The lights flickered, blinking on and off for a minute before the whirr of electricity started up again, echoing through the steel room like thunder before it quieted to the normal low pitch. Heero Yuy stared upward, the bright white rings of the overhead lights reflecting off his deep blue eyes. His fingers tapped a continuous staccato pattern on the dull gray material of his worn bedspread, flinching slightly at the loud bang as the lock on his door slammed open. The steel panel immediately slid into its pocket in the wall, a tall form entering to loom over the teenager.
"Get up, Yuy."
Heero suppressed the urge to roll his dark blue eyes at the commanding tone, but sat up, his arms resting on his knees, not moving to obey further. He sucked hard on his tongue ring, irritating the roof of his mouth as he tried to control the almost overwhelming urge to fidget with the ring in his eyebrow, to control his quaking nerves.
"I said get up!" Santino Ramone barked, his blue-green eyes glinting angrily, brow scrunching under slicked back blonde hair. Heero said nothing, just sat, completely ignoring the much larger man, his dark blue eyes seeming to stare through Santino's muscular form to the far wall. The blonde snarled, his large hand reaching out, bunching in Heero's dark green t-shirt as he roughly jerked the teenager upward, making Heero's head snap back on his neck.
Heero glared coldly up at Santino when he was finally on his feet, not allowing himself to flinch when the blonde raised a fist as if the punch him. "We're not too happy with you in guidance for trying to save the little pretty boy, Yuy. I would suggest being nice and submissive from now on."
"Is that how you like them, Santino? Crying and begging you to rape them?" Heero taunted, his voice remaining one even pitch. A loud crack filled the air as Heero's head snapped to one side. His features were completely expressionless but there was a smirk hidden in the dark blue depths of his eyes. Ramone spat out a curse, unconsciously unnerved by the stoic teenager but unwilling to show it. His hand fell down hard on Heero's shoulder and gripped tightly as he propelled the boy ahead of him out of the room's gaping door.
"Duo Maxwell, you are being tried with some very serious charges and yet you show not even a hint of remorse."
The wizened judged stared down at the short redhead, his wrinkled brow creased further with abject disbelief as the slight teenager only shrugged at his words, outwardly calm. He shook his head, rheumy eyes gazing deeply into the amethyst pair staring back at him, complete boredom reflected plainly on the surface.
Duo was striving not to shrink under the condemning gaze, forcing himself to remain collected. He tried not to panic, even as his roiling thoughts urged him to. Solo had sold him out. He should have known it was bound to happen; given the right amount of money Solo would sell his own soul. But he still couldn't get over his shock. What would happen now? Where would he go? Jail?
No, Duo mentally snorted. Too young for jail. Juvie then.
"Enough silence, young man. It's time for answers. Why did you steal?" The judge leaned forward in his seat, waiting impatiently for the teenager to answer.
"Needed the money," Duo answered back clearly, almost absently, his fingers playing with the end of his dark red braid where his hands were cuffed behind his back. If they send me to juvie, I'll have to cut my hair. Shit! That can't happen.
"I find that exceedingly hard to believe," the judge scoffed and sat back, crossing his arms before him. He wasn't wearing the traditional black robe, instead donned simply in jeans and a polo shirt. For some reason that annoyed Duo to no end.
The fuckers catch me the least they can do is dress up for the occasion. Maybe dance a little. Huh. He cackled insanely within at the thought of the overweight bailiff and the elderly judge dancing the mambo across the courtroom before mentally kicking himself.
"Not only were you left a vast inheritance of," he glanced down at the statement before him before continuing, "ten million dollars, but a mansion, the lower levels of which you and your step-brother have converted into a highly profitable nightclub, as well. Tell me how, exactly, could you have needed to money?"
Duo's violet gaze flickered to where Donovan was sitting in the courtroom gallery, his very presence exuding smugness. He did not answer the judge, instead he just calmly looked forward again, his hands abandoning the tufted part of his braid to clasp behind his back. The judge sighed wearily, shuffling the file on the podium before him.
"Explain the drugs to me, why were they in your possession. The drug test you were administered proved you to be completely clean of anything."
Duo cringed in the memory of the drug test. They'd made him stand in a tiny bathroom with a pinched faced old woman in there with him, staring at him, leering at him as he peed in the little plastic cup. Not fun. Not fun at all. "I was going to sell them, people pay a shit load of money for that stuff," he shrugged again when the old man's expression soured.
"Well," the judge closed the file, laying his hands firmly on top of them. "As your sole guardian, your brother has chosen to send you to the Gryphon Academy, a school for criminal adolescents. You will live there; they will provide your meals, clothing, schooling and a psychiatrist until you are eighteen, when you will be evaluated and placed on probation. If you fail to meet the expectations placed on you, you will be sent to prison and that place would not be pretty for a boy like you. I would suggest you seriously reevaluate your life within the next two years, Duo Maxwell." The judge glanced away from the unaffected teenager and looked around the courtroom before reaching for his gavel, rapping twice against his podium. "Case dismissed."
"Yuy," Kayle's voice was even more annoying in person, the piercing nasal tones scratching deep at Heero's eardrums. He didn't look up when Santino let him go, moving to lean against the desk before them, upsetting some papers that were stacked neatly on the surface.
"Santino, off my desk," Kayle growled, his gaze flicking back to make sure Ramone obeyed. He turned his attention back to the stationary boy, his eyes roving up and down Heero's body before his face twisted itself into an unbecoming scowl. "Yuy," he repeated. Heero simply raised an eyebrow, glaring silently up at the man, trying hard not to notice how Kayle's silver white hair had a slimy gleam to it in the bright fluorescent lighting as he waited for the explosion. Kayle's hand came up, backhanding Heero's already pinkening cheek, the sharp point of his ring catching on the flesh, tearing it in a diagonal line.
"You little fuck," Kayle spat, green eyes shooting daggers straight at the shorter teenager.
"I give you luxuries that none of the other students have ever dreamed of having, and you repay me like this?"
"You broke the deal, Kayle," Heero growled back, swallowing, trying to remove the coppery tang of blood soaked spit from his mouth.
"Screw the fucking deal, Yuy. No more goddamn deals. You will cooperate, my way, from now on."
"Or what, you'll spank me and send me to bed without dinner? You can't force me to work, Kayle, I don't care about your petty little threats."
"You think I don't know this? Yuy, you've been here longer than anyone, I can read you like a fucking book. No, I'm threatening the pretty boy you helped us catch. We own him now, but he's a thief and while he may be a damn good one, we have others with his skills. You act up again, Yuy, we take it out on him. Got it?"
Heero snarled under his breath, knowing full well they didn't mean a simple beating for the unsuspecting boy. They had a veritable playground of torture devices tucked away and Heero was sure Kayle was just itching to use them. He gave a short nod, his cobalt gaze stormy, watching Kayle's lips twist into an ugly smirk.
"Good. Santino, take him," the silver haired man said with a meaningful glance to the backroom. Ramone gave a brief nod, stalking toward Heero again as Kayle walked away. The blonde took hold of the back of Heero's neck, pinching the sensitive nerve endings ruthlessly as he pushed the boy to the door Kayle had motioned to. Heero's heart hammered; knowing what was coming only because he had been through that doorway countless times in the past.
The heavy iron door hadn't even swung closed when the first punch flew, snagging Heero sharply in the jaw, his teeth clanking painfully together. Santino chuckled when Heero turned his head to the side, letting a glob of red tinged spit fall from his lips. Heero straightened and swung at the taller man, his eyes glinting dangerously, unwilling to go down without a fight, but his fist was easily caught. The air rushed from Heero's lungs as Ramone jerked Heero toward him by his tightly clenched hand, bringing his knee up to catch the boy hard in his muscled stomach, leaving him hunched, heaving, trying to regain his air.
Heavy blows were rained onto his head and shoulders, one falling short, hitting his neck. The sickening thuds of flesh giving way to flesh filled the air of the dimly lit room. Heero was silent but for a few shuddering gasps that were dragged from within him, as he fell to his knees. Ramone had avoided his forehead and brow completely, knowing he would only catch Hell from Kayle if he tore the studded eyebrow ring from Heero's flesh. Ramone brought his booted foot back to kick the panting boy, but the door swung open behind them, hitting against the wall with a deafening slam. Kayle's form was highlighted by the blinding lights filtering from the office area.
"Enough, Yuy's guest is here," the nasal voice sneered.
"Guest?" the bruised teenager croaked, irritated at having to show that weakness. One of Heero's eyes was nearly swollen shut, and he closed it fully rather than bearing the pain of trying focus with it.
"Yeah, you got a new room mate. His name's Maxwell, I think you're familiar with him. Stand him up," Kayle ordered and Ramone jumped to obey, both hands going under Heero's armpits to pull him to his feet. Heero's open eye narrowed on Kayle's back as he was helped to move forward, following the now retreating man.
"I thought we agreed I didn't need a room mate, Kayle," he rasped and swallowed, his bruised throat burning with the words.
"And I thought I told you all deals were off," the silver-haired man's voice was visibly smirking. He stopped at the exit to the guidance department, green eyes glittering with sadistic glee. "Oh and... You might want to prepare the boy. He's on an assignment tonight with you and the pyro-freak. Make sure he understands the rules."
Heero growled low in his throat, "It's his first day here, Kayle."
"And your point would be?"
Duo looked around as he was abandoned within the main hall of what was an imposing iron structure. Violet eyes surveyed his new home, his hands unconsciously moving to rub at his tingling wrists, recently released from their restraints. One booted foot toed the bag on the ground in front of him, the meager duffle bag holding all the possessions he could rightfully claim as his. They had told him on the way to the Gryphon Academy that he would be allowed to wear his own clothes, have his own tastes in fashion and accessories, including piercings as long as they weren't used in a deadly manner. It was supposedly to give the students a sense of individuality in hopes that their progress would be hastened.
Duo frowned, it sounded cheesy to him, but whatever the reason, he wasn't about to complain because he wouldn't have to cut his hair. He bent forward, grabbing the canvas straps to his bag and swung it over his shoulder, before striding further into the school. He was immediately surrounded by a group of teenagers, dozens of them, faces filled with avid curiosity. He stopped moving when one person stepped directly in front of him.
He looked up, his gaze sweeping over the girl, lifting an eyebrow at her outfit. A skirt swung lopsidedly from her hips, the fuchsia and purple plaid material swishing loosely with every movement as she shifted, hands placing themselves at her waist. A black tank top fit snuggly over her chest, showing off her collarbone and shoulders, leaving most of her belly bared as well, the deep colour matching the thin lines dashing through the plaid skirt. She wasn't skinny, but neither was she fat, curving in all the right places. Dark brown hair hung loosely around her shoulders, slightly messy but the strands seemed to always fall right back into place.
His gaze traveled back up to her face, noting the way her lined blue eyes twinkled in amusement, an almost sultry smile curving her lips. Duo tilted his head and she shrugged in greeting. "I'm Cai."
"Duo Maxwell," he gave a lopsided grin. "Am I supposed to meet someone?"
"Oh, you'll meet them soon enough, but right now how about we focus on me?" The crowd around them snickered knowingly and Duo couldn't keep the confusion from his gaze.
"You're hot," she leered, raking her eyes up and down his form before meeting his violet eyes again. "I'm easy. I say we should make an arrangement to spend some...quality time, before anything else distracts you."
Duo choked, his face flushing bright red, his black-rimmed eyes sparkling in amusement. "Sorry, no, I don't like girls," he waggled his eyebrows meaningfully a smirk tilting his lips.
"Of course!" Cai sighed dramatically, throwing her hands into the air before replacing them on her hips. "It's always the really, really gorgeous ones that are gay," she shook her head mournfully before narrowing her eyes at him. "But you're new here, so I'm your new best friend, 'kay? That way, you won't get lost, I can explain the little...idiosyncrasies this place has and I can gawk and stare at your ass while you're not looking," she nodded firmly, teasingly peering around his body to said ass.
Duo laughed, the rest of the crowd dispersing as he and Cai started walking down the hall. "I'm taking you to guidance. This is the first and only time you will ever be taken here willingly, trust me on this. They'll give you a schedule for chores and classes and...assignments," she paused before the word as if choosing it carefully. "Oh and your room, always the best place in the Academy," she purred suggestively, lifting her shoulders when Duo was completely unfazed. "Can't blame a girl for trying.... What're you in here for anyway?"
"Larceny," he cracked a grin. "Duo Maxwell, master thief at your service!"
"Ohh," she breathed, her gaze going inward. "They're gonna love you..." she whispered, confusing Duo but she shook her head, dismissing the statement. "I'm here for hooking," she said, nonchalantly raising her hand to examine her purple fingernails.
"Why am I not surprised?" Duo mused, winking sideways at her when she laughed.
"You and me, Duo, we're gonna get along just fine," Cai smiled, stopping before a pair of double doors. "This is as far as I'm taking you, there's no way I'm going in there. Main office is the first door on your right. Luck!" she saluted then dashed off the way she came, skirt flying up behind her to reveal black lace underwear.
Duo shook his head, pushing through the doors, his books clunking heavily against the tiles since he wasn't lightening his step. Stopping at the door indicated, he turned the knob a little warily, wondering why Cai had such an aversion to going in here; before stepping through the door and to the desk in the center of the room. The man standing there turned toward him, his silver hair slicked, shining as if he hadn't showered in a few days.
"Maxwell?" the man's voice was nasal, it hurt his ears and Duo couldn't keep his nose from wrinkling, but he nodded up at him from his admittedly meager height. It had never bothered him that he hadn't grown much past five feet in height. He had taken after his mother, and he would never begrudge a thing she had given him since it seemed she was the only kind person in his life. Plus, smaller stature made it easier to sneak in and out of places undetected.
A sickening thud brought Duo's attention from his thoughts, his gaze flying to the door behind the desk from whence the noise had come. The silver-haired man coughed softly, and Duo looked back at him, dismissing the sound. Someone had probably dropped something. "I'm Derick Kayle, the headmaster of Gryphon Academy." He handed Duo a manila envelope before continuing. "Excuse me, I have to go get your room mate," Kayle smiled at the boy and the expression made Duo's stomach turn.
The silver-haired man walked to the door behind the desk that, throwing it open with a loud crash. Duo flinched at the noise, staring hard at the man's back as he conversed with whomever was within for a few minutes before turning around and walking back to the desk. The person who came out next had Duo gaping. He was bruised and bloody, one eye seemed to be swollen shut and the wounds looked fresh. Helping him out was a larger, blonde man, but he wasn't gentle at all, instead he was pushing the teenager every few steps, making him falter then speed up. Duo's mouth snapped shut when the one open eye lifted, dark blue gaze glaring intensely from beneath matted dark-brown hair and what looked to be a silver hoop eyebrow ring. He was looking directly at Duo.
Kayle smirked, his arms crossing over his chest as he leaned back against the corner of his desk.
"Maxwell, meet Yuy, your new room mate."