Saving Sanity by dobermutt
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     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.”
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