Only Through the Pain

AN - There's two stories I'm working on at the moment but since I'm quite busy with college and stuff right now I figured I'd put this one out first since it will hopefully take less time to complete. This story basically follows Chris and Jill as they try to settle down, start a family, etc. and forget about the horrors they've faced (which obviously proves harder than they thought) when their past begins to catch up with them. I want to address the other characters, too, but the main focus will be on Chris and Jill. However, they won't be the only game characters involved.

This isn't a sequel to Reunion, despite the fact that it may seem like it. If you want you can think of it as one but I prefer not to; I ended Reunion with the thought that Chris and Jill did the usual RE ending of flying off into the sunset. This story shows that they aren't quite there yet (I was actually reluctant about doing this for that reason). I know there's other fics out there concerning similar themes but I wanted to write one myself :). I had a hell of a time trying to think of a summary for this so you're just gonna have to go with me on this one. Future chapters will be longer (hopefully much longer).

I should also mention that this story contains spoilers for Resident Evil 5.

Anyway, the title of the story is taken from the name of Trapt's last album. I just thought it suited the story perfectly.

Disclaimer: I own neither Resident Evil (or any of the characters associated with it) or Trapt (or anything to do with them) nor do I claim to. This story is intended purely for entertainment purposes and no copyright infringement is intended.

Prologue

"Every time I held you I knew that it would hurt. Only through the pain I could find a way to learn."

Ten years, ten long years... Jill sighed in amazement. Even after all this time she still didn't know what the hell had been keeping her going. Was it the all-consuming desire for revenge she had harboured? Was it her hatred for Wesker? Her desire to be by Chris's side? Whatever it was it had kept her alive, through infection and imprisonment.

A decade was all it had taken for the mighty Umbrella Corporation to fall and for Wesker to disappear from their lives for good. No more running, no more hiding...the only road ahead was one that lead to freedom.

"Are you just gonna stand there all day or do you want to help?" Chris asked, taking the younger woman by surprise. She smiled at him as her hands glided over her arms, an expression of pure contentment displayed proudly on her features.

Chris winked at her as he threw a small box in her direction. She stumbled a little as she caught it, composing herself before walking into their new home.

It was a spacious house, modern yet traditional with a genuine fireplace and three bedrooms. The final price they had paid had been several thousand dollars more than they wanted to part with but they were intent on buying that house and no other. For them it was worth the money; it was their first home together. The interior of the house was bare, save for the carpets and the light coating of paint on the walls. They had concluded that it did not need re-decorating and the kitchen had been fitted only weeks before the previous owners had moved out so there was no need to part with any extra cash for the sake of improvement.

Jill placed the box on the dining table, along with the others that Chris had stacked haphazardly on top of each other. She frowned at his disorganisation but shrugged it off, not expecting any better from her husband.

"Where do you want these?" Barry asked as he waved a crudely-taped cardboard box in the air.

"Ah, I think those are Chris's trophies," she replied. "Put them in the study; upstairs, first room on the right."

She was a little amazed by Barry's ability to tuck the heavy box under one arm as he jogged up the stairs; Chris was a highly-decorated soldier, his medals and trophies ranging from simple 'Marksman of the Year' awards from the R.P.D. through S.T.A.R.S. achievement trophies to the many awards he had received from the BSAA. The box must have weighed a fair amount yet Barry seemed to treat it like it was nothing.

Jill shrugged at the thought. Even after five years' early retirement he was still as strong as he had been in S.T.A.R.S.. In contrast she noted that the far younger Leon, still an operating US government agent, struggled with a mere suitcase.

"You've been back...a year," he panted, resorting to dragging the heavy case across the floor, despite Jill's loud protests. "How the hell have you bought this much stuff...in a year?"

"Suck it up, Kennedy," she laughed. "You're supposed to be strong, our country relies on guys like you. Yet you can't handle one woman's clothes?"

He muttered something under his breath, a sentitment that sounded a lot like "go to hell" and continued to wrestle the case up the stairs. Jill couldn't help but laugh at him.

It was their own damn fault for offering to help, she told herself. If they couldn't handle a little lifting and carrying they never should have volunteered.

"And be careful, I like this carpet!" She shouted, loud enough for the Burton girls to hear her by the doorway. She was answered by more swearing and a loud thud, presumably the younger man dropping the offending item in defeat.

"Is there anything at all you need us to do?" Polly asked as she approached Jill, her sister by her side. "Dad won't let us touch any of the heavy boxes. Kind of defeats the point in bringing us along if you ask me, but we stopped arguing with him years ago."

"Well," Jill began, pausing for thought as she tried to find an activity for the bored teenagers. "I guess you could go upstairs and make the beds. Sheets are in that box over there. White or black for the master bedroom and I'll let you choose for the guests. There's also some towels in that box that you can put in the bathrooms. White and black for the ensuite, blue for the main bathroom."

The girls giggled, causing Jill to pause and laugh at herself.

"I'm turning into a housewife, aren't I?" She asked, a slight trace of worry evident in her tone.

"You still have your job," Moira pointed out. "Most housewives don't tell ex-forces guys how to take down zombies."

Jill smiled as the girls began to rifle through the box she had carefully labeled 'linen'. After a two month leave from BSAA duties both she and Chris had retired from active duty, preffering to make up for time they had lost. They both agreed that the BSAA no longer needed them the way they had before Jill's blood provided a much-needed cure for the viruses. With the antivirus being shipped frequently to affected countries, terrorists had largely abandoned the use of bioweapons. The BSAA was still needed, of course, but not to the extent it had been previously. Their experience had ensured that both Chris and Jill could secure desk jobs and were awarded the responsibility of assisting in the training of new recruits. They were both well respected and to land a place in either one of their classes was considered a great honour. The hours were good; thirty a week at most with paperwork on weekends; and the pay was better.

It was as though every element of their life was falling perfectly into place...finally.

She smiled, digging into a nearby box to pull out a worn photoframe. The picture within was over ten years old, taken the night before Bravo's failed mission. Every member was grinning insanely, the old sense of camaraderie she had loved about S.T.A.R.S. evident in the stillness of the scene.

A sudden wave of sorrow passed over her. Everything they had fought for had been for those men; every cut, every bruise, every victory, every tear. It had taken ten years, but their deaths had finally been avenged. It was unsettling to say the least and the surviving S.T.A.R.S. members found it difficult to finally lay their friends' memories to rest, but it was the ending they all knew they deserved.

The frame fit perfectly between a photograph of her wedding day and another of the Original Eleven. She knew how proud they would be of her for carrying on the good fight and also how hilarious they would have found the idea of bickering Valentine and Redfield as husband and wife.

"Cute," Chris commented, observing the photograph over her shoulder. "But you have no idea how glad I am that I didn't have to parade around in front of them in a tux. It was bad enough with the others there."

"I think you looked rather dashing," Jill commented in the best faux-English accent she could manage.

"I felt like a damn penguin."

Their wedding had been small and simple yet at the same time it was everything Jill had ever dreamed of. Their close friends and family attended, as did most of the members of BSAA's North American division, with the addition of Sheva and Josh. Claire and Rebecca had, of course, been bridesmaids, as had the Burton girls, with Barry as best man and Dick Valentine gratefully walking his daughter down the aisle. It was a church wedding, though neither Chirs nor Jill were overly religious, and the reception had been held at a nearby hotel.

Jill gazed at the photograph before them, taken outside the church in a moment of lapsed concentration. It was a candid shot, their eyes locked with an aura of pure contentment seeming to surround them. Jill's dress hugged her body tightly, the skirt hanging loosely around her legs. It was obvious the moment she laid eyes on it that it was the dress for her; simple yet beautiful...understated.

"You looked stunning," Chris whispered, his arms around her waist. "It was perfect, every moment of it."

"Don't get soppy, Redfield," she teased. "Though I have to agree with you. Still...if someone had told me ten years ago that I would be marrying Chris Redfield, I wouldn't have believed them."

"Now who's being soppy?"

A sharp elbow dug playfully into his ribs, his arms not quite relinquishing their hold on her.

"Are you two done yet?" Leon complained. "This is your house, why are we doing all the work?"


It rained that night. The air was warm, the wind beating against the windows. Chris always hated summer rain, he thought it defeated the point. Though he admittedly had not spent many summers in North America, the BSAA and his own hard-working attitude keeping him away from home most of the year. Still, the rain continued to beat down outside and for once Chris did not mind.

He turned from the window, closing the curtains behind him. He was not interested in what was outside, not when there was a whole new environment to get used to. The size of the master bedroom satisfied him; it was large enough to accomodate their Queen-sized bed as well as a sizeable chest of drawers, dressing table and several shelves with room to spare. The colour scheme was plain and grown-up for the most part.

"Not bad, huh?" Jill asked, pulling her hair into a rough ponytail as she exited the ensuite. Chris hummed in agreement, much more fascinated by the new sight before him. Jill wore loose-fitting pyjamas; a pants and cami set, nothing sexy. Still, Chris couldn't help but note the way it clung to her hips, how the colour perfectly suited her skin tone now that it had somewhat returned to normal. Jill noticed him looking and wiggled her hips a little before clapping her hands to pull him roughly from his daydream.

"Eyes front, soldier," she laughed. He raised an eyebrow, sending her into a further fit of laughter.

"Since when do I take orders from you?" he joked. A dull 'thwack' permeated the still air as a pillow hit him square in the face. He reacted slowly, returning the pillow to the spot she had occupied several seconds too late.

She re-appeared by his side, her hands placed gently on his back and stomach respectively.

"So which side do you want?" she asked, turning to look at their freshly-made bed.

"Depends where we finish," he growled suggestively, pulling her into him again.

Her eyes were drawn to his, a solitary hand remaining on his chest as the other fell to his waist. He could barely register her touch through the thin cotton of his T-shirt, her hands and every other part of her seeming so small next to his bulkier frame. Still, what he could feel could not be described by words alone. It was a feeling he had missed too much in the two years she was gone, a feeling he made sure he experienced as frequently as possible now that he knew what it was like to live without her.

He groaned inwardly, one more time laughing at how domesticated and, well...soppy he had become. It was all he could do to refrain from checking to make sure his balls were still where they should be. Though he was justified in his worry; having experienced the sheer agony of losing her, he had no intention of revisiting that dark period.

She remained still in his arms, her eyes fixed on a crease in his shirt, her mind obviously elsewhere.

"Jill?" he asked.

She did not respond, nor did she show any signs of acknowledging his presence, let alone his voice.

"Jill, honey?" he tried, knowing how much she hated being called 'honey'. It made her feel ten years older, she had told him.

Still, no reply.

"Jill!"

His cry seemed to snap her back to reality with a jolt, her whole body responding to his call. As if by instinct, a large hand found its way to her cheek, the darkened skin contrasting to her own pale (yet recovering) tone.

For a moment her eyes locked with his, the blissful expression she adopted suddenly betrayed by the contradiction Chris witnessed beyond this superficial display. He could not quite pick up on what exactly it was that he witnessed, but something deep inside of him twisted, an uneasy feeling settling in his gut.

"Jill, are you alright?"

She breathed deeply, her eyes flitting away before returning to meet his gaze, once again filled with intelligence and light. Still...something lingered just below the surface, something Chris could not quite identify. A reassuring smile was offered, followed by a kiss he found hard to object to.

"I'm fine," she promised, her voice shaking ever so slightly. "I just don't feel too good...a little sick. It's probably the weather, I'll be alright."

Her smile remained as he searched her features as though the answers would suddenly appear, etched into her flawless skin. He found nothing to contradict her words other than the niggling feeling that something wasn't quite right. He let it slide, knowing that she always worried about silly little things that weren't worth the energy she spent on them. 'She's probably worrying about the colour of the curtains downstairs' he thought.

"In that case, I think we have a new bed to christen," he announced, sweeping her up into his arms. A small surprised yelp escaped her throat but she gladly settled into his arms, obedient as he lay her gently onto the oversized bed.

"Be gentle," she begged in a mock-serious tone. Chris laughed as he leaned over her, careful not to put too much of his weight on her small frame.

"No promises," he whispered.

AN - Please R&R :).