Disclaimer: There's a small plushie of Duo hanging from my rearview mirror, but I don't own Gundam Wing, so don't sue me!

Ok, next chapter! Keep moving forward. And school's over now too! Can't wait for Anime EXPO! YAYE!

Beyond the Grave

Chapter 39. Hacked

Duo woke up and rolled out of bed. His calves and thighs ached something awful. He had to work these kinks out now. Before his next mission. Otherwise he'd be dead in the water the moment he had to run somewhere.

And the best way to do that was to get up and walk around. So that's what he did. Duo left the room he was sharing with Heero and rubbed his eyes as he started down a flight of stairs. He was still very tired, his eyelids wanting to close and his limbs heavy, urging him to lay down. But his legs felt stiff and unused, and had the creepy sensation of ants crawling all over them. So he climbed down the stairs and ambled around the living room he found.

He must have been really out of it when Wu Fei had dropped him off, because he was having a hard time remembering this safe house. It was bigger than the last one they'd stayed in. Which meant that Quatre had probably picked this one out. And fronted any money needed to secure their safety. He'd have to remember to thank the boy the next time their paths crossed.

Duo felt a little hungry, he checked doors and found the kitchen and stole in to grab something small to nibble on. His legs were starting to ease up on the ache. It was nice, and his back didn't hurt too much either. Usually after a big battle his back felt tore up and knotted, but this down time was really doing him some good.

Duo walked back through the living room and checked some the rooms under the stairs and down a short hallway. It was there he found a small office. An office with a computer.

Duo smiled and gave his legs one last good stretch before sitting down and booting up. It had been a while since he'd checked some of his spare accounts. And one should always keep a keen eye on his investments.

Duo quickly bypassed the standard security on the computer and found a 3d pad with a touch pen. Just the tools he needed. Duo logged in and the world was at his fingertips. He glided through like a dance across a stage. Like a fish in water. It was all as easy as breathing.

Duo found his portfolios still locked away. But he was surprised at the amount in each. He must be doing something right, because the amounts in each were considerably increased from his last visit.

Duo smiled to himself and closed them down. Maybe he should open one more, if they were doing this good, and then he could…

A window popped up and a picture of an opened and broken lock flashed red at him, warning him that someone was hacking Gundam Files. He'd made sure that anyone getting close to any important information would trip his alarm. What he really would have liked to do was destroy all that information permanently. But once something was up and posted it was impossible to take down. Even if you did succeed at least ninety percent, someone else always ended up reposting it. Thinking their firewalls were impenetrable, thinking their little corner was safe.

Duo quickly shut down everything else he was working on and cracked his knuckled. An almost manic grin overtook his face as he laid his fingers on the 3d pad and took a calming breath.

"You just made a big mistake buddy." He whispered to the darkness and then he was flying.

OOO

Justin was there, it was all laid out before him. Anything and everything he wanted to know. Records, voice recordings and first hand accounts, video feed, censored news bulletins, and most useful, OZ files.

Justin gave himself a mental pat on the back and reached behind him for a spare jump drive. He'd just save it all on an outside source, one he could detach and keep safe until he was on a secure machine.

He turned back and popped it into the port and looked up to find a new window open on his screen with words flashing at him. Red words, on a black background, in some gothic type.

"Shinigamii Sees You"

Justin stared at it a second. Was 'Shinigamii' a handle? He scoffed at the self appointed title. Some people were just out there. It was probably a word from another language.

Justin just shook his head, he'd look it up later. Well, probably not, he didn't care that much. But for right now he was about to put the hurt on someone trying to hack him. As if. The nerve of some kids out there.

Justin rolled his neck and put his hands on his keyboard. Let them try and hack his barcode virus. Then they'd know just who they were messing with.

OOO

"Barcode?" Duo asked his screen as lines and numbers started scrawling across his screen. What a stupid SN. Duo felt his grin widen. A virus, this Barcode guy was about to bite off more than he could chew. Duo's fingers moved without a second thought, he never took his eyes off the screen. It was a little excitement in his downtime. Just what the doctor ordered.

Duo easily ducked around the virus, letting it think it had gotten he better of him. But the source code was easy enough to find. It was just a little twisted, something that would be devastating to anyone who relied too much on implied logic. But Duo had never taken anything for granted. He made his own rules.

And Barcode was about to meet Death.

OOO

Justin watched the virus eating away the upstart who had thought they could hack him. He laughed quietly in the dark room. Wait until Conner woke up and found this big fat file folder waiting for him. He'd know then. He'd really know, and respect Justin. Wouldn't just treat him like a kid. None of them would.

They'd have to sit up and acknowledge his skills. There was no one, No One at all who could Hack him.

Justin was downloading now, the bar moving steadily across his screen, showing him the progress. Just a few more seconds and…

The screen paused, flashed, wobbled ever so slightly. And then the bar was moving backwards. His mouse was moving on its own and opening a word file. Justin reached up and tried to move it back, to move it the other way. But then words were typing themselves, for him to read.

"Nice virus, probably would have worked on anyone else. But you know, it would be better, and faster, if you just gave it a bit more power."

"More power?" Justin muttered under his breath. "What? Give me back my computer you freak."

The word document disappeared and then little ghosts, like the kind on an old video game, were floating across the screen. And a high pitched, distorted laugh was coming from his speakers.

Justin started to type, started to hack back into his own system, but nothing was happening. His keyboard might as well have not been attached at all.

Then the ghosts all turned at once and stared at him. Little grins filled with sharp teeth smiled at him. And they turned en mass back on the data and started eating. Little mouths working up and down, alarmingly fast.

"No, stop it" Justin typed faster, knowing his was missing key strokes, trying to start over again and again. But it was having absolutely zero effect.

Away went his newly found info. Gone was his current virus. And up popped everything he stored on this hard drive. Justin felt blood leaving his head as the ghosts started perusing his data.

"Go away." He ordered them. "Leave that alone." He turned around, found a disk and inserted it into the drive as quickly as he could. He'd just flush the whole system. He'd rather start over then let his hard work fall into the hands of this joker.

The disk took immediate effect. An electric eel appeared on his screen and let out a screech. It started chasing the ghosts around the screen, chomping down on them when it caught up.

Justin felt his heart beat returning to normal. "Thank God" He sighed.

"You're welcome." A voice suddenly said and Justin's eyes flew open from where he'd closed them in relief. One of the ghosts on his screen and paused and looked at him.

"What?" Justin said out loud on pure reaction.

"You thanked me." The ghost said, as if it could hear him. "You're welcome."

"I didn't thank you, I thanked…" Justin felt his stomach clamp up as his brain started to make small leaps in logic.

He watched, helplessly, as his eel came up and zapped the ghost. But the ghost just turned to it and started to grow. As it grew it's little white sheet turned black and became a dark hood. Two burning red eyes stared out of that darkness and leathery wings expanded. They scythe appearing was what finally had Justin in full panic mode. His eel screeched at the black figure swallowed it down. Then it turned and looked at him. Justin pushed his chair back and felt a cold sweat making him shiver in the air-conditioned room.

"Not too bright, are you?" The thing asked him, it's voice no longer high and comical. But raspy and deep. Menacing.

"Cut it out. Get out of my system Asshole" Justin demanded. Knowing now that the hacker could hear him through his own set up.

"Gundanium makes stronger walls than fire. Stay away from the pilots kid." The reaper told him.

"And if I don't?" Justin asked, defiantly.

A laugh. Something cruel and almost crazed. "Then be prepared to buy a whole new system, because after I'm done with you all you'll have left is scrap metal."

Justin swallowed, he could see all his data still being eaten away behind the reaper.

"Who are you?" Justin asked the hidden hacker.

"Shinigamii" The reaper almost whispered it to him.

"Never heard of you." Justin snapped back, almost bravely.

"Then you need to open your ears kid, Deathgods don't like having to repeat themselves." That laugh again and Justin swallowed hard, his throat dry and scratchy.

"Have fun salvaging this mess." Shinigamii told him before he just disappeared. Two seconds later his screen went black and Justin took a deep breath.

The room was pitch black. Even the power light was off. Justin reached down and by feel found the power button. But nothing happened. There was no reassuring hum, no cooling fan. Nothing happened. He just sat there in silence and shivered.

Shinigamii. Why the hell had he never heard of such a dangerous and skilled hacker? He had to get back on, had to find out. Had to ask a few safe sources, there was no one this Shinigamii had just learned his coding yesterday. He'd pay back this debt, if it was the last thing he ever did.

OOO

Duo rolled his shoulders. His eyes were heavier than ever. Sleep was pulling him out of the office and back up the stairs to the warm bed waiting for him. Duo yawned and started shutting down. His work already erased from existence. Anyone who tried to steps back here was only going to have overheated trash left. Not that Barcode was going to be hacking anytime soon. Not unless he had a hidden backup system that was at a separate location.

And Duo already knew all he needed to know about Barcode. Justin. Though, something about that was nagging at him. But he was too tired to try and piece it together now. It would came back to him later.

Right now he had the trouble of sneaking back into bed. Knowing Heero, the guy would point a gun at him the moment he cracked the door open. If he was lucky, Heero would remember who he was before he pulled the trigger.

Duo pushed away from the desk and stood stiffly. He'd be good tomorrow. And he felt a little bone weary right now. Climbing the dark stairs Duo thought of Heero waiting for him in the big bed. Guiltily he imagined Heero waiting in that bed a different way and blushed. No good to think like that. That man was cold steel wrapped in Gundanium. And he'd like to live to survive this war.

He may spend his nights longing for a man he couldn't have, but his self preservation instinct kept him from doing anything really stupid, and that was a small blessing during these times. But then again, so was getting to sleep in a warm bed, safe, that smelled like Heero Yuy.

Even Yuy couldn't stop him from enjoying breathing. No wait, he could… but if Duo was smart, he'd avoid being choked in his sleep and he might even get to ogle a sleepy Heero in the morning.

Smiling to himself, he crawled back into bed and left his eyes slam shut, his body begging for the sleep he needed. Tomorrow he'd sleep in late, no matter what Heero Yuy thought. Tonight he'd earned it by covering all their asses.