Squall flicked through the folders he held carrying them to Laguna's office. He had been on his way to Kiros' office as usual that morning when Ward had stopped him, forced a bunch of filers into his arms and pushed him in the direction of Laguna's office. He had been a little put out that people here seemed to see him as a messenger but he didn't argue with Ward.
Squall realized he had never been down this area of garden before except to go to Laguna's office, he wondered what else was down there. The door to his father's office was shut and a secretary sat at her desk outside. He knocked on the door.
"The president's not in his office at the moment."
"I'll leave these on his desk." Squall said opening the door.
"Actually I can't let you go in there without-"
He walked in through the double doors, the office was empty as he expected. He placed the files on the desk, walking around it to look out the window. The view was the same one from his balcony in his room except that he could see a garden directly below, he could make out grass and flower beds although it looked far below. He didn't know Esthar had gardens they seemed to have more technology than nature.
The secretary came in. "I really have to ask you to leave."
"What's down there?" Squall asked.
"I don't think the president would be happy about you snooping around his office."
"I'm his son, he won't mind. What's down there? It looks like a garden, I didn't mind Esthar had gardens."
"Oh." The woman blinked. "I didn't think the president had a son."
"I'm new here, how do I get down there?"
"I wasn't informed about any son of the president coming."
"Should they tell you?" Squall looked her over.
She huffed and folded her arms. "Look I've worked here a long time and I know the president quite well and I know his wife died many years ago and he doesn't have a son."
"Seventeen years ago." Squall corrected. "When I was born."
"He doesn't have any children! You're trying to trick me."
"How do I get down there?"
"If you don't leave I'll call security."
"If you answer my question I'll go."
She sighed. "It's just a patch of grass and a few plants. Take this corridor as far as it will go then go down the stairs that are there at the bottom are patio doors, it's out there."
"Thank you." He said, turning to leave.
"I will tell the president you were here and where you went."
"Fine." He said, walking out.
Ridiculous woman. He thought, shaking his head as he headed down the corridor and stairs like she had said.
How could anyone employ someone so useless? He found the door where she had described and opened it, stepping out onto concrete that led down to a lawn. Flower beds were planted up on either side of the grass and large white lilies towered into the air halfway across the lawn.
Squall stepped onto the grass walking down to see how far he could go. A bench stood beside the lilies with a stream running through it.
How quaint. He mused.
What was this place doing here? He didn't think Laguna was the gardening type; he'd probably fall in the stream. He smirked at the thought.
Squall moved his arms over his head in a stretch and removed his jacket it was a hot day and he felt boiling in his leathers like he was being cooked by the sun. Lying out of the grass he removed his shirt over his head too. He closed his eyes, arms and legs stretched in all directions, the sun felt good on his bare skin. He dozed lightly on the grass and later a while fell asleep.
Kiros had been at work for an hour when Laguna looked in.
"I don't know."
Laguna frowned. "You didn't tell me he was missing."
"Missing? He's not an employee, maybe he wanted an off day." Kiros reasoned.
"I don't think Squall knows what that means."
"So you're going looking for him?"
"I am and you're coming with me."
"What? I am? Can't you just update me?"
"No, you'll volunteer to help me."
"I will? When?"
"In a minute when I ask you."
Kiros sighed, he knew the drill. "Fine go ahead and ask me then."
Laguna walked round to the other side of the desk. "Kiros please-" He poured on the puppy dog eyes look. "Come with me to help me find my son, don't be a meanie and let me get lost in this great big palace again." He added extra emphasis on the pleading look.
Kiros struggled for a moment before sighing. "Alright fine I'll help you find Squall."
"I'm going soft aren't I?"
"What'd you mean going?" His friend teased.
Kiros rolled his eyes. "Have you checked his room?"
"No I came straight here in case he showed up for work."
Kiros gave him a look causing Laguna to turn in the corridor towards the guest rooms. "I'll check his room then." He stopped suddenly and turned to call back to Kiros. "Ask Ward and Jenny if they've seen him!"
The dark man nodded and headed to Laguna's office to ask Jenny who was Laguna's secretary and Ward's fiancée if she had seen Squall.
The blonde woman was behind her desk as usual, she looked up as he approached and smiled.
"Hi." She greeted.
He smiled. "You busy?"
"I'm looking for someone, Laguna's kid actually. Brown hair looks like he's in his late teens?"
She blinked. "I didn't know Laguna had a kid."
"Ward didn't tell you?"
"He knew?" Her grip tightened on the pencil she held. "I'll kill him."
Kiros smirked, thinking he'd just dropped his friend in it.
"I know the guy you mean though he was here, walked into Laguna's office and not paying me any attention when I said he couldn't go in there."
"That sounds like Squall; do you know where he went?"
"He was interested in the garden, I told him how to get there but I don't know if he's still there or not."
He nodded. "Thanks." He waved goodbye to the woman then headed down to where he knew the garden was.
The patio doors were still shut but that didn't mean Squall wasn't down there, he pulled a door open and stepped outside.
It was a nice day. He thought, hot too.
He froze when he caught sight of the figure on the grass, lying spread out, limbs in all directions. Squall lay sleeping in the thick grass, eyes shut, chest bared and gorgeous. His chest rose and fell as he dozed lightly.
Kiros watched the beautiful young man, yes young too young. He reminded himself.
He cleared his throat causing Squall to stir, his eyes blinked open at the sky. He frowned, turning his head to look up and back at his dark friend behind him.
"Hi." He said sleepily.
The older man smiled at the confused expression.
"Laguna's looking for you."
"He is?" Squall leant up on his elbows. "Why?"
"I don't know."
"Is it because I didn't show up at your office this morning? I thought he wouldn't mind."
"Not because of that or at least I don't think so."
"How'd you find me?"
"Laguna's secretary told me where you'd be."
Squall grimaced. "Awful woman."
"Accused me of lying about being Laguna's son just to trick her."
"Well don't tell Ward you don't like her."
Squall gave him a questioningly look.
"She's his fiancée."
Squall frowned. "Ugh women, I don't know what anyone sees in them."
The other man smiled. "Well- yes."
He watched Squall flop back on the grass with a smile. Squall didn't smile often he realized and he matched it with one of his own."
"What was that smile for?" He asked.
"You agreed with me." He answered. "Normally at garden I'd get an earful for saying something like that."
"Bit outnumbered we are at garden."
Squall tapped the ground beside him. "Sit."
"I should do some work."
"Laguna won't mind, sit. I'll take the blame."
The other man smiled and took a seat on the grass beside Squall. "Was that an order?" He asked as he sat with his knees pulled up to his chest unlike Squall who was sprawled out.
"Yes, obey me."
The door behind them squeaked open. "There you are, did you find-? Squall!" Laguna yelled at his son.
Kiros caught the wince from the brunette.
"I see you found your mother's garden."
The brunette looked up. "I didn't know she was ever here."
"Well no but if- you know I thought this would have been hers and I had it kept nice for her."
Squall nodded, looking round. "It's pretty." He looked back up at Laguna. "Why were you looking for me?"
"Oh I got you a ship, I'll free to take you round it now if you want?"
Squall nodded. "Okay." He got up and half waved to Kiros who smiled in return.
On the way to ship yard Squall managed to act like he was listening to his father's rants about this and that.
"You'll like the ship at least I hope you will, it's blue and has potential though a lot of work is needed but you like that right?"
Squall nodded. "More to do is good." He mumbled.
They got down to the ship yard where Laguna pointed out a small ship about half the size of the Rag.
"Here it is." Laguna opened the sliding metal doors that tried to eat him by shutting on him. Squall helped to pry them open and they slipped inside.
Most of the ship looked like it was about to fall apart any second there was a small briefing room and a large bridge. The sliding doors opened up onto a hallway that linked the two rooms together.
Squall was about to lean on the wall but he didn't know if it would take his weight.
"It's - nice," he said, eyeing the broken equipment.
"Does it move?"
"No but I thought you'd like to do that too."
"If you want anything ask the mechanics I've told them to be useful."
Squall frowned. He didn't think that would go down to well with the workers here.
"Coming back to the palace with me?"
"No I'll stay here a little while longer."
Laguna nodded. "Okay, get the feel of the ship."
Squall got the feeling this ship belonged in a junk yard but still - he'd give it a go.
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