"You wanted to see me, Miller?"
With a laid back smile, Kaz looked up from his office desk while shuffling the day's—finally complete—paperwork away, into a drawer.
"All set to practice? I'm finished up here."
Stringing his acoustic around his shoulder, ready to head out with the young blonde who leaned against the wall, he blinked at her hesitation. Was something on her mind? He knew the truth—Why she was really at Militaires Sans Frontières—but hoped Paz wouldn't discover his own dealings with Cipher—And most importantly, that Snake wouldn't ever find out.
"Oh! It's nothing." The 25-year-old spy's false cheer immediately returned, as her eyes meet his.
"If you're concerned about Zadornov escaping—again...", he calmly prodded, hiding his smirk with a scratch to his nose.
Confusion immediately sunk in, the beginnings of fear in her tearful eyes at the thought of some scary old Red running amok throughout Mother Base. She just wanted her country to return to some measure of peace, the false sob story Snake had bought a few months back with some hesitation. "I—I don't know what you mean." Kaz had to hand it to her, she was a very convincing actress. Zero knew what he was doing.
"Don't worry about it." He flashed a grin, "So we're a duo instead of a trio, no big deal—And I promise I won't sing since Cécile's tired of it."
That earned a genuine laugh from Paz, Kaz chuckling alongside her.
Was all this nothing but a false peace—a deception—when Mother Base had given them both something akin to a home?
A familiar chestnut head poked into the door, a tired but cheerful 42-year old male questioning: "How's the Peace Day practice going?"
"Hey....you." Kaz hoped his playful grin would hide the fact he had a bad tendency to forget that poor chief combat medic's name. "We're just about to practice down at the Mess. Should be empty for a few hours until the dinner crowd gets there."
"You'll really enjoy today's dish I helped Amanda and Cécile research!", Paz cheerfully offered.
"My break's almost over, but I'll be looking forward to it, Paz. And I'm sure the rest of the staff will." His grin matched Kaz's while offering a teasing two-finger salute against his temple.
Saying their goodbyes to the older man, a comfortable silence fell between the two-person band once they were alone again.
Spirits high—Kaz had to admit Snake and his personal doctor was cute as hell, though who at MSF wasn't fun to flirt with?—he offered his free arm to Paz, guitar against his other side.
Holding back another genuine giggle behind her hand, the blonde woman happily linked her arm with Kaz's. "Let's."
It was just three days away, she reminded herself as they left the room that Big Boss and his subcommander shared. Surely she could find a way to stall for time regarding work, to celebrate Mother Base's Peace Day...
Kaz blinked to clear away the old memories, vaguely aware he was staring off at the ceiling fan within his office in FOXHOUND.
Drumming a prosthetic finger against his desk, his eyes fell to an acoustic guitar in the corner of the room, his mind wandering. He finally decided on arm and leg prosthetics in '85, once he had enough time to process the future of Diamond Dogs, and the acceptance of his fallen MSF and Diamond Dogs family members alike—the blonde let out a breath.
Dull eyes behind aviators caught today's date on his wall calendar: September 21st, 1995. The world had caught up with what MSF long ago started—tried to start—offering an annual day of peace.
Perhaps surreal that a U.S. black ops military facility—backed by that man's people and ever looming organization within the States—would celebrate, FOXHOUND offering humanitarian relief wherever they could, while some off-duty recruits would visit family back home or enjoy a rest on base—but such peaceful days were certainly welcome.
His door slowly opened, the blonde calmly flipping his ponytail back. He entered the office, Kaz in the back of his mind terribly missing the med-phan-no, Venom Snake these days. Still, Ocelot was apparently assisting the man in Outer Heaven, no longer any need for his self-imposed hypnotherapy when "Ahab" was the unknown leader of that slowly growing South African nation...
A feeling of dread grew within the back of his mind as he feared just where his training David would ultimately lead—Yet all the Hell Master could do in such a scenario would be refuse to take part in the operation. He hated the thought of losing either his best student and dear friend David, or permanently losing that emotionally intimate bond with the phantom.
With a weary sigh, Kaz spoke in an even tone. Before him was the man he wouldn't have a problem with permanently losing... "Yes?"
"At least you're speaking to me today.", Big Boss pleasantly offered, trenchcoat falling about as he sat in the blonde's guest chair.
Behind the 'safety' of his desk, Kaz just rolled his eyes. Older and slightly wiser at age 49, his anger from the '80's would never go away, those physical and emotional scars lasting the rest of his life, but at least time had helped with tempering it—Slightly.
"We both know what day it is, Snake." He refused to call him Boss, these days. The man truly worthy of the title "Big Boss" was, depressingly, an ocean away.
"Not using a free day to get in extra training with David?" Big Boss lit up a cigar without asking, Kaz hating how even today that scent would cause butterflies to flutter in his stomach.
"No.", the blonde noted Snake's detached tone when speaking of the younger Snake: For Big Boss, work was work, but a personal relationship with David?
Miller hated to admit he could vaguely relate with "family" stress; balancing work and his occasionally rocky marriage at home. Yet little Catherine, already 12, was a joy. A light in his dark life—thankfully—despite the mess.
He blinked out of his thoughts yet again, realizing Snake was silently offering a drag from his cigar, fingers and the smoke itself extended. A bitter smile across his lips as he accepted the peace—heh—offering, enjoying an awkward, indirect, kiss.
"Only because it's today." He dumbly offered before inhaling, then casually holding the cigar with a hand.
Christ, he certainly missed this...Unsure if he meant his former phantom limbs, or Big Boss.
"I know, Kaz." There were the beginnings of a warm smile across that gray 60-year-old's features.