|solo (soloing) wrote in valarlogs,|
@ 2019-10-13 18:02:00
|Entry tags:||!complete, napoleon solo, william laurence|
WHO: Napoleon Solo & William Laurence
WHERE: the Park
WHEN: Last month
WHAT: A random meeting
Considering his dreams were a constant shift back in time, Napoleon was dealing with the slip back and forth with reality. It usually meant he needed to find a little something to reconnect himself back with the current time frame. Usually a little time on the smartphone would do him just fine, but it was a little harder that morning, resulting in Napoleon taking a morning to himself to wander through some park in town.
He’d taken a newspaper, but it was all so depressing that Napoleon had opted not to open just yet. He was just sitting, watching the world pass by, with an orange juice dangling from his fingertips.
Thankfully, he had the time to just sit and let things acclimatise all over again.
Laurence sometimes had the same problem when he first woke up after a dream, though hardly to the same extent. The world during the Napoleonic Wars was very different, and all Laurence had to do to bring himself back to the present time was to turn on a light switch, or use running water.
He’d woken up early that morning, and had gotten dressed in a pair of light jogging pants and long-sleeved shirt instead of his normal suit pants and dress shirt, and was going for a jog through the park. While generally he liked to keep his training to the military base, where no one except his fellow sailors or officers would see him doing something as undignified as sweating, it was a beautiful day out and it would be remiss to not take full advantage of the beautiful weather.
He saw a familiar face sitting on the bench in front of him, and he slowed. It was impossible to forget the face of the man who shared the name of the self-styled emperor from his dreams. He took a gulp of water from his water bottle, and discretely wiped the sweat from his brow with the handkerchief he pulled from his pocket before he closed the distance entirely.
“Mr. Solo,” Laurence said warmly. “Enjoying the fine weather?”
It wasn’t entirely unfounded to meet people around Orange County, even less so to run into those same people. He’d seen William a few times at the coffee shop here and there, when Napoleon stopped in, although he was sure it was neither of their regular places.
So seeing the man, apparently enjoying some exercise for the day, wasn’t too far out of the realm of possibility. “Quite, it’s far too nice a day to stay inside.” Especially when he wasn’t expected at his current client’s place of residence until after business hours. “You look like you’re enjoying the weather with entirely too much activity for my own tastes.”
“One of the requirements of the job, I’m afraid,” Laurence said. “It is a lovely day out, however, and I cannot say that I’ve not been enjoying myself. May I have a seat?”
“Of course,” Napoleon settled the newspaper down, folding it over his knee. It wasn’t like he needed to move up the bench or anything. “It is a good day, thankfully not overly hot.” He couldn’t imagine running if it were stiflingly hot. “Or you’d need to chug water constantly.”
Laurence took a seat next to Napoleon. “I’ll confess, I’ll only run on air conditioned tracks on those days,” he said, with a bit of a smile. Perhaps he was spoiling himself, but there was no need to get unnecessarily sweaty for no good reason. “Especially these days. I’m afraid I had always taken air conditioning rather for granted up until recently.”
“I can’t say running in general is a past time I’m terribly fond of.” Napoleon was active, sure, and he could sprint when needed, especially if it was to escape something. But just running for the sake of it certainly wasn’t his idea of relaxing or fun. Far too sweaty, and not in an enjoyable way.
“To be fair, I think we all do, until we don’t have it.” Like when the AC went out in a hot, muggy New York summer. Definitely something to miss. “This isn’t your usual run then?”
Laurence hardly wanted to complain, but he couldn’t help but quietly agree with Napoleon. Running was far from his favourite pastime, but he knew that it was important that he stay in tip-top shape for his job. For one, he could hardly count on his men to maintain their own fitness if they saw their own captain slacking.
“No, I’m afraid not, even if it has proven to be an enjoyable one so far. I generally keep my workouts closer to the barracks.”
Napoleon was aware that there were a good few trails to run, areas to take a good jog or test your endurance, knew that there were groups that did so on the regular. “Well, a little variety can’t hurt.” As much as he didn’t run or engage in the hobby to keep in shape, Napoleon was of the opinion that it was always important to keep things new. Even if that was just where you were running that day.
“Easier to deal with things if you’re closer?” Napoleon wasn’t sure what Laurence did, although it presumably had something to do with barracks now. But he could understand being close to a familiar area.
“Partially,” Laurence said. “Though I also like to set a good example for my men.” That, and there was the whole indignity of having other people actually witness Laurence working hard enough to sweat. That was something that was best left unseen, as far as Laurence was concerned. “One of the jobs of a naval captain is to be someone to look to.”
“I could see how that’d be an important part of the job,” in any leadership role it was all about having that example to follow, rather than having the age old superior that was above doing what the men did. “I’m positive they appreciate the role model all the same.”
Laurence seemed to have the kind of approach that was open for his men to come to for anything too.
“I do hope so.” Laurence would never presume to know for sure, but it was a belief he held close to his heart. “I don’t believe I’ve ever asked what it is you do, Mr. Solo.”
Napoleon was getting rather used to fending off questions about his profession, “Corporate acquisitions.” He said it with the authority of someone who knew exactly what they did, as if he were just telling someone he was a mechanic, “Tedious job, dealing with executives most days, but it pays the bills.” And then some. But it wasn’t like he’d just tell a military man that he was a thief.
“It’s mostly why I enjoy a few minutes outside where possible. Spending the rest of the day locked up in an office can be stifling.”
Laurence didn’t know the first thing about business. While his family was wealthy, most of it had come from the generations prior and from the head of the family being involved in politics for generations. He didn’t have much of a head for politics either, rather detesting the lot of it, but he was at a complete loss when it came to politics, so he just nodded and said “it must be difficult work,” instead of pressing the matter.
“I can certainly understand that. I’ve spent more time indoors since my job posting than I much care for.” More time on land too, though the Orange County had endeared itself to him over the last couple years.
“The twists and turns life takes, hmm?” Because it wasn’t like any of this would’ve been on anyone’s radar for their future. Who ever planned for having dreams of an alternate life? No one, Napoleon would be willing to wager.
Napoleon’s phone gave a ping of a reminder he’d set previously, a meeting he wasn’t exactly looking forward to at all but couldn’t possibly skip. “Sadly, the freedom never really lasts, does it? It was nice running into you again, but I’m afraid I’ll have to take my leave.” Tardiness wasn’t something Napoleon was comfortable with, regardless of how little he wanted to be where he was meant to.
“Enjoy the rest of your day,” Napoleon afixed a casual smile as he stood up, giving a nod at Laurence.
“Not nearly as long as we would like,” Laurence agreed. He knew the curse of a busy schedule, even if he had spent a long time never wanting to be anywhere but on a ship. “It was a pleasure running into you again, Mr. Solo. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day as well.”