When Leon had come staggering in an hour late that morning from being hungover, he knew the day was not going to be a good one.
“Kennedy, you’re late.” Janice, the receptionist for the station tells him, looking over the thick rim of her glasses.
“Oh, thank you for reminding me Janice.” Leon tells her with sarcasm as he walks past her. She doesn’t think anything of it, she knew what a smart ass Leon was.
“Hey, by the way-” She starts but he cuts her off.
“Janice, I need coffee.”
“ Jaaaanice , coffee first.”
She stands and follows him to the coffee pot that was nearly over spilling.
“You look like shit you know that.”
“Aw Janice, how sweet! You know I look gorgeous!” Leon chides with a playful smug grin.
She huffs out a sigh as she fiddles and fixes his collar, dipping down his sunglasses down his nose to find his eyes. He was tired, his eyes were bloodshot.
“Hungover. How did I know?” She asks, replacing his glasses. “Three things. Anderson wants you to come check out his farm, there’s a bunch of dead cows out there.”
“Prolly just some assholes killing them.”
“No, Leon. He sounds more concerned about it than that. And there’s 25 dead. Said they’ve been ripped apart, open, blood everywhere. He says it’s a mess.”
“Great. I have the stench of rotting flesh to look forward to. What’s the second?”
“Lieutenant Branagh wants you to train the rookie today. He’s waiting for you in Reception.”
“Oh god !” Leon exclaims in frustration, throwing his head back. Goddammit, he would have dragged his ass out of bed sooner if he knew it was going to be this kind of day. “Are you serious? That kid ?”
“And how old were you when you started here?” She asks him, trying to prove a point.
Leon sighs, rubbing at the back of his neck. “Alright, fine. What’s his name?”
“Matthew Winters. Prefers Matt. 21 years old and fresh out of the academy. Marvin wants you to take him along with you today.”
“Okay… what’s the third thing, hit me with it Jan, can’t get any worse.”
“Redfield’s waiting for you at your desk in West Office.”
“Oh yeah, what’s he want?” He asks her, pouring in a massive amount of cream and sugar into his coffee before she takes the dispenser from him.
“Not he. She . You drink too much sugar, y'know.”
“Claire?” He asks in utter confusion.
Janice nods her head. “She’s pretty upset. Something about Chris-”
“Where is he?” Leon asks, stirring his morning concoction together.
“That’s why she’s here. Chris isn’t here Leon.”
“Did he call in?”
“Nope. Haven’t heard from him. No one has.”
He nods to her and prepares for the worst. It was going to be quite the shit show if Claire was here…
“I have been waiting for over an hour!! Where the hell have you been?!” Claire angrily inquires as she stands, greeting Leon who enters through the door of the West Office. Fellow police officers that were still at the station stop and stare at her outburst, gawking at the both of them.
“Oh, it’s nice to see you too, Claire.” He tells her, paying no attention to the curious eyes as he places his coffee on his desk and sits in his chair.
“Chris is missing and you’re sitting here making jokes!”
“Now how do you know that he’s missing? I’m sure he’s around, he probably just overslept or something.“ He suggests although it was highly unlikely. Chris didn’t miss work often and it definitely was not like him to not even call in.
“I called him four times this morning Leon! Four! He didn’t answer! He always answers!”
“Well, maybe he’s busy! C’mon, Claire, stop worrying so much.” He tries to reassure her.
“Have you seen him?”
“I saw him yesterday before I left, yes.”
“And he left in his car?”
“Yes! Why the hell would he not?! Look, Claire, I’m sure he’s fine, he’s just probably-”
“His car isn’t in his driveway!”
Well, now that was weird.
Leon is quiet for a moment as he blinks at her behind his dark shades. She was worried, yes but something else in her eyes told him that this was no ordinary plea for help. She was scared, terrified even.
“How do you know that?” Leon asks her.
“He’s my brother Leon! I know where he lives! I stopped by before I came here! His car is nowhere to be found! Leon, look, I know you’re probably busy but this is serious. I–I’ve got a really bad feeling that something’s happened to him!” She tells him.
“Well, maybe he just went on vacation or something. Hell, everybody needs a break every now and then Claire.”
“Went on vacation without telling me? Or the station? That’s not Chris, it’s… this is weird! Something is wrong, I’m telling you! I-”
“Alright, alright Claire, look I’ll file a report and try to get a hold of him. I’ve got a couple of other things to do today.”
“He’s a police officer! Just like you!” She reminds him.
“I’m well aware of that Claire!” Leon counters her with a rather annoyed tone.
“Then shouldn’t it be your top fucking priority to find the whereabouts of your fellow officer?!”
Leon sighs heavily as he removes his sunglasses, leaning back in his chair. “Claire…”, he says, running a hand through the loose strands of his blonde fringe. She stands suddenly, leaning over his desk, her eyes staring directly into his.
“You may not give a fuck but I do! There is something wrong ! I feel it! His line won’t even go through, says some bullshit about the number you’re trying to reach is not available! Chris is missing! Gone! I don’t have a clue where he is or what’s happened to him and… are you hung over ?” She finally stops.
Leon opens his mouth to answer her but he doesn’t need to, she already knows. She pushes back off his desk, pure fury clearly written on her features, crossing her arms tight across her chest.
“Oh, so that’s what this is all about! You’re too goddamn drunk to give two shits about finding a fellow officer, not to mention a close friend!” She snaps, turning on her heel to grab her coat and bolts towards the door.
“Claire…” Leon calls after her but she’s quick to address him, stopping at the door to turn back to look at him.
“ Fuck you Leon ! I’ll come back later to talk to a real officer who happens to give a shit about their job and isn’t a wasted fuck up of a drunk like you are!” She shouts at him before whipping her red hair behind her and disappears out into the main hall, muttering insults of him under breath.
Her comment really hits him hard in his chest and he feels like a piece of shit. She was right, he should have been here earlier, on time at that. If Chris really was missing, then this was serious. He should be taking it more seriously and he wasn’t. He jumps up out of his chair and heads out of the office to try and catch her before she could leave.
“Claire!” He calls to her but she doesn’t stop, leaving him behind in her rage.
“Claire, c’mon…” He follows after her, his long legs carrying him as fast as he could muster without breaking into a sprint.
“Claire, will you just stop for a minute-” He finally manages to catch up to her and reaches for her hand before she stops for him, jerking her arm away from him as if his touch were made of poison.
“Get your hands off of me!” She snaps.
“Claire, look, I’m sorry-”
“Sorry’s not going to cut it this time Kennedy ! I have known you since high school, he’s known you since high school! I know you two are close,” she mentions and a slight sliver of panic rises in his chest at the comment. Does she know just how close they were, how they… had become?
“This is not you! If it were you out there, alone, gone, missing , Chris would be out there, examining every inch of the city looking for you! For any of them! Goddammit Leon !” She exclaims with hurt, turning to go once again, the tears she had been fighting spilling down her cheeks as she shoves past the door and drifts out into the courtyard.
Leon stands in the hall of the lobby defeated, his eyes fixed on the floor. He can feel Janice’s and the rookie’s gaze on him as he stands there trying to process what had just happened. He laments though, sighing heavily again for what seemed like the hundredth time that morning as he looks over towards Janice.
“Jan, I need you to get one of the officers to file a missing persons report for Chris Redfield.”
“Jan, please . I’m gunna take him with me to Anderson’s and then I’ll stop by and check out Redfield’s place, alright?” He nods his head toward the younger cop that had sat waiting for him. Janice nods without another word before Leon turns his attention to Officer Winters.
Janice wasn’t lying, he was young, bright eyed and over enthusiastic as he stood to meet his fellow officer.
“Winters?” Leon asks.
“Mmhm!” The younger nods his head excitedly as he extends his hand and Leon takes it.
“I’m Leon Kennedy. Listen, I am so sorry to have kept you waiting this morning. I know this isn’t a very good first impression.”
“Oh, it’s alright. Don’t worry about it Officer Kennedy.” The younger assures, a wide bright smile painted on his face that reached his vibrant green eyes.
“Oh, please, Leon is fine.” Leon tells him as he lets go.
“Oh, alright. Leon.” Officer Winters corrects himself per Leon’s request.
“I hope you’re ready because we’re going to have a long day.”
“Yeah, sure! Absolutely!” Winters exclaims brightly. Leon can’t help but grin at his enthusiasm. It wasn’t so long ago where he shared the same kind of attitude, excited, determined and maybe even a little naive. He sure as hell had been although that rush he had felt seems to have faded over time, his job as a police officer having become more of a chore than he would have ever wanted it to be.
“Alright, follow me.” Leon tells him and the younger officer obliges respectively, following Leon out into the parking lot and climbing into the passenger side of his fellow officer’s Jeep.
They make their way out onto the road and Leon’s fairly quiet as he makes his way towards Anderson’s farm. He finds it quite unusual that the rookie next to him isn’t asking a bunch of questions but he’s rather thankful for it.
“So, um, was that woman, I mean, is she your girlfriend?” Winters asks, wanting to break the silence that had suddenly made him uncomfortable.
“No.” Leon chuckles. “No, that’s Redfield’s sister. You met Chris yesterday?”
“Yeah, he’s really nice! Is, um, is there something going on?” Winters asks with genuine concern.
“She thinks Chris is missing, I’m having Jan file a report.”
Winters doesn’t comment right away, weighing the situation in his mind.
“So, a missing police officer?”
“Oh yikes …”
Leon huffs out a light laugh. “Yeah. Yikes, indeed.”