Indigo Plateau (Outside Steven's Office) | Late Morning (40)
This day was off to a terrible start.
Steven spent a good part of the morning with Wallace immediately following breakfast speaking to all of the investigators involved with the case and then, when nothing came up, wandering to try to find Clair or Karen to see if they
had found anything. Unable to locate either woman, Steven decided they should take a break from the investigation and try to do a few other duties to ensure the city wouldn't come to a grinding halt while they tried to sort out the murder.
Given his eagerness to get the case over and done with, it wasn't a decision he'd made lightly. But with Sidney out of commission (and having been too sick to actually watch
the security footage with Karen as a result) and Karen not turning up, it seemed best to try to calm frustrations before either of them lost it. And they couldn't
sacrifice certain duties in running the city. So it was for the best, however reluctant Steven was to choose it.
Now, with the hour up and the Champion feeling like he would much rather go pass out in bed and forget anything existed, Steven trudged towards his office, where he knew he would find Wallace. Whenever Steven was needed around the city, Wallace always went here to do his paperwork for him, a fact that he both appreciated and hated.
It gave him less of a pile to work with later whenever he wanted to avoid sleep.
As he approached his office, he paused for a moment, noticing something fairly short and with four legs running down the hallway. A moment later he realized what or rather, who
, it was. His insides went cold.
Any other thought fleeing his head, he picked up his pace and came up behind the Delcatty in the doorway as she chattered to Wallace, pawing at him."We gotta go! Now! Wally found a body, I think!?"
His stomach felt like it was in freefall. He could almost hear wind roaring in his ears. "I don't know all I know is that Orion let me out and there was a dead person and Wally freaking out!"
Without another word she pushed off from where she had been on her hind legs, front paws in Wallace's lap, to rush back out the door, Steven stumbling against one doorjamb to give the cat room to exit. Casting Wallace a look of silent terror and fairly sure his face was white as a sheet, he turned and ran after her.
She was fast, but she knew how to be slow enough not to lose them. Steven didn't say a word the whole way there.
When they turned a corner to find a lump on the floor down the hallway and, a few feet from it, Wally huddled into Orion, Steven felt himself being kicked into high gear. The mind previously blank with numb terror switched on. Now there were too many
thoughts, but he avoided letting them slow him down and came to a stop by the boy's side.
Fighting his urge to drop down and hug him (instead opting to let Wallace do that and avoid crowding the terrified child) Steven glanced over at the body, swallowing. The leader in him cried for him to at least examine it and the crime scene. The human in him quaked at the barbarity of what had been done, wrestling with grief and fear; something else inside him, something that he had not felt since the day of the outbreak, called to mind moments of horror, however hazily he rememebered the overall incident that had spanned several days, with dizzying clarity. It yelled that there was danger near, that they should flee. To trust nobody, because anyone could be a threat. It will be you, next.
It was the back-and-forth of Wallace and Wally's voices that pulled him from the dark depths of his mind. Wally had not been there for those indescriable days, but he'd found Wallace relatively quickly. Watching his best friend and his best friend's ward speak to one another, Wally huddled into Orion, Steven recalled a time when Wally had mentioned how it was thanks to Orion that he had lived to see this place.
He'd declined to share this information with Wally at the time, but Wallace had been much the same for him, grounding him and helping him get in contact with gym leaders, telling them all where to go, and then helping him wander around and help find whatever stragglers they could. They'd seen so much death those several days...
But somehow, as if Wallace were a good luck charm, they'd avoided seeing any of the cruelty Steven at witnessed between humans that first twenty-four hours it all went to hell, before finding Wallace. He had expected to see more of it, to be reminded what people were capable of when trying to save their own skins... but all he had seen was empathy towards one another as they'd picked people out of rubble and saved them from small hordes of undead. Was it luck? Or did Wallace just inspire people to be kinder? He had no idea, but he was grateful they hadn't seen any examples of human evil. Already reeling from shock and struggling to grapple with the daily danger, horrors blurring together until it was a hazy mush and he couldn't remember all of what had happened just a day ago, the Champion was fully convinced it was only due to Wallace that he had found the strength to go out there and save as many stragglers as he could, and bring them all to HQ. If not for him, he wasn't entirely sure he would have been able to keep even himself alive.
Silently, Steven thanked Wallace yet again for saving him in more ways than the man even knew of. There had been so much death back then, and thanks to Wallace, he was still here.
He took a deep breath and made himself look at death again, all this time later. Still unable to bring himself to move closer to examine it, he eyeballed it from where he stood right near his friends."That... didn't happen long ago,"
he croaked after Wallace had finished his barrage of questions and Wally had done his best to answer them, trying not to shake as hard as he was. "Di-did- did you see anything? Anything at all?"
Wallace had been the mother hen and confirmed the boy wasn't harmed, so now he had to unfortunately pick the child's brain to see if he knew anything. This might not be the same culprit--he had no idea who the victim was but if he turned out to be anyone important, Legends save them, because the crimes could be linked. He really hoped they weren't.
(I assumed that Wallace immediately started asking Wally a million questions and Steven would never bother asking Wally what he did before Wallace satisfied his fears over Wally's safety, so assume Steven's questions came after Wallace and Wally's little 'are you hurt what happened etc' conversation. Also, Steven didn't end up catatonic like Wally did and was at least 80% functional; Wally didn't tell Steven that his mind basically exited stage left so while Steven was in a baaaaaaad state as the world fell apart, he has no idea Wally was worse.)