Disclaimer: I do not own nor profit from these characters nor my stories.

Warnings: light angst and violence.

Synopsis: Duo gets into trouble in a highly regimented school and it's up to the other pilots to rescue him.

The School from Hell - Part 5
Duo's Friendship Arc 7
by Dyna Dee

Kyle looked obvious and nervous as he stood outside the front of the dorms red brick entry and looked around suspiciously as Heero approached him.

"Relax and look at me." Heero directed him. The boy looked tremulously into his blue eyes.

"You look guilty and you have done nothing wrong." Heero chided him.

"Sorry." he apologized and attempted to look more relaxed, and failed completely.

"Don't be sorry, just get a grip on yourself." Heero told him. The boy before him was about two inches taller than he was so he only had to look up slightly as he instructed him to take a couple of deep breaths. This seemed to have a more calming influence than his words had.

"Come on." A much calmer boy motioned to Heero. "I'll take you to Scott." He turned and led him to the stairwell and they proceeded to the second floor and down the long corridor. He stopped in front of door 241 and knocked softly. No answer. He knocked a little louder. With a shrug and a apologizing smile to Heero, the brunette tried again. "Scott, you in there. It's Kyle."

"Go away." a faint voice spoke from behind the door.

"You ok?" Kyle asked concerned, and when no answer was forthcoming, he turned to look questioningly at Heero.

"Try again." Heero suggested.

Taking a deep breath, he did. "Please, Scott, open the door. I think something's wrong. If you don't open it, I will have to get Ms. Nagle to open it." He waited a moment and was rewarded when the door nob turned and slowly pulled open.

"I... I"m ok, Kyle." A small voice spoke timidly and a pair of frightened green eyes peeked past the opened edge of the door.

"Can I come in for just a minute? I want to introduce you to someone." Kyle asked gently, sensing the others boys reluctance. The green eyes shifted to the Japanese boy.

"I.. I. j.. just want to be a..alone." he stammered.

"Please." Kyle began again when, to his surprise, Heero suddenly pushed him aside and pushed the door open, knocking back the boy behind it. Once in, Heero turned, grabbed Kyle, and pulled him into the room and shut the door.

"Who are you?"

Heero turned to face the questioning boy who occupied this room. He noted the taller, thin boy with red hair that was cut short and slicked back, his face liberally speckled with freckles. The red eyebrows over the wide green eyes were lifted expressing his fear. Heero pulled Kyle forward.

"Ah.... this is Yuy Odin." Kyle began. "He is the roommate of the boy Max, who was sent to the box today."

Heero didn't think it was possible for the red haired boy to show more fear, but he did as he shrank back from them until he was backed in the corner where he sank down against the wall and covered his head with his arms.

"Scott, what's the matter?" Kyle asked softly as he followed the boy in his withdrawal from them.

Heero grabbed hold of Kyle's arm. "Let me talk to him." he said firmly. The boy nodded and stepped aside.

"Scott," Heero began lowering his voice to sooth the shaken boy. "I was told that you were sent to the room. Can you tell me about it so I can help my friend?" he asked. The boy shook his head fiercely without lifting it.

"Scott." His voice spoke louder this time with a tone of command but not anger. "Look at me." He pulled the boy's resisting arms away from his head. "You can trust me. I won't hurt you. In fact, I'll protect you." he assured him. Scott raised his head to reveal watery, frightened eyes. "Where is this room?" Heero asked gently.

"T.. t... t.oop floor of the administration building." He whispered as if he was afraid someone might hear and punish him.

Heero nodded and forced a smile hoping to encourage the boy. He realized that in order to get the information he needed from the frightened boy, he had to ask specific questions that required short answers.

"What's in this room?"

The redhead scrunched up his freckled forehead in thought. "A table, chair, lamp, vent, a window" he shook his head as if the memory hurt. "Handcuffs nailed onto the ww.ww.wall, and the box." He shuddered as he finished.

"What kind of box?" he softened his voice realizing that this questioning was upsetting to the other.

"A cold, metal one. It's on the floor, small, maybe a little over four feet, with little holes for air. The sun shines on it during the day, making it hot and at night it's really cold." he replied with a haunted look in his unfocused eyes.

"Did they put you in the box?" he asked gently.

Scott covered his head with his arms again and began to murmur over and over. "I'll be good, I'll be good."

"Thank you, Scott." Heero reached over and stroked the other boy's head. "No one will hurt you again. I promise." Heero stood and faced Kyle. "This conversation will not leave this room, understand?"

Kyle nodded his eyes, wide with anxiety at his friend's description, strayed back to his friend still huddled on the floor. "He's my friend, though he's not the same." he said sadly and looked up at Heero. "He use to be like Max, playful, cheerful, a real prankster. That's what got him into the room and the box. He got caught taking the light bulbs out of the main restroom and greasing the toilet seats. Harmless, really, but it was his second warning."

Heero nodded grimly as he looked at the broken boy and wondered how Duo would be affected. He looked at Kyle and then at Scott. "I appreciate your help, both of you."

"Are you going to help Max?" Kyle asked hopeful yet fearful. "If you're caught..." his eyes widened a the horror of the repercussions of such an act.

"Don't worry." Heero assured him in his confident soldier tone. "I'll get him out of there." With that said, he turned and left the two boys alone to wonder at his statement.

He went directly to Trowa and Quatre's room. Wufei had not yet returned from his assignment. Trowa was the first to report. He told them he had located the security room in the basement of the administration building and waited around the corner of until the school's hired security men left the room for their routine coffee break, making it easy for the Heavyarm's pilot to pick the lock and enter the empty room. Trowa reported that the security room was located in the basement of the administration building. He lacked the time to check their files completely, but downloaded floor plans of the buildings and the location of security cameras placed around the campus. He quickly rewound today's tape, and followed the image of the security men from the auditorium with Duo struggling between them. On another tape, it showed them entering a room in the administration building. Only one of the men left the room. He reset the tapes and left without being detected.

Quatre then reported that he had secured Duo's personal belongings, and they were in his black duffel bag in Quatre's closet.

Wufei returned at that time, and after closing the door, turned to report. "I found a crawl space we can hide him in until we can leave here. We just need blankets, food and a flashlight."

Heero shook his head. "We need something more open."

Wufei looked at him puzzled.

"He's claustrophobic. I'm sure that is what's causing him to feel the terror that Quatre felt."

They all exchanged a puzzled look.

"There's an attic above the administration center." Trowa suggested having studied the buildings schematics.

"I can try to check it out." Wufei offered.

"You'll need to be careful as they are holding Duo on the top floor of that building." Heero informed him. "Though for retrieval, it would be very convenient to move him to the attic above his current position. Especially when we don't know what kind of shape we'll find him in.

Heero continued on, relating to them his interview with the red hair boy, Scott. The three seemed disturbed by Heero's description of the boy's fear and what the room held. They all realized that Duo was most likely in the box, and that had caused his claustrophobic fear.

"I'll leave as soon as it's dark." Wufei spoke up. "I'll find an entrance to the attic, and maybe even the location of the room Duo's in."

"It's the first door off the west stairwell." Trowa said, remembering the location from viewing the tapes.

"If we do manage to hide him in the attic, it means we won't have easy access to him. He'll need supplies for the duration of his stay up there." Heero surmised.

"I'll take care of that." Quatre offered, needing something to occupy himself with to keep Duo's distress at bay.

Heero nodded his consent. "I need to shut down the main power coupling so that we're not caught on the security cameras. But each building has it's own back-up generator, they will have to be disabled individually. Trowa," he turned to the tall brunette. "I want you to take that assignment. After dark, I want you to disable the generators attached to the administration building and the student dorms. I don't want our comings and goings documented. A timed explosive on the main power cable to the school will go off at exactly 4:00 a.m. That, and the downed generators will give us all the time we need to retrieve Duo, hide him, and return to our rooms undetected."

Heero studied the serious faces around him. "Is everyone clear about their assignment? Any questions?" He asked. There was no further comment. "Very well then, let's get going. We will regroup in my room just before the 10:00 p.m. curfew for a strategy meeting.

Quatre heaved a deep sigh. "This is going to be a long night." he said

"Yes," Trowa replied, "but tomorrow is Saturday and we can sleep in. Hopefully."

With that said and exchange of a nod for good luck, each boy went his own way to accomplish his assigned task.

on to part 6

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