A/N:

Avogadro602: Hello all! Avogadro602 here. This story has been co-authored with NeuroticBanana. You can find her page and stories at www . fanfiction u / 3367121 / NeuroticBanana . And yes, this is a Resident Evil fanfic! We've seen a lot of Resident Evil stories out there, but they weren't always what we were looking for and didn't always focus on the characters we wanted. We've tried to keep everyone in character, and we've stayed true to canon as much as possible (to our knowledge, although neither of us ever played Revelations so something could've gotten missed there). But there is one IMPORTANT exception! At the end of RE6 in Chris's campaign, he pulled Pier's stupid butt into the escape pod with him, so PIERS IS ALIVE. They gave him some of Jake's antibodies and all was well. So yes, enjoy!

NeuroticBanana: Howdy folks, Banana here! So enjoy our little labor of love that has been a year and a half in coming. This little critter is all done so our updates should be at regular intervals. We will try to update once a week and maybe twice a week if we're feeling particularly generous. But yes, please read and enjoy!

Disclaimer: We do not own the Resident Evil Franchise.

Chapter 1:

Masquerade

His work usually wasn't a black tie affair.

Looking at the extravagant display of formal wear around him, you'd never guess the horrors that had been seen by the majority of the guests. But that was what happened when you got together a room full of people from his line of work.

Leon scanned the masked faces of his coworkers and nervously adjusted his tie. Frowning, he leaned over to Helena, who was seated in the chair to his right. "I must've missed the portion of the invitation that said, 'mask required'," he whispered.

"It did say that this was a masquerade," she replied, quietly admiring the faces around her before turning to face him. A simple, but elegant black mask hid her face as well. "Didn't you read the whole thing?"

"Guess I glossed over that part," he mumbled. In truth, he almost hadn't gone to this annual gathering of government agents, BSAA members, and everyone else under the sun who fought bioterrorism. Big parties weren't usually his thing; Leon had always been more of a solitary creature. It'd been Sherry who'd guilt tripped him into going. After seeing the invitation in his trash while visiting, she'd gone into this long lecture about how he never got out and did anything besides work. Having a social life was important, she'd said, especially after everything he'd been through. After all he'd done for her, she just couldn't let him wither in his apartment. Finally, he'd given in and dug the thing out, briefly noting the time and day. Thus, he was quite surprised when he arrived and found a sea of masks staring back at his naked face.

To his left, the blonde haired culprit gave him a light shove. The pink trim of her own pure white mask sparkled in the chandelier light. "You look fine, Leon. No one cares that you didn't bring a mask."

A dark haired man of a stout build approached their table, also disguised in a mask. It was solid black, save for a blue rose near the corner of his eye. It took only a second to recognize him as Chris. He glanced at the two women seated at the table before his eyes settled on Leon. "Hey Leon, where's your mask?"

Sherry slapped a hand against her forehead while Leon rolled his eyes. "Left it at home. How's retirement treating you, Chris?"

Chris pulled up a chair and sat down, shooting him a grin. "It's great. I haven't felt this free and easy in years. But I hear you're doing well for yourself," He nodded in Helena and Sherry's direction on either side of him, "A girl on each arm, eh?"

Before any of them could respond, Jill appeared next to the table, carrying a glass of wine. "What's this?" she asked, holding up a bright blue mask with a feathered peacock tail. The blonde hair brushing her shoulders contrasted sharply with her dark roots. He'd read about the incidents that had led to the pigment in her hair being leached out—her normal hair color must have finally been growing back. At catching sight of Leon, she frowned. "Leon, you're not wearing a mask."

He sighed, beginning to feel silly. "I know."

Beside him, Sherry's eyebrows quirked up in worry. "You don't stand out, really!" she insisted and desperately searched for a change of topics. Her eyes fell on Jill's cerulean dress, the neckline of which dipped nearly down to her belly button. "Jill, that's a lovely dress! What a pretty shade of blue…" she cooed, and then cocked her head to the side in thought. "And it matches Chris's tie perfectly… Did you two come together?"

They both blanched and shared a quick look. "What?" Jill inquired, sounding overly surprised, "You mean we match? What a coincidence!" She laughed nervously and automatically started to sit down in the chair next to Chris before abruptly standing back up and taking the seat next to Helena.

Now that they had successfully gained the attention of the entire table, Helena glanced between the two. "So… you didn't come together?"

"No!" They answered simultaneously.

A brown haired man walked over to the table with hurried steps. "Sorry I'm late—"

"Piers!" Chris yanked the poor man down by his suspenders and forcefully "encouraged" him to sit down.

Piers blinked in confusion, but willingly took the final seat. "Captain?"

"I had just been thinking that… ah… I don't think you've met our friend Helena!" He gestured to the quiet brown haired woman across from them, who appeared just as bewildered. "Piers Nivens, this is Helena Harper. Helena, this is Piers."

Piers shot his former captain a look like he'd grown a second head before shrugging and extending a hand. "Nice to meet you, Miss Harper."

She nodded and shook it. "The same."

Chris cleared his throat and stood up. "Well, I don't know about any of you, but I could use a drink."

Jill's eyes followed him to the bar. "I… have to use the ladies room," she excused herself and disappeared into the crowd.

After watching them both leave, Helena turned to Piers. "Do you think we should remind him that we've been working together for two weeks?"

Piers waved a hand casually. "Nah, he'll figure it out eventually."

"What do you think that was all about, anyway?" she asked, squinting at Chris's form as he signaled the bar. "I mean, he must've been pretty flustered to think we haven't met before."

Piers shifted uncomfortably. "Oh, I'm sure he's… got something on his mind… or… something."

Leon, who had watched the entire exchange in silent curiosity, finally spoke up. "You don't think he and—"

"Helena," Piers said suddenly, interrupting Leon's question, "I'm starting to think that Chris had the right idea. Join me at the bar?"

Helena glanced at Leon and back before hesitantly agreeing with a shy nod. "Alright…"

Leon grunted as they left. "You two have fun, then."

There was a noticeable silence between the last two left at the table. A small orchestra of violins and cellos played an uplifting tune in the background. "Well," Leon mused, "It's just you and me now, Sherry."

Sherry frowned and crossed her arms beside him. "I'm sorry this isn't turning out exactly as planned."

"Don't worry about it," he assured and leaned back in his chair, "It's my fault for not reading the whole thing. And parties have never been my—Sherry?" He paused, realizing that he'd lost her attention at some point as she glanced down to something beneath the table. He heard a soft buzzing sound, and his eyes narrowed. "Are you texting?"

"Hmm?" she hummed distractedly before glancing back up to him like she'd never lost interest. Discretely, she shoved something back into her purse. "Oh, don't worry, I'm still listening. Claire just wanted to know how the evening was going. You know she couldn't come and all." When he squinted at her suspiciously, she nudged him wither her elbow and raised her eyebrows. "Continue?"

Reluctantly he continued, letting go of the nagging feeling that she was lying. He had known this girl since she was a child, after all. "I was just saying that parties aren't really my strong suit."

She sent him a warm smile and patted his arm. "I'm still glad you came, though."

A waiter dropped a tray of dishes and Leon's eyes darted out to the crowd, ever vigilant. After everything he'd been through, it wasn't a reaction he was able to turn off. Around the spilled tray a space opened up, allowing Leon a view of the opposite end of the room.

As the crowd parted, something caught his eye.

Sherry kept talking. "This could be really good for you, getting out like this. And you never know, maybe you'll meet someone tonight that you really…" Her voice faded into the strings.

From across the room, a raven haired woman was staring at him. A stylish black and red butterfly mask rested on her delicate cheekbones. His eyes narrowed on her, and a playful smirk graced her lips that he knew only too well.

Ada.

"Excuse me, Sherry," he mumbled as he stood up, "I have to go… take care of something…" With that he began to make his way through the ocean of party goers. There might have been a voice behind him, calling out, but he didn't catch the words. He carefully weaved from person to person, never letting her out of his sight. One false move and she might disappear.

When he finally reached her, leaning against the wall in a flowing red backless dress, she spoke.

"Hey there, handsome," she purred. "Enjoying the party?"

"I've never been one for parties." He regarded her for a moment before extending a hand. She obviously wasn't going to talk out in the open like this. "May I have this dance?"

Her delicate fingers fell into his, that taunting smile still on her face. "What kind of person would I be if I said no?"

He led her out to a clearing on the floor and took her waist, pulling her close. His fingers splayed against her bare back. The skin was smooth, soft. Such a pretty package for one so deadly… "What are you doing here?" he whispered, lips barely moving.

She ran her hand up his shoulder and behind his neck. Her lips brushed his ear. "Can't a girl have a little fun?"

He suppressed a shudder, trying to keep his mind sharp. This woman must have had an obsession with turning him on. What on earth is she doing here? He repeated in his head for the billionth time. It's not as if she would've been invited; if she had decided to crash a party, she couldn't have picked a worse one. Almost the entire might of anti-bioterrorism sat in this large and finely decorated room. Had anyone other than himself recognized the mysterious woman… ducking his head down, he hid his mouth behind her hair. "Fun where you're concerned usually involves people dying, Ada."

She mocked a distressed cry. "You judge me too harshly. I only ever wanted to help…"

His grip on her tightened. "If you're planning something tonight, you know I have to stop you."

He felt her soft chuckle underneath his fingertips as her warm breath ran over his neck. "Ever the Boy Scout, aren't you, Leon?" Her own grip tightened a fraction on his neck, reminding him of just how dangerous she could be. "If you insist, I'll get straight to the point." She back led him into dipping her, arching her back against him before rolling back up into a lover's embrace. Her lips met his ear once again and she held him still. "You're treading into dangerous water, Leon. Be careful who you trust in the weeks ahead. Sometimes trouble comes from where you least expect it." The humor in her voice was gone.

He glanced to her in alarm. "Is this a warning?"

Her hand slid down his neck and onto his chest before it pushed off. She stepped away, teasing smile back in place. "Take it how you want," she replied, sauntering away from him, hips swaying, "Now if you don't mind, I have an appointment to keep."

"Ada!" he hissed in a loud whisper, mindful of the crowd around him.

She looked over her shoulder and winked before disappearing into a doorway at the back of the room. He rushed forward, but when he arrived at the door he only found an empty hallway. An open window sat to his right, curtains rustling slightly in the wind. She was gone.

He stepped over to the window and peeked out. There was a thirty foot drop. He was seriously beginning to wonder if that woman was human. With a sigh, he stepped back into the main room.

At the other end of the room, he caught sight of Sherry. Her short, white dress stood out against the dark bar. Next to her stood Chris, casually sipping his drink. At his side was Jill, who had materialized at some point when no one had been looking. He made his way over to them and tapped Chris on the shoulder. "Where are Piers and Helena?"

Chris nodded and pointed to an area farther down the bar to where Piers and Helena were sitting together, slumped over. The three of them seemed mildly entranced by the scene before them. Leon cocked an eyebrow. "Something I missed?"

Jill leaned over to him, still not taking her eyes off the pair, and whispered, "Is Helena normally this much of a lush?"

"Not that I've seen…" His gaze was drawn to them now, becoming mildly concerned. "How much have they had?"

"Piers has bought her at least four shots, plus there was that daiquiri she was drinking earlier…" Chris supplied, "I'm starting to think he's trying to get her drunk."

"But he's had every one with her," Jill pointed out. "I think he's trying to get drunk, and he's just dragging her down with him."

"Shh!" Sherry hissed from behind them, leaning between Chris and Jill's shoulders, "I'm trying to listen!"

They all quieted down as the couple in front of them spoke.

"Another round!" Piers cried out, raising up his empty glass and slamming it back down to the table. He rolled his head over, limp necked, to look at Helena. "Whaddda ya say?"

Helena moaned and leaned her head on her hands. "I haven't drunk this much since college… But you know what?" She turned to him and slapped her hands against the bar top. "Fuck 'em. Let's do it."

Piers grinned at her sloppily and gave her a pat on the shoulder, nearly causing her to fall off her stool. "That's the spirit!"

She leaned back, teetering dangerously on her stool. Piers had just enough sense to grab her arm to stabilize her. "You know, you go through it all, and you're never the same after. Know what I mean?"

Piers nodded enthusiastically. "Exactly. It's not enough that you save the world and pretty much die in the process, but then life's gotta dump on you. And everybody has to treat you all different."

"Yes! All those damn sympathetic stares!" Helena leaned forward with too much momentum and Piers had to stabilize her again.

"I know!" he agreed, "And then how your arm keeps twitching for weeks afterward…"

Helena rolled her head to face him with a confused look. "…wha?"

He shook his head suddenly. "Nevermind."

At this point, the bartender had reluctantly filled their glasses and placed them on the counter in front of them. Piers lifted his glass. "Screw it all!"

Helena lifted hers to clink against his, sloshing a little over the side. "Hell yeah!" They downed it at the same time, barely flinching at the burn.

"I think we should leave them be…" Sherry said with a small smile as she watched the duo.

"If he doesn't quit soon he'll pass out," Chris said with a grimace, watching as Piers got completely sloshed and started doing an impression that sounded suspiciously like himself. "I'm really hoping that's not supposed to be me."

Jill found his shoulder and gave a gentle squeeze. "Why don't I go call a cab so they can get home safely?"

"I'll go with you," Chris stated and the two headed off towards the lobby.

For the second time that night Sherry and Leon were left alone, save for the two drunkards further down the bar. "You left in a hurry earlier," Sherry commented, sending him an intrigued glance, "Who was that woman you were dancing with?"

"No one," Leon quickly answered. "Just an old friend."

Her eyes narrowed in suspicion. "Are you sure? Because I—"

There was a loud thump as Helena fell out of her chair, giggling. "I think I'm going to puke…" she mumbled in between laughs.

Leon turned to Sherry with raised eyebrows. "Care to do the honors?"

Sherry rolled her eyes and huffed. "Why do I have to do it? She was your partner. You know her better."

"But you're also female," he pointed out as stood and walked over to pull the drunken woman to her feet, "And I don't think they'd appreciate me in the women's restroom." He wrestled the shot glass out of Helena's hand before passing her to a reluctant Sherry.

"I was using that," Helena protested, but allowed herself to be led to the bathroom by Sherry anyway. Leon smiled and waved as they walked away, almost chuckling. He'd gotten lucky. Just to be safe, Leon walked over to where Piers was sitting to keep an eye on him in their absence. This was definitely his preferred job.

Piers stared down at the bar top, bracing his hands against it. He took slow deep breaths. "Leon?" He said suddenly, staring ahead with a serious look on his face.

Leon turned to him, concerned. "Yeah?"

His eyes slid closed. "I think I'm going to throw up too." With that he swiveled to face him, bent over, and promptly vomited on Leon's shoes.

Leon looked down at his ruined footwear and let out a long sigh. "Aw, damn."