It was two weeks after the instruments episode before any of the boys felt the sands of time changing. For one part, the news channel that was once so strictly screened by The Federation, was becoming more brazenly liberal. Topics that were once whispered in dark corners of pubs and within the confines of homes, were slowly brought forward to be discussed in the light of day, at eateries and workplaces.
Even Relena Darlian had appeared on television for an interview once, advocating for peace and putting forth a suggestion for a channel for the people to establish dialogue and feedback with the government. It was an unforgettable sight seeing Heero choke on his coffee when she made her appearance in the morning news on their 50 inch television. Under her leadership, a new group of pacifists were flourishing, and the people themselves were sensing an invitation from the ruling government to raise their voices to air their views on what they felt was needed to be changed.
It also seemed that Treize and Une had visited many places secretly whilst on their honeymoon, and found evidence of abuse and misdemeanor by the army. Bit by bit, they worked through their connections and were starting to implement military reforms that made life a bit more comfortable, if not easier for everyone.
Throwing out his hands, Duo let out a sigh of frustration. He had been laboring all morning, cracking through a protected file with the obvious title: "Top Secret, For Dorine Raceland" in Treize's personal computer and found only a planet L3 address within it. Given that it was a post office address after searching up on it, the brunette didn't know what to make of it.
Whirling his computer chair around, he turned to face the back of his comrade, equally immersed with his own cracking in another section of The Federation's computer while trying to remain undetected.
"I think Treize has gone soft now that he's married."
"Hn," his co-pilot returned, not bothering to give him a scant attention.
"He's specifically set aside a folder dedicated to me." That got the Japanese's attention and he shot him a brief look over his shoulder. However, given that hacking was a tenacious task that could not be stopped even for a second, his fingers continued to type the codes.
"You wondering what it is?"
"Shut up." That was given as an order and not a request. Shrugging his shoulders, the American turned back to his screen to ponder. It was scarcely five minutes before the Japanese youth was at his side to take a look at the address. Only then did Duo understood why his partner gave such an order. Hacking in might take another half an hour to enter, but to give up the goose chase, Heero had only to type the codes to sweep his tracks clean and that would take only a mere fraction of the time compared to hacking in.
Staring hard at the screen, the Japanese boy frowned as he looked at the address. With a few clicks, he brought up a couple of maps that showed the site of the address and its surroundings.
"Looks like a good neighborhood," Duo half muttered, half mused, more so to himself than to his friend.
Nodding his head, Heero stood back and examined his findings. Then giving his friend a serious look, he spoke: "Trowa."
With a whoop, the brown-haired boy leapt out of his chair with arms wide open, gushing out at the same time: "He-chan, you're a genius! Trowa would know this place since it's his planet and . . ." the rest of the sentence trailed off because the brunette found himself held at gun point.
"Alright, alright, I won't embrace you," he consented, lowering his arms as Heero's cobalt blue eyes pined him to where he stood. "I'll just go find Trowa now."
Nodding his approval, the Japanese lowered his gun. Giving his chair a shove to put it back in its place, Duo walked out the door with his hands in his pockets, whistling a merry tune.
Trowa took one look at the eagerness displayed on the American's face and tried to close his room door.
"Is this how you treat a friend?" the brown-haired minx cried out and stuck a foot in the doorway to prevent the redhead from successfully closing and locking him out. At that, the silent teenager give his friend a rather expressive doubtful gaze, considering that the rest of his features hardly moved on his face, and kicked his foot out of the way. Closing and locking it much to the consternation of the American.
"I'll remember this!" he threatened on the other side of the door and as expected, he received no response from the redhead, obviously more afraid of what the future would hold if he let the American in.
Glancing towards the ceiling in frustration, a thought struck him and a slow mischievous smile crept up the corners of his mouth.
"Now, where can I look at those blueprints . . ." he mused as he started walking down the passageway, heading towards the lift.
Sally stepped back and admired their handiwork. It had been difficult getting a lot of cloth and a boxful of spray cans on board, but all the hard work had paid off and their masterpiece stood in all its majestic splendor, making them feel extremely satisfied, save for the shell-shocked Doctor G who was bound in ropes and tied to a chair behind them.
"Well, this would do nicely given he played his pranks once too often," Sally remarked, wiping away the fine beads of sweat from her brow.
Nodding her head in agreement, the girl set down her blue spray can and picked up a hot pink one. "Just needs this final touching up and I'll say victory is as good as ours."
"My boy will never survive this . . . atrocity. He'll be the laughing stock if he ever went out in that." His comment made Jess pause as she studied their art.
"I'm not sure he'll feel embarrass by this . . ." she conveyed her uncertainty to the tall woman who flicked a ponytail behind her shoulders. "Given he has already cross-dressed, done crazy wild things like makeup and nabbing a beau, maybe he might enjoy the new décor."
Shrugging her shoulders, Sally snatched up a black spray can and answered: "Who cares. I'll be laughing my head off when it happens, whether he enjoys it or not. After this, help me search for the voice controls within that machine."
Trowa had just settled down on his bed with a nice hot piping coca drink and a letter from his sister Catherine, when he heard a small "Beboop" sound. The next instant, he was wrestling to break out of an intruder's dead weight that literally fell from above.
"Ouch, ouch, OUCH! It's me! Will you stop trying to . . . WATCH WHERE YOU'RE KNEEING!" the last sentence was delivered in a voice that made the German stop to take a good look at the intruder. Duo's annoyed violet eyes matched his green-eyed gaze.
Not liking that his privacy was invaded and that his decision was being totally ignored, Trowa brought his head up and head-butted the American. Gaining a small amount of satisfaction, and a huge splitting headache which pretty much almost cancelled out his delight in hearing his co-pilot groan in pain. Almost but not quite.
Rubbing the forefront of their foreheads, both boys struggled to sit up on the bed, each looking rather disgruntled at the other. At least one had the expression. Trowa expression remained rather blank; only the hand rubbing his forehead implied otherwise.
"Gees man, you're beginning to act like Wufei. Are you still sour over the wedding incident?" On hearing the question, Trowa immediately grabbed his pillow and threw it into the brunette's face. Quick as a monkey, the thief snatched it from mid-air and hugged it to himself, grinning broadly from ear to ear, for this action had just proven the German had already forgiven him for that incident.
"I need to visit this area on L3," he started, placing his head on top of the pillow, his purple eyes twinkling merrily with delight as he narrated the address to the boy. Other than an uplift of one eyebrow, the boy looked rather calm. It was the only indication that he was surprised that Duo should suddenly take an interest in an area so common and far from the war zones. "What do you know about it?" the young man concluded, giving him a lopsided inquisitive look.
". . . Good place . . ."
It took another moment for it to sink into Duo's head that was all he was gonna get out of the tall youth.
"You need to elaborate more. You know . . . Like what transport, any great spots for sight-seeing, or the guard posts to watch out for?" Duo prompted, meeting his eyes stare-for-stare.
Shrugging his shoulders, the youth got off the bed. Apparently, the area wasn't of much interest to him.
"Oh come on! It's your planet. At least help me to get there without much effort…" Duo winced, hopping off the bed to trail after the lanky teenager. He almost bumped into the suddenly still back of the boy.
"Hey! What gives?" he demanded and spied the now open letter that the German clutched in his hand, gripping it hard as he read, as if the letter would fly away. "What did your sister say?" he prodded when his friend continued to remain silent for five more minutes.
At that, the German let loose a flood of words that none of the boys had ever experienced: "You want passage to L3? Fine. You just have to earn it. I require you to bring along Shinigami. My family seems to be in pickle and you're going help me out if you want my help to reach that sector. And I won't take no for an answer."
Cowed by the sudden aggressiveness, Duo could only obediently nod his head. Satisfied that he got what he wanted, Trowa shoved him out the door with the last command: "Tomorrow, L3 - 4pm, we'll fly." And the door closed in Duo's face before he could further pose any questions.