The School from Hell - Part 6
Duo's Friendship Arc 7
by Dyna Dee
They gathered at nine-forty five in Heero's room, solidifying their plan of attack. Each boy returned to his room to rest for a couple of hours. At four a.m. a small popping sound in the distance and total darkness that followed, signaled that Heero had completed his task of taking out the power coupling leading to the school. The back-up generators failed to turn on. The three remaining pilots left their rooms, all dressed in black and carrying with them all that they deemed necessary for this mission. The halls were dark and quiet as the entire student population slept on, unaware of the events occurring around them.
The three met Heero at the southeast corner of the brick administration building. With a slight pop, Wufei released the remote controlled grappling hook from it's launcher to shoot up and through the overhanging roof of the building. Bringing a small remote out of his pocket, he triggered the remote switch, the pointed arrow protruding out of the roof snapped open, catching hold on the shingles and becoming a sturdy anchor. Pulling with his weight to test the strength of the hold, he signaled to the others that he was satisfied with it. He quickly bounded upward, hand over hand pulling himself up with apparent ease. In reaching the top, he quickly twisted his arm and leg around the rope, braced himself, and began to remove the wood vent situated at the apex just below the roof. Even though he had been here earlier in the evening, he found the vent frame hard to grasp hold of, so he removed a knife from his belt and ran it along the edges and used it to pry the wood away from the brick wall. It came free, and angling it, he fit it into the open space and carefully set it down avoiding making any sound. Wufei then pulled himself feet first through the small opening. With a jerk of the rope, he signaled for the others to follow.
Turning into the dark room, he turned on his flashlight and scanned the space. He could feel the coolness of the room, and realized that Duo would indeed need blankets. For though the autumn days were at times uncomfortably warm, the night temperature dropped dramatically. This room was not insulated, but he felt confident that Duo would be safe to hide here until they could leave.
Behind him, Trowa and Heero joined him, Quatre began to send up the supplies and the duffel bag belonging to Duo. Silently, Wufei pointed the beam of his flashlight to the attic opening. From the building schematics Trowa had obtained from his security room raid, they had ascertained that the attic opening was located on the ceiling of a storage closet. Scanning the room further, they saw a large piece of plywood off to the left of the opening. It had most likely been used to work on or store things on. It would be practical for Duo to use as a bed. When Quatre joined them, the four each took a bag and made their way towards the plywood by balancing on the wood beams surrounded by insulation and set them down one they reached it. They then moved to the opening.
Trowa lifted the cover without a sound and set it to the side. In a fluid, easy motion, he slipped down through it to land almost silently below, within the confines of the utility closet. He paused to listen for any slight noise that someone might have been alerted to their presence. Nothing.
Heero dropped down next to him and he felt more than heard Wufei follow. The closet they were in was small and getting uncomfortably cozy. In the dim light of the flashlight, Trowa signaled for Quatre to stay positioned where he was. He would be their backup.
Heero took the lead from there, opening the closet door. Once out, they found themselves in the center of the long hallway. Spreading out, they made their way in stealth down to the direction of the west stairwell.
The sound of a voice at the end of the corridor sent them scrambling for cover against various dark doorways. A door next to the stairs opened and the beam of a flashlight exited the room. "Be back in a minute kid. Don't go anywhere now." The man's deep voice taunted. He then began to descend the stairs, swearing in complaint at the inadequate back-up systems as he went. Three silent figures quickly emerged from the deep shadows and went directly to the room.
It was unlocked, and after quickly entering, Heero scanned it with his flashlight, and determined that it was pretty much as the boy, Scott, had described it. With a hand signal, Trowa was assigned to guard the door, and Wufei joined Heero as their flashlights searched the entire room. On the floor, in front of the window was the metal box Scott had described. Heero estimated that it measured about four and a half feet long, and two and a half feet wide. Both boys moved quickly to kneel in front of it. Their hands searched the cold metallic sides and found the latches that held the lid shut. Thankfully, there were no locks, just metal fasteners that slid into place to prevent any opening by juggling or pressure from the inside.
Both boys quickly worked the fasteners off and pushed the metal lid open, their flashlight aimed into the box. They both took a deep intake of breath at what they saw. "Duo!" Hero whispered anxiously.
The boy in the metal box was clad only in his black silk boxers, so dark in contrast to his pale skin. His hands and feet were tied and bound together behind his back, and a gag was tied tightly in his mouth. Chestnut colored hair fell wildly around him as he rocked back and forth, his eyes closed tightly.
"Duo." Heero knelt and called his name softly then reached out to pull back the hair from his friend's face.
Duo's eyes flew open and his breathing immediately accelerated at a rapid pace. His wide eyes looked up into the light with a look of fear and pleading.
Putting the small pen flashlight in his mouth, Heero quickly began to work at the knot at the back of his friend's head to remove the gag. Wufei worked on the knots that held his feet and hands together.
The long haired piolet moaned as the gag was removed. "C...c...c..ooo..ld." he stammered.
Heero reached out and touched his partner's arm, it was icy and he could feel the goose bumps covering his flesh as well as the shaking of his body.
"Got it." Wufei whispered as he pulled the rope from their friends limbs. Duo gasped at the pain in his arms and legs and moaned.
Heero reached down and awkwardly took hold of his roommate and lifted him from the box. Duo sucked in a sob at the pain and relief. Unable to stand or use his numb arms, he hung like a rag doll from the arms of his rescuer, crushed against his chest. He was embarrassed that he was so helpless, emotional, and still shaking. With his teeth chattering from the cold, he lay his head into Heero's neck, trying to absorb as much heat as possible from the warm body.
"Clothes?" Heero whispered to Wufei.
The Chinese pilot scanned the room and went to a pile of clothing on the floor. He picked them up and saw that they were torn, unusable. He dropped them. "Useless. Let's go."
"Footsteps." Trowa whispered in warning.
Heero looked at Wufei. "Restore the box to its original position. It will by us time if they think he's still in there."
Wufei nodded and quickly did as requested. He then stood and lifted Duo's useless legs as Heero shifted him and held firmly to his body, and they hurriedly carried their friend out into the corridor and to the closet. Trowa skirted around them to open the door.
"It's us." he whispered, then opened it fully now that Quatre had been warned. The steps on the stairs reported that the man returning was nearing the top. Quatre's blonde head looked down at them from the attic opening.
With only Quatre's flashlight shining on them, Heero motioned for Trowa to give Wufei a leg up. The two quickly complied and Wufei disappeared into the opening, only to turn around to offer his help. Heero then turned and handed Duo into Trowa's arms. "You'll have to hold him up as you are the tallest." he whispered. After shutting the closet door, he looked up into the opening. Wufei's arms stretched down and with a jump up, Heero locked onto them and was quickly pulled upward. He immediately reappeared and, like Wufei had, reached down with both hands.
Trowa found it difficult to hold the limp body in his arms up far enough for Heero to grab Duo under his arms, as the braided was unable to help, his arms were useless. Wufei was behind Heero and helped to pull both Heero and Duo up and into the attic, all three falling together onto the yellow insulation covering the attic floor. Wufei collapsed back with the weight of both Heero and Duo on top of him. Easing himself out, the Shenlong pilot went back to assist Trowa up. Soon all five were secure in the attic and the cover to the opening was closed.
Heero turned on his pen light and facing Quatre, focused it on his own face and mouthed the word "Clothing." The blonde quickly rummaged though the bags and came back with a sweatshirt, pants, and socks. Heero released his hold on his roommates trembling body, and with his warmth removed, Duo's teeth chattered. He moaned in agony as he slowly moved his knees upward, trying to curl up. It took all four pilots to massage his limbs in order to straighten them and dress him.
At Heero's silent hand motions, a blanket was placed in the center of the plywood where he lifted the Deathscythe pilot and placed him there on his side. He quickly curled his body around him and signaled for Quatre to move in front of Duo and offer him his body warmth. The blonde complied without hesitation.
Trowa placed the remaining blanket over top of the three and he and Wufei sat down on the corners of the plywood edge and patiently waited.
Sandwiched between his friends, the cold and fear slowly eased from his body and mind, and Duo began to relax and drift into sleep, sensing he was safe. He was vaguely aware of Heero talking quietly into his ear and gently pulling his hair away from his face. Not everything the other boy said was understood, but he caught the words "gotta leave." He mumbled a protest, unwilling to have the delicious warmth that was seeping into his body be removed. He felt a hand close over his mouth to silence him, and he wondered to himself if he had been that loud. Damn his mouth hurt. A piece of cloth, part of his shirt they had torn off his body, had been used to gag him and had not only cut the corners of his mouth, but had caused him to gag frequently. He never could stand cotton in his mouth. On top of that wonderful experience, he hyperventilated regularly when the wave of panic washed over him each time he thought about being in an enclosed box with the lid shut. He'd always been uncomfortable in closed rooms without proper ventilation, but a box like a coffin with a lid shut, it had been too much for him to contain the rising , unreasonable hysteria that overwhelmed him. He had screamed and ranted through the gag from the start. The idiot that kept watch began to hit the metal prison with something causing a deafening ring in his ears. That and his weariness were probably what kept him from fully understanding what Heero had been trying to tell him.
"Duo." Heero whispered sharply. "Can you hear me?"
Duo nodded, the hand still over his sore mouth.
"You are in the attic above the administration building. You're safe, but you must be silent and stay here until we can leave the school. Do you understand?"
He nodded again.
"We brought you food and water and your personal things." Heero went on. "We have to leave now or we chance blowing our cover. Alright?"
"Go back to sleep, I'll try to return tonight if it can be accomplished safely."
Duo was only dimly aware of the others' diminishing warmth being withdrawn from him and the blanket being tucked snugly around him. He felt hands touching him in silent reassurance as he curled up his knees and drifted off to sleep.