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 9
Duo's Friendship Arc 7
by Dyna Dee

Duo woke up disoriented, confused and gasping at the sting on his back. "Damn!" was all he could get out as he lay on his side on the back seat of a car, his eyes still closed.

Wufei turned around at the sound. He had been sitting in the front seat of the car Quatre had stolen at the school, keeping watch over the other drugged teen. The others, just outside the car, heard his voice and rushed to open the doors.

Heero climbed into the back seat to check on his partner. Quatre got in the front seat, and Trowa hovered behind Heero.

"What happened?" Duo moaned miserably, his voice was thick and rough.

Heero told him what they had done to free him as Duo struggled to open his eyes. It was pretty obvious that the drugs were not out of his system.

"I remember waking up when something sharp hit my shoulder and someone dragging me off my blankets." the Deathscythe pilot complained.

"A drug." Heero explained to him. "That's one of the reasons you feel the way you do."

"The other reason?" Duo asked.

"We threw in a sleeper bomb, knocking the entire room out. You got a double dose, I'm afraid."

"I feel sick." He warned them. They all knew Duo didn't react well to drugs, he was extremely sensitive to them, and other than penicillin, he tried not to take them as they made him nauseous.

He tried to sit up, the blanket falling behind him to reveal that he still wore only his boxers. That wasn't his main concern now. His head was throbbing, he felt like he was going to hurl, and his mouth tasted like a dirty sock had been shoved into it. His body was loudly complaining to him that it hurt, and his back was on fire. "Oh man, that hurt." he said and failed miserably as he tried to smile. "What happened to my back?"

"I think they were using unconventional means to wake you up." Trowa answered. "When I tossed the sleeper bomb in I saw a man with a belt in his hand."

Duo nodded and managed to half open his eyes and look at his surroundings. "Nice car." he murmured, miserably appreciative. He ran a hand over the soft leather seat.

"I picked it out especially for you Duo." Quatre said, his blue/green eyes shining.

"You hot wired it?" Duo asked tilting his head slightly to see his blonde friend.

"Yes, I did!" Quatre smiled brightly and proud of his accomplishment. "It's Ms. Haversand's." he added.

A small smile grew on Duo's face. "See Wufei," He looked forward to that boy studying him intently. "there is justice in the world after all."

"True justice will be when those responsible for your insult and injury are incarcerated." he replied resolutely. "I just wish I could have given them a taste of the fear they caused those students." he spat out.

"We'll leave that to the authorities." Heero said firmly, leaving no room for any talk of retaliation.

Duo closed his eyes again as he felt the deep lethargy stealing over him again. Heero's arm came around him as he swayed and he gasped as it touched the tender skin on his back.

"Sorry." Hero apologized.

"Sokay." Duo mumbled as he began to fade. "Ummmm, tired." he yawned.

Heero eased his body down on the seat so he lay on his side once again, his head found a pillow on the Wing pilot's thigh. He felt the blanket drawn over his bare shoulders. "Go ahead and sleep, Duo. We'll guard your sleep." the deep voice above assured him. With an audible sigh, he let himself slide into the cradle of sleep. The warmth under his cheek and the hand gently stroking his hair reassured him that he was indeed safe.

He awoke some time later, shivering as he stretched out as the cold leather seat helped him to come out of the deep, drug induced sleep he had been in. Pulling the blanket around him, to warm his chilled body, he listened for the others. Nothing. He cautiously eased himself up and looked out the car windows. He was in the forest. He tried to recall the day before, but it was just a vague blur. He only remembered a sleepy conversation the night before. "Guard your sleep." he remembered Heero's voice. "But where are they?" The doors to the car were locked and leaning forward, he saw the keys in the ignition. On the dashboard, a piece of paper caught his attention. He leaned over the front seat, losing the blanket in the movement. The ache from his back reminded him of his condition, but it seemed more tolerable than it had been when he first woke. The note was written in a bold penmanship that could only be from Heero, as were the words. "Mission. Stay. Will return."

"Man, I must have really have been out of it to sleep through the take off of four gundams." he murmured to himself as he scratched the top of his head.

His stomach growled and he grabbed at his mid section, hoping to relieve the gnawing hunger growing within him. He pulled the blanket back over his shoulders. Next to him, in the crack of the seat, was a bottle of water and a couple of nutrition bars.

"Yuck!" his face grimaced as he thought about Heero's choice of snack food. "We'll, at least he left something." he thought grimly, trying to see the bright side of the situation. How he longed for the bag full of treats Quatre had purchased for him.

The sun was overhead when he finally succumbed to his gnawing hunger and ate one of the nasty tasting nutrition bars. He looked to the sky. "Whey are they?" he worried aloud. At least one of them should have returned for him by now, he reasoned.

The afternoon had warmed, but it was still a bit cooler in the shade of the forest. He kept the blanket firmly around his body as frustration welled up inside him. He didn't have a laptop or any way to know how the mission progressed. He didn't know where the next safe house was, and without his things, he wasn't sure what direction Deathscythe was hidden. He needed to get his bearings. He yelled out loud his frustration and several birds flew from the trees and small animals scampered away. "Damn it, Heero!" He shouted "You should have left me some clothes. Where the hell am I suppose to go in my boxers?"

Turning in anger, he went back to the car, his braid flying furiously behind him. Sitting down in the driver's seat, he turned on the car keys and the radio came on. He fooled with the buttons until he came to a news station.

Laying his head back against the headrest and closing his eyes, he listened to the report of the attack on the base. Base officials reported to the media that terrorists attacked the facilities and computers, destroying years of research and then a partial destruction of the military compound The number of Oz causalities and injuries were reported as well a follow up that two terrorists had been injured, one of them had been captured, and detained for only a few moments before a gundam ripped off the top of the building and freed him.

Duo leaned forward and rested his forehead against the steering wheel. Two injured. Who? Which one of his friends, he wondered? He had been so far out of the loop on the planning of this mission that he had no idea of the details; who was to infiltrate and who was backup? His mind calculated that he and Heero would have gone in to retract the information from the computers and then destroy them. Whoever went in his place was injured. No doubt after their retreat they would have gone to the next safehouse to deal with the wounded. He would have to stay here until they could get back to him.

Local news was reported next, and the major headline was that of the scandal beginning to form around the Briddlewood Academy for Boys. The radio news announcer detailed the fire and reported that six people were pulled from the building. One boy, apparently found handcuffed and unconscious and apparently beaten was missing. Yet accounts from rescue workers and paramedics along with interviews from students led to the immediate arrest of the schools administrator, and several security and paid employees.

The reporter went on to say that a search was in progress to find several missing boys, who obviously fled the school during the fire.

Duo turned off the radio with a mixed feeling. He was glad Briddlewood was being investigated, but he worried for his friends. Weighing his options, he determined to wait another day. If no one came for him, he'd sneak into the nearest town, break into a business and use their computers to contact the others.

Turning the key in the ignition, he pulled it out. Getting out of the car, he went to the trunk and inserted it into the lock, opening it. He wasn't surprised to find it neat and orderly. A lone box was shoved against the back. He pulled it forward and opened it.

Inside he found women's clothing; a purple, fleece-lined jacket, a matching sleeveless sweater, a pair of white, elastic waist polyester pants, white ankle socks, and a pair of white tennis shoes with rhinestones imbedded above the toes. Beneath the clothing he found a flashlight, flares, and a first aid kit. Ms. Haversand was quite the prepared girl scout.

Looking at the contents with dismay, he suddenly looked up startled as a thought came to him. Turning around and cupping his hand around his mouth he yelled. "Okay you guys. I'm on to you. This is a joke right?" He waited for a moment, hoping for an answer. "Come on guys!" he pleaded. His slender shoulders slumped as the forest remained silent. "Geeze!" he slammed the lid of the trunk down. "Not until I am absolutely, positively desperate." he said firmly.

Desperation hit around two a.m.

Shaking from the cold, he opened the back car door and went to the trunk. With reluctance, he donned the offensive garments. They were all too large, but added some warmth. He returned back to the backseat of the car, curled up, pulling the blanket around him, and fell asleep.

His stomach growled loudly. "I'm gonna starve to death." he moaned wrapping his arms around his mid section as the hollowness of his stomach grew into a steady ache. He looked to the sky. The sun was well pass it's zenith and it looked to be mid afternoon. He decided he would wait another hour, then he would leave to find food and a computer.

He waited two hours, then reluctantly started the car and followed the tire tracks back out of the forest.

With the car safely parked and darkness having fallen, the pilot of Deathscythe cuffed up the legs of this white polyester pants. Reaching behind him, he pulled his braid forward and released the band on the end. Pulling his fingers through the braid, his hair flowed in ripples over the purple fleece jacket. With a shudder and a glint of determination in his eye, he walked into the grocery store.

Fifteen minutes later, he was walking down the main street of the small town. For the moment, he was pleased with the purple jacket as it elastic stuffed sleeves held quite a lot of pilfered food. He took a bite of the small chocolate pie and hummed in satisfaction. The pre-made deli sandwich would soon follow. He stopped in front of a small store to peruse it's decorative window. It was a travel agency. The windows had pamphlets and pictures of many beautiful, exotic, and far away places. He sighed. "One day." he promised himself. "And not through the eyes of Shinigami."

Within ten minutes he had scouted out the building, front and back door, glass front window, four side windows and the jackpot, a sky light. It took very little effort to force open the top of the skylight. In fact, it broke off. He ripped off the screen and lowered himself, feet first, through the opening and dropped to the floor. Walking over to the water dispenser, he pulled down a paper cup from the side holder, filled it up four times, quickly emptying each cup full. He filled it again and sat down at a desk not directly in front of the store window, but one with a computer on top. Turning it on, he pulled the ham and turkey sandwich out of his left sleeve. He frowned at it as one side of it had been smashed. Unwrapping it, he took several large bites while his right hand began to type away at the computer.

He e-mailed Heero, knowing the Wing pilot was almost always at his computer. He sat back and waited watching his own e-mail site. An hour passed and still no answer. His brow furrowed in worry. "Could he have been the one who was hurt, and if so...he must be really hurt to not be scanning him computer for messages.

He waited until a half hour before sunrise. Erasing any sign of his use of the computer and presence in the room, he stacked chairs to reach the skylight and pulled himself up and out. Couldn't do anything about the chairs or fixing the skylight, so he didn't worry about it. He would be out of town before anyone discovered that something was amiss.

He jogged through the empty streets back to the car. He now had his bearings and could find Deathscythe. He would wait there until someone contacted or came for him. He reached into his pockets to warm his cold hands, then stopped cold as a bright beam of light flashed on him from behind the car. He turned slowly, his violet eyes squinting, blinded by the light.

A snort of laughter came from behind it.

"What do you want?" Duo asked harshly.

He heard the clearing of a throat before a familiar voice asked, "What don't you understand about the word stay."

As his face flushed hot and red, the Deathscythe pilot buried his face in his hands and groaned. "Just shoot me now." His head snapped up at the metallic sound of a gun being cocked. "Geeze Heero, cut that out." he snapped as the flashlight light beam traveled up and down his body.

"Umm, nice .... ensemble." Heero observed with a hint of humor in his voice.

"Well if you would have left me with some clothes and food, I wouldn't have to resort to..." he pulled at the jacket showing his obvious distaste for the outfit, "such drastic measures." he fumed.

Heero looked at the sky, choosing not to reply. "Come on, it's almost light." he motioned to the car. It took only a few moments before the two young men were headed down the road, Heero behind the wheel.

Duo looked over at his traveling companion. "Are you ok?" He asked.

"I'm fine."

'The radio mentioned someone was wounded."

"Wufei and Quatre."

"Will they be alright?" Fear clenched at Duo's heart, afraid of the answer, but needing to know was imperative.


Relief flooded him at Heero's words. "Wufei went in with me and it was on the way out he was shot in the shoulder and foot. Quatre was guarding our retreat when he was shot in the hip and captured. Trowa went in with Heavyarms and retrieved him. We had to tend to their wounds before I could come back." he explained.

"I figured something was wrong." Duo said closing his tired eyes. "I don't know what was worse, worrying about what went wrong and who was hurt, or being stranded alone, in my underwear, and starving." he yawned.

"I assume you got something to eat?" Heero questioned him.

'Yeah." he answered, and with his eyes still closed, he reached into the inner sleeve of the jacket he wore and pulled out a package of stick beef jerky. "Want some?" he offered holding it out.

"No thanks."

"How'd ya find me anyway?" Duo asked as his hands began to search through his pockets.

"Logic." Heero replied. "I knew you would be hungry and anxious about us not returning. When you weren't at the original site, I went to the nearest town and searched for the car. After I found it , I waited. If you hadn't arrived by mid morning, I was going to go back to Deathscythe. You would show up there sooner or later."

"Damn!" disgust sounded in Duo's voice as he turned the jacket pockets inside out.

"What's the matter?"

"I lost my hair band."

After a few moments, Heero spoke up again. "Makes a good disguise."

'What?" Duo asked sleepily.

"Your hair down, the clothing."


"We'll have to use that to our advantage."

Duo's eyes opened wide with apprehension. "What do you mean?"

Heero didn't even blink or hesitate. "You can pass as a girl."

"No way." the long haired boy stated adamantly. "Just because my hair is long doesn't mean I like to dress like a girl."

Heero didn't reply.

"Did you hear me, Heero?" Duo asked hotly. " I said NO WAY."

"Why don't you rest" Heero replied calmly. "I'll wake you when we get there."

With a piercing look, Duo pulled the mass of hair over his shoulder and pulled the jacket he was wearing close about him. "No way." he repeated as he hunkered down, sulking between the corner of the door and the seat.

As soon as he awoke, he sat up and looked about wildly. The car was stopped once again in the woods. His eyes lit happily on Deathscythe, next to it stood Wing. A large smile grew on his face. He opened the car door and stood, stretching his aching limbs. "Heero!" he called out. The front hatch on Wing was open and the other boy's head popped out.

"You didn't wake me." Duo scolded lightly.

"You were tired. Heero answered.

"Did you bring food and clothing?

Heero answered by tossing out a back pack. Duo caught it easily and quickly opened it. It was full of food, a brush, toothbrush, and water. Duo looked up in disbelief. "No clothes?"

"Sorry, I forgot." Heero called out from inside his gundam where he quickly shoved the black clothing into a compartment behind the pilot's chair. Hearing movement outside, he quickly shut his laptop and his message to the other pilots of their ETA, and a hint that if they stayed up, they would be in for a surprise, at Duo's expense.

A moment later Duo appeared at the hatch opening, his eyes searching the cockpit frantically. "You never forget anything." he declared his eyes narrowing with suspicion.

"I concentrated on the food. I knew you would be hungry. Besides, I had my hands full with Quatre and Wufei."

Duo sighed deeply as Heero hid the smile that wanted so badly to burst out on his face at the others predicament.

"You look good in purple." he mentioned casually as he eyed the outfit Duo wore. "You should wear that color more often." he added, even though Duo was giving him a look that warned him not to push it.

"I like black." The long hair boy said tersely.

Heero shrugged. "Just one word of advice then." He looked into the violet eyes. "Never wear black boxers with white leggings."

The animals in the clearing looked up startled as the sounds of fighting erupted in the cockpit of the gundam.


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