Chris Redfield is no stranger to heights. He’d spent years as a pilot, a paratrooper, a soldier. He hang glides, he zip lines, he does jumps all the time. The sky is his element. But falling, failing is his curse.
Suddenly he was out of breath. The natural response to imminent threat; the thinly veiled threshold between acknowledgement of fear and full blown panic. He gripped his captor’s arm weakly, but for all his strength he could barely manage a squeeze. His neck strained under the weight of his own powerful body, and his fast dimming vision was the sight of his eternal nemesis, of his seething blond hair and arrogant face hidden behind his shades of midnight black.
The blood was rushing to his head, trying to save his brain from the starvation of oxygen. He tried to lift his right hand again, to pull his hunting knife, to throw a punch, anything to get himself out of this predicament as his feet dangled two feet off the ground, but the strain and panic had sapped all his strength. One more grip and it’s goodbye.
His feet suddenly found the ground as his head blanked out with renewed oxygen. His ears caught the piercing clang of shattered glass. He started screaming before he knew what happened, and as he reached his palm to the cold, silent abyss beside the mansion he felt the tears of anguish rush to his eyes, tracing and watching helplessly as the familiar azure blue of his long-time partner was swallowed with the arrogant blond beyond the shrouds of darkness.
“Jill---“ he cried himself hoarse as he punched the window. Feeling for the second time in the span of moments just how useless he was.
Suddenly he caught the look of resolute on the young agent. The gaze of shale grey irises that bid him a silent farewell. He felt time slow as the limber fingers let go of her lifeline with determination, offering her sacrifice to take out an arrogant blond maniac who she’d barely known. Sacrificing herself because she wanted him to live on. He started screaming before he knew what happened, and he ignored his fear and predicament as he let go too to rescue his partner.
“Sheva!!!” He was determined not to lose anyone else for his sake.
Suddenly his fingers found hers even as he grabbed on the support, dragging the weight of three bodies on his arm. However hard his flesh would burn, he would not let go. He had done it. He was no longer as useless as he thought he was.
Suddenly the bamboo collapsed under both their weights, and his heart panicked even as he slid the final three feet to the other side. His hazy memory suddenly burned with a vivid vision of his partner of azure blue, his partner of shale grey, and now his partner of caramel tan all falling helplessly into the abyss. The emotional rush and the despair of the three figures coalesced into the present and he raged against the cruelty of his curse.
He shot out his palm in reflex, hoping to save the man who had already saved him twice from certain doom but caught only air. Undaunted, he threw himself again, willing to risk tumbling alongside this loyal lieutenant than live a regretful coward. He caught the hand firmly in his glove, and as walnut eyes connect intently into the honey hazel, he thanked the gods, swinging his partner to safety even as he felt his own momentum topple him freely to the ground twenty stories below. It was his turn to give a final parting smile against the shocked, anguised expression of Piers, and even in his fuzzy memories he felt as free as a bird in the wind, that he was no longer burdened beneath the sacrifice and debt of all his partners.
He fell, and once again trotted the threshold between the veiled acknowledgement of fear and full blown panic.
He grabbed onto the life-saving bamboo rod by muscle memory, and finally returned a warm grin to the distressed man above. They’ll both make it out of here this time.
Falling Slowly, Once