Chocolate Fixes Everything

Chapter Eight

Disclaimer: No own, no money, no sue.

Warnings: AU, OOC, Usagi-centric, semi-Rei-centric, love polygons, anti-Mamoru (very little bashing), profanity

Author's Note: This is officially my longest fanfiction. :D Yay me! This is also where things get interesting. Um. I think.

Four young assassins sat in the living room of their shared apartment, watching the voluptuous redhead as she turned on the video communication. A shadowy form appeared on the television screen.

"Good evening, Weiss."

"We're not Charlie's Angels, Persia," Kudou Yohji grumbled, running a hand through his honey-blonde hair as he chewed on the end of his cigarette. The shadowy form chuckled.

"Quite. And I'm not Charlie. Very well, then. From Bombay's report, as well as some outside information, we have determined that Tsukino Usagi is in very grave danger." Omi, codenamed Bombay, narrowed his eyes. Hideka Ken sighed.

"What makes this one so special? We've had people in grave danger before, and done nothing about it."

"For one thing, she's economically powerful. She didn't get invited to that gala on a whim. For another, her situation is such that she is more easily susceptible to join Takatori," Persia said. "This being the case, I have a mission for you. Infiltrate Luna Inc. and keep an eye on Miss Tsukino. Keep her as far away from Schwartz as you can. Bombay, this falls to you especially. She knows you already, and is more likely to trust you."

"Mission accepted."

"Hunters of the night, deny these dark beasts their tomorrow." Following the typical last remark, the video communication shut off. The redhead handed out envelopes to the four.

"These envelopes contain your assignments at Luna Inc. Try not to get fired," she said.

"Eh? Janitor?" Yohji moaned. "Manx, you can't be serious!" The redhead sniffed.

"You aren't qualified for any other job openings."

"Aren't qualified, my ass…"

"Kudou. Shut up," Fujimiya Aya ordered, glaring at the blonde.

"I'm a receptionist," Ken said with a grimace. "Damn… Omi, you?"

"Computer technician." Ken chuckled.

"As expected of the techno geek. Aya?"

"Security guard." Manx rolled her eyes as Yohji started trying to trade jobs with Aya.

"Anyway, Weiss, good luck," she said, picking up her purse and heading for the door. The young men didn't seem to hear her, as Ken joined the squabble between Yohji and Aya.

Usagi was late. Again. Flashing her I.D. card at the security guard (who she noted was a) new and b) drop-dead gorgeous), she scanned the lobby to make sure Rei hadn't noticed her tardiness. There was no sign of the dark-haired woman anywhere.

This was decidedly odd. Rei never missed a chance to dress Usagi down in public. Frowning, she walked up to the reception desk.

"Hino Rei hasn't been by here yet, has she?" she asked the young man (also new and drop-dead gorgeous) at the desk.

"Hino-san? The publicity manager, correct? She clocked in about ten minutes ago."

"Eh? Rei-chan was late?!"

"Actually, Usagi…" Usagi turned to face a smirking Rei. "I turned your clocks forward while you were out last night." Usagi gaped, not noticing the new receptionist snickering softly.

"Wha – How did you get into my apartment?!"

"You gave me a spare key after the Yui-incident, remember?"

"Rei-chaaaaaaan!" Usagi groaned in distress.

"Revenge for making me start work two days after Christmas!" Rei said triumphantly. "Let's go, odango atama, we've got work to do." With that, Rei strode over to the elevator, Usagi trailing behind, grumbling.

After escaping Rei and passing a new janitor (who happened to be drop-dead gorgeous, if a little irritable) in the hallway, Usagi made it to her office and collapsed into her chair.

"Stupid Rei-chan. Stupid clocks. Stupid…" Usagi booted up her computer, muttering to herself. The computer screen turned blue, giving a prompt in an impossible-to-understand technical language. "…Stupid computer!" She reached for the phone on her desk, dialing the number for the computer department.

"Hello – ?"

"This is Tsukino Usagi. My computer is acting up. Someone come and fix it." She slammed the phone back down on the receiver and let her head fall onto the desk. Ten minutes later there was a hesitant knock on the door.

"If that's not the computer guy, you're fired," she called, not bothering to lift her head. The door opened.

"Ms. Tsukino? Uh… I'm here to fix the computer…" Usagi looked up. Standing in the doorway was a new, drop-dead gorgeous computer technician. Usagi blinked.

"Tsukiyono-kun? I thought you were a waiter!"

The atmosphere in the anteroom was slightly tense, but that didn't stop Nagi from being bored. He half-heartedly redirected a knife thrown at his head by Farfarello, and stretched his mind to find something interesting to think about.

He and the rest of Schwartz were gathered here at Takatori's campaign headquarters, awaiting the details of their next target. Apparently Takatori was making an important call, the outcome of which would determine who the assassin team was to kill next.

Had Nagi been a bit less jaded, he might have been less bored – perhaps even nervous. He sighed inwardly. He had been trained too well for anything to interest him anymore.

He let his mind wander to his last mission: surveillance at the Christmas Gala. Now, that was an anomaly. He had almost actually… enjoyed himself. Normally, given that type of mission, he remained distant and avoided his targets; this ensured that he would form no attachments to people he might need to kill later.

With Tsukino Usagi, however, he behaved differently. Perhaps this was an error on his part.

Nagi's thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the door clicking open. He stood with the rest of his teammates as Takatori Reiji entered the anteroom.

"Schwartz. I have just had a disappointing conversation with someone I asked to lend me their support. Unfortunately, they need to be disposed of."

"Understood." Bradley Crawford, the team leader, adjusted his glasses, causing the light to glint off of them ominously. "Their address?"

Tsukino Ikuko hummed softly as she stirred the pot of soup on the stove. It was six o'clock in the evening on December 27th. A sad smile crossed her face – aside from her humming and the drone of the TV in the living room, where Kenji was relaxing, all was quiet.

There had been a time when two teenage girls would have been making a ruckus in that very living room, trying to outclass each other in a racing game, or some such entertainment. Those two teenage girls were now adults, each leading their own, successful lives, and leaving Ikuko and Kenji with a much less interesting lifestyle.

Usagi, although close by, rarely came to visit. Ikuko was proud of her youngest child, however; she never would have thought that the under-achieving girl would end up the CEO of her own company.

Makoto, on the other hand – that was expected. Ikuko and Kenji had taken Makoto in as a foster child when the girls were both ten. Although slightly rambunctious, Mako had always loved to help Ikuko in the kitchen.

Ikuko's smiled brightened. She had convinced Usagi come home for dinner on New Year's Eve; with Makoto coming back to Japan soon, it was likely that both girls would be counting down the seconds until the new year with them.

She took the soup off of the stove and switched the heat off, before dishing out the food.

"Kenji, dinner!"

The middle-aged couple sat down at the table. Kenji frowned suddenly, spoon poised in the air as he looked to the kitchen.

"Ikuko, did you leave the stove on? I smell gas." Ikuko tilted her head to the side, contemplating.

"…No, I'm pretty certain I turned it off. I'll go make sure."

Nagi stared at the blazing house, the flames reflecting in his eyes. Tearing his attention away from the fire, he glanced at Crawford. The precog was looking at his watch.

"It's still early in the evening. The police will be here soon," Crawford said. His eyes glazed, an indication that a vision was playing before his eyes. "Yes. We should leave now."

Usagi's phone rang. She blinked, looking at the clock. It was nine – a little late for a social call. She muted the TV and reached for the phone.


"Is this Tsukino Usagi?"

"Yes, may I ask who is calling?"

"Ms. Tsukino, this is Officer Yoshida, Juuban District Police. Please sit down. I'm afraid I have some bad news for you."

Osaka Naru stared sadly at her favorite client. Ever since Naru had started babysitting for the girl when Usagi was eight, she had never seen anything but a smile on her face.

Now, thirteen years later, it was nothing but tears and trauma for the little neighborhood girl that Naru had seen as a kid sister. Naru put a hand on Usagi's shoulder, heart wrenching at the way it shook under the weight of Usagi's sobs.

"Usagi, I know it's soon. Maybe too soon. But your mother requested in her will that you be given this immediately upon her… death." Naru's voice caught on the last word. If Usagi had been her surrogate sister, Ikuko was a second mother. The news of her death had hit Naru hard as well.

Usagi looked up, sniffing and brushing away her tears in an attempt to compose herself. Naru gave her what was hopefully an encouraging smile (with perhaps a slight quiver), and walked over the box she had pulled out of the safe before Usagi arrived.

Usagi took the box with shaking hands and opened the lid. Inside was, of all things, a book. Usagi took it out, a slightly hysterical chuckle escaping her lips.

"Of course, she leaves me a book. She would do that." Naru smiled, but it didn't last long.

"I'm so sorry, Usagi." Usagi wrapped her arms around the older girl, book still in hand.

"I'm sorry too." Naru returned the hug.

It was December 28th. Usagi sat in her apartment, staring at the book she had received. It was obviously expensive – leather-bound, with a floral pattern in silver set into the lower right-hand corner. It had no title, and was at least three inches thick, which spelled something ominous in Usagi's mind.

She was almost afraid to open it, but open it she did, and she was relieved when it didn't blow up in her face.

On the very first page were two lines of text that allayed all thoughts of shutting the book away in a dark place and forgetting about it forever:

This diary belongs to

Tsukino Ikuko

Mom's diary? The words echoed in Usagi's thoughts. Why would mom give me her diary?

Usagi sifted through the first few pages, marvelling at how familiar the hand-written script was. Her hand caressed the smooth vellum pages as tears welled up in her eyes. She almost jumped when her hand passed over something that was not a page. She looked down, spying a scarlet ribbon that nestled in between the pages close to the beginning of the diary.

She opened to the bookmark and began reading.

June 18, 1983

He's the most adorable little thing you ever saw! Kenji and I couldn't be happier. Oniichan was here for his birth, and because Kenji and I couldn't agree on a name, Oniichan chose one.

Tsukino Shingo, born June 17, 1983.

Oniisama didn't show up, however. I think he and Oniichan had another fight. Kenji said it was no great loss, and I think I agree with him.

Usagi stared at the entry, mind frozen. The implication of her mother's words were… Usagi had believed that first, her parents were both only children, and second, that she herself was an only child until Makoto joined their family.

This diary completely turned that upside-down. Who was Tsukino Shingo? If he was indeed her older brother (as the date of this entry was two years before her birth), why hadn't she heard of him until now?

Now more confused than ever, Usagi returned to the diary for answers. What followed were two years of commentary in her mother's tiny hand writing. Shingo grew. He was stubborn, hated bananas, and had a habit of tugging on his left ear when he got tired. Ikuko got pregnant again. The so-called Oniichan (apparently the middle child in Ikuko's family) came to visit several times. Shingo loved him. Oniisama was mentioned with dislike and perhaps a tinge of fear, when he was mentioned at all.

And then, about a month before Usagi's birthday in 1985, the entries stopped.

A/N: Yeah. Cliffhanger-y. See you next time. ::runs away from livid readers::