Author: Merula
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is not mine.
Warnings: Angsty stuff be here.
Please note the time passing... It's been 2 years since Duo left.

Run and Hide + Part 6

The neighbor girl, and subsequently a group of her friends and relatives joined the school. More and more kids showed up weekly. I ended up teaching more computer classes and I started teaching mechanics as well. I was busy. Time passed quickly- soon it was almost two years to the day since I had come to work at the school. We were doing great work. We were a model for our community.

I should've seen it coming.

I was in the middle of one of my computer classes when the back door of the classroom opened. I glanced back quickly and saw Father Brown walk in followed by some people in suits. I knew some of the colony's government leaders were supposed to be stopping by the school- the Father was hoping that it would lead to some more funding. We were Church-owned but we took everyone in, regardless of religion, so we were eligible. I continued with the lesson, assuming that they wanted to see what kinds of things we were teaching the kids.

Luckily, we were working on web design and not some of the more- unorthodox lessons I had been known to give.

"All right," I gave my class my best grin as the bureaucrats filed in. "Who can tell me how we could use this knowledge in the 'real world'?"

My class had been expecting that question, I asked it after every lesson. Hands shot up everywhere in the classroom.

"To promote a business?"

"To promote yourself- like a resume?"

"To get information out!" The kids had tons of answers, some of which made me smile. We had some pretty ambitious children at the school. When the furor had died down, I gave them their homework assignment and then looked towards Father Brown.

"We have some special visitors today class." He stepped towards the front of the class and I yielded the floor to him, leaning back against the board. "They came here to see what you're learning. Do you mind if they walk around and look at your pages?" Of course the kids didn't, they love showing off. The suits dispersed around the room, leaning over computers as my eager students displayed their knowledge.

I moved over to help one of my students in the front row who was wrestling with her pictures on the page.

"You'll have to give some up, Aimee," I told her. "You'll crash your page with that many."

"But, Mr. Howards," she pouted, "they're all so cuuute!"

"They are cute," a familiar voice said from the other side of the computer, "but I think Mr.- Howards is correct." I looked up and found myself face to face with Relena. I felt like someone had just whacked me on the head with a 2x4. She gave me a small smile and looked back down at Aimee. "Make several pages, instead? That way you can use all of them." Aimee grinned happily and set to work.

"Very diplomatic," I started and she held out her hand.

"I'm Relena Peacecraft," I shook her hand in reflex, startled. I had done nothing to change my appearance and I hadn't changed that much in two years. I knew she knew who I was. Then I realized that Father Brown had come to stand beside her.

"This is Solo Howards, our computer and mechanics teacher." He introduced me to her and for once, I couldn't think of a thing to say.

"You teach mechanics too?" Relena gave me a teasing smile. "That must keep you busy."

"Solo likes being busy," Father Brown laughed. "He teaches day and evening classes here. We tease him that he has no life."

"I hope you aren't overworking yourself," another familiar voice said by my side. I turned slightly and found myself looking at Quatre. He wasn't smiling. He was studying me intently and I found myself wanting to find the nearest hole and hide in it.

"The more classes I give, the more students I can reach." I replied automatically.

"Ah, Quatre," Relena cut in. "This is Solo Howards. Mr. Howards, this is Mr. Quatre Winner, a representive of L4. I know his colony has also been thinking of adding some excellent schools like yours." Father Brown beamed at her as Quatre reached out his hand to me. His fingers closed around mine tightly.

"Yes, I'd love the opportunity to talk to you about your work here," Quatre said meaningfully.

"Mr. H!" A panicked voice called from the back of the class. "My system crashed!!"

"Ah, duty calls," I said, and slid my hand out of Quatre's as I rushed to help my student, thankful for the interruption. As I bent over my student's computer I felt the weight of an icy gaze on me. My fingers moved automatically over the keys, as I glanced up and caught sight of Heero, in full Preventers gear, standing near the back door. He was staring at me through his bangs, his eyes a cold blue. It was suddenly tough to focus on the computer in front of me.

I ran through every curse word I knew even as my heart rate increased. My brain was running in little panicked circles. I glanced around, wondering if Wufei and Trowa were there as well. The room was so full, it was hard to tell. The bell rang, signaling the end of class.

"All right!" I raised my voice, not lapsing in my duty, even when mentally panicking. "Don't forget, homework's due Monday!"

My students filed out. I went to the front of the room to grab my case. I had a mechanics class next and I wanted to get the hell out of this room.

"Thanks for letting us visit, Solo." Father Brown called to me.

"No problem Father!" I called back, deciding to leave by the front door of the classroom, as Heero was still standing near the back. His eyes had not left me once. "Got to get to mech before the kids decide to start dismantling the classroom again!"

"Mr. Howards," Quatre's voice stopped me cold. "Would you mind taking my aide with you? I know it wouldn't be safe to take all of us down, but I want some observations on a practical skills class." Trowa was standing next to him, and I could see the faint glint of mayhem in his one visible green eye.

"Uh sure." I replied with a grin, unable to think of a way to get out of it. "As long as he doesn't mind getting dirty."

"Hardly," Trowa raised an eyebrow and followed me out of the classroom.

[part 5] [part 7] [back to Merula's fic]