Title: All the Wrong Places
Fandom: Resident Evil: Extinction
Disclaimer: I don't own them. I'm just borrowing them for a short while.
Summary: The sky is dark, and all is still around her, but Claire can't sleep.
There was something beautiful about the desert at night. Under the blanket of darkness, when the eye saw sheets of twinkling stars stretched out for miles instead of desolate wasteland, the arid landscape was actually breathtaking.
Sleep didn't come easily to Claire. It never had really. Even as a child, it had taken her a while to fall into sleep at night. When she was little it was because her mind was racing, whirling with thoughts of what had happened during the day, or what she wanted to happen the next day, or how she could get back at Chris for some horribly not-at-all-amusing prank he had played on her.
Now, with the world rotting and decaying around her, Claire's mind still whirled with restless thoughts, but they were no longer pleasant, excited or hopeful. These days she worried about whether she was going to be able to feed her caravan, or what they would do when all of the stations they hit were out of gas. Instead of counting sheep, she counted down the days until they'd be forced to fight off the infected with sharpened sticks and stones.
Instead of her thoughts leading her gently into a peaceful slumber, she found herself rising in the dead of night like some nomadic vampire, stalking between the trucks and wandering into the sand to try and bleed what beauty and comfort she could from the familiar stars shining above. She raked the sky with her eyes hoping that perhaps, just maybe, the dancing light might lull her into a dreamless slumber for at least a few hours before it was time to paint on a smile, pull down her hat and lead her people further into the barrenness that surrounded them.
"They're the only things that have stayed the same."
The voice drifted out of the darkness, crashing over Claire like a rolling wave.
Her mind whispered the name of the mysterious stranger who had emerged from the dust to burn the sky and save them all like a prayer.
"Not exactly," Claire murmured, still looking up. "They're clearer now. The earth is dying, but the sky has been given new life."
Material rustled behind her as Alice approached, falling in place beside her.
"Something always prospers."
Claire said nothing. It was true. In the life span of the Earth, humanity would be nothing more than a blink of an eye. When our ingenuity had torn us all to shreds, and the birds and the sand had worn away the diseased flesh we left behind to nothing but bone, the planet would find itself again, and free of the human plague it would prosper. In millions of years, squid would swing from giant trees at the top of the world and the masters of the earth would be nothing but black ooze lying long forgotten under layers of earth, rock and water; the true lords of time.
"What do you look for up there?"
"Hope … maybe," Claire breathed out, "Something to believe in."
Alice was silent for a moment, looking up at the pale, shimmering orbs; taking in light that had died thousands of years before.
"You won't find that up there."
Calloused fingers brushed against the back of Claire's hand, and the redhead turned from the sky to look into the bright, clear eyes of the warm, living, breathing woman beside her, and pale, life-worn fingers slipped between Alice's own.
They walked further into the night then, until the trucks were lost, like the world around them. Alice kissed her lips, and dropping her heavy jacket so that it was spread at their feet, she returned Claire to the earth and covered the slim, starved body with her own.
Their lips fell together once again, and for the first time in years the desert was alive.
When their bodies stilled, slick sweat cooling in the dry night air, Claire closed her eyes and listened to the steady pounding of the heart beneath her. The steady, rhythmic sound began to lull her, and just before sleep finally claimed her, Claire thought that perhaps Alice was right and she had been looking for hope in the wrong place all along.