SECOND CHAMPIONS FANFICTION! For anyone wondering, Timmy is the boy in pyjamas who said "We missed you" to Susan in teh first fic

Richard, Sharron and Craig were in Tremayne's office when Susan walked in. Her head was lowered, tears streaming down her face.

"Susan!" Tremayne exclaimed.

"What's wrong?" Sharron asked.

"D-don't worry. It's nothing. Just… pretend I'm not here," Susan sniffed. Richard stood next to her, putting a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"It certainly doesn't look like nothing," he noted. Susan kept her head down, not wanting to make eye contact with anyone, least of all Richard. She didn't want him to see her cry. She wasn't entirely sure why, though. If it were just Craig, or even all of them without Richard, she mightn't have been so shy, but she simply couldn't cry in front of him. With Craig, she felt she didn't have to be so grown up all the time, but Richard… she didn't even know why she was more grown up around him than the others.

"I'm not crying," she assured, "I'm not!"

"Of course you aren't," Sharron soothed.

"There's just something in your eye, right?" Craig added.

"Mhm…" Susan confirmed, nodding slightly.

"Well, then, come with me and I'll help you get rid of it," Richard said, guiding her out of the office.

"Now," he said when they were safely out of Nemesis, "are you going to tell me what's wrong?"

Susan hesitated. Just tell him, she thought to herself, He's Richard. Richard'll know what to do, won't he?

"It's…" she sniffed, biting back another wave of tears, "Timmy. He's the smallest… Was the smallest… He died this morning."

"I'm sorry," Richard said sympathetically.

"It's not just him, though…" Susan whimpered, "It's been going on for a few days now. They get sick, then not a day later they're dead!" She burst into tears again, not bothering to hide it as she gazed up at him, "They're my family! There's only five of us left now, I can't let them all die like this!"

She ran a hand frustratedly over her face, "I should've acted sooner. The moment I knew something was fishy about it, I should've told you. But I just let it carry on, thinking I'd never get anywhere without proof it wasn't just… I don't know… a really bad flu or something. I mean, it still could be, but… Timmy."

"Susan…" Richard knelt in front of her, putting his hands on her shoulders, "Calm down. Now, I can't promise we'll find the answer quickly, but we'll do what we can," he assured. Susan gave him a watery smile.

"I'm glad you're honest about things, Richard. I… I told Timmy it'd all be okay, even though I knew it wasn't. I suppose it made him feel better, but I felt guilty that he didn't understand what was happening… I'm happy that you think I'm grown-up enough to know the truth. I think I prefer it to a false promise." She sniffed, wiping the back of her hand across her eyes and smiling up at him, like a fangirl awed by the presence of their idol.

"Susan! I thought you'd be here!" A girl with long brown hair rushed suddenly up to them. She was wearing an old, ripped top that was possibly white once, and a torn blue skirt.

"Rebecca!" Susan ran to greet the girl, who was a good few inches taller than her, "Richard, this is Rebecca Morriss, she's my second in command, even though she's two years older than me, of course. Rebecca, this is Richard Barrett. He's a good friend of mine. He can help us!" she introduced. Rebecca gasped, looking hopefully up at the man.

"You are?" she asked excitedly.

"I can try," Richard replied.

"I… I think you'd better come back to the alleyway with us, sir," she sighed at Susan's puzzled expression, "It's getting worse. Scott and Laura went down at the same time, not five minutes ago."

"What?" Susan exclaimed, darting away without a 'thanks for letting me know', or even a 'see you there!'