by Iniquity

Disclaimer: Ringu is not my story. The original storyline was developed by Koji Suzuki who wrote the book "Ringu" in 1990. Later, this book was adapted by Takahashi Hiroshi, slightly altered and put on screen in Japan in 1991. The movie "The Ring", which was aired in the USA in fall 2001, is also a cast off of that book, though – again – with a slightly different plot.
The idea for this fanfic is not mine. I merely mixed plot elements of the book with plot elements of the two movie versions and altered the storyline where inconvenient.
I also do not own Shin Kidousenki Gundam Wing and its characters, which are copyrighted to Sunrise, Bandai, Sotsu Agency, and associated parties.
I make no money with this fic.
 
Pairings: 1+2+1 (developing, main pairing), 3x4x3 (consistent relationship, side pairing), 5xS (married, side pairing)
 
Rating: PG-13 for mentioning of death, mild violence and mild sexual content; fic may contain graphic description of sexual matter later (*cough* meaning: author doesn't exactly know how to get the two main characters together, yet)

Ringu + Prologue

The night was chilly as the girl leaned out of the window and gazed at the stars. Suddenly, a hand was brought down hard on her behind, causing her to let out a sharp yelp.

"Hey! What'd you do that for?" Midii turned, smiling, and looked at her friend expectantly. When she only got a sly smile as an answer, she turned back and moved to one edge, motioning her friend to take the place beside her. They both enjoyed the cool night breeze as far away a bell tolled.

"What time is it?" Amy asked, trying to count the faint sounds. Midii turned again and looked at the clock in her room. She frowned.

"Nine thirty. Didn't you say they'd show The Morgue today on ABC1?" Midii glanced at the muted television, but it was only showing the news.

Amy shook her head and moved back into the room, rubbing her arms when goose bumps showed on her skin. "Nope. I got the date wrong. We could watch a video, though. Don't you have any horror flicks around?"

"No. You know I don't like those."

"Spoilsport." Amy poked her friend in the ribs and stretched out on the bed. She looked through the box of videos and waved a loose cassette around. "Did you hear about this one video that kills you when you watch it?"

Midii turned around and flashed her friend a shocked glare, but the girl ignored her and continued. "A boy accidentally recorded it from an empty channel and when he watched it he got a call from someone saying that he would die in seven days. Promptly, seven days later, the guy really dies. Nobo-"

"Who told you about that?" Midii interrupted her friend, grabbing the girl's arm arm with more force than she was used to. Fear was clearly etched on her haunted face.

"Well, I guess it was Marvin or one of the guys in school. Geez, I really don't remember. Why?"

"I- it's nothing." Midii looked down at her hands, now neatly folded back in her lap. When she looked up again, Amy raised a questioning eyebrow. Complying, she whispered, "It's just that… I watched that video." Rushing out those last words she glanced at the watch again. Turning back, she continued with a pleading look in her eyes "Exactly one week ago, Amy."

"Oh my- c'mon, this's a joke, right?" Amy suddenly wasn't so sure of herself as she saw her friend's fear-stricken face.

"No! It was all weird and shit and then the phon-" Both girls jerked violently as downstairs the phone chose that exact moment to ring. They stared at each other before Midii stood up slowly and left the room to pick the phone up. Amy followed on her heels. She really didn't want to be alone in that room right now. Instead of going into the kitchen where the phone was located, she went to the bathroom to relief herself. This was way too weird and it had made her nervous as hell.

In the kitchen, Midii hesitantly picked up the phone and with a choked voice asked the caller to identify themself. Relief flooded her adrenaline-laden system as it was her mother asking if anything was wrong.

"No. Nothing's wrong. Amy and I just watched a horror movie and got a bit scared, that's all. How's the game?" Midii continued to chat with her mother for a few minutes before she hung up and turned to see where her friend was. The tension had left her shoulders and the talk with her mother had somewhat loosened her up. When she saw light under the door to the bathroom, she raised her voice and called inside "The game went into overtime. They're still there and probably won't be home until eleven! I'll be in the kitchen to make us some drinks." Drinks seemed like a good idea. Nothing was better than some Jack and Coke to lighten the mood.

Walking into the kitchen, she suddenly turned serious again when her mind told her that something was wrong. Anxiously, she turned and moved away from the counter to search for anything suspicious. A faint flicker in the living room made her aware that the TV was on even though she could not remember having turned it on. Angry at herself that this could scare her so badly, she walked over to the living room. The remote control lay innocently on the couch. Maybe the cat had stepped on it earlier that evening and nobody had realized it until now. The fact that the TV didn't show a regular channel instead of the inane scrambled picture didn't strike her as odd, so she turned it off. Making sure that the remote control was safely locked away from children, she strolled back into the kitchen to finish making the drinks before Amy returned from the toilet.

Shaking her head slightly in annoyance at her own childish behavior, she opened the fridge to take out a box of ice cubes and a bottle of Pepsi. The oddly constricting feeling in her chest remained. With one hand clutching her chest, she opened the drawer and put two glasses out to place them on the counter, wishing Amy would hurry in the bathroom. When she filled the glasses with the cool liquid, she felt it again. Something was behind her. Scared, she took a sip of Pepsi before she slowly turned toward the source of the strange feeling. The TV. Nothing could prepare Midii for what she saw, though. She drew in a breath to scream. The scream never left her throat.

Amy heard the shattering glass only faintly, having not finished in the bathroom. She washed her hands and left the room.

"Midii?" She yelled before walking toward the kitchen, where she assumed her friend still was. When she got no answer, she thought Midii was playing a prank on her because of their earlier talk, but that feeling changed into worry as soon as she saw the broken shards on the floor. Blood mingled with the Pepsi and soon she saw a foot, grotesquely stretched out. Amy rushed to see if she could help her friend, but what she saw made her freeze in shock. At her feet lay the dead body of her friend, her face horribly disfigured and twisted in total fear.

+

Lady Une walked into the office, following her agents, and closed the door behind her. She wasn't sure if she really wanted to do this, but someone had to find out what the whole thing was about. Her superiors were pressing the issue and she had to present some results to them as soon as possible. She watched as Yuy and Maxwell took their seats and patiently waited. At least they seemed to behave in a civil manner in her office, she thought. This was a good sign, if she considered the fact that she had gotten a report on them earlier that week regarding a certain fight in the gym again. Four officers had tried to pull them off each other, one of which now had a cracked rib.

Rounding the desk and taking a seat opposite them, she placed her hands in front of her on the desk, palms together, in a gesture that was usually only used in prayer. This wouldn't be easy, but she silently applied to their wish to solve the case that they would behave for at least one week. She winced at the thought. One week. Une rubbed her right temple with her thumb while reminding herself again that she had to solve the case somehow.

Yuy raised his eyebrows as he looked his commanding officer over. She was obviously nervous about something. Discarding the idea because Lady Une was never nervous, Heero straightened himself and waited for her to start. One look at Maxwell and he saw the same curious glance. Obviously the American also thought that something was wrong with their boss.

"Agents, I have a rather odd assignment for you." Lady Une wasn't sure how she should approach the topic. Those two agents were a part of her most elite team, and telling them about a video that supposedly killed whoever watched it within a week may or may not result in them laughing at her. She watched their response closely, but Maxwell only looked at her patiently and Yuy's reaction was a twitching eyebrow that urged her to spit it out.

"We have four dead teenagers who died of a heart attack, all at exactly the same time and all of them completely healthy until their death." She waited with the explanation and let her agents think about this before adding any further information. The thoughts the two jumped to could be essential for the solution of the case, and she didn't want to ruin that.

"Poison? A virus? Suicide?" Heero threw in the proposals that seemed the most likely and waited for Une to clarify.

"None of those. They all-" Lady Une paused a second before continuing. "-watched a video that's supposed to kill the viewer." She stopped and watched the reactions of her agents closely. The response was quite what she had expected. She saw that Maxwell was already behind the scene, trying to find out the possibilities, analysing whatever came to mind and generally ready to plunge into the water and watch the video himself to find out more. Yuy rose a sceptical eyebrow, telling Une that he would need more information before he took the case. He wouldn't believe that the video really killed those teenagers until he watched it and died from it. This wasn't exactly what she wanted, but he was ready to find out who had killed those kids, which was quite opposite from his partner who was ready to find who or what had killed them. On the other hand, if Maxwell took the case, Yuy would feel obligated to take it as well to prevent appearing afraid of a simple video tape. So far, it had turned out well.

"Listen, I know this sounds strange and by all means, if there is a logical explanation, I hope you'll find it. One of the kids was my niece, so I had a chance to speak with her friends at the funeral. The only red string that they all agree on is that video. I don't know who has it, or where it comes from. They told me as if they really believed it. I want you two to investigate the four cases, search for a connection, and give me a reasonable explanation as to why the hell four healthy young people died from a heart attack that made them look so horrible no one would open the casket."

"Why us?" Heero had acknowledged the mission, but he wanted to know why he was chosen and why Une had given him Maxwell as a partner. He didn't like the man and, as far as he knew, Une was well aware of that due to earlier fights and records on both of them. Heero spared his 'partner' a glance, but Maxwell just sat there, obviously already deep in thought about how and where to start the investigation. The longhaired man obviously didn't intend to let his personal views come between him and the case, something Yuy would have admired had it not been Maxwell.

Lady Une sighed inwardly. She knew that Yuy hated Maxwell, but who else from the agents with psychological knowledge would be able to put up with Yuy if not him? Yuy's current partner had reached an unusual understanding that no one else had been able to reach before, but all others Yuy worked with had given up to work with the stoic agent after one assignment. Some didn't even make it through a whole mission with him. Lady Une would never understand how Quatre Winner had earned Yuy's respect but she didn't care. The fact was that Yuy and Winner were an almost perfect combination, much like Maxwell and Chang, who would bicker and banter off duty like a married old couple but were like one man when on missions. Not once had Lady Une regretted pairing those four the way she had, and it repaid with the doubled number of arrests since they had started working for her department. Nonetheless, it wouldn't make the Yuy-Maxwell alliance any easier.

She could easily count the preferences that made those two perfect for this case, but the main reason she couldn't tell them. Maxwell and Yuy had more in common than they knew. They both didn't die. Of course she would never admit that she was superstitious, but she had seen two of the victims at the crime scene and that horrified look was something she would never forget for the rest of her life. This was no usual case and they would need every ounce of luck they could get. Yuy would need Maxwell if the rumors were true and they only had seven days after watching the video.

"Yuy, you know that you're one of our best investigators, and your level-headed insight and your way to push the investigations forward might be the only thing that can help us here. As for why I chose Maxwell as your partner, he has a sixth sense concerning those 'mysterious' investigations and he knows everything about viri, poisons and suicide cases. He might exclude the whole video tape theory by just looking into the files." Those words said, she stopped, looking at Yuy expectantly, and was glad she saw him nod and look over at Maxwell. Following his gaze, she was surprised not to see a smile on the man's face. Maxwell just stared at the wall, drawing his eyebrows together before looking at them both.

For the first time that day, Maxwell opened his mouth to speak, a slight smile gracing his features "I'm sure we'll work great together. After all, Yuy knows that his being mad at me doesn't help the case at all. Right, Heero?" Making a point of using his partner's first name, he turned and locked eyes with the Japanese man beside him.

"No, of course not." Yuy slightly bowed his head in acknowledgement, Maxwell mirroring his movement. To anyone else that might have seemed like a polite gesture of respect, but Lady Une knew better and inwardly cursed the extent to which they didn't work together well. They would've been a great team, completing each other where the other lacked. Obviously the magnet theory didn't always apply. On the other hand, they had to work together for this case or it would never be solved. Lady Une had the bad feeling that this was something big, and usually her intuition was right.

After she had handed them four manila folders with the profiles of the dead teenagers, she dismissed them with a wave of her hand. Before Maxwell could open the door, she raised her voice to make them listen. "Be careful if you find the video and decide to watch it. I don't want to lose two of my best agents because of some stupid curse, okay?" Yuy just looked at her and snorted softy. Maxwell looked amused as well, but looked down on the ground.

"Maxwell, try not to annoy Yuy too much. I'd hate to arrest him for murder." She smiled as he looked up and grinned at her.

"Sure thing, lady. Leave it to me to know my limits."

After Maxwell had left the room, she held Yuy back quietly and stood up to talk to him in private. By raising her voice, she would let the whole office outside know what she had to tell him.

"Yuy, don't belittle his abilities. Trust him, or my judgement of his skills, if that's any help. I know you can't stand him, and I honestly don't want to know why, but please trust his judgement. If you don't, you're both screwed. This case is sensible even if it isn't about a supernatural video tape. I want each of you back in one piece."

"Of course I trust your judgement." Yuy replied, bowing slightly before leaving the office. Lady Une sighed. 'That worked well.', she thought but shook her head after she had closed the door. How would pairing them together work out? For once, she trusted Maxwell to know when to stop nagging Yuy, but she wasn't entirely sure about Yuy's promise to trust in Maxwell's skills. She would see to it that their respective partners knew about the case. Maybe they would be able to help the two out.

Pushing a button on her com system, Lady Une called to her secretary. "Call Chang and Winner in. I need them here as soon as possible."

[part 1] [back to Singles a - k]