"Keep passing the open windows."
― John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire
Chris saw Jake long before the other man was aware of his presence. What the hell was Wesker's brat doing here? Chris' hand hovered over the phone to call someone, anyone, he needed answers and had none – only questions.
He let his hand fall to his desk, trying to ignore Piers' voice in his head, telling him that Weskers blood would always be bad news. Chris recalled that he had told Piers to relax and that Jake had a right to be mad at him, cause Wesker might have been a crazy megalomaniac but he was still Jake's dad. He felt like it was the right thing to offer some explanation, maybe to let things rest? Sherry seemed to trust him.
Chris pushed off his chair and desk and went in the same direction as he had seen Jake disappear.
He quickly found Jake, he stuck out like a sore thumb here between all the BSAA soldiers, if nothing else then because of his body language alone. He might come off has stoic and serious but Chris could see Jake's skin crawl, and the skittish way he twitched his hands behind his back. Jack stood and listened to a soldier that Chris only knew by name, nodding once in a while.
"Hey kid." Chris said as he came to stand close to the two.
"Redfield." Jake answered, his eyes going stone-cold and hard as they zeroed in on Chris' face.
"What are you doing here?" Chris blurted out, not that it was what he originally had wanted to say, but he was just a soldier, not a fucking diplomat.
"None of your goddamn business Redfield." Jake said calmly.
"He was invited to –"
"I don't care." Chris bit the other soldier off without taking his eyes off Jake, "so are you here for long?"
"Depends." Jake shrugged.
"Feel like picking up on our talk? Minus the gun to my face." Chris said as he took a step closer to Jake.
Jake didn't shy back which he was sure must annoy Redfield to no end, he was used to being the big bad intimidating soldier, but Jake wasn't scared of him. "Maybe." He said with a bored expression, "do you have anything new to add to the conversation?"
"Not really, no." Chris answered with an authoritarian tone.
"Then I don't see what there is to talk about." Jake said and dismissed Chris by turning his attention to the soldier in front of him again.
Chris wasn't much for being dismissed, and not by a whelp like that. "I tried." He said, "Good day Junior." He said with a little cruel smile and turned to walk away. Jake grabbed his shoulder and whirled him around before he had taken two steps. "What the fuck did you just say?"
"Got your attention I see." Chris' cruel smile still on his lips "good."
"So?" Chris shrugged, ignoring the annoyed glare from the soldier who was initially talking to Jake.
Jake clenched his fist and then nodded stiffly, "alright."
Chris turned his back to Jake and started walking, aiming for his own desk. When he made it there he turned and saw Jake had followed him. "I promised you answers." He said in a tired tone as he sat down, he did not offer Jake a chair so Jake just leaned against his desk.
"I know what he was." Jake said.
"Good." Chris nodded and then stared up at Jake with a pretentious bored expression. "What do you want to know then?"
Jake seemed to think for a little while, and then sat down on the corner of Chris' desk, his steel grey eyes completely focused on Chris. "Was he always crazy?"
Chris studied Jake for a while, realizing that it was a genuine question. He relaxed a little and with a bitter smile shook his head. "I can't tell you if he was always crazy, maybe he was. But he didn't act crazy, not at all. He was a trusted friend and my superior once."
"S.T.A.R.S" Jake mumbled.
"Yes." Chris answered. "But I'm pretty sure that you could see a restricted form of his personnel files if you wanted to."
"I'm not interested in the notches in his bedpost." Jake mumbled.
Chris picked up a pen and twirled it between his fingers, studying Jake. He looked so much like Wesker that it was incredible that he had not seen it the first time they met. "I take it what you really want to know, is if there was a good man underneath all that, isn't it?"
Chris shrugged, "I don't think there was."
"Maybe he was so heavily modified that he wasn't even a man anymore." Jake said softly.
"Maybe." Chris said, still twirling the pen. "He was smart though, gotta give him that."
Jake nodded, "I know."
"For what it's worth, I trust Sherry. And she seems to think that you're nothing like your father – and after all she should know what that is like." Chris said casually.
"Was that a vote of confidence I heard there Redfield?" Jake said amused, leaning in over his legs to rest his hand on the desks surface.
"Not really." Chris answered drily. "You are a bad man who happened to do something right."
"Maybe." Jake shrugged, "Haven't tried to rule the world yet."
"And if you do, I will be there to stop you. You know that." Chris said calmly, glaring at Jake.
"So that is what you're afraid of, that I am like him." Jake shook his head amused.
Chris blinked bored, "Prove me wrong then."
Jake just sighed. "You seem to trust Sherry just fine." He crossed his arms over his chest as were he driving home a point, "how is she different? Her dad was just as –"
"That is just different!" Chris interrupted holding up the pen, pointing it accusing at Jake.
"I don't see how."
"It just is."
"Alright." Jake grumbled and looked away from Chris.
"Look, I don't know you – but you did alright kid, I hope you know that." Chris said softly, realizing that he was too hard on Jake for no reason other than his own hate of Wesker and therefore distrust of Jake's genes. But he was right wasn't he? A person was more than genes, and really Birkin had been just as insane as Wesker.
Jake nodded, distrust was something he understood – no one likes unknowns. "Thanks," he just mumbled. "And I'm sorry to hear that your friend didn't make it out alive." He turned his head and looked at Chris.
"Thanks," Chris said mirroring Jake.
Jake jumped off the desk and stood rolling his shoulders, straightening out his back. "One last question Redfield," he leaned in over the desk in a way that could be either intimidating or intimate. "Are you sure he is really dead?"
"Unless he can survive lava. Then yes." Chris said calmly, putting down the pen between Jakes hands on the desk. "I am confident that he is gone, otherwise I think we would have heard from him now – you would have heard from him, I'm pretty sure now that Umbrella, Neo Umbrella, whatever knows that you exist he would have come for you."
"He would have come for my genes you mean."
Jake sighed again. "I take it he really didn't know about me then."
Chris shook his head, looking Jake straight into his eyes, "I'm sure he didn't." Chris sighed and picked up his pen again, "From what I have read in the file, your mother was his assistant back in his lab days, and she just picked up and left, no explanation, no excuse. And no one wondered why."
Chris got up from his chair, and Jake pushed off the desk so they were eye to eye. "Just keep doing the right thing, and we won't have a problem." He smiled slightly condescending "but for now we're fine."
Jake just stared at Chris. "You're an asshole, you know that – right?"
Jake pocketed his hands and turned around to walk back to where Chris had interrupted him. He turned around a couple of desks down and smiled a fake smile at Chris, "Lose the hostility Redfield, it will only get you killed."
"What do you mean by that?" Chris said, his distrust and paranoia flared inside.
Jake laughed softly, "Just a fact of life, man." He waved a half-assed wave at Chris and continued out through the room until he turned around the corner.
Chris sat down in his chair with a heavy sigh. After a couple of minutes he found his phone and texted Claire, *TELL SHERRY I TALKED WITH WESKER JR.