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fic - i backward cast my e'e part 20 [novella] - the turnip patch
version 2.0
fic - i backward cast my e'e part 20 [novella]
Title:  I Backward Cast My E'e
Part:  20
Note:  Special thanks to tanuki02 for the prompt 'science fair'.

I Backward Cast My E'e
sequel-lite to for promis'd joy
Part 20

The door was open today, which meant there would be no chiming bell to announce his entrance to the market.  Howard was at the register and bore witness to him, but his vocalized greeting was cut off by Duo's crafty look and a quick gesture to stay silent.  With one eye pinned cautiously on the security mirrors, Duo took advantage of his in-depth knowledge of their layout to plot a careful course toward his oblivious prey.

Knowing that Howard was manning the front of the market, Heero bent to his straightening of goods on the shelf without bothering to keep much track of what was going on around him.  Nevertheless, some instinct made him turn just a fraction of a second before Duo pounced on him with a tight embrace that almost lifted him off his feet.  Once back on solid footing, he looked Duo in the eye with a wide smile and mild words.  "Hey there."

Duo bopped him on the nose with one finger before answering.  "Hey.  Miss me?"

Heero rubbed his nose reflexively before drifting through the aisles back to the front of the store, reaching out occasionally to right a misaligned product.  "How'd it go?"

Duo trailed along behind him, wondering whether or not it would be fun to just as meticulously misalign boxes in his wake.  He decided against it.  Howard's was a fine establishment with a high standard of excellence.  It wouldn't do to have untidy shelves.  "It was pretty cool.  I think there were ten of us and twenty kids?  Something like that."

"Are you assigned, or do you drift around, or what?"

"Drifted today, but I think next week we'll end up more assigned.  Today was more about meeting all the kids, talking to them, seeing what they were interested in.  How nerdy were you in middle-school?"

Heero raised his eyebrow at the presumption of nerdiness.  "I don't know what you're talking about."

Duo snorted and continued his narrative.  "I was the kind of kid that was always interested in taking things apart, but really, I don't know if I just wasn't as nerdy as I thought I was, or if kids these days are just smarter, or what."

"You're probably interacting with the cream of the nerd crop here, Duo.  It's not every kid that's going to want to sacrifice a month to work on a project for a science fair."

"Yeah, but our entire school is like the cream of the nerd crop!  Kids can't out-nerd us!  It's just not right."

"Did you do the program when you were in middle-school?  You went to school around here, right?"

"Yeah, I grew up here, but our school wasn't -- our current school, that is -- wasn't so big into the community outreach back then or something.  Or maybe it was and I just never knew.  I dunno.  But this thing, with the college kids helping the little kids out with their science fair stuff?  I think this is only the third year or something this program's been going."

Howard inserted himself smoothly into the conversation as they reached his position.  "They've been doing community programs for a while, but most of what I remember was like tutoring minority or disadvantaged kids or something.  Maybe they were doing other stuff.  I dunno.  Honestly, I didn't really pay much attention to that stuff until you hit high school.  You didn't show your nerd colors as much when you were littler."

Duo reached across the counter and punched his uncle lightly in the arm.  "Ha, I can't imagine you as one of those crazy parents obsessed with getting their kids into the best pre-schools to ensure their acceptance at some ivy league place.  Hell, I can't even really picture you stressing out about me going to college at all."

"I'd have probably been stressing out about it if you hadn't figured it out for yourself.  Higher education is important."

"Weren't you tripped out for half your college experience?"

He smirked.  "They don't call it higher education for nothing."  He dodged when Duo tried to punch him in the arm again.

Heero chuckled.  "Odin was pretty much the same, I think.  Well, minus the 'high' part.  I don't think there was ever any question about college."

"Yeah, these kids," Duo said, dragging the topic back to where he'd been the last few hours.  "They seem so small!  Anyway, it's kinda crazy what mad scientists you can see there already."

Heero bumped elbows with him.  "Just your type, then."

"Hell, yeah.  A couple of us almost sold a kid on an anti-grav device -- well, I mean, not really anti-grav, but yanno, Biefeld-Brown?  Magnetic force and all that.  Unfortunately, Eckhardt came and shot us down.  Apparently they don't approve of middle-schoolers doing high-voltage experiments."

"Go fig."

"Yeah, right?  I mean, if they don't want to do anything fun, why don't they just go back to those boring old baking soda and whatever volcano things that used to be so popular, and give us our time back so we can go blow stuff up or something."

"You volunteered for this program, remember?"

"Whatever," Duo brushed aside.  "They're gonna come back next week with what they've more or less decided on, and then we'll pow-wow and get assigned to kids or groups of kids based on our experience or whatever.  We'll see what they come up with.  Hey, wait, I thought you said you were going back to your place?"

Heero blinked at the sudden subject change, but Howard quickly picked up the slack.  "Yeah, well, the kid wanted to be around for when you opened this."  He pulled an envelope out from underneath the counter and slid it over to his nephew.

Duo stared at it without picking it up, eyes fixated on the return address.  His hand slowly crept up to clutch at Heero's sleeve.  Without breaking eye contact with the innocuous white envelope, he leaned toward Heero.  "Is that... what I think it is?"

Heero leaned back, almost accidentally head-butting him in the process.  "You gonna make me open it for you or what?"

There were a few seconds when it seemed that might be the case, but Duo shook himself out of his stupor and tore the flap open.  His fingers paused again as they grabbed a hold of the sheet inside, lingering on the official feeling of thick paper.  With a quick breath intended to be calming but totally not, he pulled it out, unfolded it, and skimmed the message.

Heero edged discreetly closer to him to read what he needed to.  He had only time to flash Howard a quick smile before he found that smile smothered quite abruptly by a face full of Duo, combined with a hug that threatened to squeeze the rest of his breath from him.

The kiss ended as suddenly as it started, but the tight embrace stayed on as Duo spun him around in a dizzying circle.  "I made it past round one!  I made it past round one!  I scored an interview!"

Howard grinned smugly.  "You don't say."

Duo cleared his throat as he released his slightly dazed boyfriend and smoothed his shirt down with the pretense of bored sophistication.  "I mean, it seems they've formalized the obvious.  I suppose I'll get back to them with my availability.  We'll see where I can slip them in."

"Slick, kid.  Real slick."

Heero just gave him a congratulatory peck on the cheek.

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15 comments or Leave a comment
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: May 8th, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I feel so left out... None of my elementary or junior high schools even *did* science fairs. *pouts*

Um... I picture a whole lot of little nerds being a lot nerdier after experiencing Duo. ^___^

turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: May 8th, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know, nerdy as I was (and my background is preeeeetty nerdy), we didn't have science fairs, either.  Of course, we had Science Olympiad, and Physics Day, and other things... but... no, wait, maybe there was a science fair (optional) thing and I just didn't participate. ^^'
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: May 9th, 2010 12:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I assume that some schools did science fairs back then, since I've met people my age who are all over the volcanoes; just none of the schools that I went to. >.< Maybe they had already washed their hands of us? O_o

Can I get a do-over? >_>

turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: May 9th, 2010 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Schools these days are kind of creepy... all kinds of lockdown procedures and stuff now.  Back in my day, we only cared about earthquakes.
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: May 9th, 2010 04:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. None of my schools ever had metal detectors, so I am happy for that, but all those old Cold War 'in case of a nuclear attack' films that seem so goofy? I got them all when it wasn't funny. >.< Even though my dad liked to point out that if anyone dropped a bomb on us, hiding under our desks was going to be pretty FUBAR. ^___^

Oddly enough, I don't remember any earthquake drills. O.o Just bombs and fire. Hm...

turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: May 9th, 2010 05:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I was always something of a fan of hiding under my desk because it's nice when being small is actually an advantage. ^^'

When I was in elementary school, the Yogi Bear quake trailer would come by and give us earthquake tips and stuff.  It was pretty awesome.  The thing was mounted on hydraulics so it could simulate a 6.0 earthquake while we were sitting inside. ^__^
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: May 9th, 2010 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, poo. I always knew the little kids had all the fun. =P

tanuki02 From: tanuki02 Date: May 8th, 2010 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Duo's right- an anti-grav device would have been so cool! And those judges have seen a million baking soda volcanoes and solar system models anyway. This year's best project (IMO, even tho the judges didn't agree) was the kid who surveyed the teachers to see how many of them could accurately explain why the moon has phases, and found only 1 in 8 could. I loved this chapter! Thanks so much!
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: May 8th, 2010 11:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ha, truthfully, I just googled 'science fair projects' and tried to find something cool.  I actually have no personal experience with science fairs! ^_^ (just science nerds...)
hostilecrayon From: hostilecrayon Date: May 8th, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay! More Plans 4. ^.^

Duo got an interview! How exciting for him! I totally can see Duo blowing shit up with the kids. XD

Hahaha, Howard. Totally could have called that one.

Sweet, looking forward to more!
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: May 9th, 2010 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I think I found a decent project for Duo to work on... and it does involve fairly high temperatures. =)
sunhawk16 From: sunhawk16 Date: May 9th, 2010 12:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awesome use of prompt for current project! ^o^ And is it weird that I almost told you to pass my congrats along to Duo? >_>
When I was growing up, the science fair stuff was strictly by choice, but when the kid came along, the whole class had to do SOMEthing.
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: May 9th, 2010 09:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
You've discovered my secret!  I don't ask for prompts so I can write NEW fics.  I ask for prompts so I can get the juices flowing on my CURRENT fics! ^o^

Duo's only past the first round here... he's still got a couple more hoops to jump through before he gets the position.  If you congratulate him now, he'll get suspicious and paranoid about his good luck and go crazy. ^^'

I vaguely remember a friend of mine doing the volcano thing... but I think it was just for class and not a fair or anything.  I kind of remember a science fair coming up in high school, but I think it was maybe more of a regional thing than a school thing, and therefore entirely voluntary.
sunhawk16 From: sunhawk16 Date: May 11th, 2010 01:00 am (UTC) (Link)
The only one the kid did, that I even remember (and I KNOW she had to do one every year through grade school), was this thing where we took various plant materials and boiled them with strips of cloth to see which one would dye better.
We ended up with five or six strips of cloth that didn't look a whole lot different from each other, and a really stinky kitchen...
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: May 11th, 2010 01:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm.  I remember having to do this presentation on parallel circuits vs series circuits back in 5th or 6th grade, but I don't think it was for a science fair.  Of course, what with my dad being an electrical engineer and all, I ended up with this professional-grade tester that probably looked like I wasn't the one who made it at all. ^^' I did all the soldering on that thing myself!
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