Author's Note: I do NOT own Resident Evil, the characters or anything else that has been created by Capcom. All I 'own' is this scenario.
Commercial flying. It's not the most desirable of travel conditions. You're packed like sardines into a long metal tube with a handful of other people. People who are loud, unhygienic, and possibly carrying a variety of bacteria that could keep the CDC happy for days. The food is hardly able to be consumed by humans and the in-flight movies are usually two years too old. Not to mention the fact that you're suspended thousands of miles in the air in a high pressurized environment. In the wake of 9/11, there was a noticeable decline in its usage. And yet, millions of people continue to use it every day.
Leon S. Kennedy was one of those people. He stared out of the window, resting his head on his fist and watching the clouds as the plane moved by at a snails pace. When in actuality they were moving at a high almost sonic speed. It was funny how something as mundane as the clouds could calm anyone. The mix of blue and white. They way that they stayed transfixed in the sky, weightless. It all seemed somehow, poetic.
It was no wonder why people would spend hours lying on their backs on some grassy knoll, staring up at the sky.
"Doesn't sound too bad", Leon thought, musing at the possibility of a quiet afternoon.
He could have had a first class seat. He could have taken a trip on a government aircraft. But Leon had opted to take a commercial flight instead.
In retrospect, it was probably not the most intelligent decision that he had made in the past week. Given what had happened at the Harvardville Airport merely days ago, only a person with a death wish would choose to fly in an airplane. A man with no regard for his own safety would take a flight in a commercial air liner as opposed to a government sanctioned craft.
But Leon was a man of balance. And it was this day that he had opted for a regular flight home. Despite everything he had been through, sometimes all Leon wanted was a return to normality. Even if it were through something as insignificant as taking a flight with civilians. Civilians that included the obese man stuffed into a Hawaiian themed shirt dotted with pineapples. Or the baby that hadn't stopped screaming for the last hour and a half. Or even the small child that had been kicking the seat next to the one Leon sat in.
He should have been more annoyed. Yet, in his experience, Leon knew that life was too short to get worked up over trivial little things. For these people had no idea how lucky they were. They would never know how close they came everyday to annihilation. Whether it be from terrorist attacks or the virus outbreaks that had plagued the planet for the better part of a decade. They would never know that if it weren't for people like him, and others that had put their lives on the line or paid the ultimate sacrifice….
"Can I get another drink for you sir?" a feminine voice spoke to him.
"Huh?" Leon said, taking his attention away from the clouds and his thoughts.
He turned and faced the young flight attendant. She had to have been no older than twenty seven. Her short brown hair was styled into a bob cut and her blue uniform clung to her small frame, the skirt showing off her tanned legs. A mess of freckles dotted her cheek bones.
"A refill. It looks like you could use one" she smiled, pointing to the small plastic cup that Leon held absently in his hand.
"Oh right, right", Leon said, giving a small laugh and slightly shaking himself away from his thoughts as he offered the cup to the woman who filled it again with a fresh Sprite.
The flight attendant smiled before saying "We'll be landing in about half an hour"
With that, she went to pushing the snack cart down the isle to check on the other passengers. Leon, however, didn't even lift the drink to his mouth. He was more content with letting his mind wander. There was so much to digest after the last several days.
The events in California should have been the end of it. But it would have been a pipe dream to assume such a thing. If you said it once, you could say it again: For people like him, it would never be over. And that had never been more apparent than with the events that had occurred at the Harvardville Airport. There he had been faced with old demons. Demons that should have stayed locked away in his nightmares. Yet it was much more difficult when old nightmares become a new reality.
Like tearing open an old wound and pouring salt into it. Followed by gasoline and then set on fire. And finally followed by a swift kick to the jewels.
Raccoon city. A city that had been wiped off the map still had some lasting remnants. It was like a cancer that goes into remission only for it to relapse years later. Memories that he had tried to burry. The viral outbreak that had occurred at the airport and the events that followed was simply just a retelling of the events which had transpired six years back. Leon had been at the front lines of it all back then too. And despite the odds, he had prevailed. He proved that even the nightmares could be forced back to where they belonged. But it wasn't just himself.
Running into Claire Redfield had been more of a blessing than he could have expected. Even though they kept in touch after Raccoon, Leon never expected to run into her at the airport. And during a viral outbreak of all situations. He didn't know if he truly believed in fate, but Leon felt that something had thrown the two of them together in order to fight the good fight. They, along with Angela Miller of S.R.T., had given it their all, contained the outbreak, and brought those responsible to justice. All in all, Leon couldn't have asked for it any other way.
But that wasn't entirely true. Good people had lost their lives during the incident. A seemingly countless number of people, people with families and loved ones, had fallen prey to the T-virus. People who would no doubt just end up as a bunch of numbers for statistic purposes. There had also been the regrettable loss of Greg Glenn, Angela's partner. While over confident and somewhat vain in dealing with the outbreak, Glenn had ultimately sacrificed himself after being bitten by the undead. Staying behind and holding off the zombies had given Leon the time he needed to get the remaining survivors out of the airport.
He could have gotten more. Could have been given a better finish to the mission. He could have wanted a better outcome. But that was all in the past now. What was done was done. Nothing more to do than to honor the memories of the fallen by living on for them.
But in actuality, all Leon wanted right now was to go home. Just return to his loft apartment, to where his personal belongings were. But more importantly, it's where she was. The woman that he had put his life on the line for. The one he'd declared his love for. The lady in red. His goddess. His….
House wife. It was not a title she was entirely sure that she was ready to accept. Or if she wanted to accept it at all. For most of her life, she had been able to call the shots. She was able and willing to do what she wanted, when she wanted to do it. To hold titles that one would only see in films. To live the kind of life that most people only dreamed about.
But if that were the case, then was she not leading a life that most only dreamed about? A life of adventure and danger? The kind of experiences that seem larger than life itself? Globe trotting and gallivanting. Spying and stealing. Using her skills to further her own agenda. Never allowing anyone else to guide her or point her in a certain direction. Would all that really go to waste now?
That's the funny thing about fate. It never really allows things to play out as you plan them too. No one in this world is ever going to give you a map. You have to walk your own path. A path that is filled with twists and turns. Short cuts and long stretches of emptiness. You don't have to understand it, just accept it. Even if it takes the entire journey to do so.
As was the case, Ada Wong never thought she'd see herself 'settling down'. A few months ago, the thought would have been inconceivable. But now?
"Now I'm not so sure" she thought to herself as she sat in the bathroom cradling the small white box.
It had been nearly a week since the events in California. Ada had been able to make her way home to Leon's apartment without any sort of trouble. Once she got there, she had no idea with how to preoccupy her time. Ada was fully aware that Leon had pulled a MacGyver and escaped from both certain death and the ambulance that had ferried him away from what had once been the headquarters of The Agency, her former employers. That was Leon for you, always coming out smelling like a rose.
So she was perfectly content with simply waiting for his eventual return to her.
"It's just going to take him longer" she had told herself one morning while re-taping her fractured ribs.
The pain had subsided considerably due to proper care and bed rest. Not to mention the added benefit of the antibiotics that Leon had left in his apartment. A gift from his previous trip to the hospital that he never needed. Now there only remained a dull pain. Almost like an uncomfortable pressure on her torso, like she'd slept funny for about a week.
Since coming back to Leon's apartment, Ada had kept herself busy while simultaneously staying near a phone just in case Leon found a way to contact her. Without a chance to gather her things from her home in California, she had taken what money she still had and went shopping, getting a decent supply of clothes for herself as well as some other essentials. After that, she familiarized herself with her new surroundings, taking it all in, tracing over everything with a fine toothed comb. Ada had to admit it, even though she was usually accustomed to lavish accommodations, Leon's apartment suited her. She had taken to sleeping in Leon's bed. It was being surrounded by his smell, his aura, which brought her some comfort. The whole loft apartment had a 'homey' feel to it. It was this feeling that she hung onto. It made her feel safe.
There was much to learn that she had not been able to get from either Leon or from previous information gleaned from various records and experiences. She had spent hours looking through old photo albums of Leon and his family. His father and his mother both seemed like loving people that had raised their son to be the man that he was today. From what she could guess, his desire to do the right thing and join law enforcement had come from his father and uncle. Both men were cops, or had been at some point in their lives.
The albums were littered with memories of Leon growing up an only child. His journeys playing little league, camping, first days of grade and high school, and outings with friends and family. Even his senior prom was pictured. Ada had chuckled at how uncomfortable he looked in his tux with some ditzy blonde hanging onto his arm. And she had marveled at how distinguished he looked in the pictures detailing him during his police academy years. All throughout, noticing how Leon always kept an air of confidence and courage in every photo he appeared in. But after the set of police academy photos, the rest of the pages were blank.
That's when the dark times came. Raccoon. Umbrella. Everything.
If the idea of Leon living a life that she never had made her heart heavy, it was the thought of that life being shattered back in 98 that made it sink completely. And at the time, she was partly to blame for that. But in some ways, it was also a blessing. Because the war on Umbrella had shaped him into the man that she loved. A man that she was willing to spend the rest of her life with.
Ada was normally a very patient woman. But several days without a call or some form of contact from Leon were beginning to get to her. In times of anticipation, our minds wander, filling in the gaps of reality with whatever our mind allows us to. All just coping mechanisms. And Ada didn't know what to think. She didn't know what was keeping Leon from returning home to her.
And then one morning, she saw it.
The news report had sent a chill down her spine, like ice water being flooded strait into her body. There had been an accident at the Harvardville Airport. Something about a plane crash, an outbreak. Some kind of virus. That's when she'd paid close attention to what little information the reporters had to offer. She'd heard the words and pieced everything together, like connecting the dots in one giant picture.
"No, not again" she had told to herself.
It would have been Raccoon City all over again. That horrible blood and shit soaked nightmare that just wouldn't die. It had to keep rearing its ugly head again and again. Like tearing open a festering wound. It brought up old memories. Painful ones at that. As much as she had tried to distance herself from it all, to not give a shit what happened to anyone else as long as she got what she came for, the events in Raccoon had left a lasting impression on her. A great many people had died during the events in that city. Ada hadn't seen it all, of course. But what she had heard more than made up for it.
It was the screaming. The screaming stayed with her for many nights following the escape from the city. It was more horrible than actually viewing the acts of the monsters that had roamed the streets. It forced her imagination to fill in the missing pieces, like a jigsaw puzzle. And Ada's imagination was a darkened one. What was worse was when the screams started to fade out, one right after another until all that was left was silence. Silence and the occasional moan of the undead. It was experiences and memories like this that cut through her soul. But through out it all, there was some good that came out of it.
When she had caught a glimpse of him on a news report, her heart had stopped in her chest. He was alive. Alive, but still far from home. And that was all that mattered. Once this thought had had time to process itself a tidal wave of questions had surged through her mind.
"How did he get there?"
"What was he doing there?"
"How is not in jail after what we did?"
"When will he come home to me?"
"Will he be safe?"
It was not in Ada's nature to worry, but she yearned for the chance to hold Leon in her arms again and to be held by him as well. After six years of being separated from him, any amount of time with his absence was almost like torture. You don't find someone just to lose them again. And she finally had come to realize what it meant to love someone and have them love you back. To have someone give their life for you time and time again.
So in a way she was living the life that most dreamed about. That sort of fairy tale ending where you end up with the one you love.
She sighed as she closed the photo albums. Ada knew better. She knew Leon wouldn't allow her to simply just become a house wife, not after all they had gone through. Her skills were not something to be wasted. But it was the possibility of a new title that she was in no way prepared for which frightened her the most.
"Mother", she said, cradling the home pregnancy test.
"Is this really where Leon lives?" asked Rani Chawla.
The young Indian girl pressed her tiny face against the glass, watching intently as the scenery passed her by. She wore a pair of jeans and a beige winter coat to protect her against the chilling weather. The jacket looked a bit puffy on her and made moving difficult for the little girl. It was almost comical.
The limo ferried Rani, her Aunt and Claire Redfield through the main street of the small working district where Leon lived. The two older women watched in passive amusement as the small child shifted her gaze from person, place and thing time and time again, soaking in the sights. Claire smiled at how cure she was and how readily she wanted to see everything. The girl was unwilling to let even the smallest of details escape her.
"Rani, dear" her aunt spoke to her. "Be careful. If you push any harder you're going to go right through that glass", she said, stifling a grin.
"But look at how pretty everything is!" Rani exclaimed, turning back to her aunt for a few seconds before pointing to the changing colors of the trees.
It was late August and the scenery had changed for the better. The streets were awash in a mix of reds, yellows, greens and browns as the fall season swept through the area. The vehicle made audible crunching sounds as it travelled over the fallen leaves which littered the cobblestone streets. Claire sat comfortably next to Rani's Aunt as she also took in the sight. Claire was also especially fond of the fall season. Even though it brought a chill to her, she couldn't help at how everything looked, at how there was such a balance between the summer and winter months. 'Cozy' would be an appropriate word to use in this instant. It brought memories of walks through parks, hot chocolate, apple picking, pumpkins and warm fires as well as Halloween and Thanksgiving. Riding her motorcycle through old, winding trails of forests and dirt. Times spent with old boyfriends or even with her brother Chris and extended family.
And by extended family, Claire thought of Jill, Barry, Rebecca, and even Carlos. But especially Chris. After their parents died, he was all she had left.
Claire leaned toward Rani's aunt and whispered, "Are you sure you're alright with this? I know you had your heart set on getting to work with Terra Save."
The older Indian woman took Claire's hand and gave it a loving pat.
"Yes, I'm just worried about Rani. Her nightmares are getting worse"
They both looked over to the girl, still transfixed on what was happening outside. She giggled at a store shop being set up for Halloween. The jack-o-lanterns and fake ghosts amused her greatly. It was sad really that in the days following the Harvardville incident that she was experiencing the after shocks of that event. Claire burned inside at the thought of Rani being exposed to a world that no child should ever be let into. It wasn't fair. It just wasn't fair at all.
"Goddamn them all", she thought. "Goddamn Umbrella and everyone else who's involved in this. Bringing a child into this war. It's just unthinkable"
"Are you alright dear?" Rani's Aunt asked Claire.
Like the woman had said, Rani had been going through a lot of sleepless nights. Going to bed only to wake up screaming hours later, crying for her parents, her Aunt, and even Claire. The attack on the airport had left her with some form of acute traumatic stress disorder. Her aunt was at wits ends with what to do to her. So Claire had suggested that she be taken to a psychologist and sleep specialist that she knew about. Coincidentally, the Doctor lived in the same area as Leon. Claire didn't want to bog the two of them down too much, and Rani's Aunt must have picked up on this.
"Our business will have to wait. My concern is for Rani to get better. That is all"
Claire didn't object at all as she pushed a lock of hair out of her face.
"Are you certain that you're friend will be alright with you staying with him for a few days?" she asked as Rani leapt into her lap.
"Yeah, Leon and I go way back" Claire reassured the woman. "It wouldn't be the first time I've stayed with him"
"He won't object to you dropping in unexpected, will he?" the older woman asked.
"No, not at all. We're practically family" Claire replied without missing a beat.
"He's a good man" the older woman remarked with a warm smile. She stroked her niece's hair and remarked to Claire, "He helped give Rani back to me"
Claire gave a small snorting laugh and said, "That's Leon for you. Always doing the right thing at his own expense", she sighed.
Rani looked over to Claire expectantly, "Do you like him?" she asked.
"What's that sweetheart?" Claire answered, not really paying attention to the little girl.
"Do you like him? Leon, I mean?"
"Rani!" her aunt said, somewhat startled. "Now what kind of question is that for you to be asking her?"
"I was just wondering. That's all" Rani said, looking at her feet.
Claire smiled and plucked the little girl off of her aunt's lap and setting her on her own.
"No sweetie, Leon's just a really, really good friend. We've been through a lot together"
Without missing a beat, the little girl asked, "You mean fighting monsters?"
Claire froze, her heart jumping in her throat. It was not the kind of question that she had expected out of the little girl. Her heart fell again as she thought back to what had happened to Rani. It was bad enough that she was exposed to the events at the airport. But more importantly was that the truth came out now. Everything that parents told their children were lies. In the world that they lived in now, there were monsters under the bed and in the closets. The good guys didn't always win. Bad things would happen to good people.
Life was not a Disney movie.
"Yes Rani. We fought a lot of monsters. We work hard to keep the world safe for people like you and your aunt. We want to make sure that you never have to have any bad dreams ever again"
Claire smiled as she gave Rani a big hug. But deep down, she knew differently.
"I'm sorry sweetheart, but sometimes there are no happy endings. That's why we have to fight for them. I wish to God that it didn't have to be this way. I hoped that children like you never had to be exposed to the dark side of this world. I wish that you're childhood wasn't ripped from you"
For a brief second, Claire's mind shifted to thoughts of days gone by and what she had lost. And with those days came several faces. Her parents. Steve Burnside. Sherry Birkin. Claire's heart ached badly at the thought. Goddamn Wesker and all the other monsters who had done this. Goddamn them to hell.
"That's good!" she said with a smile before getting off of Claire's lap and returning to the window to watch the scenery.
Even though kids are resilient, even if they bounce back, they still should never have to go through what Rani did.
"Will we get to meet Leon?" she asked, beaming at Claire and her aunt hopefully.
Their primary concern was getting her the help that she needed.
"We'll see sweetheart", Claire answered. "We'll see"
Author's note: You wanted it, you got it. The sequel begins here. While I can't promise a 16 chapter thing like the first one, I can promise that there will be serious discussions and loose ends tide up as well as connections and answered questions linking my stories to the Degeneration film and RE4.
Also, I may have fudged some dates here and there. This story takes place in the later part of 04. Not long after RE4, my previous story, and Degeneration.
I'm pretty busy with school these days so just remain patient and the new chapters, will come.
In the mean time, check out my HUNK story. It should kill some time for you