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

Warnings: some sap

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 8
Duo's Friendship Arc 7
by Dyna Dee

Sunday was, as usual, a relatively quiet day on campus. A strategy meeting was held in Heero's room after lunch.

"How is he?" Trowa asked as soon as the door closed. They hadn't seen Heero all morning and hadn't had a report from him.

"Better." he replied. "He was dehydrated when I saw him, but he was much better by the time I left before dawn this morning."

"I gave him plenty of water." Quatre said confused by Duo's condition.

"The room was easily 110 degrees yesterday. Some of the water he used to cool himself. I told him to lift the attic door to let the cool air in when the temperature got too uncomfortable."

Wufei's head shot up. "Did you check for wiring on the door?" he asked.

Heero frowned. "No, but we didn't concern ourselves....." he stopped. Of course they didn't concern themselves with any security wiring, the power had been out making any security system ineffective.

"Trowa, did the security room have exterior perimeter wires set?"

The Heavyarm pilot looked startled. "They did for windows and doors on all levels. I'm sure it wasn't on the vents, but I don't know about the attic door."

"Quatre." Heero looked to the blonde.

The Arabian closed his eyes, understanding what Heero was asking. "I don't feel anything." he replied and his brows creased together in a frown. "That's odd....." his voice trailed off.

"What is?" Trowa asked.

"I should feel something, but unless he's in a deep, dreamless sleep....it's like he isn't there."

Heero stiffened. "Do you think something is wrong?" he asked.

Quatre nodded, his face a portrait of worry. "Duo is always a lively life force, a bundle of energy and emotions. I can always sense him. Something has happened if I can't."

Heero turned and moved to stand by the window. The other three exchanged anxious glances at each other.

"They have messed with us once too often." Heero said to no one in particular, but his voice was deadly and cold.

"We should strike now, openly for everyone to see what is going on here." Quatre said, his face becoming flushed with the rising anger he felt.

"Yes." Heero agreed then turned to his friends, his facial expression was deadly. "Wufei, I want you to go to the attic, the same way we did Friday night. Make sure Duo is not just sleeping. If he is, check on his condition and reassure him all is well. If he is missing, signal us and give us five minutes, then set the attic space on fire."

Wufei acknowledged the order with a nod.

"Trowa" Heero turned to that pilot. "I want you to go to the security room. If it's possible I want you to see where they took him. I suspect that he is in the same room. If they put him back in that box, I will kill them."

Trowa nodded. "I'll gladly do it for you." He said in earnest.

"Quatre," the blonde looked up expectantly. "you will intercept Wufei's signal. If Duo is gone, you signal to me in front of the administration building, then call the fire department after you see smoke. We want to make sure the fire will do some damage. I'll direct them to the room so they can be official witnesses as to what has been going on around here. I want you to go to the parking lot and get us a car. Wufei will be your backup as soon as he is out of the attic." Heero looked at Wufei as he gave him his second assignment.

"When do we move?" Wufei asked looking like a cat about to pounce, a spark of fierceness in his eyes.

"Now." Heero told them. "Pack you things. We'll leave during the confusion, haul ass to our gundams, and hit the base early tomorrow morning. Any questions?"

Quatre had plenty, but he was going into soldier mode and would follow Heero's orders to the best of his ability. He worried about hot wiring the car, though. That was not in his area of expertise, though Duo and Trowa had been teaching them some of the lessons they had learned on the streets and in the ranks of mercenaries, stealing a car was just one of the things they had been tutored in. Today was the final test. He wouldn't let them down. In fact, he would pick out a nice car, just for Duo.

"If by any chance we are separated, meet back at the gundams by midnight. If anyone is caught, extract immediately."

They all nodded, their faces a study in deadly seriousness.

"You have ten minutes to pack." They all looked at their watches. "This operation commences at exactly twelve forty-two." With a look up at the others Heero nodded. "Go!"

Walking causally towards the administration building, Wufei noticed a few extra cars in the parking lot. Usually on Saturday and Sunday it was nearly empty with only a car or two owned by a member of the security, a janitor, or a teacher. Today, there were a dozen cars. The campus looked relatively deserted, which was good for the operation because he would look very suspicious climbing up a rope and entering a vent in broad daylight. It didn't matter though. He would not see anyone here again. He dropped his bag and unzipped it, pulling out the launcher. It looked pretty wicked with the sharp pointed metal arrow pointing out from the nozzle. He looked upward and shot it close to where he had pierced the roof line before. In less than two minutes, he was inside the attic. Taking the flashlight out of his pocket, he moved towards the plank of plywood. All that lay there were the bags of groceries. Duo was gone as well as his duffel bag and blankets. He returned quickly and leaned out the opening to where he could see Quatre waiting for his signal. Holding his fist out, the message was sent that Duo was gone.

Moving back to the plywood, he waited the five minutes before he took out a can of aerosol hair spray from his jacket pocket, flipped off the top, and in the other hand brought out a lighter. Depressing the hair spray button, he ignited the lighter. Together it produced a spray of fire that set the bags of good and the plywood on fire. He retreated back to the vent opening, lighting anything that would burn as he went.

Throwing down the empty can, but pocketing the lighter, Wufei leapt onto the rope and slid quickly down . Removing a small remote mechanism from his pocket he depressed a button, the clamp firmly affixed to the roof, released upward. With a jerk, the rope and the collapsed hook fell to the ground. Gathering them quickly and throwing them into the bag he turned his head to see Quatre darting out of the dorm building towards the parking lot, his duffel bag over his shoulder. He walked around the corner just as Trowa opened the locked door of the administration building to let Heero in. With a last look upward, he was pleased to see black smoke bellowing out from the open vent. He strolled towards the parking lot where he would act as backup to Quatre as he "borrowed" a car.

"Two are down and bound in the security office. The security tape shows Duo being dragged unconscious from the closet at 8:28 a.m. He is in the same room with the two goons, the battle axe, and two security types." Trowa reported as soon as he let Heero into the building. "They entered and left the room a few times, but they're all in there now."

Heero pulled a canister from out of his nylon jacket pocket. "This will insure they stay there until the fire department arrives."

Trowa took the oval shaped canister that fit in the palm of his hand. He studied it for a moment, then nodded. Turning, he took the stairs three at a time.

Heero listened to the fading sound of Trowa's upward progress. He returned to the front door to see Quatre entering a previously locked car, Wufei keeping watch within a short distance from him. Beyond them in the distance, he could see the top of a fire truck and it's flashing lights.

Five minutes later, the firemen crashed through the door the Japanese boy had rushed them to. The room was filled with an odd smelling smoke, but not from the fire. A taller brunette boy had directed the team to the closet that held the opening of the attic.

Within the room, the firemen discovered six unconscious people; two large men that looked like body guards, two men dressed in security uniforms, a middle age woman, and shockingly a boy with a long braid dressed only in black, silk boxers hanging from the wall by handcuffs, his back bearing several fresh welts that looked to come from one of the larger men's belt, which lay discarded by the boy's feet. The adults lay on the floor, apparently having surrounded the youth when they lost consciousness.

As the fire was being fought above them, a crew of men struggled to carry the unconscious six from the room. A key was found in the curled fist of the woman and the boy was released from the handcuffs that bound his slender wrists. He was gently but swiftly carried down the stairs to the lawn outside the building. Paramedics appeared with a blanket which was wrapped around the slim body and he was gently set down on the grass. It was then that they began a quick examination of the boy to determine any damage done to him.

"He looks drugged." the paramedic said after lifting the boy's eyelids and examining his eyes. He checked the body and examined a large bruise forming on the left shoulder and noticed a small hole in the center. "The needle went in here. Definitely not self inflicted." he reported to his partner who wrote his comments down in his evaluation. "His wrists are cut and bruised and his mouth is also cut at the corners." The young man paused to look up at the fireman behind him who brought the boy out. "What the hell happened to him in there?" he demanded.

"Found him chained to the wall with those five surrounding him." He motioned to the bodies of the five unconscious adults. "Look at his back." he advised.

The paramedic gently turned him over. "Strap marks." he observed aloud for the record. He looked up and around the vicinity. "Better inform the police officer over there that this looks like a criminal matter."

The fireman immediately turned and ran towards the police officers who were busy keeping the curious students safely away from the burning building and the injured people.

"Is he alright?" The paramedic looked up to see a Japanese boy standing next to him.

"You shouldn't be here, get back." He order the boy.

"I'm his roommate. They took him to the room on Friday and had him tied and locked in a metal box." the boy informed him.

"The room?" he questioned.

"It's where they found him, a kind of torture/break the spirit chamber. You need to see Ms. Haversand can't hurt anyone again." The boy had the most intense look and command in his voice.

"Have others been to this room?" The paramedic asked watching the serious boy while checking the unconscious boy's pulse.

"Yes, question the students. One boy never returned. It bears serious investigation."

"I'll make sure it is." He promised and was satisfied to see the boy nod back.

A luxury car with tinted windows pulled up just behind the fire truck, its presence was registered only by the standing boy.

"Your friend is stable, but pretty banged up. But his pulse is steady, but a bit too slow. I think he will be fine once the drugs wear out of his system.

"I can sit with him if you have to check on the others." the boy offered.

The paramedic looked hesitantly over at the others sprawled on the ground. There were only two paramedics and it wasn't fair to his partner for him to spend all his time on one person. "All right." he hesitantly agreed as he stood. "But let me know if he wakes up."

The boy nodded and knelt down next to his sleeping friend. As he walked towards his partner he looked back to see a tender expression cross the Japanese boy's face and he brushed an errant strand of hair from off the other's face. Satisfied the unconscious boy was safe, he continued on. Ten minutes later when he returned, he was shocked to find both boys had vanished.

on to part 9

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