"Whoa, whoa, hey," Steven said, some because it sounded okay for a lead-in but mostly because stuff had just escalated and changed a whole lot faster than he'd been expecting and a little verbal filler gave his mind a few moments to catch up. "How about if the guy's backing off? Like I said, I think we're all on the same side here. No reason to wreck each other when everyone else is gonna try. And besides, you don't know what I've got up my sleeve. Shoot me, maybe I die but maybe I spend the rest of my life trying to make sure you do too."
It was taking a lot of work to not blow his lid and scream at Kat, explain that, no, he was pretty much trying to keep Theo from being panicked, at least until he could get the guy alone. He wanted to scream at her, call her an idiot for killing and break down exactly why it was not only an immoral choice but also a stupid one. She was ruining everything, making it likely he'd lose out on both fronts.
He'd hoped to separate the two when he'd arrived, but had been more interested in ending up with Theo. Two on one was a fight he couldn't win. Him against a gun was a fight he couldn't win, not when it was pointed and ready and Steven only had a chair leg and a pillowcase full of rocks. Him against Theo, though, now there was a fight he was starting to suspect he could carry.
Something had obviously gone seriously wrong for the boy. The announcements had said he'd killed Xavier with his own gun the day before. That was interesting, since he'd already had a gun prior to that, had shot both of his initial victims. So why had he needed Xavier's gun, and where was it now?
And the answer of course was that it wasn't anywhere, because Theo hadn't been carrying a bag. He'd looked roughed up. Something had happened, and now, now he was likely desperate. All the calm walking off into the sunset in the world couldn't hide it from someone who'd paid enough attention to know the score, but the infuriating thing was that Steven couldn't do anything about it if he got gunned down here. He had a real chance to accomplish something. Maybe he could make progress with Kat instead, but her demeanor made him doubt it. No, this was a battle he'd need some decent weaponry for. He'd had some ideas as to how to overcome that issue before, but they wouldn't be half as believable now that he was on the spot.
He took a few steps backwards, keeping his eyes on Kat, his hand hovering near his pocket. It was about posturing, now, sowing just enough doubt too keep her from making any rash decisions. Kat was still semi-rational, it seemed, and that meant she was killing to survive. Threaten that outcome, she lost all reason to bite. And Steven needed to get away.
It wasn't even that he was afraid to die, for that was still the inevitable endpoint of this mission. Losing out before trying would be humiliating, but hubris had no place in doing what was right. No, he had to get away because he knew which direction Theo had gone. If the boy just kept on walking, catching him would be no problem, but his rapid departure made Steven suspect he'd change directions or go to ground once he was out of sight. That was alright. Steven had another stop in mind first anyways, and now he could roughly isolate which quadrant of the island Theo was in.
Steven was realizing that searching was going to take a lot of his energy, and he'd need to be fast to comb the place in a reasonable time frame. An idea was brewing to minimize both those problems.
So he kept moving, slowly and cautiously distancing himself from Kat, all the time half expecting she'd open fire anyways. As soon as he made it to an alley, Steven ducked down it to break the line of fire. Then he quickly sprinted to the other end, made his way out, and began to circle through the area, keeping away from where he'd seen Kat and keeping track of which way Theo had gone. At the same time, he kept his eyes open for what he was searching for. He'd know it when he saw it.
((Steven Salazar continued in Loretta, My Darling
((Passive GMing of Kat not shooting Steven and letting him bail approved))