Disclaimer- I don't own Code Lyoko, its characters, or its situations, though I wish I did. I only own what I think Yumi is thinking, and I'm not even sure about that. This story contains enormous spoilers for Double Take and should not be read if you have not seen the episode. In fact, don't even read beyond this sentence. Yeehaw.

If you don't like the pairing, don't read the story.

Uh...well, this is Carth. I'm a member of the CL fansite 'Lyokofreak' and this fic was originally posted under their fanfiction site, 'LyokoFreaker's Fanfiction.' I'm a FF user from years long past, and I've reregistered, forgotten, discovered, reforgotten, and rediscovered this site again, in order to start all over with my ficcy...ness...ness.

As you may not know, I am an enormously rabid XANAxYumi shipper (but I still like UlrichxYumi...). So, when I saw Double Take, my eyes were bugging out of my head. That's where I got the idea for this vignette. It describes an event in the show, but simply from a mind closed to us during the airing.


Ten Seconds
by CarthageAroura

"Tower deactivated." I had never really heard those words myself, but they resonated in my head as I looked at the tower, watched its bloody red smog lighten to its normal, pale color. Activation to calm. I had seen it way too many times, and each time was a blessing. We had triumped over XANA. Again.

Of course, over the past few months, it had come to some difficulties. It began with the entry of a boy that would turn me, mystify me, and generally screw my life over. A boy that loved me. His name was William Dunbar.

I remembered when he walked into the classroom on his first morning. I could have sworn that all the girls in that room gasped at the same time- he certainly was attractive, with his model's face and untidy, navy-blue-black hair. But he came to sit at my table, wanted to find out about me, wanted to talk...to me. I admit, I began to fall in love. He was too good to be true.

And he was. It was like he was obsessed with me...i'm not sure what, my mind, my face, my breasts, but he was. He tried to make me kiss him in the middle of the night...ugh...I told him off. He left me alone for a while. But I had to look at that pained, angry look on his face...and lock my door each night, odd as it sounded. Baka.

And then we needed him. Needed him more than he knew. XANA was becoming impossible, so determined to wipe us out, I still can't imagine why...we needed another person to keep him under control. William, jerk that he was, had strength, agility...he was the perfect candidate. He went through the initation, came to Lyoko with us...he had promise, such amazing promise...

And then XANA took him.

Weeks passed. William as we knew him dissappeared, always in Lyoko, his mind (and fashion sense) darkened by XANA's presence. I don't even know if William, the smiling, jerkish young man, still lived behind the tenacious, soulless demon that had taken his consious. We fought him periodically...XANA. Himself. In person. William's person.

Now had been one such time. It was an almost routine plot- Jeremie had made a clone of himself by activating a tower (you'd think he would have learned by now), XANA came to take over the tower...it was a pleasant little struggle. But, we had won. The clone was gone.

I took a sigh of relief. We were now free to sleep for a day. Or two. But never truly free. Free from the burden we had imposed upon ourselves from the moment we swore to protect Aelita, all those years ago.

This reminder of impermanent freedom was thrust at me when I was reminded that XANA, unlike the clone, did not dissappear with a tower's deactivation.

He jumped down behind me, shaking the earth, leering at my defenseless form. I shouldn't have been surprised...but human instincts seemed to be acting for me there. Like the instinct to stay away from large, pointy objects. Next thing I knew, he had pointed his very large, pointy object straight at me- his zanbato, an enormous sword, I have no idea how he held it that high in the air with one hand without collapsing- and I was next to a cliff.

My instincts told me to back away from the invietable pain of the sword, though my mind new that if the sword actually hit me, I'd just be devirtualized, going back to the Earth that I called home. There was more danger in the cliff, below which lay the Digital Sea, of which there was no return, no devirtualization. I knew. I had fallen near it countless times.

Just so my friends could know, I called out. "J-Jeremie! William's trying to push me into the Digital Sea..." I knew I shouldn't have called that monster 'William', but...force of habit. Those moments were terrible. As I stood, with XANA mockingly pushing the sword ever so closer, I could hear their voices faintly- "Yumi- i'll bring you back in- oh no, it's not working!" "What do you expect? Everything's breaking up!" "That's bad news." "Only one thing left to do-"

They stopped there. Pity for XANA- he seemed happier with each word. Not that that demon could ever feel emotion.

The sword began to graze my neck. I felt no pain, perhaps only miniscule life point loss, but my instincts still told me to crain my neck away, to run, to hide...except there was nowhere to run or hide to. And then...it was over. The sword was gone. But I was still standing, right on the edge of Lyoko and death. Just as my instincts relaxed themselves, I realized something else- XANA was walking towards me. At the moment I realized it, he was mere centimeters from my face. Now, I was shocked stiff- my mind running haywire. Was he tired of taunting me, and just wanted to push me off himself? It seemed very likely- he was wearing that same self-satisfied smirk.

But what happened next was beyond comprehension.

As I made a feeble attempt to stare him down- as if that would do any good- his hand, the one that wasn't holding the zanbato, slowly came towards my face. I could almost tell that this was my end- I tried to move myself the other way- but, he didn't push me off.

The hand flew slowly across my eyes, coming to rest at the top of my cheekbone. His facial expression relaxed from the smirk, becoming blank, unreadable. His eyes were locked on mine, saying nothing. His entire seemed to relax- except for his hand. It was still held there, but now slowly moving down my face, down my cheek, caressing me slowly. His touch wasn't rough at all- his hand was cold, gentle, hardly touching me. Only one finger actually touched me- the others were curled, as if in hesitation.

Each movement sparked more panic. Why was he doing this? What goal did he have? What the hell? And yet, I was frozen. I didn't want to back away. A part of me...a part of me didn't want it to stop. A part of me...enjoyed it. Stay, it told me, he isn't going to harm you. Sure, another, more logial side of me cut in, but look who it is! It's XANA, for chrissakes! XANA, the soulless nothing that's been ravaging your life, destroying your civilization, and living in your boyfriend's body! Why in hell aren't you running for your life? I don't know, I thought. I don't know.

Time seemed to stop entirely as his hand moved farther, never leaving my face, other fingers slowly joining their brother as the hand stopped for a moment, crossing my mouth and coming to rest at my chin. Then, as if they had slid off, his hand jerked away- but jerked slowly, with inhuman precision. I saw his face change- from blankness, to curiosity, as though he were surveying my reaction. As far as I knew, I looked terrified, relieved and saddened at the same time that it was over.

Then, his hand came for me again. I should have run, I told myself, but I was still frozen. It reached for the other side of my face, slowly, gently, grasping the lower part of my cheekbone this time. I felt no panic this time- instead, a curious feeling, as though needles were jabbing me all over. A warm feeling came in my chest. I still stared into those eyes of his, my mind coming to an impossible conclusion.

XANA...was beautiful. Not just remotely attractive like the boy whose body he had taken; that only went skin deep. His core may have been one of horror and death, but other than physical beauty, XANA had ethereality. His movements were permenated with grace unattainable, his entire air was of something amazing and different. When he touched me, this spiritual presence surrounded me, almost threatening to take me in. I felt urges welling up inside me, my instincts taking over in the wake of such intense power...I wanted to throw myself into his arms...to stroke him as he had me...to touch his lips to mine, to let his inhumanity overpower me...but my common sense held me together, thank god for that. But, a small question came into my head-was it XANA I would be kissing, or William? Whom did I want it to be?

Baka. Baka baka baka.

He pulled his face close to mine, his face changed from the curiosity it had held- it now seemed to have a slight, weary sadness to it. His lips trembled slightly, as if he wanted to tell me something...I wanted to back away, but at the same time, I wanted to lean in and listen...

Then, my consiousness took over, pushing my fantasies and instincts away. I remembered who he was, what he had done. How I hated him. XANA, get the HELL away from me! So automatically I was hardly aware of it, I pushed his arm away, felt the cold fingers slipping from my face. I didn't want that creep within a hundred miles of me.

He didn't reject my gesture. He just stood over me, never having looked more powerful...or more beautiful. I tried to shake that last word from my mind. But as far as I tried to deny it...and still try...I had enjoyed that small moment, even if it had only lasted about ten seconds.

That was when he pushed me off the cliff...

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