Author: Merula
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is not mine.

Run and Hide + Part 8

The crowd of bureaucrats and bodyguards were in the library, admiring the works of art that our art students had created. The cafeteria had provided some of it's god-awful coffee and I mentally chuckled. That alone might get us some funding- at least for the culinary section of the school. I scanned the room quickly.

Relena was talking to one of the nuns, Heero a watchful shadow over her shoulder. Quatre was a few feet away from them, talking to Father Brown. Trowa grabbed my elbow and led me over to Quatre. I was seriously thinking about just kicking Tro in the shin and running for all I was worth. The only problem was that Heero was now between me and the door.

Maybe I could get out of dinner somehow?

"How was it?" Quatre asked Trowa with a lift of his eyebrows.

"Very impressive," Trowa replied. "I had some more things I wanted to talk to Mr. Howards about, so I invited him to dinner."

"I do hope he accepted," Quatre's eyes turned to me and I saw the glint of hidden steel. Nope, no way was I going to get out of dinner. Not if I wanted to live.

"Of course," I answered hastily. Relena and Heero joined us at that moment, making me want to run as far and as fast as I could. Heero's gaze fastened itself on me, and I shivered under that cold blue regard.

"I'm very impressed with your school," Relena said to Father Brown with a smile. "I will definitely be recommending you for some of those bond funds, especially if you think it might help you expand."

"Thank you, Miss Peacecraft," Father Brown gave her one of his warm smiles. "It was kind of all of you to come out today."

"Oh, I have a vested interest in the colonies," Relena smiled wider. "I want them to do well. I do hope you'll forgive me, Father, but I need to get back to my suite. I have some important phone calls to make." She shook his hand and then turned to me. "It was a pleasure to meet you as well, Mr. Howards." Her hand tightened around mine and her smile turned mischievous. "Good people like you are hard to find."

"Thank you, Miss Peacecraft," I smiled back at her, acknowledging her barb.

"Will I see you back at the hotel, Mr. Winner?" Relena asked as she let go of my hand.

"Mr. Barton and I are going to have dinner with Mr. Howards first." Quatre said calmly. I wanted to scream. At least they hadn't all just 'outed' me as Duo Maxwell, but at this point I just wanted it over. Couldn't they just drag me out to the parking lot and beat the crap out of me?

"SOLO!" A voice called from the doorway. I turned to see Sister Regina there, phone in hand. For a moment, she looked like an angel of mercy, come to rescue me. Her next words dispelled that image. "It's the hospital!"

Oh shit. Several of the students had me listed as 'next-of-kin' on their emergency records. They had no one else, so either me, the Father or one of the sisters would put ourselves down on their cards. I was by the Sister's side in an instant, taking the phone out of her hands.

"Howards here."

"It's me," Dr. Frank replied.

"What's happened?"

"His card said he's Leo Yates. Drug overdose. They found him on the street about 20 minutes ago."

"Dead?" I asked, heart sinking. Leo had been at school today- he was in my morning computer class. I would've noticed if he'd been absent. He'd run into a spreadsheet problem... I shook myself.

"Not yet. Does he have anyone else?"

"No. Just the other kids." I closed my eyes. Leo had been so excited about school- so excited about the chance. What the hell had happened? "I'll be down." There was a faint pause and I heard a voice in the background on the other end.

"No need," Dr. Frank's voice changed and I heard the weariness. "He's gone. Colony takes care of the rest."

"Crap." I put my hand over my eyes.

"We can't save them all."

"I know it, but it still sucks." He chuckled without mirth.

"True enough. See ya soon Solo."

"It better be at the bowling alley, Vic."

"We can but hope." He hung up and I handed the phone back to Sister Regina.

"Who?" She asked in a small voice.

"Leo. OD. He died while we were on the phone." She gave me a tight hug.

"Poor boy," she let me go and crossed herself. I wondered if she meant Leo or me.

"I need to go tell his friends. Will you tell Father Brown for me?" I looked back across the room where the Father was still standing with my old friends. Was this a warning? Leo's death?

"Of course, Solo. Go do what you need to do. I'll take care of this."

"Thanks Sister." I rested my hand on her shoulder for a moment. Then I spun on my heel and walked out of the room.

[part 7] [part 9] [back to Merula's fic]