Title: These Things We've Done
Notes: Gosh...A hate being so mean to a little 8 year old Duo...
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Duo trudged up the imported stone steps of the Alliance L2 Federation Academy, also known as ALFA. The Academy was where gifted students throughout the L2 cluster came to learn the ways of life, of war, and of the Federation. Duo would never understand why they chose to build the school on this particular colony; the high vaulted ceilings and gleaming tile floors seemed incongruous amongst the dirty and dilapidated town around it.
Ignoring how he was shoved around by the older, Federation kids; Duo slowly made his way to his classroom. It was Tuesday. He dreaded Tuesdays and Thursdays. Cause it was then that he had Mr. Heller.
Mr. Heller was an ex-Sergeant of the Earth Sphere Alliance. Discharged due to repeated use of excessive force, some idiot let him slip through the cracks and into one of the most potentially harmful of positions: a teacher.
Surly and down right abusive, Heller taught most of the military classes, things such as firearms and hand to hand combat. He was openly aggressive and impossible to please. And Duo was on this man's "special attention" list.
Walking into the classroom, head down, the braided boy quickly made his way to his seat. After the first day, Mr. Heller had dragged him from the back all the way to the front row, right in front of the man's own desk. Duo could feel Heller's dark eyes following his every move, anticipating the start of today's "entertainment".
"Good morning, brats. I trust that you all had a fine day of academic shit yesterday. But now you're in my class and you'll learn something useful. I'll be coming around to collect Thursday's homework assignment."
Duo slumped down in his seat, preparing for the inevitable. He watched as Heller's dark brown boots stopped in front of his desk.
"Well, Street Rat, where is your notebook? You were to write up the coding for three separate computer programs complete with your own efficiency adjustments. Don't tell me you didn't do it?"
Duo did not look up. "I forgot it." He whispered.
"You what? Speak up boy!"
"I forgot it!" The braided boy shouted.
"And what if that notebook was something that millions of people depended on? You carelessness would have cost them their lives." Duo watched as the boots walked around to disappear behind the teacher's desk, only to quickly reappear as Heller strode back over to him. "You need to be trained against such absentmindedness. Everything you do causes a reaction. Everything you fail to do creates a consequence."
Duo winced as he felt the first blows of the thin wooden rod. He forced himself not to pull away as the pain erupted across his back. Biting his lip, the braided boy refused to give the man the pleasure of hearing him cry out.
"Alright brat, what are the five basic rules of combat?"
Duo grimaced and bellowed out the often-rehearsed answer. "One. Always attack first. To let your opponent have the first strike is to give him the advantage."
"T-two. Never let an enemy out of your sights. To do so is to invite Death."
"Three. Anything c-can be used as a weapon. Don't be afraid to get c-creative."
"Four!" By now his voice had gotten hoarse. "Always go for the enemy's weak points! Honor is only for the dead!"
"One more brat!"
Duo hung his head and let out a whimper. Heller brought the rod down across his back viciously. Moaning, the braided boy whispered.
"Anyone who opposes the Federation is the enemy."
"Good!" The beatings stopped and Duo slumped over his desk in exhaustion. His back felt like it was on fire. But he forcefully raised his chin, staring the teacher dead in the eye.
"I'll have the work on your desk by tomorrow."
Mr. Heller stared down at him. "See to it you do. And I want ten extra programs written to make up for your lapse in memory."
Duo sighed. "Yes sir."
Ignoring the other kids laughter, Duo stared grimly at his battered desktop. Father Maxwell didn't like the idea of Duo being forced to learn all these tools for war, but he didn't have much choice. ALFA was the best school around, and Duo had gotten a scholarship that paid for his clothes and books. So the old priest turned a blind eye to the Academy's "special learning program".
After four hours of reviewing the piloting and navigation of eight separate aircrafts, complete with slides, Duo was more than ready for lunch. The bell resounded through the building and the kids, Federation and Colony alike, rushed from their classes and towards the cafeteria.
After rushing out of the classroom itself, Duo slowed himself to a more sedate pace. After all, he had his lunch with him. Scholarship or no, Duo still couldn't afford to buy his lunch. But that didn't upset him too much, Sister Helen made good sandwiches and if he were lucky, there would be an apple snuck in his bag for a treat.
Reaching the cafeteria, he looked around the bustling tables solemnly. In the six month he's been at the academy, he had yet to make a single friend. The Federation kids didn't think he was fit to breath their air and the Colony kids were too afraid of the Federation children to even look at him.
So, needless to say, the braided boy would not be welcome at any of the tables. Instead, Duo carefully made his way along the far wall to a barren patch of floor in the corner beside the soda machine. Hardly any traffic came this way since the soda was way too expensive for even most of the Federation kids to purchase.
Leaning against the wall he slid gracefully to the floor. Opening his paper lunch bag, he quickly extracted its contents. A cheese sandwich, a thermos of water...Duo grinned as he felt around the bottom of the bag and pulled out a crab apple. He reminded himself to thank Sister Helen later.
Gratefully taking a drink of the slightly metallic water, Duo sat his thermos down and grabbed his apple. He never could resist eating desert first. The braided boy frowned as a shadow suddenly cast itself over him. Duo's brows drew together as he glanced upwards.
"Waddya want, Lenny?"
The redhead boy sneered down at him, his chest puffed up proudly as he showed off his military uniform. Two younger Federation kids stood behind him. "Me and my friends here were trying to enjoy our lunch but because of your bad smell wafting about, we lost our appetites. So we've come to take you out with the rest of the trash."
Duo looked around for one of the teachers. Usually they could keep jerks like these reasonably in line. His cobalt eyes came to rest on Mr. Heller, who smirked back at him slightly.
The irritating redhead kicked over his thermos. "Hey, look at me when I'm talking to you!"
Duo watched as water spilled across the floor, soaking his lunch bag and ruining his sandwich that lay atop it. Gritting his teeth, the braided boy carefully set his apple down and glared up at his antagonist.
"Ya betta go back to yer lunch, Lenny." He warned.
Lenny smirked. "Oh, and I'm supposed to be afraid of a little street rat's threats?" His booted foot came down sharply, crushing Duo's apple and almost his hand. Duo's hands clenched.
"Aw...did I ruin the poor babies lunch? Maybe you could go to the dumpster out back and-"
Whatever else he was going to say was cut off as the braided boy slammed into him. Fists flying in a blur, Duo proceeded to pound the older boy into the floor. Staring at the scene in horror, the cafeteria went deadly silent for a moment before chaos erupted.
Across the room, Mr. Heller leaned back with a smile. Glancing up at the stern visage of the principal, he let the smile turn into a full-fledged grin.
"The boy sure does pack quite a punch."
The Principal frowned. "Get these children calmed down immediately. And send the boy to my office."
"You wanted to see me?"
The hospital doctor looked up from his desk. "Yes...Mr. Yuy, was it?" Heero nodded, his face expressionless.
"Well, Mr. Yuy, we've kept your friend Duo here at the hospital for over twenty four hours. We checked him thoroughly for head trauma and broken bones, but there seems to be nothing seriously wrong with the boy. Despite a few bruises and scrapes, he's in near perfect health."
Heero's frown deepened. "Then why won't he wake up?" He asked, his Prussian eyes painfully dark.
The doctor took off his glasses and rubbed his nose with a sigh. "Frankly, Mr. Yuy, I'm not sure. All I can tell you is be patient. Now, I was told your friend Mr. Winner has a family doctor?"
Heero nodded mutely.
"Good. I suggest you take Duo home then, have the doctor keep him on an IV so he doesn't get dehydrated and hopefully he'll come out of it in a few days, maybe even a few hours."
Heero's hand clenched tightly at his sides. "What if he doesn't?"
"Then there is nothing anyone can do."