Okay, so here's the deal for new readers: Resistance, Infection, Adaptation, Reverberations, and THEN Years Between. I hope that clears things up, because this story will seem odd if you don't read the other ones first. Also, I haven't finished the game yet due to switching jobs and schoolwork, but I'll try to update regularly. I know everyone loves a fast updater. lol.
I'm sure you've guessed, but this takes place before Resident Evil 5. It's more like a kaleidoscope of scenes of what life is like between Claire's deal and going to Africa. This is meant to bridge the time, and it won't be a long story.
Anyway, enjoy! And I love reviews, but I didn't need to tell you that, right? lol.
Another day, another empty e-mail box. Blue eyes lingered on the refresh button but quickly jerked away toward the kitchen. What was that awful racket? Claire's sensitive ears picked up the occasional cuss word, and then the soft sizzling of butter in a skillet. Chris was making breakfast? Now there was a disaster waiting to happen. With a smile creeping up her face, Claire stood and peaked around the corner into the next room. Sure enough, there was Chris in a tank top and shorts, trying (key word 'trying') to make an omelet. She had to stifle a giggle when half of the food was accidently flipped onto the stovetop.
"Damn it," Chris huffed.
"If you'd like some assistance…" Claire teased. Chris rubbed his head and shot her an annoyed scowl. "Okay, okay, do it yourself, tough guy." She entered the small room and leaned against the counter, red hair half-obscuring her face.
"Messy, bed hair is definitely your look, sis," Chris smiled. Claire ran a hand through the tangled strands, and then eyed the eggs.
"Already on it. I put plenty of hot sauce in yours, and some onions, and some chili peppers. It makes me sick to watch you eat it, but if that's what it takes." Claire loved her brother dearly, and the hot sauce was just one reminder of that, for he was very casual and accommodating toward her viral situation. The day he'd made her gag by spraying air freshener had seen him rush her to the hospital, and then he'd sworn never to allow air freshener in the house ever again. He was so sweet at times, but he wasn't entirely happy with her either. Wesker was to thank for that.
Chris was still smarting from the fact that Claire had voluntarily spent time with Wesker—she could tell by the extremely agitated look he adopted whenever the man was mentioned—but overall, their relationship was stable and pleasant. Of course, Chris had no idea what had happened when Claire had gotten involved with Michael Lance, but there were some things that were better left unsaid. She was pretty sure that he'd explode if he found out that she had basically professed her love for a certain blond-haired tyrant.
"What are you thinking about?" Chris asked. Claire quickly snapped out of her thoughts and reached for her eggs.
"When are you leaving?"
"Tomorrow." She frowned. "I know; I know, but they just got word of a new lead, and I'm being shipped out to investigate. I was supposed to have two months off, but they say it can't wait. Sorry, sis."
"Can you at least tell me where you're going?" she pleaded.
"No can do. They haven't even told me yet, and if I did know, it'd be classified."
"Classified this, classified that," Claire rolled her eyes. "Like they would ever find out that you told me." Chris flopped his eggs onto a plate and eyed the questionable, yellowish mess.
"You know that it's not personal, stupid," he joked. Claire crossed her arms and stared up at him in protest. He towered over her and appeared so strong with his heavily muscled body, yet she could have broken him in two. It was a strange thought for both of them, but Claire was very careful not to use her abilities around people. She had learned the hard way when a jerk on a cell phone crashed into her car on the freeway. She had been so annoyed that she'd stormed over to his truck to demand an apology, and the man had the nerve to accuse her of not paying attention to traffic. As she recalled, she'd ripped off his car door when he refused to get out and talk to her. Well, accidents happened…
"Can't you give me a hint?" she asked.
"I know that they already told you where you're going, so stop stalling." Chris sighed as he gave up trying to eat his egg creation.
"There's no fooling you," he complained.
"That's right, so where's my hint?" Silence. "Chris, I'm eating your eggs without a single complaint. How about returning the love?"
"Africa," he slowly allowed. Claire's face instantly drained of color. Hadn't she heard rumors of Wesker going to Africa for something? She tried to remember the plane conference where she'd heard mention of it, and hadn't Wesker told her something about Africa? It had been a while ago, so she couldn't clearly remember. "Claire?" Chris worriedly asked. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," she dismissed. She forced another bite of egg into her mouth, but she hardly noticed the taste. An unnamed dread was latching onto her senses, and all she could think about was that one word: Africa. "Where in Africa are you going?" she asked. Chris shook his head.
"Not this time, sis," he apologized. "I can't tell you anything else." Claire mutely stood and set her plate in the sink. This was unsettling, and apparently it showed, for Chris reached out and gently held onto her arm, forcing her to look at him. "Are you sure that you're okay?" He could feel the tensed muscles in her arm, and suddenly his brow furrowed. "Nothing's wrong, right?" Claire gave a forced smile.
"I'm fine." It was a lie, and a bad one at that, but Chris didn't say anything. He simply pulled her into a brotherly hug.
"I worry about you sometimes," he said. "I mean, what happens if the virus starts killing you? We don't know what will happen long term." No, they didn't, and Claire had wondered about that more than once. Would something dreadful happen to her? Was her body still changing? Wesker said that she was stable, but he hadn't been infected long enough to know what would happen either. For now, all she knew was that she felt like herself, but there wasn't a day that the future didn't creep into her mind. The promise that she had made with him was always there. Someday Chris would learn the truth, and someday she'd be faced with the consequences of her emotional attachments. Life could be damned complicated.
"Chris, I'm still here."
"Yeah, you're too stubborn to get killed by some puny virus." She giggled and pulled away from him. "I'm going to start packing. What are you up to today?" They walked into the living room, and Claire's eye inadvertently wandered toward the computer, where her e-mail box was still open. Chris noticed the movement and carefully watched her shift in attention. "You're obsessed with checking that thing," he stated.
"I'm waiting for an e-mail from a friend," she explained. He didn't need to know who that friend was. "And it's been a while. I can't stop thinking about it." Chris's hand touched the cell phone clipped onto his belt, and Claire sadly sighed. "No word from Jill either?"
"No," Chris said. "I can't even leave messages anymore, because her phone's dead." He shoved the phone back into his belt with frustration. "It's been three months, Claire—three freaking months! She didn't even tell me where she was going. How am I supposed to find her? What if she's in trouble?"
"Now you understand why I want to know where you're going so badly," Claire softly replied. "She'll turn up, Chris. Jill's a fighter." His eyes brimmed with the pain that Claire knew was consuming him. Losing Jill would be hard for him, if she was indeed dead. No one knew, and that was perhaps worse than having a death certificate. Claire knew that Chris would never stop looking for Jill until he located her. They had been so happy together. Chris had even told Claire one night that he knew exactly what ring he was going to buy Jill.
"Chris," Claire began, her voice distant. "If things start to get really dangerous, please call and tell me where you are. Don't leave me not knowing like Jill did. I don't want to go through that."
"Okay, sis. I promise."
The next day, Chris left Claire by herself with a new assignment from Terrasave. For a long time afterwards, she sat by the window, just staring into space, praying that her brother and Jill would be kept safe. Again, she felt like the background person left out of the action, but getting involved had its own risks. Evening came, and Claire still sat and let the sinking sun's orange rays paint her hair a brilliant, fiery hue. She would have given anything to know where Wesker was, but the e-mail box remained empty.