The bed shifted slightly.
A moment later, a head settled against his shoulder. An arm slipped across his chest, followed by a leg across his hips, then finally the other arm gently fell, crossing with the other one, to land on his other hip from where his lover was curled, just barely touching the knee on his hip. Someone was in a snuggling mood.
"Konban wa, Duo," he whispered, wrapping his fingers into his lover's braided hair.
"Hey, you," the American replied after a long yawn.
"How's she doing?"
"Asleep at last."
"About time too."
"It's not Yukiko's fault she had a nightmare."
"I know." Silence reigned in the darkness of the bedroom for a long time, then he finally said what he'd been meaning to say all day. "I found something odd on the laptop today."
"Yeah?" He sounded like he was about to fall asleep.
"Hai. It was double- and triple-coded and encrypted and passworded and on... Usagi's side of the computer." He felt Duo stiffen, beginning to pay great attention now to what he was saying. "An entire folder full of nothing but letters to Yukiko."
The words had no sooner fallen from his lips than he found himself entirely Duo-less. A quick glance around the room placed the American in front of the laptop, booting it up already. Listening carefully, he could hear the braided ex-pilot muttering darkly under his breath. "How dare she do something like this? It's not like we wouldn't have Yukiko..."
Wrapping the sheet around his body, toga-style, Heero got off the bed and slipped across the room to the computer desk, each movement as silent as a whisper. "From what I gathered on the one I read, Usagi was afraid we'd sugarcoat things for Yukiko." Duo sent him a frighteningly blank look. "Can you honestly say we won't?" he continued, taking a seat in the chair Duo normally occupied.
"We may have, but there was still no reason for all this protection!" He opened the first file and read down it quickly, turning a bit red (though whether with anger or embarrassment was hard to tell) a few times through it.
Until he got to the end.
The American sat very still for a moment (sign enough that something was wrong) then calmly got up and just as calmly as could be - punched the wall with his fist. "How could she keep something like this from us?" he hissed, not wanting to wake up Yukiko. He punched the unresisting wall over and over, anything to work out the anger still boiling through his body.
In the meantime, Heero had slid over into his usual chair and began to type at such a speed it was nearly impossible to see his fingers moving, they were just a blur of flesh. After several long moments, he paused, staring closely at the screen. "Duo?" The other man paused. "Come take a look at this."
Absentmindedly rubbing his reddened hand, Duo stepped back over to the computer and took his usual seat, reading the typed words over Heero's shoulder.
"How I wish I could see what you look like, my child. Even though I'll never lay eyes on you," he read aloud, barely noticing as Heero stood and walked away, "you're the light of my life, just like your fathers. Even though I've never met you, I miss holding you in my arms, singing you lullabies, holding you through your nightmares, convincing your fathers to let you date, all the fun things a mother and daughter should do together. And yes, despite all my hopes, I know you're a girl. I know you have my hair and your father's eyes. I know you'll probably inherit my height - or lack thereof." He glanced over his shoulder towards where Heero had vanished into the walk-in closet. "What am I supposed to be looking at? This doesn't look too much different than the other one."
"Look at the date" came from the other side of the room without Heero coming back out.
He glanced back at the screen then back to where Heero was. "February 12th. Ten days before Yukiko was born. So what?"
"No, baka-chan," the other man scolded gently. "Look at the entire date."
Frowning now, he did what he was asked. Then stopped. And looked again. "He-He-He-Heero!!! It's from February 12th of this year!!"
"Hai. I noticed," the Japanese man replied, his voice a bit muffled.
"But... how is that possible?" He paused, clicking a few buttons, though with nowhere near the speed Heero had been using. "And there are three more after it?! What's going on here?!"
Heero came out of the closet, dressed in an overly familiar green tank top and a fading pair of blue jeans, quickly crossing the room to reclaim his chair. "I did a quick check of where the newer files came from."
Silence stretched for a long moment then... "And?!"
"They came from a computer in Osaka." He paused, typing long enough to pull something up. "A computer belonging to one Lina Inverse."
"Lina?! Do you mean Lina sent these to Yukiko?"
"No," Heero answered confidently. "Usagi was the only one I showed how to bypass the security measures I installed on here," he patted the laptop almost affectionately. "I just can't figure out where she could have learned how to encode it to the extent that she did."
"Omi probably showed her. That's not the part I'm having problems with."
"Put some clothes on." Duo threw him a questioning glance. "We need to talk to Lina."
"We're not driving to Osaka this late at night!"
The look Heero directed at him was withering at best. "We're going to call her, baka-chan. She should be home this time of night."
Duo stared for a long second at the clock on the bottom of the screen. "Heero, she should be asleep by now! It's almost 2:30 in the morning!"
"So she'll be home."
The American shook his head, getting up and throwing back on the clothes he'd abandoned to get into bed just a few minutes ago. Once his lover got something on his mind, there was no stopping him from accomplishing it. Nimnu ryoukai and all that. This probably smelled of mission to Heero.
When he returned to the computer, Heero was already placing the call. As quickly as possible, Duo tried to smooth both of their hair back into some semblance of order. When the staticy screen - and a frown on his lover's face - appeared, he muttered under his breath about life being no damned fair.
"Moshi-moshi?" a feminine voice answered, sounding entirely too chipper for the time. "Inverse residence." And definitely too polite to be the redhead.
"Is Lina there?" Duo went ahead and asked.
"Gomen, no, I'm sorry. She isn't. She's working the nightshifts this month. She'll be home around seven. May I take a message?"
"Can you tell her Duo c-"
"Can you cut the video on?" Heero interrupted, his eyes narrowed suspiciously. Duo shook his head slightly, leaning back away from the screen.
"I can try. The monitor's a bit messed up." Various and strange noises and soft-spoken, gentle complaints could be heard in the background, and moments later, an alarmingly familiar face appeared on the screen.
They could stare in shock, then surprisingly Heero got the first words out. "Omae wa...?"
The blonde-haired girl bowed slightly at the screen. "Hajimemashite. Watashi wa Tsukino-san desu. Tsukino Serenity."
First Draft: 18 September 2001
Revision: 14 January 2009
*bounces a bit* Look it! Look it! I got more out!! I should have called this "Change the World Arc Two: Return of the Giant Evil Plot Bunny of Doom", but that was too awkward and large a title.
Anyway, be sure and thank Tenshi-chan and LessE-chan for helping me out with my sales. This chapter wouldn't be posted if it weren't for your wonderful help. Daisuki!!!
Coming soon, in Change the World (Arc Two):
"Rose Garden of Trust":
So, who is this mysterious woman? Tsukino Serenity? She isn't related to Usagi... is she? Be nice if she'd tell us the answers! Oi! Is there really any need to get the Preventers involved in this? And what do the former Sailor Senshi have to do with all this? Let's hope there are as many answers as there are questions.
As for the revisions, I am in the process of converting all my stories with Gundam Wing characters over to traditional spellings. So that means all my "Hiiro"s will become "Heero"s and all my "Ririna"s will become "Relena"s. For clarity's sake.