Legal disclaimers: I do not own or lay claim to the Resident Evil franchise nor anything directly part of it. I do, however, lay claim to any original ideas/plots/characters, so ask first before borrowing any of them.
Disclaimers: This is a special one-off story centring on the outcome of the RE: 5 game from 2008. After all, is there anyone left who doesn't know the outcome now? However, if you don't know or don't want to, read no further. Also, a Y stands for a page break.
Jill Valentine was actually glad that she had woken up, even though it was clearly the middle of the night. The chill of the darkness in the desert made the temperature in the room much easier to bear, especially when added to the steadily rumbling air conditioning. More to the point, the darkness was easier on her eyes after over a year of horrors that she couldn't escape in the daylight.
She could still feel her fists crashing again and again into meat, muscle and bone, feel flesh tear and bone crack, then snap under the hideous barrage of pain inflicted by her hands. She could see the light going out forever in the eyes of people who she'd killed by simply snapping their necks with one hand as the P30 Serum had done its work on her body and mind. She'd never forget the faces of bleeding, battered victims lying curled up and broken on the floor, more than half dead yet not allowed to die, always kept alive and awake to suffer more pain until Wesker finally got bored with it...
Wesker. If there was a true evil on the planet, she knew what he looked like and his name. He'd done far worse than just torture and kill her, one of his oldest enemies and a survivor of the S.T.A.R.S. Alpha team of Racoon City he'd once commanded. Instead, he'd taken her away from everyone she loved, left them all believing she was dead-except Chris, Barry and Rebecca, who had all declared that they'd stop looking when they got to Hell if that was what it took, unless they found her body first. That had been the start.
Then he'd kept her in a Stasis Tube like she was some kind of science experiment for almost a whole year, found not only a cure for the Virus in her blood but a way to amplify and mutate its affects by taking samples of her blood and tissue like she was a lab rat. He'd turned her into a pet by placing the P30 implant over her heart and leaving her unconscious until its serum took full effect, then he'd woken her up and ordered her to kill the helpless man tied up next to her. She'd done it without hesitation, her own body betraying her as she'd screamed on the inside-and that was when she'd realised the worst.
He owned her then, inside and out, she'd killed for him with her own two hands and would again-and much, much worse. She'd been well aware that Wesker was depraved, deranged, sadistic and possibly insane on top of likely psychotic, but she'd heard some of his conversations with Excella Gionne and...well, she'd never once imagined he literally wasn't human. But the "Wesker" Project had been very specifically mentioned and, horribly enough, it made sense.
Built rather than born, despite having two parents, he'd always been very, very smart, astonishingly physically capable, resilient and simply...competent far beyond what most people could imagine. She'd put it down to natural talent, when she'd known him, or at least as far as that went. He'd only revealed his true colours in the Spencer Mansion and, well, that spoke for itself. They'd never been able to find out how he'd survived, but he'd been more than human, something almost entirely different, when Chris had next run into him in Antarctica. He'd changed since then, too, grown into his new abilities and showed more and more the monster he was on the inside on the outside.
He'd loaned her to Excella as a soldier and assassin, not a servant, under strict instructions, but she'd been forced to watch some of what Excella had considered "pleasure" while carrying out her duties. It had been like staring straight down into Hell for fun, she'd have thrown up or even screamed if she could have. Excella had even gone so far, once, as to risk ignoring Wesker's instructions and warnings in an attempt to draw his pet assassin into her "recreational" pursuits.
She had nothing to thank Wesker for, ever, but only his standing Orders, which always overrode Excella's, had prevented her from being forced to indulge in activities and actions which would have left her sanity in question and made her feel so dirty she would have never been clean again. Wesker's absolute control over her body was more than sufficient to stop her from Suicide, even, or that would have been her chosen method of escaping from him.
She'd fought the serum, body and mind, from the moment of implantation until Chris had finally, literally torn the implant out of her chest, cracking a rib and cutting her deeply as the implantation tubes tore through her flesh. She'd been left so exhausted by the struggle to defeat the serum that she'd lived in almost a grey fog, only upright and mobile because of the damned device, for so long that it's sudden removal hadn't felt real-until her whole chest caught fire and a surge of volcanic pain let her know that she was alive. Alive and free... In that shining, glorious moment, she'd truly understood what freedom meant.
It didn't change the fact that she'd been gone two years. It didn't change the fact Wesker had owned her in every way, used her to kill like she was a weapon, a disposable tool. Nothing could take away from the fact she felt so degraded, from all of it, she couldn't even begin to imagine who she would be when she walked back into the life of "Jill Valentine" and tried to pick up where she'd left off.
The woman who had tackled Wesker with no more than a knife and her bare hands, thrown the two of them off a cliff trying to kill a monster, was dead. Who she'd be when she finally managed to get even some small fraction of what had happened to her straight in her head, let alone the whole of it, if she even could? That was something she would find out the same way as everyone else, over time.
Barely twelve hours ago now, if her sense of time was still good, Wesker had been killed at last by Chris and Sheva Alomar. Chris was still so angry at what had happened to her that she was almost amazed he hadn't popped a vein his head he was so agitated. He'd strode back and forth at the end of her bed for over an hour as the Medics of the BSAA compound ran every test they could on her to determine just what had happened to her and what her injuries were. In fact, she'd seriously considered suggesting he get a new pair of combat boots because he had to have worn the one's he was wearing right down.
In the end, the pleasant Doctor in charge had invited Chris to go get cleaned up and rest a while, or be sedated and carried out. He'd said it in a gentle voice, but Jill had been left in no doubt he would personally ram a syringe full of heavy-duty sedatives into Chris's neck and drag him out feet-first, in person, if Chris didn't listen.
Chris's eyes had Murder in them at that point but his new Partner, Sheva Alomar, who had finally been able to properly introduce herself on the helicopter ride back to the BSAA compound, had put a supporting hand on his shoulder-and he'd calmed down, just like that. She'd almost literally watched the anger and frustration drain out of him as he got himself under control, then he'd nodded to her to let her know he'd be back and strode away. Sheva had left moments later, shooting Jill a smile which Jill hadn't been able to interpret yet.
One thing which had bothered her about that exchange, though, was the ease with which Sheva had calmed Chris down. She'd known Chris for two years before the Racoon City disaster and for eight years after that. They'd been romantically involved, on and off, for all ten of those years. From furtive, sneaked Dates while on the job to full-blown dinners with champagne and lobsters to snatched moments of sexual tension release in broom cupboards or other dark places.
They'd loved each other, hurt each other, gotten into serious physical fights and spent very pleasant days making it up afterwards. She'd trust Chris Redfield with her life before members of her own family and, most importantly, she knew that he had the same trust in her. In fact, given that she'd never actually turned down his Proposal from a year before she'd "died", they were still technically Engaged...
All of this went through her head in seconds as her mind caught up with the present, as best it could anyway, before she even considered just what might have woken her up given how exhausted she'd been on arrival. Pain in her chest, even with the bandages wrapping her like a mummy and the pain meds? No worse than a dull throbbing she could barely even feel any longer. Bad dreams? If she'd woken up screaming or really out of sorts a Nurse would have come in to check on her.
Someone or something in the room which hadn't been there before? After ten years of Paranoia, five of those spent fighting for her life day to day against Zombies and monsters? Even while dodging Assassins and trying to protect her loved one's from every kind of attack that a major multinational corporation like Umbrella could bring to bear? Definite possibility, with no good likely outcomes.
She was wounded, drugged and still half-asleep, stuck in a medical bed in unfamiliar territory. Worse, she was unarmed and disorientated, with the trace remnants of P30 still flushing through her system as the drugs she'd been given to clean it out finished their job. Even if she screamed for help and fought to the death, her changed breathing patterns would have told anyone competent enough to breach the compounds perimeter that she was awake. She was going to die, but at least she was free of Wesker at last...
"Hello, Athena. It's been a long time" said a woman's voice, her accentless, sultry voice sparking a brilliant light in Jill's fragmentary memory. Jill's eyes almost rolled out of her head as her eyelids threatened to shoot off of her face even as she sat up so abruptly she wrenched several muscles. There was only one woman she'd ever known who spoke with a voice like that...
It took a too-long moment for Jill to realise that she couldn't see in the room because the lights had been turned out to give her peace and darkness to rest in. Even as that thought crashed home, she was reaching for the light switch for the lamp on her bedside table-
A small lamp flickered alight to her left as a tall woman sat down on the bed next to her. She looked up, seeing first of all the delicious golden-tanned tawny skin with traces of a deeper mahogany colouring visible in even the slight, pale lamplight. Her eyes tracked across full red lips to sapphire blue eyes and jet-black hair, taking in a youthful, truly delicious feminine beauty that she wasn't easily able to describe.
The woman was wearing a jet-black armless t-shirt which exposed her midriff, worn dark blue jeans and a pair of sturdy dark brown climbing boots, the silver Ankh on a silver chain around her neck completing the ensemble. None of it did much to conceal hard-muscled long limbs, a slim waist and curving figure which would have made nine in ten of the people Jill had ever met stop and stare.
Her name was Serena Baccarin, she was a professional Assassin for the US Government who Jill hadn't seen or spoken to in years, despite how close they'd once been. Also, although Jill knew that the woman was forty years old in 2008, she didn't show any signs of ageing at all. Her skin was still smooth, grey simply didn't exist in her hair and she still moved with that impossible grace she'd always had. Jill, in reality, wasn't surprised, though. Serena was and always had been the kind of woman who only changed when she wanted to look different, even advancing age didn't dare suggest otherwise.
"Hello, Artemis. Yes, it has" Jill finally managed to reply. Then she practically threw herself forwards and wrapped Serena in a tight hug.
Serena, never the most comfortable with close physical contact, let alone embraces or intimate contact of any kind, let Jill Valentine hug her and hugged the younger woman back with a sense of real pleasure she'd believed she was no longer able to experience. She and Jill had been lovers once, before they'd gone on to fight side by side for almost a year in a Guerrilla War against the Umbrella Corporation.
They'd lived in the trenches for so long. Fighting side by side, risking life and limb and worse every day, trusting one another implicitly and falling asleep back to back guns in hand, with an unspoken agreement that the last two bullets would always be saved for the Worst Case Scenario. They'd ended up completing each others sentences, falling asleep and waking up at the exact same times and, bizarrely, with a shared craving for Pineapple juice. Neither of them had liked Pineapple juice before they'd started fighting together.
The fact that they'd ended up sharing Chris Redfield was no secret, either, inside the circle of people who'd fought against Umbrella anyway. S.T.A.R.S. and SOC Veterans still wolf-whistled and referred to Chris as the multiple man, five years on. If they'd known the whole story, she suspected most would have fainted in shock.
She took Jill in as they hugged, taking the opportunity for a close-up inspection. Jill's once brown hair was now so pale that it was really a very light blonde at best, her brown eyes had turned pale blue and even the colour of her skin had changed so much that she almost seemed an Albino. Despite that, she could tell from simple physical contact past the sleeping gown Jill was wearing that Jill was as fit and strong as she'd ever been, if not more so-but the haunted look in the young woman's eyes had already told her what she'd suspected was true.
Terrible things had occurred to Jill while she'd been gone, in all likelihood she'd done terrible things when given no choice by Albert Wesker. On top of which, she'd actually died, in a sense at least.
She just wished Chris had called her sooner. Jill needed help and company she knew well to rely on-and she, Serena Baccarin, was uniquely qualified to provide it. The more things changed, the more they stayed the same...
"I knew you weren't dead from just a fall, Jill, even with your hands around Wesker's throat, but he did a damn good job of hiding you. All I can do is apologise that I couldn't do my job sooner" she said, at which Jill's hug briefly tightened before the younger woman sat back to look her in the eyes. She made a point of keeping hold of both of Serena's hands, though.
"Do you believe I'd ever have even imagined you'd give up on me, Serena? I'd have believed Wesker was actually God before that" replied Jill, with a playful smile. The look in Jill's eyes briefly lightened at her words, but then darkness crept back in. Serena didn't like that, at all.
"Well, thank you for that. What happened to your looks, though? Didn't you have brown hair, once?" asked Serena, extracting her left hand from Jill's grip to run her fingers through Jill's hair. Jill relaxed into the caress with a sigh, only one more example of just how badly Wesker had hurt the young woman to Serena.
"Wesker happened. You remember what I told you about Carlos and me in Racoon City? How he found a Cure for the T-Virus to stop me from turning into a Zombie" asked Jill.
"Of course, you're the only person who got infected and survived anyway out of that nightmare thanks to him. Oh... You mean Wesker found a way to pull the Cure out of you and the process left you like this?" replied Serena.
"Yes, but that wasn't all he did. He used the Cure to amplify and mutate the Virus further, then he shot me up with some kind of Serum I think he invented called P30. It cut my conscious mind out of the chain where my own body was concerned. If he ordered me to do something, I didn't have a choice. Not even if he ordered me to kill. You understand?" asked Jill, her voice increasingly bitter even as she began to turn away from Serena.
"Even after everything, I doubt you have any idea how well. You don't need to hide away from me, of all people, Jill. I may be known as Reaper, but one of my nicknames is "The Slaughter Witch". Do you want me to go on?" asked Serena.
"No. Point. But...that's just not me, never was. He knows-knew that, he knew exactly how I felt about killing, even in self-defence. It cuts you inside, Serena, it's that simple, you of all people know that about me. He made me kill men and women, people I knew were innocent, torture them, beat them, do the most vile things you can imagine. I left whole room covered in blood and human remains while a rotting head and torso died slowly on hooks hanging from the ceiling on his Orders. I broke a mans legs, sat down and watched him get eaten alive by vultures. I even gutted a man, put maggots inside him and then stitched him up so that the Maggots would eat their way out... I can't go on like THIS!" Jill suddenly shouted, as a particularly terrible memory overwhelmed her suddenly.
Jill's whole body began to shake as she spoke, her eyes rolling as her breathing sped up. She was going into Shock and Hyperventilating, Serena's medical training and experience told her that, but she had no way of medically helping without snapping on the lights and grabbing gear and drugs, which she didn't want to do since she wasn't supposed to be anywhere near West Africa, officially or unofficially. That left her only one option.
She threw herself on top of Jill and held her down, taking care to restrict the young woman's movements rather than restrain her, using her own greater weight as a brace. Getting her mouth level with Jill's ear she embraced the woman as tightly as she could, saying "Your safe, Jill" over and over again as quickly as she could. Hopefully, Serena's own body weight and heat would make Jill relax somewhat, while the words she heard would do the rest. Hopefully...
It took a good two minutes, but Jill finally stopped shaking and started breathing normally again, her eyes bloodshot but coming back into focus. It took a long minute more before Jill licked painfully dry lips, then spoke in a painfully dry voice.
"Hi again. Does this remind you of anything?" Jill managed, feebly. Serena couldn't help a bark of laughter at that, even as she allowed herself to relax into Jill's hesitant, almost awkward embrace, laying her head on Jill's chest over her heart. They always had fitted together so well.
"All too well, actually, but now isn't the time. If you want to get Wesker out of your head, though, you know where to find me. Laughter is the best medicine for horrors, though, trust me on that, so I Prescribe at least a month surrounded by friends and family completely away from anything related to violence. As for the rest, avoid Anti-Depressants and Sedatives, all they do is mask the symptoms. The best cure for what's happened to you is to remind yourself of the wonders of this world and let that clean away all the darkness Wesker put in you. Remember, your hand on the weapon or not, he is responsible for what he made you do, not you. Got that?" asked Serena.
Jill's hand came up, her fingers swept through Serena's hair, traced her cheek, throat and collarbone then descended down to Serena's left breast and stopped, the embrace gentle but firm. This time, Serena had to suppress a shudder of her own. Jill had learnt her way around Serena's body year's ago-and she'd clearly never forgotten what she knew.
"When did you become a Counsellor, Artemis? Besides, I think a month alone with you would do me wonders. Just think, we could rent a boat, find some deserted desert island in the Pacific and experience our own little piece of Paradise for a few weeks..." said Jill, allowing a seductive tone to enter her voice.
Serena knew just how imaginative Jill could be first-hand, while she'd seen countless times Jill's impressive stamina and agility as well as her natural athleticism. That meant she knew exactly what Jill was offering, a fact which made her mouth go dry. Fortunately, she also knew that what Jill was really saying was that she needed time to herself with people she knew she could trust and rely on. She, Serena, was simply in the right place at the right time. Jill would have made the same offer to Chris, if he'd been where she was.
"I'm yours if you need or want me, Athena, but we both know I'm not that reliable. Anyway, I need to go before anyone else realises I'm here and I have something to show you. Sit up a minute" said Serena, following her own advice. Jill followed suit, wincing a little as the wounds in her chest pulled despite the painkillers, then looked curiously at Serena.
"First of all, you can never, ever discuss what I'm going to show you, on your life. Second, when I'm gone I was never here. Understand?" asked Serena, the look in her eyes making Jill realise she was as deadly serious as she sounded. Besides which, Jill knew better.
Serena had a true gift for killing and slaughter, obscene as that sounded, but she was a complete professional before anything else. If she said she'd kill you if you broke a promise to her she'd do it, no matter who or what you were to her. Jill had seen her prove it during the War with Umbrella Corporation, more than once. Even Chris and Jill herself were not immune, Jill knew, no matter what they'd shared or how close they were to her.
Serena Baccarin was a very hard woman to read, but after knowing the woman for years Jill had something approaching an idea of how her mind worked. Serena cared a great deal for both her and Chris, maybe even loved them both-but she was ultimately incapable of the kind of ultimate commitment that would make it impossible for her to act against a loved one. For what reason Jill doubted she'd ever know, but she knew it was a truth.
As for what she was to Chris and Jill herself? That was another question with no easy answer. There was little doubt that Chris loved Serena in Jill's mind, but he also knew who and what the woman was, what she was capable of, which stopped Chris, Jill suspected, from ever fully committing to the woman. For herself, Jill didn't rightly know what she felt. She'd had an exotic and unusual lifestyle with her Dad before she'd cleaned up and joined S.T.A.R.S. when he went to jail, but, fooling around notwithstanding, she'd been into men exclusively.
That had changed when she was still in Racoon City, a year after she'd joined up. A newly promoted female Police Detective and she had gone out hunting for men in the local bars after a few too many drinks, but had miserably failed to find any worthwhile candidates. Therefore-and how drunk had they been to decide that?-they'd ended up in bed with each other instead.
Now that had been an awkward morning, when she'd come to to find herself tangled in the sheets and limbs of someone else-and found herself face to face with a woman she barely knew. The other woman had leapt out of bed and been in the shower precisely five seconds after seeing Jill's face, while Jill had just felt embarrassed. They'd both agreed that they'd been too drunk to know what they were doing and never spoken about it again.
Serena had been the only other woman she'd been with and...well, the kind of pleasure that entailed she was incapable of forgetting. But, all the same, did she love the woman? Ultimately? No. But she did trust her with her life.
"You have my word. Now, what is this about?" Jill asked, wondering what Serena was so concerned about. This was the sharp end, even for her.
"This" replied Serena, reaching into her right pocket and pulling out a picture. She flipped it around so that Jill could see it properly.
The picture was of a child, maybe five years old. Short dark brown hair, apparently female, tall for her age, with tawny skin tone and bright blue eyes-Jill nearly collapsed in shock as she realised what she had to be looking at. Who she had to be looking at.
"Is he the father?" she asked, softly. She wasn't even sure she wanted to know, but one of the main reasons she'd made a good S.T.A.R.S. Agent was her inquisitive nature.
"Yes. I'm the mother and no, he doesn't know. Nor will he, or anyone else. I needed someone I can trust absolutely to know, in case something happens to me. I'll be in touch with contact details. Take care of yourself, Jill. Better luck this time around" said Serena, then she stood up and turned out the light. Jill barely blinked, but she knew that Serena was gone.
"Jill? Are you awake? I thought I heard voices?" came a new voice. The strong accent and musical voice let Jill know who it was without seeing the owner. Sheva Alomar, Chris's new Partner.
She saw Sheva's flashlight beam first, then the glint of light on steel as the flashlight and handgun appeared around the door. A brief flicker as Sheva entered the room let Jill glimpse what she was wearing. Dark green leggings, barefoot-and what looked like a spare t-shirt she was sure she'd seen Chris wearing before?! Had the woman gotten out of bed with Chris to come and check on her?!? More to the point, just why did the thought upset her so much? She'd been "dead" for two years and Chris was a human being, on-off boyfriend of hers or not...
"No, we weren't in bed together. He has trouble sleeping sometimes, so I took the spare bed in his room to keep an eye on him. I was awake to hear you shout just now, I grabbed a spare shirt of his rather than waste time getting dressed again. Enough about me, though. Are you alright?" asked Sheva.
Sheva was, by her own admission, nine years younger than Jill. She'd been thirteen at the time of the Racoon City incident and barely remembered it. Standing up straight she and Jill were the same height and almost the same weight. But, where Jill was compact, solid, athletic and hard muscle with little more, she sometimes thought, than her good looks and what her uniform just about adequately displayed to remind people she was a woman, Sheva was decidedly feminine.
With dusky skin, dark brown hair and rich curves as well as long legs that seemed to go on forever, Sheva was distinctively beautiful. Dark brown hair tied back in a ponytail only added to the lustre of intelligent amber eyes, while elegant piano players fingers utilised guns and knives with equal ease. With a swimmers powerful physique that only years of hard physical work could develop, Sheva was as strong and agile as any woman Jill knew, excepting Serena but not herself.
Despite herself, Jill couldn't help but like the woman. Chris did, which was a considerable recommendation after everything he'd been through. Not to mention everything they'd been through. Both of them had learnt their lessons about trust with the death and torment of people they cared about and been betrayed too many times to list. Besides, Sheva had helped kill Albert Wesker once and for all. That, alone, would have made Jill respect and like her.
"All right, Sheva? No, I am decidedly not all right, I don't even know if I ever will be again. If I wake up not screaming a year from now, I'll be surprised. Sorry" replied Jill, with a sigh.
Sheva paused for a moment, then sat down on the part of the bed so recently vacated by Serena. "Would you like to talk about it?" she asked, gently.
All of a sudden, Jill had no doubt that Serena was right, laughter was the best medicine. Maybe this intriguing young woman could help her with that?
"Okay. But get comfortable, this'll take a while..." she began.
/The End. All reviews welcomed/.