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fic - i backward cast my e'e part 22 [novella] - the turnip patch
version 2.0
fic - i backward cast my e'e part 22 [novella]
Title:  I Backward Cast My E'e
Part:  22

I Backward Cast My E'e
sequel-lite to for promis'd joy
Part 22

"Hey, Heero."  They were killing a little bit of time outside before lunch, waiting for the line to die down in the dining hall.


"Now that I'm all done stressing out over my interview..."

Heero finally succeeded in shifting the contents inside his bookbag to his liking.  "I thought you weren't stressing.  I thought you were only 'preparing' or something."

"Now that my interview is over and done with," Duo rephrased easily.  "I've got the bandwidth to start thinking about your interview."

"I've got it covered, thanks."

"Really?  'Cuz I was just thinking over all those boring standard questions, like, 'Why should we hire you?  Why do you want this job?'  And I just realized... you know, I have no idea why you want that job."  He frowned momentarily just thinking about it.  Sure, he could make some guesses, but they'd still be guesses.  "So why do you want that job?  And I don't really mean the edited-for-interviews answer.  Seriously, why are you applying?"

Heero blinked.  "Why do you automatically assume that I would have a fake answer prepared for my interview?"

"Fine, even if it wasn't fake, it was probably carefully composed.  You do have an answer all prepared, right?  'Cuz you know they're gonna ask."

"Of course I have an answer.  It's not like I had to make one up or something."

"And...?  Your answer would be...?"

Heero didn't answer for a few seconds.

"Ooh, that's good," Duo cooed.  "That thoughtful pause.  It makes it sound honest and unrehearsed."

"Your sudden commitment to fudging around the truth is alarming."

He drew breath to deny it, but let it out a few seconds later without saying what he'd automatically intended to say.  "Mueller was talking about jobs today.  Nothing particularly exciting or meaningful or anything, but man, it just got me kind of down on the whole job thing.  All of a sudden having to think about office politics and performance reviews and all that.  What a bore, right?"

"Good thing we're not applying to work in the same office, then."

"Huh?  Why's that?"

"So you don't have to think so much about what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace."

Duo smirked.  "It's only sexual harassment if you say no.  Or it makes you uncomfortable.  Or something.  Dammit, you're right.  That's a whole can of worms I'm not interested in getting near with a ten foot pole and a barrel full of fish.  Heh, though who says some office lady isn't going to find me the hottest new kid on the block, hmmm?"

"That's..."  Heero's brow furrowed adorably.  "I don't want to think about that, Duo.  That's creepy."

"Hey, you totally started it."

"Only sort of.  Besides, you know my mother was one of those office ladies.  That's just wrong."

Duo cringed, but recovered quickly.  "But she worked in some other office, right?  I thought she was more bureaucracy-type office lady than R&D assistant.  How many women are there really working there, anyway?  Not to be sexist or anything, but the chicks don't generally dig this stuff as hard as some of us nerds."

Heero happily went along with the change in subject.  "Hm.  Most of the colleagues that Odin has mentioned have been middle-aged to older men, I think, but maybe that's just the company he prefers to keep."

"Yeah, I saw like two women while I was there, I think, and they both looked like office types to me.  Oh well, no big deal.  Not like I'm hoping to hook up with one of my co-workers or anything.  No, wait, I guess maybe I'd already be hooked up with one of my co-workers, since even if we're not quite in the same office, we're still maybe co-workers?  Eww, I kind of hope not really, because there's just something kind of icky-sounding about dating one of your co-workers."

"Really?"  Somehow that didn't really seem to make sense, given Duo's recent words on office ladies potentially finding him hot.  They seemed about the same to Heero.

"Well, I don't mean like 'icky', but it's totally not something you should be doing casually, right?  I mean, there's lot of bad shit that can go down if you go down that road."

"But we aren't casual, now are we?" Heero countered smugly.

"Heh, I guess not."  They shared smug expressions for a moment before Duo carried on.  "Do you think it'd just be like 'don't ask, don't tell'?  It's not the military, but it's still government work, isn't it?"

"I think... relationships have no place in the workplace anyway.  And we wouldn't be working with each other on a day-to-day basis, I don't think."  He shrugged.  "If it comes up, it comes up.  If it doesn't, I wouldn't personally bring it up."

"I guess I shouldn't put a mushy photo of you on my desktop or something, then, eh?  Wait, you haven't even done your interview yet."  Duo reached over to rap his knuckles very lightly against Heero's head.  "Knock on wood, then, for just talking like this is a done deal.  You didn't answer my question.  Why do you want this job?"

Heero didn't even bother throwing a sour look in his direction.  "I... I don't suppose there's anything inherent to space that interests me, outside of the usual.  Yes, I do think there's great potential out there, and I do think it needs exploring, and it would be exciting to be a part of that.  But... you know, as a programmer, I can work in most any industry.  With the way the world is trending right now, there's really no getting away from needing computer technology no matter what you do.  And it's popular right now to get into the web space, and it's high-paying, but... I don't know, I think I'd like to work on something more important than a database backend to an online commerce site.  I mean, that's important, too, to that one company, and I guess even to society, to shaping society and the way we shop online, but..."

"Meaningful, maybe?"

"Meaningful... That's not a bad word.  Space exploration will move us forward as a people.  Maybe the results of that will be as intangible to us in our generation as... as refining a search algorithm to return better results, but ultimately it's..."  He shrugged, the answer itself seeming intangible.  "Well, maybe at that point I'll just fall back to the notion of there being great potential out there, etc."

Duo casually bumped shoulders with him.  "No, I hear ya.  It's... heh, I don't think I can do much better than you.  The most descriptive word I came up with was 'awesome'.  My interview guy didn't seem too put-off by that, so I guess it's okay."

"Awesome.  That's not a bad word, either.  Just not 'awesome' like a little-boy awesome.  It's exciting stuff because of its greater significance to mankind, not just because it's space and stars and sci-fi and all that."

"Yeah..."  Duo pondered his own reasons, and compared them somewhat, and was oddly pleased that they didn't align perfectly with each other, though they were still in sync.  "You know, I'm not sure I really knew what to expect out of your answer."

"Did that sound too boring?  Too normal?"

"Nah, I mean, what guy applying for the program isn't really doing it because they think it's awesome?  I mean, what guy that has a good chance.  They're looking for people who think it's awesome.  And that whole 'meaningful' thing throws a nice angle to it.  It's not like they're looking for people who think it'll look good on their resume.  Or, uh, people who are just interested since their dads are kind of into it."

"You thought I might be interested in government work because my dad works for the government?"

"Well, no, I... I mean, the thought occurred to me, sure, but I didn't think you were as lame as all that."

"Gee.  Thanks.  I think.  Is that why you asked?"

"I asked because the thought occurred to me!  Not because I thought you'd confirm it or something.  I never really hear you gushing about it or anything."  Not that he could really picture Heero gushing about anything, but that was really beside the point.  "So yeah, it occurred to me that maybe you were being stupid and applying because of your dad.  Which would be only slightly less lame than you applying because of me."

"That wasn't the case, either," Heero responded dryly.

"Well, yeah!  Of course not.  Or, well... I mean, now that I think about it, and this is totally only because you just made me think about it..."  He ignored Heero's eyebrow raised in eloquent denial.  "Maybe you just thought government R&D because that's just the tradition you were steeped in.  Yanno?  Not that you're a total tool, because if you were, you'd have majored in physics and you'd be applying to work with your dad right now.  But..."

Heero stepped in to kindly save him from a deeper hole than he was already in.  "While it's true that having family in that 'industry' naturally brought it up as a possibility, it was just a possibility.  The decision-making was mine."

Duo snapped his fingers.  "Yeah, that's exactly what I meant!"

That eloquent eyebrow rose again, this time in skepticism.

"No, seriously.  Though it's not like I ever thought about becoming a small business owner or something.  But maybe that's just because that's totally outside my realm of interest.  Or maybe just because it's Howard.  Me and him aren't exactly much alike.  If I wanted to be a total tool, I guess I'd be getting stoned right now or something."  He snickered at the thought, but not without something of a fond sound of exasperation as well.

"You should mention that in your next interview."

"Ha, yeah, I'm sure that'll go over well."

"How much did Howard try to steer your path when you were younger?" Heero asked curiously.

Duo snorted.  "Howie barely knew what to do with me most of the time.  I think 'steering' me would have taken a finer hand than his.  Besides... he's Howie.  The total black sheep of his generation in the family.  I don't think he'd have been in a good position to try to lead me on a respectable path."

"You could say the same about Odin.  Well, not the black sheep part, of course.  But I guess I just grew up thinking an interest in science was... normal.  It took me a little while to figure out it wasn't really.  So I guess you could say I 'grew up in that tradition'."

"Ha, so I was right."

"You get full points on technical merit, but your style was severely lacking."

"You suck."

"Let's go in for lunch now."

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5 comments or Leave a comment
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: July 26th, 2010 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love Duo's laid back attitude after the interview.

"Panic? What panic? I was just being... um... thorough! Yeah, thorough!"

^___^ I get Heero's idea - working at something that will benefit the world (or even just humanity) rather than the usual 'what does it pay and when do I get a raise?' They're such good boys... ^____^ I cuddlz then both.

turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: July 26th, 2010 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Notice how Duo's all like, I'm an expert in interviews! now? *eyeroll* Silly boy.

They both need to do something that stimulates their brains in some way... Going where no one has gone before presents interesting challenges that they'll need to help solve, but they can also get 'emotional stimulus' by doing something they find worthy. ^_^
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: July 27th, 2010 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sap help him at his next interview..... O_O Heero might need to apply first aid. ^___^

I like those values. ^___^

sunhawk16 From: sunhawk16 Date: July 27th, 2010 01:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Aww, Duo is so cute in his interview mentoring! :D And Heero is just so sweet with his taking of it. :D :D
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: July 27th, 2010 02:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Heero: 'Mentoring?'  Oh, is that what you were doing?  I couldn't tell since you were doing such a poor job of it.
Duo: ... You suck. -_-
5 comments or Leave a comment