Hiead stared at the door of the bathroom. Inside the shower was running as it had been doing for some time. Hiead had been sitting in the room he shared with Zero, thinking. He'd been trying to come up with some solution to the problem that had been presented to him. Azuma was taking advantage of Zero. Using him. Abusing him. Breaking him.
It wasn't that he hadn't seen the situation before. The sad truth was that he'd seen it many times, more times than he'd have liked. And he knew how he'd have previously handled the problem. At one time a person such as Azuma would have met with a quite painful early death, but now they were in the closely guarded confines of G.O.A. There simply was no way to pull off such a feat without serious repercussions. Any action he took would be detected and ruin his chances of ever being a pilot.
It was true that Zero was his rival, almost his enemy except that they were on the same team, the team of humanity. But what was happening to Zero was something he would not wish even on an enemy. Nobody deserved such a treatment, especially not the annoyingly cheerful and surprisingly skillful Zero. The boy was a victim, just like any other, and as such he needed help, which Hiead was unsure how to supply. It was at that point in his thoughts that Zero had walked in, heading in a fairly straight line for the bathroom. The shower had come on shortly after and continued to run for an abnormally long amount of time.
Hiead was nearing the point where he wondered if Zero had perhaps drowned himself when the water finally turned off. Hiead waited expecting Zero to walk out in a towel, leaving his dirty clothes sitting in a massive puddle as he usually did. He watched as the door slid open just a crack and Zero's face peered out. Wide blue eyes searched the room and landed on Hiead. Licking his lips, Zero looked down at the floor and coughed.
"Hiead…" he began.
"C-could you…um, please could you bring me some night clothes please?" Zero asked softly, still looking at the floor. Hiead's eyebrows went up and Zero fidgeted. "Please?" he repeated in a whisper.
Zero had never been shy or embarrassed of his body before, but then again that was before. Wordlessly, Hiead got up and went to Zero's closet. He pulled out the clothes that the other boy would require and brought them over to Zero, who hesitantly stuck out an arm to retrieve them. As soon as the clothes were inside, the door slid swiftly shut.
Hiead stood for a moment, looking at the door. Promptly he turned and walked back to his bed. He sat down and waited for Zero to emerge, which he did at length. Hiead watched as Zero essentially crept out of the bathroom dressed in a gray sleep shirt and matching shorts. He didn't look up as he made his way to his bed. He simply turned back the sheets and climbed in. Covering his head with the sheets he curled into a tight ball.
Hiead frowned. How had he missed the signs? His single-mindedness had blinded him to the events happening around him. At one time he would have been aware of all of the goings on of his surroundings, it was required in order to stay alive. He'd slacked off, thinking that of all places G.O.A. would be safe. He'd been wrong and now Zero was paying the price for him letting down his guard. There was no way that he could allow it to continue. Thinking the problem over and over was not bearing any solutions though. He needed a fresh angle on the subject and knew just where to get it.
Getting up he slipped from the room and walked down a few doors. He marched right into one of the rooms without knocking, startling the occupants. Yamagi and Roose were sprawled across a bunk looking at a colorful sheaf of papers. Clay was sitting at a desk staring intently at a data pad until Hiead's interruption. Hiead marched over and pulled him out of his chair and began to lead him out of the room again.
Clay looked at his roommates with pleading eyes as he was dragged through the doorway. Yamagi and Roose shook their heads. There was no way that they were going to interfere with Hiead as long as he wasn't hurting anybody. Clay shot them a betrayed glance before the door slid shut and he was pulled down the hall. Clay babbled nervously as Hiead silently led him by the elbow. He pulled the rambling boy into an empty observation deck. He turned and pinned him with his eyes. Clay froze mid-sentence.
"I know." Hiead stated.
Clay did not even pretend to misunderstand. "So, it was as I thought. Instructor Azuma is hitting Zero. Beating would be a more proper word I suppose."
Clay stiffened at the flatly spoken word. "W-worse?" his voice cracked on the question.
"Apparently the Instructor has an unhealthy interest in young boys." Hiead stared at Clay, watching for his reaction. He was a little surprised when the other candidate collapsed to his knees.
"Oh Goddess," Clay whispered. "It is worse than I suspected."
"We can't kill him. What do you propose?" Hiead walked to the window and stared into space.
Clay was silent for a while, apparently running the problem through his sharp mind. After some time, he finally rose to his feet and walked over to join Hiead looking out into space.
"There's only one thing we can do. Report him. A dishonorable discharge and jail will most certainly follow."
Hiead snorted. "That's too good for him."
"I know, but it's all that we can do. As much as I'd like to see you shove him out an air lock, its too risky. The sooner we report him, the sooner we stop him."
"Then let's not waste time." Hiead turned away from the window. Clay nodded and they left the room to carry out the task as swiftly as possible.
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