Ada Wong regarded the rising sun and the variety of colors it shed on the buildings of Raccoon City, dipping the boring grey into shades of yellow, orange and red.
She took a deep breath and sighed, leaning against the hood of the car. At one point she had given up listening to the two men inside. She had only been able to catch fragments of the conversation and those parts had become more and more complicated to understand, up to the point where she had given it up completely.
Tucking a lose strand of hair behind her ear Ada glanced at the door to the warehouse that stood ajar, but nobody came out. Silence was the only thing that left the building - until suddenly there was a loud crash.
More on impulse – along with a good deal of curiosity - than because of anything else (the logical part of her mind was still certain that the following actions were wrong) Ada opened the door and tentatively placed a step into the warehouse.
It didn't take long to locate the two men and by the looks of it the situation was out of control. Whatever substance made Wesker stand on his feet despite the lethal wounds had taken effect on his mind Ada thought at that moment, because he was pinning the good doctor against the wall and tried to strangle him.
Birkin was trying to free himself from the suffocating grip, but he didn't stand a chance. Perhaps Wesker was too strong, perhaps Birkin was only too paniced and weak to direct his blows to an effective part of the other man's arm.
Ada couldn't say why Wesker was so enraged. She hadn't been able to follow the conversation closely enough to draw conclusions from it, but whatever Birkin had said, Wesker hadn't liked it. She even noticed that he was pinning Birkin to the wall in such a fashion that the doctor's feet didn't touch the ground and was amazed by his hidden powers. With the wounds he bore he shouldn't be able to stand straight, let alone heave another man off his feet.
Perhaps it was an early effect of the T-virus he was apparently infected with. Ever since she had witnessed him running out of the soon-not-to-be-anymore Spencer Mansion and glanced over his injuries Ada had started to consider other motives for his obliviousness to pain despite the shock he certainly suffered under. No matter how shocked, people didn't simply ignore a hole in their stomach, a bullet wound or a head injury so easily. The bloodloss alone – taking that the blood on his uniform and face was his – should have downed him earlier on.
Wesker had cleared her up on the physiological and mental mutations of the T-virus before the incidents at the Training Facility and the Spencer Mansion.
She remembered incapability of restraining one's agression to be one of them. Signs for infection were also decreased sensitivity to pain, itchiness and fever, but from this distance Ada wasn't able to tell either of the latter two. The first two definitely applied and he had had many opportunities to get into direct contact with the virus during the operation.
Moving antother step into the warehouse, Ada felt the reassuring form of her gun. It was tucked in the back of her jeans. After having dropped Birkin off and being ordered out of the hall she had made sure it was fully loaded and easy to reach. Wesker was an attractive man, no doubt, but if he carried this sickness she didn't want a kiss.
The two men's attention was now fixed on her, so she carefully asked, "Is everything alright in here?" and even before she had finished the sentece she felt like the worst idiot ever. Wesker was trying to kill Birkin and she asked whether everything was in order.
Great move, Ada. You just digged your own grave, girl…
Perhaps she should have asked whether he needed a helpful hand in the deed, but Wesker seemed to do quite well on his own. When he dropped Birkin and turned towards her, Ada's heart skipped a beat only to go for a new record in speed. Unconciously she backed up a step and her hand was ready to pull out the handgun if Wesker decided a change of victims was in order.
Instead he surprised her with familiar calmness, "I said you should wait outside," and then (she noticed there was a notable strain in his voice), "Wait outside."
It didn't need more to get her going and with a last pityful look at Dr. Birkin, who was visibly relieved that he could breath again, Ada turned around and this time pulled the door closed behind her when exiting.
Outside the first thing she did was letting out a deep breath and thanking whatever arcane forces had watched over her and restrained Wesker from strangling her to death.
Of course, if he had approached and hadn't stopped at her demand, Ada wouldn't have been afraid of dealing him another bullet wound or two, even if at this point that might not matter much anymore. If puncture to the stomach hadn't even weakened him, she doubted that a shot would do any difference.
Not if you shoot him in the head… he can't possibly survive that.
She had read once that people who were given a small dose of heroine – with the drug having been developed by the army and all – could be shot directly in the chest and don't even feel as much as a scratch. They would keep advancing, because the drug kept them alive. It had been intended to produce super-soldiers in the second world war, but had been discarded quickly for its incredibly fast addiction rate.
Ada wondered whether Wesker's state was similar. Most likely he was no drug addict, but whatever substance Birkin had given him must have had the same prefered effects as heroine, only perfected. Perhaps Birkin had somehow managed to create a super soldier, of whom the scientists in world war II had only dreamt about.
Or perhaps he hadn't.
No, there had to be a flaw in the plan, judging by Wesker's behaviour. Something had gone wrong. Perhaps the price for living was his sanity? Perhaps the substance was addictive and Wesker was already suffering from withdrawal symptoms like a junkie who'd missed his shot.
Perhaps he wasn't even over the brink yet, because at one moment Ada heard Birkin say "You're positive," closely followed by an unbelieving "Impossible."
So he's infected after all, and despite Birkin's wonder drug he'll turn into one of them eventually…or perhaps it's some other goddamn virus the world doesn't even know about yet. Stop being surprised. Surprise can be your death in your line of work.
She thought again, no more surprises.
With that out of the way and all logical theories leading to this one result there was only one question left unanswered.
When would he take the crucial step into the world where every ideal and aspiration melded into the one pungent thought of an infected?
Food. Treasure food above all else, because there is nothing else left to strive for.
She wondered what Wesker was going to do now that he knew the irrevocable truth and whether he would lose his temper once again, or try and take it easy.
Where the word 'easy' might take on another meaning, because how can you take such a horrible fate easy?
Even though Ada regarded Wesker as a reckless man, a liar, a traitor and a killer – all of which were true and not just her personal views – she did wonder whether this was the retribution for his past actions.
No more echoes reached her ears from inside the warehouse and Ada guessed that this silence could only mean that Wesker tried to realize what his near future would bring and Birkin praying that he would live to see another day.
Ada however didn't need anymore time to think about the future. She wasn't going to kick the bucket today and if it had to be, she would make sure that the danger Wesker now posed would be eliminated for sure. The virus had caused inconceivable damage in a relatively controlled area, she didn't want to start imagining what it would do to a town like Raccoon City if the pathogen had survived with the STARS commander.
This way, their deal would finally end and Ada would be free of his tyranny at long last.
She walked to the SUV and opened the driver's door.
And nearly chocked on the pungent smell that greeted her. Pulling away at once Ada searched for the root of the odor and soon found it in the huge bloodstains that had turned the backseats from a relatively light grey into an almost black crimson. They roughly traced the form of Wesker's body with a darker spot where his lower back must have been. Which could only mean that the hole in the front of his stomach had gone all way through.
And he survived that? Ah, but no more surprises…you should have expected it.
Apparently blood was not the only thing staining the material, because the smell reminded Ada of cut open guts and corpses. In some areas the dark blotches showed lighter spots. Pus?
Ada regarded the sight from outside the vehicle a moment longer, before enough fresh air had driven away at least the worst of the smell. Reaching into the car she was about to check over the inventory when a click from behind caught her attention.
It was a click of a door being opened, and the following croaking of rusty edges affirmed her guess.
"You are leaving so soon already, Ms. Wong?"
A chill ran down her spine as if somebody had thrown a bucket of cold water on her. Ada swept around, meeting the gaze of a very much alive STARS captain and the Umbrella scientist that stood beside him.
- must have seen the gun -
"Just checking the traffic news," she said with lightness that was in fact very much strained. Her right hand placed on her hip Ada was ready to do the deed if it was necessary.
Wesker and Birkin stood in the doorway of the warehouse, Birkin slightly behind the other man. Wesker's glance was unreadable even despite his shades' absence. Only his eyes had a clear 'don't do anything stupid now' warning to them. Ada had never thought that she would be able to read anything in the man's eyes, but this was enough to make her right hand hang casually by her side and put up the faintest of smiles.
"Then I assume you can do Dr. Birkin a favour and drive him back to the Raccoon Laboratory."
Ada glanced at Birkin, but he remained silent during the discussion. Drive him home? Wesker was infected, wasn't he? Did he really think he could go around and spread the virus just like that?
He seemed to notice her uncertainty, "There is no need to worry, Ada. Everything has been taken care of."
At that moment Birkin looked to the ground, as if ashamed of something and Ada wasn't at all sure whether everything was alright.
"But he said you're positive," she answered flatly. Both Wesker and Birkin tensed visibly at her accusation. She'd blown up her cover. But somebody had to point it out.
There was a moment of awkard silence where everything could have happened. Ada could have drawn her weapon and shoot Wesker at point blank. He could have simply ignored the missing chunk of flesh and bone and advance on her, breaking her neck. He could have gone berserk and the virus spred in Raccoon City, dooming the little town and its oblivious inhabitants.
None of that happened. Instead,
"You've been eavesdropping?"
"Just picking up a thing or two, good ears you know," she flashed him a smile. His gaze remained stern. Birkin showed traces of panic.
"I see," she couldn't see any bandages around his torso or head, just the clotting blood. He must be infected, there's no other way…
"This is confidential information, Miss Wong," Ada tensed. He only adressed her with her surname if things were grave. "I trust you realize this."
She prepared for a 'Now that you know it I have to kill you' line, but perhaps Wesker had seen enough death for today.
"It would be better if you don't forget that detail."
Ada nodded her head slowly. Her hand reached behind. He couldn't possibly expect the matter to be resolved with this..
"I fear I haven't made myself clear," and with that he was infront of her faster than possible. She could feel his breath on her skin, but more importantly his steely grip on her arm. He pulled her close to him, to the metallic scent of blood and with his other hand reached behind her and retreived the handgun.
Ada gulped, focused and kicked him in the shin with as much force as she could muster. Wesker hissed, but didn't budge. Instead he twisted her arm painfully and the next moment she felt the cold metal against the side of her temple.
"No such games. Do we understand eachother?"
"I didn't hear you," the grip on her arm became painful.
"We understand eachother," she said hastily, but not in a defeated tone. Never show weakness; acceptance, but not weakness.
The gun was thrown away behind them, landed at Birkin's feet, its clip making it halfway the distance.
Over Wesker's shoulder Ada could see the look on the doctor's face. He looked pale, almost sickly. Wesker took a step back, losening his grip. Her arm was red and sore, but if he had wanted to he could have broken it, she was sure.
"Come William," he called, but didn't turn around. The doctor followed his orders. He'd experienced himself what it felt like to contradict Wesker and apparently didn't want to relive it.
Wesker opened the backdoor of the SUV, motioning for Birkin to get in.
"I will contact you," he told the researcher flatly, then turning to Ada, "both of you."
Birkin entered the car without another word and she did the same. Wesker shut the back door, took a step back and waited for Ada to turn on the engine. She turned the keys and the SUV started on.
Hitting the gas, the vehicle set into motion. Ada kept glancing into the rearview mirror at the man who should be dead. The sun rose behind him, so that she could mostly only make out his outlines.
When they were a little distance away and Wesker had dwindled to a small dapple between the big buildings around him the light played the funny trick on his eyes again and she thought to see them glow for a split second, before the STARS commander faded out of view completely.
Her eyes then locked on the face of Birkin that was so pale one could assume he had contracted the virus. He looked up.
"The name's Ada Wong, by the way," she said.
"William. Dr. William Birkin," he introduced himself.
Ada had the odd feeling that this wasn't the last time the two of them would have to work together…
Caterpillar: Who are YOU?
Alice: I-- I hardly know, sir, just at present -- at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
Ada's views on the virus/serum concotion are… well, her own views and assumptions. They might contradict to information of earlier chapters, so that's why I'm saying it here again. Everything is speculation, since this is the only thing they have at the moment.
And now: A huge thank you to all people who read and reviewd this story! I had a blast writing it, and I hope you enjoyed it just as much!
Due to popular demand in the poll, I will continue the series, rather than go back before the Mansion. The new story will include the events occuring between RE1 and RE2, featuring Wesker, Ada and Birkin.
A little preview:
dum fortuna fuit
while fortune lasted
Wesker finds out more about the virus, while Birkin realizes the threat Umbrella poses to his research. In the end Wesker learns to handle his powers and Birkin takes a decision that leads to an entire city's destruction.