( Disclaimer: Resident Evil is not mine, never will be, yadda yadda yadda, you know the drill. )
A 14-year-old Alfred Ashford strode hurriedly down the halls of Ashford Manor, carrying a glass of water for his precious sister.
He knew the hour was nearing, and dear Alexia had requested a drink. Being the faithful little worker ant he was, so to speak, he'd been all too happy to comply.
Alexia was pregnant. With his child.
A thought that made him unspeakably happy, but scared at the same time.
It was considered very inappropriate in most modern cultures for a girl of 14 to have a child. Even more inappropriate for the said 14 year old's child to be fathered by her own twin brother. Incest at it's worst.
Alfred didn't care. He'd enjoyed their naughty nights together. And hadn't Alexia herself said she'd wanted a child, that it was part of her plan?
As he made his way through the lavish corridor, Alfred found his thoughts drifting back to the past.
Yes, we can have a child together, Brother. It will all go to plan; I have it all worked out. We will have a child of pure blood to replace our useless father and help us regain the glory of the Ashford name!Alexia had spoken those fateful words nine months ago.
And so far, she had been doing a wonderful job of hiding her condition: by insisting to wear covering dresses all the time during her last trimester, she had disguised her condition, and Alexander, their inadequate father, had been non-the-wiser.
Whatever Alexia wanted, she got.
Alfred on the other hand….well…that was a different story. It seemed that Alexia could do no wrong and Alfred could do no right. He was always taking the dive for things his sister had done. Not that he minded--he would do anything for his twin--but it did get kind of stressful at times taking the janitor's place as punishment for things that he hadn't even done.
Of course, a lot of the punishment he'd gotten had been well deserved--he'd literally gotten away with murder at the age of six. Nobody had caught him, luckily.
But this…this was much to important to take risks on.
If Father finds out that Alexia and I are parents, we're doomed! Alfred thought, turning a corner into another hall, He'll go into a fit of rage…I will be punished and may never see Alexia again. He mustn't know…no-one must know! But how are we going to keep this secret for long? Alexia and I will not be able to be with the child all the time…Alexia will know what to do. She always knows what to do…
" And just where are you going today, Alfred? "
He was snapped out of his thoughts by the voice of Rupert, one of the butlers of Ashford Manor. Sure enough, the older man was coming down the hall--straight at him.
And so close to the place Alexia had chosen as a nursery!
Alfred nearly spilled the water. Nobody was supposed to be in this section of the mansion! Alexander had forbade it due to repairs. Not that much needed repairing…
" Me? I'm just, ah…" Alfred faltered for words.
Rupert stopped in front of the young Ashford, waiting for him to finish.
" Nevermind! What are you doing here? "
Rupert frowned. " I, sir, work here. Your father ordered me to inspect the extent of the damage done to west-wing properties. But I did not hear him say you were allowed down here, young master. Tell me, where are you going with that water? "
Rupert cast Alfred a suspicious eye.
A feeling of dread welled up inside Alexia's twin, this wasn't supposed to happen! He couldn't tell Rupert he was taking the water to Alexia--Alexia was supposedly gone off to the university to take care of some business today, and they weren't supposed to be back here anyway. And he had absolutely zero time to plot Rupert's undoing; not with his sister in so critical of a condition.
She was counting on him to make sure she was not discovered…
" I'm just taking this water to one of my plants I forgot in the back room," Alfred blurted, knowing that his excuse was incredibly lame and a tad unbelievable, " I forgot it back there and it's so dry, I…erm, want to water it before taking it back to the east wing. It's a very special plant, you see."
Rupert glared at Alfred before rolling his eyes. " I really don't have the time to deal with you right now--we shall see what your father says when he gets home this evening. "
The butler passed by, never noticing how hatefully Alfred was glaring at him.
Insignificant fool! He could jeopardize this whole family…no…no, he wont. Alfred's lips twisted up into a murderous smile. Alexia and I will take care of him later, before Father gets home tonight.
The thought comforted Alfred; when he and Alexia wanted to kill someone, they generally got killed.
Now, time to visit his sister.
Wasting no more time, Alfred slipped through the rooms until he reached the very bedroom he'd had as a child. There was a secret passage above the bed. He pulled the hidden lever and the entire top half of the bed slid down, revealing a ladder. This he climbed to the top, then pressed a button which slid the bed-top back into place.
The room he was in now was a lavish playroom with ant décor everywhere. He strode over to a certain red-jeweled ant along the wall and pressed it in with his finger.
Another ladder lowered from a hidden compartment on the ceiling, and this, too, he climbed; with great care not to spill the water.
Now he was in an attic of sorts in a very secret room which was believed to have once belonged to Veronica herself. Not even Alexander knew the secret--this mansion was indeed very old and Alfred and Alexia had only stumbled upon it by mistake years ago.
The room wasn't much to look at--the paint had long ago chipped away and the floor and furniture were in serious need of a dusting from years of neglect--but it was hidden, and thus well suited for their purposes.
In the center of the room loomed a large, elegant bed with beautiful purple drapes drawn around it, hiding it's contents from view.
It was for this bed and the chair nearby it that Alfred headed.
" Alfred, do you have the water? " Alexia's voice demanded from within.
Though he could not see her, Alfred detected the pain in her voice and knew that her time had come.
Who knew, maybe it already had. After all, he'd just been sitting next to her bed now for hours making sure that nobody dared venture too close. During all of that time, Alexia had forbade him to see her. It had gotten so frightfully boring that he'd taken to reading comic books while he waited. That is, when Alexia wasn't having him wait on her.
" Right here, Alexia."
Alfred approached the side of the bed with the water. The drapes parted ever so slightly, and Alexia's delicate hand reached. Gently, Alfred set the glass in it.
Alexia's hand withdrew into the curtain, and Alfred could hear her taking a sip.
" Ah. That hit's the spot."
Seconds later, the curtains parted again, and Alexia threw the rest of the water straight onto Alfred, drenching part of his shirt before tossing the glass into him and withdrawing her arm.
" Gah! What made you do that, Sister? " Alfred complained, wiping at his shirt and picking the glass up.
Alexia giggled in response. " Mood swings, remember? "
Alfred frowned, knowing Alexia had done it just out of pure meanness. " Ah, yes. Just like the times you tossed me out of the window and hit me in the nose."
" Precisely." She sounded way too smug.
" Listen, we might be in trouble. Rupert caught me coming down the hall…"
" He didn't suspect, did he? " Alexia growled, " What did you tell him? "
Gulp. Alfred flinched, " Actually, I told him I was watering a plant…I know that's lame, but I couldn't think of anything else! We may need to dispose of him later on tonight."
" Perfect." Alexia grumbled unhappily, " You can always calculate on some inferior ponce to gum up the works. I will assess the matter directly after I am done here."
" How do you feel, dear sister? "
" I'm going into labor, how do you think I feel? "
" Anything I can do? " Alfred could only imagine the pain she must be going through.
" Yes, be quiet! "
Half an hour later, Alfred heard a small cry emit from beyond the drapes.
" Has it…is it…? " He was so excited he sprang out of his chair and knocked the empty water glass skidding across the floor.
" Yes. " Alexia's voice came from the other side of the curtains, " I have just given birth to our son." She sounded exhausted.
" May I see? " Alfred was unable to hold back his excitement.
" Sure. Just a moment."
There was some rustling of blankets being moved, and an instant later the curtains parted all the way and Alexia handed Alfred a small bundle wrapped in a little white blanket. " This is yours."
In the blanket, staring up in wonder at his father with baby blue eyes, was Alfred's son.
" He's so tiny! " Alfred chirped happily, and the baby laughed.
Alexia smiled. " Yes, Brother, most babies are. Look at him. Does he not resemble us at that age? "
Alfred nodded. " Yes. Then again, I suppose that stands to reason, what with us being twins and all. I'm a father! Or an uncle, or however you want to put it. Are you sure he wont end up with mental problems because of us being twins? "
Alexia's smile was short lived. " Of course not, I have taken precautions. Now, I do believe I have a shower to take before I take care of that meddlesome Rupert."
Dressed in a pink dress she'd readied for after the birth, Alexia got out of the bed and started for the door.
Alfred's smile evaporated, " But…doesn't he need a name? "
Alexia stopped. " Mmm. Let's see here, we're Ashfords, we'll call him Ash. That should be easy enough to remember. You can give him a middle name."
" Alfred." Alfred said immediately, " I'll name him after me: Ash Alfred Ashford."
Ash giggled in response, as if agreeing with the name. He hadn't cried out once so far.
Alexia turned to go away.
At that very instant, Ash began crying, begging to be fed.
Alfred was dumbfounded. " Alexia! Wait! I think Ash wants something to eat! "
Alexia did not even look back. " Well then, I guess you'd better fix him a bottle, Brother."
Alfred's jaw dropped. " But I don't know anything about fixing baby formula! What if someone catches me? "
Alexia turned and gave him a cold, wicked glare. " And you're supposed to have above average intelligence. Figure it out. I have very important matters to contend with, and I can't be bothered. Make sure nobody discovers him. I'll discuss my plan with you up here at nine o'clock tonight."
Alfred's eyes went wide. " But that's almost twelve hours away! You're going to leave me all alone with our baby for that long? "
Alexia snickered. " You can handle it." And with that, she turned and headed down the ladder, leaving Alfred with a crying baby.
" There there, Ash," Alfred cooed, " Please don't cry like that. Someone might hear you, and then we're all going to be in trouble."
Of course, Ash could not understand. All he understood was that he was hungry and he wanted his mommy, even if this new person holding him did kind of look like her.
Sighing, Alfred lowered his finger into Ash's mouth to quiet him.
Alexia's not very maternal, he concluded, I wonder how she plans on raising a kid in secret? That's going to be kind of hard to do with our lifestyle and especially when Ash gets old enough to walk and talk…
Ash began crying again, discovering he could get no food from Alfred's finger.
Gingerly, Alfred set his son down on the bed in which he had been born and encircled him in pillows to keep him from rolling out.
" Stay there." He ordered, " I'm going to get you some milk."
Ash cried even more. Luckily, it was not that loud of a cry, and as long as no-one got too close to the secret room, they would not be able to hear it.
Alfred descended the ladder, mind swimming. Baby formula, and then he's going to need diapers, baby clothes, a pacifier…and she expects me to get all of these things without being noticed? Man, I've gotta be a miracle worker.
He hurried out into the hall, now unable to hear Ash's cries.
It occurred to him that he was not going to be finding baby things in Ashford Manor--the last babies that had occupied the premises had been non other than him and his sister.
That meant he was going to have to buy the things from a store.
Alfred felt a knot well up in his stomach. How was he ever going to do that? The household servants and caretakers would be sure to notice his odd behavior, and baby things were not going to be easy to explain. Also, the clerks at the closest stores all knew who he was, and gossip traveled faster than the speed of light in these parts.
Then he got an idea.
I know! I'll dress up like a girl and nobody will recognize me!
He'd already had experience in that department--sometimes, when Alexia was away for extended amounts of time, Alfred liked to dress up like her and pretend to be her. He could even sound like a her when he wanted.
Quickly, he sped to Alexia's room and put one of her pink, frilly dresses on. He found his blonde wig, and moaned.
It wouldn't look any better for Alexia to be seen buying infant items.
Alfred dug through Alexia's things until he found the black wig she'd worn last Halloween to a masquerade party. She'd gone as a witch.
He lost no time in putting the wig on and heading to the bathroom where he fumbled with the makeup. He'd gotten quite good at applying it, and indeed when he came out of the room, he looked like a young teenaged girl on her way to a date's house, and not like Alfred Ashford at all.
Having accomplished that, he used to the special passage linking Alexia's room to his to go in and grab his wallet.
Pulling it open, he counted the 100's.
" One thousand, two hundred and twenty-two dollars. And sixty-eight cents." He said aloud, " I don't think I'll be needing that much, but I'll take it with me just in case."
Now came the tricky part.
Carefully, Alfred crept out of his room and looked around. There wasn't a soul in sight. Thankful for that slice of good luck, he ran out across the room and into yet another hidden passage that would take him to the garage…
Minutes later found Alfred hurtling away on his bike at supersonic speed in the direction of the nearest grocery store. He'd had to sneak past security, and that had not been easy--one of the guards had caught a whiff of his perfume.
But now that was over and he was on his way.
I wish I knew how Ash was doing…he thought, biting his lip and pedaling faster on his expensive new bike, Why couldn't Alexia at least stay with him until I got back from all of this?
Alfred loved his sister dearly and never dared to openly question her judgment, but there were times--like now--when he just did not understand her logic.
He reached the store without incident, and left his bike out front.
Then it was straight to the baby items.
My lord, there are so many of them! Alfred was faced with an entire aisle of baby-care products--everything from formula to toys. I'm going to need a basket.
On his way to the baskets, the future terror of Rockfort heard some familiar voices.
" Yeah, Will. I can't see how they expect us to get that done by Saturday."
The voice belonged to Albert Wesker, and he was talking to his friend and co-worker William Birkin.
Both were Umbrella top-researchers, though Alfred never saw much of them. They were standing right by the carts!
" Hey, what say we take a break from all this work and get high in the labs tonight? " William sounded positively jovial, " I just got some angel dust, and then maybe we could do some weed. What do you think, Al? Just once in a blue moon couldn't hurt, as long as it didn't interfere with our studies…"
Wesker slouched against the shopping carts, a frown pulling down on his face. " I'd like to, Will, but the wife wants me to watch Alan tonight while she goes to a family reunion. I just can't…"
" Oh, come on! " William jabbed Wesker in the side, " Get the kid a babysitter! Let's have some fun! "
Wesker sighed. " That would be irresponsible. Besides, I don't get to see much of my son as it is. I don't want to be one of those absentee fathers."
" Don't be ridiculous," William argued, " The kid's only two years old…it doesn't make a difference to him if it's you watching him or a guy dressed up like Santa Clause."
Alfred could wait no longer. He needed a cart.
" Um, excuse me, " He said, mustering up a feminine voice and being careful not to sound too much like Alexia, " but you're blocking the carts."
Wesker quickly backed away. " Sorry Miss."
Alfred grabbed a cart and headed back down the aisle, never noticing the way William and Wesker were staring at him.
Once back in the section, Alfred grabbed all of the most prominent items without even bothering to look at the price: bottle, pacifier, blankie, formula, and diapers.
Now came time to take the items to check-stand.
No sooner had the young father turned around then he came face-to-face with Wesker and Birkin.
They were just standing there; blocking his path and staring at him in a most peculiar manner.
" What an odd choice of items for a young girl," William noted, " Tell me, Miss, how old are you? "
Uh-oh. There was no way Alfred was going to fool these two scientists into thinking he was old enough to be a parent, and if they found out the truth he was dead meat.
Fortunately, he was pretty good at lying--most of the time. " I'm fourteen," Alfred admitted with a girly giggle, " and I'm buying these for my dolls to play dress up! I like to pretend they're real. Do you mind? "
The two researchers backed up in a hurry, horrified.
" Nn…no. We've gotta go! "
William and Wesker took off like the hounds of Hell were chasing them, not daring to look back.
" On second thought, I think I've had too much weed already," Alfred heard William say to his partner, " Nevermind what I said earlier, I'm going to go home and take a nice hot bath! "
I wonder what their problem is. Alfred turned away, shrugging, You'd think they'd never seen a fourteen year old girl who liked playing with dolls.
After checkout--and it had been very uncomfortable the way the cashier had just kept staring--Alfred emerged to find his bike stolen.
" Friggen thieves," he swore aloud, " Now I'm going to have to walk! "
This was very unfortunate--of the few things he knew about babies, he knew that leaving them unattended for too long was not a good idea. And it embittered him that his bike had been stolen so quickly.
I should have remembered my bike-lock--other people are jealous of what they cannot have, so they just take it. No respect. Poor people are such losers.
It was a good thing that the store was only about a mile away from Ashford Manor.
When, at last, Alfred made his way back home, past all the security, and up to Ash's room, he was in for another surprise; the bed was empty.
Ash was gone!
No sooner had he set the stuff down onto the bed then a sharp knock on his head sent him diving.
" Ow! What the…? "
Alexia was over him in an instant, a injection needle full of an ominous blue fluid poised over his neck.
Her expression was nothing short of murderous.
" Ouch! Please don't tell me this is another one of your mood swings, Alexia." Alfred moaned, this time in his own voice.
Alexia's eyes widened in surprise. She drew the needle away and allowed her brother to get up.
" Alfred?! " She looked as if she'd just received an 'F' on a science paper.
Alfred ripped off the wig, revealing his blonde hair. " Yes. I had to disguise myself to go shopping, you know."
For a moment, Alexia was frozen. Then she shook her head in disgust. " Get out of my clothes you cross-dressing freak! You look positively preposterous! "
" Yes, right away. I'm sorry, but I needed to disguise…"
Alexia shook her head and made a face. " Don't bother trying to explain." She went over to Alfred's bag and began rummaging through it.
Alfred frowned. " You have to admit, it was a good disguise."
" Perhaps a little too good," Alexia admitted, " I thought you were an imposter. I almost killed you, you know. That needle was filled with a nightshade compound."
" So where's Ash? "
" I hid him when I heard you coming. He's over there." Alexia gestured to the closet.
Alfred went over and peered inside. Sure enough, Ash was in there; sound asleep. What a relief!
Gently, he picked him up.
Ash yawned, melting his father's heart.
From the other corner of the room, Alexia cried out. " Egad! Your taste is awful! " She held up a little purple-and-pink infant gown.
" I am sorry, Alexia, but that's all they had."
Alexia rolled her eyes, indicating that she did not really believe that. " Oh well. It will suffice for now, I suppose. Now get about switching attire and getting that bottle ready. I will have to stay up here with Ash until you do, now that you've woken him up, genius."
The rest of the evening passed without incident, and nine o' clock came swiftly.
All day long Alfred--now in his own clothes and minus the makeup--had remained up in the room taking care of Ash and emerging only when he had to.
It had been a little stressful to say the least, especially since Alexia rarely checked in and Ash required constant attention.
Whoever said a baby's needs are simple oughta be drug out into the street and shot. Alfred found himself thinking.
There were times when Ash had started crying for no logical reason whatsoever, forcing Alfred to put on a humiliating display of epic proportions to try and cheer him up.
At nine o'clock, there was still no sign of Alexia.
Ash began crying.
Alfred sighed. " Where is your mother? "
Alexia could break dates, but Alfred had better be fifteen minutes early. It just wasn't fair.
After a minute or two, Alfred could stand it no longer. Retrieving Ash, he offered the newest Ashford a pacifier.
Ash would not accept it. He squirmed away whenever Alfred tried to put it in his mouth, crying all the louder.
Alfred shook his head, his face sour. " What do you want? "
Just then, Alexia stepped into the room, and it was as if a switch had been flicked--Ash stopped crying at once.
Smiling, Alexia took him into her arms.
Ash started giggling.
Alexia cast a befuddled Alfred a triumphant smirk. " You just don't have a mother's touch."
" So, what was your plan now? " Alfred asked, ignoring Alexia's last comment. He really hoped it did not involve him being the main care-provider to Ash.
" Simple. We're not going to raise him." Alexia purred, stroking the few bits of soft blonde hair on Ash's head, " I've made some arrangements with a Miss Maggie Evanson. She knows about us, and about Ash, but I know for a fact that she would not betray us. She is such a gullible woman, especially where money is involved, and she loves kids but cannot have any of her own. You can see why she was a perfect choice. She was only too happy to accept my offer. We agreed that she would raise Ash for money under the table, and I've already worked out the legal formalities. All that's left is delivery. We meet tomorrow morning at eight in my chosen location."
Alfred nodded. " Sounds good…but how long will she have Ash? "
Alexia shook her head. " I do not know. Whenever we overthrow Father, I guess. Of course, this will probably not be for at least another three years, I have so much to work out first! Fortunately, I have been making much progress in the T-Veronica field."
This was a good idea, Alfred thought. Skipping the baby stages was definitely a step in the right direction.
" Splendid decision! " Alfred embraced his sister into a hug, careful not to squish their newborn baby. " Your genius never stops amazing me! "
Alexia was not thrilled. " Yes. Whatever." She pushed Alfred off.
" I hope you're up to spending the night up here with our child."
Alfred couldn't believe it. " All alone?! "
Alexia rolled her eyes and snorted. " Of course not, doofus! Ash will be with you. What, are you afraid of the dark? "
Alfred shook his head, disbelieving, " No….I just thought you might want to spend some more time with our son before he leaves tomorrow."
Alexia shook her head. " Nope. He's kind of cute right now, but I look forward to him when he's much older. You can have the pleasures, Alfred. After all, he was your idea."
Alexia grinned wickedly, her eyes two raging wild fires.
Alfred recognized that expression, the one that meant the subject was no longer up for discussion.
" You're right," he agreed with a defeated sigh, " I'll do it."
Alexia handed him the baby. " Good."
Up in the secret birth room, Alfred tucked little Ash into bed after the feeding.
He would miss Ash, though he would never openly admit it. Part of him wished he and Alexia could indeed find a way to raise their child together.
But Alexia always knew what was best, and if this was the way she wanted it, this was the way it would have to be. Besides, it wasn't like he'd never see the boy again. And when Alexia finally succeeded in her plans, they could all three rule over all insignificant persons and Ash would be a prince.
The glint of Alfred's shiny sapphire ring caught his eye. His proof of heritage. All the Ashfords had one: Alexia, and even that pitiful excuse for a father they had.
Only Ash did not.
That gave Alfred an idea. Quickly and quietly, he made his way back to his room. When he returned, it was with a beautiful garnet ring of exquisite and expensive design.
Originally he had intended it for Alexia, but there would always be time to find her another.
It was much too large to fit the baby now, but within a few year's time it should fit perfectly.
I'll keep this until he's old enough, then I'll surprise him with it. Alfred thought, The Ashford legacy will live on!
Setting the ring somewhere he deemed safe and out of sight, Alfred turned back to the bed and cuddled next to Ash.
There was not a doubt in his mind that the days ahead would indeed be glorious.
Stay tuned for Chapter 2 and the birth of Ash's sister! ^_-