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Save Points

Title: Save Points
Fandom: Final Fantasy VIII
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Laguna, Squall, Ellone
Rating: AA
Summary: Squall is in Balamb, Laguna is in Esthar, and Ellone is... missing!
Notes: Parallels 2013. For lynndyre.

Squall never answered his office phone on the first ring. If he answered it immediately, that would imply he'd been waiting for it to ring and wasn't a very busy person.

Most of the time, he was a very busy person. Or, at least, seemed to have a lot of paperwork to deal with compared to what he thought he should have.

The second ring was iffy. It would be polite, but would still imply that possibly, he wasn't doing anything else. Not that he wanted callers to think they were inconveniencing him. They were not, most of the time. Sometimes they were, but it was bad business to let them know that.

Most of the time.

The third ring was a tiring ring, during which Squall supposed he should answer the phone.

"This is Commander Leonhart--"


Squall twitched. It was Laguna.

"Didn't mean to go right to the top, but do you think you could round up Ellone for me? I want to ask her about a couple of things." There was a faintly apologetic tone in Laguna's voice and Squall would have given him a pass, except...

"Ellone isn't here," he said. "I thought she was with you."

"She said she needed to check in with the White SeeD ship and then she was heading to visit you," Laguna replied. His tone shifted immediately. "That was more than a week ago."

Squall's blood ran cold and he nearly dropped the receiver.

"Get the Ragnarok in the air and pick me up on the way," he managed. And then he hung up. He didn't doubt Laguna would comply.

"Kiros! Sir Laguna!" Selphie bounced over to Laguna's seat on the Ragnarok, which Esthar had reclaimed. The airship had landed just long enough for Squall to board - along with Selphie and Zell just in case there was going to be a fight.

"I wish we were visiting under more pleasant circumstances," Kiros admitted. "But it is good to see you three."

"What do we know about Ellone's travel plans?" Squall asked, pushing up beside Kiros at the controls. Selphie and Zell slid into bridge personnel seats without comment.

"Pretty much just what I told you," Laguna said from behind him. "We're heading to usual White SeeD territory in hopes we can spot them from the air. If Ellone isn't still with them, at least they might know where she headed. I haven't had any luck contacting them."

"I hope the White SeeDs are okay," Zell added. Both Squall and Laguna winced in his direction. Squall hadn't considered that anything might have happened to the White SeeDs and apparently, Laguna had tried not to.

"It looks intact," Kiros said as they came in low over where the White SeeD ship was currently docked in an easily-missed little bay. "No signs of distress."

"Good," Squall said. "Let's--"

"Let's land and see what's going on," Laguna finished. He gave Squall a little smile. Squall wasn't quite sure he was ready to have Laguna finishing his sentences, but he could manage. They had a common goal, after all.

Kiros landed the airship nearby with little difficulty and they all disembarked quickly.

"This is as close as you could get?" Squall asked.

Kiros nodded. "From here on, there isn't anywhere flat enough for the Ragnarok. It can land on uneven things, but that--"

He gestured out at a field of large, jagged rocks surrounding the bay.

"It's fine," Laguna said, stretching. "It'll be a quick walk."

"As long as there aren't--" No sooner had Selphie opened her mouth than there were indeed monsters.

A pack of buels rose up quickly, blocking the precarious path to the bay.

Squall was armed, at least, as was his team. Kiros had his blades, too, which meant-- No, Laguna wasn't toting anything along. Squall would have noticed something like Laguna's favorite machine gun.

One buel lunged at Squall while he was aiming at another, but before he could react, a shot rang out and it fell. Selphie finished it off a second later, while Squall was dispatching the buel he'd initially had in his sights. Zell and Kiros took care of another two without much fuss.

"Not bad," Laguna said with a chuckle, slipping the safety back on a small handgun and tucking it into a holster at the small of his back, hidden under the flap of his untucked sea-blue shirt. He gave a lopsided smile when he saw Squall staring. "Kiros insists."

"For situations like this," Kiros added.

"I can see the ship," Zell noted, bouncing ahead a bit. "There's a pair of SeeDs out front and everything looks fine. That's a plus."

Squall nodded. Hopefully, they'd know Ellone's whereabouts.

"...spilled a cup of coffee in it," Ellone concluded with a sigh, pointing at the dead communications console on the ship. "So I promised to stay until Rick and Merritt returned with parts. I didn't realize I'd be missed so quickly."

Laguna blushed and gave a little sigh. "I just wanted to know when you'd be visiting again. There's a new restaurant that's really fancy and you have to have reservations months in advance."

Squall nearly opened his mouth. This was all about restaurant reservations? But then again, anything could have happened that wasn't a cup of coffee in the communications console. Laguna wasn't even involved in that. And if anything had happened to Ellone...

Well, this was all for the best.

"Pick a day and I'll be there," Ellone said, smiling and stepping over to give Laguna a little kiss on the cheek. "And thank you both for worrying. But I am going to stay put until everything is fixed."

"We'll stay with you," Squall offered. "Laguna can head back to Esthar--"

"Actually, I served on a ship like this for a bit," Laguna said as he looked around. "And I don't think it was a cup of coffee and it wasn't me - I swear - but..."

He knelt down and half-crawled under the communications console before anyone could comment. Kiros looked a bit like he wasn't really sure what he wanted to do. But in the end, he accepted a metal panel and proceeded to relay Laguna's requests for supplies - flashlight, pliers, rags, more rags, to see the coffee cup in question because there was a lot of coffee still inside the console and he wanted a mug that could hold that much coffee, more rags and... finally, the panel to put back in place.

Squall hadn't actually seen most of what Laguna had been working on, not from the inside, but he'd accepted and dried off every delicate part that Laguna had removed and handed to him. There hadn't been any left over when he'd given them all back.

Squall was... fairly impressed. Or would be, if the console worked.

"Okay," Laguna said, reaching to turn everything on once he'd gotten to his feet. Instantly, the entire console lit and a soft static-filled feed started pouring in. Two White SeeDs cheered. Selphie jumped up and down a few times.

Laguna smiled. Ellone hugged him.

And Squall... took a deep breath.

"You're going to have to teach me to do that someday," he said.

There were other things, too, Squall knew. But they could start small.


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