Heero was adapting. The vehicle had moved slowly, and after intervening on one man who came too close to Duo, the rest of the passengers kept their
distance. He did, however, make up his mind that the trip would be Duo's last ride on a 'bus'. Then there was the walk to the building, the crowds of people
pressing on them. He cringed at the many opportunities for a potential assassin. Zechs hadn't given him specifics of the danger that threatened the boy, so
Heero was on guard for attack from any front. But they traveled unscathed, and he quickly realized that the shoves and pushes were normal. Duo had
explained this to him using vivid language. That didn't make him like it, but he accepted the boy's words. Obviously, his mission was going to be a difficult one
and he knew he'd either have to understand Duo's world quickly, or isolate him in a world he *could* understand.
The building they stopped at looked much different from the one Duo lived in, and Heero would have liked to take more time looking at the structure. It
seemed to be made mostly of reflecting glass, there were so many windows. It was also much taller than the teen's building. But Duo wouldn't wait and he let
himself be dragged through the doors, frowning when Duo waved at the man who stood outside them. They entered a large space inside the doors, and there
were many people moving about. He noticed that they were also dressed in outfits like the one Duo had given him. Then he was led to two doors set into the
far wall and he raised an eyebrow when the longhaired boy simply stood there.
"Why have you stopped?"
Duo was beyond being confused by anything the boy said, and he waved toward the other people standing near them. "We're waiting for the elevator. Even if
I wanted a repeat performance with the stairs, it'd take way too long. My boss's office is on the thirtieth floor." The elevator doors slid open and he moved in
with the other people, raising an eyebrow when the boy didn't follow. "In or out, Heero, but I'm going up."
There didn't look to be room in the small box-like compartment, but there was no way he'd leave the boy. Pushing forward, Heero glared as he had to force
his way to where Duo was standing. The doors shut on their own, and he flinched suddenly, his eyes flying upward as he could feel them moving. It was the
oddest sensation, but he could tell from the calm expressions around him that this, too, was normal. Duo was smirking at him.
"Let me guess, first time on an elevator, right?" The dark-haired boy nodded sharply, and Duo sighed. "See those lights?" He pointed up, Heero looking to
where numbers were lit above the door. "When that light stops on thirty, we get off." The elevator halted, but he shook his head when Heero looked at him
sharply. A few people got off, then the doors closed again. "You'll get used to it."
"Hn." Heero's eyes locked on the numbers, and as the boy had said, they were lit up in sequence. The elevator stopped five times before they reached the
number thirty, and he had to move quickly to keep up as Duo slid out from behind the other people.
"Okay," Duo said, looking over his shoulder. "When we get in here, just let me do the talking. Hilde and I go way back, but she's still my boss and I don't want
you acting crazy in front of her, got it?" The boy frowned at him and he made a small groan. "Just stay quiet." Another sharp nod answered this command,
Heero's eyes flying around him. He didn't know what the boy was looking at, though, there were few people moving through the hall. Walking quickly, Duo
moved through one of the doors to the right, and a bright smile lit his face when he spotted Hilde's secretary. "How's my favorite lady?"
"Duo, you have twelve seconds before you're late." The boy pouted at her and Tasha pointed a manicured finger toward the door. "No time for your flirting."
"There's always time for a beautiful lady," Duo said softly, taking her hand. The woman's cheeks turned pink despite the fact that he flirted with her on a daily
basis and he brushed a light kiss over her hand. "You make it worth getting up in the morning."
"Duo, you're incorrigible." The violet-eyed boy nodded quickly, a wide grin curving his lips and Tasha sighed. Then she noticed the hot glare being sent to
her and she raised an eyebrow at Heero. "Can I help you?"
"Oh, he's with me." Duo blinked when the woman's eyes widened, then it was his turn to blush. "It's not what you think! Um...I better go. Come on, Heero."
He glanced at the dark-haired boy and was surprised by the blatant anger he saw there. But there really wasn't time for that, and he didn't want to give Tasha
any gossip to spread about him. He loved her to death, but she was a horrible person when it came to rumors. "Later, Tasha."
Heero gave the woman one last glare before following Duo through another door, and he wanted to ask the boy what he was doing. Whether it was normal or
not, he didn't like the fact that Duo had touched her, kissed her, even if it was just her hand. He hadn't offered such contact with anyone else, that made it
suspicious. Then they were inside a smaller room and he took in the surroundings quickly. A woman, not much older than Duo, was seated behind a large
desk, wide windows filling the wall behind her. He marked those immediately as a hazard and he subtly put himself between Duo and them, just in case. The
woman was looking at him, but he remembered Duo's order to keep quiet and he returned her gaze without any expression.
"Duo? Who's this?" The boy dropped his eyes and Hilde looked back at Heero for a second before clearing her throat. "Duo?"
"Well, that's complicated," Duo said slowly, wincing when he saw the thoughts clearly expressed on his friend's face. "I don't suppose you can just pretend
he's not here, can you?" Hilde's lips twitched, then she raised an eyebrow at him. "Didn't think so. Well, this is Heero. Heero, this is my wonderful,
understanding, and beautiful boss, Hilde." A soft laugh made it past Hilde's lips and he grinned, letting out a sigh of relief. If there was one thing he knew, it
was that the Hilde had a sense of humor almost as good as his. "He's going to be following me around for a while."
"Oh really. I see."
"Dirty mind, Hilde. I know what you're thinking, but you couldn't be more wrong. He's weird, but he's not my boyfriend, he's not a stalker, and, as far as I can
tell, he's not too bright. So I'm letting him hang around for a while, that's all."
"I can see you picking up strays," Hilde said, "but why did you bring him to work with you?" The longhaired teen shot a dirty look at Heero and she shook her
head suddenly. "Well, it's your choice, you know I don't mind so long as he isn't your new agent or anything like that."
"No way! I'd never find an agent like you!"
Duo's expression was surprised, and she knew it hadn't just been flattery that time. Smirking, Hilde leaned back in her chair. "Well, your confidence is
appreciated. And, justified. I have some great news, Duo."
"What? They've decided to redo the movie and I won't have to jump off that cliff anymore?" The girl's black eyebrow twitched and Duo's expression dropped
dramatically. "Guess not..."
"Duo, how long are you going to keep complaining about that? You know it's not my fault. I *told* you it was the director's first film. They're always a *little*
anal, the first time out."
"A little? That guy's filmed *twenty-three* takes of the same scene! I swear, he has more footage of me than he does of the cast." She gave a shrug and he
sighed before slipping into the chair across from her. "Well, it's not that bad. I mean, I *am* getting paid great for my time. If he wants to keep trying it over
and over, that's his problem. But...what's the news, then?"
"New job. How would you like to be in a movie? I mean *really* be in it, not just as a stunt double." He was out of his chair very quickly, and Hilde grinned at
his expression. "I'm serious. Of course, I don't know what the script is, yet. They're being very close-mouthed about it all. But the director has good
connections, I hear it's supposed to make quite a splash when it comes out."
"What is it?"
"I just said, I don't know yet. But I got a call from the director and he said he wanted *you* for the main part." Hilde frowned when Duo glared suddenly. It
definitely wasn't the reaction she'd expected. She'd known Duo for a little under two years, but she knew he'd always hoped to get a significant part in a
movie. The fact that he'd had no training or official acting experience worked against him, and the lack had led him to her. His age had caused him problems,
as had his unique features. Generally agents didn't accept stuntmen unless they were sure to find work for them, ensuring their own compensation. But Hilde
hadn't been able to turn the boy away, and after two years working with him, she was glad she hadn't. And finally, an opportunity had come. Yet Duo was
looking wary, and she could see a hint of anger. "What's wrong?"
"You don't know what kind of movie it is?" Duo asked. "Then I'm not going to get my hopes up." Hilde looked confused and he shook his head. "I never
mentioned it, but I *have* been offered the starring role in a couple of films in my day. Of course, I was thirteen at the time, so it was illegal anyway."
She knew what he was talking about, but for some reason she couldn't imagine it. Oh, she could see someone wanting to make a porno with Duo as the star,
but she'd never heard of filmmakers going after children. That was something people never talked about and it made her wonder where Duo had grown up.
But she wouldn't ask, not right now. "I'm sure this isn't anything like that," she said. "I don't remember his name, but the director was referred to me by
Bandwidth Entertainment, so he *must* be legit. Although, he had quite an accent, and it *is* a foreign film. That much I do know. But those are actually the
ones that get the most attention from American directors, so it's a great place to start out."
"Why would a foreign director make a film staring an American?" Duo frowned. He wasn't worried anymore, not if the director had been recommended by
Bandwidth. That was the company that he got most of his jobs from, and it was well respected. "Did this director tell you why he chose me?"
"Not really. He wanted you to read the script before anything else, and something intriguing, he made me give my word that *I* wouldn't read it. They don't
want anything to leak out about this film. All he said was that he'd seen footage of some of the stunts you've done and you were perfect."
Duo smirked and leaned back in the chair. "That's good to hear. So, what's the pay? I mean, it's not likely I'll turn the offer down, but what are we talking
here, minimum offer?"
"He didn't want to give an amount, but he said he'd match what you're getting now as the minimum. And, you'll get that on *top* of the actor's fee. You do
your own stunts, so he said that was reasonable. Actually, he does have a point, especially if the film has action in it."
"So, when do I get to look at this script?" Hilde grinned and scooted her chair back a bit as she dug in a drawer. "You have it?! I thought he didn't want
anyone else to see it."
"Duo. As if I'd look." The envelope was heavy, and she slid it across her desk, watching the way Duo stared at it for a second before grabbing it. "That's it.
You look that over today, and let me know tomorrow morning and I'll call and tell him your decision. He sounded really hopeful, so if you decide not to I can
break the news to him." The boy gave her a dubious look and she shook her head. "I know, like you'd turn down a starring role. On another note, I *did* get
a call in from Reginald. They're going to be filming again Saturday, so the car should be by your apartment by five."
"You know, if he doesn't hurry up and take some good footage, I won't be *able* to work on this film. The way things are going, I could be going down that cliff
for another month!"
"That's how it is when you work with someone like him. He's a born stickler, it has to be perfect." Hilde shook her head, thinking of the director in question. He
paid well, but he really spent more on the action scenes than he was likely to make from the finished movie. It was a bad way to film, but he'd learn that the
hard way. Duo was looking at the envelope in his hands and she blinked suddenly, looking to her left. That dark-haired boy was standing in the exact position
he'd taken up earlier and she stared at him in surprise. She'd forgotten he was even there; he hadn't made a sound. Dark blue eyes met hers and she
glanced at Duo, wondering who the boy really was. Her friend had been so vague, she hadn't wanted to pry, but her curiosity was raging. "Well, I really don't
have anything else, and I know you'll want to start reading." Duo looked up at her and she smiled at his startled expression.
"Oh, right." Tucking the envelope in his case, he leaned over the desk with a wide smile and took Hilde's hand. "You are the best agent I've ever had."
"I'm the only agent you've ever had," Hilde muttered, smirking despite the droll tone. "Get out of here, and take that statue with you."
"Huh?" Duo's eyes widened and he jerked back, blinking at Heero. "Dang, I completely forgot you were there. I don't think I've ever known someone who
could be that quiet." Heero nodded sharply and he flashed another grin at Hilde. "Well, I'll read this and see you tomorrow. Thanks a lot."
"Thank me if you take the job," Hilde reminded him, "so I can get my cut." Her smile belied the cold-hearted 'agent' talk and she waved him toward the door.
* * *
Duo didn't say much as they moved back down the building, and Heero found himself scowling at the boy. He'd never felt so confused, and he knew he should
have understood the conversation he'd heard. They were speaking the same language, but he didn't know what they were talking about. He had seen the
emotions Duo had gone through, though, and he'd wanted to interrupt them on more than one occasion. Staying silent and confused was one of the hardest
things he'd ever done, but he hadn't had a choice in it. Duo's quick words to stay quiet had been an order, whether the boy intended them as such or not,
and he hadn't been able to get around the command since there'd been no danger. They were nearing the wide doors that led to the street when Duo
stopped and glanced at him.
"Are you really planning to follow me everywhere I go?"
Heero nodded, frowning for a second before he realized the command had been lifted. "Yes."
"Well, I was thinking. If you're as quiet as you were up there, it might not be so bad. But I'll have to figure out some way to explain you, who you are."
"I can't tell you that," Heero said darkly, his eyes flicking away. He hadn't wanted to before, and now he *couldn't*.
"Right," Duo said, making a dour face. "But you can tell me your last name, can't you?" The boy's eyes widened for a second, then Heero frowned.
"That works. Heero Yuy, that's an odd name. But no worse than mine, right? Guess you already know my name, though, you know everything about me."
Heero's eyes narrowed and Duo blinked at him.
"No. The file was not up to date, and I don't understand what was said up there." He pointed upward, frowning when a grin curved the boy's lips.
"Really...heh. Be good and I might explain it to you, till then, I'm going to grab some breakfast, I assume you'll be joining me?" One dark eyebrow rose at his
question and Duo turned toward the door. "Keep up, then. There's a great little place on the corner."
* * *