"Get the Hell out of there!" The tone of Chris' voice struck fear into Leon's heart. He turned, finally seeing what Helena had been focusing on all too late. The missile exploded, a large, purple cloud falling over the city of Tatchi and consuming it in thick smoke. Leon and Helena watched in horror as the innocent civilians began coughing. Their bodies were wracked with spasms and they began turning into zombies, the ones unaffected screaming as they were chased down by the newly turned monsters.
"God help us all..." Leon muttered to himself as he watched the apocalyptic scene unfold right before his eyes. It was Raccoon City all over again, the realization filling his stomach with a special kind of dread. Thousands, if not tens of thousands, more people would die, and if they weren't careful, so would they.
"Leon? Leon?! Damnit!" Chris hit the console of the jet angrily as their connection was cut and replaced with static. He heard the fear, the finality in the tone of Leon's voice. His friend and comrade was right in the midst of the storm, one that he would most likely not survive. He didn't for a second doubt Leon's ability, but all odds were against him. Nearly every person in the city would be infected, which meant it was Leon and Helena against nearly twelve thousand newly infected.
"What are we going to do, Captain?" Piers asked, concern laced in his voice.
"We have to rescue them."
He didn't have to look to know Piers was nodding. The man was a faithful comrade and rarely questioned Chris' authority. He trusted Piers with his life, and the younger man no doubt did the same. Chris turned the stick, forcing the jet into a sharp turn that had them heading towards Tatchi. They were still several minutes outside of the city, and Chris pushed the thrust forward, increasing the speed. He prayed they would make it in time to rescue Leon and his partner.
"Come on!" Leon grabbed Helena by the arm and ran, pulling her along as he mapped out a mental route through the city where they would encounter the least amount of infected. He pushed through the writhing mass of civilians that were running in the opposite direction, away from the fog and zombies. His grip was suddenly broken and he stopped, turning and trying to find Helena in the crowd.
"Helena!" His shouts were unheard over the cries of innocents running for their lives, the sound of his voice swallowed up by the cacophony of noise. He couldn't find the brunette, and the growing horde of infected was getting closer.
"Shit." Leon turned and pushed his way out of the crowd, running down several alleys. The sounds of fear and pain were still echoing in the distance and he tried to tune them out, focusing on the sound of his footsteps as he ran from the storm. His breaths came in quick bursts and his heart pounded in his chest, every movement fueled by adrenaline and fear. He stopped for a moment, his back against the wall as he tried to place a call to Chris. The call failed, the signal on his phone showing no connection. He cursed under his breath and looked around. He wasn't nearly far enough away yet.
Leon took a deep breath and began running again, heading towards the opposite side of town. The alley ways ended and he was forced to run along one of the main streets, swerving between open car doors. The area was eerily silent, not a single infected lurking nearby. He chanced a quick look over his shoulder, his bangs whipping his face as he saw the fog still approaching at an alarming rate. It would slow and stop spreading eventually, but Leon wasn't sure he could outrun it for that long. He would have to stop and find somewhere to hide indoors.
Leon stopped and looked around, his eyes falling on a small business building. It would have to do. He pushed his way inside, locking the glass doors behind him and looking around, quickly finding the power breaker and shutting off all the lights. He used the light on his ear piece to illuminate his path, quickly making his way to the back of the building and locking himself in the back room. The windows were suddenly engulfed by the fog, blocking out any source of light from the outside. Leon slid down the wall until he was sitting on the floor and drew one of his wing shooters, squeezing his fingers tightly around the grip and tilting his head back. There was no telling how long he would have to wait here. He checked his phone again, the signal showing one bar. He tried to call Chris again but the call could not be placed. He turned his gps on and hoped the signal would be strong enough for a rescue team to find him.
Leon's eyes shot open. He'd fallen asleep at some point, and he stood and stretched his limbs. A thump on the glass behind him had Leon spinning quickly and aiming his gun. He squinted and could barely see the shapes of bodies through the fog, which had thinned considerably in the time he'd been out. Several of the shapes kept moving past, but one stood in place, directly before him. He quickly turned off the light on his ear piece and held his breath, praying the thing would move on. It slammed itself into the glass again, creating a dull thud and causing Leon to jump back in surprise and hiss under his breath. The zombie kept at it, ramming its body into the thin glass, creating a small spider web pattern that was extending further with every hit. Leon turned, unlocking the door and letting himself back into the hallway. He locked and pulled it shut behind him, grateful to have another barrier between him and the zombie. He looked around desperately for another place to hide. The sound of shattering glass filled his ears and he quickened his pace, rounding the corner and letting himself into a small personal office room. He shut the door and locked it, pushing the desk in front of the door. He let out a breath and looked around for anything he could use as a weapon if he had to, to conserve ammo, but found nothing. Something caught his attention in the corner of his eyes and he turned, witnessing the fog slowly seeping through from the small space beneath the door. Leon backed up to the far wall, out of options and drawing his last safe breath.
It had been nearly an hour since Chris had spoken to Leon. He'd landed the jet in a field just outside of the city and had rendezvoused with the soldiers that had begun to make a blockade on a road leading out of the city. They equipped him and Piers with two sets of oxygen masks and tanks, which they slipped over their shoulders and put the masks on their faces. They set out, walking into the quarantined area at a steady pace. Chris had gotten a signal from Leon's gps for a few seconds after they landed, which Chris found out was a small building in the business part of town roughly four blocks away.
"Think he's still alive?" Piers asked, his voice amplified from the mask.
"He wouldn't go down so easy." Chris wished he could believe his words but spoke them mostly for the benefit of the younger soldier. Truth was he highly doubted Leon was alive but he wouldn't leave him behind without being sure. The man was his sisters close friend and a highly valuable asset to the government as well as one of their top agents, which made him nearly in-disposable and worth spending the resources on. As they stepped into the fog, Chris switched on the flashlight attached to his machine gun and Piers did the same, illuminating the grey buildings and creating eerie shadows. Everything was deathly silent and it only added to their tight nerves.
"Where are all the infected?" Piers asked, spinning in a slow circle as they walked making sure their corners were covered.
"Moved on, I guess. No one left to eat so no reason to stay." Chris hoped it was true but as they got closer to the location they came across several stragglers, all of which had some sort of leg wounds keeping them from running or walking very fast. They disposed of them quickly and continued forward, within the final two blocks to Leon's location.
Chris stopped Piers as a more odd shaped form appeared, walking towards them through the fog. It had bluish-grey skin and a large mouth. The way it walked was wrong, as if it had no bones in its body, the skin trembling with every movement.
Chris took aim at it and fired, shooting a large hole through the creature's chest. It staggered and after a moment the wound knit shut before their eyes.
"What the hell is that thing?" Piers asked, shocked.
"Something that regenerates. We have to destroy it completely." Chris produced a grenade from his vest and pulled the pin, tossing it at the creature's feet. It exploded, chunks of flesh and a few droplets of blood raining over them. Chris looked to Piers and nodded once before continuing.
The two men disposed of any infected close to the location before proceeding to the entrance. The glass doors and windows were all shattered and they stepped inside, looking around.
"Leon?" Chris called out, careful not to be too loud in case more infected were lurking inside. There was no answer and Chris swallowed his fear, continuing on. He flagged for Piers to check the opposite side of the building and the soldier broke off from him, his footsteps quiet and soon disappearing altogether. Chris let himself into every room but found one door that was locked with deep, bloody claw marks scraped into the wood. He kicked the door and it broke, but a large desk was in the way. He couldn't see what was inside through the small slit of open door and pushed against it, the desk slowly sliding over the floor and allowing him enough space to enter. Chris stepped inside the small room, his light illuminating it thoroughly. Large spider web like cracks lined the glass windows, shining from the light, and there were two bullet sized holes in the glass. As he looked at the intricate design, he noticed Leon lying on his back on the floor. The agent was unconscious, his pistol still gripped tightly in his hand which rested on his stomach.
"Leon!" Chris ran over and fell to his knees beside the unconscious man, putting two fingers to the side of Leon's neck to check for a pulse. A sigh of relief escaped his lips as he confirmed the man was still alive. He put a firm hand on Leon's shoulder and shook him slightly, the agent letting out a soft groan as he came to before being raked by a fit of painful coughs. Chris pulled off his mask and held it over the agent's mouth and nose, holding his own breath to make sure he didn't inhale any of the possibly fatal air.
"Hey, take it easy. We're here to rescue you. Just breathe." Leon's hand went up to Chris', their fingers touching briefly before he held the mask on tighter and took several deep breaths of oxygen. He met the brunets gaze before offering the mask back, which Chris took and replaced on his face.
"Shit. They almost got me," Leon sounded exasperated as he spoke, "one was damned determined on getting in here. It fractured the glass and exposed me to the chemicals in that fog. I don't know why I didn't change like the others, but I sure as hell don't feel good."
Chris offered his hand and helped Leon to his feet and Piers rejoined them, sharing a curt nod with Leon.
"Glad to see you're still alive."
"Ditto. Hope you brought some ammo, I'm nearly out."
"Yeah, I got it all right here."
Piers pulled a backpack from his back and rifled through it before producing a pack of pistol ammo. He tossed it to Leon, who caught it and reloaded his Wing Shooters.
"Ready? We're four blocks from the rendezvous."
Leon nodded and the three men made their way outside. Leon turned the light on his earpiece back on, following Chris with Piers taking up the rear. They were careful to constantly check their corners as to not be ambushed by any infected.
A high pitched shriek had Leon bowing over and covering his ears. Chris and Piers looked around, trying to place where the noise had come from.
"Captain!" Chris turned to face where Piers was aiming at. In a park to their right they could make out the shape of a mutated infected with a large neck. It had been the one to produce the noise, and now several of the bodies that had been motionless on the ground began to rise and lumber towards them.
"Shit!" Chris began firing bullets at the creature's neck while Piers covered him. Leon began shooting at any of the Infected approaching them from the sides and rear.
"We should run; there's too many of them and were just wasting ammo!" Leon shouted over the gunfire. He began walking back and let out a cry of surprise as an infected grabbed him from behind, throwing him to the ground and trying to bite him.
"Leon!" Chris turned and Piers cried out as he too was taken to the ground, more zombies swarming him. Chris looked between the two men, both thirty feet apart, his heart pounding in his ears. Piers let out an unmistakeable scream of pain as he was bit, and Chris turned his back on his comrade. It was the hardest decision he'd ever made, but it was a no brainer. He ran towards Leon, dispatching the infected that ran for him. Leon turned his head, his eyes falling to Chris' and his eyes widening.
"No! Chris, no! Save him!" Leon struggled to keep the infected at bay, his arm across its chest as he held it back, its snapping teeth only inches from his neck. It was slowly overpowering him.
Chris pushed the zombie off Leon and quickly helped him to his feet. Leon pushed him away and ran for Piers.
"Leon! Stop!" Leon emptied the remaining ammo in his pistols on the horde surrounding Piers before dropping to his knees and reaching in for the man. He touched Piers fingers and something was thrust into his hand before he was pulled back by the elbow by Chris, forced to run with the older man. Piers' cries were ended abruptly and Leon bit back a scream, still being pulled along by Chris. Once they were a safe distance away he ripped his arm from the brunets hold and reared on him, shoving him hard against the wall of a building.
"How could you? He was your partner!"
"It was you or him. I made my choice."
"We could have still saved him... He was so young! It should have been me!"
Leon threw a sloppy punch at Chris, who simply caught the agent's fist in his hand and held it firmly. Leon's teeth grit together, head bowed, eyes shut tight as he fought his emotions.
"My mission is to rescue you." After a moment Chris pulled Leon into his arms. He'd never shared more than a quick friendly embrace with the man, but it felt good and right. Leon slowly uncurled his fingers, Piers' dog tags jingling lightly from them. He tightened his fist around them again and took a deep breath. Chris would never understand the weight on his shoulders. He felt personally responsible for every death by his hands, every person that he was unable to save. Annette Birkin, Luis, Jack Krauser, Adam Benford, seventy thousand innocents, and now Piers...
Several infected appeared at the entrance to the alley, making both Leon and Chris raise their heads. They turned and ran in the opposite direction, breath coming in fast pants.
"This way!" Chris grabbed Leon's wrist and pulled him to a metal door which he quickly kicked open. Leon was pulled inside and they shut the door, both leaning against it and holding their breath. They could hear the groaning and shuffling of the infected as they ran by, and neither man dared make a sound until only silence surrounded them.
Leon let out a heavy breath and slid down the door, his forearms resting on his knees as he caught his breath. Chris looked around the room down the sights of his gun, making sure it was clear before lowering the weapon. He removed his mask and dropped it on the floor.
"Where are we?" Leon asked as he looked around. Chris walked up to a floor plan which showed all of the exits.
"Can you read Chinese?"
"Yeah, as if." Leon scoffed and stood, walking over and analyzing the map.
"I think we're in a shopping mall."
Chris tilted his head slightly and Leon opened the door across the room, stepping out and looking around. Chris followed and sure enough they were in a small clothing store which opened up into a large mall. There were two more floors above them, illuminated only by the lights on their ear pieces. A large pond took up majority of the center of the first floor, the water clear and unmoving. The entire mall was empty and dark, making it far more eerie than it should have been.
"There should be a gun store somewhere in here. We can camp there and hold out until backup arrives."
"A gun shop? Chris, this is China, not fucking Texas! They probably don't even have gun shops here!" Leon said exasperatedly as they began walking, looking at the dark stores illuminated by their lights.
"It's only a matter of time before they figure out we're in here. I'll see if I can get a signal on my pda." Chris produced his phone, holding it up as they walked.
"You'll probably have better luck on the third floor," Leon stated as they walked by a sweets shop. He stopped and quickly ran in, eyeing the treats.
"Candy, Leon? Really?"
"What? I'm hungry." The agent scanned the shelves and grabbed several different things, enough to fill his arms. Chris rolled his eyes.
"Tell me you aren't hungry."
Chris couldn't deny it, but he didn't give Leon the satisfaction of an answer. They headed up the stairs to the next level and stopped at the mall directory map. Both men were unable to make out what any of the words were, so they opted for just walking around and checking things out for themselves. Once they had scanned the second floor, they headed up to the third, and sure enough near the corner was a gun and supplies shop. Leon ignored Chris' triumphant look and headed inside, dumping his stash on the counter.
"Jesus, they got everything in here," Leon leaned down, eyeing several pistols, magnums, and revolvers through the glass. Chris walked along one wall, admiring the machine guns and shotguns. The store was small but didn't lack anything. It had everything from ammunition to protective gear, targets and even some clothing.
Leon eyed a leather jacket hanging on the wall and slowly trailed his fingers down the fabric. Chris' voice startled him and he pulled his hand back.
"Hey, no window shopping."
Leon pouted at the brunet, leaving the jacket and instead making his way along the small aisle with protective gear on it. He eyed bulletproof vests, elbow and knee pads and all sorts of warm clothing and protective glasses.
"Wish the D.S.O armory was this fun," Leon sighed and walked over to Chris, watching him grab a semi-automatic off the wall and look down the sights.
"Bet you fifty dollars there's a target with a zombie on it," Leon eyed Chris. The brunet rolled his eyes and Leon flipped through the targets, and sure enough he found one with an unrealistic zombie on it.
"Aha!" He showed it to Chris, and both men chuckled.
Leon put the target aside and grabbed some of the candy, sitting with his back against the glass case and opening one of the chocolate bars. He bit into it and moaned, which got Chris' attention.
"Want some?" Leon waved the treat around, "there's got to be at least one ounce of fat on you."
Chris scoffed and set the gun aside and sat beside Leon, their shoulders touching. He took the chocolate and bit into it, chewing thoughtfully as the bitter taste filled his mouth. When he handed it back, he noticed a chain around the agent's neck. Since when did Leon start wearing jewelry? He reached over, his fingers caressing the younger male's collarbone and earning him a sharp look. His fingers closed around it and he tugged, revealing their fallen comrades dog tags. Leon looked away, instantly solemn.
"It isn't a fraction your fault. Stop feeling like it is."
"You don't know how I feel."
"Yes, I do. Jill sacrificed herself to save me from Wesker. I thought she was dead for years, but it turned out Wesker had brainwashed her and did God knows what else. I know what it's like to feel responsible, feel guilty, for everyone you couldn't save. It chews at your insides and slowly kills you. But you can't let it rule your life," Chris let go of the tags and they fell back against Leon's chest with a small metallic noise. Leon kept his eyes adverted.
A beeping noise broke the moment and Chris produced his pda.
"I have a signal. I'm gonna place that call," Leon looked up as Chris put a hand on his shoulder before walking out of the shop. He could still hear the brunet's voice but couldn't make out what he was saying. Chris stepped into view and motioned for Leon to join him. The agent stood and walked over, the brunet putting the call on speaker.
"I was connected to agent Sherry Birkin, but Jake took the phone and he refuses to help us."
Leon could hear Sherry and Jake bickering on the other side of the line.
"Sherry? It's Leon."
After a shuffle of noises they could hear Sherry sigh into the phone.
"Leon. It's good to hear your voice. Are you with Chris?"
"Yeah, we're holed up in a mall somewhere in downtown Tatchi."
"What about Helena, and Piers? Are they with you?"
"They... didn't make it." Leon swallowed the lump in his throat. It was evident Sherry could hear the pain in his voice because there was a short silence in their call.
"I'm sorry to hear that. We can come get you out."
There was another shuffle and they could hear the two arguing again.
"Why should I save that jarhead? It's his job to be the hero, not mine. He can save himself." Jake's voice was annoyed.
Leon raised a brow at Chris.
"Did I miss something?"
"Kids a hot head." Chris sighed.
"Yeah, and so were you in your younger days. Jake's just like his father."
"What do you mean?" Chris sounded confused.
"Well, he's Wesker's son. It's only natural that you two wouldn't get along."
"You didn't know?" Leon looked surprised.
"Do you think if I knew I would have asked for his help?" Chris practically growled at the agent.
"Wow. Everyone knows."
"Um, Chris, Leon? We're coming to your location. We should be there within a couple hours."
"Alright, thanks Sherry." Leon ended the call and passed the pda back to Chris, who was still brooding. He made sure to request medical supplies before ending the call.
"Oh, get over it." Leon rolled his eyes and walked over to the glass railing, crossing his arms and looking down at the water below.
"Any idea on what to do to pass the time?" He asked as Chris approached. The brunet's lips parted to speak, but was cut off by a loud bang. Both men shared a worried look before scanning their lights around the lower floors.
"There!" Leon grabbed Chris' shoulder and pointed to a spot on the opposite side of the mall on the first floor. A figure moved past quickly, shrouded in darkness so they couldn't make it out.
"Infected?" Chris asked, his eyes focused on the spot.
"Yeah, I think so. Shit. Thought we'd have more time."
Leon turned and ran into the gun store, mentally cussing at himself for not reloading his guns sooner. He grabbed one of the boxes of 9mm ammo and slammed it onto the counter, bullets spilling everywhere. He slid the clips free and quickly began pushing the bullets in one by one, until all twenty four were in place. He slid the clips back in, noticing Chris doing the same with his machine gun rounds and cocking his weapon.
A low growl had both men turning and aiming their guns towards the front of the store. A lone zombie stood watching them, its lower jaw completely missing, large strings of thick blood dripping onto the floor. It lunged suddenly, running towards them with an alarming speed. Leon was the first to react, unloading two bullets into the creature's skull. It fell to the floor with a gurgle before going limp. Everything was silent for a moment before several loud snarls and screeches echoed throughout the mall. Chris and Leon ran out, scanning the area. Multiple bodies were moving towards them from both sides.
Leon took the left side and Chris took the right. The seasoned veterans dispatched the infected quickly as they neared them, but were running low on ammunition and slowly losing space as they were pushed back together. Leon's pistols clicked empty and he hissed under his breath, spinning and delivering a deft kick to one of the zombie's heads. He was caught off guard by a flank, the zombie tackling him back and slamming him into the glass railing. Leon let out a groan as the infected slammed him against the railing again, his back throbbing painfully. He struggled to push it off of him, but it overpowered him easily and slammed him back against the glass. The weakened glass gave and shattered, and Leon fell back slowly for one horrifying moment as he realized he was falling. He plummeted three stories, hitting the water with a splash.
"Leon!" Chris killed the zombie and ran over, leaning over the space and peering down. The water was broken by several ripples Leon broke the surface, gasping for air and shaking his hair out of his eyes. He swam to the edge of the water, lifting his body out and rolling onto his back.
"Chris..!" Leon was taken by surprise as two infected approached him, snarling and biting their teeth together. He lifted his leg, launching the first over himself and into the water and the second pinned him. He attempted to hold it back for as long as he could.
"Hang on, I'm coming!" Chris quickly dispatched the few remaining infected and ran towards the nearest escalator, quickly running down to the second floor and then to the first.
Leon put his hands on the creature's shoulders, struggling to maintain a good grip despite being soaking wet and not having a good hold. His right hand slipped, his arm dangerously close to its mouth. The infected seized the opportunity, biting into the delicate flesh of his inner forearm, between the wrist and elbow.
"Augh!" Leon cried out in pain as the skin was torn open and ravaged by the zombies dull teeth.
"Leon!" Chris shot the zombie, the corpse falling to the side. He made sure there were no more in the vicinity before helping Leon to his feet. They quickly made their way back up to the third floor, their breaths coming in quick, uneven gasps. Chris made sure there were no more infected in the vicinity before making his way into the gun shop.
"Chris." Chris' eyes were drawn to the younger man's own, seeing the fear and uncertainty in the emerald green depths. His eyes slowly lowered, falling on Leon's arm. His sleeve was torn open and soaked with blood that trailed down his fingertips and dripped to the floor, forming a small pool of crimson. The wound on his inner forearm was unmistakeable: a ring of deep, jagged punctures that were red and inflamed with the beginning of infection. He'd been bitten.
Chris approached Leon and put his hand on his neck, looking deeply into the younger man's eyes. "I won't let anything happen to you, alright? Jake and Sherry will be here any minute and we'll get you fixed up." Leon pressed his lips together and nodded, looking like he was fighting back tears.
Chris began looking for something he could use to temporarily dress the wound. Truth was, Jake and Sherry wouldn't be arriving for another forty-five minutes at least, and that's if they didn't run into any complications. Both he and Leon knew what being bitten meant, but this was a new virus with unknown effects other than limb regeneration. The infected still lost almost all sense of awareness and still tried to spread the virus via bite, if they didn't kill the victim.
Chris frowned, taking one of the long sleeve shirts off the wall. It was made of a stretchy, durable fabric that would work perfectly as a bandage. He returned to Leon, who was now sitting with his back against the far wall and Chris tore the fabric into two long strips.
"You alright?" Chris asked, testing as Leon offered his injured arm. Chris took it and wrapped the two pieces around before tying them tightly. He let his fingers linger longer than necessary, eyes searching the features of the younger man. He couldn't tell any real physical changes yet, other than Leon's skin having taken on a slightly paler tone.
"Just peachy." Leon scoffed and tilted his head back against the wall. Chris sat beside him, close enough their sides were touching.
"You know, after everything, I never thought I'd go like this… but, I guess it's the most obvious way."
"Don't say that. Jake can cure you."
"We don't know that."
"It's worth a chance."
At some point Leon had fallen asleep. His head rested on Chris' shoulder and his lips were parted slightly.
"Leon?" Chris gently nudged the agent awake, turning his head to take in Leon's appearance. As Leon's eyes slowly fluttered open, Chris took in the dark bags under them and the prominent red bloodshot veins that made him look like he'd gone a week without sleeping.
"Ugh..." Leon squinted from the bright light of Chris' flashlight, his retinas burning painfully and his head was throbbing like he'd been hit by a bus.
Leon felt Chris put a hand on his forehead.
"You're really hot."
"Thanks." Leon managed a weak smirk as he slunk back against the wall. He knew the brunet was rolling his eyes from the wise crack. At least he'd get one more joke in.
"It's only been twenty minutes."
Leon groaned. He already felt like living death. How much longer could he last? He swallowed, trying to keep his voice steady. His mouth was as dry as the desert and his tongue was too heavy.
"Chris... if I change… I want you to kill me. I won't become one of those monsters."
Leon frowned, his eyes focused on his lap intently. He reached down to his holster and pulled out one of his pistols, balancing the weapon in his palm and chewing on his bottom lip. He'd never considered suicide before, and he'd even shunned his enemy-turned-friend Sasha for attempting it. What hope did he have? He didn't want to live long enough to change. Death was far better than being reanimated and attacking his friends.
Leon cocked the weapon, placing the barrel under his chin. No sooner than he had made the movement was Chris snatching the weapon from him, startling him slightly. He looked up at the now standing brunet with wide eyes.
"How dare you!" Chris snapped angrily, his eyes burning. Leon didn't have any time to react before the brunet confiscated his other pistol and his combat knife.
"It's my mission to keep you safe. I will see it through to the end."
Leon pressed his lips together. Chris' words meant so much to him. The brunet's voice faded in and out and Leon's eyes lost focus as he stared at the older man, Chris' form becoming a blur.
Leon blinked his vision clear.
"Alright, come on."
Chris helped him to his feet and led him into the back room. It was small but spacious. He pulled out a bunch of the warm clothing and lay it on the floor, directing Leon to lay down. The agent groaned and put a hand to his head, his teeth grit as he listened to his pulse beating.
Chris produced a thermal blanket and draped it over Leon, tucking him in.
Leon's eyes flicked to meet Chris' as the soldier brushed his wet bangs from his eyes.
"Don't worry; it won't be much longer now."
Chris' words sounded strong, but he was unsure whether they were really for Leon's benefit or his own.
The sound of gunshots broke the silence and Chris was on his feet in an instant. He ran out the front of the store and to the railing, looking down at the floors below. He could make out the beams of light from flashlights scanning the first floor.
"Sherry! Jake!" Chris called down. After a moment the two stepped into view and looked up at him.
"Chris! I hope we made it on time," Sherry called up to him.
"Yeah, I hope so as well." Chris lost vision of them as they looped around and made their way up the stairs, the sound of rushed footsteps echoing through the mall.
"How many were down there?"
"Not many, but more will be coming. We should leave soon. One of the shops on the first floor has broken windows; it's how they are getting inside."
Chris nodded at Sherry and shared a level stare with Jake, whose upper lip twisted in a snarl.
"Where's Leon?" Sherry asked, looking around.
"In there," Chris nodded towards the gun shop, "I don't know how much longer he has. Did you bring the medical supplies?"
"I dropped the bag when we were being chased..."
Chris didn't hide his look of disappointment.
"...but a direct transfusion through an open wound should work, right?"
"We have to try."
Chris led the way back into the store. The sound of snarling echoed behind them and they turned, drawing their weapons as several zombies broke from the darkness and ran at them.
"Jake! Go treat Leon, we'll hold them off!" Sherry yelled over the sound of her pistol firing. Jake hesitated, torn between listening to his partner and helping her. After a moment he turned, heading into the back room. Leon was unconscious, his skin clammy and pale. The skin around his eyes had darkened considerably. Jake drew his combat knife, gritting his teeth as he sliced a cut across his palm, blood welling up from the wound. Jake tossed the blanket aside, looking for any wounds on the agent's body. He had a makeshift bandage on his arm. Jake tugged it, loosening the fabric and exposing a bite wound. He turned his hand over, letting the droplets of blood fall onto the open wound.
"Jake!" Jake's head snapped up at the sound of his partner's voice. He stood, running out into the store and drawing his elephant shooter. Dozens of zombies were attempting to overpower Chris and Sherry, who had taken point at the front of the store. Jake ran up, shooting several of the zombies in the head. Their corpses fell to the floor, making a growing pile that the others tripped over and struggled to get past. Their numbers were slowly starting to thin out.
Leon's eyes fluttered open. His lips parted slightly, his mouth salivating. The only thing he was sure of was the emptiness in his stomach. He was so hungry. He pushed himself to his feet, bracing himself against the wall as he staggered. There was a constant banging noise shattering the silence, the sound making his head throb. He slowly walked out of the room, running his tongue over his lips. His eyes fell on Sherry, who had stepped back from the fight to reload her weapon. Before he knew what he was doing, he was running at her and letting out a snarl.
"Ahhh!" Sherry screamed as she saw Leon running towards her. Chris spun, his eyes widening as Leon neared the agent.
Jake was the quickest to react. He spun and aimed a low kick at Leon's left leg, snapping the bone just below the knee. Leon let out a distorted cry and fell to his hands. Jake aimed his elephant shooter at Leon's head.
"No!" Chris ran forward, tackling Jake and making the weapon fall to the floor.
"Get off of me!"
Jake shoved Chris off easily and got to his feet, glaring at the older man.
"It didn't work. I say we kill him."
"No. Not on my watch." Chris squeezed his semi-automatic rifle tightly in warning as he glared back.
Both men turned as Leon pushed himself to his feet, seemingly unconcerned about his broken leg. His eyes flicked up, meeting Chris' own. The emerald green color had turned into a translucent blue-white that had a faint bioluminescence to them. The skin around his eyes was dark and his skin was pale and clammy.
"Leon?" Chris asked cautiously. His eyes regained their focus and he was snapped out of his daze.
Chris walked over, taking Leon's arm and putting it across his shoulder before easily sweeping the younger man off his feet and holding him bridal style. Leon gritted his teeth from the movement, his head falling back as he let out a pained gasp.
"What should we do? We can't stay here." Sherry chimed in.
"He needs medical supplies. Isopropyl alcohol. Bandages. Painkillers. And now a leg brace." Chris glared at Jake with the words, "we should find a pharmacy."
"You're not the boss of me," Jake snapped.
"Actually I think I am. I'm the one that called you in. I'm older, better trained, and a captain, which makes me your superior in every way."
"You jarheads sure have an inflated ego."
"You're just like your father."
Jake turned on Chris.
"What did you say?" He snarled.
"You heard me. Selfish and arrogant to the very end."
"Why don't you put him down and we can settle this like real men?" Jake cracked his neck.
"Hey!" Both men turned to Sherry. "Put your egos back in your pants! We have bigger problems right now. You can fight later." Both men huffed and looked away.
"Good? Alright, then it's settled. We'll locate a pharmacy and get Leon the necessary supplies he needs, and then get the hell out of dodge."
Sherry and Jake reloaded everyone's weapons before the group left the store. Chris' eyes constantly flicked down at Leon as they walked, who was bordering the brink between conscious and unconscious.
As they made their way down to the first floor, a loud crashing noise had everyone stopping and looking for the cause of the sound. After a few moments of silence the store behind them exploded, launching everyone through the air. Chris lost his hold on Leon and fell on top of him, shielding him with his body. He grabbed one of Leon's pistols from its holster on his thigh, twisting his body and aiming over his shoulder.
"Him again?" Jake sighed as he drew his elephant gun.
"What the hell is that thing?"
Chris took in the large, mutated body looming over them. The creature was easily over eight feet tall. The skin of its face was twisted into a permanent snarl. A cage like device was attached to its back, and it wielded a large claw like weapon.
"Old friend of ours." Jake cracked his neck and began firing at it. The creature recognized him instantly and ran at him, taking large steps that made the building shake.
Leon's eyes fluttered open and adjusted. Chris was protecting him, using his own body as a shield as he fired across the area at a large b.o.w. He groaned and put his hand on Chris' shoulder, whose eyes instantly met his own. Leon gave him a quick nod.
"I'm okay. Let me help." Chris assed Leon for a moment longer before standing and handing Leon his pistol. Leon took the weapon, forcing himself into a sitting position. Chris double checked that Leon was really okay before pulling his semi-automatic rifle from his back and joining the fray.
Leon mostly provided support when Sherry had to reload or Jake nearly got grabbed by the b.o.w. His bullets barely did any damage. They needed something high powered to take it out. If he could make it back to the third floor, he could use a fifty-caliber rifle…
Leon rolled onto his stomach, pushing himself up on his hands. The second he attempted to put weight on his broken leg he went crashing back to the floor with a hiss. The creature's attention was now on him. He tried to crawl away quickly, but a large hand wrapped around his ankle and pulled, dragging him back towards it. Leon screamed in agony as his broken leg was abused. He could do nothing to free himself, and he'd run out of ammunition. The b.o.w released Leon's leg and he rolled onto his back only to be grabbed by the shirt and lifted into the air. Leon struggled uselessly, his legs kicking at the air.
Both the b.o.w. and Leon's heads turned at the sound of the voice, which was Jake aiming at the creature with a large magnum. He fired at the creature, hitting it in the face. It let out an animalistic snarl and pulled its hand back, throwing Leon across the area. He hit the floor hard, sliding across the tile from the momentum and hit the wall with a bone rattling crack.
Chris made to run and aid the agent, but was stopped by the b.o.w getting in his way. He gritted his teeth. Leon wasn't moving, which meant one of two things. He'd either been knocked out cold, or…
They had to find a way to kill this thing, and quick. Chris took note of the long, jagged wounds running up the length of the creature's body and the large, gaping hole in its stomach. He knew a soft spot when he saw one. He drew his weapon, unloading dozens of bullets into the open flesh. The creature let out a war cry and ran at him, but Chris easily dodged by rolling to the side.
"Get down!" Sherry yelled as she tossed at grenade at the creature's feet. Chris jumped away, an explosion sounding behind him that tore up the floor and hid the b.o.w in thick smoke.
"This guy's indestructible. We should make a diversion and run."
Chris shared a look with Jake.
"Got any flash grenades?"
Leon came to, his head throbbing painfully. Something wet had soaked his hair. He put his hand to the back of his head, pulling it away to see his fingers coated in crimson blood. He could feel it running down the sides of his face and dripping onto the tile floor. He pushed himself up on his hands, seeing his reflection in the small pool of his blood.
Leon turned his head, a bright, white light filling his vision and blinding him temporarily. He covered his eyes and slumped back to the floor, focusing on keeping his breathing calm. His ribs ached with every breath, but it was nothing serious. As he relaxed, he felt himself giving into the exhaustion.
Chris ran over to Leon and rolled him over. He quickly pulled back his eyelid and shone his flashlight, checking the agent's pupil reaction. Instead of dilating to adjust to the bright light, his pupils remained large, black orbs. He lifted Leon, helping the man onto his back and putting his hands under Leon's thighs to support his weight. His arms hung down, fingers brushing against Chris' chest.
"Quick, we don't have much time!" Sherry and Jake ran over and Chris nodded, following them as they made their way through the new hole in the side of the mall.
"He's got a concussion. We have to be careful; if he hits his head again he'll die."
Jake and Sherry led the way as they ran, quickly dispatching any infected they came across. No one had any idea where the nearest pharmacy would be and they couldn't go any deeper into town. They made their way along a smaller road, hoping they would get lucky.
Chris had no idea how long they walked for. Sherry and Jake were a ways ahead of him, talking to each other in hushed tones. He'd become exhausted carrying Leon for so long. While the agent wasn't necessarily heavy, his weight and Chris' added hunger and exhaustion were slowing him down. He stopped for a moment, adjusting and lifting Leon higher onto his back before continuing on.
"Okay… so according to this map, there's some sort of mini-mall a few blocks ahead. Hopefully it'll have a drug store." Sherry looked at Chris over her shoulder and he nodded at her. He wasn't sure how much longer he could keep going, anyway. Everyone was tired, dirty and hungry, and they all were fed up with zombies even if they didn't verbally admit it.
"Chris..?" Leon came to slowly, eyes squinting to adjust to the darkness. They were somewhere in the rural part of the city. Leon gritted his teeth as he became aware of the ache pounding in his head. He wrapped his arms around the older man's shoulders to steady himself, holding on tightly and making it easier for Chris to carry him. Had his leg not been broken, he wouldn't have let himself be subject to such weakness, but secretly he thought it was kind of nice.
"How are you feeling?" Chris asked, turning his head to look at Leon over his shoulder.
"Well, I'm not dead. So there's that." Leon chuckled and pressed his face into the brunet's shoulder. Chris smelled like leather and cigarettes and a metallic hint of ammunition. "Chris… How did you…?"
"I once beat the shit out of a boulder. Thing was huge. But that's a story for another time. What matters is you're safe."
Leon smiled into the fabric of Chris' vest. Although he had no idea where they were, it was apparent Chris had been carrying him for quite some time. The brunets steps were close together and his feet dragged slightly. He probably ached more than Leon did, even if his own pain felt bone-deep. Leon made a mental note to buy Chris a shiatsu massage after this was all over.
If we survive…
It wasn't long before the mini-mall Sherry had mentioned came into view. Like the rest of the place, it was completely abandoned. Several of the cars in the parking lot had open doors, indicating the passengers had left in a hurry. There were no infected lurking nearby, due to the lack of people, so the group had no trouble approaching the building.
Sherry approached the first store and shone her light through the window, gazing inside. With a shake of her head, she moved onto the next, and the next, before finally she let out a relieved breath.
Jake led the way, taking hold of the handle and making sure everyone was ready before proceeding. He opened it and stepped inside, scanning his corners.
Chris entered the building last, adjusting his hold on Leon. They looked around at the well-stocked shelves as Chris walked down the first aisle. At the back of the store was the prescription counter.
Chris turned and let Leon sit on the counter. He unslung his semi-automatic rifle and handed it to the agent, who took it with a confused look.
"What about you?"
"I'll be fine," Chris drew his own pistol and smirked. "I've got some shopping to do."
Leon nodded and watched Chris disappear down one of the aisles. He tightened his hold on the gun, keeping the barrel pointed down and the safety off. It wasn't worth taking any chances. He didn't want to risk getting attacked again.
Painkillers. Gauze. Bandage. Antibiotics.
Chris repeated the key items in his head over and over as he searched. It was no easy task, considering everything was written in Chinese. The bandage and gauze was simple enough, because he could tell it just from how it looked. He managed to find a small tube of polysporin, which had the same label design as in America. Now he stood in front of an entire aisle of boxed drugs, all of which were not self-explanatory in the least, except the generic cough and cold medicines. If he gave Leon the wrong pills, it could make him sick, or worse. Shit, he forgot to ask if Leon was allergic to anything.
Chris grabbed a few of the boxes, trying to make out the symbols. They all started to look the same after a while. He mentally cursed himself for not bringing a pocket dictionary. He'd take something as simple as acetaminophen... It would be impossible to tell what OxyContin or morphine was, or anything from the penicillin family. Plus, all of those drugs could have some pretty bad side effects.
"Any luck?" Sherry asked as she walked down the aisle.
"Fuck no. I can't read this shit."
"What was it you wanted? Painkillers?"
"And antibiotics, yeah."
The blond agent laughed.
"You're looking in the wrong place. All of the good stuff is behind the counter."
Chris sighed. Of course it would be. Anything useful required a prescription. Sherry led the way and Chris followed her into the back. She grabbed to small bottles and handed them to him.
"I did my homework."
He assumed she meant she had studied Chinese, which he had neglected to do. Don't need it. Yeah, that was smart.
Once Chris had everything in order, with a bottle of water, he returned to Leon who was still waiting where he left him.
"Here. Take these." Chris dropped two of the pills into Leon's open palm and handed him the water. He watched the agent's Adams apple bob as he swallowed them with a mouthful of the water.
"Here comes the fun part."
Leon gasped in surprise as Chris took a hold of his pant leg and tore, the fabric easily ripping and coming apart. He took hold of either side of Leon's knee and pushed. Leon let out a hiss of profanities and let himself fall back, laying on the counter. His fists were clenched and his eyes tightly shut.
"Sorry, I just have to make sure it isn't broken in two places. I don't think it is, at least."
Chris grabbed one roll of bandage and wrapped it tightly around Leon's knee, watching the agents pained reaction. He made sure to keep it firm but still allow a bit of movement.
"This will have to do until we can get you to a hospital, and soon hopefully."
Leon let out a breath and tried to sit up, but Chris put a hand on his chest and pushed him back down.
"Let me see your arm."
Leon groaned and turned his arm up. Chris tried to peel back the torn bloody fabric of the bandage from the wound and Leon flinched.
"Sorry. Here. I was saving this, but nows a good time as any." Leon's eyes flicked to Chris' hand as he produced a flask. Leon motioned for Chris to give it to him and took it in his free hand, quickly uncapping it and downing several swigs.
"Easy, that's straight vodka. Last thing I need is you wasted. Or worse, hungover."
Leon chuckled and Chris smiled softly to himself as he drew his knife. He pulled on the fabric of Leon's sleeve and ran his knife under it, cutting along the length of the sleeve to expose more of the bandage. Chris slowly unrolled the old bandage, which proved increasingly difficult as the dried blood had stuck it to the wound that had been attempting to heal. If Chris pulled it off, it would reopen and Leon would lose even more blood.
"Just do it." Leon gritted his teeth and turned his head away. He'd already endured a fair amount of pain. Why not a bit more?
Chris pulled the bandage free and quickly snatched the flask from Leon. He knew the agent would never agree to sterilization of the wound, which was mostly pointless now except perhaps to stop a possible amputation of his arm. He took a quick swig and poured the remains of the alcohol over the wound. Leon let out a cry as the liquid burned and stung the wound. He threw his good arm over his eyes, hating that Chris had to constantly see him like this.
Chris made his best attempt to wipe the dried blood off the wound, which only irritated it and made it bleed more. He put a fair amount of polysporin on the gauze and held it tight before re-wrapping it. By the time he was finished, Leon was panting, his lips slightly parted and bruised from the constant biting.
Chris leaned down, taking a hold of Leon's good arm and slowly moving it. Emerald green eyes fluttered open, meeting Chris' own chocolate ones. Even with rivers of dried blood and patches of dirt on his face, Leon was still drop dead gorgeous.
Leon searched Chris' eyes. He'd never noticed the chocolate color was accented by a ring of honey colored hazel. Chris held his gaze, both men unmoving for what felt like forever. What was this forbidden allure surrounding them? It felt like the room had gotten ten degrees hotter. Leon swallowed and ran his tongue over his lips. Fuck, he was thirsty. But for what, he wasn't sure.
Chris watched as those gorgeous green depths widened slightly as he leaned in. The movement felt natural, and he didn't question his own intentions. Their lips were mere inches from touching, so close that their breath mingled together.
"Chris?" Sherry's voice echoed nearby, and Chris pulled back instantly. Leon let out a sigh and let his head fall back just as Sherry walked into view. His mind reeled with a mix of emotions, the dominant one being irk. Sherry had cock-blocked him not once, but twice now, the first time being in Raccoon City. He growled under his breath as he harbored a temporary anger towards the blond girl. How dare she.
"Yeah?" Chris ran a hand through his messy brown hair.
"Will you two be okay? I have to get Jake to HQ ASAP so we can start working on a cure for the C-Virus."
"Yeah, I think we'll be good."
Sherry nodded and offered her hand. Chris took it and they shook once.
"It was a pleasure getting to meet you, Captain Redfield."
"Likewise, Agent Birkin. Keep Jake out of trouble. If he gets any world domination plans, give me a call."
Sherry chuckled and turned, heading to the front of the store. Chris turned back to a very smug looking Leon.
"See? He grows on you."
"Shut up," Chris hit Leon on the shoulder lightly. "Think you're good to go?"
Leon pushed himself off of the counter and stood, albeit a bit shaky.
"I think so. The painkillers are working, for now at least."
Chris grabbed his rifle from the counter and slung it over his shoulder before handing Leon his Wing Shooters.
"We'll have to use our ammo sparingly. I've only got two clips left, and I think you just have one."
They drank as much water as they could and made their way out of the store. Leon pulled out his pda and called Hunnigan.
"Leon. It's good to hear your voice."
"Same to you. I need to know where the nearest survivor camp is located."
"Sure, one moment… alright, it's located about ten kilometres north of you. Set up by the Chinese government as both a relief camp and to stop infected from escaping the city."
"Thanks," Leon hung up. "It's a bit of a walk. We should try to hitch a ride."
"Have you seen the roads? There's no way a car is going to get very far."
Leon's eyes rested on a sleek sports bike.
"Not a car."
Chris followed Leon as he approached the bike and swung his leg over. He flipped back the kickstand and pushed his foot down on the kick-starter, the bike roaring to life. He shared a look with Chris before the brunet got on behind him.
"Ready partner?" Leon asked as he revved it, not waiting for an answer before pulling onto the street. He kept the bike at a fair speed, fast but not so fast that he couldn't swerve between the abandoned vehicles.
"How many more times do you think this is going to happen?"
The question surprised Chris, and even more so since the tone of Leon's voice had taken on a saddened one.
"None, I hope. But that's unrealistic."
Leon let out a soft sigh.
"I'm tired of watching my friends die."
Chris was unsure what to say to that. He had no consoling words, and nothing he could say would improve their situation. They rode without talking for some time, the only sounds coming from the hum of the engine and the occasional zombie straggler.
The odometer indicated they were more than halfway. Leon gritted his teeth and raised his left hand to his head, slowing the bike to the stop. His vision blurred between his spread fingers and his mouth began salivating, in the same way that it would before one throws up.
Leon got off the bike and leaned over, panting hard. What the hell? Was he going to change again? A strong hand on his shoulder reminded him of Chris' presence, a firm tugging trying to make him turn to face the brunet.
"Don't-" Leon stepped away, keeping his back to Chris. He didn't want to be seen like this. He ground his teeth together and shook his head, trying to regain his composure.
"Let me help you-" Chris tried, reaching for Leon's arm. Leon spun and snarled at Chris.
"How can you help this? Look at me!" Chris stepped back on instinct. Leon's eyes had lost their bright color and the skin around them was covered in small, purple veins. The tone of his voice had taken on a rawer, more desperate hiss.
"It's getting worse. I can feel it inside me." Leon enunciated the words like he was talking about a living thing, which scared Chris. He was mentally aware of his state, of the virus, which was something Chris had never seen of before. The J'avo that injected themselves with the virus turned into mindless killing machines, not much unlike the zombies, but they were able to use more sophisticated weapons and control their bodies to an extent.
Chris kept his distance, his hand curling around the hilt of his sheathed knife. Leon's eyes flicked, following the movement. A sad smile spread across his lips. Chris instantly regretted the action and pulled his hand away. He had no reason to not trust Leon. The agent's lips parted to speak, and Chris' eyes widened. He hadn't seen the figure approach behind Leon, the area behind him almost completely consumed in darkness. Chris drew his weapon and aimed, taking Leon by surprise and making him step back, his own eyes wide with fear.
A strong arm wrapped around his throat before he could react, pulling him against his assailants chest. He struggled to free himself only to feel the cold metal of a pistol barrel pressing against his temple. He froze, unable to do anything. Leon's eyes remained on Chris, his heart racing. The brunet didn't move, keeping his gun shock still aimed at the man holding Leon. There was no mistaking who it was, and what was worse was that he had a bone to pick with Leon.
"Let him go." Chris demanded, taking a step closer. Simmons flicked the safety off the pistol and pressed it harder into Leon's temple. Chris didn't dare move again.
"Are you really in a position to be making demands right now? Leon's life rests in my hands, and I'm not feeling very generous." Simmons pulled his arm tighter around Leon's neck to enunciate his words. Leon gasped and grabbed at Simmons' arm uselessly, trying to relieve the pressure on his airway.
"Oh, what's this?" Simmons grabbed the bandage on Leon's arm and tore it free, the bandage hanging loosely around his arm and exposing the bite wound. Simmons smirked and pushed his thumb into it, making Leon scream in agony and let out a chuckle.
"Oh, how I love to hear your cries of pain. You're infected, too. Just like me. What a fitting fate for you."
"What do you want?" Chris asked, his teeth grit. Leon was writhing in Simmons' hold and there was nothing he could do to help.
"I'm a simple man. I don't want much. Just to watch Leon die by my hands."
"That's not going to happen."
"Oh, is that so?" Simmons chuckled to himself. "Because I've got all the good cards in my hand."
Simmons assaulted the wound more, fresh rivers of crimson running down Leon's arm and dripping onto the pavement. Leon's cries had become softer and he slumped in Simmons' arms, exhausted and weak. It was obvious he was only standing because Simmons was supporting his weight. His eyes were focused on the pavement, staring at the splotches of crimson.
"Much better." Simmons released Leon's arm and it fell to his side. He didn't even have the strength to make a weak attempt at freeing himself, although the fingers of his other hand were still curled in the white fabric of Simmons' white dress coat.
"Leon?" Chris tried, hoping to catch the agent's attention. Leon didn't even raise his head. He wasn't even blinking. Holy shit. Had he changed?
"Please don't hurt him." Chris tried a pleading approach. If he bought enough time perhaps he could figure out a way to get out of this mess.
"Why shouldn't I? Leon has attempted to overthrow my position in the government and frame me as not only a fraud but as a terrorist."
Chris' eyes narrowed. He honestly had no idea who this guy really was, nor his story involving Leon. Their only real advantage was that Leon could be unpredictable. He just hoped Leon wouldn't attack him…
Leon tilted his head up, his eyes flicking to meet Chris'. He held Chris' gaze for a long moment, unmoving, before running his tongue over his top row of teeth slowly. Holy shit. He was going to bite Simmons, whose grip had loosened considerably given Leon's weakened state.
In a split second Leon used his free hand to smash the gun away from his temple and spun, jumping onto Simmons and taking him to the ground. Before the man could even react Leon sunk his teeth into the tender flesh of his neck. Simmons screamed in pain and threw Leon off of him with a surprising amount of strength. The agent rolled across the ground and pushed himself up on his hands.
"How dare you!" Simmons' voice trembled, taking on a higher pitched tone as his skin shifted. He snarled as his form changed, growing and falling onto all fours. The creature resembled a large feral cat, with some sort of weaponized gun on its back, which was aimed right at Chris and beginning to rev.
Leon pushed himself to his feet, noticing that Simmons was focused on Chris and poised to attack.
"No!" Leon ran, racing towards Chris as fast as he could. He caught Chris' attention just before he ran in front of him, the sound of flesh being pierced sounding around them. Leon hit the ground hard, falling to his stomach and letting out broken gasps of pain.
"Leon! You chivalrous idiot!" Chris dropped to his knees, his fingers hovering over the long spikes protruding from the agents back. Chris was wearing a Kevlar vest that would have protected him from any serious or lethal damage, unlike Leon who not had three inches of bone piercing deep into his back. Chris pulled them out one by one, wincing as Leon flinched and let out small cries of pain. He rolled Leon over, supporting him on his lap. Leon smirked up at him weakly, his lips stained with crimson.
"It's your turn to be the hero now."
Leon's selfless heroics had struck a chord in Chris' heart. He smiled down at the agent and brushed a stray strand of hair from his eyes.
"I'll do my best."
Chris had no idea how he would deal with the mutated monster. With only two clips of ammunition left, he was far from dealing any real damage to the creature. He had no idea what its weaknesses were, nor how it would attack. He'd have to hope for a miracle. He gently lay Leon on the ground and stood, aiming at the mutated creature and firing. He ran away from Leon, catching its attention and keeping it away from the injured agent.
Simmons let out a loud roar, running at Chris. He swapped out his magazine, aiming at the exposed flesh of Simmons' face. Simmons lunged at Chris, who barely managed to roll away from a lethal swipe of claws. Cover fire drew the beast's attention from Chris, who noticed Leon shooting at the monster with his pistol. The agent was once again in Simmons' sights, and he ignored Chris, running at Leon.
"Run!" Chris cried out desperately as he watched the creature run at Leon with concerning speed. He pulled the trigger of his gun over and over, the sound of an empty clip clicking as it was out of ammo.
Simmons pounced, landing over Leon with one set of claws pinning the agent to the ground. Leon raised his pistol only to have it slapped from his hand and slide across the pavement several feet away.
"Ready to die, Leon?" Simmons snarled down at him in that twisted voice, raising one set of claws into the air, prepared to strike. Leon's eyes widened as he realized this was his undoing. He struggled uselessly, his torso pinned between the razor sharp appendages. He grabbed at them, trying to muster enough strength to move them, but the creature was just too heavy. Simmons was taking his time, enjoying the horrified look in Leon's eyes, savoring the moment.
The sound of a large machine gun revving echoed around them before hundreds of bullets were sprayed into Simmons' side. He reeled back and snarled, snapping his head to look up at the helicopter hovering nearby. The spotlight was too bright to make out the figure inside, keeping them silhouetted in darkness. With a final snarl, Simmons released Leon, turning and fleeing from the helicopter out of sight.
Chris shielded his eyes from the light with his forearm. The helicopter blades whirred, chopping at the air and whipping his short hair. It gave off a high pitched whine as it landed and the blades began to slow to a stop. Chris took the opportunity to run to Leon, finally able to properly assess him.
"You alright?" Chris asked softly, offering his hand to the younger man. Leon took it and groaned in pain as he was helped into a sitting position.
"Still in one piece, I think," Leon met Chris' gaze to see the man smiling down at him. "What is it?"
"I'm just really glad you're okay." Chris sighed and gazed deeply into those gorgeous green orbs, shining brightly and slightly dilated from the light of the helicopter. He looked into Leon's eyes, inc ase it was the last time he would see them like this.
"No matter what happens, I won't give up on you. Ever."
Leon pressed his lips together, his heart swelling slightly at the words. He had to look away, unable to hold Chris' intense gaze any longer. His eyes caught a figure moving behind Chris, long, slender legs and a firm chest coming into view.
Leon quickly stood as the raven haired woman stopped a few feet away, a smirk on her face.
Chris shot to his feet, barely refraining from drawing his knife and attacking the woman. He'd agreed to Leon that he wouldn't hurt her, but that didn't mean he couldn't try. Ada's eyes flicked to him, the look on her face both amused and uninterested, before looking back to the agent. Chris couldn't deny the way Leon looked at her, the way a hero does when he gets the girl. Chris' blood boiled at the sight.
So that's why he said I can't hurt her. She's his love interest.
How stupid could he be? To ever think he could get with someone like Leon. A real, living Adonis. And with good reason, too. Ada was probably the most stunning woman he'd ever set his eyes on, and although she wasn't his type, he couldn't disagree she was undeniably gorgeous, even if in a bad-girl sort of way. He noticed the way Leon's eyes burned as he looked at the woman. They obviously had a past together, which Chris hadn't the slightest clue about.
Look at them. They're both perfect. Their offspring would probably be beautiful, smart, perfect children.
Chris backed off a bit, pretending to be interested in a nearby corpse while he listened to their conversation. He tilted his head back, staring up at the sky as the first few drops of rain began to fall.
"It's good to see you. Looks like I arrived just on time."
"Yeah. You saved my life. Thanks."
Chris grit his teeth. Leon's voice was silkier than it should be. Listening to them flirt made Chris sick to his stomach. He'd saved Leon how many times tonight? Three? Four? Five? He'd already lost count. Where was his thanks and adoring eyed look?
Yeah, and Leon also saved you, too, you pompous buffoon.
Shut the hell up.
Chris shook his head. He didn't have the time to have an internal fight right now.
"Can I ask a favor?"
"Sure." Ada drug out the word for far longer than necessary, each syllable accented with a playful tone.
"We need to get to a camp a few clicks to the north. Can we catch a ride with you?"
"Of course." Ada spun on her heel and made her way back into the helicopter, the blades slowly whirring to life.
Chris tried to pretend like he wasn't brooding as the agent approached.
"Ada's going to give us a ride."
"Great." Chris sounded overly enthusiastic. Leon gave him a look before getting in the front with Ada. Chris hoisted himself into the back, sitting with his gun across his lap and the barrel pointed out the door. As they ascended, the rain fell faster, pattering the windshield with hundreds of small drops. Chris looked out over the darkened city, only a few lights accenting the eerie darkness here and there.
Chris pretended not to notice Leon re-wrapping the bandage on his arm. Ada's head tilted in the faintest, silently questioning it.
"It's just a cut. Nothing to worry about."
Of course he wouldn't tell her. He doesn't want her to worry.
Chris sighed inwardly. Leon's selflessness had no boundaries, and it was the reason why he'd been put in danger so many times tonight. His eyes followed the scenery as they flew towards their destination, an uneasy silence filling the helicopter. It seemed he wasn't the only one that had something he didn't want to talk about. It wasn't long before they were descending a couple hundred feet outside of the small, sterile camp filled with white tents and armed soldiers.
Everyone got out, Chris wasting no time as he headed towards a small hill above the camp.
"Well, this is my stop…" Leon's voice faded behind him. Chris didn't really care to witness the goodbye party, opting to get a lookout from atop the hill. Even being a short distance from the camp he could still hear the sounds of the people within it. It was filled with armed soldiers and medics, adorned in white, rushing in and out of the tents. The increasing rain bothered no one, every soul having a job to do.
There was no point in waiting any longer. Chris proceeded back down the hill, making his way to the helicopter.
"Hey Leon-" Chris stopped dead in his tracks, his lips parting and eyes widening. The agent was sharing a rather intimate kiss with Ada. Leon's hand went to cup her cheek and he pulled her firmly against his body. Chris lowered his gaze much too late, his stomach churning as all of his suspicions were confirmed. There was definitely something between the two that was either a relationship or friends with benefits. Whatever it was, he was sure now he wanted no part of it.
"Let's go." Chris said firmly once they were finished. He held nothing against Leon personally, but after witnessing the kiss he wanted to make sure the man was safe so he could leave and probably never see him again. His words caught both of their attention, and they shared a brisk nod before Leon joined him and they began walking towards the camp. Chris remained silent, allowing himself to brood over the younger man for the meantime.
They walked into the camp side by side, and it was only a matter of moments before they were surrounded by armed soldiers shouting in Chinese, their flashlights blinding the men. Chris raised his hands, explaining who he was and what he was here for as calmly as he could. He couldn't help but notice Leon flinching and shielding his eyes with his forearm, the lights and loud voices overwhelming him somehow.
Their weapons were taken from them and Chris was beginning to lose hope that anyone here understood English. An older man with slicked back black and greying hair approached. He was adorned in a well-made suit and was surrounded by an air of authority.
"Americans?" He asked with a thick accent. Chris sighed in relief.
"Yes. We work for the government. We were sent here to try and stop the spread of the C-Virus."
"Hmmm. I see."
One of the armed men suddenly shouted something in Chinese, which had everyone else flicking the safety off their weapons.
"What the Hell's going on?!" Chris shouted in both anger and confusion.
"You brought one of them into our camp."
"What-" Chris went shock still as he turned slightly and looked down at Leon, who had his hands covering his face. A low snarl was falling from his lips, the noise purely feral. One of the guards stepped forward and Chris instantly put himself between them.
"No! Don't shoot! He's human!"
The leader said something in Chinese and the men advanced on them. Chris tried to fight them off as best as he could, but he was pulled away from Leon who too was swarmed by the armed men. Leon's eyes were wild as he tried to free himself, but made no attempt to bite any of his captors.
"Please!" Chris pleaded uselessly as they were pulled further apart. One of the guards hit Leon over the head with his pistol in an attempt to subdue him, but only made Leon fight harder, saliva falling from his lips as he snarled. Something snapped inside Chris and he broke free, running towards Leon with his hand extended. Leon reached out for him and a loud bang rung out, shattering the silence.
"Chris?" Leon's eyes widened and he looked down, delicately touching the bullet wound in his stomach, his fingers stained with crimson. He looked back up at Chris before collapsing to his knees.
Chris let out a groan as he was tackled and pushed down into the mud, three of the men holding his arms pinned behind his back and stopping him from struggling. He watched uselessly as Leon was forced onto a gurney and taken out of sight.
"Let me go!" Leon snarled as his wrists and ankles were tied to the gurney, his struggles only causing his skin to chafe where he was bound. His stomach burned from the bullet wound and he squinted as bright lights came into view above him as he was wheeled into one of the sterile tents. Several "doctors" came in and out of view, all speaking in rushed Chinese.
Leon gasped, his eyes snapping to his wounded forearm where an intravenous was being pushed into a vein at his elbow. After a moment a red liquid was running down the tube into a medical bag. They were taking his blood. He struggled again despite the pain, trying to dislodge it, but one of the men held it in place. Another prepared a syringe, pushing on the plunger slightly to expel any air and pushed it into a vein on the opposite arm.
"What the fuck is that? Stop!" Leon panicked, his eyes wide with fear. He'd been injected with the Las Plagas, and ever since was not eager to have anything foreign introduced into his body. After only moments he was feeling the effects of the serum, struggling to keep conscious. He lost the battle, his eyes falling shut as he went under.
Chris was forced to his feet and pushed in the opposite direction Leon had been taken. He was completely drenched and covered in dirt and mud, which only added to his already miserable mood.
"What are you doing to him?!" He demanded as the authoritative man approached him.
"We are just running some tests. No need to worry for your friend. We haven't had the opportunity to test on a live subject yet."
"He's not an animal, he's a human being!" Chris shouted in anger.
"Do you really believe that?"
Chris was taken aback by the retort. He pursed his lips and focused on the rain that spattered the ground. Even if Leon was infected, he was still human by definition, and his friend.
"Yes. I do." Chris raised his head, holding a level stare with the man. After a moment he signaled to the men holding him and they unlocked his hand cuffs and released him. Chris rubbed his wrists.
"Do not attempt anything stupid or you will regret it." The man said and turned, walking away.
Chris waited out his time sitting in the grass nearby. The near silence was broken by a loud roar and Chris was on his feet in an instant. Suddenly everyone was in a panic, and every armed man was running towards the source of the sound. Gunfire sounded, along with multiple snarls and screams. With the lack of guards Chris took his chance, running towards the tent Leon had been taken into. He slipped inside, eyes scanning the room quickly before falling on Leon. The agent was motionless; his head was tilted to the side, lips parted slightly and eyes shut. There were several cords attached to his neck and chest, and an intravenous in his arm. His chest didn't rise and fall and Chris' eyes finally fell on the heart monitor, a single flat line running across the screen.
Chris slowly approached, his lips trembling in growing anger. He ran his fingers down the agent's cheek. He had failed him. His gaze hardened as his hand fell to his side, fists clenched. He was going to kill every single one of them. The zombies. The humans that did this. They would all suffer.
Chris ran out, the area now littered with corpses. He grabbed a machine gun off of one, checking the ammo before cocking it. Several infected came into view and Chris let out a scream, spraying an unnecessary amount of ammunition into them. More and more were coming from every side and Chris dispatched them one by one, falling into the mud and littering the area with carcasses. He was angry and all of them, but more than anyone, he was angry at himself. He let Leon down. He'd promised to protect him. And he was responsible for his death.
The gun ran out of ammo and Chris smashed an infected over the head with it before drawing the hidden knife from his boot. He spun and slashed at another, slitting its throat and causing an explosion of blood to spurt out. Their numbers were thinning, but Chris' adrenaline did not fade. He didn't stop for a moment until not a single thing was moving, and only then did he fall to his knees in the mud and scream. He screamed until his voice was hoarse and his throat was raw, and then there were only silent tears. He was so disgusted with himself. Some of his final moments were spent being resentful towards Leon and wishing he were away from him. And now Leon was dead. Chris' relished the sharp pain in his heart. He deserved to feel like this. He dug his fingers into the mud, watching how they were enveloped by the thick substance. He wasn't going to be happy for the rest of his days. He thought back to how he had tried to lessen Leon's guilt at the loss of their comrade.
"It isn't a fraction your fault. Stop feeling like it is."
"You don't know how I feel."
Chris smiled sadly. So this was what Leon was talking about. The overwhelming feeling of guilt, the responsibility and remorse. It was all-consuming. Sure, he'd felt it before at the loss of an ally. His team. His partner Piers. But it wasn't anything like this. He could stay in the mud forever and wait for a zombie to find him, tear him to bits. Chris still had a job to do: eradicate the viruses off the face of the planet. Even with the sorrow of Leon's death looming over him, he would still see his ultimate goal through. He stood slowly, eyes slowly running over the carnage around him.
Leon opened his eyes. Everything was deathly quiet. He turned his head, eyes searching the tent for any of the white coated men that had been testing on him. He was the only one inside. He clenched his fists, gritting his teeth as he worked at the restraints. They were tight, but not tight enough to stop him from freeing his hands with a bit of work. The leather bit into his skin and chafed it, making more it red and bruised in the places that weren't already cut open.
Leon gritted his teeth and managed to pull his right hand free, then freed his left hand and ankles. He dropped off the gurney, stumbling slightly but managing to catch himself. He pushed through the flap in the tent, his eyes falling on dozens of infected corpses in the mud before he saw Chris. The brunet's back was to him and he swallowed, hoping he had enough energy left to speak.
Chris' eyes widened. It couldn't be. He turned on his heel slowly, swallowing his anxiety. His eyes fell on Leon, who looked as if he hadn't been dead only ten minutes earlier. Leon smirked at Chris, who walked towards him quickly and smashed their lips together. Leon let out a surprised moan against Chris' mouth, being pushed back from the force and stumbling. They collapsed in the mud, lips still connected. Chris deepened the kiss, pushing his tongue into Leon's mouth hungrily. The agent tasted like something sweet and a metallic hint of blood. Leon broke the kiss, gasping for air, and was pulled into a tight embrace. Chris' fingers threaded into the back of his hair, his breath hot against Leon's ear.
"Sorry. I know you're with Ada, but I'm so God damn happy you're alive."
"With Ada? What are you talking about?" Chris stood and offered his hand, which Leon took. The brunet easily pulled him to his feet, the two men only a few inches apart.
"I saw you kiss her."
"Oh... I think you should let me explain," Leon looked at the ground as they began walking. "I met Ada on my first day on the force, back in Raccoon City. So much shit went down, and I didn't understand it at the time. Sure, I graduated at the top of my class, but it didn't mean I was prepared for the zombie apocalypse. I got separated from your sister and was in pursuit of Anette Birkin, Sherry's estranged mother. She and Sherry's father, William, were scientists that had been working on creating a new virus known as G. It was extremely unpredictable and never produced the same results in twice, making it far more deadly than the T virus. Anette was about to shoot Ada and I took the bullet for her, only a few inches above the heart. Although we weren't on the same side, Ada went out of her way to bandage me up so I wouldn't bleed out. 'Don't die, Leon. I owe you.'
"Half-dead and alone, somehow I managed to keep going. It wasn't long until I ran into my first tyrant. Low on ammo and wounded, I stood no chance. Ada saved me again, in return for her life. I held her while she died, and she told me she loved me. I kissed her."
Leon chewed on his lip. He hadn't told anyone the entire truth of what really happened in Raccoon City. How he had earned the esteemed title of being one of the only survivors.
"I thought she was dead. It wasn't until I was sent to Spain to rescue President Graham's daughter that I saw her again. Turns out she was the reason behind my success there, too. Then again in Eastern Slav."
Leon sighed and looked up at the sky, which was beginning to take on lighter shades color with the approaching dawn.
"It was then she asked me when we were going to continue with our affair. It seems no matter where I go, I always run into her. I'd be lying if I said part of me didn't care for her, perhaps more than I should. It was foolish of me to think we could ever be something more. I know we will never be on the same side. What we have is debts to repay to each other, and nothing more. That kiss was returning the favor."
"That's incredibly noble of you to say, Leon." Chris' resent and jealousy had faded while he listened to the agent speak so fondly of Ada. He could tell Leon was dead serious and he knew now what they had was nothing more than a coalition of sorts.
As they walked farther away from the infection, they came across more and more people living outside of the contamination zone. They spotted a small motel and made their way inside, ignoring the suspicious looks the desk agent gave them, and Chris paid for a room.
"Rest now, hospital later." Leon said exhausted as he unlocked the door with the key card and pushed his way inside. Their eyes fell on the single queen sized bed, and Chris shut the door behind them.
"Sex now, rest after, hospital later."
"What?" Leon was pushed against the wall, pinned by Chris who pressed their lips together hungrily. Leon relented, moaning into the brunet's mouth.
"You're lucky I'm so exhausted, otherwise I'd put up a fight." Leon's eyes fluttered as Chris bit his neck, just hard enough to send a bolt of pleasure down his spine before capturing his mouth again. Their tongues fought for dominance, sliding over each other and tasting every inch of one another's mouths. Chris put his hands under Leon's thighs, lifting the agent and forcing him to wrap his legs around Chris' waist, their mouths still connected. Leon finally broke the kiss, panting hard and watching Chris with burning emerald eyes.
"Chris… I've never…"
"I know. Me either."
Leon smiled and Chris spun them, dropping Leon on the bed and covering the agent's body with his own. They were wet, dirty, and bloody but neither really cared. Chris made quick work of Leon's dress shirt, unbuttoning it with deft hands and running his fingers down the toned muscle. Leon let out a small hiss as the bullet wound was grazed and Chris exhaled a hurried apology. The brunet leaned down, capturing Leon's lips yet again, the agent's hands undoing the buckles of Chris' vest before tossing it aside. His hands ran over rippling muscles much larger than his own. Chris smirked into the kiss, eager to touch every inch of the man below him.
Chris lowered himself down Leon's body, making his way to the agent's pants and quickly pulling his belt free. Leon bit his lip, watching eagerly as Chris unzipped his pants and reached inside, causing him to let out a moan as warm fingers curled around his length. Leon let his head fall back, his eyes half-lidded as Chris worked him with his hand.
"Fuck…" Leon hissed in pleasure, his voice thick with desire. He couldn't remember the last time he'd had sex, or even gotten off for that matter. His mind was cloudy due to blood loss and lust, the two afflictions creating an intense mixture of sensation.
Chris could feel his own need increasing as Leon met his gaze, those gorgeous emerald eyes burning with desire. Desire for him. Chris smiled to himself as he pulled his shirt over his head and tossed it aside, the discarded fabric landing on the growing pile of clothing. He shifted his knee, pressing it up between Leon's thighs and spreading them. The agent let out a breathy moan, his fingers curling in the sheets in anticipation.
Chris couldn't wait any longer. He unzipped his own pants, producing his hard length and pulling Leon closer to his waist. He pushed his cock against Leon's ass, slowly increasing the pressure until it pushed inside with one long thrust. Leon cried out, his back arching off the bed as he was filled with Chris' length.
Leon panted hard, his teeth grit tight. He fought through the pain as Chris began thrusting, creating an odd sensation inside of him. His fingers dug hard into the skin of Chris' wrists, the brunet's hands keeping a firm hold on his hips as he was fucked.
"Chris..." Leon panted the older man's name, and Chris pulled Leon into his lap, thrusting up into him. The new position allowed the brunets cock to drive deeper into him before, and Leon blushed at the intimacy of their position.
It only took a few thrusts before Chris found the spot inside Leon that had him letting out delicious moans in pleasure. He made sure to hit that spot with every thrust, their sweaty bodies rubbing up and down each other from the motions. Leon pressed his face into the crook of Chris' neck, his hot breath caressing the taut muscle and skin.
Leon let out a gasp as Chris reached down, taking hold of his cock and stroking it in time with the brunet's thrusts.
"S-shit…" Leon cursed as he felt a delicious pressure build in his core. He was getting close far too fast. But Chris was controlling the pace and there wasn't anything he could do to change it.
Chris bit into the delicate flesh on Leon's neck, eliciting another throaty moan from the agent. He ran his tongue over the tender skin and it was only moments before Leon was shuddering in his grasp and cumming over his hand. The sight of the agent alone was nearly enough to get Chris off and it wasn't long before he was cumming inside Leon.
Chris fell back, pulling Leon into his arms. The two lay panting, trying to recover from their orgasms.
"Should get you fixed up."
Leon shook his head, his bangs falling over his eyes.
"Nah. I'll be fine. Too tired."
Chris chewed on his lip, debating on whether or not he should ask the question that was sitting in the front of his mind.
"Leon… you aren't going to change again, right?"
Leon pushed himself up on one forearm so he could properly meet Chris' gaze.
"No. At least, I don't think so. I don't really feel like death anymore. Whatever those Chinese scientists did to me must've worked."
Chris let out a sigh of relief.
"Good. One less thing to worry about."
Leon smiled and lay back down, closing his eyes. He would have one hell of a report to write once he got back to the U.S., but he decided not to worry and get some well-earned sleep. It didn't take long for sleep to overtake him, nor much longer for Chris to join him.