NEITHER A COINCIDENCE NOR AN ACCIDENT

A/N: HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHY ULRICH ASSUMED THE FORM THAT HE DID ON LYOKO? THIS OFFERS A POSSIBLE EXPLANATION.

I DO NOT OWN CODE LYOKO.

Ulrich Stern walked from his dorm room to the coffee machine, waiting for the rest of his group of friends to arrive. Especially a certain black-haried Japanese girl. 'Too bad I'll never have a chance with her.' Then he spotted his friends walking towards him. He smiled and waved, returning the gesture from Odd. Ulrich then turned to watch the gates of Kadic Academy. Just as he spoted his best friend and, possibly, just possibly, something more, he felt a stabbing, painful sensation in his head. He immediately knew exactly what it was. Ulrich turned and strode purposefully toward his dorm. He started breaking into a jog when the pain got stronger. Ulrich reached his dorm and pulled open a drawer. Digging around for a minute, Ulrich found what he was looking for. Ulrich took his jacket and hung the scabbard over his back before putting his coat back on. He ran out of the dorms and back down to where his friends were.

Odd asked him, "Dude where'd you go?" Ulrich scowled; the sensation was getting worse. Odd thought that he was scowling at him.

"Hey, man, you okay?"

"Not really. Headache. Big one."

"Is there anything we can do?"

"Thanks, but no thanks, Yumi. I'll handle it." Which wasn't exactly a lie. He had to deal with it himself. If he didn't, nothing good would happen. Then, he looked past his friends and saw a man that chilled his blood. A giant of a man, seven feet tall, in leather jacket and black jeans. 'Oh, great. The Kurgan. How do I get out of this one?' Odd noticed that Ulrich was no longer looking at him, rather past him. He turned to see what could attract his friend's attention like it had, and he didn't like what he saw.

"Jeremie, run a scan. Something is wrong." Jeremie was already on his laptop before Odd had finished speaking.

"Whatever this is, it isn't an attack. At least, not by XANA."

"Then who is that guy?"

"Someone I have to confront."

"Ulrich, have you lost your mind? He'll tear you apart!"

"Just get to the factory and try to launch a Return to the Past, will you? This won't end well."

"Ulrich, what's going on? Who is that person?"

"I'll explain everything later, Yumi. Could you actually go with them? I don't want to see you hurt because of me."

"No way I'm leaving you alone. Odd, take Jeremie to the factory. Aelita too." Ulrich saw that Yumi was not going to let him off the hook, so he made one request. "Yumi, if this goes south, don't let him take my head, okay?" Ulrich drew the sword and started walking toward the Kurgan, who had been stopped by Jim. 'Just what I need, someone else to worry about.'

"Excuse me, but who are you?"

"My name is Victor Kruger. Who are you?"Jim was taken aback by the stranger's monotone. He simply said, "Jim Morales, a teacher at this school. May I ask why you are here, Mr. Kruger?" The Kurgan drew his broadsword and smiled mirthlessly. "Why, I am here to kill one of the students." Jim was about to say something when Ulrich said, "Jim, run. Get out of here. This man can and will kill you. He doesn't care." Ulrich's stare is enough to convince Jim to do just that. That leaves the two combatants squaring off against one another, along with Yumi hiding behind a tree.

"I thought you were gone."

"I was. Then, a mutual friend discovered me. He gave me new life. Now, to make payment, I am here. For you. For your friends."

"XANA." Ulrich spat the name out.

The Kurgan chuckled. "One and the same. In return for disposing of you, I get my revenge on the one who ended me."

"Let's just get this over with. I have things to do." The Kurgan responded with an attack. Ulrich dodged, then parried. The ring of steel meeting steel is heard again and again. Ulrich was holding his own until he spun to follow-through on a stroke. The Kurgan exploited an opening and lunged, the blade entering Ulrich's chest. He cried out, the yell increasing in volume as the Kurgan pulled the sword out. Yumi, remembering what Ulrich had said, picked up a rock and threw it. The rock struck the Kurgan in the head, and he turned his attention to the girl behind the tree. The Kurgan smiled with malicious intent. He picked up his sword and charged Yumi, who turned and ran toward the forest. She hid behind the closest tree and waited. She could hear The Kurgan's footsteps as he came closer and closer. The Kurgan ran past her tree and continued deeper into the forest. Yumi saw her opportunity and ran back the way she came. She found Ulrich on the ground, his eyes closed.

Yumi stopped running and knelt beside him. She checked for a pulse; there was none. She checked his breathing; he wasn't. Then she lowered her head onto his body and began to sob, begging Ulrich to come back. She never noticed the Kurgan coming out of the forest. She paused to catch her breath when she noticed something. Ulrich's eyes were beginning to open. She felt for a pulse, and there it was. She wrapped Ulrich in a hug.

"I thought I lost you. I thought you had died. You had no pulse, you weren't breathing."

"You almost did lose me. I actually did die for a little bit. Nothing new."

"Aww, how sweet. The two lovebirds who shall die together." The Kurgan readies his blade to strike.

"Now watch her die in front of you, and know that there was nothing you could do." Then a brilliant white light appeared in the distance. The light engulfs them as the Kurgan drives his sword down, then stops.

"It seems I underestimated you. Make no mistake, you will see me again." Then the day began all over again. Ulrich made sure that he had the sword hidden under his clothes before coming to the vending machines. As he spotted his friends, he began working on a plan. They gathered around him as he began to speak.

"Alright, look. I promise answers as soon as we get somewhere where we're not likely to be overheard. I also have to send a message to an old friend and let him know of the situation."

"Sounds fair. Where do we go?"

"Jeremie's room? We can call it a study session. Besides, Ulrich can use the computer there." The gang walk to Jeremie's room and lock the door. Ulrich sits down at the computer and composes an e-mail

'Connor, it's Ulrich. Ran into an old "friend" today. Nearly lost my head in an argument. It got a little serious. Could use some help. Will explain more when you arrive.' Ulrich turned the chair around so that he was facing his friends.

"Guys, I have a story to tell you. Mine. I can't guarantee that you will believe me, but I can guarantee that it is true. My name at birth was not Ulrich Stern. I just adopted that name before attending this school. I have been alive for longer than you think. As a matter of fact, I'm immortal. Unless I get my head taken I will not die." His words are met with silence. "The seven-foot tall guy that Yumi and Odd saw goes by the name of the Kurgan. He was born on the Russian steppes. He is possibly the most evil of Immortals. My mentor killed the Kurgan a number of years ago, but apparently XANA resurrected him. Now the Kurgan is after all of us." More silence. "That e-mail was, in fact, to my mentor, Connor MacLeod. He was born on the Scottish Highlands in 1518. Once that message is received, I have a feeling that Connor will get here quickly. Any questions?"

"Were you really having a headache?"

"Sort of. It's a sensation I feel when another Immortal is near me."

"So what do we do now?"

"Not much we can do. We just wait for the next challenger, or Connor, whichever comes first."

OKAY, DOES THIS SEEM LIKE A PLAUSIBLE STORY IDEA?

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