|V A L K Y R I E
Author: Firestar9mm PM
They say war makes for strange alliances. She had no idea. (Slight CL sort of, Ada Wong fans might want to keep back two hundred feet, but I'd like it if they read it anyway.)Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Drama - Words: 2,323 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 1 - Published: 01-14-04 - id: 1686971
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I've been doing nothing but wandering the graveyard lately, for many reasons. Of course, you'll find more than one thing in a graveyard, and I've discovered that very little in a graveyard is truly dead for good.
What I found on my most recent excursion was this story, and I've decided to post it just like I planned to all those years ago. Existence is too short and too full of meaning to let anything lie asleep anymore. Streetlight Manifesto puts it best I think—Here's to LIFE.
And I've decided to sort of dedicate this, although I'm not sure he'll ever read it, to Brian Marcelo (or now, Brian1 on ff.net), who was a hell of a beta, an excellent writer, and a very good person to email back and forth with. It was his support that really helped me start this story and actually write enough of it to make it chaptered. I miss hearing from you, Brian, and if you do by chance manage to stumble upon this I would love to hear from you. I can be reached now at email@example.com.
So here goes...
*** V A L K Y R I E ***
a resident evil fanfiction by Serena (well, now it's Serena4)
Chapter One: Insomnia
"Surely she was a Valkyrie, a Goddess of Destruction..." (D.I.J. diary, "Resident Evil CODE: Veronica X")
He woke with a start, sweat beading on his brow, one arm extended, reaching for...
He sat up in bed, hands dropping to his lap, his respiration harsh and scratchy in the dark, quiet room. Chasing his breath was almost soothing—it was nice to know there was something he could catch and hold on to.
In the morning, before he left the room, he would make the bed, his hands strong and precise as he controlled what little he could in the world. As soon as the door closed behind him, it would look as though no one had ever set foot in there.
He rolled restlessly in the bed that must have known a thousand lovers before he had found his way there. It seemed wrong somehow, to have nightmares when he haunted the dreams of so many himself.
Since the change, he'd been more aware of his body, of the little things that made him up. He would spend hours studying his hands, the way they moved, the bones and veins beneath the skin. It was exhausting to be aware of every single thing—breathe, breathe, blink, blink, blood flow, cells grow.
Only one thing ever caught him by surprise anymore—sleep. It seized him from within, and he was bared to the nightmares again.
The rain was louder than anything.
In the dream, she was standing in it, alone. She was not wearing a jacket, and the rain was soaking into her black shirt. It was rough rain, gluing her eyes shut. She could taste her mascara running down her face in black tears, unsure if she was weeping, or if it was just the storm. Her hair was soaked through, a pelt of blood against the black of her clothes. She felt like a stain on the storm, black jeans, black shirt.
Again, she was unsure if the shuddering racking her body was from cold or from tears. She couldn't stop shaking, and she realized she wasn't standing still at all, that a fine trembling had her in constant movement.
A voice above her. A woman's voice.
"Here. Use this!..."
Tilting her face upward, she caught sight of a shape above her. (I remember this part,) she thought absently, almost unconsciously reaching an arm up to catch what the woman had thrown to her. It was much lighter than a rocket launcher, easier to hold—an umbrella of blood-red and bone-white.
Silently, without a sound, the rain turned to blood, beating down on her like heartbreak, but beneath the red and white umbrella, she was safe...
The umbrella spun above her, dizzying, bright as a promise that hadn't yet been broken.
The gasp was loud in the darkened room. She slid a hand under her pillow, searching blindly for the only thing she'd ever trusted enough to share her bed—a Browning Hi-Power nine millimeter.
She searched the room, eyes like steely radar. Back and forth. Back and forth. She was greeted by silence and near-dawn darkness.
Just like always.
She sighed and lowered the gun. The nightmares weren't getting any better, and nothing was helping. She hated the Browning, hated needing it. She'd tried once towards the beginning to leave it unloaded in her closet. Fifteen minutes later, she'd dashed out into the hallway, barefoot, and retrieved it, loading it and putting it under her pillow, crying herself to sleep.
There would be no sleep tonight, not anymore. She stuck the Browning in the waistband of her pajama pants and headed to the living room. Late-night TV would have to comfort her until she could sleep again.
She padded silently into the room, the sofa looking strong and safe from the back, the TV dark and silent in front of it, but promising distraction. Claire smiled, feeling better already. Thank God for small pleasures.
The TV guide was missing. Damn it. My brother is such a slob, Claire thought absently, getting down on her hands and knees behind the sofa. He probably threw it somewhere and forgot about it.
Pulling the dust ruffle up, she reached far into the darkness beneath it, hand searching for the fat little book. Patting closer and closer towards the front of the sofa, her hand came in contact with something warm and solid. It moved, causing her to panic, arm scraping against the wooden sofa leg as she pulled it back towards her.
She was on her feet in a second, the Browning pointed at the owner of the warm and solid appendage. It had been one of his hands; now he had both raised in the air, showing that he was unarmed.
"Jesus H. Christ on a cross!" Leon Kennedy hissed. "You scared me!"
Claire allowed her mouth to drop open. "I scared you?!" she whisper-screamed.
Leon looked her over. She was holding the Browning out in front of her in a two-handed shooting stance. Her hair was behind her in a ponytail, wisps of it faliing out to frame her face. Her powder-blue pajama pants had a pattern of little yellow chicks on them; beneath the fuzzy yellow chick on her white tank top were the words "hug me".
That was Claire, delightfully incongrous. Leon smiled at her, his frozen blue eyes becoming concerned. "What's the matter? Couldn't you sleep?"
She lowered the gun slowly, shaking her head almost miserably. "Guess I woke you up, huh?"
"Hey, don't worry about it. I must have fallen asleep watching 'The Daily Show' again." He smiled at her again, and she couldn't help but return it.
"I'm really sorry, Leon, honest." She stuck the Browning into the waistband of her pajama pants.
"Nightmares again?" he asked softly, and she looked away. He reclined on the sofa again, indicating the cushion beside him. "Come here. I can't sleep either. I'll sit with you."
Claire's smile was grateful as she hopped over the back of the sofa, bouncing on the cushions. "What was your nightmare about?"
He grinned. "I dreamt that I was taking the police exam over again, only my gun wasn't loaded. I ran through the police station looking for ammo, and couldn't find any. What was yours about?"
"Rain," she said simply. "I used to love the rain, and now I feel like even that's turned on me." She sighed, rubbing one hand up and down her arm, as if she were cold.
"Why did you love the rain?" Leon asked. It was the times like these that he loved, even amidst the nightmares and the stress, when he could ask her questions, find out more about her. Every new thing he learned about her was like something precious, so much more important to him than information about Umbrella or news of ways to hold the corporation back. Learning about Claire was so much more interesting, somehow an even more worthy cause.
She smiled suddenly, remembering. "When I was younger and I needed to get away, I'd take my CD player and run into the rain, listening to sad songs. I felt like the rain would wash away any tracks, any traces I'd been there. I always felt that I was safe—that in the rain, no one could find me."
Leon reached out to rub her arm as she had done herself earlier, feeling her warmth beneath his hand. "You're safe here. You don't have to hide."
Claire smiled. "I know." She bumped her head against his shoulder, once, twice, as if testing him to see if he'd pull away. When he didn't, she let her head rest against him, sliding her arms around his waist. Leon smiled, sheltering her in a one-armed embrace. By the time he found the forgotten TV Guide, she was asleep. The gun in her waistband dug into his side; her breath was soft on his neck. He let his cheek rest against her hair, watching dawn come up through the slats in the blinds.
The boy was chuckling softly to himself. Lying in the coffin reminded him of the old song he used to sing as a joke. Did you ever think as the hearse goes by that you might be the next to die?
I'm the only one to ever know what this is like, he thought. This is what it's like to be dead, to stare sleeplessly up at the coffin lid and wonder what's going on above ground...
It was rather poetic for the boy, who'd forgotten his name long ago. Somewhere in the midst of injections and tests, of the white blur of lab coats and the red spills of blood, the names had faded from his dizzy mind.
Sometimes little things would come back to him, like the scent of his mother's perfume. That, but not her face; a big black dog that he'd called Prince, the texture of the animal's fur against his hands; his father's laugh, but nothing useful. Nothing that could give him hope. They could be anyone's memories. Anyone's family.
He remembered being called Wulf by the men and women, as if it were his name. It had started him thinking about wolves. He remembered learning about them in school, but he tried not to think about school. If he reached very far back, he could remember being in a place like that with other kids. Some of them had probably been his friends, but it had been so long now. They probably didn't remember him, what he looked like, his name. Why should they? He couldn't remember that, either.
He was the lone wolf, now—running scared, the prey instead of the predator. He had no family anymore, no pack. Even his own mind had betrayed him, giving no names, no direction, nothing except a nightmare blur of memories that might or might not be his own.
And a song. An old, silly song.
The worms go in, the worms go out, the worms play pinochle on your snout... Shivering, the boy wondered who had written that song. Who would sing such a thing and giggle wildly at the shock of it? Sick, sick, he was...sick...
Like so many others gone before him, the boy curled up in his coffin and tried to get some sleep.
The first inspiration for this story ever, believe it or not, was the D.I.J. Diary in CODE: Veronica X. I got such a kick out of that little furball.
So that's the first chapter. I know it's kind of little and doesn't go anywhere, but as Elle Woods said, "No, I have a point, I promise." *^_^* So stick around if you're interested, and I'll make it. Reviews are greatly, greatly appreciated. I've missed Leon and Claire sorely and I want to make 'em proud of me.
As always, huge thanks to Cloudwalker, my ever-aweXome beta and great friend, who probably won't believe I actually finally posted some of this monster—like I said, it's been in the archives for like years now.
And now I will light a candle for Aerika S's excellent unfinished RE fic, "The Woman Who Wasn't There". I loved every second of it and still read it every so often to remind myself what good writing is.
How's my driving? If you click the little button down there, you can let me know.