*Standard Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Resident Evil characters or even presume to. They are the rightful property of Capcom. Nor am I making any profit from the telling of this story. It is merely for the enjoyment of other fans.
*Author's Note: This is just a stand alone fic that popped into my head uninvited. Along with two others! Argh! As if I didn't have enough story ideas already! To all Chris fans…nothing personal. I don't hate him or anything. He's kinda cool, but I felt this story worked better for him than any of the others. J Please forgive me! I love reviews but if not…hey….hopefully you'll at least enjoy the story. BTW, not sure what to rate it but there is mild cursing and such. ~Façade~
Careless. That's what I was. I was just plain sloppy. That's me. Sloppy Chris Redfield. I should have been paying more attention to my surroundings. We were deep in Umbrella territory and that alone screams for the utmost of concentration. I was shouting orders, doing my best to be heard over the din of gunfire.
"Move! Move! We need to get the hell out of here!"
"Great deduction, bro!" Claire yelled at me. "How do you suggest we do that?!"
I fired off another round and risked a glance toward my little sister. She was crouched down behind a stack of wooden crates, popping up every now and then to squeeze off a couple of shots before ducking back down. She looked grim, her chin set in trademark Redfield defiance. Her short brown bangs kept falling into her face and when she wiped them away irritably I could see the fear in her blue eyes. She shifted her weight onto the balls of her feet and leaned over the crate, sighting along the barrel of her gun. Bam. One more of theirs down.
I glanced to her right where Leon Kennedy was crouched. He ejected the spent clip from his Beretta and slapped a fresh one into place quickly before spinning on his heel. He followed Claire's example and made as small a target of himself as possible while trying to pick the Umbrella soldiers off. Showers of splinters erupted before the two of them as someone on the other side opened up with a fully automatic, forcing them to duck back down. Leon's eyes met mine and he shook his head slightly. I wasn't sure how to interpret that gesture. I couldn't read his face. He held himself tensely impassive. His own blue eyes betrayed little emotion. Lingering effects of his police training I guess. Whatever it was I found it strangely comforting.
I in turn ducked behind some crates when the soldiers trained their weapons toward me. My shoulder brushed into Jill Valentine's as I slid down to kneel next to her. Her mouth was pressed into a thin line and I smiled at her humorlessly.
"Well?" I prodded.
She shook her head at me, loose strands of brown hair slapping at her pale cheeks.
"We have to find a way out, Chris. I'm down to my last clip and I'm sure Claire and Leon aren't much better off."
"I know…" I doubt she heard me over the deafening noise in the room.
I turned my eyes to her to find her nose barely an inch from my face. I drew a startled breath at her closeness before I felt her pressing something cold and hard into my hand. I glanced down at the grenade cradled in my palm, a cold knot forming in my stomach.
"Jill, using this has a good chance of killing us too." I was stating the obvious of course. Jill wasn't stupid. She knew the risks of using a grenade in the fairly confined quarters we were trapped in.
"We either die that way or by them." She jerked her head in the direction of the soldiers.
She was right as always. At least we had a chance if we used the grenade. I nodded briskly at her, motioning her to get down as low as possible. She flattened herself down onto the concrete floor and I rotated my torso to look at Leon and Claire. I caught Leon's eyes and purposefully glanced at my left hand. His eyes followed mine and widened slightly when he realized my intent. I had already pulled the pin by the time he grabbed Claire and unceremoniously rolled her beneath him, using his body to shield her from the blast despite her loud, vocal protestations. You know, I like Leon.
I lobbed that grenade over the crates at the Umbrella soldiers as hard as I could and threw myself to the floor, half covering Jill with my body. I covered my head with my arms just as the grenade detonated. The resulting explosion was deafening. The floor shook and heaved beneath us and I could feel debris raining down on us. The temperature in the room rose sharply and I could feel the heat of flames nearby licking at us. I sat up slowly after a few minutes, my ears ringing from the blast and my racing heart. The crates near us were on fire but didn't seem to be too dangerous.
My eyes scanned the rubble around us and probed at the thick smoke engulfing us until I spotted Leon and Claire. Panic gripped me when neither of them moved, my heart doubling its already frantic pace. Finally, Leon stirred and slowly pushed himself onto his elbows. He brushed at Claire's face gently and she glared up at him, punching him in the arm, then smiled. He rolled his eyes and looked in my direction, giving me the thumbs up signal. Yep. I like Leon.
I grinned back at the two of them and jumped to my feet, extending my hand to help Jill up.
I realized my mistake the second I registered the crack of a high powered rifle being fired, followed by the thudding impact.
Time seemed to freeze for a moment. I looked down at Jill, her hand still outreached to grasp mine, and knew from the horrified expression on her face that it was bad before I glanced at my chest. I stared dispassionately at the dark stain spreading rapidly across my shirt, dumb with disbelief.
I vaguely heard two simultaneous cracks of gunfire next to me but they seemed far away. My eyes dragged back to Jill's watery baby blues and I slowly toppled forward into her arms outstretched to catch me. She lowered me to the ground carefully.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Chris Redfield was stupid.
I felt the first tearing shots of pain when my back touched the cold cement and I lurched up against Jill's restraining hands, screaming in agony. She pushed at my shoulders in a futile attempt to keep me still.
"Please, Chris! Don't move!" She was sobbing, tears tracking wet trails down her cheeks.
The fiery pain up my back and chest is unbearable but I lied back and tried not to move. "Hu-urts!" I howled.
Jill choked back a sob and pressed her palm over the hole in my chest, pushing down in a vain attempt to stop the gush of blood. I knew it was not helping. My blood seeped between her fingers and spilled down her hand.
I could hear Claire next to me. She was screaming my name and crying. I rolled my head toward her, blinking slowly to bring her into focus. She was caressing my cheek with her hands and begging me not to leave her. Leon is behind her, his hands clenching her shoulder hard enough to whiten his knuckles but she didn't notice. Tears are shining in his eyes too.
My team. I smiled weakly. You know, I didn't ask to be made leader. Didn't want to be. I didn't want to be responsible for the lives and safety of the others. It was more than I felt I could handle but when they started looking toward me for orders…I couldn't let them down. So I did the job I despised. I hated it but I did it because they trusted me.
I didn't feel the cold floor beneath me any more. Or the wracking pain for that matter. My body wasn't exactly numb per se but sort of detached. I could still remotely feel Jill's weight pushing down on my chest and Claire's gentle fingers on my face but that was all. No cold, no pain.
Claire was shouting at me, her voice harsh with crying. I wanted to smile at her and reassure her that it was okay, that I didn't feel any pain, but found that I didn't have the energy to do it. Leon had wrapped his arms around Claire tightly, holding her. Thanks, Leon. She's strong but not as strong as she'd like you to believe. I think you know that though and I'm grateful she has you to care about her.
I managed to turn my head ever so slightly to look at Jill. Tears were streaming unchecked down her cheeks, her lips trembling ever so slightly. Had I remembered to tell her how beautiful she was this morning? Had I told her how much I loved her? I hoped so. She leaned down and kissed my lips gently, whispering that she loved me.
Darkness smudged the edges of my vision, blurring Jill's tearstained face. I didn't need to see her with my eyes though. She was there in my heart.
I felt my heart give one last fluttering beat and finally still. My breath sighed out slowly, almost gratefully, and I felt my eyes close.
I'm sorry. I was careless.
With the blink of an eye
You finally see the light
That when the moment arrives
You know you'll be alright
And I'm saying a prayer
To the desperate hearts tonight