I'll ask of you, reader, one thing.
Please excuse the odd narration at times!
I feel I get my point across better that way.
Though even so I'm not too proud of this one.
That'd be all, feel free to proceed to the story.
Leon walked into the simple house, the wood floor creaking under his feet and raising tiny storms of dust down there on the ground. He walked into the living room and approached a man slouched over the lit fireplace, the first villager he encountered that day.
"Excuse me," he called, his ears ringing loudly and a sense of inexplicable desperation washing over him.
He could feel his head turning side to side, looking around nervously, yet also staying in place and staring at the angry-looking man who was now swearing at him.
Suddenly, he noticed Ashley's picture in his own hands.
He turned around and headed back, his ears still ringing and starting to cause him a migraine.
He wanted to turn back, he tried to, but nothing stopped his feet until the man's axe hit him, digging deep into the back of his head and neck. The ring got worse and after two seconds of unbearable pain everything seemed to turn numb and dark and smelling like mornings.
Waking to the sound of his alarm, the agent sat up as quickly as he could.
"Shit! Another goddamn nightmare!"
He'd been having too many of these lately.
Sure, he had also had many nightmares after the Raccoon City incident, but it was different this time; they had started around two weeks after his return and all of them depicted parts of his travel with some kind of twisted yet accurate succession. Except, of course, for the fact that he died in all of them.
He stood up, the clock still buzzing in an irritating manner. Leon was ready to smash the damn thing, but right as he reached for it, the buzz brought him the sudden remembrance of a previous nightmare.
The castle's sewers were as dark and humid as he had expected, but luckily they weren't flooded; the water barely reached up to his ankles.
He advanced, wondering what the pets Salazar was talking about could be, yet already knowing from the buzz that a Novistador would appear any second now; still, half of him walked on wondering and oblivious to the layout of the sewers even though he could remember them perfectly. The buzz grew stronger, the sound of something hitting against water quickly, and then… three glowing dots, floating ahead, even though he knew he could see the creature. It lunged and kicked and screeched and latched onto his shoulders and head.
The desperation filled him again as the huge insect spilled some kind of acid right on him, and his body dropped backwards into the floor.
Even though one of his eyeballs was now completely exposed and free of any skin, hanging a little off its socked, he only saw black; and yet, he also saw himself there on the ground, flesh melted right off the now exposed cheekbone, leaving a mess of blood about his nose and his other cheek almost intact, with only a few melted-through holes.
The clock was slammed to silence, finally freeing Leon from the buzz.
He brought his palm to his forehead in an exasperated manner, gritting his teeth. Too many nightmares, too frightening because he knew that any of those things could've happened to him at any minute.
Cold breeze brushed past him, reminding him that he was still in his underwear and should get the day started.
An extremely cold feeling, as the soldier's electroshock stick hit him, sending a bolt through him that made his body shake violently and got his knees weak; he fell on them, eyes open wide, already dead.
Angrily, the blonde grabbed a towel and walked to the bathroom.
He stepped in front of a mirror, brushing his teeth and concentrating as much as he could on them.
The nightmares had been too many already; it all had to stop soon. He'd been released from his duties for a few days, supposedly to let him recover from his wounds and the stress of the experience. Surely, working with that would be better than staying home like this. It all had made him more stressed, and not even Ashley's phone call the day before had helped him any; maybe it would've, if he had done more than speak dryly about having no time and hanging up.
Up until now he hadn't had the time to feel guilty, that much was true. He let some water fill he sink and stared at it, something in the back of his head telling him that it was time for a shower.
Del Lago rose from the water as the government agent stared confusedly and with some shock at its gigantic mouth. Inside it seemed to bemany thin, tentacle-like tongues that reached wildly into the air, scanning for prey and moving in frenzy at the lack of water around them.
The creature took him in its mouth, and soon those tongues were latching onto him, squeezing and tearing his limbs from him then shoving them down Del Lago's throat
Leon was really starting to feel now that all-too-familiar sense of unstoppable black and desperation.
He stepped in the shower and let the cold water hit him, making his hair stick to his face as he stared vacantly at nothing in particular, pondering what he should do.
Both fists clenched, the young man punched the wall, letting out a grunt through his gritted teeth.
After an uneventful shower, a creaking step in the floor that had brought Bitores Mendez's hands around his neck, a pair of pants and tight black shirt that allowed El Gigante's hands around his upper body to squeeze blood and life and colour out of him, and a breakfast that turned the microwave's sounds into countless bullets from J.J.'s gun, Leon managed to keep himself up and contemplating watching tv to pass the time.
His throat was dry and his hands felt too warm; perhaps, he could use lying down for a while.
As he approached his couch, the phone in the small table by it started ringing. He looked at it for a while before deciding he couldn't will himself to answer it and actually talk to whoever was calling.
Soon, it made a clicking sound and became silent; the person left no message.
With a clicking sound, the cell opened.
Eyelids sewn shut and sharp blades on each hand, the Garrador rushed out. It growled and stood still for a while, surely truly blind and unable to see Leon. The ex-cop briefly wondered if the helmet it was hearing also impeded its hearing. After all, it seemed like a highly tortured human, and human ears were damaged easily. Yet, he knew the slightest sound would lead to his demise.
The creature took a step in Leon's direction, still unaware of where the prey could be. Taken by desperation again, he ran to the opposite side of the room and turned around, shotgun ready.
But the Garrador was quick and was barely stopped by the bullets. For a second it seemed to pull back, only to bring his blade-claws forward and through Leon's head; impaling his forehead, his eyeballs, and the back of his head.
"Aaaauuuuughhh!!" He let out an agonizing scream as the creature lifted him up by his impaled head, teeth gritted and brain unable to register the amount of pain and lost sensations.
And then, he was silenced by another set of claws entering through his abdomen.
Leon swore loudly and buried his face on his own palm, staring down with wide eyes that felt like they were burning through his fingers - he needed to get out of the house now, and he hoped for dear life that it would clear his head already.
In one swift motion he reached for his jacket and stood up, sliding it in place as he stepped out and closed the door in a hurry, going down the stairs on his apartment building two steps at a time.
He reached the front door and opened it quickly, cold air piercing through him and blowing his jacket back.
The Iron Maiden breathed erratically, each air intake sharp yet imprecise as it got a hold of him and pulled him close, bringing the needles out of its body and into Leon's, through more places than he could count while life slipped away.
Outside, the starting of a car's engine could be heard, not too far away.
One step forward. The engine seemed to die away and start again.
The chainsaw revved up, too close for him to be able to run away. Doctor Salvador's eyes were opened wide, staring back and forth between every corner of the area before locking on Leon.
The man gave what seemed like a battle cry as it lunged forward, pulling the chainsaw between Leon's neck and right shoulder. The ex-cop's arms reached blindly for the attacker's hand, arm, anything. He managed to get a hold of Dr. Salvador's wide wrists and tried to push them back with all his strength, desperate enough to hang onto that hope even though the chainsaw kept digging on his flesh, spraying blood on his own face and tearing off chunks of skin that were instantly divided again and again by the weapon before mixing with the blood.
With one last powerful push, Salvador brought his chainsaw to the side, slicing Leon's head clean off his shoulders, leaving the body to stand for a second…
Before he fell, unconscious.
"Hey, Kennedy... wake up, wake up!"
"Oh my God! What happened to him?"
"I don't know, we found him just now."
"Help us take him inside."
"Of course… look, he's sweating, must be having a hard time… poor guy."
The voices faded slowly as they continued their hysterical chatter; two females and one male, apparently.
However, Leon didn't understand a single thing.
Where were they? How were they going to take him, and where to? He was right there, finally out of the hellish car ride with the two police officers, heading into the first house that came on view.
He was there, climbing up the steps on the entrance, yet also up above, watching himself do so. But what was weird about that anyway?
Soon he was in front of the villager who cursed and stepped away from his fireplace, closing the distance between him and Leon, raising an axe; he knew what was to come, and again he started feeling a wave of desperation as he walked away with his back turned to the man. He felt himself struggling, yet at the same time walking very calmly. Finally, he turned around and pointed his 9mm handgun to the one who had been his murderer in a previous yet fictional encounter. He warned twice before shooting, neutralizing the threat.
Breathing heavily, he told himself time and time again that he had survived.
As he was filled with relief and happiness that he hadn't felt the first time he survived that encounter, he saw the world spin wildly around him. For a while, his feet didn't touch the ground.
When the circular motion stopped, he found himself in the centre of the village, face to face with another one of his attackers.
Dr. Salvador lunged at him, and again Leon grabbed his wrist. But before the chainsaw begun digging in his flesh he pushed the infected male back, knocking the weapon out of his hand, and quickly put a few shotgun shells to his head.
Again, he'd survived the close brush with death.
One step forward and the ground turned into wood, the village closing in to form a hallway, bringing Bitores Mendez's hands around his throat yet again. He kicked and struggled and held onto his consciousness, until he was freed and the village leader walked away.
He breathed, alive.
And on his second breath, his mouth became full of water.
He swam forward and climbed in the boat, seeing himself advance and also seeing the huge lake monster, Del Lago, approaching close behind. As soon as he was in, he grabbed a harpoon and threw it into the creature's open mouth, piercing through some of its many tongues and reaching to the back of its throat.
Del Lago roared and fell over, and Leon wasn't dragged down with it.
Instead he was back on firm dry land, now facing an angered canine.
The Colmillo barked and arched its body, tentacle-like plagas erupting from its back as it jumped and hit the government agent's chest, knocking him down. Its mouth opened, fangs yearning to get a hold of the tender skin that formed the male's neck.
But Leon hit the monster with his shotgun, knocking it away. He then proceeded to shoot it several times, until he made sure it wouldn't attack again.
He was unwounded.
Suddenly, the rain disappeared and the church that was ahead wrapped around him, becoming stone walls and forming a cell. The rain turned into only humidity, and he was now facing the blind man again, the Garrador.
It lunged and attacked, but Leon rolled away. In one fearless motion he got on his feet and ran behind the Garrador, stabbing his knife on the exposed plagas on its back, and twisting the blade as much as he could before deciding he had won against this murderer as well.
Krauser's knife missed, and so did his mutated arm. And so did the Novistador and It and Salazar and the archer monks and the Iron Maiden and ultimately Saddler.
And through all that, even if by millimetres, he survived.
He had Ashley with him, sitting behind him in the Jet Ski, with her arms around him. He could feel her move as close as possible and hide her face on his back fearfully as the tidal wave got closer and closer after them.
Finally, it engulfed the vehicle and both people on it, separating them and dragging them with the water's impulse, hitting their bodies against the stone walls.
"I didn't… die…"
He backtracked until he was once again sitting with Ashley.
Increasing the Jet Ski's speed to its maximum, Leon drove past the cavernous exit and into a calm ocean, made of the cool and refreshing water that one of his neighbours seemed to have soaked a rag with and placed upon his forehead.
Slowly, he opened his eyes, and eyed the old lady that carefully replaced wet rags after they became warm.
She noticed his open eyes and stood up quickly, exclaiming: "He's awake!"
And Leon could've sworn he saw Ashley come in from his kitchen, before deciding that he was still too tired to give it further thought.
A couple of hours, many sets of instructions and plenty of questions as well (through all of which Ashley stood patiently and didn't say a word), Leon was finally left alone to lie on his couch again, after assuring his neighbours that nothing was wrong and he'd be okay with Ashley there; to which she only smiled and reassured the people much more accurately than her bodyguard
And as soon as they stepped out, said bodyguard sat up straight and flashed a grin to the president's daughter, motioning her to come close.
"Nightmares too, eh Ashley."
She kept on smiling as she quickly approached him and took seat in the couch's arm. "How did you-?"
"Know? I just did, I've been having some too."
She looked at him quizzically and whispered, "You?"
He returned her stare and looked to both sides before leaning in with a humored look. "Yeah… me."
She laughed, not at the fact Leon Scott Kennedy had nightmares just like she did, but at the way he expressed himself about; and he laughed along, feeling slightly refreshed by the sound. Every once in a while he needed the laughter, and perhaps it was just fine to do it with the one who'd shared the fortune and misfortune as him. As a side note that he pinned casually on his memory, she seemed to be wearing the same plaid green skirt as on the time they spent in Spain, although her orange top was now dark green as well.
"Come on, here," he said, grabbing her arm and pulling on it, resulting in Ashley falling over on the couch far from ceremoniously.
"Hey!" She protested, sitting up and straightening her skirt. "You really have nightmares too?"
He paused, thinking for some time while Ashley wondered if this made her feel securer or more hopeless.
"I don't think I'll have any more now though…" Leon muttered. "Anyway, it's late, I'll get us something to eat."
As he stood up and headed for the kitchen, Ashley did so as well and advanced ahead of him, blocking his entrance to the kitchen.
"No worries, I already made something."
Leon stared at her with an exaggerated bewildered look. "You can cook?"
"Yes, I can," she said firmly, crossing her arms over chest.
And at that, Leon had to wonder whether the one that answered was the conceited daughter of president Graham, or the Ashley who survived Spain alongside himself.
"…well, I made sandwiches, but still."
That's Ashley alright.
Food, an agreement about staying over for the night, and two movies later, Ashley was fast asleep beside Leon in the same couch he'd been laying on a few hours before, fevered.
"I'm sleeping…" she answered groggily, moving just a little and curling up in the couch, barely brushing against him.
"Suit yourself, but I bet you'd prefer the bed."
"I'm sleeping here."
"Scared of the nightmares?"
Leon looked down at her with a cocky eyebrow raised and a smile, while she pouted childishly. However, she didn't reply.
As silent as the girl, Leon wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close.
"Alright, sleep here…" he whispered. "Don't forget, you did survive and you're here now."
Ashley still kept quiet, and soon enough Leon was checking on her again; still awake.
She smiled slowly and shook her head, as she rested it on her bodyguard's shoulder, peacefully closing her eyes. "…nope."
"You can't tell that to the nightmares though," she added with a bit of a laugh that he wouldn't have noticed if she weren't that close.
He rested his head atop hers.
"Guess we'll have to fight them again."
And after a moment's pause, he turned and kissed her forehead.
"I'm right here."
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