Saving Sanity by dobermutt
Summary: Things get a little crazy at kadic during the fall break. When Xana launches a new scheme, everyone begins to become a little...well, insane. The Lyoko warriors find themselves becoming subject to this plot as well. Will they go give in to the insanity? Episode #5 of A Next Generation series.
Categories: Ships > Jeremie and Aelita, Ships > Ulrich and Yumi Characters: Aelita Hopper, Jeremie Belpois, Odd Della Robbia, Ulrich Stern, William Dunbar, Yumi Ishiyama
Genres: Action/Adventure, Mystery, Romance, Suspense
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: A Next Generation
Chapters: 5 Completed: No Word count: 5649 Read: 13348 Published: Dec 15, 2008 Updated: May 21, 2009

1. Melody of the Fall by dobermutt

2. The Mind of a Computer by dobermutt

3. Is it Just Us, Or is Everyone Else Insane? by dobermutt

4. The Hideout by dobermutt

5. Sound of Storms by dobermutt

Melody of the Fall by dobermutt
     Red, yellow, and orange. The colors of the leaves on the trees indicated that fall had arrived. There was the rush of wind and the coolness of the air, it was so clean that it seemed as if new oxygen, that had never been breathed, had come into ones lungs. It was certainly the type of weather for going out and enjoying the day. Fall break had come for the students at Kadic. Aelita was walking through the park, a smile across her face. She slightly skipped as she walked. Perhaps it was the weather that made her so happy, or maybe even the fact that it was break. Whatever the reason, she was happy. Ulrich and Yumi followed close behind, talking to one another.

     “This is wonderful,” Yumi said to Ulrich. “All of the colors, the coolness of the air. It's almost...romantic.”

     Ulrich blushed. “Oh, um, yeah.” He laughed under his breath. “Why? Are you in love?”

     “I don't know,” she answered. “I was just saying. I didn't mean me, specifically.”

     “No, no,” he blushed once more. “I wasn't asuming you meant yourself. Uh, so, where are Odd and Jeremy?”

     “Not a clue.”

     “Jeremy is probably working,” Aelita turned and spoke to them. “You know how he is.”

     “Of course,” Yumi laughed. “We should get him a new hobby.”

     “Or bust up his computer,” Ulrich suggested.

     As they continued walking, Aelita heard the sound of music. It was beautiful and sounded like a guitar. She smiled and almost danced to the music as she continued walking. She assumed it was Odd. Honestly, who else would it be? William maybe? Odd, she mused, most likely. Although, he has gotten a lot better at playing. Must have taken lessons over the summer. She walked a little further, the music getting louder. At that moment, Aelita got plowed over by a skateboarder.

     “Ow! Watch it!...” she looked over and saw Odd sitting on the ground with his purple helmet on.

     “Oops! Sorry, Aelita,” he stood and helped her up. “You see, I was trying to do this cool trick and, well, I got a little carried away.”

     “It's ok, Odd,” Aelita said. “I know that happens often,” she whispered. “So, you've been skating all this time? You weren't playing the guitar?”

     “Nope. Could be William, he had an instrument with him earlier.”

     “Could be. It's beautiful, whoever it is.”

     “Where's Einstein?”

     “Working.” She sighed. “As usual.”

     “Still trying to figure out things about that 'Power Surge' computer, huh?”

     “Pretty much.”

     “Bummer. He doesn't know what he's missing. I would hate to miss out on this weather. Well, see you, Aelita. I'm gonna practice on that trick again.”

     After saying this, Odd got back on his board and continued on his way. Aelita shook her head and walked the opposite direction. What a way to start the day, she thought, too much commotion for one morning. No more distractions, or at least that was her plan. It wasn't too often that one was able to enjoy the weather without thinking about Xana. She walked, again. This time she didn't skip, trying to avoid running into anyone else, or being run over by someone. The music continued. A beautiful sound was being carried throughout the air. Aelita smiled as she heard it more clearly. She noticed William sitting on the ground under a tree. He seemed to be writing.

     “Hey Aelita,” he waved.

     “Hi William,” she responded. “What are you doing?”

     “Oh, I'm just writing.”

     “Not trying to catch up on homework already, are you?” She laughed.

     William laughed in return. “No, no. It's actually a poem.”

     “Who's the poem to?”

     “No one in particular. It's just a way to express myself.”

     “Do you write any music?” Aelita asked.

     “No. I'm not gifted in music.”

     “Odd said you had a guitar earlier.”

     “Hmm? Oh, I was just carrying that for Jim. It doesn't belong to me.”

     “Jim plays?” Aelita asked in shock.

     “I wouldn't think so. He wanted me to take it back to the music room. I don't think it's his.” William laughed at the thought of Jim playing the guitar.

     “Well, I knew he played the trumpet. I was just checking. I'll let you get back to work then. See you later, William.” Aelita waved and walked away.

     Not Odd and not William, she thought to herself, a little confused. Where did Ulrich and Yumi go? I thought they were right behind me...Never mind. Maybe – Her thoughts were interrupted. She nearly tripped and couldn't believe her eyes. She double checked as she walked over to a bench in the park. There was Jeremy, outside and with a guitar in his hands, and he was playing it. Aelita blinked once or twice before walking up to Jeremy.

     “Jeremy? You're...you're, playing the guitar?” she asked with a puzzled look.

     “Yes,” Jeremy laughed as he replied and stopped playing. “Unless 'nerds' aren't allowed to play.”

     “I'm just surprised to see you, of all people, outside, not working, and playing the guitar. I thought you didn't like music.”

     “Since when? I've always loved music. I just never played anything. But, I've found that I really rather enjoy it.”

     “Do you know any songs?”

     “Maybe,” Jeremy smiled and starred at Aelita as she sat next to him.

     “Really? Is that a yes or a no?”

     His blue eyes sparkled and he smiled again. “I'll play you one, if you want.”

     Aelita blushed and smiled as well. “Would you? I...I'd really like that.”

     Jeremy started strumming the guitar again, the music sounded wonderful and the notes were all too familiar. Aelita hummed and then thought about what he was playing.

     He softly began to sing the lyrics. “Little angel, breathing down your smile. Little angel, could it be a sign? Little angel, you're my beauty queen. Can you break the code and get them out of here? Little angel, trapped inside this stream. Little angel, you're a precious thing. Little angel, keep me from the pain. Can you come to Earth, before I become insane?”

     His voice was slightly deep, but melodious and beautiful. Aelita smiled bigger the more she thought about the fact that Jeremy was singing this song to her.

     “You're the apple of my eye. You are shining way up high. Your reflection makes me feel weak. Trying oh so hard, to keep the memory apart. When I wake up and you'll be free.” His voice drifted off, his guitar playing slowed, and he whispered, “And you'll be free.”

     Aelita grinned from ear to ear, her face was a bright red.

     “Jeremy,” she said. “That was beautiful! Why that song?”

     “Because,” he smiled. “You're an angel.”

     Aw! She thought, I think that I might pass out. Just then, Odd, Ulrich, and Yumi walked over.

     “Not only is he Einstein, he's also Beethoven,” Odd laughed.

     “Wow!” Ulrich looked at Jeremy. “That was really good. I didn't expect you to start singing and sound good. I guess I was wrong.”

     “That was wonderful,” Yumi said. “Perhaps you could give Odd a few vocal pointers.”

     “What?! I don't need 'vocal pointers'!” Odd protested.

     “Well, there must be someway to get rid of the squeaky voice then,” Ulrich sighed.

     “Surgery?” Jeremy suggested.

     “Maybe,” Ulrich laughed.

     “Come on guys,” Yumi said. “Let's go to lunch.”

     They all walked towards the lunch room. Aelita was still smiling and probably would be for the rest of the day.
End Notes:
I always thought Jeremy was cool. Enough said. =D
The Mind of a Computer by dobermutt
Author's Notes:
Another Xana moment. =P
     The air became cooler as the sun went behind the horizon. Stars now shown and the moon was a bright orange. The day time had seemed much friendlier today. It was almost a creepy feeling to be outside in the chill. Odd sat up in Jeremy's room, along with Ulrich and Aelita, Yumi had already gone home for the day. He moved his hand back and forth as it hung over the side of the bed.

     “Kinda creepy, don't you think?” he asked Ulrich, who was sitting next to him.

     “It's always creepy when you're around, Odd. But, if you were referring to the weather, yeah, it's also creepy,” Ulrich laughed.

     “Very funny, Ulrich,” Odd laughed under his breath and then sighed. “What do you think, Aelita?”

     “Um, yeah. It's defenitly nicer during the day. This weather makes me think about Xana,” Aelita shivered.

     “You don't have to think about Xana, Aelita,” Jeremy assured her. “You're perfectly fine. I promise.”

     “Hey guys,” Odd spoke up. “I'm writing this song....”

     “Oh no!” Ulrich interrupted. “You? What kind of song? Heavy rock?”

     “Of course not!” Odd snapped. “I'm writing a theme song for us.”

     Ulrich broke out laughing. “Ha ha! Are you serious? Ha ha ha! What is the title? 'Odd the Magnificent'? Ha ha!”

     “No, I actually haven't thought of a title for it yet. And it will not be 'Odd the Magnificent'...No matter how tempting that title sounds. I haven't even thought of the music for it yet.”

     “Well, good luck with that. Maybe when you get far enough we can hear the lyrics,” Jeremy smiled.

     Meanwhile, while the gang was discussing the problems with Odd's song, Seth was walking in the woods. Alone, only the darkness to surround him, along with the presence of Xana.

     “Xana,” he called. “Are you there?”

     “Behind you.”

     Seth turned around to see this shadowy figure standing a few inches from him. The computer's eyes were a glowing white, his figure in the shape of some kind of dragon – only without wings and standing on two feet. A giant Xana symbol was on the creatures' forehead. He stared at Seth and waited for him to continue with his conversation.

     “You're becoming more powerful, Xana?”

     “Indeed,” Xana's voice was low and mechanical. “Thanks to my discovery of the 'Power Surge' I have increased my strength by a small percentage. As you can tell, I am not yet in my full form.”

     “You have another assignment for me then, Xana?” Seth asked his master.

     “Yes,” the computer answered. “The Lyoko 'heroes' have discovered the secret computer...Which contains top secret information. If it ends up in their hands our whole operation could be blown. Not to mention the fact that they could uncover the secret to Belpois virus and where Franz Hopper really is. Why he is still alive, I have not the slightest clue. Perhaps he was just lucky, but that is another matter.”

     “Of course,” Seth agreed. “And the Lyoko warriors must think the same about you begin alive as well. Though they'd much rather have the old man, I'm sure.”

     “Undoubtedly so. Still, there should be no possible way to get him back. But, then again, those kids have always done the impossible. Curing Aelita's virus, for one. Something I didn't expect to be done on any level. You should realize what you're dealing with here. This is no ordinary group of teens, they're warriors for the little hope of the world. To me, they used to be just a speck in my eye, now they have become more and more of a blackout. Secrets, our secrets, could very well be at risk here. One false move or mistake and that could be the end of us as we know it.”

     “I assure you, Xana, I will do my best to keep the master plans safe. What if the 'Power Surge' should fail you?”

     “I have backups. My only concern is the enemy,” the computer hissed. “Franz has given them more information than necessary to find out what I'm up to. Have you been found out by anyone else?”

     “Of course not. My secret is safe from outsiders. To the world, Xana would only sound like some kind of video game. And the gang is still convinced that I must be possessed or something...Or at least Odd is. Gosh, he's so dang annoying! How do you put up with his squeeky voice all the time!?”

     “I don't. If I yell or make unkind gestures at him, he would never hear me. Only one of the Lyoko warriors has made contact with me almost as clearly as you are now.”

     “Aelita?” Seth asked.

     “Jeremy.”

     “Really? How so, Xana? Would you give yourself away?”

     “No, it was my intention to reveal myself. The only reason was to show him who he was really dealing with.”

     “What exactly is my new assignment?”

     “To observe their gang more closely. Find out anything you can, weakness would be most helpful. Figure out what they're up to and see if they are close to coming across the secrets to the 'Power Surge'.”

     “It will be done, Xana.”

     “Good. I will leave you then. I have other things to attend, be prepared for whatever happens tomorrow. I have planned an attack. As soon as you notice the weirdness... you should come to Lyoko as quickly as you can. The Lyoko warriors will not wait if something is up.”

     After saying this, Xana took his leave and Seth continued walking in the woods. Alone.
End Notes:
Think you can guess Odd's song? Lol!
Is it Just Us, Or is Everyone Else Insane? by dobermutt
     Morning. The fall weather still the same as it was yesterday. Odd opened one eye, expecting an alarm or Ulrich to wake him, but remembered that it was a school break. He stretched and yawned, pushing Kiwi off the bed. Mumbling, Odd made his way to the showers. A quick three or five minutes and he was back and dressed. He messed with his blond, spiky hair, his bangs were as crazy as ever.

     Ulrich opened his eyes and growned.

     “Odd?” he asked. “Why are you making so much noise?”

     “Eh? Sorry, Ulrich. I was trying to get my shoes on,” Odd replied.

     “Oh...Well, keep it down, would ya? It's my break too you know.”

     “Right. I'll be sure to keep that in mind.”

     With that, Odd left the room and Ulrich buried his head back in his pillow. Odd walked down the stairs and out the doors. He began walking across the dirt of the school grounds towards the lunch room.

     “Ah,” he sighed with contentment. “The smell of the food in the fall air is quite refreshing.” He noticed his stomach was growling. “Ha ha! Just in time too. Hold on Odd, the lunch room is just ahead.”

     Odd opened the door and walked inside the lunch room. The rush of smells from hot pancakes to fried eggs flew past the hungry student. Odd felt himself drooling and his stomach rumbling even more so than before. After grabbing as much food as he was allowed, Odd joined Aelita and Jeremy at the table near the window, their usual spot.

     “Got enough, Odd?” Aelita asked with sarcasm as he pulled up a chair.

     “Maybe. I could probably eat thirds.”

     “You haven't even eaten your first helping,” Jeremy sighed. “How can you be sure?”

     “You have to ask?” Yumi pulled up a chair next to Odd and laughed. “He is Odd, isn't he?”

     “Good point.” Jeremy laughed in return.

     “Where's Ulrich?” Aelita turned to Odd, who was stuffing his face.

     “Huh?” With a mouth full of food, Odd looked at Aelita. “Sleeping, I guess. He was when I left.”

     He swallowed and then went for another bite.

     “Could you chew with your mouth closed?”

     “What?! Jeremy, why do you have to ask me that?” Odd fussed.

     “Wasn't me,” Jeremy shook his head.

     “That would be me,” William sat at the head of the table and laughed.

     “Oh,” Odd looked at William. “Well, William, why do you have to ask me that?”

     They all just laughed.

     “I take it sleeping beauty is still in bed?” William asked.

     “Yep.” Odd laughed.

     “Sleeping beauty?”

     They turned to see Ulrich standing there, holding his tray of food.

     “Is this what you guys do when I'm not around? Call me names?” Ulrich sat on the other side of Jeremy.

     “Uh...” William shifted his eyes, as if he was thinking.

     Ulrich laughed. “I'm just kidding. It's not as bad as some of the things I call you.”

     “Oh.” William looked as if he was trying to decide if he should take that as a joke or not.

     “He's joking,” Yumi assured him.

 

     Meanwhile, upstairs in Jeremy's room, Seth was busy working on the laptop.

     “There,” he sneered. “No Xana alert this time, Lyoko freaks.”

     He laughed and left the room, continuing on as if he wasn't guilty of anything. Odd talked everyone's ears off with corny jokes as they walked out of the lunch room. They all pretended to laugh, of course. Just then, Jim came up to the group and stood there for one moment.

     “Jim?” Odd said. “Is there something wrong? You didn't fuss as you came over here.”

     Jim turned to Odd. “Have you seen my keys?”

     “Keys, Jim?” Odd looked confused.

     “Yeah, you know...keys. They're round...and...uh, orange.” Jim smiled.

     “Uh huh,” Jeremy stared at him blankly. “Maybe you should go see a doctor, Jim.”

     “Alright,” Jim laughed. “I'll go see a 'doctor'.” He quoted and walked away.

     “I'm not the only one who saw this, right?” Ulrich asked.
 
     “Definitely not the only one,” William stood there and watched Jim walk off.

     “What was that all about?” Yumi wondered out loud.

     “No clue,” Aelita answered.

     “Maybe Jim has bonked his head again,” Odd said, trying to come up with an excuse for insanity.

     “Right, I'm gonna stick with that until I hear otherwise,” Ulrich nodded.

     They continued walking and suddenly Sissi ran over to them.

     “Jeremy Belpois!” She yelled.

     Jeremy turned to face her. “What is it now, Sissi?”

     She hugged him and laughed. “Nothing, silly. Did I ever tell you that I like your hair?”

     “Uh...No. Why would you?” Jeremy's eyes widened and looked at her as if she was crazy.

     Sissi sighed. “Never mind, don't say anything.”

     “But - -”

     “Shhhh! I said 'don't speak.'”

     “Ok then! Sissi, I don't know who you lost a bet to, but this is going to far!” Jeremy quickly jumped backwards.

     “Sissi,” Odd laughed. “What happened to 'Ulrich dear'?”

     “What are you talking about, Della Robbia? Who's Ulrich?”

     “Wow, she's good,” William said.

     “Or just dumb...” Yumi sighed.

     Sissi skipped towards Jeremy. Aelita jumped in front of her.

     “You take one more step this way and I'll hit you, Delmas!” Aelita yelled.

     Sissi, obviously afraid of Aelita's threat, backed away and left.

     “You tell her, Aelita,” Odd laughed. “Were you serious?”

     “No, of course not,” Aelita smiled. “But she was creeping me out.”

     “That makes two freaks today,” William pointed out.

     “What's going on around here?” Ulrich asked. “That was totally unlike Jim or Sissi.”

     “Maybe I should go take look,” Jeremy shivered and walked towards his dorm.

     “Aelita Stones!”

     Aelita turned towards principle Delmas. “Yes sir?”

     “I need to talk to you,” Delmas replied.

     “With all due respect sir, I was only joking. I wouldn't really hit Sissi.”

     “What? This has nothing to do with Sissi...whoever that is.”

     “Is he serious?” William looked shocked. “Everyone's either really good at this game, or they're just insane.”

     “Actually, I was going to ask you if you'd like some ice cream,” the serious looking principle asked without any seriousness.

     “Oh...As much fun as that sounds, sir, I'm gonna have to pass.” Aelita turned to everyone else and gave them weird looks.

     “Oh, ok. If you change your mind, I'll be on the moon.”

     With that, Mr. Delmas left.

     “That's three,” Ulrich raised three fingers and closed his eyes, letting out a sigh.

     “This is extremely weird,” Yumi said.

     “You don't say,” Odd laughed. “Eh, wait, did he say 'the moon'?”

     “Yes,” Ulrich sighed. “Man, weren't you listening, Odd?”

     “I was, but he lost me at 'ice cream'.”

     “Figures,” William shook his head.

     They all stood there and realized that everything was quiet. Maybe too quiet. William looked at Yumi, who shrugged at his questioning look. He continued looking around, as did Ulrich, Odd, and Aelita.

     “So...” Odd broke the silence.

     “Yeah,” Ulrich answered.

     Silence crept over them again. This time seemed more eery than it did five minutes ago. As if afraid to be the first one to say anything, it remained quiet.

     “Well,” William apparently was braver at the moment.

     “Well what?” Yumi asked.

     “This is really strange...” Aelita pointed out.

     At that moment, Jeremy came up to them.

     “You know what's even stranger?” he asked.

     They shook their heads.

     “The fact that, as far as I know, Xana has nothing to do with it.”
The Hideout by dobermutt
Author's Notes:
Eh, sorry it took so long...been busy...you know how it goes. So, here is the 4th chapter.
     It was almost the end of the week and things had gotten even stranger. Yumi stayed with Aelita at school, her parents were just as crazy as everyone else. Everyone in the group locked their doors at night, it was too much of a risk to leave it unlocked with the entire school, and city, going around insane. Jeremy checked the factory computer at least three times or so and sent Aelita and the others there. Still nothing. No activated towers and no signs of their super computer friend or his accomplice anywhere. Now the insanity had gotten pretty bad and unsafe...for anyone. This time they all met in William's room, the door and windows both closed and locked.

     “This is awful,” Odd sighed. “Things aren't going so well.”

     “You're telling me,” Ulrich agreed with his friend. “These insane people are getting pretty ugly. Pretty soon we won't be safe just staying here at Kadic.”

     “Agreed,” Jeremy nodded. “We need to find a safer location.”

     “Where do you suppose we should go?” Yumi asked.

     Jeremy rubbed his head in thought. “Not sure,” he answered. “Somewhere safe.”

     “There are few places to hide in safety,” William pointed out.

     “True,” Jeremy agreed. “But that doesn't mean there aren't any.”

     “We could just leave the country,” Odd suggested.

     “Now that's the dumbest idea I've ever heard!” Ulrich knocked Odd off the bed.

     “What about the factory?” Yumi questioned.

     “I don't know,” Aelita said. “I don't feel very comfortable with that idea.”

     “Aelitas right,” Jeremy said. “It's too open. We need some place hidden.”

     “Oh!” Odd spoke up.

     “If this is another dumb idea, Odd, then don't say anything - -” Ulrich started.

     “It's not, Ulrich. What about Aelita's house?” said Odd.

     “The Hermitage?” Yumi asked. “That is well hidden. But, what about Xana?”

     “At the moment I'm more afraid of the lunatics outside,” William said.

     “Agreed,” Jeremy sighed. “We could temporarily hide there.”

     “Sounds good,” William nodded. “When should we leave?”

     “ASAP,” Jeremy answered. “Which means tomorrow, we're going to sneak out of Kadic. And, if possible, avoid separation. I don't want anyone to get left behind.”


     The boys let the girls sleep in the beds while they remained on the floor. None of them really slept all that well, due to loud noises and bangs. The sooner the better, they thought. To comfort himself, Odd talked about food and his dog, Kiwi. However, this didn't ease anyone else. Ulrich just got annoyed. He tossed and turned, trying to rest even for just five minutes. They were all wide awake by morning. William was the first to stand up.

     “Come on, guys,” he said. “I don't think I can wait much longer. We should go now.”

     “Good idea,” Odd stood after William. “I'm getting a little paranoid myself.”

     “No time to lose,” Jeremy said. “Everyone, grab a sleeping bag. We're going out.”

     With caution, Yumi opened the door. All was clear, for the time being. One by one, with sleeping bags in their hands, they crept down the hall way. Ulrich, who was in the lead, stopped suddenly, causing everyone else to stop.

     “Oph!” William ran into Ulrich. “What's wrong? Why did you stop?”

     “Don't you hear that?” Ulrich asked.

     They all listened. The sound of chewing and munching could be heard. Angry faces turned to Odd, who was snacking away in the back.

     “What part of 'quiet' don't you understand?” Aelita asked.

     “What? You can't go out and be sneaky if you're hungry,” Odd complained.

     “Well,” Jeremy sighed. “Keep it down, would ya? We would be in huge trouble if we were caught.”

     Ulrich continued leading as they made their way out of the hall way. Slowly, they walked down the stairs. Jeremy kept Aelita from tripping and Ulrich threatened to hit Odd if he sneezed.

     “Wait!” Jeremy whispered loudly.

     “What?!” Odd looked around alarmingly.

     Jeremy pulled him behind the stairs and everyone else followed. William covered Odd's mouth as they hid. Just then, an almost zombified looking Jim walked into the stair way. His eyes were red, either from craziness or lack of sleep. He was pale and Yumi almost swore she saw a Xana symbol. But, as she quickly remembered, Xana had nothing to do with this...did he? Jim lingered for a while, to the group it seemed like forever. Finally, with a groan, Jim headed upstairs. Everyone behind the stairs sighed in relief.

     “That was close,” Aelita sighed.

     “Let's just get out of here,” William said.

     Nodding, Ulrich continued leading everyone outside. Everyone felt as if they were crossing the street, having to look both ways before crossing. They made it to the lunch room and stopped behind the building.

     “What did we stop for?” Yumi asked.

     “We talked a little last night,” Ulrich said.

     “'We'?” Aelita looked puzzled.

     “Odd and I...We thought it would be a good idea to get as much food as we can...No telling how long we're gonna be stuck in that shabby little shack,” Ulrich answered.

     “Hey!” Aelita fussed. “That 'shabby little shack' is my home!...Or was.”

     “We don't have time for this,” Jeremy told them. “Just hurry it up Odd.”

     William lifted Odd up to the window. Carefully, Odd unlocked it with a clip. After opening the window, he slipped in. The others heard a loud banging noise and quickly looked around in alert. Then they heard a faint voice: “I'm ok.” Shaking their heads, they continued keeping watch.

     “Heads up.”

     Bags of food fell on Ulrich's head.

    “Ouch! Watch it, Odd!” he whispered in anger.

    “I said to watch it, Ulrich,” Odd laughed as he let go of the window ledge.

     Each one of them had a bag to carry. Quietly, Ulrich led them around the campus.

     “Stop!” Ulrich put his arm out again.

     “Something wrong, Ulrich?” William asked.

     “The gate is blocked,” he replied.

     “Anyone got a plan B?” Odd sighed.

     “Yep,” Jeremy whispered. “We go through the woods and into the sewer.”

     “Great idea!” Aelita said. “Let's go.”

     So with that they turned a slight left and went into the woods. Carefully creeping behind every tree and bush within a step or two, they eventually made it to the sewer. Jeremy opened it.

     “Ladies first,” he said and helped Yumi and then Aelita down.

     William went last, closing the lid behind him. It was a little darker than usual. Odd stumbled.

     “Ow! Anyone got a light?” he asked.

     “Of course,” Jeremy replied. “We needed more supplies than just food, right?”

     Odd laughed slightly and followed everyone else. Finally, as they got up to a fork in the path, Ulrich stopped. Yumi pointed to the right and the went in that direction. Sure enough, there was a small passage on the right hand side of the path they went down. Ulrich opened it and led everyone else down it. After some time, they made it out and into the, some-what, sunny backyard of the Hermitage. Looking up, the gang noticed dark rain clouds hovering over just a few miles north of them. Quickly, they went inside.

     “Ah,” Yumi sighed in relief. “I'm glad we're safe, for now.”

     “Me too,” Aelita agreed.

     Jeremy went outside with William. They came back in a few minutes later with arms full of firewood.

     "Great!” Odd cheered. “But, uh, what do we need that for?”

     “To keep warm, provide light, and warm up food,” Jeremy answered.

     “But, why not use a stove to cook? Or turn on the heat to keep warm?” Odd asked.

     “Because,” Ulrich replied. “There's no electricity in this house.”

     “Oh...I forgot. What about the lights? We have enough, right?”

     “Well,” Jeremy started. “I have some lights, yes. But, there's no telling how long we'll be in here. Plus, batteries don't last forever.”
Sound of Storms by dobermutt
Author's Notes:
Sorry for taking so long, finally on summer break. So, hopefully I'll finish this soon. :P

The fire was nice and big. It had been a while since anything burned in that fireplace. Odd rubbed his hands and held them up close enough to get heated. With no heater or warm weather, the air in the house became cold. The sky grew darker as the group of cold friends sat and remained quiet.
    

     “So,” Odd broke the silence. “Talk about an adventure. What suspense!”
    

     “I'll say,” Ulrich breathed into his hands trying to keep warm.
    

     “'Suspense' is right,” Yumi agreed as she wrapped herself in her blanket.
    

     “I don't think I want to do that again,” Aelita shook her head.
    

     “Agreed,” William nodded.
    

     After that sentence, silence was again fell over the room. The sound of thunder cracked through the air outside. A flash of lightning filled the small room and reflected on the groups' faces. After the noise died they could hear the sound of the fire crackling and the wood burning. The rest of the room remained dark, with large shadows cast on the wall.
    

     Odd shivered. “I never realized how creepy this place is at night.”
    

     “Well, get used to it, Odd,” Ulrich said. “We might be here for a long time.”
    

     “That's what I was afraid of,” Aelita sighed.
    

     “There must be some explanation for this strange insanity,” William suggested.
     “Well, there is a reason for everything,” Jeremy said. “But, this time I'm not sure.”
    

     “Terrific,” Yumi said sarcastically. “No Xana, no virus, what is this?”
    

     “Man,” Odd groaned. “This is giving me a headache.”
    

     “That doesn't take much,” Ulrich laughed. “One math problem could do that.”
    

     “Now my eyes hurt, probably because I've been looking at Ulrich all day!”
    

     “Hey!”
    

     “Not now,” Aelita sighed. “Could you guys chill?”
    

     “Eh, sure. Anything for you, princess,” Odd smiled.
    

     “Kiss up,” Ulrich whispered.
    

     “This might be a long week,” Yumi rubbed her forehead.
    

     “Or just a long night,” William pointed out.
    

     “True.”
    

     “Either way,” Ulrich sighed. “It's going to be long.”
    

     Thunder burst through the clouds and everyone stopped in their positions.
    

     “That must have been right over our heads,” Odd shivered.
    

     “Well, it only took seven seconds for the thunder to sound after the lightning, I'd say it was about a quarter of a mile away,” Jeremy said.
    

     “You know Jeremy,” Odd sighed.
    

     “What?” Jeremy waited.
    

     “You'll always be the little nerd inside.”
    

     “...Uh, thanks? I appreciate that, Odd. I really do,” Jeremy shook his head. The fire light made his hair seem more blond than it really was. Aelita sighed.
    

     “You alright?” Jeremy looked up at her.
    

     “Y-yes,” she stuttered. “I'm fine, Jeremy. Honest.”
    

     “Ok, if you say so, Aelita.”
    

     “I'm hungry,” Odd slightly shouted.
    

     “There's a shock,” Ulrich mumbled. “So? Eat something, Odd.”
    

     “I didn't know if we could...”
    

     “Eh, sure,” Jeremy said. “Make yourself a sandwich or something.”
    

     “Yeah,” Yumi agreed. “Remember that we don't have any electricity, so it can't be anything you have to heat up.”
    

     “Unless you heat it over the fire,” William suggested.
    

     “PB&J sounds pretty good to me,” Odd laughed and grabbed the food bag.
    

     Aelita laughed and stopped to hear her stomach growl. “Hey Odd, how about making me one as well?”
    

     “Sure thing, Princess.”
    

     “Sounds good, actually,” Yumi said staring at the fire.
    

     “I'll make you one, Yumi,” Ulrich smiled.
    

     “Uh, thank you, Ulrich.”
    

     In a matter of minutes, everyone was eating a PB&J sandwich. The rain continued to thump against the windows heavily and the lightning flashed across the sky at least every five minutes. It wasn't too long before everyone became tired, the sound of raindrops bashing the house still remained just as loud. Odd began rolling out his sleeping bag, everyone else followed and did the same.
    

     “Well,” Odd said, pulling Kiwi out of his back-pack. “Looks like a it's going to be a long night.”
    

     “Yep,” Ulrich sighed.
    

     “The least we could do is get some sleep,” William told them.
    

     “True,” Jeremy agreed.
    

     The girls slept on the opposite side of the guys, a little bit closer to the fire, the boys were generous.
    

     “Well,” Aelita said. “Good night, boys.”
    

     “Good night, Princess,” Odd laughed.
    

     “Good night.” Everyone said it almost all at once.
    

     With those last words, Jeremy turned out the lights and everyone fell fast asleep.

This story archived at http://codexana.net/lyokofreak/lff/viewstory.php?sid=367