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Broken glass was digging into her fingers as she gripped the edge of the window’s frame and stared down into the darkness without really seeing. Red shapes were dancing in front of her eyes, awhirl with every blink, the afterimage of two bodies disappearing out of sight. Vaguely, Excella could feel Uroboros moving around her, made restless by her anger and hindered by the absence of a target. No, the target the anger was meant for had removed herself from the scene, and taken Albert with her.

A bullet whistled past her head. It was quickly followed by another, and then another, the rhythm so nice and regular as the projectiles found their mark without causing much harm. They were meant to distract her, lure her away from the window.

“You can stop shooting now,” Excella told the two agents without turning around. Her eyes were still fixed on the darkness below. Very faintly, she could hear the hum of an engine and the splashing of waves against the sides of a boat. “Your cavalry has arrived, and is leaving.”

Eery silence fell over the room, interrupted only by the thunder rumbling outside.

Then, Alomar spoke. “You’re not going after them?”

Excella laughed. She had considered jumping, in the first split second after the fact, and it would surely have been fittingly dramatic. “I don’t need to.”

They didn’t seem to know what to do with that information, but knew better than to ask her to elaborate. And after a few more seconds of silence, the sound of careful footsteps backing away told her that they’d chosen to retreat for the time being. They were at the door when Excella called out.

“Whatever happened to the rest of your team that was supposed to show up? Did they get lost on the way here? I was expecting a bit more than one agent with an escape vehicle when you said ‘cavalry’, to be honest.”

“You were also expecting to be notified of our every move on the way here,” Redfield countered. She sensed his shrug more than she saw it. “Maybe you should have lower expectations next time.”

So they were alone. Now that… that was delightful.

Excella allowed the little smile that had been tugging at the corners of her mouth to take form. She turned around. There they were, already halfway out the door and ready to bolt at any second.

“Go ahead,” she told them sweetly. “Run. See if it does you any more good than it will Albert and his witch of a sister.”

The two exchanged a knowing look, and then did just that. Excella stared after them thoughtfully as they disappeared around the corner. So many people were running from her today. Were they all headed to the same place?

A small beeping noise sounded from her pocket, her phone notifying her that Albert had left the perimeters of how far away he was allowed to move from any location she specified, and she pulled it out to see a tiny red dot that was moving steadily on a holographic map. They were going North East.

She traced the dot’s path with her finger, imagined him sitting in that little boat – unsure whether he’d really escaped her this time, and unaware that he was doomed.

“Running isn’t an option, remember?” she whispered, and smiled a little wider. “For more than one reason, my dear.”

Chapter Text

They had left the storm behind them as they travelled, and by the time they reached what Alex had referred to as ‘home’, the first few rays of the morning sun were peering over the horizon and bathing everything in a soft, warm glow. Agent Stone dropped them off on the pebble stone beach near one of the inhabited corners of the island. When Alex asked him if he at least wanted to rest for a day or two, he shook his head resolutely.

“I’ll go back and see if I can get a hold of Sheva and Chris,” he explained. “I suppose the next part of the plan will have to be changed a bit, but we should be back in a few days if all goes well. You two going to be okay on your own until then?”

Alex nodded. “The early warning system will notify us of any visitors, welcome or not. We’ll be fine.”

Wesker stood by silently while she said her goodbyes. When Stone got back in the boat and took off, Alex let out a deep sigh and visibly relaxed. “Finally,” she said. “Glad to have that over with.” Her eyes found his, and she smiled tiredly. “Come on. Let’s get to the tower, and then we can rest.”

They didn’t see anyone on their way there, even though it led through several of the properly populated spots. It seemed the island’s inhabitants were avoiding them. But that was fine by Wesker.

“They don’t like you much, do they?” he asked, more rhetorically than anything. But Alex chuckled.

“They’re just scared because people keep disappearing whenever they are assigned to work near the tower. I’m sure you can guess why.”

“None of the files left by Umbrella mentioned what you were doing here.”

Alex turned around, again with that inscrutable look on her face. After a few seconds, she smiled. “I can show you when we get there. If you want to see.”

They continued on their way in comfortable silence. Wesker tried his best to ignore the occasional bout of dizziness and the dull, throbbing reminder that he still had about a dozen bullets lodged in his chest. It was too risky to stop here, out in the open as they were, to try and patch him up. Alex seemed to think the tower would be safe. He hoped she was right in that assumption.

At the foot of the tower, they were greeted by a nervous-looking, wiry man in a suit who appeared to be in his mid to late fourties, who expressed his relief at Alex’ well-being rather fervently and then fell silent and stared like a fish when Alex waved away his concerns and gestured towards Wesker. “This is my brother, Albert,” she told him. “I’m sure you’ve heard of him. He’ll be staying with me for now, and I want no interruptions from anybody during that time. Understood?”

The man nodded silently, still staring. Wesker stared back with as dark an expression as he could muster in his tired state. After a few moments, the man looked away. “I’ll make sure to notify everyone,” he mumbled under his breath, and turned to leave.

Alex led the way to an elevator in the middle of a giant, echoing hall. “That’s Stuart, one of my most loyal subordinates,” she explained. “Don’t let yourself be bothered by his demeanour. He’s always been like that.”

Wesker chose not to comment on that, and they were both silent on the ride up. It took him a while to find his voice again – all the way to the spacious, elegantly and modernly furnished blend of bedroom and living room that Alex waved him into.

“So what exactly did you mean by ‘bringing fire into the eyes’?” he asked. “I’m assuming the fire part is about destroying Uroboros?”

She turned to regard him. “Precisely. The others will lead her here, and when she comes to find you, this place will be blown sky high and end her miserable existence. And we’ll be rid of her once and for all.”

Fear twisted deep in his gut. “The last time someone tried that, the BSAA ended up losing a lot of good agents to Uroboros, and Excella walked out unscathed.”

“That’s because the BSAA are idiots who tried to reason with her and gave her a heads-up before they started shooting.” Alex grimaced. “I won’t be making the same mistake. The tower is outfitted with a self-destruct mechanism for certain emergencies – probably the only good idea old Spencer ever passed down to us.”

“What about your work? Your research?”

Alex shrugged. “Stuart will take care of that. But you shouldn’t worry about it too much, anyway. You won’t be here by the time the Gionne bitch arrives. Either the BSAA people will come get you, if they make it back safely, or I’ll send you somewhere else with some of my people. She’ll die without laying eyes or hands on you, and then you won’t have to think of her ever again.”

The certainty with which she said it was soothing, even if her plan contained a few too many question marks for his liking. But he was too tired to argue with her on the details. “Do you have medical equipment around here?” he asked instead. “The gunshot wounds would heal better if they were taken care of properly.”

“Of course!” Alex took him by the hand to lead him out onto another walkway, up into a white, hexagonal room filled with all sorts of equipment, where she instructed him to sit on a narrow, padded cot while she dug up pincers and bandages and a few scalpels, just in case. “Take off the shirt, would you?” she called without looking over.

Wesker frowned. “I can do it myself.”

“Nonsense. That’ll just make it take longer, and be more painful than it needs to be.”

He didn’t move to do as she said, and when Alex finally turned around to find him still dressed and frowning intensely, her expression darkened. “Don’t be like that,” she chided. “It’s not like I’m going to do anything inappropriate to you. I’m not the Gionne bitch, remember?”

Wesker felt his eye twitch. “Stop calling her that.”

The words were out of his mouth before he could think about them, and their effect was immediate. Alex’s eyebrows furrowed, her eyes narrowing dangerously. When she spoke again, it was slow and deceptively calm. “What did you say?”

In the back of his brain, an alarm went off. She’s angry. You’ve made her angry. You said the wrong thing and now she’s angry and

“Why wouldn’t I call her that?” Alex asked, interrupting the spiral his thoughts were going into as she stepped closer. “Why wouldn’t I call the Gionne bitch exactly that? Because that is what she is, Albert. A rabid creature not in control of herself, following her instincts like a dog in hea–”

Stop it.”

Alex stood frozen where she was, eyes wide in surprise at his outburst. He hadn’t meant to be so loud. But she had hit a nerve, and he had had enough.

“Excella is perfectly in control of herself. She’s been in control of herself – and of me – for the better part of two months now, Alex,” he told her bitterly. “Don’t you dare imply what she did to me was instinctual, that it was in any way a natural human behaviour. It was not, and if you had even the slightest idea about the things she did, you would realise that.”

Silence hung between them, punctuated only by Wesker’s erratic breathing, until Alex spoke again.

“Then tell me,” she said, voice soft and almost gentle. Almost. “Tell me what she did, so I can understand.”

They stared at each other for a few more moments. Wesker slowly, very slowly shook his head.

Alex sighed. “Alright,” she conceded. “Don’t tell me then. She’ll die either way. But are you at least going to let me help treat your injuries?”

She stepped forward again to place the tools on the little table next to him, and waited patiently as he pulled down the zipper of his shirt and slipped out of it. Not a word about the myriad of half-faded bruises or about the faint scars in the form of teeth imprints. Wesker was grateful for it.

“So, what exactly have you been working on after abandoning Spencer?” he asked when the silence became too oppressive.

Alex chuckled humourlessly. “Basically the same thing as before, only that now it’s not for the benefit of that old fool anymore. I intend to outlive him by a long, long time. Even if that awful condition of mine tries to get in the way of those plans.”

He hummed in understanding, remembering Umbrella’s reports on the sickness that had taken hold of her following her injection with the prototype virus.

“You don’t have any immediate projects anymore now that Uroboros has failed you, right?” she asked, the barest hint of a smile adorning her face. “I could always use more bright minds overseeing my work.”

Wesker didn’t reply, and let them fall back into a more comfortable silence this time while Alex delicately pulled out the rest of the bullets and disinfected and bandaged the wounds. She didn’t ask if he was injured anywhere else, and he didn’t offer to let her see. She’d seen enough already.

By the time they were done and returned to Alex’ living quarters and he took a look around, another rather obvious problem that he had brushed aside earlier caught his attention. “I didn’t see any other rooms on the way here. You don’t intend for us to sleep in the same bed, do you?”

Alex threw him an unperturbed look. “It’s wide enough to accommodate both of us, and we’ve shared a bed more than a few times back at Umbrella. You’re not worried I’ll try anything, are you?” When he didn’t answer, she stepped up closer and tilted her head in something like confusion. “Albert? What’s wrong?”

Everything was wrong. But he didn’t know how to tell her that.

“Would you prefer if I asked Stuart to get some blankets and make the couch into a temporary bed for one of us?” she offered finally. “We can alternate between who gets the bed every other night or so. It won’t be for long anyway. Would that be better?”

He managed to nod, and Alex visibly relaxed. “Then we’ll do that.”

It was a few hours later, when she shook him awake in the middle of the night calling his name, her eyes wide with worry and something else entirely, and the heavy ache of arousal seeped through his sleep-addled mind, that he realised what it was he’d been trying to get away from. Alex backed off immediately when she was sure he was conscious.

“You were making noises,” she explained, an all-too-familiar flatness to her voice. They had all been taught to use that tone when they didn’t want anyone to know what they were thinking. “I didn’t know whether to wake you up when that happened or not.”

Wesker suppressed a shudder. “I don’t know either,” he admitted. “I don’t know…” He trailed off, fidgeted as he tried to pull the blankets further up his body. He didn’t want Alex to see him in such a state.

She reached out to hold onto his wrists almost immediately, to stop him in his movement and no doubt assure him that it was alright. The words never came. He went rigid under her touch, mind shutting down as it connected the arousal and the gesture and the inevitable conclusion that followed it. “Don’t,” he managed to choke out. “Don’t grab the wrists.”

Alex let go as if she’d burned herself, and got up to put distance between them. “Do you want me to leave?” she asked, the flatness still there but with a tremble to it this time. “Would that help? Would anything help?”

He nodded, his throat still constricted too tightly to form words, and Alex nodded in return before quickly striding over to the door that led down to her monitor room. She hesitated as if to say something, then thought better of it and left.

And then he was alone.

He sat in silence for a few minutes, calming his breathing and waiting for his body to realise it had no reason to be aroused by anything… but the throbbing between his legs persisted. Wesker stared off into the darkness of the room, fighting with himself on what to do. Before finally giving in and slipping a hand into his trousers, stifling a moan and ignoring the heat of his face as he rocked his hips into the welcome touch.

This meant nothing. It was a physical relief of pressure, nothing more, and Excella had nothing to do with it. Nothing at all. This was nothing at all.

Or at least that was what he told himself as control of his movements slipped away and he let instinct take over, careful not to close his eyes in fear of the images his traitorous mind might conjure up for him. It didn’t help much against the familiar wave of humiliation as he came.

He cleaned himself up in the small adjacent bathroom, and padded downstairs to find Alex. If she noticed the unusual flush to his cheeks, she didn’t comment on it. “She’ll die screaming,” she muttered instead. “For whatever it was she did to you, and then some. It’ll be a glory to behold, just you wait.”

Wesker didn’t have an answer to that. But luckily, she didn’t seem to expect one.

Chapter Text

Jill had tried calling over and over on the flight to Europe, since there wasn’t much else to do, only to be greeted by the same old answering machines informing her that the agents she was trying to contact were currently unavailable and to call again later. She was about ready to chuck the phone out the ‘copter in frustration by the time they set down. Claire had watched her efforts from the opposite seat and grimaced in sympathy.

It was raining almost as hard here as it had back in the US, which meant any footprints or similar clues as to where everyone present at Spencer’s place had gone would have been washed away by now. Jill kicked at the muddy ground. This would take a while.

Nonetheless, she made a valiant effort not to seem too grumpy as she thanked Barry for the ride. He’d been their best bet to get across the Atlantic without the BSAA hauling her back into confinement (but this time with higher security measures), and the words “Chris needs help in Europe” had worked wonders on their old friend. Of course, the fact that it had been Claire who was saying it had probably helped.

The path leading up to the gloomy mansion was even more overgrown than the last time she’d been here, though it sure was a lot less ominous-looking in the daylight. BSAA vehicles were scattered in front of the entrance, and soon enough they were approached by a short young woman in tactical gear who looked almost as grim as Jill felt.

“Headquarters was wondering where you’d gone, Miss Valentine,” she greeted them.

Jill smiled, entirely unintimidated. “That’s ‘Jill’ to you. I was sick of the lack of progress being made this side of the big pond. And of the shitty cafeteria food.”

The insinuation that she and her squad were doing a poor job appeared to annoy the agent. Not quite to the point of drawing her weapon or trying to apprehend them just yet, but Jill knew how fast tensions could escalate in the field. She pointed behind her, at her companion. “This is Claire Redfield. We’re looking for her brother,” she told the woman, doing her best to sound sincere. “All we want is to help make sure he and his team are okay.”

Something flashed in the agent’s eyes. “His team is right here,” she replied rather forcefully. “He abandoned us in Italy for the sake of the folks down in Kijuju.”

Oh. So that’s what this is about.

“I’m sorry to hear that. If it’s any consolation at all, just know that Chris has always been known to make questionable decisions when he thinks it will benefit the greater good. Or when it satisfies his saviour complex. I know that doesn’t really make it better, but…” Jill shrugged. “It’s really nothing personal.”

She could see that the agent wanted to say more, but then seemingly decided against it and shook her head. “We have no authorisation to take you into custody,” she said instead. “Though I’m sure you’re aware that this doesn’t exactly bode well for your chances of being allowed back into the field anytime soon. Try not to destroy evidence if you find any. And inform us of anything you consider notable. You’re probably more familiar with this place than we are.” Then she stepped aside and gestured for the two of them to go through.

Claire looked back over her shoulder as they entered the building, shaking her head. “What a mess,” she mumbled. Jill couldn’t help but agree.

Several agents threw them curious glances when they went past, and Jill got more than a few wide-eyed stares when they recognised her. The newly dyed hair probably helped considerably in that regard. It wasn’t the same colour as she had before, but it was a thousand times better than the blond.

The old library was deserted except for a single agent who watched them warily. It was cold in here, the wind tasting vaguely of salt as it swept in through the shattered remains of that same old broken window.

Jill couldn’t help herself. She stepped closer, and leaned out as far as her balance would allow. Down below, the waves were crashing up against the cliffside. The memory of how her stomach had lurched when she’d jumped was still all-too-vivid in her mind. She pulled herself back into the room with a shudder.

“Is it all the same as back then?” Claire asked from over by one of the bookshelves, her eyes flickering this way and that with a strange kind of hopeful nervousness.

Was it? Jill looked around.

Somebody must have cleaned up a bit after Chris and her encounter with Wesker three years ago, judging by the absence of Spencer’s corpse and of the long wooden table that had been there the last time she’d seen the room. Any other disarray could be chalked up to storms and the like.

Her eye was caught by a spot to the left, near one of the pillars, and she stepped closer. There on the ground lay a heap of rusty chains not unlike the ones down in the hidden basement. Jill tilted her head to the side. “Those weren’t here before,” she muttered, and nudged against them with her foot. They made a quiet clinking noise as the links moved against each other.

She knelt down to examine them, noting the picked lock above all else. It was as simple a lock as it could get, yet around it were a myriad of faint little scratches, as if the person picking it were terrible at lockpicking. Jill couldn’t help but smile. “Man, your brother hasn’t gotten any better at stealthy shit, has he?”

Claire was next to her immediately. “He did this?” she asked, obvious excitement in her voice. The agent on the other side of the room perked up.

Jill nodded. “And I can think of only one person who could have been chained up here, to be honest. But that still doesn’t tell us anything about what happened, other than that they probably found Wesker here and that Chris picked the lock. If shit went down in here, there should have been more destruction, especially since Uroboros was involved. But they can’t have gotten out without a fight because then he wouldn’t have contacted me to tell me shit was about to go down.”

Her gaze wandered over to the broken window again. “Did you guys search down in the water?” she called over to the agent.

“All the way up and down the coastline for about twenty kilometres,” he replied. “No bodies, no nothing.”

That was good news, at least. Jill shook her head. “Three days is a long while. There was no fight here, and if there was one somewhere else, we have yet to hear about it.”

She really hated people’s unfortunate habit of suddenly disappearing.

“So now we wait for them to show up again, huh?” Claire seemed much more optimistic about the prospect of finding their friends (and brother, in her case) alive and well. Or maybe Jill had just gotten more pessimistic over the years.

She sighed. “Pretty much. But in the meantime, there’s still a whole lot of rooms to explore around here. Who’s up for wandering around a creepy mansion for a bit?”

Chapter Text

Once again he was shook awake by Alex, for the second time that night. She didn’t say a word, simply hopped off the bed and left the room. He hated the fact that this appeared to be turning into a routine.

But it was stll better than when he’d asked her to leave without waking him. By the time his brain had managed to figure out its way out of whatever subconscious memory it’d been stuck in, his throat had been raw from screaming, and the arousal had been just as persistent. Alex had been sitting at the foot of the bed with wide eyes full of anger and fear. She’d refused to try and wait it out again after that.

He didn’t dream – or if he did, then he didn’t remember it afterwards. Perhaps that was a thing to be thankful for. It was bad enough that, no matter how hard he tried to keep his mind blank while he touched himself, there was always that nagging corner in the back of his brain where he thought he could feel himself inside her, or hear her voice as she ordered him to spread his legs, to let her see, let her watch.

Alex turned around at the sound of his footsteps, set down the syringe she was holding. “Feeling better?” she asked, and he nodded. She was good at hiding it, but he knew that it bothered her. Maybe that was why she was so eagerly looking forward to the BSAA people’s – hopefully soon – return. Maybe she thought that once Excella was dead, it would automatically get easier.

And who knew, maybe it would.

“Stuart’s working on getting a hold of those chemicals you listed.” She changed the topic so smoothly, directing their minds away from the discomfort of his condition. “It shouldn’t be much longer before you’re able to mix yourself some new and improved serum.”

“Good.”

That, too, was a prevalent concern of theirs. Even though his body was healing and the withdrawal symptoms were ever-so-slowly subsiding as he adjusted, the limitations to his strength and speed bothered him. It wasn’t safe. And Alex’ research was still based on the T virus, something he had left behind years ago, so it was highly doubtful any of her mixtures would work on him.

Alex looked him up and down. “Feel free to go back to sleep if you want to. I’ll stay here a bit longer.”

“And wake up again in a few hours to humiliate myself? I can do without that, thank you.” He couldn’t help the bitterness that crept into his voice. Staying awake indefinitely wasn’t an option, but delaying the inevitable was still too enticing a prospect to ignore.

“Fine.” Alex shrugged, and picked the syringe back up. She didn’t even move a muscle as the needle broke her skin and she pushed down the plunger to empty its contents into her bloodstream. “Suit yourself.”

Wesker stepped closer, tilted his head in mild curiosity. “What are you doing?”

“Research.”

“I figured. But what kind of virus?”

She smiled, and didn’t answer.

Wesker rolled his eyes. “Fine. Suit yourself.”

That actually made her laugh, and she gestured for him to come over and held out the empty syringe. “Here. Let’s see if you can figure it out.”

He took it from her and turned it in his hand, examined it for any kind of label and came up empty. The glass vial had a slight green discolouration, but that didn’t exactly narrow it down.

A sudden touch to his neck made him jump, Alex having stepped up next to him unnoticed, though she seemed to have forgotten about the mystery of what had been in the syringe. Her eyes were fixated on the side of his neck where she had put a finger against his exposed skin. An intense frown had replaced her earlier, brighter mood.

“Alex…?” Wesker wasn’t sure what to make of this.

But she just shook her head. “Wait right there,” she mumbled, and finally moved away. “Give me just a second to–”

A shrill alarm interrupted her, both their heads snapping up to seek out the source of the sound. Alex cursed under her breath.

“What? What does it mean?”

He had a sinking feeling he knew exactly what this particular alarm was for, and the exasperated look Alex gave him only confirmed it. “It’s the early warning system. Someone is coming. Goddammit, not now.” She strode over to where her tools where spread out neatly on one of the little tables. “The timing of these idiots, I swear.”

The white double doors slid open. Wesker felt his heart skip a beat in fearful anticipation, but it was just Stuart, looking nervous as ever. “Master Alex, there is a boat approaching the island. Should we–”

“Proceed as discussed. Prepare an escape vehicle in case it really is the Gionne woman,” Alex cut in. “Albert will be down in just a second. Now, leave.” She picked up a scalpel. “There’s something I need to take care of.”

Chapter Text

She had watched the sleek little boat ease into port from a distance, had followed the passengers with greedy eyes as they took a narrow footpath up the hill to reach the bizarre, towering structure that was so very obviously where Alex Wesker was hiding. This particular Wesker was many things – subtle was not one of them.

It wouldn’t have been difficult to find the island on her own, not with the tracker telling her where to go, but on her way North she’d inadvertently crossed paths with the BSAA agents again. Or so she had thought at first, before it became clear that not only did they know she had noticed them, but they also seemed intent to make their location obvious to her. The reasoning behind it escaped her. But she was intrigued, and when they set out in exactly the direction she had planned to go anyway, the pieces fell into place. They wanted her to follow. Alex Wesker wanted her to find them.

And that was more than fine by Excella.

The lone figure that had stayed behind to guard the boat paced restlessly, throwing glances to where their companions had gone. Excella knew this particular impatience quite well. But they both had to bear it for the time being. The blinking red dot was still not moving, still stuck at the approximate location of the tower. Would it finally move again once the little group returned?

The person staying with the boat, who had been sitting down to rest their feet, suddenly got up and pulled something out of their pocket – a phone, no doubt, since they raised it to their ear and talked into it in a hushed tone. The conversation didn’t last long, and soon enough they were powering on the engine and steering out of port, maneuvered along the shore of the island to disappear from sight. Excella checked the red dot again.

She had been expecting it to be moving. It wasn’t.

While the boat, now carrying other passengers again, hurried off into the open waters, Excella followed the same footpath, careful not to let herself be seen.

The tower itself was mostly deserted, with only a handful of people keeping watch near the entrance. Uroboros disposed of them easily and silently, and Excella encountered no one else while mapping out the lower levels of the place. A few siderooms crammed with posh furniture and computers, adjacent to an empty open space big enough to cause her steps to echo, and an elevator in the middle that led up further than she could see.

Its steel structure was easy enough to climb, though it took a bit, and eventually branched off into a single walkway connecting the elevator platform to a door on the other end of the room, sterile white constrasting with the concrete wall. It screeched on its hinges when she forced it open.

Behind it were a series of increasingly bizarrely situated rooms – first a dark, powered down monitor room, then a spiral staircase, followed by a bedroom. Equally dark, equally deserted. But not abandoned for long. Excella idly ran a hand over the soft sheets of the bed and took a deep breath to taste the air. It was faint, but unmistakeable. Albert had been here.

She pulled the phone out of her pocket once more, and sure enough, there was the red dot, still in the same place as the last time she’d checked it.

Another door, another walkway and set of stairs leading up to shining white double doors, which parted before her without a sound. Excella stepped into the final room, felt the soft vibration of the phone as it confirmed that this was where she was meant to be. Just like the other rooms, everything was sleek and spotless and sterile, the only anomaly being a wall spanning the entire length of the space from floor to ceiling.

She had only a few seconds to wonder about its purpose before the surface of the opaque wall rippled like water to reveal a myriad of hexagonal glass panes, neatly fit together to isolate the entrance from the rest. A beehive to protect the queen, who stood opposite her with her arms crossed and a sickening smile on her face.

“Looking for someone, are we?” Alex asked coyly.

Excella returned her smile, careful to control her expressions and mask the anger she was feeling. “I was looking for a Wesker, but not this one.”

That earned her a laugh. “Sorry to disappoint. The bird you are looking for has flown away, and you won’t ever catch him again.” Alex uncrossed her arms and raised up a hand, showing Excella the thing she was holding. A small, cylindrical electronic chip, still covered in half-dried blood. The tracker. “Funny little device you had there. We were lucky I noticed the scar on his neck; otherwise you would have made quite the fool of us. He never even knew he had it.”

“There are a lot of things I’ve done to him that he doesn’t know about.”

Alex’ arm shot forward in a flash, and the tracking chip shattered against the glass with a sharp banging sound. Her eyes were bright with anger, brighter than they should be. “You filthy creature,” she hissed, took a step with her hands balled into fists. “You’re going to pay for that.”

“I can afford it,” Excella told her, and shrugged. “But I doubt you can afford to pay for the insolence of trying to steal him from me.”

Alex bared her teeth, but then thought better of it and stepped back, visibly composing herself. The smile returned. “I’m not scared of you.”

“You should be.” A warm shiver ran through Excella, the shift of Uroboros underneath her skin in preparation for an attack.

“Oh yes? Then why don’t you show me what I should be scared of? Break this glass, and do your worst.” Alex gestured at the honeycomb structure shielding her. “Or maybe you can’t. Maybe your almighty Uroboros doesn’t do so well against materials that it can’t simply consume. Maybe you can devour this entire island and everything on it, but I’ll still be standing here unharmed, and you’ll still never know where Albert went.”

Black tendrils lashed out to collide with the glass, and Alex flinched visibly, but held her ground. They crawled along the smooth surface, searching for a crack, an opening, anything at all. They came up empty. Excella pulled them back towards herself.

“Marvellous engineering,” she admitted, came closer to run a hand over it. “I suppose you’ll be quite safe in there. Tell me, have you build dear Albert a similar cage to hide in? A glass prison to replace the one he just escaped from?”

Alex scoffed. “No. I’d never dare.”

Excella felt her smile widen into a grin that showed teeth, and raised her eyes to look up at her foe. “Then it’s only a matter of time before he’s mine again,” she whispered. “And I’ll make sure to have him pay for your insolence as well as his own.”

She had expected anger, perhaps another outburst. But to her great surprise, Alex shook her head and stepped up to the glass. “I promised him you’d never lay a hand on him ever again.” Her eyes were cold and so full of hatred, though there was something else in there too – a certainty, an absolute confidence. Like she wasn’t just a desperate little fool scrambling to protect her family. “I intend to keep that promise.”

Her hand reached behind her, and came back into view clasped around a handgun, safety off and a finger on the trigger. Excella couldn’t help but laugh. “You’re on the other side of bulletproof glass, facing someone for who bullets are a minor nuisance at best. Is that all you’ve got?”

Alex smiled, looking ridiculously serene. “Not quite.”

And then the gun was against her own temple and the crack of a shot ripped through the room, a splatter of blood exploding against the glass as she collapsed onto the floor.

Excella was stunned into silence for a good few seconds, unsure whether to laugh or not… when suddenly the lights dimmed, bathed everything in a blood red glow, and a deep, ominous rumble went through the tower. It was quickly followed by the shrill sound of an alarm and an automated female voice, both of which seemed to echo through the entirety of the building.

“Warning. Confidentiality protocols initiated. Self-destruct sequence of the facility’s upper spire will begin immediately. If you are currently situated in an affected area, please remain–”

Whatever the rest of the message might have been would stay a mystery, as the speakers cut off with a sharp screeching noise and the alarm dragged on into a single, deafening wail.

And then the world exploded into fire and agony and went dark.

Chapter Text

They were far enough away that the sound of the explosion was little more than a distant rumble, but the burning debris raining down on the rest of the island and the flames licking up from the ruined top of the tower were still so clearly visible. Wesker was gripping the side of the boat hard enough that, were he not on such serious withdrawal, it would have cracked beneath his hands.

What have you done, Alex?

But he knew exactly what she’d done, and the wary yet hesitantly apologetic looks from the three others only confirmed it. Wesker shook his head in mute disbelief, and turned back towards the island. A self-destruct mechanism for certain emergencies, Alex had called it. She had said it would be enough to kill Uroboros… and that she herself would be safe from the virus’ grasp behind her special glass. Safe from everything except her own desire for revenge, Wesker thought bitterly.

That was your glorious plan?” he said to none of them in particular. “To let Alex die and take Excella with her?”

“She knew she wouldn’t get out of it alive,” Chris told him. “But she also knew you would refuse to leave if we told you the whole plan.”

Wesker’s head snapped in his direction. “Oh, I wonder why,” he hissed.

Alex had been right not to tell him. He hated it, but it was the truth. If he’d known she had planned to do this to take down Excella… He wasn’t sure what he would have done. Maybe demand to take her place.

I could have at least ensured your safety, Alex, even if it would have destroyed me. We needed someone to continue their research. And I have no research to continue.

…except…

The memory of an empty syringe, unlabelled and tinted green, flashed in his mind. Alex had told him Stuart would take care of whatever it was she’d been developing, and it was painfully clear now what she’d meant by that.

“We’re going back. Turn the boat around. We’re going back.”

Chris shook his head. “We were supposed to take you away and not return.”

“I don’t care. We are turning around or I’ll jump overboard and swim back if I have to. I need to go to the tower. Alex’ work will not be left in the hands of some bumbling, inferior idiot who doesn’t know what to do with it.”

The three exchanged glances, and appeared to come to the same conclusion.

It took less than ten minutes to reach the island again, where Josh and Sheva remained with the boat while Chris insisted on accompanying him. Wesker would have preferred to be left alone for this. But it seemed he didn’t get a choice in this matter.

Down in the villages, the island’s inhabitants had been thrown into turmoil by the explosion, nobody knowing exactly what had happened. They were met with anxious glances and unintelligible whispers as they hurried by. Nobody dared speak to them directly.

The tower itself was deserted. Ash still clouded the air, making it hard to breathe and drastically limiting the visibility. Chris was quick to cover his mouth and nose with his shirt. Wesker simply ignored the burn of his lungs. He put his head back to look up to where Alex’ living quarters had been and where she had planned to wait for their pursuer.

“I doubt the elevator still works,” Chris declared with a cough. “How the hell do you plan on getting up there? Climb the half-molten steel construct?”

Wesker shook his head. “The entire upper spire’s gone. There’s nothing up there anymore. If any of her work remains, it’s with Stuart. And who knows where he is… if he’s still alive.”

A beat of silence. Then, Chris cleared his throat. “Well, he’s not here anymore by the looks of it,” he said. “And I think you knew that even before we came here. Didn’t you?”

Wesker didn’t answer. There was nothing to say.

Chris touched his arm. The expression on his face was dangerously, infuriatingly close to pity. “I’m sorry. I know why you wanted to come back,” he mumbled. “But we should leave now.”

You should.”

It had come out of nowhere, that voice, so terribly familiar, and Wesker startled violently at the sound of it. His brain stuttered for a moment as it tried to comprehend, to will his body into action, but nothing happened. Chris had drawn his gun and moved in front of him, looking around frantically to find the source of the voice.

Out of the ash and dust, a silhouette emerged, its skin a sea of black, crawling movement revolving around a pair of brightly glowing red eyes. As it got closer, the form became clearer, mending itself into something resembling a human. She was naked, and utterly unbothered by it, her lips parting to form a wolfish grin.

“And here I was, thinking I’d have to scour the ends of the earth to find you again, just to have you running back into my waiting arms not a moment later. Did you miss me that badly, Albert?”

No. No no no. Please no.

He realised he was backing away only when she darted forward to cut off his path, her hand closing around his wrist in that grip that was much too tight. A writhing black tendril wound around his body, followed quickly by a few more, to hold him in place while she stared at Chris in front of her, strangely calm.

“Leave,” she told him. “Your weapons are useless against me. This is a fight you cannot win, if you choose to make it a fight. Leave, and tell your BSAA that the next time they come after me, the next time they or anyone try to take what is mine, I won’t be so gracious anymore. I’ll kill them all and eradicate them from the face of the earth.”

A hand ran down Wesker’s body as she spoke, dipping dangerously close to between his legs, and he let out an involuntary, desperate little noise. Chris’ eyes widened. He gripped his weapon tighter and took a hesitant step forward.

Excella threw her head back and laughed. “Oh yes, by all means. Go ahead and get yourself killed pointlessly like dear Alex did,” she encouraged him mockingly. “You can’t save him. I won’t let you. I won’t let anyone.”

But Chris still didn’t back off. He appeared frozen to the spot, physically unable to bring himself to leave. And Excella’s patience was stretched thin as it was.

Uroboros snapped forward to hit the ground, Chris rolling out of the way not a moment too soon, lashed out again and again to drive him back. And the reason became clear soon enough. A single sharp strike against the damaged walls of the tower and they came crashing down, ash and dust filling the air.

By the time Wesker was able to see and breathe again, they appeared to be alone, separated from where the entrance of the tower was by rubble, debris and a few newly ignited flames. Chris was nowhere to be seen.

Excella next to him chuckled. “What a marvel of engineering, that tower. Until you put a few charges of explosives to it, I suppose. Then it crumbles to dust at the slightest breeze.” Her eyes wandered over to meet his. “So, are you going to behave? Or are you going to be stupid and try to run away if I let go of you?”

This was not how it was supposed to happen. Excella was supposed to die screaming. Alex had said so. Alex had promised.

…but Alex was gone, and he was alone. And Excella was alive.

He shook his head without a word, and she smiled. “Good.” Uroboros pulled away and she stepped back, looked him up and down. He stood motionless, still fighting to find his voice again in the middle of the panicked mess of his thoughts.

“How are you not dead?” he finally managed, and Excella looked surprised for a second before the smile returned.

“An entire tanker’s worth of virus appears to be more than enough to endure an explosion, though it sure felt like dying at first. That now makes two Weskers who have tried to unceremoniously get rid of me, and have failed spectacularly.” The wrath hidden underneath her sweet tone was unmistakeable.

Yet her touch was still gentle when she moved in again, just placing a hand on his chest for now and keeping it there, right above his erratically beating heart.

“You’re scared, aren’t you?” she crooned. “You know you have hell to pay both for your own transgressions and for what your sister did. Do you remember what happened the last time you tried to deceive me?”

Please no.

He nodded shakily.

Excella pushed lightly against his chest to direct him backwards. “Strip,” she ordered, still so very soft. “And then we’ll see whether you remember as well as you should.”

Moments of gentleness were always a lie, and even though every fibre of his being screamed at him to resist, to fight against what she no doubt planned to do to him, Wesker knew that disobeying would only end up making it worse. The motions of discarding his clothes were practised, familiar, mechanical. He wouldn’t think about it. If he allowed himself to think, he would break, and that was that she wanted.

It still didn’t help against the violent shudders when she directed him onto the floor, watched him settle against the ash-covered concrete and surrender to his fate with as much grace as he could muster. Her hands ghosted across the inside of his thighs. She leaned in, smiling greedily. “Lie back,” she purred. “And spread your legs.”

He couldn’t breathe, but did as she said, and shut his eyes tightly so he wouldn’t have to see what was coming. The only thing that accomplished was to make the memories clearer, more vivid, of a bed stained with blood and that terrible, terrible pain. No. Please no.

Begging hadn’t helped then, and it surely wouldn’t help now, when his attempt at rebellion had been infinitely worse. But he couldn’t just stay silent, not when he felt Uroboros slipping up his legs, textureless and smooth. “Please. Please, Excella–” He wasn’t even sure what he was begging for.

All he got for a response was the subtle tightening of the tendrils wrapped around his thighs, the only warning before he was penetrated suddenly and without preparation. His muscles constricted instinctively, and Wesker’s eyes flew open in panic. He couldn’t do this. Not again. He needed her to stop, he needed to get away, he needed…

And there was the answer.

Another one of Uroboros’ appendages had already joined the first, pushing against the too-tight ring of muscles.

“Excella,” he gasped. “I want–”

Her head snapped up from where she was kneeling between his legs, the movement aprupt and almost violent. He forced himself to meet her eyes and not balk at the intensity of them.

“I want to still be able to walk after this.”

Anything I want. Please, anything I want.

Excella stared at him, frowning as she considered the request. Then she smiled. “Whether you’re able to walk is your concern, not mine. Tell me something else you want, something I can actually give you.”

Uroboros moved inside of him, making him let out a shaky sound of discomfort. But there was an answer there, in the middle of all the evil. She had expected him to come up empty, but he knew how this game worked, and if she could play it, then so could he. He had to. So he shoved away the fear, the humiliation, the anger, and stared back up at her in challenge.

“I want you to give me more pleasure than pain.”

Don’t think about it. A physical relief of pressure, nothing more.

Excella seemed frozen for only a moment, too surprised to react, and then laughed with such glee that he almost wished he hadn’t said anything at all. “That I can do,” she agreed.

Her hand wrapped around his cock and at the same time Uroboros twisted up into the sensitive spot it had purposefully avoided before, and Wesker’s hips gave an involuntary, erratic thrust at the sudden stimulation. The motion was repeated immediately. Excella leaned over him to bring her face close to his. “Let me hear you,” she ordered, her breathing sped up and her pupils dilated to narrow slits. “I want to hear you.”

He obeyed without thinking, the moans interrupted by pained gasps every so often whenever a new tendril slipped into him and stretched him wider, but the insistent, rhythmic pressure against his prostate joined with the touch of her hands was almost enough to drown it out. He was moving underneath her, restless, thoughtless, eyes wide open so his mind wouldn’t kick in and remind him just what it was he was doing and where he was doing it.

Eventually, inevitably, Excella moved up his body to straddle him and take him inside her, leaned down to kiss him while he whined against her lips and thrust up into her, felt the motion echoed by Uroboros a second later. His skin and hair were damp with sweat, particles of fine ash sticking to him wherever he touched the ground.

He was getting close, and tried to slow down, but Excella wouldn’t have any of it. Uroboros twisted once again, pulled his legs open wider to allow for easier access, the tendrils writhing inside of him and stretching, tearing in their eagerness. Excella smiled above him. “Come,” she ordered. “Come for me.”

Wesker allowed the back of his head to hit the concrete floor and obeyed, let her and Uroboros push him over the edge and didn’t try to silence the noises he was making, and didn’t resist when she took hold of one of his hands and guided it between her legs and murmured into his ear to touch her. This was a thing he knew how to do, and with how slick and aroused she was, it didn’t take long to get her off.

For a few minutes, neither of them moved, his softening cock still inside her and Uroboros a dull, insistent pressure. But he wasn’t in pain, not even close compared to back then. She had violated him and it hadn’t hurt, and it terrified him.

Excella seemed unaware of what went on inside his head – at least until she stretched like a lazy, satisfied cat, eased herself off and let Uroboros slip out of him to leave a disturbing, uncomfortable emptiness in its wake, and smiled down at him warmly. “It’s a good thing your sister is dead. She’d be rolling in her fiery grave if she knew you let yourself be fucked in the ruins of her home,” she told him.

He couldn’t even move. His first instinct was to lunge at her and ram a hand through her chest, like he had done once and then never again, rip out her heart and watch her bleed out on the floor, but his muscles felt like ice, frozen and immobile. All he could do was stare at her, unable to even breathe with how tightly his throat had constricted.

Excella’s smile widened, and she ran a hand through his hair in a mockery of gentleness. “Don’t worry. She’ll never know.” The glee in her voice was sickening.

But the worst part was that she was right. Because not only had she managed to force herself on him, but she had gotten him to ask for it too. She’d had him so scared of the pain that he had readily offered to take the less violent alternative if she was merciful enough to give it.

He had asked for her to fuck him.

The hand in his hair tightened ever-so-slightly, broke him out of the spiral his mind was going into. He realised he was still on the ground, on his back, covered in ash and sweat and come. Filthy and used.

“Come on now,” Excella chided, but there was no anger in her voice. Only victory. “Let’s see if I managed to give you the other thing you wanted too. You think you can walk?”

Chapter Text

“Something’s happened. Up North, on one of the Baltic Islands.” The young agent wasn’t one for pleasantries, it seemed. She was waving a manila folder, which Jill grabbed from her easily. She skimmed through the contents, listening with one ear to Claire’s eager attempts to get more information out of the lady.

“What happened exactly? How long ago? Do you know if Chris and company were there?”

Jill saved the agent from having to answer. “Explosion, fourty minutes ago, they have no idea who was there. Hey, do you guys have any fast vehicles we could borrow? Cars, motorcycles, jetskis, anything?”

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Claire perk up at the mention of motorcycles. Right, she’d almost forgotten about that.

“Borrow as in we’ll never see that vehicle again?” the agent asked, looking rather unimpressed.

“I see you’ve worked with Chris before. But look on the bright side: at least we don’t crash every vehicle we ever lay hands on.”

The agent scoffed. “Very funny. Yes, we have some cars that make good time. Ones with enough space for three people.” She smiled a rather self-satisfied little smile. “I’ll be accompanying you, to make sure you return the borrowed vehicle after.”

“Suit yourself.” Jill shrugged. “As long as we get there in time to not miss the show, or whatever’s left of it.”

She was acting more confident than she felt, but what other choice did she have? It had been several hours since they’d shown up at Spencer’s place, which had barely offered any new insight even though they’d meticulously rummaged around every room in the building. Jill had been on the verge of suggesting to Claire that they better move on and see if they happened upon any trace of their friends along the coastline somewhere.

But a Baltic Island sounded like a reasonable place for them to be hiding, didn’t it? The distance checked out. The only problem was the fact that an explosion probably meant nothing good.

“You look more worried than usual,” Claire remarked. “You think they’re in trouble, don’t you?”

The agent was driving, and watching them in the rear view mirror. Jill sighed. “I think Chris has let his saviour complex get the better of him this time. Don’t get me wrong; I understand the reasoning for working with Alex Wesker, and as far as I was aware, there existed some sort of halfway coherent plan to eliminate Excella. But the lot of them disappearing off the map completely was not part of that plan, and neither was Baltic Islands randomly exploding.”

“Not the entire island, actually,” the agent chimed in from the driver’s seat. “Just part of one of the buildings.”

Jill ignored her. “Chris and Sheva should have gotten out of there the moment their mission went haywire if you ask me. Prioritise saving themselves rather than someone like Wesker. But you know how Chris is.”

Claire stared at her silently for a bit, frowning. “Why do you think trying to save people is a bad thing?” she asked finally.

“I don’t,” Jill clarified. “But if I had the choice between myself and Wesker, I know what I’d pick. Not that it matters anymore.”

Claire dropped the topic and opted to instead look out the window, and with the agent not proving to be one to chat while driving either, they spent most of the way up the coast in silence. The sun was setting by the time they reached the rather bare-bones BSAA encampment.

Heads turned in their direction as they exited the car, quickly followed by hushed mumbling. Jill took a look around. “So, what did we miss?” she called to no one in particular.

A few people exchanged meaningful looks. “Maybe you should ask Agent Redfield that,” someone told her. Jill felt her heart sink. So they had indeed been involved in whatever had happened on the island.

Claire stepped forward. “We will do exactly that, if you show us where he is.”

They were led to one of the small military tents and waved inside. Three pairs of eyes looked up when they entered.

“Jill? What are you doing here?” That was Josh, seated over in the corner on some steel crates. Sheva next to him was leaning against a table with her arms crossed and smiled tensely at the sight of them. And Chris…

Chris was sitting on the narrow cot taking up most of the space, legs crossed and head lowered, staring at the floor in front of him with what had to be the grimmest expression Jill had ever seen him wear. He had several deep cuts on his face and arms and bandages covering his knuckles. There was dust all over his clothes.

Jill felt her heart sink further. “What the hell happened?” she whispered.

He looked up to meet her eyes. But it was Sheva who answered. “Alex Wesker is dead, and it seems even fire isn’t enough to kill Uroboros anymore.”

Oh shit.

“So that’s what the explosion was?” Claire asked from behind her.

Chris turned his head at the sound of her voice, and gave her a tired smile. “Yeah. That’s what that was. And Excella walked it off like it was nothing. Alex… didn’t.”

“And what about Wesker?” Jill had the uncomfortable feeling she already knew the answer to that question.

The three looked at each other, and then back at them. “He insisted on going back to the island,” Chris murmured. “And we didn’t know Excella had survived. I swear we didn’t know. If we had, we wouldn’t have gone back. But nothing moved over there, so we thought it was safe. He wanted to get Alex’ research. Or at least that’s what he claimed. We thought it would, I don’t know, help give him closure on the whole thing. And instead…”

He trailed off and resumed his intense inspection of the floor. Claire stepped closer to take a seat next to him, to wrap her arms around his form and pull him into a loose hug. The frown darkening his features eased ever so slightly.

“It’s not your fault for thinking the method that worked every time up til now would work this time as well. And you were right to get out of there while you still could,” Jill told him. He might hate it, but it was truer now more than ever.

Chris shook his head. “I abandoned him, Jill. I abandoned him and let Excella have her way with him again. Just like on the tanker.”

“And what were you supposed to do instead? Get yourself killed so you can feel less guilty about the fact that you can’t save every single person who has ever been abused?” They stared at each other, uncompromising. Jill knew she was being harsh, but he needed to understand. “Yes, we should strive to save as many people as we can. But I do think that punching a wall when you’ve already broken your hand is kind of counterproductive. Knowing when to quit is part of the job.”

He didn’t answer. And honstely, Jill didn’t blame him.

“I’ll go see if I can catch a ride to the island and see for myself,” she told Claire. “If there’s anything left to see.”

Sheva let out a defeated sigh. “There’s not. They already searched the place. Excella probably left a while ago, before the BSAA even met up with us when we got back to the mainland. Besides…” She threw an uneasy glance over at the siblings sitting on the cot. “Chris said she threatened to go on the offensive if we came after her again.”

“Great.” Jill pinched the bridge of her nose. “Just great.”

She had the distinct feeling Chris and HQ would not be seeing eye to eye on this matter. But then again, they were all not exactly on the higher-ups’ good side after the stunts they’d pulled, were they?

Priorities were a bitch and a half to handle.

Chapter Text

They had arrived at the new safe house Excella had chosen in the dead of night, close enough to the Baltic Sea that the wind still smelled of salt yet far enough away that nobody would come find them for a while. Albert had been tired, limping and miserable by that point, but had not protested when she slipped into the shower with him to claim what was hers and then later pushed him down onto the soft, expensive sheets of the king sized bed, straddling his hips to hold him in place while she measured a dose of ‘67. Albert’s eyes had glowed so brightly afterwards in the darkness of the bedroom. She had ordered him not to close them while they fucked.

He was still out cold, frowning in his sleep while she disentangled herself from the nest of blankets and quietly left the room to take stock of what supplies were available in this particular house. She ignored the wardrobe and the clothes it contained. Fabric against her skin still felt like fire, and she’d rather give Uroboros a bit more time to mend itself, to regenerate more than just the outermost layer of tissue in an attempt to feign normalcy, lest she risk Albert noticing. He was better off not knowing the extent of the damage.

Just like the safe house in Italy, this one also had a basically identical basement passage. They all had some sort of discreet escape route for emergencies – a good decision, as recent events had shown. Down there, the air was cool and humid, so soothing to her healing body. She almost regretted having to go back upstairs.

The sound of the shower told her Albert must have woken up while she was busy. Excella was waiting for him, sitting on the edge of the bed with her legs crossed and tapping her toes against the wooden floor languidly, by the time he returned to the room. He hadn’t bothered to try and dress himself, she noted.

He still froze in the doorway when he saw her.

“Good morning, Albert. How are you feeling?”

Albert was silent for a moment, weighing his words carefully. “Sore.”

She didn’t doubt it. Not after how delightfully he had submitted to her the previous day. “It will fade,” she assured sweetly. “And in time, you’ll get to appreciate the hurt that comes with getting fucked. We all do.”

She got no answer, unsurprisingly. Excella held out a hand. It was time to test how far he would go in terms of bending to her will, she reckoned.

“How long do you intend to stand there and do nothing? Come over here. Come over here, Albert. Tell me you love me.”

He hesitated for only a second, seemingly unsure why she wanted this particular thing from him yet ultimately too wary of the consequences of defiance to resist her. The touch of his lips against her cheek was feather light. “I love you.” The tone of his voice flat as ever, but obedient nonetheless.

Excella smiled at him. He was a liar, but a skilled enough one to not make it too apparent. “I don’t love you,” she told him, and reveled in how his eyes widened in barely concealed shock. “If I loved you, I wouldn’t be hurting you. No one hurts the one they love. Don’t you agree, Albert?”

“I suppose.” She could tell that he was trying desperately to figure out where the trap in her words was hidden.

“Alex hurt you, didn’t she? She tried so hard to take you away from me, and all it ended up doing was cause you pain. Do you think Alex loved you?”

Albert frowned. It appeared he had understood where she was going with this. “No,” he said, very slowly. “Alex did not love me. She just hated you, and I was a tool for her to express that hatred.”

Such a good liar. “Exactly.” She pulled him closer, ran a hand through his still wet hair and forcibly tilted his head so he had to look at her directly. “Alex did not love you, and she was wrong to try and steal you away. But you know who you belong to now. Don’t you?”

He stared back at her. “I belong to you.”

“Yes you do. You’re mine, and in return for it I’ll give you anything you want. Is there anything you want, Albert?”

She had barely a second to wonder if he would try to resist again before he was already answering. “I want to be able to move around the estate within a certain radius. I want a shot of serum at least every three days. And I want you to treat me better than you would treat your enemies.”

It was so very fascinating to see him try and twist the words in his favour. Oh, this would be fun.

Excella laughed. “Not so difficult after all to say what you want, is it? If only you hadn’t made such a fuss about it for such a long time. Your sister might still be alive,” she added cheerfully.

He stood frozen, still bent down and staring at her. Then, very slowly, he spoke. “I want you to never speak of Alex ever again,” he said from between grit teeth.

She smiled up at him. “You want an awful lot today, don’t you? That many favours are costly. Are you prepared to actually pay for them, Albert?”

That gave him pause.

Excella pulled him by the neck to bring him closer. “Buy my silence regarding your sister, Albert. Buy it with your body,” she drawled, eyes half-lidded and feeling the first few sparks of arousal running down her spine. “That was the bargain, remember?”

Her grip in his hair became more forceful, pushing him down until he was kneeling in front of her. Excella slowly, deliberately uncrossed her legs.

Albert’s eyes shot up to meet hers, and she could almost see the cogs turning in his brain as he desperately tried to figure out how to get away without offending her. This particular act was something she hadn’t made him do before, even though she’d implied her desire for it on multiple occasions in the past, and for good reason.

“No lying still and letting me do all the hard work this time, eh?” she purred. “Well, get to it.” Steadily she increased the pressure against the back of his head, guided him forward between her legs and then stopped just short of his goal. The last few inches he’d have to cross himself.

It made the feeling of his lips against her sex all the sweeter, the short, erratic gasps of his breath tickling her and causing her fingers to tighten in his damp hair. The touches were light, hesitant, and betrayed his uncertainty. Excella was almost sure he hadn’t done this before either. Oh, she was his first in so many ways.

“Go ahead,” she whispered. “Go ahead. You’re a fast learner, aren’t you? Go ahead and figure it out.”

Albert leaned forward, pressed his mouth against her folds and opened it, let his tongue flick out to feel its way across the rises and dips, to map out its surroundings in warm, wet little patterns. She hummed low in her throat, moved her hips ever-so-slightly to encourage him, and his gaze flickered up to her face for a moment before he quickly looked away again.

He continued in his slow exploration, licking and kissing and occasionally sucking lightly, his lips and chin covered in the slickness of her arousal. The pleasure was less a product of anything he was doing and more of the sight he presented, so lovely down there on his knees, hands balled into fists and kept stubbornly at his sides as he serviced her. But there was no hiding how riled up he was, how his body was reacting despite everything.

The temptation of telling him to stop, of demanding he replace his tongue with his cock and fuck her properly was strong, but Excella would not let him get away so easily. She thrust against his mouth, gripped his hair. “Harder,” she hissed, let him feel her impatience. “Try harder.”

His teeth grazed her clit, sending a shudder through her, and she let out a high-pitched noise of eagerness to urge him on. Albert took the hint and repeated the motion, pressed his tongue against her inner walls and pushed his face forward to be able to reach further, deeper. His eyes were squeezed shut tightly, but his breathing was heavy and she could feel the rapid hammering of his heart underneath his skin, pulsing against her sex while he moved.

He appeared to have found something resembling a rhythm and was steadily increasing the pace, stumbling every now and then whenever she thrust her hips or forced his head that precious bit closer to eliminate the distance between them. Excella was making noises, gasping and groaning to signal that he was doing well, that he was pleasing her.

She spread her legs wider, murmuring orders in between the sounds of ecstasy, for him to go faster, to go harder, to make her come. Albert complied promptly. He hummed, the vibration such delicious torture, and then finally, finally unclenched his fists and raised them from where they’d been resting. He circled three fingers around her slick entrance before pushing them inside, sucked hard on her clit and opened his eyes to stare up at her with that bright, burning gaze full of nothing but hate and despair.

And somehow, that did it. Excella cried out in pleasure, pulled his hair to keep him in place while she shuddered against his mouth. He held still obediently.

When she finally let go of him and leaned back on her elbows to catch her breath, he pulled out his fingers and shifted back, reaching up to wipe at his face before thinking better of it and looking at her hesitantly, as if asking permission. Excella chuckled.

“Tastes sweet, doesn’t it? You like it?”

Albert made a face. “Not particularly.”

“That’s too bad, because I intend to have you do this again fairly soon. You are a fast learner.” The praise fell on deaf ears, of course. But that was fine for now. “We’ve been neglecting your needs,” Excella pointed out, nodded at his all-too-obvious arousal. “And since you did so well, I think you’ve not only earned yourself the things you wanted…. but also a reward. Come here.”

He did as she said, moved on top of her and made such wonderful noises when she rubbed his cock against her entrance, soft and wet and so very inviting. “You know what your body wants,” she whispered against his neck, felt his heartbeat speeding up under her lips. “Now fuck me.”