Title: Diebus Fatalibus
Author: Catalina
Warnings: language, gory dreams, ficlet, unedited
Rating: PG-13
Notes: This ficlet really only has spoilers for RE2. One thing I found fascinating was Leon's change of character between RE2 and RE4. He's much more cool and level-headed in RE4, whereas in RE2 he tended to get worked up about little things. This is kind of my explanation for his emotional disarray in this piece. I wanted to show the beginnings of the transition phase.

No one understood why he woke up screaming.

Roommates and girlfriends came and went. They never could endure a coexistence with him for long, and if they knew he dreamed of rotting flesh, unearthly moans, and biologically fucked-up mutants that oozed mucus from every pore, they probably would have left him high and dry at the first opportunity.

In his dreams, Leon was back in Raccoon City with the smell of gunpowder burning his nostrils like acid to match the fiery aftermath of vomit in this mouth. Somnus had cruelly ripped the sight from his eyes, leaving him to stumble, blinded and terrified, through the nightmarish dreamscape of dead things, his nose filled with the odors of decaying flesh and human terror. In his ears a thousand screams echoed until he began to scream with them, lost in the intensity of their pure, mindless horror. And then he was screaming alone as the hideously beautiful human cries of fear dissolved into a chorus of moaning, the shuffling of dragging feet. He felt dead, hungry eyes on him, soft spongy flesh a cold wave that raised all the hair on his body, and suddenly their fingers and teeth were on him, ripping at his warm, living skin.

In his dreams, he had no gun to save him, no Ada Wong to give her life for his. There was only the searing crimson pain, the sounds of their feasting, and as one of the zombies' fingers found their way into his mouth, revulsion rose shrieking inside him, his teeth unintentionally biting down on the intruder in his mouth. Bones snapped like juicy twigs, and the detached fingers were in his mouth, still twitching with a ghastly facsimile of life, blood and virus and maggots rolling down his convulsing throat...

No one understood why he ran to the bathroom to puke his guts out.

Leon was not known as a realist. He had his ideals, his preconceptions, his dreams, until the horrible reality of Raccoon City had ass-raped his brash, young mind and left him sore and bleeding in the capital of his fine country, under the ever-watchful eye of the government. For him, the days of serving and protecting were over before they even began. Raccoon had shown him the ugly sins of mankind, the limitless and uncontrollable force of human intelligence. His lofty dreams of protecting the innocent were chucked in the air and riddled with bullets from a submachine gun, the very same gun that had jumped in his hands as he feverishly squeezed the trigger and sent stream after stream of bullets into that Licker.

Dozens of discouraging metal slugs still hadn't been able to stop its lance-like tongue from punching a hole through his shoulder.

The federal agents saw his hardened blue eyes, the scars littering his body, his unsmiling mouth, the way his trigger fingers twitched when someone snuck up on him unexpectedly. As one of the sole survivors of the "Raccoon City incident," Leon was a valuable asset, a man who had barreled through the rungs of hell and had amazingly returned with his sanity. He also had a shitload of nightmares clinging to his back like a crack addiction, but no one gave a fuck about that. The only people who could understand were those who had seen the horror firsthand, and they had either left or been taken away from him.

No one, not even Leon, understood why sometimes he cried, alone in the dark.

21 January 2005