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"Every Step I Willed"- a Code: Lyoko Fanfiction

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by artemis_winter, Aug 13, 2004.

  1. artemis_winter

    artemis_winter Anime Elitist / Grammar Nazi

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    "Every Step I Willed"- a Code Lyoko Fanfiction [AU]

    Title: Every Step I Willed

    Author: Artemis of the Ice a.k.a Artemis Winter, Fanfiction.net ID 118285

    Rating: PG-13, to be over-cautious

    Notes: This is going to take place a few months after “False Start”; don’t kill me for twisting things around, it’s going to be a rough ride for the dear characters. This is more of my usual style; my vignette “Revision” was a rogue piece of fluff.

    Summary: Things can change. People can change faster. The group isn't as together as they used to be, and Yumi knows something that they don't. Always expect the worst.

    Disclaimer: Me no own. If I did, I’d not be a broke high school student; also, if one were to sue me, they’d inherit an aluminum foil dagger, a jar of macadamia nuts, a list of Sindarin song lyrics, and a cage full of plot bunnies.




    Chapter 1: I Saw A Star Rise




    In one month-

    One measly month-

    Things can change a bit.

    They can change quite a bit.

    In fact, in one month, things may begin that can turn everything before it completely upside down.

    ----------

    Jeremie and Odd looked at Ulrich in disbelief.

    He shifted a little, and shrugged. “What? I’m telling the truth.”

    The blonde genius took of his glasses. After wiping them on the hem of his shirt, he put them back on. Unfortunately, the person standing in front of him was still Ulrich. It was the end of the first day of classes back, and things were already perplexing.

    Odd could only shake his head. “What would-” Jeremie clapped his hand over Odd’s mouth, effectively muffling only one word that came out sounding like “mm-ee”, then removed his hand- “-think if she heard this?”

    The three boys were standing under the tree that was their normal meeting spot, and were exchanging news after nearly eight weeks of vacation. Odd had gone to a skateboarding clinic [a/n: camp] in the United States, where his parents were “on the other side of the world”, and had come back the same but decidedly more of a daredevil. Jeremie had stayed behind to work on Aelita’s antivirus and keep an eye on things. Ulrich had stayed also, but often left the campus to go to other places around the city. They were all taller than they had been before the last time they’d seen each other. Yumi had-

    Where had Yumi gone again?

    Yumi had apparently stayed in France, but a different part, doing goodness-knows-what. The principal knew where she was, and her parents knew, but her closest friends didn’t know. It infuriated them to no end.

    But back to the issue at hand:

    “You’re out of your mind,” Jeremie muttered.

    Ulrich grinned lopsidedly. “Give her a chance!”

    The girl who was the subject of their current debate regarding Ulrich’s sanity level, stood, surprisingly timidly, to one side. Odd gave her a sidelong glance, and sighed. “I’ll do it, but I can’t say that her history with us is that great.”

    Jeremie pinched the bridge of his nose to offset the headache he just knew was coming. “You can swear on your life that…Sissy…is trustworthy?”

    Ulrich nodded, and gestured to her. “She’s changed. She’s not the sadistic girl that you knew…besides, after the diary incident, she knew about Lyoko and we can’t keep it all from her, can we? She can help us.”

    Sissy stepped forward. “I’m truly sorry for everything I’ve done. I’ve actually always wanted to be part of your group…” She trailed off, blushed, and went silent again.

    Odd held her gaze, not allowing her to back out that easily with a few sweet-sounding words. “You know how much trouble you’ve been for us over the months? You repent for all the times you stepped on others to reach your goals?” He felt righteous indignation on behalf of the absent Yumi, who was like an older sister to him.

    Ulrich moved to him, palms up, pleading. “Come on, Odd. Come off of it.” Odd shot his best friend a glare, feeling an almost unreasonable sense of betrayal.

    As if in defiance, Jeremie held his hand out to Sissy, and she shook it. Reluctantly, Odd did the same, although he let go of her hand quickly. Ulrich grinned, and took Sissy’s hand. “Thanks, guys.”

    Odd looked at the pair of them, and the way they kept tossing shy looks at each other, and rubbed his forehead. What would Yumi think? Her longtime obsession had fallen arse-over-elbow for someone they’d not have suspected over the course of a few weeks. Forcing his eyes away, he exchanged glances with Jeremie, who he knew was thinking the exact same thing. It wasn’t going to be easy to integrate her into their circle in the first place, and with Aelita coming soon, it was going to be even harder. Sissy couldn’t be a great influence. She could be another member of their group, but she could never be a member of the friendships they had.

    “Thank you greatly for consulting me,” a smooth voice from above them said. They all looked up, startled, and a figure swung off the tree branch, landing elegantly on the ground before them.

    You couldn’t call that voice smooth. It was silky in a deadly, dangerous sort of way. Yumi had made her entrance, and she had pulled out all the stops.

    She had changed like the rest of them, but hers was made more drastic by the fact that all of the changes were subtle. Her hair now fell gently past her shoulders, curling very slightly at the ends; she had grown curves to accompany an unnerving grace in her movements, and there was a cold, adamantine look in her eyes that jarred them. It was the look of a person who was hunted. Also, something small, black and metal protruded about a quarter of a centimeter out of the heels of her boots.

    “Hi,” she added belatedly, addressing the slack-jawed group with an accusatory air.

    Sissy shrank back unconsciously into Ulrich, and Yumi’s eyes narrowed imperceptibly. Yep, things had changed while she was gone.

    Suddenly turning to Jeremie, she asked, “So, what’ve I missed? How’s the progress on the antivirus?”

    He brightened, grateful to be turning to a safer subject. “I’m actually done with it! I’ve been working on it for the whole month and enlisted some help from Aelita herself; it’s going to work. We’re going to make one last trip to Lyoko and get her. I have a feeling it’s not going to be easy.” Yumi nodded slowly. She saw Odd next.

    “Hey- how’d the skating go?” He grinned.

    “It was awesome. Next time we go to the factory, I’m going to be pulling tricks the whole way.” She smiled at that, but the smile didn’t reach her eyes. The reason became evident when she finally turned to the pair behind her. Jeremie and Odd braced themselves for the impending outburst, but they were all to be surprised.

    Yumi held out a hand to Sissy. “Welcome to the unreality.” Sissy simply stared for a moment, then hesitantly clasped hands with her archrival. Yumi shook it firmly, dropped it, and stepped back. She gazed off into the distance for a minute, and closed her eyes. With a visible effort, she turned to Ulrich, letting her emotional barriers slip for one moment. Her cold eyes locked with his wary brown ones and turned into wavering pools of confusion and betrayal for one second; then the instant was gone as if it had never happened. With her shields back up, she moved away, and a piercing cry could be heard. It didn’t come from Yumi.

    A striking bird swooped down from the sky, scattering the students in the courtyard and eliciting cries of astonishment from many. Yumi raised her hand, and a red-tailed hawk back winged to a stop on her arm with a curious gentility, its talons not tearing the fabric of her sleeve. Yumi ignored the questions coming from her supposed friends, and spoke in a low voice to the bird.

    “What is that, Yumi?”

    “Where’d it come from?”

    “How’d you tame it?”

    Where have you been?

    She looked back at the owner of the voice who had cried that last inquiry, and her dark brown eyes once again held Ulrich’s.

    “I’ve been bracing for the worst.” She looked away, and stroked the delicate feathers behind the bird’s neck. Almost as an afterthought, she raised her arm, and the hawk took to the skies again. Disregarding the looks of awe and admiration coming from all who had witnessed it, she walked back to the group and stood in front of them. “We need to get Aelita before the end of this week, or we won’t be able to see her at all. She can stay with me; the arrangements still stand. If you think X.A.N.A’s shutdown marks the end of all our troubles, you’d be right, but it’s not all over yet.” She turned to Sissy, and fixed her in place with a look that might have split titanium. “You get to earn our trust, but if you want to back out now before you get involved in something way over your head, I’d advise it.” She closed her eyes again, tilting her head to the side. Then, abruptly as she had come, she was gone like a zephyr.

    A stunned silence reigned, and then the dam broke.

    “What is she talking about?”

    “She made me feel like I was inferior!” That was Sissy.

    Ulrich’s voice had dwindled to a whisper. “She made me feel weak.”

    Odd looked in the general direction of where Yumi had originally been standing. “She’s more powerful than we think, I think. Am I the only one who thought so but did she look as if she was older than she really was?”

    They contemplated it, and could only agree. She had seemed like a war veteran.

    Ulrich shook his head. Yumi was too headstrong; it was one of the reasons he hadn’t gone after her. She was too wise, too knowing- it made him feel uncomfortable.

    They were weak excuses, and he knew it. But he felt more secure with Sissy- he’d never have to worry about her, and he could play with her mind as well. He liked being in control.

    A large part of his conscience was currently yelling rather creative phrases at him to describe its frustration. He pulled Sissy closer to him, one arm around her waist, and shook it away. His brain was perfectly capable of controlling his heart.

    His heart thought otherwise; it had a mind of its own.


    ----------

    Artemis: Please excuse the utter OOCness. I’m still recovering from writer’s block. I feel rusty. Anyway, please review; constructive criticism would be appreciated, flames will be used to start a fire in the backyard of my annoying neighbors.

    Yes, I know it's confusing- it'll get explained eventually. No, I'm not telling you the pairings. And yes, this is multi-chaptered.
     
    #1 artemis_winter, Aug 13, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2005
  2. artemis_winter

    artemis_winter Anime Elitist / Grammar Nazi

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    Oh, no reviews here? It's okay, I suppose, I see that I got 19 pageviews. Not bad. Here's the next chapter, for anyone who cares. Feedback may be sent to rubyicedrop@yahoo.com.----------

    Chapter 2- Evening Sky

    They arrived at the factory in record time- the record being for the longest time it took them to reach it. Sissy hadn’t been a particularly experienced skateboarder, though she had brought one along. Yumi’s was missing, no longer in its normal position on the side of the underground tunnel; its absence was explained when they burst into the control room to find her already there, leaning casually against the computer. She raised an eyebrow. “Just talking to Aelita here.” The pink-haired girl waved back from the computer screen. “Aelita, are you ready?”

    She nodded. “As ready as I’ll ever be.” She looked past Yumi for a moment, her eyebrows furrowing at Sissy in the first sign of unfriendliness she had ever shown to a stranger. It just wasn’t in her nature to be too hostile, but... “Introduce me to your new companion, Jeremie?”

    He stepped forward and smiled. “Aelita, this is Sissy. Sissy, this is our friend Aelita. She lives on Lyoko-” he waved at the massive hologram in the middle of the room- “and she helps us. We’re going to materialize her on Earth, and then we can disconnect X.A.N.A.”

    Yumi took some dark amusement in the fact that Sissy looked overwhelmed and bewildered, but it faded as she noticed Ulrich’s arm around her waist. Subdued, she wrenched herself away from the sight. Her movement didn’t go unnoticed. A pair of puzzled brown eyes lingered on her back.

    Aelita nodded, still holding a subtle note of suspicion in her expression, and Jeremie took his place seated in front of the computer. “Proceed to the forest region. Odd, Ulrich, Yumi, get down there. Sissy, stay with me. We need experienced people on this one; we can’t afford any mistakes at all.” Sissy grudgingly accepted this judgment, and stood beside his chair, watching the events unfold on the screen.

    The trio walked into the elevator, and no words were exchanged until they stood in front of their scanners.

    “Good luck and godspeed.” Her voice was low, but they heard it.

    No response was forthcoming, and then they were in their separate scanners, feeling the rush of air and adrenaline that accompanied virtualization.

    -----

    Ulrich dropped into a crouch, letting his legs absorb the impact of falling from the sky. He turned around, spotting Odd’s cat-like figure and Yumi’s stiff, alert stance as she scanned the forest for movement. He blinked; there was something different about her. But what was it?

    “Over here!” A flurry of movement caught his eye, and he saw Yumi sprint towards Aelita. The virtual entity smiled at her friend, almost sister, and turned toward the west. “The tower is that way. Thanks for coming, everyone.”

    Odd winked. “I’d hate to miss the show.”

    Yumi agreed. “I hope this is our last time here...” She let her voice trail off, and judging by the frown that appeared on her face, was assailed by a none-too-pleasant thought. Ulrich blinked for the second time in as many minutes. What was she hiding?

    Jeremie’s voice suddenly knocked him out of his reverie. “You’ve got a nice cloud of Hornets and two Mega-tanks headed in your direction. Keep an eye open, guys.” Sissy’s voice timidly put in, “Take care of yourself, Ulrich.”

    He smiled slightly, feeling a boost to his ego, but he also noticed Yumi’s fist clenched ever more tightly around her fan and Aelita’s mildly disapproving stare. Odd seemed oblivious, instead looking toward the three Hornets approaching quickly. “We’ve got company...”

    Yumi gave one sharp nod. “Odd, Ulrich, you take care of those Hornets, and there’s one tank behind you. I’ll get Aelita to the tower. Go!” Before she had even finished speaking, she took Aelita by the wrist and ran.

    Odd paused. “Since when does she give the orders?”

    Ulrich sighed, drawing his katana with a flourish. “Since now, I guess. You heard the lady.” He could say no more afterwards, too busy dancing in and out of a net of laserfire.

    -----

    Yumi slowed for a moment, letting Aelita get her bearing together. “Ready?” The girl nodded, closing her eyes for a moment. “Okay, let’s get to it.”

    They raced down the narrow forest path, coming to a clearing in front of the tower that she remembered all too well; it was here that she had fallen and nearly become a permanent fixture in the data streams. Backing away from the digital void-hole, she swallowed and gestured to the tower. “Good luck, Aelita. Jeremie?”

    As Aelita melted into the tower, the blonde back on Earth sweated nervously. “I’m running the anti-virus. Give it fifteen seconds. And guard that tower, Yumi- you’ve got a tank at nine o’ clock.” Sissy, beside him, bit her lip. She didn’t like Yumi in the least, but the inkling of respect she had for her was growing.

    The geisha girl swiveled, and sure enough, an armored ball rolled up at her left side. She sighed. A day in the life of a teenager saving the world.

    She flicked her fan opened with a practiced wrist, and the tank stopped. It whirled around in a motion almost too fast for the untrained eye, but Yumi was definitely more trained than the last time she had encountered them. Marking its moves down carefully, Yumi fell into a defensive position. The tank opened at the seam in the center of the sphere, and locked; pulses of light started to form around the eye-symbol at the center of its wiring. Yumi closed her eyes, and threw the fan so that it curved behind the machine-monster...

    -----

    “Laser Arrow!” With a last well-placed shot, Odd rose from a cloud of virtual debris that had once been a Hornet. “I’m the man.”

    Two Ulrichs turned towards the cat, who was flicking his tail from side to side smugly. “You’re full of yourself,” they said simultaneously. “Fusion!” Ulrich sheathed his katana, and shook his head. “I got rid of the tank. Want to go check up on Yumi and Aelita?”

    Odd nodded. “Sure. The only thing that’s bothering me is that there were only two Hornets. Where’d the third one go?”

    The two of them dashed toward the tower, coming upon an astonishing sight. Yumi’s fan was wedged in the back of the tank, holding the two halves of the sphere apart. Ulrich nearly smacked his forehead. She was still open to attack; she couldn’t finish it off, since her only physical weapon was being held by the tank. He had greatly underestimated the girl he seemed to know less and less about, though; she was not defenseless. As the tank’s eye started to pulse again, Yumi produced a dagger out of her boot heel and threw it at the tank. Her aim was flawless; it struck the center of the tank. Yumi’s fan flew back into her outstretched hand, and the girl kneeled at the ground, looking up into the virtual sky. “Arigatou.”

    Not knowing who she was thanking, and not caring much, either, Ulrich just stared. She had quite a number of questions waiting to be answered once this was all over. Jeremie’s voice, hoarse from surprise, sounded above them. “The anti-virus is finished...” He cleared this throat, and continued. “Aelita, get ready.”

    A flash of light beige caught Ulrich’s attention. His eyes widened, and he cried out, “Odd! Behind you!” He saw the events play out in front of him in slow motion, seeing the arrival of the missing Hornet catching Odd by surprise, just knowing that he was too late even as he dashed to his friend with his katana drawn, watching him fall into the same void that had claimed Yumi...

    Then he snapped back into the real flow of time and everything happened in one second.

    All in the same instant, a dagger flashed out of nowhere, striking the Hornet and embedding itself in its eye-symbol; Yumi swept by and grabbed Odd’s hand, yanking him back up with surprising strength; and Jeremie’s voice echoed almost ominously: “Code: Earth.”

    A rumble of power surged through them, then receded; Aelita was gone. Yumi patted a dazed Odd on the back, straightened, and retrieved her dagger. Ulrich shook his head. “Yumi! What’s going on??”

    “I’ll explain later,” she tossed back. “In the meantime, I think we’d better save Aelita from being hugged to death.” She lazily flicked her fan closed, and leaned back as she devirtualized with Jeremie’s computer command.

    -----

    They stood around the scanners, everyone coming out; the last was Odd, Aelita having come out of his scanner when she was materialized. Jeremie was clutching onto her hand, looking as if he’d never let go; Yumi was smiling amicably at them, her gaze not completely focused; Ulrich and Sissy were off to the side, the latter clinging to the former, having been worried sick about him; Odd emerged from his scanner, shaking his head, and taking a place beside Yumi. “Heartwarming, isn’t it?”

    The Japanese girl chuckled. “Quite.”

    Aelita looked up at them, beaming. “Thank you so much, Yumi, Odd, Ulrich, for all your help.” She nodded to Sissy also, and turned back to her dear Jeremie.

    Seeing that the excitement was over, she said her goodbyes and reminded Aelita to come to her house when she was done, ignoring the questions in her friends’ eyes. She got up, walked into the elevator, and leaned against its side with a sigh as it rode bumpily up the factory. She couldn’t take being around Ulrich and Sissy any longer. No matter how much she had learned to shield her emotions, first loves were hard to dispel from one’s mind. Her discomfort outweighed her wish to be there for her friends while they disconnected the computer; she also didn’t want to dampen their moods with her knowledge that X.A.N.A’s end only marked the conclusion of their role in the ordeal. She was just warming up for future troubles. She didn’t want them hurt- they had gone through enough; therefore, they could never know.

    She straightened as the elevator stopped; she picked up her skateboard and coasted along the underground passageway, the grating of the wheels echoing emptily in the silence. When she reached the ladder up, she didn’t leave her skateboard at the side of the tunnel; she tucked it under her arm and climbed up the ladder. As she pulled herself up out of the manhole, she closed her eyes as the moonlight poking through the trees in the forest hit her face. Instead of walking towards the school, she turned and went deeper into the forest until she reached the largest tree in a clearing; she wove her way swiftly up the tree and sat on a branch two-thirds of the way up.

    Yumi waited for about seven minutes, and then a soft chirp sailed through the air. She looked up, and a small reddish-brown feather floated down to her. Plucking it out of the air where it hovered, she closed her eyes. They had shut X.A.N.A down.

    She leaned back, and her head hit the bark. “Now it begins.”

    ----------

    Please review.
     
  3. Kylewayne

    Kylewayne Mrs. Outlander00

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    More more! Nicely written and an enyable story =D
     
  4. alter ego yuna

    alter ego yuna the dog's in the house

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    it's totally great- odd, ulrich, and jeremy aren't the only one's wondering what's up with yumi :confused:
     
  5. Nice fan flic

    one of the best cant wait for chapter 3! hrm... i bet umi is moving =:)(
     
  6. artemis_winter

    artemis_winter Anime Elitist / Grammar Nazi

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    Thanks, Kylewayne! *curtsey*

    alter ego yuna- eh, it's supposed to be confusing. ^^

    CodeLyoko_Odd- oh, she's not moving. I don't think I'd ever be able to bring myself to write something quite so cliched. Thank you, though.

    ----------


    Chapter 3- Like A Jewel



    Jeremie could hardly believe his good fortune. Life seemed to be smiling on him, after all. The girl he was so devoted to was finally with him and he wasn’t going to be separated from her any day soon; X.A.N.A was gone and their problems were all over. He looked down- yes, down; the growth spurt that had made its appearance over the summer wasn’t quite too unimpressive- at Aelita, and she turned her gaze to meet his; unconsciously, he pulled her closer to him, and her smile only widened.



    They were walking around the streets in the nighttime, reveling in one another’s presence and doing their utmost to spend their time wisely and with each other. Odd, Ulrich, and Sissy had long since returned to their dorms, but neither Jeremie nor Aelita could sleep well while their thoughts were occupied. Aelita sniffed the air lightly, another small smile escaping from her. “Remember the last time we were here, Jeremie?”



    “I don’t think I’d ever be able to forget.” At that, her cheeks flushed pink. Their footsteps were quiet against the pavement in the still French night; there was no one else outside in the late hour, and the only sounds were cars passing by every now and then or the nightingales calling softly to each other across the trees lining the community.



    They drew close to the Ishiyama residence, and the pair of teenagers stopped outside of the fence around the house. Aelita smiled with a blush, eyes lowered, and she leaned over on tiptoe to give Jeremie a kiss on the cheek; at the last instant, though, he turned his head slightly and her lips caught the corner of his instead. They pulled back at the same time, blushing furiously, and found cracks in the pavement quite interesting for a few moments. His voice broke the silence first.



    “I guess I don’t have to tell you what a kiss is, right?”



    She shook her head. “I did research.” Her gaze remained obstinately on the ground in front of her, refusing to look at him. He reached over and lifted her chin with his hand, forcing her to turn her eyes to his.



    “I didn’t mind that, you know.”



    She smiled, and turned towards the house. “Good night, Jeremie. And,” she tossed back as an afterthought, “I didn’t mind it, either.”



    He grinned, and turned to walk away. The door of the house opened, and Yumi’s mother stood there with a slightly worried look upon her face. “You must be Aelita! Yumi told us to wait for you. We’re glad to have you stay with us-“ at this, Jeremie inwardly smirked; due to turning back time, she didn’t remember that Aelita already had met them before- “but do you know where my daughter is?”



    She craned her neck and looked behind the girl on her doorstep. “Jeremie? Is that you? Did you see Yumi at school today?”



    Jeremie and Aelita exchanged confused glances. “Yes, I did, Mrs. Ishiyama- isn’t she here?”



    The delicate Japanese woman shook her head. “She left an hour ago, saying that she was going for a walk, and hasn’t been back since.”



    “That doesn’t seem much like her…” Aelita trailed off.



    Mrs. Ishiyama wrung her hands. “She’s changed since the last time you’ve written to her.” (Aelita was posing as Yumi’s visiting pen pal.) “After we visited Japan this summer, she’s been acting differently. It’s her cousin’s entire fault; I swear she’s a terrible influence on her…” she trailed off, frowning, then continued. “Could you go to the park and look for her? I’m sorry, but I’m afraid something might have happened to her. She knows self-defense, but she’s still a child.”



    Aelita, surprisingly enough, declined. “Do you mind going alone, Jeremie? I am a bit tired after traveling. Thank you for your hospitality, Mrs. Ishiyama.”



    The older woman started. “Oh, I’m sorry! You must be exhausted! What have I been thinking? Your room is upstairs to the right, next to Yumi’s.”



    Jeremie blinked, not understanding why Aelita wouldn’t want to look for her friend, but accepted her explanation. “I’ll go, then. ‘Bye, Aelita.” His eyes held a question, but she gave a near-imperceptible shake of her head. Yumi did need what privacy she could get, the calm before the storm.



    Besides, they needn’t have worried. Yumi was perfectly fine- just a bit preoccupied.



    ----------



    Twang.



    Thunk.



    The echo of quivering wood filtered through the dense trees in the nearby city park’s forest. It was seldom visited, and was therefore a good place for Yumi to collect her thoughts and be by herself.



    She narrowed her eyes at the elusive target. Her aim was off. She narrowed her eyes at her rebellious hand, which was shaking slightly. That wasn’t supposed to happen. She turned her back to the wooden board meters away and closed her eyes, inhaling slowly, trying to center her mind and calm down. Her eyelids snapped open suddenly, and with a sudden movement, she spun around. With a furious heave, she let her energy fly.



    Twang.



    Thunk.



    ----------



    Jeremie raised his head suddenly. What was that?



    Nearby, Ulrich- not asleep as everyone had thought; he had instead utilized his substantial martial arts grace to sneak out of the school and take a walk to clear his head as well- heard the hollow sound as well. He listened carefully, and dropped behind a nearby shrub in a crouch as he heard the approach of a person; bemusedly, he watched as the individual coming up the path proved to be none other than Jeremie. Sighing, he stood, straightened, and dusted himself off. Jeremie gave a start. “Ulrich? What are you doing here?”



    “Good evening to you, too,” he returned dryly. “Shouldn’t I be asking you that?”



    Jeremie dismissed this comment with a wave of his hand. “I walked Aelita to the Ishiyamas’ house but Yumi wasn’t there. Her mother asked me to go get her. She’s supposed to be around here somewhere.



    At hearing that Yumi was missing, Ulrich felt a sudden stab of fear in his chest. He shook it off quickly- he wasn’t supposed to be worried about this girl; he didn’t care for her anymore…right?- and interjected, “You’ve had one heck of a day, Jeremie. Go back and get some sleep. Dream of Aelita, or something. I’ll look for Yumi, and I promise I’ll get her home, okay?”



    Jeremie started to protest, but a head-splitting yawn cut off whatever he was about to say and only proved Ulrich’s point. “Sure…that actually sounds good. Thanks. See you later.” He turned around and walked back up the path where he’d come from.



    Ulrich nodded to himself. Now, to the task he had appointed to himself; where was Yumi?



    Kuso!”



    Ah. There she was. He started off in the direction of the vicious-sounding Japanese curse that had given her position away.



    ----------



    She made a formidable but oddly exhilarating sight, he thought hazily. But he didn’t know this girl.



    Yumi was standing at the base of a tree, gripping a rather long recurve bow- old-fashioned, wooden instead of plastic and titanium- so hard that her knuckles were turning white visibly even in the dark evening, glaring at a target nailed to a tree some distance away (that was pincushioned with equally antique wooden arrows) so murderously that if looks could kill, not only the target would be smoldering, but the trees around it would be aflame as well. The snap of the bowstring and the impact of the arrows were the sounds that had drawn attention.



    He prided himself on his stealth, but Ulrich hadn’t predicted that Yumi’s senses were quite acute; she heard the quiet rustle in the grass that he made with his steps. Without turning to see who it was, Yumi’s most basic instincts were activated. It all cut down to this: she was hunted; the hunter was an enemy, and whoever made the first move would survive.



    In the span of less than one second, she dropped to one knee and reached to the heel of her boot. With one fluid motion, she threw something sharp and silver off to the side towards the shadow he stood in. Ulrich’s own training kicked in and he dodged the object, which planted itself- whing!- in the tree that he’d been standing under barely milliseconds before. He swung his gaze to it; it was a small dagger, easily hidden, and the same that she’d used earlier in the day. He spun toward her.



    She wasn’t looking at him; still, the old Yumi would have been aghast, apologizing profusely for such an error on her part; this new side of her (maybe a new person entirely) merely raised an eyebrow and sauntered over to the tree. She yanked the dagger out of the tree’s trunk and slid it back into her lifted boot with a smooth click. Still staring pointedly in the other direction, one corner of her lips twitched. “My bad.”



    He could only gape at her.



    She raised an eyebrow. “It’s not wise to sneak up on me, I suppose- but sorry, anyway.”



    Ulrich sighed, and rubbed his forehead. “We need to talk.”



    She paused, and then her eyes snapped up to his. “So talk.”



    ----------



    (Translation: kuso- sh-t!)

    Next chapter: Much stuff is explained but things get infinitely more confusing. Muahahaha.
     
    #6 artemis_winter, Aug 31, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2004
  7. Pwnage i still cant figure it out.... what does her cousin do???!!!
    :confused:
     
  8. artemis_winter

    artemis_winter Anime Elitist / Grammar Nazi

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    It'll come together eventually.

    No other reviewers? Ah, well...I haven't been getting new reviews anywhere...
     
  9. Switch

    Switch veiwer discretion advised..so

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    Whoa, kuso means sh*t , cool.
     
  10. Rae

    Rae Insert amusing comment

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    I loved this, and it's a shame that no one has been replying. I would have earlier, but Code Lyoko has only just come out in UK so i've only just seen it

    Please write more

    Rae
     
  11. artemis_winter

    artemis_winter Anime Elitist / Grammar Nazi

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    I've regained interest in this series with the announcement that the second season is being brought to the US, so expect a new chapter within the month.

    Take care~
     
  12. SporksRFun91

    SporksRFun91 codelyokoXcore

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    Woah, Artemis! 'Sup? Remember me? YD from Un Monde Sans Danger? You posted this story a looong, loooong time ago on that forum. We waited a long time for you to update. We're still waiting. lol It'd be nice if you popped up once in a while.
     
  13. artemis_winter

    artemis_winter Anime Elitist / Grammar Nazi

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    Whoa! Hey, YD! Those forums still live? Will pop by and say hi, then. Thanks.
     
  14. artemis_winter

    artemis_winter Anime Elitist / Grammar Nazi

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    Chapter four is getting written, if anyone's interested. Thanks for almost 1000 hits on this thread! :)
     
  15. Kodra

    Kodra Mr. 314

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    Wow. Very well done. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next.

    Only point which I was a bit perturbed was when Odd made a comment along the lines of "I think she's more powerful than any of us think." The line sounded exceptionally corny, or something I'd expect from something like Dragon Ball Z. None of them are really impressive fighters outside of Lyoko, and it just seems odd that he would recognize her detached personality as a sign of increased training and strength.

    Just my two cents.

    ~Kodra
     
  16. artemis_winter

    artemis_winter Anime Elitist / Grammar Nazi

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    Kodra: Heh, thanks. About 16 months after writing that-- that is, today-- I reread my story and facefaulted when I came across that line. It's quite gawky, isn't it? I revised that in the master version on Fanfiction.net.

    Without further ado, chapter 4! Which also, admittedly, could be better, but eh. Thanks for the thousands of hits, everyone!

    "Every Step I Willed" is an Alternate Universe story, as it does not follow the events of Season Two.

    ----------

    Chapter 4

    Yumi lowered herself to the ground gracefully, and let out a small sigh herself. “I’m waiting.”

    Feeling that he was decidedly not in control of the situation although he was now standing above her, Ulrich scowled. “For what?”

    She rolled her eyes, favoring him with an exasperated look. “For you to talk, genius.”

    “About…what? About the fact that you’re acting like someone we don’t know? About what you’re hiding from us? About that if not for the fact that I do have fighting experience, I’d be bleeding right now?”

    Unfazed by the harried outburst, she spread her hands out in an all-encompassing gesture. “Pick one. Any one. All of the above, maybe. But-”

    He interrupted testily. “Then answer, already!”

    “-I never said anything about giving answers immediately,” she finished, with an air of superior patience. It was quite clear who was in control of the conversation. With slow, deliberate movements, she unhurriedly leaned across the grass between them and reached for the bow she had dropped during the previous few moments. Pausing as if to contemplate something, she slowly panned her eyes over the gleaming wood, checking for blemishes in the finish idly. Noting a smudge, she lifted one finger languidly and rubbed the offending spot.

    Needless to say, this was doing wonders for her companion’s sense of calm. The delay only served to make him fidget more, but in spite of his state, even he could tell that she was less likely than him to give in first. With not a small grain of salt, he slumped against the selfsame tree that had been sporting a stab wound only minutes prior. “Great.”

    Sensing his defeat, her eyes momentarily flickered to his visage, then back to the bow. “Archery lessons. Lovely stress reliever, don’t you agree?” As it became obvious that no reply was forthcoming, she shrugged, and put the curved weapon down. “It looks like we’ll do this quid pro quo, Ulrich. You ask, I’ll answer- only if I get mine answered in turn. Got it?”

    “Fine.” The unenthusiastic reply floated in the air for a moment, then settled. The silence returned briefly as they sorted through their respective thoughts, then Yumi shifted where she sat and broke the still air.

    “Question one,” she intoned. “What kind of situation do we have here with Sissy? It’s not like you to…” she trailed off, tilting her head to one side, then continued, “…change your opinions like so. Frankly, my dear—” she said this with a cynical twist- “you’re stubborn.”

    Ulrich raised his head, mentally cursing the powers that be for having her choose that question. Still, then again, he would have thought it unusual if she hadn’t chosen that question to ask. As one Odd so aptly put it, months ago, “Yumi’s what you might call intuitive…”

    And, he added, no girl who has a crush on me can be considered completely normal. Studying the girl in front of him, who was returning his gaze unflinchingly, it was safe to say that (at least on the outside) it certainly appeared that she was no longer crushing nor blushing.

    Not to say that she was completely normal, of course.

    Still, was he so sure that his own feelings were so gone? Perhaps it was some wretched side effect of puberty- he was pushing fourteen years old- but something inside of him was still churning when he saw her.

    “Well?” Her voice- neither comforting nor threatening- interjected into his reverie and effectively derailed that train of thought. I’m a teenager who’s not getting married until well after age twenty, he berated himself. No use in going mad about this. He realized that he had been staring at her the entire time, but she had borne it patiently, so it seemed, and was merely twirling an arrow between her fingers.

    That was unnerving.

    “She and I get along,” he shrugged. “She’s hiding a lot of insecurity with how she used to act, you know. She needs someone to understand her, and I feel comfortable with her.”

    Yumi mulled this over for a second. “So,” she asked, “could I ask why you’re with her?”

    The downturn of his lips told her what he thought of that. “I thought I just said—”

    “You didn’t tell me why,” she interrupted, “you gave me a list of reasons why she’s good with you. You’re not stupid—so answer me, why?”

    “No need to be so pushy about it.” His returning glance was affronted. “Because—” he stopped short. What was he going to say? Out of pity, obligation, out of the inability to ignore the hole in his heart that nagged for the attention of another? Any of those would be a discredit both to him and Sissy.

    “Because I want to be,” he said at last, “and that’s—it.” Ulrich ignored how close he’d been to saying that’s all you can ask of me now.

    She tried to catch his eyes again but they were firmly fixed on a particularly intriguing tuft of grass two meters off to the left somewhere. He wasn’t about to let her stare him down with that…eerily wizened look of hers again. (Intimidated? Of course not! Out of the question! It was just, uh, uncomfortable.)

    “My turn,” he said, keeping them from sliding into another clichéd silence. “Why didn’t you tell us you were going to be gone this summer? Something could’ve happened while you were gone. And what were you talking about today?”

    “That’s two questions.”

    “Oh, answer one.”

    Yumi shrugged. “Because I didn’t want to, and that’s it,” she replied, twisting his words and sending them back in his direction. As he opened his mouth to protest, she raised a finger. “With Jeremie in that worry-wart state in the last week before the holidays, do you think he’d’ve let me get up and say, ‘oh, I’m going to be Japan and probably can’t exactly pop up whenever you need me’? I felt bad to not be around for him and Aelita, but family takes priority.” She stopped abruptly, and suddenly Ulrich nearly felt her cave in, felt as if they were once again on the same level.

    He narrowed his eyes. “What?”

    “My cousin needed some help with something,” she said slowly. Her stiffened posture challenged him silently, almost daring him to ask further.

    Not being mindless, he didn’t. “Okay, I understand that.”

    She blew out a sigh, and nearly visibly reverted back to being a teenager. “Let’s put off question-answer for another time, Ulrich. I think we’re both tired. It’s been a long day.”

    Knowing her well enough to pick up the faintly pleading note in her otherwise neutral voice, he nodded in acquiescence. But his curiosity couldn’t help but make him ask one more question. “Do you mind if I ask—what kind of bird was that?”

    He didn’t have to elaborate as her eyes lit up. “Oh, sure,” she said, voice full of pride. “Her name’s Mirai, and she’s a red-tailed hawk from America. There’s a group of falconers up in Paris who have contacts in Kyoto; my uncle’s one of them. Normally, those birds are rare or illegal, what-have-you. But Mirai was the only surviving offspring of a nest of hawks that’d gotten sick, and she’s too small for any other use, so they let me take care of her.”

    Ulrich watched her gesture enthusiastically while she spoke, in a way that made him believe for an instant that nothing had changed between them. He knew, though, that her fervor wasn’t the result of being comfortable around him—it was just that she was on a topic that she was passionate about. He sighed, and ran a hand through his hair. Putting a hand on the tree trunk behind him, he hoisted himself off of the bark, and did his best to brush splinters from his shirt. “Well.”

    “Well,” she echoed.

    “I’ll see you tomorrow, then?” he said, more a statement than a question.

    Yumi nodded. She watched him turn and begin to walk away, and called him to a stop. “Hey, uh?”

    He looked up.

    “Don’t get caught when you sneak back into the dorms,” she said good-naturedly.

    A half-smile appeared on his face, lifting one corner of his mouth, and he started walking again.

    She groaned, pressing a hand to her forehead. What was she doing looking out for his well-being, anyway? She looked up into the branches of the tree that, a few moments ago, he’d been leaning on. “I’ve got issues, eh?”

    The bird tilted its head to one side and fluttered down to perch on her shoulder. Stroking Mirai’s head with one finger, Yumi stood, and walked in the opposite direction he’d gone in, toward her home.

    -----

    Omake moment (that is, an outtake, that is, completely lacking seriousness): Aelita and Yumi being, uh, girls.


    -----

    It was far past their bedtime, but the new housemates didn’t care, and the room was charged with all the atmosphere of a slumber party.

    “He kissed you?”

    “Yep.”

    “So,” Yumi leaned over with a conspiratorial grin, “where would you go to do research about kissing, on the Internet?”

    Aelita smirked. “Fanfiction.”

    ----------

    Hope you enjoyed, and I hope there's no year-long delay between this chapter and the next.

    --Artemis
     
  17. Anime Cookies

    Anime Cookies New Member

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    This is a really good story
     

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