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My part in this world

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His life was an unstoppable chain of events. He could see it now, the path chosen for him. All the decisions of his life were a mere illusion, concealed by making it possible for him to choose between possibilities. But a single man played the cards he could pick from and ultimately he followed the exact path the man chose for himself.

It was pathetic.

In the last months of his life, he felt helpless, a foreign feeling that left him uneasy and lash out uncontrollably. But he couldn’t alter his past and neither the outcome of his actions because his existence was doomed from the very beginning. And yet he perfectly played his part till the end. The old man certainly had a good laugh at this in his grave.

 

It was so very pathetic.

Was he even real? Did his existence even matter? It could have been any other men carrying the weight of his destiny. After all he was a manufactured being, like all the other children who died in Umbrellas madness. Still, his blood was unique and strangely enough, he still felt a sense of comfort in having been picked to be a powerful tool in the downfall of humanity.

And still...

He didn't give his all. The world took a blow and Neo-Umbrella is pushing further, but if it weren't for his mistakes the human race would be already replaced by perfect beings worthy of life. Spencer warned him. No. He rammed it down his throat every given moment of his childhood. Though he hardly remembered anything of that time, he clearly remembered his message.

 

Attachments make you weak. Affection is beneath higher beings and only stop human beings from achieving their goals. The world is full of monsters who would do anything to fulfil their desires. Giving a part of yourself would mean giving someone else the chance to destroy you. The only relationship that Spencer granted them or rather conditioned them to have, was the love between a parent and their child, the love to their created family. In retrospect, it made sense to be bred that way to ensure they would follow Spencer's orders and work as a unit.

Even after all his effort Wesker still grew attached to someone else outside of the small circle. It certainly was not love. The sheer idea was outrageous. But it was an unhealthy obsession. Maybe he got infatuated with the younger man because his acceptance into S.T.A.R.S. and his involvement in his life was one of his very few own choices. Maybe it was the way Chris was selflessly sacrificing his limited time on earth to save other people.

It was irritating. People act on hidden desires and selfish motives. Even the seemingly kindest person helps others for some sort of personal gain. Often people don't realize those motives and that they do take these actions to satisfy a need. He knows those motives all too well. During his whole life, he observed people, studied them to the fullest (something that was part of his education) and soon mastered to read them perfectly. It was always the same. But Chris was somehow different.

 

No, that's not it. There must be some form of motive for Chris' self-destroying actions. It could be very well the fact that he was unable to save his parents and his colleagues, the guilt of survival eating away at him. And maybe that was indeed the reason behind his actions. Chris let this nasty feeling completely consume him and thus is repeatedly risking his own life for others while Wesker himself hardly had been given chances to truly live his life for himself. Spencer made sure of that.

That's why it was only fitting to be killed by Chris, to end his pitiful excuse for a life. With a few words, with the way he dismissed his whole existence, Spencer was able to shatter him and made him walk down a dark path of destruction and insanity. It was sickening how much power he was holding over him even long after his death. Maybe that's why he hadn't given his all in Kijuju.

But fate was cruel.

The pain was agonising.

 

_______________________

 

Chris Redfield rushed through the long white corridors of the facility, tensed and unnerved, blatantly ignoring all the heads that turned his way in curiosity. He gave a damn about his appearance right now. The message he received still left him deeply unsettled.

'He is fucking alive!'

The B.S.A.A. tried to hide this information from everyone. Probably to turn Wesker into some sort of fucked up experiment of their own to fight more efficiently against the ever-increasing bioterrorism attacks. They might expect to get some answers out of him or gain crucial intel on creating cures as well. He wouldn't put it past them to torture him at this very moment, having him locked up in a small cell and isolated from everyone else. No one deserved such a fate, not even Wesker.

He only found out through Rebecca. She was assigned to Wesker’s case, whatever the hell that meant.

 

Chris reached her office and burst into the room. With a startled gasp Rebecca jumped around and looked at the rude intruder. She clearly hadn’t expected any visitors. "C-Chris? What are you doing here?"

Her eyes widened in realization. "You came for- no. Chris, this is not a good idea! You can't-"

"Rebecca, please," he cut her off right off the bat, his voice desperate. There was no time for this. He needed to see him with his own very eyes to believe. He needed to know. He needed to see if he really was still alive.

Rebecca's eyes softened in understanding but she hesitated with giving an answer. "Chris, trust me. You shouldn't see him. No one should," she replied gloomily.

That gave Chris pause. What was going on? What else did they hide?

He tried to stay calm and ease the tension in his shoulders. After a short moment, he searched her eyes, pleading with his own. "Rebecca, please," he repeated more softly this time, "I have to. You know I do."

 

She sighed. Without any more words shared between them, she led him through the building until they reached a sealed-off corridor. They entered a place of high-level security. Not even he was allowed into these parts of the headquarter. Somehow, while walking down the first corridor, Chris got the feeling that he didn’t want to know what else is hidden behind the doors in here. He just wanted to find that one room.

Chris looked around as they walked down the narrow paths. It seemed like nobody was permitted to be around here, making him wonder if only a handful of people were permitted access to this area. This didn't settle right with him. Something was definitely wrong down here. There must be more horrible hidden secrets down here… The way Rebecca pleaded with him to forget about this...

Said woman stopped in front of the door at the very end of the corridor, pulling Chris out of his thoughts. It was a simple plain white door but something was ominous about it, making his hands sweat and the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. This was odd. He knew what was behind this door but at the same time, he did not. Chris had no idea in what condition Wesker was in. Suddenly, the idea of forgetting about this seemed rather appealing.

 

Rebecca remained silent and stepped aside, making her intentions clear to stay outside and give him his space. Not a good sign.

Chris fumbled with the door handle, trying to get his nerves back under control and pushed the door open.

The room was cast in a dim light and had an eerie atmosphere. A certain smell was in the air but he couldn't pinpoint what it was. There were various machines gathered around a curtain which was hiding a bed. Like in a hospital. The intensive care unit of a hospital to be exact. 'What the hell?' Chris slowly stepped closer, holding the curtain in an iron grip. He wasn’t sure anymore what to expect. After counting to three in his head he moved his hand to draw the curtain to reveal-

"My god..."

 

Chris tried to force his eyes to look away, hoping this was some sort of dream but he knew that this was indeed very real. In front of him were the burned remains of a corpse.

That's the smell.

Burned flesh.

But this is not a fucking corpse. This was a living body.

 

He felt sick at the sight, the smell causing his nose to wrinkle as it hit his nostrils. For quite some time, Chris wasn't able to take off his eyes from the burned black skin of Wesker's body. Smaller parts of his body were an angry red, though, most of it was black as the night. All limbs were miraculously still attached but chunks of his flesh were missing, making it an even more atrocious sight as Wesker’s chest lightly moved up and down as he took in shaky breaths.

He was breathing and alive. And probably in enormous pain, kept alive at all cost.

 

No one deserved something like this.

 

This was him.

 

He caused this.

 

It took all of Chris’ strength to not break down right here and then and throw a chair against the wall.

 

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The silence was deafening.

 

Besides Rebecca and himself, no one entered Wesker's room. No visitors, no doctors, no other scientists. Even Rebecca's visits were short, involving taking samples of Wesker's blood, his skin, anything really, and analysing it to find a way to help him, for he didn't heal. He also didn't get worse but no treatment helped either. It seemed like he was trapped between life and death, making no progress towards any side, staying in a comatose state shielded away from the real world.

 

Chris caught Rebecca mumble a few times when she thought he wouldn't hear her. Things like 'How is he still alive?', ‘The tissue should be dead’, 'This isn't possible', 'How could they find him hundreds of miles away from the volcano?'

 

The last one was a shocker. How indeed could Wesker manage to get out of there on his own, let alone crawl such a long distance in his state? It was sheer impossible. This implied, if he couldn't have done it alone, someone else must have helped him. Someone who just abandoned him years later. It all made no sense and just added to Chris' headache.

At the same time, her other comments felt like several brutal punches to his stomach. The feeling of sickness was coming back and the last thing he wanted to do is stay in this room with Wesker and keep watching his unmoving, disfigured body. He was ready to puke.

 

Not that he cared. He didn’t. He shouldn’t. But somehow he did and Rebecca did as well. He could have tried harder, finding another way to stop Wesker or at least made sure the man was actually dead and not suffering for years. Wesker was in this horrible state all those years and it was partly Chris’ fault. At least that was what his conscience was telling him.

The silence had passed the point of discomfort. It was unbearable and felt like a dark presence looming in the dark casted room threateningly. His nerves were forming a knot in his throat, making it nearly impossible to speak. What should he say anyway? It was not like Wesker was consciously there, eliminating their chance to interrogate him. There was no reason for him to be here. To be kept alive.

Ah, yes. Wesker also wouldn’t die on his own.

 

He inhaled deeply and took his hand from his stomach -he couldn't remember holding his stomach to ease the feeling of sickness- to rest on the bed, close to Wesker's.

There was still no sound besides the low breathing.

 

Looking at him, his face and body would start anew the twisting of his guts, so he opted for staring blankly at his hand. He had already seen his fill. Wesker's wounds were still open, turning his already mutilated body into quite a grotesque feast for the eye. Blood was everywhere. The scarlet liquid on his body emerged from so many pores, it left several stains on his body. Were they even necessary? One must think if it weren't for the blood transfusions, he would be dead. But no. He survived for unknown time inside this death trap of a volcano and also outside of it, somewhere in the deep jungle of the surrounding area or a laboratory or anywhere else on this continent.

Did he just survive to spite him? To torment him? How much longer did he have to bear this, would he need to punish himself before he could leave this room forever? Chris knew the answer, somewhere in the back of his head, but he didn't acknowledge it. He couldn’t leave without making this right or ending it forever.

 

Lost in his thoughts he took hold of Wesker's hand and started tracing cracks in the demolished skin there. The touch wasn’t intended to be comforting or anything of the sorts even though it was. It was spurred on solely by his curiosity and it didn't give him any peace. Nevertheless, he was remaining still, swallowing the rising bile in his throat. In all honesty, he was just waiting it out, hoping Rebecca would burst into the room with some form of a miracle treatment or the order for a mercy kill.

 

And then something made him jolt in his seat.

The faintest touch against his fingers fuelled his heart to beat hard and unforgiving against his chest. Chris mechanically forced his eyes to look into Wesker's face immediately, searching for any sign he was truly there and alive. It would lift at least part of the burden of guilt from his shoulders. As time proceeded, Chris grew tired of awkwardly watching him for any further movement. He might have imagined things.

 

Then suddenly, the slightest tightening of fingers over his hand.

 

Chris swallowed again as it began to dawn on him that Wesker finally left his previous state. He would without a doubt be able to feel the pain now… or again. This made Chris nervous. Would he be able to react, to lash out, and to scream in pain?

"...Wesker? Can you hear me?"

 

For a long time, there was nothing. Then his hand lightly tightened around his own again. Nothing else.

 

"Okay," Chris began, ruffling his other hand through his short hair to calm down a bit - if that was even possible anymore, "Squeeze my hand once for 'yes' and twice for 'no'. Can you do that?"

Again silence was consuming the room, making the air in the room scream with tension.

 

One squeeze.

 

Good. Okay. Great. He could work with that. That didn't hinder the nasty feeling of being unable to get enough air into his lungs, to return to him. Maybe he should look for a trashcan just in case.

"Are you in huge pain?"

 

One squeeze.

Shit.

 

"I-I will tell Rebecca to give you all the pain medication in this room."

What followed was silence. It drove Chris insane. In a fit of lacking any other options of what to do next he resumes stroking his thumb over Wesker's damaged hand. Another uncomfortable moment of silence followed after he had stopped his ministrations when he had started to wonder if what he was doing with his hand was appropriate and welcomed. Someone like Wesker could interpret it as a gesture of humiliation rather as one of comfort.

 

He slowly continued his thumb's movement as he implored: "Should I stop? Should I leave?"

Chris felt like kicking himself. What unbelievable stupid questions. Especially when directed at someone like Wesker-

 

Two squeezes.

Huh?

This left Chris with a loss for words.

And it came with a bigger shock when Wesker seemed to enjoy his other hand stroking his head and face as well a while later.

 

--

 

The pain was deafening.

 

He was plagued by sharp little pains in every fibre of his body - like needles being stabbed into his flesh over and over again - a constant dizziness and the awful feeling of his whole body being still on fire. Especially his lungs felt like they were burning and it made him want to scream in agony but his body refused to obey him. Even his senses were malfunctioning, feeling strong waves in certain area and numbness in others. It felt like he had blackened out, though, he was still there.

He felt trapped.

Almost like being imprisoned in his own body. A truly horrifying feeling, one he had never imagined suffering from. Consequently, Wesker couldn't witness anything that happened around him or to him. He was at whoever's mercy and that thought alone was as unpleasant as one could imagine. But there was also the possibility that he was already dead and this was his personal hell and that thought was truly frightening.

 

It certainly felt that way. How else could he explain the leaps between this immovable world and that nightmare of a place he had to constantly run away in...

 

This other place he had to spend most of his time in, although there was no time in this world. There was no real sensation but pain. There were no living people. Just he, death and the nightmares of his memories. It was the most excruciating thing happening to him in his entry life and for the first time since oh so very long ago he felt like crying.

Maybe he just went insane.

Maybe none of this was real.

 

But then finally a real thing. Something that felt real. A touch.

Finally something.

 

By the time he was able to feel it, vaguely locate it coming from his hand, it stopped. If he had been able to, he would have cursed aloud. Shortly after losing his focus again and his being stepping back into the darkness that consumed his mind, another soft brush against his hand pulled him back anew. It was a comforting warmth that surrounded his hand, crept up his arm and soon enveloped his whole body like a blanket. As it happened he regained some of his senses back. He was alive. Now he was certain of this.

And then the pain got stronger, bordering on being unbearable. Despite that, he clung to the feeling of warmth against his hand. He couldn't stay trapped in his own mind any longer. Or this other world. There was no greater hell. The pain was nothing compared to it.

 

"-ker? Can you hear me?"

Chris.

 

Of course, it had to be Chris. It was always him. No one else.

Wesker tried to say something but his body still refused to move. It made him resent himself and Chris even more. To be at Chris mercy. He honestly didn't know how to feel about it. Everything else, the pain, the dark voices in his head and his memories were too much to bear to even concentrate on anything else. The only thing anchoring him right now, for the first time since his death, was Chris' hand.

Miraculously he was able to squeeze it.

 

"Okay. Squeeze my hand once for 'yes' and twice for 'no'. Can you do that?"

"Are you in huge pain?"

"I-I will tell Rebecca to give you all the pain medication this base has."

 

Why did he even bother? To a certain degree, he was responsible for all the bad things that were happening in Chris' life. He should hate him, be disgusted with him, kill him. Right now he should use his hands and strangle him to death. Or smash his head in. End it. Do anything other than holding his hand and being so irritating nice to him.

 

Wesker realized with a shock that he was glad Chris kept hold of his hand.

 

Attachments make you weak.

 

Years ago he wouldn't have allowed himself such a weakness. He needed to be strong and cold, a greater being. A perfect human, above them all. But now a mix of odd emotions flooded through him. It made him feel like a foreigner in his own body, completely out of place. He wasn't going to submit to those weak emotions. He wasn't going to. But he did.

He should be disgusted with himself.

 

He really should have been when he mourned the loss of the soothing touch of his thumb.

 

"Should I stop? Should I leave?"

 

Yes.

 

Two squeezes. No.

 

...Why?

Why did his body betray his mind?

He kept wondering why as the touch of Chris' other hand was even more welcomed and accompanied with less aversion than the one before.

Chapter Text

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Time passed.

 

It became a habit. Chris stroking Wesker's hand and face.

It was the only thing to bring Wesker back into a conscious state. Nothing else could awake him as he seemingly slipped further and further away into darkness. They couldn't let this happen, they needed him awake. It also kept his heart rate down considerable which in return relieved Rebecca. That way he could help two people at once. It was still weird, though.

This new habit even had a special rhythm.

Tracing a thumb along his forehead, moving over to the side of his face, drifting down his cheek and then resting next to his ear, staying there before starting anew. Each movement of his thumb was slow and deliberated, cautious and feather light in nature - an outsider would assume the way he touched him was to show his love but it arose from worry of damaging the skin even more.

 

That was it.

That was the only reason.

It kept Wesker's heart rate down.

And it pleased Rebecca.

Wesker was still a monster after all.

And it was still his fault that he was a burned corpse in unbelievable pain.

Damn, he wished he could be anywhere else right now.

 

They hardly 'talked'. Wesker's consciousness was a rare thing. If he was responsive at all, it was hardly for a few minutes, when they were really lucky it lasted longer. None of Rebecca's treatments showed any results and it frustrated them both immensely. Even the BSAA grew tired of playing the waiting game. Nevertheless, Rebecca stayed persistent and kept on trying.

Chris could see it clearly written across her face. She was just as affected by this as he was. To what extend he didn't know, neither if it caused the same kind of contradictory emotions in her as Wesker's state did in him, but it did cause her to miss a vital amount of sleep.

 

Which is why he found himself with a set of two coffees walking back into Wesker's room. Room 204.

 

The scientist was hunched over Wesker, applying another new created formula. She didn't even notice him walking back inside. "You should take a break, Rebecca. There are already dark circles under your eyes."

She didn't even look up when she replied to him. "I can't. Time is running out," she began as she checked his wounds, "If I don't find a way to extend the time of his consciousness and a better way to communicate with him, the BSAA will order me to erase his life. And I can't do that, Chris."

 

"I just can't do that. Neither can you, Chris, right? Or do you think you are ready to end his life, again, when he lies here so helplessly?"

 

Finally she looked up. After only a second realization set in. Her features softened and guilt replaced the anger and frustration she felt just a moment ago. "I am sorry, Chris. You are here to help and we really need new information from him. You even took vacation to do so. And this affects you more than me and here I am, snapping at you, while you- you even bring me coffee and I-"

"And you should drink the coffee as long as it's warm."

That being said he handed over her coffee. Chocolate chips, whipped cream, cocoa powder and all that. Her sweet tooth was worse than Wesker's.

 

Hm.

That thought brought up wistful memories from a time when they were all happy and working together in the STARS unit. With Wesker... It made him wonder how much of Wesker's behaviour back then was actually genuine? Did any of his true character show through or was it all an act?

He clearly remembers Wesker being a scatter-brain, forgetting where he put things, because he concentrated on so many other things at once. Or the few times he fell asleep over his desk when they worked on difficult cases. And also all the times he added a shitton of sugar into his coffee, leaving a few of their crewmembers bewildered and wonder how he didn't gain any excess weight. Especially Enrico was disgusted by the sight.

Enrico, the one who Wesker killed in cold-blood.

And all the other deaths he was responsible for.

 

As they say, there is no remedy for memory.

 

Chris understood that Wesker was not like any of them, never could have been and never had the chance to be. They did find the Wesker-Files after all, and their content revealed that he was raised to be a sociopath absent of all human emotions -and a massive prick; Chris still had a burning hatred for the man and a lot of resentment towards him, but...

Damn. The last thing he wanted was to feel any form of sympathy for him.

He needed a smoke. Pity he quit.

 

Shit.

Did Rebecca just say something? It seemed urgent.

 

 "Huh?" Smooth, Redfield.    

 

"His body just twitched!"

Immediately Chris reached out to grab Wesker's hand, whose fingers were moving. It was the faintest movement but nonetheless, it happened, he was definitely awake. And he did wake up on his own accord. That was strange. Normally Chris had to maintain body contact for quite some time -or Rebecca, though, she seldomly did so for she had to work in her lab- before Wesker could pull out of his comatose state.

Did her treatment work?

"Wesker. Do you- Are you feeling any better?...Rebecca tried out a new formula."

 

One squeeze.

 

"Oh my god. Does it actually work? How?" was Rebecca's excited reaction, "I hardly changed anything for the new one. I just added the-"

 

She paused.

 

Chris glanced over at her, an uneasy fluttering settling in his stomach.

"What? What did you add? Something is wrong, right?" he implored, and given the time she needed to answer him, his gut feeling was probably right.

 

Yes, there was the guilt written over her face again.

"Rebecca, what did you add?" demanded Chris, his patience running short these days.

Maybe he shouldn't have been so harsh with her since she tried everything in her power to help Wesker survive, but he couldn't help it. Their situation was so fucked up and it made him question so much in his life regarding Wesker, for he had too much time to ponder over it now. His thoughts going directions he rather wished they wouldn't, making him hold Wesker's hand the slightest fraction tighter, probably hurting him.

 

" I was desperate! You have to understand, Chris. I had to try everything. We are running out of time!"

 

What the fuck.

 

"Rebecca what did you do?" he tried to ask as calmly as he could. A rather hard task these days.

 

She casted her eyes down, unable to hold his gaze. "I received a package. The lab couldn't trace it back and there were no fingerprints or any other traces," she started and Chris hadn't the slightest clue where this was going but it probably wasn't anything good.

 

"There was a vial in there and a letter," she continued and then took another break, probably trying to come up with a good way of explaining or defending her actions. Hesitating only for a second, she took out a folded paper from the pocket in her lab coat and opened it.

 

"...The letter said: The stairway of the sun enables people to rise to be greater beings, until they reach the highest point of their abilities and burn in the flames of the sun after climbing the last step. But just as it can destroy and burn you, it can make you be born anew from the ashes of the flam like a rising phoenix. Use it."

 

What the actual fuck.

 

"You did not just use it without knowing who sent it and what it could do?" he questioned her. It was hard to miss the accusation in his voice, but he wasn't able to hide his anger. This was reckless. This was unusual of her. All patience was gone now.

 

"Chris, I- I had no other options left!" it came bursting out of her mouth.

"You used the raw form of the virus mixed with who the hell knows what else was in that vial and didn't even analyse it!?"

"I heard them talk about stopping the funds for the development of a cure for him!"

"That doesn't justify any of this! What if it makes everything worse?! What if it kills him?"

"I had to do something!"

 

Just when the argument was starting to escalate, there was a hard squeeze, fingers tightening around his hand with considerable strength.

 

"Chris, what else-"

"Rebecca, wait!"

 

She immediately understood by reading the emotions shown on his face and glanced at their still intertwined hands. All their attention was now focused on Wesker. Something in the conversation made him react. The only questions left were what exactly perked his interest, and would it reveal any useful information for their dire situation.

 

"Is it 'the stairway of the sun'?" was Chris first guess.

One squeeze.

Good. Wait. Wasn't this the flower from those underground ruins in Kijuju that were responsible for the original virus?

 

"The one Umbrella and Tricell used. The one in the secret garden," added Rebecca, just to make sure.

 

"Yeah. The BSAA secured the area. No one can enter it."

 

Two squeezes. Strong ones. Did he regain more of his old strength?

 

"What do you mean with 'no'? The area is untouchable for anyone else," clarified Chris, getting another unsettling feeling in his middle-regions.

 

One squeeze. Wesker's fingers were moving individually now. The formula definitely worked.

 

But what did Wesker mean? First he disagreed with the ruins being secured but confirmed that the area is untouchable for outsiders. It made no sense. Those two answers contradicted each other which made him wonder if he plainly misunderstood him. What did he miss? It couldn't be that someone in the BSAA worked for Neo-Umbrella or another company which concentrated on bioorganic weapons. Right? He frowned at that thought, sitting up in his chair.

 

Suddenly Rebecca gasped.

 

"You didn't mean to answer Chris' statement with 'no'."

 

What? His confusion was clearly showing on his face, making Rebecca turn her attention to him and giving him a proper answer.

"He meant it wasn't the flower from the secret gardens of the ruins. Chris, there is another place somewhere out there where these special flowers grow."

 

One squeeze.

 

Chris didn't know if he should feel relieved at being able to present the BSAA with some new important information which would spare them from committing cold-blooded murder on Wesker any time soon or frightened by the fact that another company could have found this place and was now harvesting the raw form of the virus. With their usual luck and the special package they recently received, Chris had a big hunch that someone dangerous did in fact find that place.

 

"Where? We have to know where, Wesker."

 

"Chris, we can only ask him 'yes or no' questions. And even going through a list of regions will take forever," reasoned Rebecca.

She was right.

Just as Chris was trying to come up with a question which would limit the number of possible areas, Wesker's hand started to move. It startled Chris more than his other movements before due to the fact that he didn't try to squeeze his hand, no. Wesker tried to... turn it around? But he also didn't let go of his hand. Strange.

Within seconds Chris moved along to help him turn it around. To what avail he didn't know.

 

Wesker's hand slackened its grip around his own and he began moving a single digit slowly over the palm of Chris' hand. Realization set in instantly. This was another try at communication, using his finger to form letters, thus allowing them to speed up the process and acquire more information. While this would help them, Chris' vaguely wondered how much more strength Wesker would recover and if being around Wesker would turn dangerous anytime soon.

 

However, he discarded the last thought as soon as he understood his message.

'HELP'

 

Someone like Wesker wouldn't ask for help. Certainly not. This would be a sign for weakness in his own fucked up notion of human behaviour. The Wesker-Files left no doubt in that. Therefore leaving only one other option: His help in exchange for their help.

 

Wesker wanted a deal. That son of a bitch.

 

If it weren't for the fact that it would make him feel more guilt, he would hit him right in the face. Hell, it wouldn't even be satisfying to show his annoyance, because Wesker still couldn't open his eyes.

 

"You want a deal, huh? So you realized that the BSAA would get rid of you as soon as they got all information out of you. That is if nothing changes their mind or legally binds them to keep you alive."

 

Nothing. No reaction at all.

 

Chris felt his jaw clench and shot up to his feet, letting go of Wesker's hand. "What? Do you want more? Should we roll you in a fucking wheelchair into the next secret base of Neo-Umbrella? Maybe add a few hostages to kick off a better start?"

 

"Chris," cautioned Rebecca, most likely trying to calm him down.

Yeah, that was kind of blunt and insensitive. Especially towards Wesker's victims. His temperament certainly got the better of him. And his confusion in the last few days didn't help either.

 

"Wesker, do you want a deal?" Rebecca tried now as she reached out for his other hand and mimicked Chris hold from just a few seconds ago, being the more level-headed of the two. Chris on the other hand... Regardless , while Chris was still fuming inside, he focused his attention back on Wesker's hand, actually waiting for an answer this time.

 

What?

 

No. Help.

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"What?"

 

A moment of silence followed, both Chris and Rebecca at a loss for words and not the faintest idea how to react. Why else did he ask for help? What was going on?

Chris was glad Rebecca took over their conversation, because he wasn't sure anymore how he would react to any further messages from him. Probably snap again.

"What do you mean by 'help'? Is it the pain?" enquired Rebecca, keeping her calm remarkably.

 

No. Not alone.

 

"Not alone? What do you mean by- are we being spied on?"

 

No. They are dead.

 

Okay, that was enough cryptic bullshit.

"Stop. Tell us clearly what is going on. I don't care how long it takes you to spell it out, I will even get a pen to write it down." Chris stared at Wesker for moment, waiting for an answer, before he decided to go ahead with it anyway. Quickly searching the room, he easily located what he was looking for. After picking up a nearby notepad and pen, they were promptly handed over to Rebecca. They needed answers. Fast. "Okay, Rebecca's got a pen. Go ahead."

 

They are all there and they are dead.

When I am not here I am there.

It is dark and they die again.

 

Chris stilled, frowning at the three sentences for a second, before turning his attention back to Wesker's hand.

 

A lot of things.

Can't hide.

I am already dead.

 

This made no sense at all. It only raised Chris' suspicion that burning in that volcano might actually made Wesker lose it completely. Not that being sane was an attribute he would have labelled Wesker with before Kijuju.

 

We are trapped.

Inéz. Merah. Piers.

 

A sensation of shock and bafflement took over Chris' body as he reads the notes Rebecca scribbled down on the notepad. This was not possible. How did he know their names, and who was Inéz? As far as he could recall neither of the two ever had contact with him, they certainly would have told him or the HQ if they did. There was no possible way for Wesker knowing about them and Chris immediately dropped the idea of an organisation having data on them. They would have found something.

Wesker didn't give him any more time to dwell on that thought anyway.

 

Find Kirisa. Sonnentreppe.

Eveline.

 

Two additional new names and the flower for the creation of T-Virus. It made Chris wonder if they were up against more than one organization and how much of what Wesker was revealing could be considered trustworthy, being as it could just as well be a result of hallucination or insanity caused by the enormous pain he had to endure since their last encounter in Kijuju. However, this could be incredible important information and they would have to convey it to Leon and his sister, even if it ends up to be rubbish.

 

Beep. Beep.

 

Suddenly Wesker's heart rate started rising. It came unexpected, considering that the formula seemed to work as it actually improved his condition.

Instinct kicked in, and even though he still felt strange doing so, Chris reached out and cradled Wesker's face, trying the by now habitual tactic to make him relax and slow down his fast beating heart.

 

 

Rebecca tried to help as well by grabbing his hand firmly and resting her other against his shoulder, being mindful of the gashes there. She still hadn't found any sort of medication to heal the wounds, only sealing them to stop the slow blood loss.

 

The beeping increased, signalling all his vitals rising.

 

Rebecca's entire body froze, and she mentally ran as quickly as she could through all the options she had to help him - coming up blank. She should have expected this, but she didn't as she foolishly believed the promising words from the letter. Her heartbeat jumped, not quite matching Wesker's but making her notable shake the tinniest bit. Nothing worked so far to help his condition and the warm, comforting gestures only helped so far as to make Wesker save himself. And now it failed. What should she do? She couldn't just let him die.

 

"Rebecca! Look at me!"

Her head snapped up, looking at Chris.

" If anyone can help him right now, it's you. Only you. You can do this."

Oh, Chris. He always knew the right thing to say. Chris, who helped and saved her, whilst also being the first person to acknowledge her skills and not only seeing her as a little child that couldn't be left alone in the midst of a disaster, unable to defend herself. Billy had to save her, too, at one point. No, she wasn't a young and naive girl anymore. She was so past this point of her life.  

Rebecca stopped thinking as she reached into one of the drawers of the for her specially designed reanimation cart, her medical instinct taking over. Chris watched her as she came up with a small bottle of dark blue fluid and stepped back, hovering over Wesker's body. In her other hand she held a needle which she swiftly stuck through the cap, getting the right dosage.

Please, work. After taking a deep breath she administered the fluid by burying the needle into one of Wesker's few undamaged veins in his arm.

 

Then they waited; Rebecca being the one who held her breath.

 

Only seconds later his vital signs started to stabilize again.

Rebecca nodded to herself, a tired exhale leaving her mouth, before heaving herself into a chair next to Wesker's bed. She was exhausted but also relieved, thanks to having been able help her patient and also erase her error of blindly trusting the promised effects of the package's dubious content. It seemed like it was too good to be true.

Her own heart was finally slowing down, and she promised herself to never ever doing something so stupid again, as she relaxed into the chair. Yet, she tried to stay alert, considering that she didn't know if she just temporarily stopped whatever the vial was supposed to do, neither did she know if it inflicted any further damage on Wesker.

 

Chris, however, smiled at her, the tension in his shoulders gone, "See. I told you."

 

"I definitely halted it. If I actually stopped it, we will find out only after some more time," that being said Rebecca buried her face into her hands, "God, I was so stupid."

Chris had none of that. He reached over the bed to pat her on her shoulder, though, only his fingertips touched her, making his attempt at comforting her a bit awkward. "You did what seemed right for you to help your patient. And you saved him. ...what'd you use anyway?"

She looked up again, a hint of a cocky smile gracing her lips, "You don't want to know, or rather, you wouldn't understand anyway."

"Hey!" came Chris immediate response. Then a second later, "Heh, you are right. But I picked up some of the chemical terms," which made Rebecca smile again.

 

Gradually the tension of the last few minutes left and a comfortable silence settled over the room, only disturbed by Wesker's heavy breathing. It was an improvement compared to the atmosphere in here for the last couple weeks. They were grateful for the change but it wouldn't last any longer. Too much happened in those few minutes and new leads got discovered which they would have to follow.

They acquired new crucial information and they needed to report it instantly.

"I think right now we both need another coffee."

"Sounds like a good idea."

They didn't drink it together, though.

 

--

 

"This is insane, Chris."

"I know it sounds insane, but somehow Wesker met them. And he can't have met them before Kijuju."

"But he has been in that state since then, right?"

"Yes. Probably. I know-"

"And they are both dead. Are you implying he met them in the afterlife?"

"He said he is already dead."

"Do you seriously believe any of this? "

"No! But I couldn't find another explanation so far, Leon!"

 

Chris sighed in exhaustion. He knew this sounded like crazy talk. He himself believed at first Wesker has completely lost his mind. But some things just didn't add up. There was a lot to take into account: His knowledge about Piers and Merah. The mysterious package with the vial which caused a brief positive effect before wearing off and making everything worse. Wesker's knowledge about another location where the 'Sonnentreppe' was able to flourish, even though there weren't any records of said place in the documents they found in any of the abandoned Tricell facilities.

 

Leon took pity on him and joined him against the wall, leaning next to him and casually changing the subject. "Excited to finally see your sister after months of no real contact?"

The thought of his sister made him smile genuinely for once, not like the smiles he had to force on his face to comfort Rebecca, even as he was just as tired and down as her and felt rather helpless  while sitting in that room. And now she was alone there. It is funny how his thoughts could take a dark turn so easily lately. "Kind of. Yes. Are you?"

Leon blinked. That wasn't the reaction he expected from the blond. "Chris, if you imply I want to hook up with her, then I have to disappoint you."

Ah.

"Oh, wow. No, I wasn't," he began, his mood brightening up considerable, making a low chuckle escape his lips, "But as you brought it up, please, if you ever go for her, don't tell me any details, and be careful, she can easily knock you of your feet."

This got a laugh out of Leon, resulting in a playful nudge against Chris' arm with his elbow. "That she can. Don't worry, I will stay clear of her."

 

"Stay clear of who? Leon, did another woman instantly fall head over heels for you?"

 

"Claire! Good to see you. ... And that happened once. Only once." came Leon's retort, instantly walking up to the approaching woman and giving her a tight welcoming hug. They hadn't seen each other for decades. It was good to see that she didn't change too much and was still as quick-witted as ever.

"Good to see you, too!" beamed Claire, letting go to turn towards her brother.

 

When she spoke to Chris her voice turned softer, trying to convey all the emotions she held towards  her brother. Between the two there was so much left unsaid, so much they should tell each other regularly, but they never found the time to do so. 'I'm glad you are still alive'. 'I am so happy to see you'. 'I wish we had more time'. 'One day this fight will be over and we will have the time to share all our stories, living next door to each other'. And most importantly: 'I love you'. Her final respond, however, was a simple, softly spoken "Chris" before she pulled him in a lingering embrace, trying to bury the memory of his warmth into her mind.

"Claire," was all Chris replied in answer. Maybe they didn't need to articulate anything, due to both expressing what they wanted to say in their actions and the way they looked at each other. It was clear in the way they could draw comfort from each other. This was exactly what they needed right now, nothing more. In fact, her embrace relieved some of his worries and helped him focus anew on what was important - what they had to deal with. Everything else could wait for later, since both siblings vaguely knew what the other couldn't say, but desperately wanted to.

 

After a moment that lasted not long enough, they separated, a smile on both of their faces. Albeit, it didn't last. The look on Claire's face turned serious in only a second and she looked around, searching for a place where they could talk in privacy. "Chris, Leon, where can we sit down and talk? I have some information for you and I want to know what is going on. The whole story, the big secret, not only what my superiors told me."

This was leading up to the moment Chris dreaded. He had no idea how his sister would react to Wesker being still alive. The situation was different with Leon, he had never exactly met him and was never attacked by him like Claire, so Chris already told him all the details.

But she needed to be filled in, especially since she knew about a woman named Inéz and it was time to make sense of this whole mess. Without any further words Chris led them down the corridor and opened the door on the right at the very end, holding it open for the both of them and pointing to a table with four chairs....

 

 

So, how do you start such a conversation?

 

"Wesker is alive."

 

Apparently by plunging right in.

 

May as well get the facts out fast before she has time to react.

"He is in a horrible condition, has vital information and is under the BSAA's protection."

 

Claire didn't miss a beat. "This is a joke, right?"

Bewildered, she turned her head to look from her brother to Leon, in order to confirm this revelation. While she did believe her brother would never lie about such a thing, the idea that Wesker was indeed alive seemed unlikely, impossible actually. Also, the BSAA protecting someone like Wesker? For information? That must had been fairly important information.

She wanted to argue, but Chris didn't give her the chance, placing a recently taken photo of Wesker's horrifying body in front of her on the table. The colour drained immediately from her face and a hand was raised to her mouth in an effort to silence the shocked gasp that escaped her lips. It was an awful sight. Trying to not start feeling any pity for the man, she instantly peeked up, gaze landing on her brother's face.

 

"He mentioned a few names when he was awake. One of them was 'Inéz'," explained Chris quietly, being affected by the photo as well, despite having seen the real deal, "Who is she?" - then promptly correcting his mistake, "Who was she?"

 

Sadness washed over her face, replacing the shock and anger, "... It could be Inéz Diaco. She was working for Terrasave and a very skilled woman. And a friend."

The men sitting across from her remained quiet.

"She died on Sonido de Tortuga in South America. The island belonged to Spencer. There was a secret base from Umbrella which was led by Alex Wesker's and later taken over by Dirk Miller, her trusted subordinate." Claire absently traced a finger over the photo, taking a second look at it, whilst her eyebrows drew together in a frown. "Inéz never met Wesker. Alex neither. How does Wesker know about her?"

 

"That is the one million dollar question," came Chris' short reply, keeping quiet after that.

 

"You are not gonna tell her about the other crazy things Wesker told you and Rebecca?" Leon barbed in.

 

Giving Leon a mildly annoyed look, he retorted: "I was getting there."

"When?"

"Now."

 

Glancing back at his sister, he noted the curiosity in her eyes. Upon seeing the sparked interest, he got a bit nervous, for he could only wonder how she would react to the rest of his conversation with Wesker.  Clearing his throat, he straightened up, obviously trying to buy some time. Now, how do you approach something like this? Probably by diving right into it again.

 

"Wesker said he is already dead. That he met dead people in this other...place. That they die again."

 

Disbelieve. Even more than after finding out about Wesker being alive.

 

"He told us to find Kirisa. And Eveline," Chris continued.

 

Before Claire could respond, Leon took over, "That is why I am here. I found something out about this," he informed them matter-of-factly, turning serious all of a sudden. There was also the slightest hint of sadness in his eyes.

Chapter Text

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

He slowly opened his eyes after what felt like hours and gasped, struggling to fill his lungs with enough air. It could have been days, weeks, months; you never knew in this place. Nothing was certain, nothing to hold on to. You never knew what to expect next. Stepping through a tear in the wall could lead to another world and ending in a disaster, another nightmare. Those worlds were all oddly familiar, a twisted mirror image of what he had seen before in the world of the living, but at the same time nothing was ever quite the same. Only one thing was certain.

 

Nowhere was safe.

Nowhere you could rest.

Nowhere you could hide.

And death would find you sooner or later.

 

As his eyes adjusted, he noticed a crack had formed in the darkness beyond him. Was it a wall? Was he standing in a room? Was he even standing? He could have been looking at the sky as far as he knew. He started at it, mesmerized, as it lengthened, black and bloody veins shimmering from it, as the entire wall was breaking open. Or the sky, whatever he was looking at.

There was a loud, bone-crushing sound, as if the world was splitting, falling apart, making his skin crawl. Should he run again? Probably. The atmosphere shifted instantly and the air became thick, clawing at his throat as he took big gulps of it. He understood what was happening, even if he didn’t understand at all what was going on in this place. His ears filled with loud jarring noises, resulting in his vision blearing and head spinning. Grinding his teeth and forming an ugly sneer, he desperately tried to cling to the closest wall, or ground, it didn’t matter to make sense of it. He just needed to hold on to something.

Everything was too much and he dug his fingernails into his head, trying to banish all sensation, a futile attempt to shield himself from the onslaught of the crack’s overwhelming power.

When the noise finally stopped, he slowly lowered his arms, twisting his head to glance around. Everything changed, nothing was like before. Even, though, all he could see was darkness he knew the world has shifted again. Hell, even the air has changed as it became easier to breath.

It was the calm before the storm. After all, he was stuck in the place between worlds, the land of the damned. Between death and life.

 

His thoughts cleared.

 

He tried to move, or wiggle away towards the only light source in the vast emptiness, but his movements were halted by the water. When did this place fill up with water? How long was he cowering on the floor. The floor. Indeed, he was lying on the floor in shallow water. At least he vaguely knew where he was now. And he could also see the water he was lying in.

Blood.

It was cold, making him shiver, and filled his entire body with dread. Saying the new revelation of his changed surroundings was making him more anxious than a few seconds ago, was an understatement. Blood was a bad sign in this world. Hastily, he tried to crawl on all fours towards the bright beam of light in the far distance. There was no more noise, just the sound of blood splashing against his limbs, but he knew better. Something was coming, something was trying to get him. Of that he was certain.

Get to the light.

He was scrambling towards the exit for a while, but not getting any closer, nor further away, going nowhere at all, like he was stuck, despite moving his arms and legs. It was frustrating and he wanted to scream, but he couldn’t, he wasn’t allowed to be heard, so he bit his lip instead, drawing blood.  It would hear him, and it really shouldn’t hear him.

 

It didn’t matter anyway, for suddenly, something rumbled behind him, shaking the ground and blood with an awful screech, followed by a series of thuds, indicating that it was heading for the same direction. It was going after him.

 

He made the mistake of turning his head to look back.

 

Frozen into place for real this time, he stared at it with wide eyes, his heart thumping rapidly. Panic overtook his body -a feeling that was so foreign to him when he was still alive- as he tried to crawl forwards again, his body shaking violently, making it nearly impossible to reach the light.

The thing was getting closer.

 

It was faster. It was going to get him. It would tear him apart. It would do so much to him, so many horrible things, inflict so much pain…

All of a sudden the world shifts again, a blaring noise echoing through the darkness. A freezing gust of wind bet around his head, tearing at his skin and making him fall flat against the ground, accidentally gulping down a bit of the blood in the process. It was a disgusting, a rotten metallic taste. Additional, his whole body hurt form all the new gashes adorning his body, but this wasn’t the worst part of his situation. In his peripheral vision he could make out the thing’s long, rotten legs tensing, before it jumped and landed next to him, starting to dig its claws into his legs.

He just lay there, taking it; he couldn’t run anymore. All he could do was staring straight into the thing’s face as it returned the gesture with its deep, hollow black eyes.

 

“Wesker!”

 

Following the sound of the voice, he noticed a radiant light which hadn’t been there seconds ago coming from his right. It looked like a cave’s entrance, brightly lit, and after a moment’s hesitation he reached towards it, hoping it was a way out.  Of course it would be. The world had shifted again.

As Wesker touched the rim of the opening, a hand grabbed his arm and hauled him though the hole. Instantly, light took over the darkness and he landed in a long spit of sand, the wet blood making it cling to his body. It was an unpleasant feeling but at least the thing was gone.  Anything was better than being close to it or any of the other creatures looming in the darkness.

Slowly he opened his eyes and lay motionless, hardly registering what was going on around him, as he was trying to calm down. When he was sure that his head stopped spinning, he tried to focus his vision. As his eyes adjusted to the light, shapes began to appear around him on the beach. There was a familiar figure.

“I think that was a close call,” a brunet man next to him murmured quietly, mindful of his current condition, “Surviving here would be easier if this world wouldn’t split us apart and change its rules all the time.” A short silence followed, as the man inspected his wounds.

“Those look nasty. Luckily you heal faster than we do. Even without most of your powers. Come on, we can’t stay here. I can see them in the sea not too far away,” with that his face sagged visibly and he the extended his arms to grab underneath Wesker’s arms to pull him up into a standing position. The wobbling of his feet made the man frown. He probably decided the blond would need help moving around, for he put one of Wesker’s arms over his shoulder, dragging him away from the beach.

 

“…Thanks.”

 

The brunet snorted, “I can’t believe you just thanked me. The other BSAA agents sure made it sound like you are huge psychopath.” He didn’t miss the –admittedly- weak glare Wesker was sending him for his remark. “But then again I wouldn’t have expected us all working together, saving each other. I stand corrected. A bit.”

Wesker became quite still. He averted his gaze from the other man, the corners of his mouth pulling down in a grimace. The other man expected him to remain silent, but Wesker surprised him again by actually responding to his words.

“This place changes your view of the world, the way you interpret things, the worth you attach to them, and it gives you a lot of time to think. Time I didn’t have and didn’t take when I was still alive.”

“You might be still alive. By what we have seen in this godforsaken place and what you admitted when we were all together, it’s not all that far-fetched to consider. And there are crazier things happening here, crazier things moving around,” he left the briefest pause, “Like the faceless things that was still able to scream without a mouth.”

None of the two said anything for a while, as they walked along the deserted promenade to get on the main street of the city, the only sound echoing in the wind their footsteps. Wesker followed the path the other one was leading pliantly and tried to carry more of his weight than the brunet did. However, he failed miserably at his attempt, due to the pain racing through his body being impossible to ignore. But it was getting better. His body already started healing.

 

“Piers. Over there,” Wesker rasped, signalled into said direction with a nod of his head.

 

Piers’ eyes darted over, following his direction and landing on an open door of one of the buildings in a sidewalk to their right. He understood immediately and steered them to the door, stopping in front of it. An open door meant someone opened it, that someone could be still inside.

Piers let go of Wesker and made him lean against the wall, before he picked up a wooden board which was lying on the ground beside the entrance. “I will go in first and search the building. You stay here. You are still hurt and have no inhuman powers anymore,” without waiting for a reply he entered the building and looked around. There was no sign of anyone at first glance. Not a single person. But he knew better. Something could be hiding underneath a desk or lurking behind the next corner.

Everything was neat, not a single thing in disarray, except for the dust which had settled over the furniture. It was a big hall. He mused that at one point this building could have been used as store and probably has some living quarters attached to it. Although, it probably hadn’t been used at all and was just a twisted mirror image of place that exists in the living world. Yep, that was more likely. If none of those things were hidden in the back rooms, they could try to rest there.

 

Piers tiptoed as silently as he could across the hall, hurrying to reach the opposite wall to climb on one of the desks to get a better look over his surroundings. In his head he was already going over escape plans for when a monster would emerge from a hiding spot, but the only way out he could see was the entrance door and he could only guess where the door on the opposite wall next to the desk led to. The brunet was going to have to be very careful. Luckily, after stepping on the desk and looking around, Piers couldn’t find any trace of another being in this hall.

Promptly making his way back to the entrance, he helped Wesker sit down on the closest object, being a wooden box, and motioned for him to stay seated. The displeasure on his face wasn’t hard to miss, but thankfully he didn’t voice any complaints.

With a final glance around him, Piers decided to investigate the back rooms. He tightened his grip on his weapon and walked swiftly towards the backdoor, slowing his steps when he was close to it. With a steady hand on the knob, he opened the door as quietly as he could and peeked inside. Piers darted his eyes from left and right for a quick look and saw that the area surrounding him was clear, focusing on the rest of the room before him next. Still watching his sides carefully, he edged down the room and stopped in the middle of it. A desk on the side with chairs, a long rug, a large couch in the far back, two rows of cabinets on the right side – his only blind spot. It stired an uneasy feeling in his guts. If something was hiding in here, he might have already walked into a trap. His senses weren’t alert anymore. He needed sleep.

 

There was a startling thump behind him, making him whirl around and raise his weapon just to encounter – Inéz, with a gun in her hand.

 

“Seems like I found you again Piers.”

He gives her a half-smile in answer. “I am pretty sure I found you, since you were hiding in here.”

“Really? You have seen the open door to the building?”

“You waited here for someone to come, to find you, which means I found you. My point stands.”

 

A smile crossed her face. It was a rare thing, resulting in Piers’ smile widening into a full-blown one as well. They didn’t hug or anything, though. For one, Piers was a bit intimidated by her and also, the time before the world shifts again was short. There was no telling when they would get attacked again, when the earth would split again or when darkness and madness would sweep over this world again. This moment was too peaceful. Something would happen soon.

 

Their smiles vanished. They both looked equally exhausted.

 

“Come into the hall and help me carry Wesker to the couch. I found him first. And he is hurt,” he told her, not adding any more details. He didn’t need to. One way or another they all ended up hurt at some point in this strange world; by one of the grotesque beings here or the ever changing surrounding, it really didn’t matter. They just needed to survive and find a way out.

However, they were all dead. Where would they escape to? Was there even an end to this nightmare? Was there any form of salvation? They all struggled in this world, barely clinging to life. By this point it would be so temptingly easy to just give up and let the darkness consume you.

 

Piers scrapped at the back of his neck, letting out a sigh. He couldn’t let any of them fall into despair or insanity. He needed to make them pull through and protect them. It was his duty as a trained soldier, a member of the BSAA.

Together they both walked through the door and crossed the hall, Piers happy at the sight of Wesker still being seated on the box. He was pliantly getting along with his orders, not that he was much trouble before. This place certainly changed him.

And just as suddenly as peace took over this place, the atmosphere shifted again and cracks tore through the walls, slowly sucking out the light of the room. The peace was over again.

 

“Not again! This is too soon!” yelled Inéz over the roaring noise. She saw the hesitation in Piers eyes. It took her only a second to realize what was going on in his head right now.

 

“Piers, fast! Run outside and look for her! I will stay here and help Wesker move!”

“Inéz-“

“GO!”

 

He didn’t waste any more time and sprinted out of the hall into the open street, leaving Inéz and Wesker behind. She followed his example and acted fast, grabbing Wesker’s arm and heaving him onto his feet, draping the arm still in her hold over her shoulder and dragging him forward in one fluid motion. She didn’t miss the hiss escaping Wesker’s lips, but there was no time for gentle treatment. The ceiling could collapse on them any minute.

 

As soon as the two left the building, everything turned into a rush and they lost all sense of direction. There was no sign indicating which direction Piers went off to. And this was there smallest problem. The buildings started to sink into the ground or break apart, merging together with surrounding buildings and parts of the street into new constructions. Inéz tried to stir them on a still intact path but it turned out to be a mistake, as the ground gave way and they fell into a dark hole.

 

_________________________________

 

Inéz awoke first, a hand instantly reaching for her throbbing head. She must have collided with a wall or the ground.

She let out a pained groan as the world around her slowly shifted into focus. A brief thought of ‘watch out for brain damage’ passed her mind, before she tried to get to her feet. With an emphasis on tried. The ground was… shaking? The thing that made her pause in her attempt to get up was the feeling beneath her hands. It felt like the ground was uneven with big holes. No. More like made up of small and big sticks. This was odd. If only it weren’t so dark.

She recognized movement in the corner of her eye and peered over her shoulder at the source.

It was Wesker, slowly getting up himself. At least he didn’t acquire any more wounds from the fall it seemed. She wouldn’t be able to carry all of his weight alone, especially in such a dark place where she would have to watch her steps.

Or just give up.

Giving up sounded like such a nice idea. She would have never imagined herself as someone even considering such a thing, but this place changes you. It wears you down. It destroys you.

 

Just as she tried to get on her knees the ground beneath her moved, or rather, the sticks moved. It seemed like the ground was made up of thousands of sticks and other small pieced, lying there loosely. A glance over the shoulder informed her that Wesker had just as much trouble standing up as her. In what nightmare of a place did they end up again?

She waited a few second for her eyes to adjust before inspecting the ground again.

 

Her heart thumped.

She couldn’t do this anymore

 

Bones.

The ground was covered in thousands of bones.

 

And a loud screeching noise could be heard echoing in the distance.

Chapter Text

 

 

-- 1 day ago --

 

It was like a bad omen, the crows that screeched when he came into view with the facility. It seemed like they were following him. They were there before, watching him when he stepped on the plane – ten or maybe twenty of them cowering in the trees behind the fence, oblivious to all the other passengers. You couldn’t really see them that well from the distance, but he was sure that their eyes were focused on him, mocking him and laughing at him, warning him that this was a bad idea. It was a stupid thought, he knew that. But he couldn’t help it, especially when they were watching him again as he entered through the doors, close behind her.

They didn’t talk as she led him through the building, showing her badge to the people who wanted to see it to permit them access for the lower regions of the facility. He didn’t know how to feel right now. On the one hand he was nervous, anxious – and the clear white walls didn’t help, reminding him all too much of the laboratory in China where he spent a few months. On the other hand he was angry and confused, but didn’t know if he had a right to be. He knew nothing of him, not even if he knew of his existence. He knew nothing. Only the bad stuff he pulled off. Hell, they didn’t even tell her what was going on. She knew from Claire, but that woman left out a great deal of information.

The way how confidential information got passed around made him wonder how their organisations were still intact.

 

Sherry halted in front of him as they came face to face with a petite brown-haired woman. She was cute, a bit on the nerdy side. And too old for him. Probably.

 

“Rebecca Chambers? My name is Sherry Birkin,” Sherry began, and then gestured with the hand holding the badge behind her, “and this is Jake Muller. I was informed by Claire Redfield that Albert Wesker is held in this facility and is under the BSAA’s protection. You are the one responsible for him?”

The brunet woman looked stunned. Yep, they all knew so well how to keep secrets.

 

“Claire Redfield told you…? That means Chris…“ She let the sentence drift off. “Wait. Jake Muller? As in-“

“As in his son, yeah. Surprise,” he interrupted her.

“Jake…”

“You two can’t be here. No one should know about this,” Rebecca seemed obviously stressed by the fact that the two wanted to see Wesker.

“It’s not our fault that your people can’t keep secrets, lady,” he interrupted her again. Jake really tried to improve his behaviour around strangers. This just wasn’t his day. Dead evil father being alive and all that.

“Jake.” And there was Sherry’s scolding tone he was waiting for. It’s not like he didn’t know he was too harsh to the woman. Luckily for him she glanced back over to Rebecca after only a second. “We won’t tell anyone about this. We just want to know what is going on. How is he alive? Why is he under protection?”

 

Jake watched with surprise the woman’s face turning sad. She checked over her shoulder; then came a step closer, lowering her voice. “It’s not easy to explain. I will try. Promise. But not here.” She peeked over her shoulder again, making sure no one was listening in on them. “Follow me.”

They were lead down a few corridors by the woman – Rebecca Chambers, he actually tried to remember her name now; Sherry was nagging him about social etiquette lately. Jake briefly wondered how no one got lost down here. Everything looked the same. On second thought they probably did get lost at least once or maybe they all had a map on their phone. The woman – Rebecca Chambers – certainly didn’t need one, though.

 

On the doorstep of door number 204 Rebecca stopped and turned round, facing them. Jake realized then that there were no people around them anymore. You couldn’t even hear a single sound. Was this some sort of secret hallway?

“Behind that door is Albert Wesker. But before I let you go in there you should know some things.” Rebecca folded her arms, putting her weight on one foot as she took a moment to think about how she should approach the subject. “Wesker is in critical condition and hardly responds to anything. I couldn’t speak with him for a few days. He…” She took another break. “It’s not pretty to look at.”

 

They both waited for her to continue or step aside, not quite sure what to expect.

 

“We don’t know how he survived or if he had help. When he could still interact with others he told us about a new bioorganic weapon organization and a place where they harvest a very dangerous plant.” Oh great. More bad guys. “He couldn’t give us the location. He- his condition got worse after that,” she looked down at that and avoided eye contact with them.

Sherry frowned, titling her chin down as she mulled over that. “How bad is his condition?” Rebecca didn’t answer her and kept looking at anything but them.

 

“He helped you, the BSAA? Just like that? And now they are so thankful that they put him under their protection?” Jake chimed in, not quite sure whether Rebecca was joking about the whole thing or not.

Rebecca’s lips thinned into a frown then and she finally looked into Jake’s eyes, putting her hand on the handle of the door. “You should probably see him. Then you will understand.” With that she opened the door for them and stepped aside to let them through.

Jake and Sherry exchanged a look before Jake took a step into the room, only to be stopped by a hand on his biceps. Sherry was searching his face, just looking at him for a moment. “Are you sure about this?” she murmured eventually, letting go of his arm.

He paused then, looking at the far wall at the opposite end of the corridor, his hand massaging the back of his neck. It’s like she managed to open a window to his mind and saw what was hidden there. The doubt. He had spent too much time talking with her if she could read him that easily. “Yeah,” was his weak reply before he entered the room and met his father for the first time.

 

----

 

- 4 days ago –

 

“Kirisa Kitson. An older woman, probably in her sixties. Maybe a bit younger. A scientist whose name appears in several employees lists from dubious organisations, but never with a picture or further detail. There’s no birth certificate. There’s absolutely no data on her. She was also working for Umbrella and Neo-Umbrella for a short time.”

Chris and Clair listened closely. It seemed like their enemy was someone who had confidential information on a lot of dangerous things. If they didn’t find her soon, there was no telling what could happen, what that new organization would unleash onto the world. And they certainly had the resources to do big damage.

“If there is no data on her, how did you find out about her?” Claire wondered aloud. How indeed could Leon pull up that information without knowing where to look at? It would either be sheer luck or someone else found it who heard the name once and therefore knew exactly where to search for it. Claire hoped it was the later and they could pull up some more information from that person.

 

Leon hesitated for a second, taking a quick glance at Chris before he answered her. “Ada.”

 

“Ada? Ada Wong? This is a joke, right?” was Chris’ cold response. “She is dead.”

 

Leon sighed and prepared himself for the onslaughter. “She is alive.”

 

“That woman’s alive and you didn’t tell us?” snapped Chris, and it seemed Leon expected nothing less, charging right into an argument with him.

“Wesker was alive and you didn’t exactly tell anyone either.”

“You know that’s not the same, Leon! She killed my men!”

“I’m pretty sure that’s not the whole story! And she’s helping us, just like Wesker is!”

“He doesn’t have much of a choice and is restricted. Who the hell knows what that woman is up to!”

 

“Both of you stop!” Apparently Claire had to play the mediator for two bickering grown men. She was interested into that story herself, for Chris went missing after that encounter with Ada, but they had more pressing matters and both men were rather charged right now. If she didn’t steer back to the original topic of the discussion they both might start to throw punches. She sighed and looked from Chris to Leon, making sure they were focusing on her now. “This isn’t helping us. Deal with this later. We have to find Kirisa Kitson. Fast.” She waited a second and then added, “Any leads? Ideas?”

There was awkward silence then. Great.

“We have nothing? Okay. Leon, get Ada to dig deeper. Chris, warm up some old contacts and find out if they met that woman in the past. I will fill in my superiors on this mess and see what they can come up with.” Apparently she also had to take the lead and set the gears into motion.

 

“Claire, hold on. There is more. It’s probably connected to that woman. And maybe we shouldn’t tell any more people.” Leon and Claire could see that the topic they were going to approach was a delicate one. Something else happened, something of importance. The slight edge to his voice was a good indicator for that.

 

“Someone sent a package to the BSAA. For Rebecca. And for Wesker. Some sort of virus, antidote or whatever. It made everything worse, though.” Chris made a pause and lent forward in his seat. “Someone knows exactly where Wesker is and who’s treating him. This means, there must be a leak.”

That was an understandable conclusion, but that would mean they were confronted with even more problems and had to investigate in secret while acting like they were following another lead. Was there another reason possible? One that explained how they could receive that package. Claire shortly dwelled on that thought, but it was most likely that there was a traitor somewhere among the BSAA or their contacts – or they were hacked. It made their situation so much worse. For all they knew, there could be another bioorganic terrorist attack waiting around the corner and millions of people could die from it.

Leon’s expression indicated that he was having the same worries. What should they do?

 

“We stick to the original plan, but I will be careful with who I’m talking to about this,” Claire finally decided.

 

“Alright.”

 

-----

 

-- Present --

 

„Jesus Christ. Is there seriously nothing you can do? I feel bad from just looking at him.” The sight was awful. It was nothing he couldn’t handle seeing, being as he had seen his share of burned bodies in his line of work, but Sherry was truly horrified and fled the scene as soon as she was filled in on everything. He didn’t blame her. How Wesker was still alive was beyond him. That’s not how he imagined meeting his father would go. Actually, he was rather sure he would never see him, with Wesker having been believed to be dead. Funny how life pulled unimaginable turns on him.

 

“I’m sorry.” Rebecca really meant it. Jake felt bad for her. She actually felt responsible for him, even after everything he had done in his life, the people he murdered.

“Did you,” he trailed of there for a moment, thinking about whether it was okay to ask that question, “Did you know him personally? Like, more intimately?

“What?” she sputtered out as answer. Yep, probably not the right thing to ask. Maybe he should have started off differently or left it at ‘personally’. He was curious for her full answer, though, so he kept his mouth shut and watched her fumble through her respond.

“No. I- how would you even think I- no.” It was kind of funny. Her cheeks turned a bright red colour in embarrassment and she was starring pointedly at the wall to avoid looking into his eyes. Maybe he caught her really off guard. Maybe she actually had a crush on him once. But that seemed like another question he should probably avoid asking. For now.  “He is- he was my captain for a short time. A good one I believe. We didn’t have many conversations.”

 

“Aha,” Jake clicked his tongue, “So he was a good captain. And then something happened and he went batshit insane.”

“I believe it’s more complicated. But I don’t really know…” She had calmed down a bit and managed to keep eye contact with him again. She still was a bit flustered, though and cleared her throat before she continued to speak. “You should ask Chris about him. He knew him better than any of us did.”

 

That was an answer he didn’t want to hear. He had avoided talking with Chris so far – only getting the details on his father’s death. Something about Chris rubbed him the wrong way and he was sure he would give him some well-aimed thwacks if he got the chance to do so. The guy was most likely a decent guy, but he still left a man in an erupting volcano and fired off a missile, just to be on the save side. That must have been a hell of a grudge.

“Yeah,” was all he would add to that. Rebecca didn’t seem happy with his response, but it was not like he would be able to get to know his father anyway. And Jake wasn’t even quite sure if he wanted to. He didn’t even know if Wesker could hear anything they were saying. As far as he could tell, the man lying on the bed could be dead. Just to make sure he reached out with his hand and grabbed his wrist, feeling for a pulse with his fingers before slackening his hold when he felt a beating heart. Still alive then.

 

“I should probably find Sherry now,” with that he got out his phone and dealt her number.

 

A frown formed on his face. The call wouldn’t build up and there was a weird interference. It sounded a lot like the static of a radio. He removed it from his ear and looked at the screen. His frown deepened then. The whole screen looked like a glitchfest. Rebecca caught his irritation and glanced down at his phone as well, her eye brows raised in surprise.

Jake tried to disconnect the call, but his phone wasn’t reacting to any of his touches. He would have considered shutting it off if it weren’t for the short pauses in the static noise. It was like someone was trying to say something, which wouldn’t be possible since his phone wasn’t properly working anymore. Rebecca wanted to say something but was interrupted by a loud sound coming from his phone. He tried turning up the volume after hearing that sound and was surprised by the fact that he had no problem doing so. Strange.

They didn’t have to wait long for the static to be interrupted again.

 

“….-yone hear me-…… -ello- …….ple-….”

 

Shit. That actually was a voice.

 

It sounded like someone calling for help. “Hello? Who is there?” he asked.

“…please- ….-is ther- …-yone… “

“Hello? Who are you?” he tried louder this time.

“…-oh my go- … -ease, we ne- …”

 

The caller heard him apparently just as clearly. Great.

“Who. Is. There?” Jake tried once again, stressing every single word.

 

Then a moment later.

 

“…. Piers Niva-“

Chapter Text

 

_________________________

 

Piers? That little lapdog of Chris? How in the world would that guy know his number? Never mind. He tried to call Sherry and then his phone glitched out. How did he end up in a call with Piers Nivans? And to top it off the guy sounded really desperate; calling for help and even thanking the lord when he finally reached someone. There was seriously something wrong.

“Piers? The hell? How did you get my number?” Jake voiced his exact thoughts, “Scratch that. Where are you?”  He looked over at Rebecca, seeing if she was trying to contact any other BSAA agents to locate the call or whatever they do in a situation like this. However, she did none of that, being as she was frozen in place and starred at his phone in disbelief. Huh. It seemed like he was missing something crucial here.

 

“-know he told yo- …. –situation got –orse … holy shi-! ……. –d help!”

 

“You gotta slow down. I got only half of what you’re saying,” Jake said, keeping an eye on Rebecca. She suddenly turned really pale and her lips were slightly parted as if she was trying to say something, but the words were stuck in her throat. Jake had a feeling she might faint any second. Did she know him? What a stupid question to pop up in his head at a time like this. Like that would be a reason to pass out. It didn’t matter anyway. Jake was pretty sure she should be contacting someone about now and here she was, starring quite intensely at his phone. He waved his hand in front of her face to snap her out of her thoughts and signaled with his hand for her to make a call. She apparently didn’t get it, though.

“More and mo- ……... -nightm- …….. find us!” The static sound got louder. The connection would die soon, of that Jake was sure. He had to get the most important information out of him before the line eventually goes silent. Piers certainly made this a hard task. Rebecca wasn’t a great help either, for she was still standing stock still with a look on her face as if she had seen a ghost.

“Piers, listen. Where can we find you?” Jake asked in an attempt to make sense of this situation.

 

“…. I don’t know.”

 

“That’s just perfect. Makes our work that much easier,” came Jake’s sarcastic remark, quietly enough, though, to not overshadow any further words from Pires.

 

“I-……-we-……… -ask Al.”

 

“Al?” he inquired then. Jake slowly got the feeling this was going nowhere.

 

“Albert Wes- ………. -find Kirisa K-“ The connection cut off then. A glance down at his phone screen confirmed that. His phone’s display was normal again like the weird glitch from before hadn’t happened. So Piers was talking about his father and some woman. That left the question why Piers would tell Jake to talk to his father when he was in no condition to talk to anyone. He should know that as member from the BSAA. This made no sense at all.

He should probably see whether Rebecca calmed down by now. Jake stepped closer to her and rested a hand on her shoulder to get her attention. “You okay? I think we should tell some of the agents around here about that call.”

That did the trick. Rebecca looked up at him and Jake could see that confusion was plainly written over her face. “Jake that-“ She started as she pulled out her phone to finally make a call. Although a bit too late. “This isn’t possible. B-but that was his voice.” Her hands were shaking.

“Whoa! Careful there.” Jake took hold of her hand to make sure she didn’t drop her phone. What had shaken her up that badly?

She probably caught the look on his face – scrunched up with confusion as well, a perfect mirror image - and brushed off his hands, standing upright and trying her best to look professional again. “Jake he- Piers Nivans died 2013 in Lanshiang.”

 

Jake blinked.

“What. He…” Jake peered down at his own phone. “Then who did I talk to?” He also felt a bit bad thinking about him as a lapdog now. The guy probably died saving his life and the lives of thousands of citizens.

“It was Piers voice. I clearly recognized it. And-“ He could see the cogwheels turning in her head. “He mentioned Wesker and Kirisa.” She focused on her phone then and scrolled through some list, looking for a certain information or number.

Jake reached out for her forearm, stopping her in her task - whatever the hell she was about to do. “What is going on, Rebecca. Enlighten me doctor.”

She got her hand out of his grip again and poked him against his chest with her phone. “Don’t you get it? Wesker was believed to be dead. Wesker mentioned Piers and Kirisa. Now you get a call from Piers and he mentions them both.”

“So?” prompted Jake, swatting her hand to stop her from pocking him.

“Piers might be alive!” she exclaimed in excitement and pressed the call button on her phone, walking a few steps into the middle of the room while waiting for the call to build up.

“Wait. But you said he died. How can he be alive again?”

“I don’t know but that was his voice!” she retorted with a hint of annoyance. It would be better if he didn’t argue her on that topic anymore. Rebecca was confident in her conclusion.

The next moment the call receiver answered her and she greeted him with an urgent ‘Chris! Here is Rebecca. Something happened’. Oh great. Chris Redfield would pay them a visit soon. As silently as he could he left the room to finally look for Sherry. And then he could tell her from the -quite literal- rising of the dead. But the positive kind.

 

----

 

They hadn’t seen each other for a while, with her being stationed somewhere else for quite some time after everything that had transpired. She looked just like back then –how he remembered her- her hair a warm brown colour, soft and tied in a simple plait. It suited her. She was a natural beauty with no need for make-up and big crystal blue eyes. Despite the colour they had a certain warmth to them, but still showed a good portion of mischief and intelligence. The body curvy and taut, making other men’s head spin from just looking at her.

If their lives had been different he would have gone for her. He would be married to her with a flock of children. Maybe. But their lives took ugly turns and now their friendship was sacred to them. She was part of his family and even though she would always hold a special place in his heart, she would never be the one. She wouldn’t be able to give him what he was seeking. He didn't even know what he wanted at this point. It still hurt, though. Looking at her and imagining what could have been.

 

Jill.

 

Chris took her by the shoulders and pulled her close. Her arms slid up and she hugged him back tight, burying her head in the crook of his neck. They stood there for a while, breathing each other in, the memories of the past coursing through them. This was one of the reasons why he never attempted a relationship with her. Jill’s presence made him remember their past, all the people they lost, all the horrors, all the awful memories. It hurt a lot more than the voice that asked him what if.

Then they pulled back, holding each other’s eyes in a silent conversation. A peaceful moment. It got broken by a small smile on Jill’s lips. “Chris. I read your message.” There was sadness edged into her voice.

 

Straight to business then. “In your time as Excella’s … bodyguard, did you ever come across the name Kirisa Kitson?” Chris delved right into the pressing matter.

“Sorry, no. But I did see an elder woman twice,” Jill replied, crossing her arms over her chest. Chris curiosity was stirred by that. He didn’t have to ask any more questions, however, for Jill continued immediately. After all they were a well coordinated team. “I don’t remember her features that well but I already gave my description the BSAA’s phantom draughtsman. You should get it soon.”

“Good work Jill,” Chris took a moment to smile in response, but then his face formed a grimace. They had more to discuss. “Anything about Wesker?”

“Nothing. No connection to Piers, Merah or that agent from TerraSave. He didn’t meet that elder woman either. What happened after Kijuju, I can’t tell.”

 

Chris sighed and dragged his hands over his face. “So we’ve nothing new besides a vague drawing of a woman who might be Kirisa Kitson.” It didn’t look too good so far. Hopefully the new threat for the world would wait for them to be ready. It was unlikely, though.

“We might get more information from Ada Wong.” Jill told him.

“I wouldn’t count on that,” he replied drily. He saw himself having quite the talk with her in the future. “I don’t trust that woman one bit.”

Jill’s eyes darted away and she blinked a few times, thinking about how to sooth his anger, before looking back into his eyes. “But you trust Leon. And when he says her information is credible…”

“I trust him. But I’ve the feeling that woman knows how to play him,” Chris blood started to boil just thinking about working together with her. Working together with Wesker was already straining on his nerves and putting him in a bad mood. Wesker’s condition -which he caused- added to that.

 

And now he had to work with Ada fucking Wong.

 

He wouldn’t let her fool him. “Jill, let’s contact Quint. He should listen in on Leon’s phone calls. When he contacts Ada or the other way around he tracks her down and we‘ve a talk.”

Chris emotions were all over the place, Jill could clearly see that. “Are you sure about that? Maybe you should talk with Leon again.”

“No,” came his short reply, then a second later, “He’s protecting her. He’ll let her escape given the chance.”

She hesitated and then shook her head. “I don’t think that’s the right call to make, but okay. I will contact him and we will search for Ada Wong.” A look of determination crossed her face. “We’ll stop this before it starts. Together.” Another small smile hushed over her lips. “Partner.”

“Partner,” Chris answered with a smile of his own.

There were still too many unknowns and a possible traitor among them, which was frustrating him, but at least he had his group of trusted friends who would help stopping whatever was lurking just around the next corner. The key was Kirisa Kitson. If only they could find her…

 

His thoughts were interrupted by his phone buzzing.

“Chris Redfield, here.”

“Chris! Here is Rebecca. Something happened.”

“What happened?” Chris noted that Rebecca sounded rather excited.

“You have to come immediately. Jake just got a call from another dead person.”

“Dead Person? Jake Muller?” He made a short pause to mule over it. “What is he doing over there with you?”

“You told Claire. Remember? Claire told Sherry. Sherry told Jake. Jake wanted to see Wesker. They flew over here. It doesn’t matter.” She took a big gulping breath of air. “Listen! Jake got a call from Piers. I listened to that call. It was Piers!”

“What!?” Chris barked out, blinking. Jill peered over his shoulder, eyes full with concern.

I don’t know how this is possible, but Wesker was alive. Piers might be alive, too. Maybe the other people he mentioned as well! Oh, and don’t worry we’re already scanning Jake’s call list.” She took another pause to breath. For a second there he worried she would pass out. “This is big! People come back from the dead, but in a good way. Still being themselves with coherent thought!”

“Rebecca, find out everything about that call. We’re on our way.” With that he ended the call and motioned for Jill to follow him as he made his way to the flight deck on the roof of the building to get a jet for their flight to the main facility in the northern states where Rebecca currently was waiting for them. For a moment his spirits rose – for a moment he thought they both might be alive. Piers and Merah. He wanted it to be true. Their deaths were his responsibility. Seeing them alive again would lessen the burden of guilt on his shoulders.

 

He told Jill about the details of the call when their flight took off.

 

----

 

-- 6 hours later –-

 

“Could this be the work of a new virus? I know Wesker’s file doesn’t list anything new or suspicious, but maybe it is well hidden in his body. People still don’t understand how my ability works and weirder thing happened in the past. Like a spontaneous sex change through a virus.”

Jake sputtered out a sound close to the word ‘what’ at that.

“I have access to a lot of files and stories from agents. I will tell you another time about that virus.” Sherry said with a cheeky smile on her face. Of course she would tease him with such a story, spiking his curiosity only to leave him there hanging. Sometimes Jake wonders if the people out there really create viruses to earn a shitload of money and to use them in wars. Some of them must have been bored out of their minds. A few of the viruses out there were too absurd to be the result of serious research.

“How about I buy you a coffee and you tell me now. Deal?” Jake tried in an attempt to get his hands on the dirty details of that story.

“How about you buy me a coffee just because?” Her cheeky smile was still in place.

“I am a changed man, lower prices, back-up man for dangerous crisis and all that, but I can’t throw around my money. Not even for you, Supergirl.” Jake countered with a wink, crouching forward in his seat. They were currently sitting in a nearly empty break room, waiting for the analysis of the call and further updates. Too bad they had to wait for Chris Redfield to make an appearance before they would get any of that. Officially they knew nothing and solely relied on Rebecca’s word after all (and she suddenly was really busy and fled the scene after another call). Knowing that didn’t help Jake’s impatience. It was a good thing Sherry was with him.

 

Speaking of Sherry, they both were doing it again. That weird and confusing kind of flirting.

 

“Is that so? And here I thought we had something special.” A short laugh bubbled up in her throat, more like an exhale to be honest. “No, it’s fine. How about I buy you a coffee?” And there was her real smile and it was doing things to him. And he quashed those feelings down instantly and cleared his throat. They were friends. She actually was his only real friend. He couldn’t fuck that up.

“Uhm. Yeah. If it’s free, I will have it.” Jake answered with a wince. He hoped it hadn’t sounded as cringy as it did to his ears.

Sherry hadn’t noticed the internal battle inside him and just kept smiling at him, interrupting it with a small nod. Right after that she rose to her feet and ventured over to the vending machine to get them both a warm cup of coffee. They had been awake for a while now and Jake could feel the exhaustion taking over all his senses. Too much happened in too little time. Finding out his father is alive, flying over there, getting told about his father’s condition, meeting him, staying with him while he was lying there like a corpse, Rebecca trying to make awkward small-talk to lighten up the atmosphere, that weird call from a dead Piers, waiting for Chris Redfield and trying not to imagine himself punching him square across the face.

 

Just as Jake’s thoughts were taking a dark turn, Sherry appeared as on cue and handed him his cup, like a ray of sunshine, the word ‘luminous’ springing to his mind. He needed to get his feelings under control.

“Be careful, it’s hot,” she warned him with a warm smile dimpling her face and Jake was sure he focused way too much on her smiles which wasn’t helping getting rid of his unwanted feelings. Maybe he should just go for it. Even if it ended up being a disaster she would be cool enough to stay friends with him.

 

“Thanks.” Here we go. “So, Sherry, uhm.” He had no idea what to say next.

 

Jake wasn’t one of the guys who liked talking about his feelings. He had to bottle them up since he was a little child, for the sake of his mother. She already was weak and working her ass off to provide for him and he didn’t dare to make her worry about him. Which was why he had a hard time talking about feelings in general. Which led to his current problem right now.

As Sherry was waiting for Jake to go on, the door to the break room opened, and a rather serious looking Rebecca entered the room. “There you two are. Chris and Jill just arrived and are heading to my office. Come with me.” Her tone left no room for discussion and Sherry and Jake picked up their coffees and followed her lead.

 

Saved from embarrassment by Rebecca. He owed her.

 

But now he would be facing Chris Redfield and one could only guess in what mood the guy was in. It didn’t happen every day that your dead second-in-command and friend makes a call and asks for help. Good thing that Sherry and Rebecca were going to be in the same room as them. The outcome of this talk could be anything.

As soon as the three entered Rebecca’s office Chris’ eyes landed on Jake, watching him with the same look he gave Jake in Lanshiang. He and another agent were already waiting for them with a charged aura surrounding them. This was going to be fun.

 

Chapter Text

___________

 

It was getting dark outside. However, it as well could have been the middle of the day, with no windows indicating daytime in this part of the facility. The whole place was illuminated by bright white light, giving it an air of authority and professionalism. Rebecca’s office was giving off the same vibes, making Jake visibly uncomfortable. He never had to answer to anyone before and just recently started working together with the government and other authorities.

They had a lot to talk about. Things transpired while Jake and Sherry waited for an update, unaware of everything as mere guests of the BSAA. That would change now. Rebecca broke the unpleasant silence and dove right into the topic. “I will be honest with you two. The BSAA suspects you, Jake, to work against them,” Rebecca told him evenly, but he could see it pained her a bit.

“Is that a joke?” was his instant response.

“What? You can’t be serious. He was here with you and me the whole time.” Sherry exclaimed louder than she had to, coming immediately to his defence.

“And then he gets a fake call from a dead agent and another package appears out of thin air. Doesn’t sound suspicious at all,” Chris offered as explanation, leaving it there to let it sink in.

 

Jake didn’t speak for a second or two. He looked into Chris’ eyes, observing the seriousness in them. They left no doubt that they weren’t joking around. He actually was a suspect. But other than that he couldn’t read the guy at all. “Okay, hold on. I don’t know any of this. A fake call?” came Jake’s reply.

“The call you received from Piers,” Rebecca interjected fast, trying to block Jake and Chris from talking directly with each other. The atmosphere in the room already got worse as soon as Jake entered, and she could have sworn the temperature just dropped as soon as they started to talk. “It’s not coming up in your call-list. There is no indication the call ever happened which made some of the techs believe you faked it somehow.” She trailed of there, obviously unhappy with the turn of events. Jake sure as hell wasn’t happy with this revelation either. Why did he have to get that blasted call? Damn you Piers.

 

The other agent, who Jake had never seen before (he was pretty sure about that), continued for Rebecca. “Another package appeared for your … father. During the time you and Sherry have been on your own.”

“Attached to it was a note. With your name in it,” Chris finished for her. Jake’s name on a package; like the other package Rebecca had told them about. Perfect timing it seemed. He understood now how he could make it on their suspect list. Just his luck.

Jake realised then that Chris stood pretty close to him, eyeing him suspiciously, probably seeing his father in him and expecting the worst from him. He wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of being right. Not ever. He was trying his darn best to be one of the good guys, and that only partly because of Sherry. Chris watching him carefully made no sense at all anyway. Wasn’t he the one spending a lot of time sitting next to his father‘s bed lately? That couldn’t be explained just by his feelings of guilt over his father’s condition. They really needed to have that talk soon.

To prove that he had no hand in this development Jake needed to find out what stood in that darned letter.

“So my name got mentioned? Care to tell me how?” Jake inquired, maintaining a remarkable calmness despite his sometimes rather short temper. That he probably did inherit from his father.

The other agent stepped forward, picking up a sheet of paper from Rebecca’s desk and handed it over to Jake to read it for himself. The note, Jake realised. He held it in angle so that Sherry could read it as well. His eye brows rose while reading it.

 

‘The last treatment appeared to be a failure in the eye of the ignoramus, but it was not. Albert Wesker would be dead by now if it weren’t for the formula. Your father will die without it, Jake. Be my good boy and give him the shot.’

 

It was admittedly compromising and he could see why the BSAA was cautious of him all of the sudden, but he was not someone’s pet, no matter how much the last line indicated him to be exactly that. Someone was playing a game with them, having fun at their expanse, probably laughing their ass off from a safe distance while that prank with the phone call left a fresh wound - and thus opened up the closed case of Piers Nivans’ death. Jake would make sure to get the fucker who was messing with them, but first he needed to get it into their heads, that he had nothing to do with this.

“Okay. I know how this looks, but I know nothing. Here,” Jake reached into his pants pocket and fumbled out his phone, presenting it to the agents. “Take my phone, analyze it. Do the whole tech thing. Search through all my stuff. I didn’t fake that call.” Jake would have sworn an oath to prove his innocence if needed.

The other agent was facing Chris now, making sure he was looking at her. “I believe him. This is too easy, something isn’t right,” she explained. Jake really needed to find out her name. He needed more people who were on his side, like, in general.

Chris just stood there, silently starring at Jake, contemplating over her words. He lowered his eyes, thinking for a split second. Then his eyes screwed up, narrowing in on Jake, his face composed, all anger about the call gone. “Gimme your word that you had nothing to do with any of this.”

Jake held eye contact with him, not wavering the slightest bit when he answered him slowly. “I had nothing to do with any of this.”

 

“Good.” Chris looked around the room then. “Which leaves us with the possibility of a spy or a hacker,” he started theorizing. “If there’s a spy than they’re probably still in the building. We posted guards at the entrances and exits of this facility as soon as we discovered the package.” The last part he directed at Jake, Sherry and Rebecca.

“How are you going to find them? This building isn’t exactly small,” Rebecca murmured to herself, placing a hand on her chin in a thinking gesture. “And they got away with sending the first package as well. They probably know their way around here. And if they know the layout of the building then they won’t have a problem with fleeing before anyone detects them.” A short pause. “The guards pose a problem of course.” She looked at Chris for an answer, for their plan of action.

Chris directed his next words to Jake and Sherry. “You two escort Rebecca to Wesker’s room and stay there. Arm yourselves. We don’t need them to secretly sneak into that room and give him the shot.” After Sherry nodded her head he turned to the other agent. “Jill, you and I sweep the area around that room. If we don’t do anything with that vial they might get nervous and mess up.”

So, Jill was her name.

“Got it. I will radio the others to stay alert.”

That being said they both left the room in fast strides to search the area around the laboratories. Silence settled in the office.

 

“Well,” Jake began, looking at Rebecca, “You should lead the way, because this place is like a huge freaking mace.”

“Sure, but wait a second. I have a gun in the upper drawer of my desk,” she said as she walked behind her desk to look for said weapon.

“Always prepared, huh?”

“You bet. I learned to hide weapons around my work place and flat since the incident in Raccoon City,” Rebecca replied and raised the gun as sign that they were ready to go.

“Ready to smack some asshole’s face, Supergirl?” Jake asked Sherry with a raised eyebrow.

“Of course. I was ready to do so before you could properly walk,” Sherry answered him with a playful smile. It vanished the next moment, though. “Be careful. We don’t know what or who we are up against.”

“Sure. You watch my back and I watch yours,” he replied in a softer tone.

 

And then he remembered Rebecca. “And we both watch Rebecca’s back,” he added a bit awkwardly and internally face-palmed for how it must have sounded for them.

“Let’s go then.” Rebecca thankfully didn’t acknowledge his last statement and started to lead the way back to room 204.

___________

 

As he stood there waiting his whole body tightened in anticipation. The cautious side of him scanned the facilities’ outer perimeter for escape routes. He never knew what to expect when he met with her so he wanted to be prepared in case she was working for the woman they were trying to find. This, however, was their first official meeting, one he initiated. And his gut feeling was telling him to trust her. It might have been more than his gut feeling but he wasn’t going to dwell on that thought.

Leon walked up to the gatehouse beside the facility and stopped in front of it, making eye contact with the guard.

This meeting was happening in secret. Only Hunnigan knew about his whereabouts and gathered all the information she could about the place. It was nothing out of the ordinary in the sense that something fishy was going on. The place was a small research facility by the local government to study unusual viral phenomena. Whenever they found something that could be attached to a B.O.W. or another bioorganic attack they would forward their findings to organisations fighting against bioorganic terrorism.

 So why was he meeting up with her here? They hadn’t gotten any intel from the people working here.

 

The security guard hurried out to meet him, hand lying on his holster just in case. Clancy was his name. He probably was informed of Leon coming, because after asking for his name the man immediately walked towards the entrance to let him in. The guy was in his fifties and by far not the fittest man he had ever seen – the non-scientific term couch potato did spring to mind - and he wouldn’t be able to knock Leon down if Clancy decided that he was a threat.

Clancy didn’t talk much as he led him to a room with special suits – maybe radiation suits?

Leon got an uneasy feeling as the guy instructed him to put on one of the suits before he was allowed to step into the locked up passage attached to the changing room. While putting on the suit Leon observed the man. Clancy didn’t seem like the guy who would get told about anything going on in here but it was worth a shot.

“You know why I have to wear that suit? What is in the room on the other side?” Leon inquired.

Clancy just shrugged his shoulders. “They ain’t telling me anything, son. Just a security guard. I will open the gate for ya now.” The guy seemed like he would rather sit in a comfortable chair and watch TV while drinking a beer, but something told Leon to not underestimate him. He could have been a navy seal at one point in his life.

 After the guy locked the door behind him – and Leon had to wonder where the rest of the staff was, because this certainly wasn’t the task of a security guard – he was allowed to go through the big iron door.

 

On the other side was a big white-tiled room which looked a lot like a mix between an autopsy and a laboratory. There were a few dissecting stations with bodies lying on them, unseamed from shoulders to the genitals. One could get a good look at their ribs, meat and muscles from the position he was currently standing. The juices leaking out of their bodies made him feel glad for the suit he had to wear because it prevented him from smelling the foul odour of the corpses.

 

In the middle of the room were two people. One of the two a very familiar person, but at the same time also a complete stranger. He knew nothing about her.

“Ada,” Leon whispered wistfully, momentarily forgetting why he was meeting up with her. He caught himself eventually. “Why am I here? What am I looking at?” He asked with a hardened look in his eyes.

“There is no need for your accusing tone. We are playing on the same side this time, Leon.” She commented on his hostile behaviour and tapped the guy next to her on his shoulder. “This is Doctor Maximilian Hartevelt. He performed the autopsy on those bodies.” The man was quite handsome, his black beard carefully trimmed, intelligent green eyes and his posture gave off the impression that he knew very well what he was doing.

“So the poor guys lying here are victims of the new terrorist organisation?” Leon asked.

“There are no signs of wounds from a B.O.W. on their bodies, neither are there any mutations which would indicate they ended up as B.O.W.s themselves.” Doctor Hartevelt made a pause and walked to the corpse closest to him.

The corpses scalp had been peeled down to its nose, the scalp bone itselfcut open to reveal the brain. The other corpses where opened up in the same way, making Leon wonder if they all died from the same cause. It was a nasty sight. The doctor, however, was really excited to show him what was so fascinating about the guy’s brain and waved for him to step forward to get a better look at it.

“There is something really strange about these bodies. Their death is quite interesting. A mystery really. One I still have to solve. Look, they all died from specific brain damage, but there are no wounds around their heads. Nothing that would explain the damage.”Doctor Heatevelt explained with awe, undoubtedly impressed by whatever was able to cause this.

 

Leon nodded. “I see. What kind of damage did they die from?”

The doctor’s eyes started to twinkle as he waited a moment before answering him. “A part of the brain is absent, like it vanished. There are no cuts. Nothing.”

Leon blinked and glanced over to Ada, making sure he had heard right. She answered his look with a serious gaze of her own.

“That is impossible, right?” Leon blurted out, getting the feeling this case was going to be become more serious than anyone anticipated.

“It is, yes.” Doctor Hartevelt answered him evenly. “There are even more puzzling aspects, Mr Kennedy.”

“You’ve got my full attention.”

 

Doctor Hartevelt started to gesture widely with his hands as he continued presenting his findings. “There are other parts missing around the area as well, but the part they probably were going for is the pineal gland. Also known as conarium or epiphysis cerebri.”

“Some people call it the ‘principal seat of the soul’” Ada added casually. Something about this information sent a shiver down his spine, resulting in his throat getting dry.

“Indeed, Ms Ada. It seems you’ve done your homework.” He offered with a kind smile - making the statement not any less belittling - before returning his attention to Leon. “The other aspect is that there is a weird kind of emission coming off from the bodies. We are not quite sure if it is radiation because our instruments are impaired by it. The needles are going up and down and up and down.” He empathized the last fact by moving a finger up and down, visualizing the motion of the needle. A strange guy. “I haven’t seen anything of the likes in my whole career. Their deaths are truly a mystery.”

“My question still isn’t answered, though. Why am I here looking at this?” Leon asked, a bit irritated by their talk.

 

“These bodies here came from every part of the world.” Ada stepped forward now, taking over the talk. “The disappearances of people all over the globe increased dramatically. And the locations where their corpses have been found vary drastically. A woman that vanished in the USA was found only hours later in China.” She sashayed towards him in a slow pace, halting mere inches before him. “More impossibilities. Another mystery.”

Leon eyed her suspiciously. His head swam and his stomach churned briefly from the new information he received. Something dangerous was going on. Something with the potential to kill them all at an alarming rate. “And you believe this has to do with Kirisa Kitson because?”

“Because this exact phenomenon was observed years ago during a particular time. But it was kept a well hidden secret.” Ada replied, her voice taking on a dead serious edge.

“When.” Not a question. A demand. A weak one, though, for his voice nearly cracked when he voiced that single word.

 

“It happened over a 10 years period, but at a far slower rate. From 1988 until 1998, the beginning of the Raccoon City incident.”

 

Leon’s blood froze at the memory of the living dead walking through Raccoon City. Too many people died there and now she was telling him 10 whole fucking years before that incident people died all over the world like they did now at a fast rate. And this all was somehow connected. How dire was there situation?

 

But that still didn’t answer his initial question. “How is this connected with Kirisa Kitson, Ada?”

“Patience, Leon. I was getting there.” Ada chided him before finally answering his question.

 

“1988 Albert Wesker requested help for their research from a European facility of Umbrella. His first contact with Kirisa Kitson.” She explained eventually. “I believe her name to be fake, making it really hard to trace her, but it was undoubtedly her. It is quite the coincidence that they both had contact when this whole thing started.”

Leon ran his hand over his hair and shook his head in disbelief. This couldn’t be a coincidence. The choice of her words was well thought through with the purpose of making him ask the one question that truly mattered right now.

His phone interrupted him, however.

 

He glanced down at the caller ID before turning around, away from Ada and answering his phone. “Hunnigan, I hope this is important. I am in the middle of gathering the intel we need.”

“It is. Your phone is being tracked, Leon.” Hunnigan answered immediately, sounding alarmed.

“What!?” Leon exclaimed, then glanced over his shoulder to make sure Ada hadn’t heard Hunnigan’s voice. If she knew that someone was spying on him, she would be out of this building in a second. “Hunnigan, who- do you know who or why?”

“Yes. It was not easy to find them in our system.  They might have been spying on you for days.” She replied but made a pause, before going on. “It’s the BSAA, Leon. I am one hundred percent sure.”

 

“… Thanks for telling me,” Leon said, followed by a deep sigh, “Kick ‘em out if you can.”

“I will. Tell me what you found out later.”

“Sure thing. See ya.” With that, he ended the call.

The BSAA spying on him? Who made the call? A superfluous question, Leon realized. The answer was obvious. It could have been no other than Chris, given that he knew about him searching for Ada. And he still was holding a deep grudge against her. Leon didn’t blame him for that - considering what he was told by Chris. Tracking his phone, though, was not alright and he would settle this with Chris later.

Right now he had the chance to ask her about Estonia, but what if she disappeared immediately afterwards.

Kitson was more important.

 

“Trouble, Leon?” Ada smiled at him, easing the tension their talk had caused.

“Yeah.”A breathless chuckle escaped him then. “Nothing that can’t be solved, though.” It would have been nice to talk about other things, like who she really was or what her plan for the endgame looked like. Her childhood, her life, her history. Hell, even talking with her about nothing important might be enough to stop the yearning feeling inside of him when he thought of Ada. How long could he keep telling himself to trust her? When did he have to give up on her?

It didn’t matter now.

He still had to ask that one question.

___________

 

“This is pointless,” Jake grunted in annoyance. It probably wasn’t sitting right with him to stay in this room while the BSAA agents were out there looking for the culprit who dropped the package. Sherry wanted to be out there, too, but it was important for them to stay here.

“It’s not and you know that, Jake. They don’t need us out there, but they do need someone watching over-,” Sherry trailed off then, avoiding looking at Wesker’s damaged body.

It hurt a bit to look at him, but not overly much.

She never knew him well – hardly at all to be honest - but he did watch over her a few times when she was a little child; a baby. Her parents often failed to spend time with her, handing her over to the next available person. That way she met a lot of scientists from Umbrella when she was younger. Wesker was one of the regular faces before he left his position as a researcher.

Sherry had a better understanding of what it meant when someone worked for Umbrella back then. Either you did your work or you ended up as a test subject yourself, and if you dared even thinking about leaving you where already dead. She clearly remembered asking for certain people she had met in the mansion, only to be told they left the city forever. Far later she came to the conclusion that they were rotting somewhere in the sewer system of the town before the bomb ended their miserable existence.

It didn’t excuse anything that happened after Raccoon City but she had a better understanding of how Umbrella was able to shape the man into the monster that tried to kill everyone. There was a sort of pity when she looked at him, partly because of the state he was in. Whenever she stared at his body she also remembered the man who thought it was a good idea to try teaching a nearly 3 years old girl how to play the piano. One of the good memories she had of that wiped out town.

 

Jake caught on fast. “I am pretty sure he doesn’t mind you staring at him. Wouldn’t be able to tell you to stop anyways.” He tried to make light of the situation, to make it easier for her, but he was still clearly affected as well. And yet he tried, and that knowledge made a weird kind of warmth spread through her body, placing a smile on her lips.

“So, you don’t mind me staring at your father?” She teased in return, making her sentence sound that suggestive on purpose to ease up the situation for him as well.

“I had no idea you dig older guys. Like, really old guys,” came his taunting reply.

“Maybe you don’t know me as well as you had thought. Maybe I like older guys. Who knows? Maybe it’s the complete opposite.”

 

Where did that come from? That sounded an awful lot like she wanted a younger man. A specific younger man. And that wasn’t the case. Unfortunately Jake must have understood it that way, for he became oddly quiet. She needed to change the topic.

She whirled her head around to look at Rebecca, who was observing the monitors while typing on her tablet. “Doctor Chambers, could you- uhm- did you make any progress on the treatment?”

“I- no.” Rebecca was startled by Sherry striking up a conversation with her. She had been too absorbed into her work and expected the two of them to go about their business. “And Rebecca is just fine. No need for surnames or titles.”

 

An awkward silence was settling over the room then and everyone felt like it was their duty to stop it.

“Sherry, could we-“

“To be honest I-“

“Maybe we should call-“

The silence had gotten more awkward after that.

 

They didn’t have to suffer through it, though, because white gas started leaking through the gap underneath the door.

 

Chapter Text

__________

In my younger years, when I was the most vulnerable, I was told many things, many lies which became truths and stayed in my mind for the rest of my life. I was the perfect little puppet for I wanted the same things as my ‘father’. He forced it upon me and I was too blinded to see through his actions.

No one protected the innocent child I was, no one showed mercy, no one saved me. So why should I have shown any mercy to them?

I have seen the worst of people, what lies under the thick skin. All of them were monsters in some way or another. If you push someone hard enough, when they do finally struggle - desperate for any form of change or relief - people will often do their worst, unleashing the darkness inside of them. There is no human being excepted from this rule. Some people try to justify their actions as rightful, noble and necessary then, call it a onetime slip. But everyone does it, everyone slips and everyone judges. So why should I have held back? Why shouldn’t I have judged them, too? Why shouldn’t I have done what I did?

Just because this twisted world had decided on so many rules and so little truths?

 

I did what was my part.

 

“Do you believe this is punishment for our sins, dear? That we get what we deserve?” She asked into the void of darkness we currently were. “Are we at fault for having been born into this mad world? For having to cut away the undesirable parts form ourselves to suit their wishes? That we settled into our roles? For having to suffer so much that we had to make others suffer in our place?” Her voice echoed in the darkness, angry but quiet. There was no need to raise your voice in a place like this.

“Perhaps.” The word a hard reality, breaking another already broken part inside of me again. “But those sins passed down to us are the only things we can cling to. We have known only suffering as children; our honesty and curiosity punished and lying our only way of survival.  It is the only accomplishment we can be proud of, the only thing that made us feel alive.”And wasn’t that a pitiful thing to cling to in a place like this?

“And we died suffering. Fitting, isn’t it.” There was the smallest hint of a smile on her face, a mocking one full of loathing. “Our both worlds crumbling apart and all we could do was watch as it happened. Our souls have lost their way it seems. How many lives do we have to live before we can get rid of this dark mark - before we can finally feel fulfilled? How laughable and silly it may sound, I want to feel happiness once. Just once.” Her voice now filled with sadness, a desperate note in her tone. I understood her like no one else in this moment. I had never felt happiness in my life.

 

“Maybe our next lives will give us salvation.”

 

She looked at me incredulously and laughed into my face a second later; a pointless thing to do in this world. There was nothing left here, nothing worthy of any form of reaction. Why were we still here? It didn’t feel like hell. No fires consuming you, no hounds of hell surrounding you. Just eternal darkness, a buzzing, screaming well of voices, lost souls and monsters coming after you, hurting you, bruising your soul but never killing you. They couldn’t kill me. I never understood why.

“Salvation? What a … cute idea.” I could clearly hear the pain then; only I could see the signs and they were all there. She had lost all hope for us.

 

And I had spent such a long time looking for her, enduring the things following me, holding onto whatever kept me alive – for this wasn’t death, although it more or less felt like it. I kept looking like the young brunet kept looking for that Indian woman. Sadly, I had found her only a couple of times so far, the tears in the world had kept us separated for the majority of the time we had spent here. We always had to start running.

 

However, as long as I knew she was out there, as long as I knew she could be found and was willing to leave this place with me, I wouldn't give up on her. Not again. I had done enough mistakes in my life. I had spent a huge chunk of time here on my own; time I did use to think about my past and reflect on my actions. Everything I had done, all the lies, the betrayals, the murders, I did it for her. For her and me; for the hole inside of me.

 

And she had given up.

 

Was my doing all for naught?

 

She was everything to me. She had been keeping me alive when we were young. I had been keeping her alive when we were older.

She was the only soul in this world who understood me, but a slave to her mortality. She was deadly sick and he didn’t care enough to look for a cure, to save her. He only wanted to prolong his own life. He had abandoned and killed her by doing so. And with her died the last shred of my humanity – of my mercy. All that was left was my hatred and raising my hand against those nasty worms because none of them could have possibly understood me or any of the hardships in my life.

So, I sought out death. I wanted to perish them all.

 

The confusing thing was, in the end, I couldn’t do it.

Something stopped me.

And I couldn’t kill him.

 

His presence was around me lately. I could feel him, feel his hand, and hear his voice, his whole being surrounding me. It was frustrating and confusing, being as it also gave me comfort. But he wasn’t the only one. I could sense others. Familiar and unfamiliar voices and touches. I was truly puzzled by the whole thing, for I was sure to be dead and here they were, talking to me, touching me. I could hear them all the time.

Where were we?

Why was she here with me?

Why did she have to be here with me?

 

“Alex…”

 

“I believe we can get out of here.” I was surprised myself by that statement.

 

How could I be that sure? Nothing made sense here.

 

Hm.

 

There was screaming and loud shuffling. Alex didn’t seem to notice as she stared into the distance, eyes devoid of any emotion now. It seemed like that those voices echoed in my head. They came from the other world – the living world. Something was happening.

 

___________

 

 

“What the hell is that?” Jake shouted and pointed at the door to signal the immediate danger to the two women. Gas was leaking through the door, slowly invading the air in the room. This was an attack and they had nowhere to run or hide; the door their only way out which was slowly encased by the white smoke.

“I don’t know- wait! Don’t breathe it in!” Rebecca exclaimed, followed by her rummaging through the drawers in the room, frantically searching for something specific. “Call Chris!” She added over her shoulder before diving right back into her task.

 

Sherry didn’t need to be told twice and made the call, while Jake carefully approached the door, pulling the edge of his jacket over his face to shield his mouth and nose from the gas. He would try to open the door despite not knowing what was leaking through there and ultimately putting himself in danger. She wanted to stop him but she needed to call for help first as fast as she could.

 

She didn’t miss a beat after Chris picked up. “You need to come to Wesker’s room immediately. Some sort of gas is leaking through the door. This might be an attack. Hurry!”

“Got it. Be careful,” was Chris' reply before he ended the call.

 

Then she turned her head to see what Jake was doing, seeing if he was already too close to the door. And indeed he was, ready to grab the handle and dash through the gas. “Stop! Stay back! You might be immune to the viruses we know off, but we have no idea what that is!” The redhead could be really stubborn and reckless at times.

“Listen! Either I burst open that door for you two now and we try to run or we wait till the gas fills the room!” Jake argued with her. It seemed like the best option, trying their luck and hoping they wouldn’t breathe in any of it and that the gas wouldn’t react upon skin contact, but she didn’t like the idea of Jake risking his health for her life. She just couldn’t let him do this. Sherry was about to grab onto his jacket and hold him back when a drawer was smashed shut.

 

“Sherry! Jake! Catch!” Rebeccas shouted through the room, gathering their attention immediately.

 

They both turned around in time to catch a gas mask Rebecca had thrown at them. The brunet really was prepared for everything - the gun in her office, the gas masks in Wesker’s room. What kind of thought had possessed her to hide them in this room in the first place? She could ask her about that later. Right now they needed to get out of here.

However, after Sherry had strapped the gas mask to her face, she realized that there had been only two masks, meaning that Rebecca was defenseless against whatever was invading the air. Jake caught on fast and stretched out his arm, offering the mask back to Rebecca. “You wear that one. I am most likely to survive without one.”

Rebecca had none of that and raised her hands to calm them both down. “I am pretty sure by the colour of it that this is sleeping gas.” The looks she received from them both spurred her on to keep going with her explanation. “They want to knock us out cold, not infect us. They are here for Wesker and they want him alive. So when they believe we are sleeping the will get in. That’s our chance to surprise them and you both are better skilled in combat.”

 

Sherry and Jake exchanged a look. He begrudgingly agreed to the plan by giving a short nod towards Rebecca’s direction and then placed himself next to the door after properly attaching the mask to his face. Sherry took position next to Wesker’s bed and aimed her gun at the door, waiting for the gas to fill the room. Rebecca meanwhile climbed onto a desk in the far corner of the room, holding a wet cloth against her face as she stood upright on it. She tried to evade the gas even though she was sure it would knock her out.

It took a while for the room to fill up. Whoever did this probably also filled the corridors before the room with gas to make sure. None of the three made a sound in their position, keeping their eyes on the door and waiting for the intruder. There was a heavy silence which was only interrupted by the frequent ragged breaths from Wesker. Just when they thought that whoever did this was giving up or caught while trying to flee, the door sprang open and a wall of gunfire followed.

 

Sherry ducked down beside the bed, still aiming at the door in a crouched position. The white gas was obscuring her view, making it harder to locate the shooter in the corridor. Everywhere you could see was white smoke. It was clear that Jake wanted to lung behind and push Sherry far away into the corner of the room but he had the best chance to knock the shooter out as soon as they dared to enter. He made to poke an eye out around the edge of the doorframe, risking to get shot in the head.

“Don’t! Wait for your chance, don’t protect us!” Sherry yelled across the room, stopping Jake once again from acting impulsively. He didn’t look particularly happy about it but stayed where he was, leaning against the wall and waiting for someone trying to enter. Sherry meanwhile crawled under the bed and rolled over to the other side, getting out of their line of fire. It didn’t matter if the shooter actually saw or heard her. It would force them to react. Flee or enter.

 

Another round of bullets hit the wall.

Nothing happened for a few seconds then. Sweat was forming on Sherry’s forehead as she waited again in a crouched position for the intruder to enter, heart beating fast in her chest, her gun raised over the bed and locked onto the door.

 

It didn’t take long before Sherry heard the shooter burst through the door. She could only glimpse flickers of their movement and traced it with her gunsight but hesitated to pull the trigger in case she missed and the intruder would fire another round in the direction of the bed. Either she could get a clear shot in the next seconds or Jake would be able to strike them down.

Her heart was kicking and screaming furiously against her ribcage in that moment.

 

And then she heard a scream of pain.

 

___________

 

“We are in position, equipment on.”

- “Copy. Proceed with caution. Backup should arrive in two minutes.”

“Roger that. But I don’t think they are gonna wait around for us. Jill and I will move forward now.”

- “Understood. Keep safe.”

 

Chris tapped with his finger against the comm to cut the connection and motioned with his hand for Jill to follow – his voice was muffled by the mask so it was easier, and faster, to give orders via hand signs. She was right behind him, her gun arm extended and aiming into the corridors before them which were completely encased in white smoke. She was ready to lock onto any movement and shoot when needed. Chris disappeared first into the smoke, moving forward in fast strides with little noise, his eyes flicking fast glances from side to side to avoid any surprises.

He cursed inwardly, angry at the fact that it was his decision to send the three into the room for protection when it should have been obvious that the intruder would be able to slip past them and reach Wesker’s room. If someone got hurt, it would be his fault alone and he would have to live with the consequences. He didn’t need more feelings of guilt keeping him up at night.

They were hurrying past other doors, only seeing them when they were nearly next to them. It was hard to see anything in the smoke and Chris hoped they both would be able to see the intruder before they noticed them first and attacked when they were vulnerable.

 

The door was a few steps away now, Chris and Jill approaching slowly now and keeping their focus entirely on the open door. Chris could make out a figure standing not too far away from it inside the room. He lined them up and debated whether to shoot or get a bit closer first to make sure he wouldn’t miss. Rebecca, Sherry and Jake were probably lying on the ground by now. The intruder maybe even had already killed them.

He banished the negative thoughts and sneaked a few steps closer.

It was the right decision.

 

The figure was Jake, standing above another body that was lying on the ground.

 

A sigh of relief passed his lips and he called out loudly for him. “Jake, is there another intruder!?”

Jill relaxed her stance but kept her aim in case someone was hiding in the white smoke, while Chris approached him. Jake turned around with an annoyed look on his face, indicating he was ready to pick a fight. “About time. What took you so damn long, Redfield?” It was muffled by the mask but both agents could hear his complaint. It seemed like there was only one person that broke into their base.

Chris, ever the mature adult, let the redhead’s comment slide and moved towards Jake to stand next to him and look down at the body. Sherry was one foot away, gun aimed at the unidentified figure on the ground. There was no immediate sign of Rebecca which worried him for a split-second but Jake and Sherry seemed not troubled by anything besides the intruder, so she had to be alright. As he glanced down his eyes widened, eyebrows rising in surprise.

 

“Jessica.”

 

“So you know the crazy chick? She put up one hell of a fight.” Jake looked at him, his voice filled with anger. He was clearly annoyed by the woman for whatever trick she tried to pull to knock him down instead. Jessica had that effect on people, especially when she betrayed them. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to find her still involved with bio-terrorist organizations but that she had completely vanished from their radar for such a long time sure did.

“She was a member of the Federal Bioterrorism Commission, and then later worked for the BSSA. She betrayed us all without batting an eye. Worked for Tricell in secret.” Chris tried to explain their connection briefly, making it clear that she couldn’t be trusted. “Better tie her up... Where is Rebecca?” The last part was directed towards Sherry. Meanwhile, Jill crouched down and detached a pair of handcuffs from her belt, getting them around Jessica’s wrists while waiting like Chris for Sherry’s answer.

“She is asleep on the desk in the corner,” Sherry told them, pointing with a finger in said direction.

And there she was, curled up on a desk with a piece of cloth in her hand. She was hard to make out in the still with smoke-filled room, but she seemed to be alright. Nobody was harmed and the room was secured. It was a pleasant outcome for once. The only thing left to do was wait for Jessica and Rebecca to wake up and finally find out what actually was going on.

-

Chapter Text

 

___________

 

 

Claire, Moira, another Terra-Save employee and BSAA agent Sheva Alomar walked along a narrow path along the coast, far from any civilization. The heat was crushing, and the midday sun blinded their eyes and made the march through the sandy ground a lot more difficult. Moira cursed every now and then and kept complaining about her sweaty clothes, annoying the other ones by doing so. Claire could empathize with her and thus held her tongue. A BSAA jeep had simply dropped them off here in the middle of nowhere 20 minutes ago and drove on. This was some form of important security measure, but this knowledge did nothing to lessen Moira's anger in the slightest. In fact, she was ready to launch herself at the commander of the camp and kick him in his nuts, well, that's what Claire could pick out from her constant mumbling and cursing.

Few knew that there was a recently constructed BSAA camp near this deserted area. Wesker was found a few months ago somewhere around here in this nothingness but his sudden appearance wasn't the reason for this secretiveness. 

Something about this place, this whole thing seemed odd...

 

Sheva knew the way to the camp and went ahead. The heat obviously affected her less than the other agents who accompanied her, yet she slowed down her steps. Probably so that Moira wouldn't collapse due to the crushing heat or wouldn't start to direct her curses towards her for the rest of the walk. "We're almost there. You can already see the base on the horizon. "

"Great, it's only a stone's throw," Moira replied sarcastically.

 

Thereupon the embarrassing silence continued. Claire wanted to distract herself from the heat and thought about what she could talk about with the BSAA agent. When they were introduced, Sheva reacted to her surname. She obviously knew Chris and most likely had been on a mission with him. Talking about their time together would be a good start. "How long have you known my brother?"

Sheva slowed down a bit so she could walk alongside Claire. A sad smile appeared on her lips before she answered her. "We were on a mission together in Kijuju."

She didn't have to say any more. It was the mission in which Chris had lost a bunch of fellow soldiers and supposedly killed Wesker. Wesker, who was alive again or still alive. Wesker, who was found nearby this place. Did he do something horrible to Sheva as well? Or had she been an uninvolved individuum who helped Chris stop the man from turning the world into a sea of monsters?

 

Claire didn't know how to react to that. She couldn't find a proper answer. What could she say to that anyway? The man you supposedly killed is alive and now under the protection of the BSAA and Chris is with him. Besides, people are trying to kill him, but somehow, he's still alive. That didn't seem like a good idea and the heat was too overwhelming to start a probably intense and emotionally loaded conversation. It seemed better to stick to a simpler topic. "So? What do you think of my brother?"

"Do you know any dirty and obscene secrets about Chris?" Moira threw in.

"Moira!" Claire said in a warning tone.

"What? Don't tell me you're not curious," replied Moira, "It's time to get some good ol’ blackmail material. My dad knows a few stories about Chris I am sure you've never heard before. Should I call him and get some juicy details?"

"That-" Claire actually thought about taking her up on that offer for a moment. Chris and her usually only talked over the phone to keep in contact. It actually would be nice to hear some stories about her brother. But she would prefer to hear them from Chris himself while they are in the same room. Her work often made her forget how much she actually missed her brother, how she missed those simpler days when they were still young and naïve. Well, saving the world was a full-time job. "No, don't. Barry has better things to do."

"Don't you want to know if he has, I dunno, a genital piercing? Hey Sheva, does he?" Moira turned to Sheva.

"Moira!" Claire admonished Moira again, but she couldn’t stop the smile from spreading over her lips as she playfully reprimanded the younger woman.

The back and forth of the two caused Sheva to laugh. They were acting like siblings. Chris was really fortunate to have this large, extended family in his life. She herself had lost hers a long time ago. How freely they included her in this conversation made her immediately forget the pain of those memories that threatened to surface.

"Not that I know of, but I would restrict him while you take a look," Sheva answered in jest.

"Whoa, is that an invitation to a kinky threesome?"

"I don't know you two," was Claire's response to their banter. It resulted in a burst of laughter and the smile on Claire's lips widened.

“Can we please not talk about her brother’s dick? Thank you,” was their colleague’s - Nick - objection to the current topic.

“What? Do you want us to talk about yours?” Moira teased him and it did the trick.

“Never mind. Talk about Chris’ dick,” was his reply which made Claire grunt in annoyance.

“Can we please stop talking about my brother’s-“ she had a hard time saying the word when it was associated with her brother, “Can we just not. How about we talk about this lovely weather?”

“Ugh, no! Anything but that!” Moira moaned. She had successfully ignored the burning heat during their conversation. After their flight over here and the long journey across the country, she had been and still was incredibly thirsty and tired and the heat was making everything worse.

“Want some cheese with that whine, Moira?” the guy drawled.

“Fuck off, Nick,” she muttered, not even trying to hold back the snort after Nick flipped her off as they kept on walking.

 

___________

 

 

In the camp, there was an isolated area which led into a mountainous landscape with a direct connection to the sea through several small tunnels within the mountain complex. Whatever the BSAA was investigating in here was not limited to the mainland. Claire and her small group had to go through various locks before they were stopped to put on hazmat suits. Claire had a bad feeling about this. So, the location where Wesker was found was contaminated or ... god knows what else was wrong with this place. Did this mean that Wesker was also contaminated? Was it safe for Chris to be around him?

Her concern was probably unfounded, as those responsible for this temporary camp would have informed the US headquarters if there was a genuine risk of radiation or an infection through an airborne virus. It was more likely that something strange had happened somewhere around the area that led to excessive security measures.

 

Looking at her colleagues goofing around with the suits eased her mind a bit.

 

Nick made an inappropriate joke about finally knowing what the inside of a whole-body condom feels like after he had slipped into the suit, and Moira almost gave him a high five for that comment if Nick hadn't stared at the hand motionlessly, like her outstretched hand had offended him somehow. Yes, that man was chosen to help with the BSAA's top-secret investigations going on around here and this young and still rather verdant lady was, like her, part of the reinforcement to explore the area more thoroughly. Yup. Nothing could go wrong.

"Okay, what exactly are we dealing with here? What's so special about this place?" Claire just couldn’t get rid of that bad feeling. There was something wrong with this place. The small hairs all over her body stood upwards, accompanied by faint goosebumps. A slight chill suddenly made her body shiver, and after a quick glance around she briefly wondered if she was the only one who had felt that gust of wind. Did it become that much colder because they were underneath the earth or was her body trying to warn her about something?

 

"You feel it too, don't you?" Sheva asked her quietly; quietly enough so that they couldn't be heard by the others.

"What exactly?" Claire asked softly in return. "What's wrong here?"

“A change that should be impossible,” she answered her before turning to the rest of the group, “Something strange is going here, which is why Dr Nick Verrazzano was requested to help with the investigation.”

“Could you be any more vague? Did we enter the twilight zone?” It was obviously meant as a joke but the serious expression on Sheva’s face made Moira sober up instantly. She turned to Claire and whispered into her ear. “Shit, we are not about to step into another dimension, right?”

Of course, Claire wanted to appease her immediately, since the mere idea was absurd, but after what Chris had told her about what they had found out so far and the nagging feeling that she shouldn’t be down here, she was not too sure about this place being 'normal'.

 

Sheva paused for a moment before giving her and the rest of the group an answer. "The landscape here has suddenly changed. "

 

Silence followed. She had expected the questioning looks of the others. Dr Verrazzano - Nick - wasn't familiar with all their findings so far. Her colleague could explain all of this better than she could, so she looked over her shoulder to her superior, who would later lead Nick to the laboratory. “We took samples and compared them to former samples and geographical records of the entire area. The soil here has a different composition, very untypical for this landscape and also other changes in the structure of the rocks could be found. Especially interesting for us are the caves inside the mountain, which lead deep into the sea. Apparently, they did not exist a few years ago, but they seem to be several centuries old, perhaps even older... "

"Couldn't it just be a mistake in the records?" Nick replied.

"Quite possible, but the other changes in the landscape, the found body and this strange radiation..." he let the sentence end there.

"I see. I'll get to work right away," Nick said, then turned to Claire with a grin on his face, "I guess you're going caving and scuba diving, have fun. You know what material samples to look for?"

"Yeah, yeah. I know what you need. Don't get claustrophobic down here!" Claire winked at him and approached Sheva, ready to explore the caves with her and Moira.

"Let's see if we don't get claustrophobic," Moira mumbled sourly as she followed Claire as soon as Sheva had opened a gate for them both which led them into a deep shaft. She wasn’t too keen on the idea of going in there.

 

___________

 

 

Chris got tired of waiting. Not only did he still feel responsible for Wesker's condition, all of a sudden Piers seemed to be alive and able to mysteriously contact them - unless this actually was a macabre joke. Apart from the fact that after the explosion of the underwater laboratory it should be impossible for Piers to have had survived in one piece, he apparently also had met Wesker sometime during the last few years, who cannot have been in any condition to talk to or identify himself in front of Piers. Yup, probably a very bad joke. . .

And now Jessica tried to help or murder Wesker - Rebecca wasn't so sure yet - and managed to infiltrate their headquarters alone as far as they know. Seemed implausible as well. But the alternative would be that one of his own people helped her getting access and Chris didn't want to deal with a problem of this magnitude. They already had enough problems

Right now, they were waiting for Jessica to come around. She was in a high-security cell with a guard standing outside next to the door. The guard was mainly supposed to inform them as soon as Jessica was awake, but since Jessica proved her superb talent as an agent (and her talent for sneaking away from every situation, no matter how dire) many times in the past, the guard was also to keep a constant eye on her through the bulletproof glass wall.

 

It was a crappy day.

 

Chris hadn't had such a strong craving for a sip of whiskey or a cigarette in a long time. Both totally normal, everyday vices, which one can sometimes indulge in, but an absolute no-go for an agent and captain of the BSAA, who must stay in optimal physical condition.

With heavy thoughts and tense nerves, Chris climbed the steps of the fire ladder leading to the roof. He needed a moment for himself or rather, several days alone in his apartment with his cell phone turned off, but unfortunately that was impossible right now; especially when the world seemed to be heading into a new crisis. Therefore, Chris had to be content with the temporarily silence and loneliness on the roof.

And it was indeed quiet. No voices of his colleagues, no footsteps and no noises of the tactical equipment hitting against a chair or desk. Not a single soul around. He listened to the pleasant silence and the quiet splashing of individual raindrops on the concrete floor. He closed his eyes as if through the darkness, he could banish all the bad things that had happened in his life so far from his thoughts.

He took his time; let the cool air brush his neck and the drops cool his skin. He stood still with his arms resting on the railing and enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere up here for a few minutes. But. . . then a strange feeling of discomfort washed over him, and he listened more intensely.

 

It was quiet.

Absolutely quiet. No wind, no rain, no birds, no noise. Nothing.

 

Chris spun around and started looking around. Everything was normal just. . . pale. . . greyish. This unpleasant feeling, which started to spread throughout his entire body, became increasingly stronger. He wasn't sure if he just fell asleep on the roof and this was the beginning of a dream or he actually lost his mind completely due to all the stress. But one thing was clear: he had to leave. His body told him to flee.

Actually, he was trained to investigate a strange situation more closely and find an explanation/solution, but he forwent his training and stopped thinking about everything as he stormed down the stairs which led back into the building. Everything in him, every fiber of his body was screaming at him to get out of here.

However, being back in the building did not change his state of mind. Tense and with his eyes slightly pinched, he walked along the corridor and looked around. Everything seemed so colorless, lifeless, wrong, but still in the right place. The whole thing was pretty absurd. What was wrong with him? His thoughts were lingering on that question as he kept wandering through the corridors and rooms of the headquarter and finally stopped in the large operation hall. Then he got his answer.

 

There was no one there.

 

He was all alone in this huge complex. This was impossible. Something was wrong with this place. Chris had been on the roof for only a few minutes, a quarter of an hour at the most. During that time, all BSAA agents couldn’t have possibly left the building without a visible reason. Even if there had been a major emergency, at least a few agents and medics as well as the technicians and researchers would have stayed in the building. He didn't get an emergency call on his phone either. Speaking of cell phones, maybe someone left him a message that could explain this most peculiar situation.

The look at the display was followed by a jolt of fear. What he saw there made all the alarm bells in his mind go off. A strange malfunction caused the display to flash for just a second over and over again. All of the symbols had changed - were strangely deformed - or even disappeared. It reminded him of the call from Piers that Jake had described to them, but his cell phone wasn't working anymore. No touch resulted in a reaction. Even the letters were obscure.

So, Chris was alone in this building and had no way to communicate with anyone. This couldn't be possible. Something was seriously wrong here! And this oppressive feeling became stronger and stronger and was increasingly influencing his thoughts and behavior. He was quickly approaching the command centre, hoping that the telephones in there would still be working or at least someone from the staff would be waiting there and explain the situation to him. He feverishly tried to reconstruct how this could have happened, how he ended up in a deserted military base that was full of people only a few minutes ago. Maybe he had just collapsed, and this was indeed the beginning of a dream - of an intense nightmare.

 

Still deep in his thoughts, he walked through the door to the command center without looking around. If he had only looked a little to the side, he would have immediately noticed the black, tendril-like structures that ran along the wall or the increasingly cooler air. Maybe even the faint light under the door gap. It wouldn't have changed his situation, but it would have prepared him for the shock of what awaited him behind that door.

Chris froze and swallowed heavily.

This could only be a nightmare.

 

___________

 

 

A few steps into the ominous depths were already enough for Moira to wish she had rather taken this week off. She stopped behind them and paused for a few minutes. She was torn between giving into a fit of laughter and discomfort. Laughing fit, as it seemed ridiculous to feel this amount of unfounded fear for these dark tunnels. Discomfort, because something inside of her warned her of what might be deep down in that place. Something... deep down at the end of one of these tunnels, well hidden. Something that should not be discovered by others.

A cool breeze swept over her sweaty back and made her shiver despite the torturous heat inside the suit. Was it really that cold down here? The hazmat suits they were forced to wear were uncomfortable and she felt like a chicken in the oven, yet there were cold draughts in these cave passages, cool enough to make her tremble. After this mission she would lie in bed with a cold for a week and make life difficult for everyone around her; she was sure of that.

She could stay at her parent’s house - for a while after this mission. Not that she wanted to get on her dad's nerves with her annoying behavior while she was sick - they had a much better relationship now - it was just very tempting to stay at home now that her family had been back intact for a few years. Her little adoptive sister Natalia was a real sweetheart, and nothing would be nicer than to gossip with her about movies and shows, and being served delicious meals by her mother. Moira would simply make fun of the unrealistic dialogues and the acting skills of the actors, while Natalia would be annoyed by all the mistakes. The little one had quite the sharp tongue but often held back, especially around their dad and mom. It reminded her of her other sister. Polly also tried to behave well in the presence of their parents. Moira would always make it really hard for Polly, though.

The more she thought about her family, the more she just wanted to turn around, flip off the BSAA and march home. But she couldn't just leave Claire behind; she was family, too.

With a soft sigh, she stomped after the two women and looked around. Yeah, she was still surrounded by stone. A glance into the distance, as far as possible with the weak light provided by their flashlights and - yes - still only stone.

If there was at least something interesting down here that could explain her fear of this place, the mission would be more bearable, more exciting. But so, she only had a slightly increased heart rate, was surrounded by boring stone and small puddles on the ground. Right now she actually envied Nick in his little lab room with his stuffy air.

 

Moira almost collided with Claire as the latter suddenly halted and looked at the radar in her hand with furled eyebrows. One breath later she looked at the questioning faces of her colleagues and explained to them what bothered her. "A minute ago, the device sensed nothing, but now. . . Someone's down here, not too far away." She looked worried.

"That's impossible. The tunnel entrances were secured a few days ago by the BSAA and there are no food or clean water sources down here. Nobody would survive that for a few days. We've examined the area and-"

"Holy shit! Does that mean we're down here with a BOW?" Moira wanted some excitement but fighting against a BOW in confined spaces was a death sentence. It seemed as if wherever these corridors and tunnels may lead, something horrible must be waiting for them. She should have just turned around and dragged Claire along.

"We need to investigate this. "

"Lead the way, Claire. Be careful and ready to turn around any given moment. "

". . . great. " Moira looked at Claire as if she wanted to say something out loud. At the very last moment, however, she changed her mind and kept her mouth shut.

 

Claire quietly led the group down one of the many tunnels, mindful of her steps as to ensure not to alarm whatever was down here with their presence. Moira followed her, indecisive about why she didn't just talk about what was on her mind; that she thought that creeping down further this tunnel was a crappy idea. It wasn't like her to hold back, but something down here irritated her enormously and a small part of her wanted to find out what could affect her so much.

The three of them seemed to be incredibly far away from their destination as if the tunnel was steadily extending, getting longer, while they were still at the very beginning, only a few meters away from the door from which they had entered. The deeper they went, the worse it got. It was as if the darkness increased, bit by bit and the light of their flashlights was doing an awful job at shining through the dark veil. Moira was sure she was going to lose her mind. She didn't even know how long they'd been down here so far.

The other two seemed equally affected. No one said a word, Claire kept looking up from her device to avoid stumbling and Sheva shone her flashlight into the darkness in front of them. Without turning her eyes away from the dark nothingness, Moira fiddled with the strap of the hazmat suit and pulled out her weapon. She held the gun in front of her as she followed the two, her gaze not wavering from what was in front of them.

The air became more and more stifling and Moira’s thoughts were churning. They were in absolute darkness, the flashlights barely able to lighten up the way in front of them. If Moira hadn't been in a trance, paralyzed by a fear unknown to her, she would have noticed that Sheva's flashlight kept swaying up and down or that Claire wasn't looking at her radar anymore and only walking straight ahead. Whatever this place was, they shouldn’t have ever found it.

 

Suddenly they heard a sound, like the soft splash of something falling into water and it broke the spell. Claire put her head back to concentrate on the sound. It seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere and echoed everywhere. Realistically speaking, it could have only come from ahead, since they hadn’t heard anything before. It gave Claire the creeps because one thing was for sure. It came from something living.

There was also some sort of smell in the air. Strange and unfamiliar. Claire waited no longer than a heartbeat before cautiously continuing with the others in tow. Moira wanted to say something, preferably turn around and leave, but there was definitely something down here – and it was very close to them. Any loud noise would betray them immediately and so far they didn't know what they were dealing with. Sheva slowly pulled out her gun as well and aimed into the darkness in front of them with the flashlight resting on her weapon.

 

The sound stopped.

 

It was right there, five meters away from them at the most. Should they shoot or wait? Waiting just to get suddenly mauled by a BOW. Yeah, right. That was exactly the way Moira imagined her life to end. Her hands trembled slightly as she silently crept up on Sheva and Claire. That darkness, that smell, that cold air, all of it clouded her mind. She was ready to shoot at everything in front of them no matter what was lurking in the dark, whether it was friend or foe. Everything screamed at her to shoot without hesitation.

To kill.

Just kill.

Kill.

She was breathing heavily.

Claire and Sheva felt similar, the only difference was that the two had more control over themselves. Claire slowly lowered her gun and reached for Moira's with her free hand. Moira was glad about that because she couldn't control herself anymore. They all had to get out of this tunnel complex as soon as possible. Preferably now.

 

Claire carefully stepped further into the darkness, her weapon only halfway up, so that she wouldn't succumb to this strange urge and just pull the trigger at whatever was in front of them. She gasped when she finally realized what was down here in the darkness.

She dropped her gun and ran forward.

 

"CHRIS!"

Chapter Text

_____________

 

Do you believe in the good of man? That every person has a good core deep down in their heart, no matter how well hidden it may be, what the person truly thinks or what atrocities a person has committed in their life?

 

If Jill had been asked this question before the Raccoon City incident, she probably would have immediately answered in the affirmative. After all, she had always been convinced that everyone had a good core; considering the past life she had lived and what kind of person she was now. Of course, there were exceptions, truly cruel acts committed by sly people who were proving with their actions how selfish people could actually be - who did not care about the welfare of their fellow human beings - like murderers, rapists and thieves. Yet she firmly believed that even these people, somewhere deep within, still had a good core that was well hidden by pain, hatred, greed or anger. Her father was such an exception, a ruthless thief, but he made a deal with the police in order for his daughter to have a better, happier life.

Their last joint raid went horribly wrong and her father was caught by the police. A few days later,  she received a call from the prison. She had a brief, serious conversation with her father then and there and was offered a job at the RPD. And from that day on, Jill had sworn to never break the law again and help other people. He gave his life for hers. He was the proof of human kindness existing in every human being that made her believe that strongly.

 

However, after Racoon City and the events that followed, Jill wasn't so sure anymore. Her former captain seemed to be a man who had no visible reasons for the terrible deeds he had committed. There wasn't much in his files, way too little to be honest, but what they could find inside them didn't appear to be the past of a future mass murderer:

Employee at Umbrella as part of the security service; entry into the military as commissioned engineering officer; brilliant career in the military...

He seemed to be the perfect example of a good and righteous person, but his whole career was only a few lines on paper. Nothing about his family; no other notes could be found in his file. Jill concluded very soon after the incident in Raccoon City that this resume must have been fake, or that at the very least a lot had been left out. For a man like Wesker, 13 years as part of a security service - even a prestige one - would seem like a waste of his precious time and talent.

Then they found a few papers and reports with Wesker's signature in the Umbrella laboratory below the Arklay Mansion. It seemed like he had much more to do with the secret experiments than was apparent from studying the files. After the events on Rockfort Island - she was told about what transpired there by Chris - she was sure Wesker was a thoroughly cunning and abysmally evil man.

 

And then they met Wesker again at the Spencer estate and something seemed to be horribly wrong with him. He was... changed, not fully in charge of himself, on the edge. A strange feeling spread throughout her stomach - her whole body - when she saw him. It felt like some kind of evil premonition. Despite the bad feeling, although they both knew how inhumanly strong Wesker truly was, they decided to confront him and arrest him. If only they'd waited for reinforcements...

 

Then she fell down the cliff with him and lost three years of her life.

She could've lost the rest of her life instead, though.

 

He could have killed her, turned her into a monster, but he chose to save her life, nurse her back to full health by putting her in a cryogenic sleep and preserved her humanity. Instead of taking out his revenge on her he sold her off to Tricell and Excella as a lapdog. It didn't make any sense to them that Wesker did all of this. The only thing that was important to him was Uroboros and his plans of changing the whole world. He was obsessed with it. Nothing else mattered to him anymore.

Wesker was definitely not the same person then as before the Raccoon City incident.

 

After Wesker's official death and some last ditched efforts at bio-organic war engineering of certain Umbrella branches, the remainder of Umbrella Corporation decided to make amends. The BSAA acquired a huge amount of secret and lost documents through Umbrella's help. Among them were the Wesker-files. They had heard of them before but had never been able to find the files. It turned out that Wesker had good reasons for his actions after all, as he apparently grew up under the care of Umbrella as one of their projects.

But unfortunately, these files were incomplete as well, and they learned only superficial details about his childhood. The cult-like slogans on the walls of Spencer's Mansion in the Arklay Mountains - Wesker's former workplace according to the true files - led Chris and her to believe that Wesker may as well have been another victim, but that did not excuse his actions.

This fact and everything that had transpired, however, reaffirmed Jill's belief that everyone had a good core deep in their hearts. Wesker could have killed them or let them die in the mansion before they reached the laboratory; he could have expanded Umbrella Corporation further instead of smashing it; he could have killed them in Russia; he did not have to transmit the code to them in the secret facility in Antarctica; there was no reason for him to hesitate so long when it came to killing them - killing Chris.

She was sure that Wesker himself felt that there was something wrong with him. And then she knew.

He couldn't help himself. Something made him do it. Something that was programmed deeply into his mind.

And at the very end, he didn't hold back any longer. He was looking for a way out...

 

_____________

 

The offices in the HQ were as busy as ever, especially now as they were still searching for further possible intruders and traitors. Everyone was scurrying around and talking louder than necessary. Phones rang. Keyboards clattered. Ballpoint pens clicked and ran over papers of notepads. These papers sometimes flew crumpled up into the trash cans. The splashing of the water dispensers and the crumpling of paper cups were filling the room from time to time as well. A pleasant coffee scent blew in from the hallway. But that wasn't the only good smell that was distracting the busy agents. It also smelled after the meal, which would be available in the canteen in a few minutes. The food in the BSAA was varied, delicious and yet very healthy - and the highlight for some employees' working day. But Jill didn't pay it any mind. Even if she hadn't eaten all day, she didn't spend any second thinking about it. There were more important things.

Jessica had woken up half an hour ago and had immediately asked for Chris. She would only talk to him. So they tried to contact Chris, but he was not reachable via his cell phone. It immediately went to voicemail as if he had turned it off during working hours. It wasn't like Chris to simply turn it off. Jill had this bad feeling again and started looking for him. Her feeling had always been right until now, but this time she hoped she would be wrong.

 

Some technicians and agents sat together in the lounge, relaxing a bit before they would be wandering off together into the canteen. It would have made sense for Chris to rest there for a moment, too, trying to distract himself from his thoughts and finally getting a break - which he urgently needed after the last few days - and then go to the canteen with the others. A short glance into the room reinforced her bad feeling. Chris wasn't there and everyone she asked didn't know where he was. It was the same for every other room she went looking for him.

 

In her mind, she went through all the places in the headquarters where Chris could possibly be. If he needed absolute isolation from everything and everyone, then he would probably be on the roof. Quickly she walked through the building until she reached the fire escape leading to the roof. At first glance, she couldn't find any sign up there that Chris was relaxing somewhere. The roof seemed to be completely devoid of people.

Huh.

 

That's odd.

This unpleasant feeling, which she had been feeling for a while now, became even stronger up here as if her body was warning her of something terrible. A slight stabbing pain was slowly spreading in her skull and her vision was a little blurred. She rubbed her eyes, blinked, but everything around her was still slightly blurred and . . . paler, greyish.

She looked around, didn't know exactly what to do for a moment as she couldn't move like she was trapped up here. Everything got paler and paler and she closed her eyes.

 

That...

There was...

 

Suddenly her cell phone rang.

Cold air was burning in her lungs as she inhaled too hastily. For a few seconds, she tried to breathe normally, to calm down again, before she released her cramped fingers from the railing and reached for her mobile phone with a shaky hand. Since when was she breathing that hard? How long had she been up here?

"Jill, where the hell are you? Where've you been? Jessica's getting impatient! She's willing to talk to you, too, now."

". . . she's ready to talk to someone else already?"

 "Already? Hah, funny. That treacherous bitch had us waitin' for four hours!"

 

Jill fell silent and lowered the phone from her ear. Her chest constricted a little and breathing was a lot harder again for her when she glanced down at the display. She had been standing at the same spot for over three hours without moving. That was impossible. What the hell had happened here? Did she have a mental blackout?

 

"Jill? Hey, Jill! Shit, what's wrong?" she could make out her co-worker’s worried voice which pulled her out from her racing thoughts.

"I'll be right there."

Without waiting for an answer, she hung up and looked around again. Everything was back to normal. The leaves of the trees on the field shone in a bright green. The sky was rather dark due to the many clouds, but through small cracks in the sea of clouds, she could see a rich blue. No more shades of grey. No more headache either. Did her mind make up all of this? Did she need a break? So many unexplainable things had happened lately, tearing on everyone's' nerves; maybe she had just imagined everything...

 

She shook her head, climbed down the stairs and walked back into the building. 'Pull yourself together, Valentine. Something's wrong here. Your feeling is always right’.

Jill hurried down the hallways to the high-security prison wing. If her steps had been a little faster, she would have literally run. She was surrounded by the loud stomping of other soldiers and the murmuring of the employees wandering around her, but she didn't notice any of it. Her thoughts revolved around the events of the last months, around what she experienced on the roof and still had to deal with, and Jessica, who probably had an answer to all her questions. At least, that's what she hoped for.

 

_____________

 

Behind the door to the command center, there was no crowd of people, brightly lit screens or the typing and babbling of the employees. Before him, another world opened up as if the other half of the headquarters had suddenly crumbled down - vanished entirely without a trace. Either this was a nightmare, or there was no more hope for him...

 

A dense fog filled the streets leading away from the door, as well as a strange, soft noise that seemed to resonate from everywhere. There was no other human soul here as far as Chris could tell. It was cold, dark... grey and yet, there was something peaceful about it. Something that made his senses numb. It felt a bit like the moment when you fall asleep - when you are just beginning to dream. And in this sea of fog, the grey streets and white noise another sound could be heard. Unclear, disturbing, yet the only sign of life he could detect here.

It was probably a mistake, but Chris followed the sound through the dense fog until he could make out a large building in the white veil. It was probably a hotel or a large residential complex. As he was approaching the door of the building, this strange sound suddenly stopped, as if it had tried to lure him to the building. It should have clearly appeared to him as a warning sign, nevertheless, he tried to open the door and flinched back as his hand touched the door handle. It felt like it was wet, which was odd.

There was. . . blood on the door handle. Or any other dark liquid. And now it was on his hands. Tense and slightly disgusted, he wiped his fingers clean on his trousers and looked at the door with narrowed eyes. He didn't want to go in there, but he didn't want to stay out there either, outside in the fog where he was at the mercy of everyone and everything. When he pushed the door open and looked inside, darkness awaited him.

It seemed darker than it should be and there was no working light switch next to the door to brighten up the hallway for him. What did he expect anyway? A brightly lit and fully staffed hotel in the middle of this deserted, ghostly place?

The discomfort he felt in this place intensified. He might have become even a little bit fearful and maybe he was looking a little too hastily for his mobile phone at that moment.

 

Phone - dead.

That was just great.

 

Maybe he still had a lighter somewhere with him. He patted down all of his pockets looking for that thing. He finally found it in his back pocket and took longer than he desired to light it up. The glow of the flickering flame did nothing to calm him. Nothing could calm his nerves at this point. Everything here, this place, it didn't feel good - not right.

With every second he was spending at this place he hoped more and more that this was a dream, and just wanted to wake up. What was happening here with the headquarters and himself was impossible. It could only be a dream anyway. And he would hopefully wake up soon. That was all he could think of; completely forgetting about his professional training and what to do in deserted places.

 

Chris tried to focus again on his current situation. He slightly stretched out his hand with the lighter in front of him and went through the door into the dark hallway. He followed down the path of the hallway, carefully, step by step, until he walked through a wide door at the end. Inside, the flame of his lighter suddenly flickered more strongly. Steam was trying to swallow the flame and Chris was puzzled by the drastic change in temperature. Why was it steaming hot in here all of a sudden?

In front of him was another hallway, much longer than the one after the front door, with an illuminated exit sign above the door at the other end. At least he could see a bit more in the dark here. This place, however, did not give the impression as if there would be any electricity. After all, the light switches didn't work. He would not have expected another corridor either, rather a staircase or elevator. How else would anyone get to the other floors? But maybe he simply overlooked something in the dark - other doors, which might lead to a staircase.

 

Speaking of doors. On both sides of the hallway were countless doors in close proximity. Too close to each other. Way too close. There couldn't have been any real rooms behind them.

"Shit, what have I gotten myself into again?" he hissed.

He found it increasingly harder to breathe. The steam and the sudden increase of heat made breathing a lot more difficult and the tension in his body made it worse. Everything in him refused to move on. But he had to. Something brought him to this place. Something lured him to this building. He had to find out what it was. He had to find something in here.

Chris didn't want to stay a second longer in this place than necessary and that meant solving this riddle as quickly as possible.

 

The floor under his shoes was entirely black as if there were no floorboards or tiles, just a bottomless long hole. It made him move forward more carefully as he swivelled the lighter in all directions so that nothing would escape his eyes. Doors over doors - some locked, others without a handle or completely smashed in and unable to pass through. The signs next to them were faded, illegible or broken. This place was a ruin consisting of darkness, unsafe floors, strange bumping noises and barely accessible rooms.

At least he was alone. And he hoped that it would stay that way, even though, he actually wanted to meet another person. He had this oppressive feeling, that whoever he might meet here, would be someone untrustworthy or something non-human.

His hand trembled lightly - he didn't understand why - and not only once did the flame threaten to go out. Nothing would be more terrible than suddenly standing in absolute darkness and perhaps not getting the fire going again. Then he would be here all alone in pitch black darkness with this steady bumping noise...

Chris cursed himself for how much he let himself be guided by his feelings as he entered one of the rooms, looking for any clues. But the anger he felt towards himself was nothing compared to the oppressive feeling of fear and uncertainty. This place was playing with his mind and senses.

 

When in the seemingly empty room a double door came into view (he wondered where all the furniture was), he didn't notice that all the noises - even the bumping - had stopped at some point as he got closer to the door. So deep in thought, he only noticed that he was standing directly in front of the double door because suddenly a deep rumbling could be heard from behind said door.

 

He stepped back immediately. Who or what caused that noise? Why was it so silent all of a sudden? He seemed to be all alone here only seconds ago. What the hell was happening here?

 

"Wake up. . . I have to wake up!" he whispered to himself. The rumbling stopped thereupon.

 

Someone was here.

Someone made that noise.

Someone had heard him.

 

The lighter went out when the next bumping noise was a hit against the door that knocked it open.

Chris had seen quite a few things in his life, certainly scarier-looking BOWs, but the sight of what was behind that door took his breath away. What he saw there. . . he had no words for it. He could not even describe it, as if his eyes, all his senses, could not properly recognize the being before him. It was huge, far too wide, distorted, grotesque and ... where the face should be...

 

His escape instinct promptly kicked in and he turned on the spot. He had no weapon other than his knife to defend himself and this place was tricking his senses. There was no way he would be able to fight this thing. Especially not when he was reacting that strongly to the monster. After he had swung around in lightning speed, he sprinted off regardless of possible obstacles in his way or the unrecognizable ground beneath his feet. Behind him there was another crash; then a roar which filled the hallway, shrill and echoing everywhere and it made the blood in his veins freeze.

He jumped through the first open door in the hallway and slammed it shut behind him. He tried the lighter but it didn't work - Chris was sure it couldn't get any worse - however, the sparks were enough to see a bed in the corner of the room. Without further thought, he threw himself under the rusted frame with a stinking mattress on top of it and pressed his hand over his mouth.

 

Further rumbling could be heard outside the door.

 

Then silence.

Chris didn’t dare to take a breath.

 

There was another blow and the door swung open and hit the wall with a loud bang. Chris pressed his lips together and stared panic-stricken into the darkness. He could hardly recognize anything, but he could clearly hear the monster inside the room. The giant took a few steps into the room before it stopped in its tracks. This thing. . . made disgusting, rattling noises.

He could hear the monster's pressed breathing; smell the stench of decaying innards floating in his direction which made his stomach rebel in protest. Chris pressed his fist, which was holding the lighter, as good as he could against his mouth to suppress any noises he might make.

 

And then there was this gnawing thought that suddenly repeated itself over and over inside his mind. So bizarre and not at all typical for him.

 

Show yourself.

Show yourself to die.

 

Was it this place or this thing that whispered those thoughts to him? Why was the panic inside of him rising like that? No matter who or what it was, one thing was for sure: he had to get out of this place.

Chris fought against his own body, which was ready to crawl out from underneath the bed while the thing was still looking for him in the room. He had to actively prevent his body from murdering himself. The blood was racing through his veins and his heartbeat was booming in his ears. Seconds became minutes; it felt like hours to him.

The creature released an angry snort - and for a moment Chris feared it would destroy everything in the room - but then he heard steps moving away from him. The creature's shadow slowly disappeared, and it finally went back into the hallway.

 

Chris released his hands from his mouth, hastily struggling for air. As soon as he could properly breathe again, he pushed himself out from underneath the bed. But what now? If he ran fast enough, maybe he could escape. The big body of the monster moved sluggishly, that was revealed by the dragging steps. However, as this monster was chasing him it was quite quickly at the door of this room. But what was the alternative? Stay here? For how long?

As much as he weighed the advantages and disadvantages, the fact remained that this thing wanted to kill him and that it would keep looking for him here. He should take his chances and pray that the creature was slower than him.

Carefully and as silently as possible, he approached the heap of rubble that was left of the door and peered to the left. He couldn't see the thing, but it was hard to see anything in the dark without a working lighter. Chris waited until he heard a sound in another room at the other end of the hall where the emergency exit was.

Well, he couldn't leave through the exit door. That meant he had to go back out through the front door. He waited a moment, then he ran off.

 

The roaring started immediately with the loud clatter of his own steps and Chris hoped that the thing would bump into the door frame. After he ran through the first door, the fear of this monster instantly receded into the back of his mind for a few seconds.

 

No.

No way.

 

There should be a short hallway here, leading to the front door.

There had to be a short hallway here.

 

Instead, he found himself in another endlessly long hallway. Chris had no more time to think about how absolutely impossible his current situation was and continued running. The building's layout had just completely changed!

More rooms with signs and letters were passing him as he kept running until he reached another door at the end. He threw himself against it and ran straight into a wall. Another goddamn hallway. Which way now? Right or left?

For a moment he thought about trying to fire up the lighter to see a bit more in the darkness, but at his running speed, the flame would go out immediately and he wasn't even sure he could get the lighter to work again.

After looking into both directions he turned right. He could vaguely see the outline of a door on his right not too far in the distance. The hallway to his left was far longer and he was unable to see where it would lead to. Hopefully, it was the right decision. He prayed for the door to open.

 

He kept speeding, reached for the door handle and. . . couldn't push it open.

 

"Fuck! Shit! Shit! SHIT!"

 

The panic paralyzed his whole body for a split-second. The roar of the beast was already too close. He had to go through this door. Now.

With all his weight he threw himself against the door, hoping it would break open. Over and over he threw himself at it. Then... he was out of time.

Another roar, much too close, directly behind him and he instinctively threw himself to the ground, rolled to the side and saw in the corner of his eye how the claws of the creature collided with the door and completely destroyed it along with a good portion of the floor. For a moment he thought he could move past the monster and escape, but then the ground gave way. And they both fell.

 

Chris screamed.

The creature roared.

He banged against a stone wall and continued to slide down into complete darkness. As fast as he could he reached around and clawed himself to one of the ledges in the wall. Pain was coursing through his fingers, his entire body, but . . . he did not follow the monster into the deep abyss.

Chris didn't have time to rest, though. He was exhausted, both physically and mentally. Looking up, he was wondering how to get to the door before his strength would leave him and he would lose his hold. The lighter - his only source of light if he could get it too work again - was gone; fallen down into the abyss together with that thing.

 

Let go.

 

Now even his mind was fighting him.

 

"Fuck! What's going--!. . . I won't let go!"

It didn't really matter who he was shouting at, even if it was himself - it gave him the necessary motivation. He loosened his right hand and grabbed another ledge in the wall over his head a bit to the right. Then he let his left hand follow. The rock face to which he clung crumbled slightly under his fingers. How long would it hold him?

He kept climbing up sideways, closer to the door. A good 3 feet separated him from the edge over which the open and now completely destroyed door was. Chris narrowed his eyes to see more clearly, anything really, and noticed that the wall under the edge of the door had hardly any ridges and looked very unstable. If he could at least support his feet… but there was nothing there that would hold him. Just darkness and...

 

Let go!

 

Chris knew he didn't have any more time. His arms and legs were slowly getting limp and this dark desire for his life’s end - it grew with every second he was staying at this place. He just couldn't explain it to himself - what this place was, what made it so special. He couldn't and wouldn't believe this was reality. No. This must be a dream. It could only be a dream. Everything would be all right again when he finally woke up. At home, in his warm bed. . . or on the roof.

He reached for another ledge, slowly approaching the open door. Small boulders fell down again in the process. Reaching out with his hand once more, he was finally close enough and put most of his weight on his feet and prepared himself to make the jump. He had to make it.

The muscles in his arms began to tremble. His fingers got wet. A loud roar could be heard from the dark depth under his feet. The monster was waiting for him to fall. That fucking thing was still alive. His whole body now began to tremble with the effort of holding onto the wall.

Chris had almost made it. He was ready to jump-

 

More boulders crumbled down as he put all of his weight on his feet, the ledge underneath them falling apart.

 

For a second, he thought he would die now and yet . . . he could still hold on to the wall with his left hand, feet dangling freely in the air. Dirt and little stones dug into his skin, making it break. Hastily, he raised his right hand, trying to reach with it another ledge, but it slipped off.

One more time he tried. And again. Only after several attempts and the intense smell of his own blood clouding his senses he could regain a secure foothold. Thank God he was able to support his feet. But now he lacked the strength in his legs to climb up the rest and make the jump.

 

Would he die now?

 

Let go. . .

 

Or would he wake up now?

 

Suddenly, a rope dangled down next to him within reach. Were there other people here with him in this place? It didn't matter. Chris didn't give a shit about that right now. This rope was his last hope, and he took it or rather, he grabbed the rope and mobilized his last strength to pull himself up on the rope.

When he had finally pushed his upper body over the edge, he just wanted to keep lying there. But he had to keep going. And in any case, he had to find out who came to his rescue.

With difficulty, he pushed himself forward with his forearms until his legs lay on firm ground again. He kept lying there, breathlessly, with his fingers slightly twitching. Although Chris had escaped the monster, he felt terrible. This gloomy feeling, this desire to simply throw himself into this deep hole and die, was still there. Those terrible feelings were eating away at him.

He wasn't himself.

 

He took a minute to calm down enough to be able to at least think clearly again, then he got up on wobbly legs and glanced into the darkness. He patted down his pockets again, hoping to find another small lighter anywhere, but it was in vain.

Then all of a sudden, a bright beam of light lit up the room and he yielded his eyes with his hand. Blinded by the light, he pinched his eyes together and tried to see through narrow slits what was causing it.

 

It was a flashlight.

And someone was holding it and pointing a gun at him.

Chapter Text


 

 

"What are you?"

Chris was still slightly dazed and out of breath as he tried to spot the woman behind the gun; him being dizzy obviously making it hard. He didn't really know how to react right now after everything he had experienced in the last few…minutes? Hours? Days? He already couldn't tell anymore and that alone was utterly terrifying. 

 

The woman before him had just saved his life and yet she aimed her gun at him, finger on the trigger and ready to shoot at him any second - she could have just dropped him, letting him fall with that thing into this seemingly endless hole. Yet she didn't. something must be fundamentally wrong with this place so that one can't even trust another human being in this pool of ... monsters. And that question - what are you? 

 

"Chris Redfield, definitely human," he replied, still breathless from the climbing action earlier. 

The stranger nodded thoughtfully, looking at his bloody hands, which he quickly raised to show her that he was unarmed. She reacted for a split-second when he told her his name as if she had heard it before. Had they met each other? 

She looked him up and down for a moment, taking in his appearance before slowly putting the gun away. Only then did she get closer, reaching out her hand for him to grab before she noticed that they were fully covered in blood. It made her halt in her movement and finally letting her hand sink again. Her face didn't even flinch upon seeing the deep cuts on his hands. She was definitely a soldier of some kind. "Inéz Diaco." 

 

She walked around him and further back into the room. "Chris Redfield. . . I never thought I'd meet you like this." She seemed almost sad and Chris didn't have the faintest idea why. 

 

"How do you know me?" he asked hesitantly. He would have liked to have asked her a dozen more questions at once, but he wasn't sure if he really wanted the answer to any of them. She knew something about this place - it's secrets: what was going on here, where they were, and how this place worked. But the way she looked at him, the sad tone in her voice when she recognized him, it didn't seem to mean anything good.

"I knew your sister, Claire. . . " She hesitated, as if to add something else, but remained silent. 

Chris stared at her for a moment.  "Knew?"

Inéz pulled her eyebrows together in confusion, letting a bit more emotion seep into her expression, her controlled mask slipping a little. She looked at Chris as if he had just grown a second head. Chris’ worry grew. An expression of bewilderment spread across her face. 

 

"You have no idea?"

 

"About what? What the hell is going on here? Where are we?"

She watched him closely, obviously weighing her options before she answered his questions. 

 

"This is the place where people who die soon or have already died end up."

 

He was dying? 

Or already dead? 

 

This had to be a joke. 

Chris felt like he was in a bad dream - or still trapped in a nightmare. Nothing seemed logical; he couldn't explain what was happening here. After all, he was standing on the roof of the BSAA not too long ago to find a little peace . All alone and with no potential danger on site. So how could he be here in this horrible place reserved for the dead? This couldn't be real. Not the pain in his hands or his whole body, but it was. He could feel it all. Just like the fear and adrenaline shooting through his veins ever since that monster had been chasing him. 

 

"I would know if I'm dead," Chris replied stubbornly. 

"Then I guess you're one of those poor bastards who end up here just to die." Inéz apparently didn't know how to sensitively treat such a topic; just barging right in and straight to the point. That's exactly how everyone wants to know they're going to die soon. 

"What?" it wasn't even meant as a real question. Chris just needed a break. Somehow deep down he already knew that all of this was far too real to be a nightmare but his mind still couldn't come to terms with it. Especially with the fact that he was already as good as dead.

 

With leisurely steps, as if everything was fine and as if she hadn't just told him that he was properly fucked, Inéz approached him until she stood not even a meter away from him. 

"I'm really sorry for you, but the only way out of this place is as a dead man."

 

"That doesn't make any sense. None of this makes any sense."

"I'm shit at holding hands, so you better pull yourself together now and listen closely." She was really a very sensitive person. But in a way, her brash behavior and handling of the situation did help Chris not completely lose his composure. 

 

"I have no idea how, but somehow the walls between this place and our-your place have cracks and-" She raised her hand as she noticed Chris snorting in disbelief and ready to interrupt her right there, "And I know the whole thing sounds crazy but we're probably in nirvana or another place before final death. And believe me,"; she raised her voice; she knew Chris wouldn't believe a single word at first "I've been looking for a way out for a long time, but only those who die in here make it out."

 

"What? What the hell is going on here?" Chris' voice was weak. He indeed didn't want to believe a single word she had said ,but this place was definitely different in its entirety; it played with his thoughts and feelings. 

"I don't know. But whatever it is, let's hope we survive long enough... and still find a way out," Inéz said in a reassuring tone. 

"Didn't you just say there was no way out?"

"One can still hope. I hope so, at least for you."

"Why me?"

"Because I already died in our world. I think this place will never let me get out alive."

 

It sounded like complete madness, but slowly Chris was accepting every explanation Inéz was giving him. "And this monster?"

 

"Speaking of that asshole. We should get out of here before that thing finds a way out of this hole." She motioned for him to follow her and walked ahead without hesitation with her flashlight shining into the darkness, as if she knew the way out, although the layout of the building had changed. Maybe she just wanted to get out of here as quickly as possible. Chris did not question her, following blindly. 

He didn't understand this place and its rules but she did. 

And she was also the only one with a light source. 

 


 

The rain set in shortly after they had left the building and it only took a few seconds until Chris was completely drenched. The wounds on his hands stopped bleeding but he could still feel a throbbing pain in them. Hopefully, they would stumble across a first aid kit on their way to wherever Inéz was taking them. Wrapping up and disinfecting. Just to be safe. He briefly wondered if he could die in here to an infection but immediately dropped that thought. An infection was probably the last thing Chris would die to in this place and probably the least worrisome. 

 

"What kind of monster was that? The thing could get inside my head."

"I don't know what they are, but-"

"They? There are more of them?!" Chris burst out instantly and she just nodded her head in confirmation before continuing. 

"There are so many different ones and one is worse than the other. You should run away immediately as soon as you see one or-" She slightly bent down and picked up something from the ground; barely recognizable in the fog and rain, "You strike once and then run away."

 

She had fished out a rusty axe from the rubble on the side of the road and held it out for him to take. He accepted it carefully with a grateful nod - mindful of his wounds as to not make the tender spots break again on the rough and brittle wood. 

"You should know, this place hates life. These things will come after you, Chris."

 

"Great."

He really had a knack for getting into horrible disasters. First Raccoon City, Terragrigia, then Africa, the incident in the Baker's house... 

 

So those monsters would hunt him down? It all seemed far-fetched, but this was a strange place after all. The reality, as he knew, didn't apply here. No native living beings. No logic. No way out. He should have kept pestering her about this place, any small detail was helpful but ultimately Chris decided to ignore this new reality as much as he could. "You know my sister?"

"We both worked for TerraSave. On a mission on Sonido de Tortuga island. Our team found a secret Umbrella laboratory and sent us both to investigate and... well, the B. O. W.s were incredibly strong and very resilient little shits." 

 

"Of course, Umbrella ,” he spat out the company’s name; just mentioning them made his blood boil. “Like they didn't have their fingers in enough incidents already. Everything they touch just refuses to die and disappear."

Chris hadn't expected a soft, single laugh after his statement. 

 

"I look forward to us arriving."

"What do you mean?" he asked, slightly annoyed. 

"You'll see soon enough how ironic that sentence just was. Can't wait to see your face. This will be a mess."

Right after that, they turned quiet. Chris didn't feel like playing games and Inéz was just fine with the silence. Without uttering another word they walked through the seemingly endless streets. 

 


 

The axe in his hand was getting heavier and heavier and his steps slower as he followed Inéz closely - the fog so dense that he could easily lose sight of her in it. The collision with the monster had cost him some strength, especially mentally. He thought about proposing making time for a short break but decided to push through the fatigue and increase his speed. In the corner of his eye, he could see dark, moving shadows, wandering aimlessly around them.The fact that Inéz tried to walk as quietly as possible only confirmed his suspicion that their senses were similarly extended as had been the monster's from earlier in the hotel. They had to get off the streets as soon as possible. 

 

A terrible storm seemed to be brewing up in the distance; he could already hear the thunder roll. During a thunderstorm, they would no longer hear the figures roaming the streets around them; unable to tell if they were getting close. Therefore, it would probably be smarter to walk through this fog as quickly as possible, risking detection, find Inéz's shelter, get a first aid kit and rest up.

Chris tapped her shoulder and gave her a signal to speed up and twirled a finger towards the sky. She understood immediately and adjusted her tempo accordingly. He could imagine his sister and her having worked well together as a team.

 

After an eternity, Inéz finally stopped in front of a building near the sea. Through all the fog, he had completely missed it until they were directly in front of the building. Inéz didn't halt in her steps and walked right through the unlocked door, waiting for him right next to the door with her hand on the handle. She had clearly been here before. Maybe this building was a form of sanctuary; still connected to the rules of his world. At least he hoped so. That thought might make it able for him to catch some sleep in there.

As soon as Chris had entered, she turned the key inside the lock and went ahead wordlessly. 

As expected, the dark wooden corridor was empty, apart from a few loose leaves scattered across the floor. The flowers in the vase, right next to the front door, had withered, as had all the others he had seen so far in other building. A staircase led up; to the right, there was a room and straight down the hall, there was another door. He could save himself the trip to the kitchen; he didn't feel like eating, even if he was starving. Hey, maybe he'd die of starvation in this  , what a lovely end that would be. 

In the living room - he estimated that the right door was leading there - he didn't want to rest yet, not as long as Inéz hadn't brought him to where she direly wanted to lead him. On the ground floor, the beings on the streets could possibly see them through the windows and may storm the house while it was still thundering. The rain was audibly pelting against the window so it might attract them at one point. And it would definitely go on like this for quite a while. 

Upstairs it was then.

 

He followed her up the stairs, hearing the creaking under his heavy steps, but thought nothing of it. If there was a monster nearby, it would have jumped them already and he was too tired to sneak through the house. He would also feel like a complete idiot doing so because Inéz simply marched up the stairs. 

On the first floor, there was a bathroom and Inéz remained standing next to the door. She crossed her arms in front of her chest and leaned against the wooden frame. "First-aid kit in the closet, big guy." 

'Will she play watchdog while I bandage my hands?' , Chris thought as he walked past her and entered the bathroom. He couldn't care less about her not letting him out of her sight. Priority was to take care of his wounds. He first used a disinfectant to clean his abrasions and then reached for the bandages. He paused, though, looked at the bandages for a moment before turning to Inéz, sighing. 

 

"Hey, could you give me a hand?"

A little grin was scurrying over her lips as she pushed herself off the wall and took the bandages out of his hand to help him. They didn't exchange words as she started to work on his hands. She had hardly spoken at all since meeting him. It would be a long eternity in this place if he had to spend it alone with her.

After his hands were tied, he wanted to pick up the axe he had leaned against the bathtub while he was cleaning his wounds, but Inéz was quicker and grabbed it before him, evidently keeping it out of his reach. Chris slowly lost his patience with her and let his frustration bleed through into the look he was throwing at her. 

 

"You'll get it back, big boy. Just for the next few minutes you shouldn't have weapons in your hand."

"Why?"

"Come with me."

She stepped out into the hall again and Chris followed her reluctantly. 

The upper corridor was narrower than the one on the ground floor; two more doors were visible. Behind one of them, there had to be the bedroom with a bed in there, where he could rest up for a while. . . Although a sofa would do as well, anything really, the important thing was that there is something that he could lie down on while the storm was still going. His body was aching all over at this point. 

At the same moment, as if someone wanted to remind him that there was still a storm raging outside, a bright flash of lightning lit up the inside of the house. A few seconds later a loud, roaring thunder rumbled, which reminded him more of an explosion. "This will probably last for a while," he muttered to himself. 

 

Inéz did not hear him or simply ignored his comment and moved on, stopping at one of the two doors. "Okay, I know you had a really crappy day today, but you're gonna stay calm as soon as I open the door. Understand?"

Chris looked at her questioningly as he waited for some kind of explanation. It couldn't be worse than a monster waiting for him behind the door. She didn't answer him, though, just kept looking at him expectantly. He was tired and didn't feel like playing any games. If she weren't holding his axe in her hand, he would have just walked on his own through the other door and lied down. 

"You remain calm in there, big guy. You understand?"

"Stop calling me that, then maybe you'll get your 'yes'."

"Chris."

"Alright, yes! I'll stay calm!"

She didn't look too convinced - how could she; he snapped at her just now - yet she pushed down the door handle and opened the door for him. 

 

Inéz went ahead and entered the room first, approaching another person sitting in the barely lit room without any hesitation. So, there was someone else who had survived this hellish place so far. Maybe some other member from TerraSave or another lost soul that had stranded here. Curious, he also entered the room. 

"Seems like the others haven't come back yet. But-"

 

Chris' breath hitched. 

 

"I found Claire's brother, Chris."

 

His blood froze. 

 

"He ended up here - alive."

 

He reflexively clenched his fists. 

 

"If he survives long enough, maybe we can figure out a way out of this shithole. At least for you and him."

 But the other person didn't seem interested in what Inéz had to say to him. Instead, he watched every tiny movement Chris made, unable to avert his gaze. And so did Chris. He stared the other directly into his eyes, bewilderment written all over his face. 

 

"-Wesker."

 

Inéz continued talking, but neither of them listened to her. She quickly noticed and stopped; she could already feel the tension rising in the room and stepped into the field of both their vision, blocking the view. She didn’t need them lashing out at each other or rather Chris losing his temper. 

"Chris," she hissed at him, annoyed, "Keep calm. You remember? Those things out there will definitely hear it when you start screaming like an idiot!"

That must have been a bad joke, some kind of cosmic gag. He reproached himself all these past months for having left Wesker in this terrible condition but actually, he was alive and alert in this world? Or did he just as suddenly strand here as himself? But then where were all his horribly grotesque wounds? How was any of this possible? 

Had Wesker been fucking with them this whole time?

 

"What the hell!?"

"Chris! Stay calm!"

"Is this a bad joke?" Chris took a step forward in his frustration, whereupon Inéz did the same, stepping between them again and forcing him to look at her. 

"Lower. Your. Voice. Got it? Or do you want to end up with us as a monster snack?"

"You have no idea- ...Do you know what I went through because of that asshole?" he shouted angrily at her, eyebrows knitted together in frustration. 

"I don't give a fuck! I don't want to find out how eternal death feels like because of your premature tantrum, so pull yourself together and swallow your goddamn rage!" 

 

He bared his teeth while they stared down each other. But Inéz did not waver, not letting him out of her sight for a moment. She wouldn't back down. Chris took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a few seconds to calm his nerves. It did the trick, he was too exhausted for this after all. A few breaths later he was calm again. As calm as he could be in such a situation. 

Wesker had not said a single word so far and he seemed to have no interest in inciting him as he usually did in the past. Whereupon Chris would counter with some malicious remark. At least it would seem that he wouldn't make it unnecessarily hard for Chris not to get at his throat.  

Inéz finally stepped aside and turned her gaze back to Wesker. Chris followed suit, but he wouldn't keep quiet. He wanted answers. 

 

"How can you be here and in the BSAA?" His voice was still slightly raised, but he wasn't yelling anymore.

While waiting for his answer, he started to observe Wesker. And what he saw puzzled him even more. He noticed that Wesker’s skin was covered with darker spots in those places where he suffered from the worst burns on his body - in their world. This couldn't be a coincidence. The only question that remained then was how he managed to actually be in two places at the same time and how had Chris recently arrived here?

He waited for an answer. 

But there was none. 

Wesker was still staring at him, but his gaze lacked the usual coldness and arrogance, instead, it was... empty. Like he was not fully there. 

 

"Wesker-"

"Chris, let it go," Inéz whispered to him. "He's not always there. Mentally. And even then, he barely speaks."

He fell silent and looked at her perplexed. That was definitely a welcoming change. He could really do without Wesker's spiteful replies. Nevertheless, he wished for some answers. If Wesker could actually be in two places at the same time, then there simply had to be a way out of here somehow. 

Just as before, Wesker kept on staring at him and Chris didn't know what to do or how to act now. Fortunately, Inéz pulled him out of this room into the hallway and closed the door behind them. For the first time, since he had met her, she showed him a kind expression. She was concerned. "You look like shit, Chris. Lie down in the bedroom next door."

 

"I can't just-"

"Lie down, soldier, I'll guard the area."

"The BSAA isn't really a military organization and I-"

"Do I have to knock you out before you will get some fucking rest?"

That almost made him laugh - almost. He was just way too exhausted and he wouldn't be surprised if he actually did fall asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. "Thank you, Inéz." He actually meant to say 'Thank you for everything' and she seemed to understand the message regardless, without having him say it out loud. She gave him a weak smile in return.  

 

"Good night, soldier."

A sigh."I'm not a-"

"Just lie down already."

The nice moment was over.

There were so many unanswered questions Chris wanted to ask - were there any other 'survivors' ? Where would one end up if they died here? How long have been the two of them in this place? What about Wesker? How much more did she know about this place? - but the exhaustion took over and just as expected as soon as he laid down on the bed, he had already fallen asleep . . . 

 

WHAT 

 


 

 

Chris awoke with a headache and completely disoriented, and it took a few minutes for his mind to process everything that had happened and to recognize where he was. 

He was in his apartment. 

A dream?

Was all of this really just a bad dream? It all felt so real. Maybe that was a sign that he should actually go on that damned vacation. Chris got up, sighing. He had lived alone for so long, it was never a problem before but somehow right now he wished he had someone to share the apartment with. Someone to tell about this dream. It had thrown him completely off track and for a moment he wondered whether the last few months had actually happened or if they had also spawned from his imagination. 

 

Anyway, it filled him with discomfort to be alone in his apartment this instant. He was almost embarrassed by it, and it felt childish to immediately call someone just to hear at least one familiar voice - maybe Claire or Jill. He was unsettled enough, however, to just do that.

One glance at the bedside table next to him was enough to wring another sigh from him. His cell phone was not there and it was pitch black in the apartment; it was probably in the middle of the night. Just great. After that dream, he definitely didn't want to spend the night without the light on. He felt his way along the wall in search of the light switch, while his eyes slowly got used to the darkness. One click and. . . this day got worse and worse. Only after having pressed the light switch five times did he accept the fact that the light would not come on. 

It was incredibly dark. Complete darkness, no street lights either. Was there a blackout? A terrorist attack? Were the monsters from his dream following him to reality? Maybe someone broke into the building or even his apartment? Too many options and Chris wasn’t in the mood to go through them all. His nightmare had left him as a paranoid wreck and he was about to grab the gun in his nightstand. An additional knife wouldn't hurt either. 

 

This was absurd, he knew that. It was probably just a blackout. 

Chris held the gun low and slowly walked towards the living room. His grey baggy pants bothered him a little while sneaking, but to change clothes here and now, while perhaps there was a burglar in his apartment, was absurd. 

All his worries were for nought, though, because apparently, nobody was in his apartment. 

Chris sighed out loud - again. Should he go out and see if there was a problem with the fuses or was it a power blackout in the whole area? In any case, he had to do something, because sitting in the dark was out of the question. It somehow… didn’t feel safe in here, like something was terribly wrong and he soon found out what exactly it was.

 

He felt just as distraught after reaching for the door handle as he did after waking up from his nightmare because the door to his apartment was locked - from the inside. And the key was missing. 

Did he accidentally lock himself in his own apartment? It made him wonder. He had no recollection of the past events. What had he done after returning from the BSAA headquarters? That didn't matter now, however, because he wouldn't spend the night alone and locked up without a light in this apartment. He had to find his cell phone. 

 

                      BUMP

 

He spun around in a split-second.

"What's that?"

Chris remained in his current position and listened into his apartment, trying to locate the noise. That was the sound of a drop of water. It came from his bathroom. 

Did he forget to turn off the shower? But why didn't he notice it until now and why didn't he remember using it? He tried to remember but there was nothing. There was only a throbbing pain in his head. Chris clutched his pistol a little tighter and lifted it slightly, ignoring the sudden headache. Sneaking along the wall he approached the bathroom and opened the door. 

 

"Nothing," he breathed in amazement and looked around confused. 

The splashing of water could still be heard, however. That was it. He must have had gone mad for good. This surreal dream with monsters, that moment on the roof...

 

‘Shit.’ What did he do after he got off the roof? What had transpired since he had been on that goddamn roof? 

So many things were shooting through his head. So many possible explanations but none of them made any sense to him. Something was wrong, so absolutely, terribly wrong. It was just a feeling, which was slowly creeping on him. Chris forcefully tried to stay realistic, otherwise, he would have gone crazy right here and then. It probably rained outside or a neighbour had forgotten to turn off their sink. That's right. That had to be it. 

 

And then the noises started behind the wall. 

At first hardly audible above the dripping water, but with progressing time increasingly clearer and more disturbing. 

Chris got nervous. It didn't feel like another dream. This felt just as real as the moment on the roof or even that gloomy place, haunted by monsters and the dead. And then there were more noises, closer , roaring in his ears. It got closer. Closer with each second. Was something trying to dig through the wall to him? Was he about to die now? 

His hands trembled slightly and his mouth would not close; evidently slowly losing control over his own body. He gasped quietly but tried to suppress the sound as best he could anyway. What if something heard him behind this wall? What if it was trying to find him?

 

Chris shut his eyes and forced himself to think rationally and stay calm. He had to find out what was going on and not give in to blind panic. So instead he followed the sound. But what else could it be than a thing in his wall, crawling through, trying to reach him? But maybe… maybe that was the wrong question.

What would happen if there truly were things living in the walls of his apartment? 

 

The darkness in the room took on a strange form. It was still dark and yet there was a soft white veil expanding over it. It was strange, all of it was so strange... it did feel rough and yet somehow very soft. 

"What the hell are you thinking? It's just darkness. . . just darkness. . . There can't be damn fog in here, fucking idiot," he whispered quietly to himself and tried, by all means, to stay calm. He slowly crept to the spot where the noise was blaring through the loudest and suddenly it became very quiet. His heart nearly stopped at that.

Chris slowly lowered his gun to the ground and got on his knees. He put his hands on the wall and slid them carefully over the spot, hoping not to find anything on the wall. 

 

He froze. 

There was a tiny hole between the tiles. At that moment his head was completely empty, void of any thoughts other than, what was behind that wall?

Chris straightened up and tried to tear down the tiles. There was nothing else he could focus on now. It worried him a little how quickly the tiles gave way, but it didn't matter. The tiles were ugly anyway. Pull the whole tile wall down.

 

It was more than a little hole. In fact, there was a giant crack in the wall. One he could possibly wiggle through. But there was no other end, only darkness.

Chris couldn't believe what he saw. This shouldn't be possible. There couldn’t be endless darkness past his wall. On the other side of this wall had to be a corridor but all he saw was blackness. No, that had to be another dream. He'd wake up any minute. He was simply under way too much stress and had to deal with a lot of problems lately; that's got to be it. 

It had to be another nightmare.

He couldn't handle anymore of this madness. 

 

He decided to let it go, ignore it and look for his cell phone. But somehow he only made it to the living room and let himself fall on the sofa, sitting there numb and motionless in the position in which he had landed. Was that a nervous breakdown? Was that what it feels like? 

Chris looked at the clock. 

And he stared. 

And stared. 

But not an hour passed. Not a minute. Not a second. Time stood still. 

 

And then he felt a sudden touch that triggered a feeling of terror. He knew it. He felt it. The end would come. 

Chris' eyes widened. He tried to scream, but it didn't work. A black hand pressed on his mouth, preventing any noises to pass through his lips. He was trapped and at its mercy, whatever it was. He could only stare at the thing in front of him, but he couldn't see it - he couldn't see it properly. It was faceless, formless but real.

 

‘This is a dream. This is a dream. THIS IS A DREAM'. He thought to himself. He begged with himself. He prayed to himself. He just couldn't take it anymore. 

It was as if the darkness swallowed him up completely, piece by piece until the world around him slowly vanished into nothingness. It felt like a new section like he was slowly waking up... or falling asleep again? He didn't even know what was reality and what a dream, and at this point, he didn’t care anymore.

 

WHAT...

 


 

 

He now sat in a chair, strapped to it with leather straps all over his body. Everything around him was still dark, but another, dimly lit chair was visible in front of him, and on it sat...

It took Chris' eyes a while until the sudden light no longer blinded him and then let him see a nerve-racking picture. The person sitting on the chair was a shadow. No skin, or rather not a natural skin colour; it was interrupted, in some places even streaked with white spots but not - solid. And it was only when Chris bent over a little that he could see the smoke that was coming from the person. 

The smell of burning meat 

 

It was burned. 

Painfully slowly - and hard to watch - large skin and flesh pieces came loose from the figure and fell down to the ground with a sickening thud. 

"Shit!" Chris wanted to hold a hand in front of his mouth and nose, but the leather straps prevented this, so he could not yield himself from the disgusting smell. 

But the person did not seem to be dead, or to mind, for he could still see the eyes in its face staring back at him, fixed on him. Chris knew what this was and what it meant. Even if he could not understand how all of this was happening, he knew how it would end here. 

 

Chris wriggled in his shackles, trying desperately to find a weakness in them to get out of this situation, and therefore did not see the burnt body rise up and march towards him. Only when the figure stood right in front of him and leaned down to eye level did Chris look at it and screamed in horror as the lips of the thing began to move. Chris could make out parts of the skeleton through the burned and rotting skin. 

 

                      "Do you recognize me, Chris?" 

The dark eyes, which were almost black, kept looking at him and were drilling deeply into his soul. 

 

"No-! Hell no! I don't know you! Leave me alone!" Chris shouted and twisted so hard in the chair that he could hear his joints cracking in his back, but the burned figure wouldn't let go of him. 

 

                      "That's too bad."

 

And suddenly a fire sparked on Chris' chair, its flames immediately flickered around Chris' body. He screamed in pain and fear and was burning alive until he nearly looked exactly like the burned thing in front of him-

 

WHAT … !

 


 

A juicy slap to his face tore Chris back into consciousness. He did not open his eyes immediately as he waited until his pulse had calmed down and the image of the terrible, burnt face had disappeared from his mind completely. His face was the victim of a second slap to his face that echoed loudly in the room. The pain exploded in his cheek and Chris was finally able to feel another emotion besides panic. 

"Shit! Fuck! I'm already awake!" He sounded more out of breath than he would have liked. 

Chris sat up with a start and noticed perplexed how the person leaning over him didn't back down an inch. So he was now looking directly into their face. 

 

Wesker. 

Chris had absolutely no idea what had happened and where he was, but the last thing he needed right now was Wesker all in his face. Instinctively he shoved him to the other end of the bed and gave him a dirty look. "What the hell!?" 

"You're welcome."

"What!?"

"You were just about to die."

Chris snorted and could only repeat himself. "What?" 

 

"In this place, as a living man, you are not even safe in your dreams."