Indigo Plateau: HQ [Kanto District Police Station] || Late Morning || 42"Yes, thank you,"
Wally heard Steven add. He might have been proud at the barely concealed anger in his guardian's voice if not for the fact that he was just so bone-crushingly weary.
Leaning in the doorway, it took a moment for him to realize that Steven had patted his shoulder. He smiled, faintly, in gratitude, but didn't look over at him. He hoped Steven wouldn't notice how tired he was."I wish,"
Steven said, his voice low and full of bubbling, simmering anger, Wally grateful for him breaking the silence regardless, "that today were over already.""Ditto."
He rubbed his face. God. End already. He felt his cousin's hand find its way to his shoulder and stay there, giving it a little squeeze. A bud of gratitude and relief bloomed at the gentle touch and he leaned into it a little bit, allowing himself to soak in the respite from Wallace's care."Well, it is for you, Wally,"
the Champion said, startling Wally in both the parental firmness and in the content of the words themselves and effectively yanking him right from his brief moment of peace. His head snapped over to stare at him. In the millisecond it took to get upset over being given the rest of the day off, he had started to calm--really, he'd just found a body. Even Wally could forgive himself for taking a break for the rest of the day in light of that.
But then Steven continued."I'm giving you the week off- ah!"
Wally opened his mouth, but the little noise and Steven holding up a finger quieted him. Oh no, no no; he didn't want to be useless! The rest of the day was fine, but a week!? "No. There's no arguing with us this time. You need it."
Fuck, he was not winning this. What to do, what to do- oh!"... Then when you guys leave to go sort this mess out, I want to stay with Col."
Colress would need someone there when he woke up. He didn't know exactly what had happened yet, but that was a pretty sure bet. The events of the last few days would have taken their toll on his emotions as well as his body, and he likely didn't have access to his pokemon. If he didn't have someone in that hospital room he would either have a potential panic attack or drown in depression. Or both.
Wally wouldn't blame him. He held his breath as Steven mulled it over."I don't see why not,"
Steven began slowly. "As long as you stay in the hospital and don't go wandering off. And have a pokemon bring you fresh clothes. Wallace?"
His eyes snapped to his cousin from where they'd been fixed on the bloodstains on his uniform. No. Do not freak out. Wipe that blood from your mind. "I'd rather him be where there are a lot of eyes on him than not,"
Wallace answered. For a moment, Wally felt like melting in relief.
Then came the second part."Though you're going to tell me more about this 'Col' guy later, ok?""Yeah, no problem, Wal."
Inwardly he was screaming. This was the exact thing Colress did not want
and yet he'd fucked it up. Was it the nickname? It was probably the nickname, he realized, feeling ill. He only nicknamed good friends. Of which he had precious few.
And that was about it. Erika was a nice lady who he was happy to do various gardening stuff for, but he'd never really talked to her openly about himself or what he enjoyed; they worked her garden together sometimes, or other times he took care of her garden when she couldn't for some extra pocket money, and she let them be in comfortable silence. It was beyond peaceful, but not the kind of comfortable he felt around his two guardians or Colress.
Cynthia was in a similar vein as Erika; he liked her; he respected her; she was powerful and intelligent and surprisingly warm and friendly. But he didn't know
her, not really. He shelved books for her in the library she overlooked in the Kanto District, and organized its files, and helped her fix various library mishaps. All for free; he wouldn't ask her for money to maintain such a precious resource (and, frankly, he wouldn't ask for money from Erika either; she just insisted) Sometimes he and the Sinnoh Champion read in close proximity, on the rare occasions there was time. But he didn't speak to her about the things close to his heart, did not let her get any deeper than the surface, and did not speak, generally, unless spoken to. She did not push, and her presence alone created a safe, relaxing enviornment in the library for him to retreat to whenever.
Both ladies let him keep his distance. Or maybe they wanted him to. Regardless, he was glad to work with them, for them, and to spend time in their presence. But he did not know them. He referred to them as Ms. Erika and Ms. Shirona.
And they were the only two people he had regular contact with outside of his three good friends. Wallace had every reason to be concerned that Wally had made a friend he hadn't said much about but had apparently decided to tag with a nickname. He hadn't even really thought of how personal a thing it could be, really. He just... it just felt natural, once he knew someone in any way broaching personal rather than casual. All of Wally's pokemon had nicknames, shortened versions of the names he'd given them. He'd given Wallace his nickname within a couple weeks of knowing him. He'd done the same with much of his guardians' pokemon.
(Really, the only reason Steven didn't have a nickname was because 'Steve' just felt weird. It didn't suit the man at all and felt wrong on his tongue and in the echos of his mind, so he discarded the name after using it once or twice to refer to his other guardian when speaking to his pokemon.)
Even as he acknowledged it was only fair of Wallace to want to know the man more, his insides went cold. Would Colress be in any state to realize he shouldn't say anything incriminating in front of his cousin? He wasn't stupid but gods knew his self-destructive streak had few bounds. If he was feeling awful enough later-
No, he scolded himself. No, he wouldn't have to worry. Colress was not in any state to be seen today by someone he didn't know, and Wallace was a compassionate man well-versed in how people worked. That was why he'd said he
and Wallace would have a talk later about Colress. And that would be easy. It would be fine. It would all be fine. There was no way Colress had done anything so he would be cleared, and whenever Wallace decided 'later' was, he could tell Wallace the truth about how he'd met his friend and how they became friends. As long as he left out Colress's past and how sick he was, which were easy enough to omit, everything would be fine.
He had just about calmed himself down when Clair showed up. At the sight of Colress dangling lifelessly from the Dragonite's grip, the boy almost screamed."Hello boys. Could you move please? I'm afraid Mnementh is a bit large for so many people to occupy the door in front of him. As you can see he's carrying a bit of extra weight with him as well so it's best we get him inside."
Face white, he skittered to the side, staring with wide eyes at first Colress, then Clair.