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Aelita

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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:15 am

The Program could try to hide it as well as it...as well as he could, but Aelita could sense his frustration. His disappointment. It was hard to tell who it was aimed at for her, but in any case the increasingly-precarious position the Program was clearly in was beginning to overpower Aelita's own conflicted emotions. It was those last words he said, however... "you'll be stranded here and I'm not going to have that..."

That sounded like the Jeremie she had known. Just a little, perhaps, but it was enough; even as her grief tugged at it and tried to distort it, Aelita could feel a powerful urge to keep it...to keep him safe. He may not have been Jeremie, but he still deserved to survive, to be kept safe from harm. So, as she heard the rustling of monsters around them, she made sure to step in front of him. "Stay behind me," she said softly, her arms circling around the both of them protectively. "I'll lead us to the Tower from here."
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:49 am

Jeremie blinked as she stepped in front, tilting his head at her a bit; he didn't like that thought at all - it was painful enough years ago when she'd get shot or hurt... he couldn't imagine; if he was here and she got hurt... he shuddered at the notion, biting his lip, hearing the rustle of other creatures. He hated Lyoko. It scared him. He had forgotten just how terrifying it was; he didn't like the scanners, he didn't like the virtualization process, and most of all he didn't like not being in control and not knowing what was coming...

"T... thanks..." He stammered, feeling shameful; he wanted to prove to her he had grown up, prove to her he still cared and yet... he couldn't move his feet. He went to say more but felt his tongue getting dry. "Please, be careful," he rubbed his forehead, shivering.

Up ahead stirring movement turned into two distinguishable figures; Tarantulas. They were stomping towards the two quite rapidly, blocking the path ahead; they stopped only yards ahead, letting out loud, alerting cries, lifting their front arms in ready position, the insides turning red, charging, and releasing a piercing laser out of each.
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:00 am

There it was again, that sense of the Jeremie she used to know. Still slight, still confused, but still definitely there.

"I will," Aelita told him, reaching out to him with a comforting hand, instinct finally overpowering intellect for just that moment.

As the Tarantulas revealed themselves, it was instinct that Aelita let guide her. She pushed Jeremie out of the way of their incoming blasts, her orbs guided by her thoughts and flowing into the terrain beneath the Tarantulas. A harmonious sound rang out as the ground began to glow, and suddenly, a sharp, rigid pillar of dirt and rock rose up beneath the beasts, knocking them off their legs.
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:15 am

Jeremie's eyes widened with surprise before - oh, hello floor. He grunted as the lasers soared over his head, barely missing his braid. He looked up at her from the ground, biting his lip. ... He was broken and weak, sparking as he pushed himself onto his knees. He had to help her, even if he knew she was capable of taking care of herself. If he had to prove himself to her, then he would, broken or not.

"Rrk!" One of the Tarantulas rolled onto its back, squirming its legs before actually jerking itself off the path in its frantic sway, falling somewhere far below. The remaining one let out a warcry, catching its footing, the noise resounding throughout the sector. Its front legs charged again, firing off two lasers without moment's hesitation, charging another set; meanwhile the sound of mechanical legs could be heard being set into motion; Kankrelats.

Jeremie leaped back to his feet, his sparks ceasing; he took a lunge in front of Aelita, clawing the air in front of her; Lyoko itself tore open, revealing constantly flitting binary, catching the lasers like a shield. The edges of the tear began to seal before ejecting the projectiles back at the beast, both jamming into the eye of XANA on the thing's faceguard.

"Tch," the impish boy winced, twitching his ears as the monster dropped; his fingers sparked violently as the rip in Lyoko closed. "B-be on guard," he stammered. "I'll do what I can. It's only about time, right?" He tried to tease.

The Kankrelats were somewhere in the brush, but it sounded like they were the last obstacle...
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:22 pm

Even as part of her was awestruck by the impressive effectiveness of the Portal, Aelita's overall reaction was one of anxiety. It was clear using the Portals was only worsening the Program's condition. Better to avoid using them if they could. Even as she heard the Kankrelets approaching, she stepped back toward the Program, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Don't talk like that," she told him softly. "Whatever else is true, you've already done plenty."

Though meant as a reassurance, Aelita could hear the unintended cruelty in her words even as she spoke. Even without wanting to, even knowing how much the Program had to be kept safe and how much they needed to get to the Tower, it seemed Aelita could not untangle the knot of emotions inside of her. On the one hand, she wanted to let her feelings for Jeremie pass on to his Program...his successor, in a way. On the other, however, there was no getting around the truth that he was not Jeremie, that by his very being he made it clear that Jeremie was gone forever...and she could never tell him how she truly felt, what she had learned about her feelings in that long absence, even if she tried to share that affection with the Program.

Still, the over-riding prerogative remained getting to the Tower, and as the Kankrelets drew closer, she sharpened all her focus on that. The orbs, emerging from the pillar of rock and dirt (which promptly sank back into the landscape), responded, floating over to her shoulders. Aelita could sense their purpose, and knew this next moment would be critical. She slipped her arms beneath the Program's, firming her stance. "I promise," she whispered to him. "I will keep you safe."

And the orbs merged together, spiralling out into "wings" composed of bright, glowing lines of violet energy. Wind beating around them, Aelita lifted into the sky, taking the Program with her and intent on flying them the remainder of the way.
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:01 pm

"True," Jeremie repeated it as she said it, blinking his eyes, looking at his sparking, ruined hands; he could do naught but let out a surprised yelp, however, as he felt her arms slide under his. He blushed darkly, eyes wide, his heart pounding in his chest as he saw the orbs approach and lift, rolling his ankles a bit as he felt his soles leave the ground.

The Kankrelats shot out where they had been only a moment before, revealing themselves, but being the grunt monster they were there was no way for them to track where they had gone; they looked to each other and scanned the area before blanking out in confusion, returning to their hiding places begrudgingly.

Jeremie watched the sector shrink below them, a pain in his gut. He hated flying. He hated Lyoko. This was like a double whammy in the phobia department, but he buttoned his lip, not wanting to be disagreeable or difficult; no more than he already was, of course.

"Y... you're fantastic as ever, Aelita," he spoke up finally, his tail tucked between his legs as they soared. "You'd think I'd know better than to doubt you by now," he chuckled nervously, looking down at the hands cupped on his torso, smiling at them. The gesture wasn't intimate, but... it made him feel a little more... human, for the first time since his arrival.

The Tower was up ahead; a blessing considering Jeremie had begun to phase and spark again. It would be easy for the two to enter as it was largely unguarded, though even on its own it was a sight; thick vines had grown up from the sector's floor, wrapping around the tower's base, thorns jutting from the sides, flowers blossoming along the thinner roots; despite that, however, the vines curled up along the tower's bottom, forming a 'doorway', luckily enough.
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:24 am

Aelita closed her eyes with a pursed smile to hear the Program speak. He sounded so much like Jeremie; awkward, uncertain, sincere...and never entirely able to pick how much of himself to show. It hurt as much as it helped, honestly, but Aelita was happy to take what comfort she could from it. "Thank you," she told him gently as they landed.

Her wings dispersed into their separate orbs as she looked at the Tower. "It's like the world itself is eating it up," she whispered, more to herself than anyone else.

She motioned for the Program to get ahead of her. "You first," she advised, "in case we come under attack again."
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:50 am

"Unfortunately it kind of is; Lyoko suffers data degradation just like any technology over time." Jeremie stepped inside, the doorway rippling around him; he held out his hand for hers, taking it gently and helping her inside. "The sad thing about Lyoko is we have to see it." He stepped beyond the entryway and onto the first ring of the floor symbol, the outermost ring illuminating itself with a bright cyan; he pulled back suddenly, eyes wide, stepping off of it before clearing his throat as if nothing had happened at all before he continued to the middle, each step illuminating just like years ago.

The Tower seemed... remarkably normal despite the outside; not much had changed at all. As Jeremie approached the center he waved a hand, the sparks clearing up almost instantaneously, the wake of his palm pulling up a monitor. He sat himself down, looking at the screen as it seemed to load layers and layers of binary, coding... videos; Jeremie's old visual diaries accompanied by written journals.

"Ah, there." Jeremie blinked at the screen, a keyboard unfolding from it; he typed on it silently, becoming fast absorbed in his work - he pulled up hunk after hunk of code and remedied it the best he could, the flickering of his form beginning to soften before vanishing entirely. He smiled as he worked on 'himself'. "I'm going to have to run the patching protocol I bundled with this program; are you alright waiting on me for a little while longer?" He looked up at her from his position in the Tower's core, realizing he had forgotten to invite her over, blushing once he realized the blunder.

"Come over here; maybe we can talk some." He smiled gently, his pointed ears folding downward as he pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "You look like you've had... something on your mind since you got here." Part of him began to feel dread, however, as he knew the thing on her mind was him; Aelita had been brief in her words and even briefer in their reunion. "Y... you know you can talk to me if you ever need someone, right?" He smiled, trying to be reassuring.
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:05 am

It was a sincere comfort to see the interior of the Tower was unchanged from what Aelita knew. After all the OTHER changes she had been forced to deal with, some semblance of familiarity was all too welcome. "Take as much time as you need," she said calmly to the Program as he began work on patching himself up. "I'm more than happy for a little breathing time."

As the Program worked meticulously and speedily, she simply took a seat at the edge of the platform, letting her legs hang over the endless emptiness below, arms folded calmly across her lap, eyes closed and head leaned back. She truly just wanted to soak it all in...the comfort, the calm. Here, the rhythm of Lyoko felt right. She would have been OK if it never ended.

As the Program finished its job and talked to her, however, she knew it would have to even so.

At first, she did not answer. Eventually, however, she turned to the program, a broken-hearted smile on her face as her eyes open. "You don't know how much I wish I could tell you 'yes'..." she finally spoke weakly.
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:19 am

Jeremie could only stare at her; as she made a point to sit away from him, made a point out of facing away... at her response he visibly flinched, feeling his chest seize up. "W-what do you mean?" He asked, meaning to sound confused - it came out more computerized than emotional, however, which he was sure would only complicate things. Maybe his body was telling him what was wrong; he clapped a hand over his mouth, closing his eyes before removing his gag, letting out a sigh.

"In all honestly I thought you'd be happy to see me," he admitted, his chest growing tense, throat getting sore; he finally tore his eyes away from her, biting his lip as he watched the monitor scan his inner data; seeing the journals being confirmed, hearing his own voice... he closed his eyes, wanting to get up and sit next to her, but his body was cold and unresponsive - possibly for the better, given the scan. He muttered, looking at her, letting the glare of the screen cover his glasses. "I... I'm happy to see you... s-so... Is it because I brought you back here...? I'm sorry, Aelita...I didn't mean to make you mad I just... I needed help... I'll shut Lyoko off again as soon as I find a way out of it, I promise!"
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:45 am

Aelita stood up slowly, shaking her head. "No, it's not...it's not about Lyoko. Or XANA."

She looked at him now, slowly but surely, and there were tears brimming in her eyes. "It's about you."

Her whole body ached with tension as she looked the Program straight in the eyes, her tears beginning to fall as she finally gave voice to the intractable conflict of emotions still tumbling around uneasily in her gut. "Please...try to understand, I'm not...angry at you. And I also don't want you to think I blame you, because...because it isn't fair that I can't...that I feel this way. It isn't fair to you. But...you're not Jeremie. You have his face. You have his voice. And every inch of me wants to treat you like you are. But in the end, I know you're not. You're a copy. A program. You may have his memories, but you are not the Jeremie Belpois I knew. Because that Jeremie died. You said so yourself."

Each word began to tremble at the edge of being a sob, and Aelita herself began to tremble more and more, but she pressed on. She had to, before she lost the nerve, because the Program deserved to know the full truth about how she felt. "He died, and I wasn't here to help. Or to say goodbye. Or to tell him all the things I got to learn in the ten years we were apart. Or to say...how much I felt about him. How much he meant to me. So please...don't...don't think this means I hate you. Or that I'm angry at you."

And slowly, she began to sink to her knees, weeping openly. "I just...miss him. And to look at you is to miss him even more."
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:09 am

He was silent for a few minutes, his posture straightening as he looked at her. He watched her carefully pronounce every word, watched her eyes water, and while part of him pined to reach over and give her comfort... part of him was too floored in the truth of her words. He was dead and he hadn't had the chance to say a single thing. It wasn't his -- ... it wasn't Jeremie's fault... but more importantly...

"... It's not your fault," he said quietly; he waved a hand, shutting off the scan - after all, with the realization of how correct she was... it didn't matter if he was broken and weak. He closed the monitor and slowly got to his feet, but found himself unable to get any closer to her; every step made his heart feel tight. "I just got -- ... h... he..." He corrected himself despite how strange it felt. "He didn't... he had no idea it was going to happen, please..." He felt his own eyes tingling, getting warm, his throat constricting. "D-don't be sad...! I'm oka-" He paused, finally realizing what she meant altogether.

He wasn't okay at all. Jeremie had been murdered; he was in a morgue somewhere for the government, having some fake cause of death written up and no doubt sent everywhere he would have been. Even if he, the Program, were to ever devirtualize... he'd have to change his name, he'd have to move... it all felt so heavy on his shoulders, suddenly, when before it just felt like an inconvenience; he couldn't look at her. He couldn't get any closer to her. He was making her more miserable, wasn't he...?

"... I... I'll devirtualize you, then," he said calmly, as if everything inside of him had been forcefully shut down; his emotions were lies, his memories were lies... his purpose was a lie as well; so why should the team even bother saving his ghost? "You're right, so, I'll send you back to Earth and... you can shut this all down," he looked down at himself to hide the expression of bitterness he'd adopted. He approached her slowly, offering his shaking hand, trying to disguise the tears beading in his eyes. "... I'm sorry I... I'm s-sorry I lied to you, Aelita. I just... I didn't... he didn't want you to be alone... I don't want you to be alone!" He finally looked at her, wincing. "After all the times he had his life almost stolen by XANA, he just wanted to make sure you were okay and... well, you are. So I guess that's mission accomplished for me." He smiled weakly.

"Come on. I'll send you back home."
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:56 pm

Aelita shook her head frantically; this was exactly the reaction she had been afraid of. "What good does that do?" she asked, determined to hold her voice together even as it cracked, "Those agents are still trying to get their hands on the Computer. XANA has still taken control of one of them. Just turning the computer off...just running away from all this...won't solve anything."

She was speaking as much to herself as to the Program. There was no changing things. No running away. No bringing Jeremie back. Even as she struggled with her feelings, she knew she had to do something to help the Program with his. "And destroying yourself won't do anything either," she continued, tears still flowing down her cheeks. "I don't want to lose the only thing of Jeremie we have left. I don't want you die just because I have to struggle with my own emotions. You're alive too. You think, you feel. You deserve to live. To exist. As much as Jeremie did. Please...don't throw that away just because of me."

She was still trembling, still crying, but she extended one hopeful hand out toward him.
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:27 pm

He wasn't sure what to say at all; he pulled his hand back, balling it into a fist, staring as she extended her own. His chest began to knot up; if he couldn't be Jeremie, then who was he? If he couldn't continue what he had been programmed to do, what good was he? He trembled and shook, his sorrow and defeat twisting into a sharp feeling of betrayal; Jeremie had the right to exist, but him? The program? ... He'd never have that same humanity, that same experience...

Aelita, when she had been a mere program to him... she had the luxury of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and recovering the mementos lost at the mouth of it. She had everything - a chance, a past that was real... him? His fate was sealed; his memories weren't his own, his emotions weren't his own - they were all stolen from Jeremie...

"If I can't be who I'm meant to be, I'd rather not be at all," he confessed. "If these feelings aren't mine, these relations, these experiences..." He looked at himself, feeling disgusted. "... I remember all of it, even the things not in the video journals... I remember being home, being raised..." He only looked more sick as he went on. "But if none of this is mine... if I can't make you happy..." He shuddered, pulling away from her entirely, getting himself away from being so close to someone he didn't really know. "I'm not running away. I'm being logical. If I'm not Jeremie Belpois, if I'm not... the one who loved you so much," he began to tremble. "Then I don't want to be anyone at all!" He stared at her from afar, teeth grit tightly to fight his primal urges; he wanted to squeeze and comfort her, but it wasn't his place - it was 'Jeremie's'.

"I remember staying up all night talking to you. Making sure you were safe. Constantly patching and keying to ensure that one day I could bring you here. So I did. I pulled you out of Lyoko and I helped you rediscover everything you had lost." Anger; he narrowed his eyes, chest heaving. "I thought we'd spend forever together... but then you..." His eyes sparked as he realized the loophole he'd been desperately searching for. "... You left me. You left me alone. You left me alone for years and years," his eyes watered, cheeks growing red. "After everything I did for you! You abandoned me then and you're abandoning me now! I died! I died and I was all alone... I had no way of knowing... t-they j-just..." Sorrow turned to bitterness, turned to anger, and finally turned into ultimate numbness. He was burned out. "T-..." He whimpered loudly, clutching his head. "T-they just... k-kept hitting me... kept asking questions... I kept quiet... I d-didn't want them to know... they asked about you, asked about Ulrich and William and Odd and Yumi... I told them to turn it off, b-but they wouldn't listen! T... then..." He blinked, beginning to calm overall, looking at his hands. "Then... something... broke... and... I remember being so, so scared... I needed help, I needed you..." He muttered. "I w-wanted... to say goodbye..."
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:19 pm

Dead silence.

Aelita looked at the Jeremie Program with wide, teary eyes. Every time she opened her mouth to speak...tried to think of something to say...it just wound up self-destructing before it amounted to anything. Because despite the continued pain heaving in her chest, the tangled thoughts and feelings this Program caused inside of her...that sounded like the Jeremie she had known. And it broke her heart to know how much she had hurt him. How much leaving had hurt. How much her confession here in the Tower had hurt. She had to make that right. So many things needed to be said.

And still, every time she tried, all she could do was cry just a little more.

She reached out to him again, desperate but gentle. Her hand found his cheek, and as she felt that soft skin on her hand, it all came flowing out. "I always wanted to come back," she told him, "I always meant to come back. But I had to know for sure. I had to know what I felt for...what I felt in my heart was real. That it wasn't just because...that I hadn't just attached myself to the first person who found me. I wanted to discover myself. Know myself. So that when I did, I would know...I would know exactly what I felt. That my feelings weren't just a child's fantasy. I never meant for it to hurt...anyone. And knowing that it did hurts. Like a knife, it just...hurts. Because after all those years, all that exploring, I knew. I knew exactly what I felt."

Another hand reached out to him, a tremble at its tips. "I don't...have the answers for you. I wish so badly I did. I wish so badly I could figure out some way to make this OK for you, because that's what you deserve. That is what you have always deserved."

She finally leaned in, touching her forehead to his. Her eyes were closed to shed a long thick stream of fresh tears. "Please...don't go. Don't go, don't go, don't go. I can't...I'm not ready to let go yet. I'm just not ready."
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:11 pm

Jeremie watched her with careful eyes, still as stone as she touched him; he didn't want to make her cry, he didn't want to be mad at her - she had made him realize just how messed up this really was, just how much he was willing to glaze over in order to make him feel like everything was alright. He wanted it all to be okay so bad he had forgotten just what it meant to be... human.

With her face against his he closed his eyes; before he could even think he gently pressed an arm under hers, wrapping it around the small of her back, pulling her close to him - his free hand scooped up at the back of her head, pushing it into his collarbone and resting his head on top of hers. He stayed as still as he could, feeling her tremble, feeling her cry; his heart pounded a mile a minute, wanting out of Lyoko, wanting to take her to dinner - he wanted to invite her into his home, share his life with her...

He never realized she ever needed to discover herself, but hearing her say it... it all made so much sense. He never looked beyond her, never stopped to consider she was looking beyond him - she had only known him but he had known it all...

"I'm so, so sorry," he muttered into her scalp, feeling her sob against him. "I just... I had no idea I was being so naive... so selfish... That was all you wanted and..." He sighed loudly, the desire to speak leaving him. "I promise you, Aelita... I'll never, ever leave you... I'll always be there when you come back," he concluded, squeezing her, his tail wrapping around her as he gently dug his firm fingertips into her scalp. There was a feeling of contentment, being with her. "I didn't mean to be so selfish... I just..." He sighed loudly, shutting himself up, holding her.
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:51 pm

Aelita returned his embrace fully, willingly. This...all of this...was just so much to take in. To absorb, to accept. But she was starting to. And just hearing his voice...feeling how warm he was against her...was helping. So, so much. She let her hands wrap around him then, returning his hug with one of her own, sobbing into his shoulder, letting the confusion and the sadness and the frustration all just flow out.

And as she did, she realized there was only one person she had ever felt secure enough to really do that with. One person she knew and trusted enough to bare herself so openly.

"It's OK," she said softly, holding him tightly, warmly. "It's going to be OK, Jeremie."

It was the first time she had spoken to him by name. Even now, it felt...different...to speak to him like that. But different though it was, it was also true. She could see that now. Just as her father had used Lyoko to find a way to reach out to her past the death of his physical body, so too had Jeremie found a way to save himself...to be with her. With all of them. She knew a scientist like him would never frame it in such a way, but to Aelita...she understood now. Jeremie's body may have been lost, but his soul lived on.

And thank goodness she had found it.

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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:01 pm

"I-I'm glad. I'm kind of tired of things not being okay," Jeremie said gently, still holding her firmly against him. "I missed you so much," he said clearly, trying to keep himself above sobbing if only to give Aelita the chance to calm herself before he began a new wave of tears - he smiled as he held her tight, happy she was safe, even happier she was with him.

Hearing her finally say his name, though... he let out one of those whimpers; one where it's so pathetically obvious one is trying not to cry that there's no point in holding it in. ... But he did anyway; his program was repaired, his humanity had been restored... and Aelita was here, safe and sound - despite all the nights he debated calling her to check in, emailing her to make sure everything was okay... it was a relief, as if a thousand 'what-if's were gone from his registry.

"I can't wait to get off Lyoko," he said with a smile, slowly pulling away from her, holding her hands in his own. "I have a lot to show you! My apartment, my classroom...! You should see Kadic now, it's huge! Oh, and Sissi became the school nurse, Hervé teaches science...! Jim is the assistant principal...! I have a cat I named Maya after you," he said with a little smile, realizing he had been counting off on his fingers of all the new things. He blushed, noticing the information gushing he'd been doing wasn't a flaw in his program at all but his personality shining through. "... U-uh!" He was embarrassed; he folded his hands behind his back, rocking on his heels a bit. "W-what've you been up to all this time?" He asked with a sheepish little smile. "Where did you move to? What's your home like?" He paused again, blushing darkly. "S-sorry! I-I'm just excited I... this is so great," he admitted, tail wagging to and fro, betraying just how excited he was.
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:05 pm

Get off Lyoko...? Was that still possible for him? Aelita knew she had been brought back, Re-Virtualized, but this seemed different. Still, she trusted Jeremie; he knew the mechanical workings of Lyoko better than anyone else (except her father, of course), and if he believed it possible, it most likely was. Goodness knew, she would love for it to be; why question it?

And besides, just listening to that voice...the awkward lilt, the tactless yet passionate rush of information, the sincere excitement and happiness in the simple act of recollection...this was Jeremie, and it made her almost ashamed to think she had ever doubted that. Each new detail brightened her mood all the more; she giggled to learn about Maya, she smiled to hear about all the changes that had occurred at Kadic, and she noticed that swishing little tail of his telling her how much it meant just to share all this with her. For the first time that day, she felt, really and truly, happy.

With one hand, she finally wiped the tears from her eyes. With the other, she again held Jeremie's hand in her own, delighting just to squeeze it. "I'm so glad to learn about what your life's been like, Jeremie," she said, and already it was getting easier to associate the name with this new form, "and I've been hoping, for years now, to get the chance to tell you about mine."

She gently guided him to the edge of the platform, inviting him to sit with her. To share in the calm, familiar, ethereal emptiness all around them. "I haven't really been living anywhere, to be honest," she explained. "I was so eager to explore everything, and that's exactly what I did. America, Ireland, Denmark, even Japan, though I didn't manage to contact Yumi while I was there...it was really amazing. I saw so many sights and sounds, places and people. I made new friends, I learned how to be out there in the world all over again. It was truly amazing, like being awakened inside Lyoko all over again. Discovering an almost-entirely new world."

She leaned on his shoulder gently. "I guess I...let myself get a little lost in all that," she admitted, "but I never stopped thinking about coming back to France one day. To you."
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:55 am

Jeremie seemed winded just hearing it - he let out a loud sigh of relief and shook his head; there was something in her exploration of Earth that made him... happy, pleased... proud, like everything up until this point had been worth something after all. He pulled her out of Lyoko, helped her regain her humanity... look at her now...

"That's great," he smiled broadly, almost wishing he had done half of that - he made a mental note if he ever got off of Lyoko to start ... looking at the world around him. "I'm glad." His tail curled, blushing at he realized his hand was in hers. He gave hers the small squeeze she was hesitant to give his. "I'd love to meet your new friends some day." He admitted, making small talk - in his head however things were crunching... how was he going to get off of Lyoko?

He'd need to have his DNA virtualized and directed towards his Lyoko envelope but... his eyes betrayed his thoughts, narrowing a slight, biting his lip - he'd have to break into the place the government placed his corpse, which was more grotesque than he was willing to push, especially so soon... Plus they'd probably...

"... They're going to sweep my apartment," he said suddenly, ears perking up, eyes going wide. He pulled away from her, waving a clawed hand in front of himself after turning his back on the woman, pulling up another holographic monitor. "Oh crap, I totally forgot!" He began to type frantically, pulling up a familiar UI - the phone program he usually used on the computer, punching in Yumi's number. "L-let's hope she lands soon...!"
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:57 am

Aelita smiled gently. "I hope you get to meet them one day," she replied warmly.

As he began to grow anxious, however, she followed him protectively. From this point on...she would protect him. With all her power. Whatever was wrong, whatever problem he had...she would be there to help. "Jeremie?" she asked, "I don't understand. Who's going to sweep your apartment? What's there that's so important?"

She recognized Yumi's number as he dialed it, however. She'd almost forgotten Yumi was on her way too; she only hoped the girl would be OK.
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:31 am

Jeremie typed a message to her in case she was still in-flight; he concentrated on the rapid keying before sending it off, chewing at his lip when he looked over his shoulder at Aelita, groaning a bit.

"I didn't want to think about it anymore but... if I'm ever going to return to Earth I need DNA - this program doesn't have human DNA, only the Lyoko envelope; so usually I'd..." He rubbed his temple, frustrated. "I only was able to devirtualize you because of dormant human data within your file which I called upon without realizing it in Code: Earth." He pulled up the program on the screen; diagrams of Aelita's old Lyoko envelope and swarms of scrolling numbers, pausing it at a certain string, using a finger to highlight it. "This is your virtual code." He pulled up his own program beside it, highlighting his code to compare. "However, lower in the string of data is your human information; it's necessary in order to devirtualize something; everyone on Lyoko has one if they originate from Earth because it's innate in Lyoko's virtualization program, in the scanners, to encrypt that and hide it inside each envelope." He blinked, blushing a bit, realizing he was probably being a bit too heavy on the information - he shrugged at her, embarrassed.

"The short version is my program, like I said, is old. It's based off of old knowledge." He gestured to the pulled-up programs once more, highlighting a string of data on her program - on his, a red exclamation point popped up. "So... while mentally and physically I'm the exact same, Lyoko doesn't have my encrypted human data because I didn't code it into this program. I can't return to Earth without DNA; the government has my... er," he bit his lip. "The government... y-you know, they have..." He cleared his throat, not wanting to say the words necessary to convey they had his corpse. "... W-well, my apartment has my DNA. The government, in faking my death certificate, is... probably going to burn it down to hide evidence. I need some DNA or I'll be stranded here. Forever."
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:43 pm

It was indeed quite a bit of information for Aelita to absorb, but she managed well enough. The priority of it all was that Jeremie's...body...had to be rescued from his apartment, or at least sampled to provide the basis for a new body. Even as the idea of seeing that...of looking at the dead husk of a person she knew and loved...made her spirit curdle, she almost hoped she could find a way to see it. To make her peace with it. "Yumi...Yumi might be able to go to your apartment to retrieve...a sample," she said, realizing why Jeremie was contacting their friend, "instead of coming to the Factory."

She gripped her hands into tight fists. "Is there some way I can help?" she asked hopefully. "Maybe I can sneak out of the factory? Or maybe you can transport me to one of the other Super Computers and I'll make the trip from there?" That last suggestion was a bit on the desperate side; she somehow doubted any of the other Super Computers were close enough to Jeremie's apartment for that to be any help, but even so.
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:51 pm

"I don't want her coming here at all if it's avoidable," Jeremie cleared his throat, giving her a somewhat gentle look. "It's... upsetting," he admitted, noticing her shuddering movements; he winced a bit as well - that image would be one that would haunt him. "When I got control of the factory cameras I ... it feels really wrong to... touch it... so Yumi combing my apartment will be a... m-more respectful bet, I suppose." He made a face, unsure of how to speak of the dead when the dead was alive... it was quite the unstable ground and probably would be for quite some time; at least until the 'real' Jeremie was gone.

"I'm sorry, I know this is a lot... but I have no one else to speak with," Jeremie smiled when his monitor would fill with static, emitting a rather shrill sound; he turned away from her and back to the monitor. "... as much as I would rather you keep me company, however..." He pointed to the screen; a live feed from the boiler room of the factory, just in time to see the woman in black apprehend the group, watching at Ulrich seemed to submit. "That... that thing is dangerous, I know it is..." He pulled his hand away. "I saw it on the data stream when I was recovering... it's an evolved strand of XANA's core viral data; I don't know what it's capable of, I really don't..." Obviously that unknown was sending him off-kilter; he looked at Aelita, visually startled. "S-she's taking them somewhere. We have to do something!" He grabbed his head. "W-what if she kills them?! What if she infects them and..." Panic was setting in; he wasn't in control any more. "Shit... shit this is awful," he glanced at the screen once more before looking back at Aelita.

"Y-yes, I'm... I'm going to send you out... you need to protect Yumi. I didn't realize just how serious this was... I'm so sorry," he fretted, gritting his teeth. "P-please, Aelita, be careful," he bit back any sentiment he could. "I'm sending you out in your Lyoko envelope. If you need anything, please, let me know; I'm sure you and I have some link by now, and if not, I'll have my eyes on you anyway." He tried to smile despite the sweat beading on his brow. "I'll do what I can from here, but sending you out might be the extent of my ability."

Jeremie took a step back; he gently ran his fingers through Lyoko once more, opening it. "I can't send you directly outside; I can however get you close." The outside visual revealed the passage between Kadic and the sewers, quite aged. "... I'm surprised. This should be safe."
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PostSubject: Re: Same Difference   Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:43 pm

Aelita continued to take it all in as best she could, actively working to suppress her reaction; she could tell it was only further upsetting Jeremie. "You speak to me as much as you need to, Jeremie," she told him reassuringly. "You've always been able to before, and you still can."

An evolved form of XANA's program? More seemingly-impossible things becoming possible...she could only hope Ulrich and the others would be OK. Right now, however, she had to focus on helping Yumi. Saving...the body. And making sure Jeremie didn't have a stroke inside Lyoko.

She stepped toward him, wrapping her hands around his again. "Breathe, Jeremie," she advised. "That's the first thing I need you to do. Just breathe."

She then looked him square in the eyes, letting him see in her own eyes the shimmering sincerity of everything she spoke. "Second, Ulrich, Odd, and William are more than capable of taking care of themselves, and finding a way out of sticky situations. Things may look bad for them right now, but give them a chance; they'll find a way to turn things around."

She took another step toward him, her grip tightening affectionately. "Third, I will be careful. I promise."

And now her face was so close he could feel her nose brushing against his. "Because I have something very important I need to tell you when I get back."
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