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Unorthodox

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     "Nice car," the boy muttered as he opened the door and sat in the passenger seat. Thaddeus waited until he'd buckled himself in to start the car, flicking the lights on before he began to back out.

     "Thanks," he said, shifting in his seat as awkward silence descended. The boy slouched down in his seat, eyeing the man as they left the agency's small parking lot. What he was looking for, Thaddeus didn't know, and the man focused on driving as the child looked around the car.

     "So..." Billy began, and Thaddeus glanced at him as they took a left turn. "What do you do?"

     "Do?" he asked, and the boy nodded.

     "You know, for a living." He pointedly look around at the car, then at the man's clothing. "Not everyone can afford this kind of stuff," he said. "So, what you do? Are you, like, a stock broker or something?"

     "No," Thaddeus said, shaking his head. "My father runs Sivana Enterprises."

     "Ah," the boy murmured, nodding. "You work for him, then?"

     "Yes," he replied, turning the wheel as they took a left onto the entrance ramp to the highway.

     "You live outside Fawcett City?" the boy asked as the car merged into traffic, and Thaddeus shook his head.

     "My apartment is on the other side of the city," he replied.

     "Oh," Billy quietly said, shifting to sit back in his seat. He lapsed back into silence, toying with the sleeves of his jacket as Thaddeus glanced at him again. Uncertain of what to say, the man refocused on driving as he flipped his brights on. They drove the rest of the way in utter silence.

 

     The boy sat up as he pulled into the parking complex, looking about in mild interest as he brought the car to a stop. Thaddeus unbuckled himself as he turned the lights off, locking the car once Billy had gotten out.

     "This way," he told the boy, and they made their way back out of the streets below. Billy stared up at the towering apartments, following after him a step behind as the man turned left and walked up the entrance stairs to his apartment. He opened the door and held it for the boy, who eyed their surroundings as Thaddeus retook the lead. The man swiped his key card at the second entrance, letting the child in before he turned to the elevator. "We're on the fourth floor," he told the boy, clasping his hands behind his back as they waited for the elevator. It arrived a moment later, and the two stepped through. Thaddeus hit the fourth floor button, standing to the side as the elevator closed and began to rise. It ticked past the first three floors, slowing when it reached theirs. Billy stepped out first when the door opened, Thaddeus following after him. "It's room 52," he said, and the boy looked at the room numbers as they walked. 49. 50. 51. 52. The doctor swiped his card again, opening the door when the lock undid itself with a click. He let Billy enter first, shutting the door and relocking it behind him as the child looked around his new temporary home. "Are you hungry?" Thaddeus asked, and Billy lowered his gaze as he thought about it.

     "I'm good," he quietly replied, shaking his head.

     "Your room is this way," the doctor told him as he stepped around the boy, heading down the small hallway. He gestured at the room to the left, Billy looking around as he stepped inside. It was a simple room- Thaddeus hadn't bothered with trying to decorate for him. "My room is to your right if you ever need me, and the bathroom is back down the hall to the left."

     "Ok," Billy said, unslinging his backpack and tossing it onto his bed. The man hesitated, uncertain of what else he could say.

     "You have school tomorrow," he finally remembered, "I don't think we have any bus routes near here, but I can drive you there before I go to work." The boy silently nodded at that, and Thaddeus retreated, leaving the boy's room to enter his own. He shut the door firmly behind himself, glancing at his research table. The man then looked at his watch, considering the time, and decided against staying up to continue his studies. He changed out of his clothes, tossing them into his basket before he slipped into his pajamas and flicked his lights off. The man took his phone out and set his alarm, placing it beside his pillow as he crawled into bed.