You can't swear, Ulrich, it's impolite!" Yumi called while waving.

"WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY?" He two-finger saluted back.

"Oh, those two. So what are you doing later, Jeremy?"

"Well, I've got an idea for an all-terrain vehicle we can use on Lyoko. It's still incomplete but I should have it ready in say a week."

"Why don't I help you?"

"Really, I mean if you have time then by all means, I'd love company." Then Yumi was left alone in the courtyard. She looked at her phone, 6 minutes until intermission was over. She could find Ulrich and spend more time with him but he was off chasing Odd.

"Hey there girl."

Yumi turned around and saw a guy with messy hair and bandages around his arms.

"Hello, and who are you?"

"The new kid on the block, Phillip Jack Brooks."

"Yumi Ishiyama."

"I just got here and I'm trying to find the sci-eynce room. Know where it is?"


"Yeah, the study of animas, and na-ture."

"This guy is so lame in the head, it's adorable" Yumi giggled to herself. "Okay, come with me."

Yumi had given him a tour of the new building. Some of the girls found him intriguing, but most of the boys gave him looks that could kill. At last, they found the science room, but not before attracting a large crowd of females and jealous males.


Then Phillip was hit with a tidal wave of screaming females, shouting the usual stuff:

"He's so cool!"

"Phillip, you're awesome!"

"Marry me, Phillip!"

It wasn't long before Jim, Ms. Hertz, and the principal came to settle down the crowd. Phillip looked around for Yumi but she was long gone.

Yumi and Ulrich had relocated to a hilltop close by campus where they had a view of not only the school, but the town around it. The school year was nearing a close and the Lyoko Warriors had begun thinking X.A.N.A was running out of options.

"Hey Yumi?"


"You know X.A.N.A has to go down one day right?"


"So I've been thinking, after we do take down X.A.N.A., what's going to become of us?"

"You mean us two or the whole group?"

"Us two."

"Oh, okay. Um, Ulrich you know how I can get easily jealous right?"

"Well, you-"

"Yes or no question, Ulrich."


"Okay, listen. I can get jealous very easily and so can you which is the only thing holding us back from having a relationship. I've read a lot of stories where the male does horrible things to the female out of jealousy and anger. But, I trust you a whole lot, so, if you see me with a boy talking and nothing more than that, would you be able to keep your cool?"

"Of course, you hang around Jeremy and Odd all the time."

"They're practically family, Ulrich."

"I can chill if you're around other boys. What they'll do to you if they're alone with you for too long is what I'm apprehensive about."

"So you think I can't handle myself?"

"No, it's not that, I-"

"Ulrich, are you calling me defenseless?"

"No, absolutely not, I-"

"If I were to ask you to head down to the closest ice cream parlor and buy me something, you believe that I would be attacked in that instant?"

"…Are you hungry?"

"What? No! Don't try to change the-"


"Um, Ulrich?"

"Which one do you want?"

"Hmm…do they have strawberry?"


"Could you see if they have some whipped cream as well?"


"Arigato, koibito."


"Japanese for 'sweetheart' or 'baby'."

"Oh. Heh. Yeah, I'll just get your snack."

Ulrich quickly walked off, but the blush had already crept up to his ears, causing Yumi to giggle. Still, she couldn't shake the feeling that the conversation they just had would manifest itself into reality one way or the other. She laid back in the grass by the tree until a messy-haired individual walked up to her.

"That was fast, I didn't expect it to be so close."

"Well, you have a lot of people show you the way, it's not that hard."

"So you asked for directions?"

"Not really, I just followed you here."

"So you saw it on the way?"


"So did you get it?"

"Not yet, but I plan to…right now."

"Alright then, but actually I'm not feeling that hungry anymore-"

"But I think you are…for me."

"Okay, Ulrich, where are you getting this attitude from?"

"…Who's Ulrich?"

That comment got Yumi on her feet in an instant. Phillip was standing there, a lustful smile on his face.

"Phillip? How did you?"

"Didn't you hear me, I was stalking you for a while. You've got a pretty good boyfriend, you know. But, nobody likes a used girl."

"Phillip, you don't mean?"

"I like you, Yumi Ishiyama. I like you, and I want you. Your boyfriend's not here to give you to me, so I'm gonna take you."

"I'd like to see you try."

"Ooh, feisty. I'm practically drooling. My fish have never squirmed before, and it's making me…ssssolid."

Phillip charged at Yumi and started throwing punches and kicks towards her direction which were somewhat easy for her to parry. The bandages on his hands were wet which meant that he was a kickboxing specialist. Yumi could only parry and block his attacks but every instance of blocking or parrying caused several blood vessels in her arms to break.

"He's strong, but this is ridiculous! It's as if he's being controlled by X.A.N.A, but has consciousness of himself!"

Yumi's movements gradually became sluggish and Phillip's next kick was so brutal that it knocked Yumi through the tree and down the hill onto the pavement below. Yumi tried to get back to her feet and run but she had been turned over and detained by Phillip, who was now trying to unclothe her. Yumi was never this frightened on Lyoko, but she still had enough energy to resist him.

"Let go of me, you crazy sex offender!"

"That's what I want! Squirm, girl, squirm!"

"You're crazy if you think you're gonna get away with this!"

"Oh, but I will. You know why, cause I've got my buddies videotaping this from different locations. Of course, you could stop resisting and just let me have my fun, but then again, I'd still have my way with you.

Yumi was in abject terror. In her fear, she thought back to conversation an hour ago. In the end, she was rendered defenseless and all she asked him for was a strawberry ice-cream parfait. She didn't care about his jealousy being a bad thing because she was afraid. So she screamed as loud as she could, hope fully loud enough for him to hear:


Her plea was cut short by a sickening smack across her face.

"Shut up, girl! I don't want the police to know what I'm going to do to you."

"And I thought I was gonna kill Odd first."

Phillip's head turned around to see Ulrich standing there with a bloody army coat. Behind him were several bodies piled onto each other.

"What did you…TO MY BOYS?!" Phillip screamed as he lunged for Ulrich with a fist, but was caught and crushed in Ulrich's unusually strong grip.

"What were you doing and about to do…TO MY GIRL?!" Ulrich yelled.

"Ulrich had called an ambulance earlier on said there would be room for five patients. The damage report culminated in broken bones, bleeding eyes, and deep scars in all of their backs. I still remember what happened between me and Ulrich that night."

"Yumi, it's me Ulrich. I'm here, okay? They're all in ambulances."

Yumi lay on the ground, motionless. She was sexually assaulted and nearly molested in Ulrich's absence. Tears rolled down her face as she was nearly naked from the waist up. Her clothes were forcefully ripped from her body, and her arms were covered in bruises, along with her stomach, and face.

"Yumi, I'm never gonna leave you again. I'm staying with you and I don't care about my jealousy, I love you. This happened because I was away from you. I should've stayed with you. It's my fault-"


"Yes, Yumi?"

"…Your body…gashes…bruises…black, blue, green, purple…scars…puncture wounds?"

"Adrenaline helped me get through them."

"Ulrich…" She sobbed bitterly. Ulrich instinctly kissed her lips and rubbed her hair.

"I'm here, Yumi. I always will be…no matter what."

The rain fell on both them, as if nature itself was heartbroken. Tears fell down their faces as fell asleep, right then and there on the pavement.

Well, well, well. Ulrich sounds like quite the friend, doesn't he?

"He's my amber. But…I don't know whether to pursue him or not."

Who's he?

Ulrich, the guy I have conflicted feelings for?

I'm not talking about Ulrich, I'm talking about this guy who's been trying to get your attention for the past few minutes.

She looked up and she saw William who had, as usual, taken his seat next to Yumi. Normally, she would have been fine with it, but ever since she saw Ulrich in a hot mess, she's been plagued with thoughts of his messy hair, his body, his voice, and his-

Whoa-ho-ho-ho-ho! Pay attention, Yumes!


"Hey Yumi, are you alright?"

"No Delta, I'm not, now stop pestering me!"


"Oh, I'm sorry William. I just have this horrible migraine."

"I can understand that. I've got no control over my head either."


"…But you do," he added with a smirk, "and it's always centered on you."

"William, that's very sweet, but listen. I'm not in a relationship with Ulrich, okay? If he and I were to be in a relationship, our friendship would go out the window and we'd hurt each other."

"Actually, I wasn't going to talk about Ulrich, but…now that you've brought it up, have you been hearing rumors?"

"What rumors?"

"Apparently, Ulrich's in love with a girl named Sierra. We haven't seen her but it has to be a nickname for either a girl at the Academy, or a girl far away from here."

"Ulrich is in love with a girl? Weird, he even told me that he has affectionate feelings for me."

Well you know what they say, Yumi. Everyone is innocent till proven guilty.

"That's not in France's constitution or Japan's! That's from the USA!"


"Who are you, Delta?"

You cannot trust all that you hear. Remember this, and this 'Sierra' they're talking about will die out eventually.

With that phrase, Delta left her. Yumi didn't want to believe rumors, but she never did show signs to reciprocating Ulrich's feelings.

"It's gonna grow to a point where it won't be able to sustain any more and then it will burst sooner or later."

"Ms. Ishiyama, repeat what you just said."

"Huh?" She had completely forgotten she was taking physics.

"One of the other occurrences I dislike is when students know the answer, but lose the courage to say it. How will you and the rest of the class learn if no one is bold enough to take a stand, Yumi?"

"Oh, I apologize, madam."

Sorry for the wait. Now, onto the next one!