Sheva followed laughing Jill Valentine to her apartment building. She wasn't entirely certain how the party for BSAA members had ended with the two of them on their own, but she wasn't going to refuse the invitation to Jill's home.
Sheva had been aware of what she felt towards the older woman for a while now, how it was not simply respect or adoration. But she hadn't really dared to hope for anything more than friendship, even when she had managed to find out Jill's and Chris's relationship apparently was just deep platonic companionship.
And yet she was slightly hesitant now that Jill was actually pulling her into her small apartment. Was she drunk? Sheva had seen her down a beer after another during the night.
Well, if she was drunk, one more reason to follow her to make sure she was fine.
The door had barely closed behind them when Jill draped her arms over her and pulled her into a kiss.
Sheva's first response was to return it, before sense caught up with her.
This was something she had been thinking about, wishing would happen, but the desperation in the older woman was all wrong, and the unease Sheva had felt whole evening reared its head again.
So she pulled out of the kiss.
Before she could finish, the brunette stepped back, her desperate and miserable expression giving an answer to the first question at the very least.
"I'm not drunk."
Well, that answered the second question.
Jill disappeared to what seemed to be the bathroom, and emerged shortly, holding a small bottle of clear liquid and a syringe.
"I can't drink."
Sheva frowned at the bottle waved in front of her. "Are you ill?"
Jill let out a bitter laugh. "P30."
Sheva's eyes widened. The substance she had been kept under that had given her inhuman strength and agility but made it possible for Wesker and Excella to control her...
"You are still taking it?"
"I have no choice."
Jill all but collapsed on the sofa. Sheva sat on the nearby chair, glancing at the apartment. It looked barely lived in and in the same time messy. There were very few personal items, even the bookcase was filled with work-related books and files.
And on the other hand there was a mess, empty soda bottles on the floor, files thrown on the unmade bed...
"My body is addicted to that stuff," Jill continued. "I can't..."
Sheva was not someone who had ever thought of herself as a comforting presence. It had been mostly a fight for survival in her uncle's house after her parents had died. And then when she had been taken in by the guerrilla group the way she had learned to deal with trauma, both her own and her friends' had always to mock it and those who were too weak to hide it.
She wondered if she should tell Jill she understood, at least a bit, what it had been like being used like that.
"Is it safe?" she asked instead.
The bottle and the syringe were set down on the coffee table and Sheva sighed in relief.
"Safe? It should be, being so diluted and mixed with other things I need to take, but I am afraid all the time, if it's really me who wants to do these things."
"They always thought Chris and I were a couple."
Sheva blinked at the sudden change of topic. "They?"
"The S.T.A.R.S. Back then... It was just an assumption they made. And I didn't mind, I was tired of all the comments about me being a lesbian anyway, both in the army and working for police... Since there's not really anything you can say to that, you know? Either you lie and hide or tell them they're right and then you get all these comments, and I just didn't want to deal with any of that shit, so it was a relief, having Chris. And I do love him."
"Not in that kinda way, but I really love him, he's my partner, you know? And so easy to be around, and he never minded letting people assume things about us, or talk about things... And I know it has been so hard on him too, so I try to pretend it's fine, I keep asking him out like we used to, to go have some drinks, and I go to great lengths to not let him notice I only drink non-alcoholic beer..."
"Do you have anyone to talk about this with?"
Sheva sat next to her on the sofa, wondering if that was already too much, if she should keep her distance.
"And I dye my hair, do you think he notices?"
Jill looked at Sheva now. "I don't think I have quite found the right color."
Sheva had wondered about the change in the older woman's hair. But it made sense she would still remain blonde, especially if she kept on taking the drug.
"I'm required to talk to a therapist," Jill told her. "Provided and paid by the BSAA. I mostly go there once a week to tell her 'I'm fine, I'm fine'. I sometimes wonder if I really can trust her and the BSAA, if they just want to try keeping me on the P30, because of all the 'benefits' it gives me, who cares of the physical and mental toll on me, right? But then I think again I'm just paranoid, and I'm afraid to tell them, or Chris... Not that I don't trust him, but I know him, he wouldn't be able to keep it a secret, and he's already in trouble with his superiors because he's disobeyed orders on more than one occasion..."
"My uncle, he had... a temper," Sheva told Jill. "He didn't want yet another child to take care of once my parents died, so I ran away..."
Jill nodded. Of course she would have read Sheva's file, she knew her history. Well, the basic outline of it.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"No," Sheva told her.
"Not yet," she added. It had felt like she had owed something to Jill, after she had laid her soul bare like this. But now that she had started to open up the idea of actually talking about those things didn't feel as much of an impossibility as it once had.
But she wasn't ready.
Jill nodded, leaning closer. "I'm not really ready to talk about everything that was done to- that happened to me. But thanks."
Their lips met in a chaste kiss, and this time when they separated Sheva was relieved to see a smile on Jill's face.
"And this is something I want," Jill told her.