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(For best results, begin playing Jason Mraz's I'm Yours on a loop)

Jeremy bent over the keys on his computer. It was a cold, clear, early autumn afternoon in France. It was beautiful this time of year, but Jeremy, hunched in his grotto, barely noticed it. He was far too busy working on an anti-virus for his...best friend. He jumped up with a start, however, when a fusillade of knocks bombarded his door. He scarcely murmured a "Come in" when Aelita stormed in, took him by the arm, and marched him outside, nearly shouting "Jeremy! You need to see this!" She had dragged him into the middle of the woods before she stopped. The trees were flamboyant reds, oranges, and yellows. The air was deliciously cool. The sky was absurdly blue. "What is it, Aelita?" Jeremy grumbled, slightly annoyed at being interrupted. Aelita stared at him incredulously, and said "The leaves! The breeze! The sky! Everything is so pretty!" Jeremy remembered that this was her first fall in remembrance. This was all new to her. But when he looked around, it seemed all new to him, too. What could have caused him to see it so differently? He realized what she was talking about. It looked like God had saved up all the beauty in the universe and lavished it on the park. He glanced at Aelita, her hair softly moving in the breeze, and thought "Well, maybe not all the beauty." He continued gazing at her, and slowly, methodically, stated  "I...I can't believe I never noticed this! I've been through fourteen falls, and I've never noticed the beauty." She smiled sunnily. "Thank you, Aelita." He finished simply. Her smile turned into a quizzical look as she asked him; "Jeremy, what did you do before we met?"
Jeremy sat down at the base of a tree and sighed. "I'd rather not tell"
"Why not?"
"It's just...you might not like what you hear"
"It's fine, Jeremy. How could anything you say change the way I..." Aelita trailed off.
"Nothing like that! I meant...nevermind. Well, the main thing was robotics competition. I founded the first FIRST FLL team in France, robot de dynomite."
"Oh! How were you?"
"Well, my team and I were heading to international championships in Atlanta, but then I turned on the supercomputer and decided to cancel. I also swam competitively. I was qualified for the national boys tournament when I got hard to work bringing you to Earth. The only thing other than that was...singing in glee club," he finally admitted with a blush.
"What is wrong with that, Jeremy? I bet you have an amazing voice. Did you ever sing the national anthem at the school's games?"
"Well, I was supposed to sing at the futbol game today..."
"Jeremy, the school isn't doing futbol today."
"Not the school. The-the...other one" He smiled sheepishly.
Aelita's jaw dropped. She stammered out, "Do-do you mean the FIFA cup?"
Jeremy answered calmly without a hint of remorse, "Yes, but I was too busy with the antivirus to go." To his surprise, Aelita looked as if she was about to cry. "What's wrong, Ae?" he asked. But he already knew the answer. She sniffed "Every time you have something amazing, that will show the whole world how smart you are, I get in the way." Jeremy stood up next to her. "Nah, it's just that that stuff isn't as important as...." He couldn't bring himself to finish. Aelita still looked downcast, but she suddenly smiled and looked at him. "Jeremy, can you...sing for me?" He blushed, and then replied with the first verse of "Oh, Danny Boy" in a rich tenor voice. Aelita was shocked. He did belong singing at the championships. Jeremy cleared his voice, and then politely inquired "Aelita, do you remember anything you did before we met?"
"Bits and snatches, but no hobbies, 'far as I know. Can you finish the song?" she pleaded with alacrity. Jeremy started the second verse. He shut his eyes as he sang, and sat down. When he opened them, he was surprised to see Aelita dancing in the clearing. She danced gracefully and quickly, but it was no dance he knew. As Jeremy watched her, enthralled, his voice slowly faded out. As he stopped, Aelita's dance came to a natural pause, facing him. They were gazing into each other's eyes, drinking the other's presence and talents in. A moment later they looked away quickly and blushed. "Where did you learn to dance like that?" Jeremy asked, amazed. "I don't know, it just came to me." She looked at Jeremy, and then off to the ground at her side. "It needs a partner, though." Jeremy looked down, silently cursing the clumsy clogs he was wearing but unwilling to say no. Fortunately, his laptop started to beep a X.A.N.A. alert. The synthetic beeps were more annoying than his alarm clock-and his alarm clock was Odd's "Break-Break Dance" song. He yanked out his laptop and opened it. "Sorry, Aelita, but I guess we have to-" he looked up to see Aelita peeking over the laptop screen at him. He stopped talking. She stood up and asked "Please?" in the tone of voice and body posture that is the bane of the fortitude of men everywhere. He got up and walked over. Aelita smiled, thanking Yumi for her advice. "First, you put your left-" Aelita was interrupted by the savage growling of possessed wolves. She screamed, but then froze like a rabbit in a trap. "Aelita, run!" Jeremy shouted taking her by the hand. He realized they'd never make it to the sewer hole in time. Suddenly, Aelita snapped out of it and shouted "The hermitage! There is a way to the computer there!" Jeremy turned sharply, and they made it there barely in time. As they slammed the door shut, the called the gang, struggling to make themselves heard over the scratching, clawing, and baying of the wolves outside. Soon, however, the tower was deactivated, the attack defeated, and everyone safe in their beds. It had taken several hours.
--------
Jeremy woke up with a start when he heard the timid knock. "It's not time for school already?" he mumbled. His heart dropped into his stomach when he saw it was three in the morning. Was it his worst fear, someone coming in to tell him that one of his programs went wrong, his friends-Aelita!-dying? He gulped, and then calmed down when he realized it was probably Aelita coming in to talk. As he walked to the door, he hastily tried to rub off the keyboard imprints from his forehead. Aelita hated it when he stayed up late programming for her sake. He opened the door, It was Aelita, but something was wrong. Her eyes were red, and she was clutching Mr. Puck to her chest. "May I come in?" she asked quietly.
"Sure, what's up?"
"It's just, the wolves...got to me." Jeremy grimaced, remembering her spate of wolf nightmares. "Are you having the nightmares again"
"Yes! And more!" Aelita was beginning to cry. "Now it isn't just me or Mr. Puck- you are there too! You keep pushing me ahead, encouraging me, fighting off the wolves! But in the end, you can only help me into the tree before the wolves catch up. As they jump on you and tear you away, I can see you shouting something. But I can't hear it over the wolves! A-and then, I watch you die!" She collapsed on his chest. Jeremy realized, though, that it was more than the wolf dreams. However, Aelita had gotten to where she was sobbing too hard to get the words out. She held onto him and cried her heart out on his shirt. He stood there, awkwardly holding her, and wondering what to do. He soon realized the answer: She didn't come to him so he could say magic words, or program something to make her instantly happy. All she needed was for him to listen to her. And so he did. Aelita was calming down now, just leaning her head against him and making those pitiful dry sobbing sounds when you try to breathe deeply after crying hard. They are the sounds of someone trying to get their soul back, after baring it to the world in a moment of weakness. Jeremy said in a soothing voice "But that's not it, is it? There is more." Aelita looked up at him. "I remembered the night they took my mother away tonight. After dinner, my father turned on some music, and my mother," at this point she had a proper dance hold on Jeremy, and forced his hands to the correct places "My mother practically forced him to dance." She had started pushing Jeremy through the steps, seemingly without noticing she was doing so. As they spun around the room, she continued, "I loved it so much that I grabbed Mr. Puck and danced with him! When my parents finally noticed, my father let out a chuckle, and said he'd teach me how to truly dance." Aelita had slowed down, and started to cry again. "And that night, the men in black drove up and stole my mother. Every night after that, my father gave me dance lessons. Sometimes he couldn't do it, though, because he missed my mother so much..." Aelita concluded her story, and let out that sigh, (you know the one), when one is done crying, but not feeling better. Jeremy took her hand and led her to the window. He whispered in her ear, "Aelita, look at these stars. Do you know why they only shine at night? It is because someone put them there to remind us: The most beautiful things can only be seen in the darkest hours." he said, silently thanking Ulrich for his advice. She put her head on his shoulder and softly murmured, "Sing to me, Jeremy. Please?" He sang "Bonny, Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond" quietly, and he didn't finish until he was at her door, and opened it for her. "Your room awaits, princess," he said as he finished. She hugged him tight and kissed his cheek before going in and softly shutting her door.
Kind of mushy, but I like it. Some of you may have noticed the son-neko reference in the Franz/Anthea dancing scene.
Shout out to all FRC or FLL students out there! I am on team 1519, Mechanical Mayhem. If you don't recognize FRC, you need to look it up.
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:iconfrancisjeremyxavyer:
FrancisJeremyXavyer Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Student Writer
This was just beautiful. Well done!
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:iconhewalksinbeauty:
HeWalksInBeauty Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks!
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:iconfrancisjeremyxavyer:
FrancisJeremyXavyer Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Student Writer
np
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:iconsouthernwriter2:
SouthernWriter2 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Wow, this was pretty powerful. Also, robot championships in Atlanta? Holy crap, I live in Atlanta!
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:iconhewalksinbeauty:
HeWalksInBeauty Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Well, now they are in St. Louis, but in Jeremy's time it would be in Atlanta.
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:iconsouthernwriter2:
SouthernWriter2 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I remember there used to be a robotics club at my school, but I had no idea it was that big.
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:iconhewalksinbeauty:
HeWalksInBeauty Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
The thing needs more publicity. Obama spoke at the world championships this last season
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:iconsouthernwriter2:
SouthernWriter2 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Holy crap. Wow.
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