This is the final chapter of The Resistance. I apologize for taking so long in posting it, but I just couldn't seem to get the words out. After many failed attempts, I was finally able to. And here it is!
I want to thank everyone who took time to read each chapter and review them. I hope everyone enjoyed Claire and Leon's adventures and had as much fun reading them as I had writing them.
Don't worry, there's a new Claire/Leon story that should be posted soon. But in the meantime, enjoy the final chapter of The Resistance!
Claire gazed around the room that, until she was able to find her own apartment, would serve as her new bedroom. It was a simple room, one that radiated warmth and comfort despite the subtle decorating. Or lack thereof.
Framed pictures covered the walls and brought a smile to Claire's lips as her blue eyes skimmed over them. Childhood pictures of Chris and Claire surrounded her. She seemed to remember the exact moment in time each one was taken and it brought her back to a time when things were easier.
The first one was the day they brought home the family dog, Malcolm. A young Claire sat on the floor, a wide grin on her face as Malcolm licked her cheek affectionately. Claire's hands were buried in the thick fur of the dog while Chris bent down beside his sister, his hand resting on Malcolm's head as he enjoyed the laughter of little Claire. Their parents were seated behind the children and dog, smiling as they watched their children play with the newest member of the family. Claire remembered that the camera was on a tripod when they took it.
As Claire's eyes trailed along the mirage of pictures, she saw herself at each stage of her life, along with her big brother. Christmas, birthdays, Halloween, Easter egg hunts; you name it there were photographs of it. And then all of a sudden, the pictures were only of Chris and Claire, her parents nowhere to be found.
Heaviness filled Claire's chest as she fought off the tears that stung at her eyes. Even in the wall of pictures, it was easy to see just exactly where Chris and Claire's parents had been torn away from them. Claire reached forward and stroked the last Christmas picture she had taken with her parents. Everyone looked so happy, satisfied with presents and looking forward to the turkey dinner that was roasting away in the oven as the picture was taken. Claire smiled when she remembered just how savory her mother's turkey was and how much she always adored her father's famous stuffing.
"That was a good Christmas." Claire didn't have to turn around to know that Chris was smiling, but she did anyway.
"It was." Stepping away from the wall, she shoved her hands into her jean pockets and turned her body to face her brother. "I had no idea you were so sentimental, Chris."
He shrugged, his eyes tearing away from her to admire the pictures that made him the man he was today. "It's easy to forget all the good times we've had, even before mom and dad died. Sometimes it's harder to remember."
A cool breeze slipped in through the open window, passing by the Redfield siblings as it soon disappeared. Claire nodded, understanding exactly what her brother meant.
"Thank you for letting me stay here with you. I know it's a big inconvenience and all."
Chris scoffed. "If you weren't an inconvenience you wouldn't be my little sister." A grin spread across Chris's lips when Claire rolled her eyes at him. "I was thinking of ordering pizza, do you want in?"
"Of course I do." Claire turned her back on Chris and unzipped her suitcase, reaching in and unloading her clothes from it.
"Okay, I'm going to order some pizza then. I'll come get you when its here. Pepperoni still okay?"
"Yeah. Just make sure you get a garlic dipping sauce for me."
A quick comment from Chris about how gross the dipping sauce was and Claire found herself alone in the spare bedroom of Chris's apartment.
So, this was what her life had turned out to be. Not permanently. Was that supposed to make her feel better? Because if so, it definitely wasn't doing a good job of that.
A few days ago she had a house with her fiancé, a great job that she loved, and friends and a brother she could count on through anything. Granted, she still had everything, minus the fiancé and house. Now she was left wondering where her night with Leon put them and all the while doing it while living in the extra bedroom in her older brother's apartment.
It wasn't as bad as she seemed to think it was, she knew that. And yet she couldn't bring herself to fully realize that. She felt guilty for leaving Lloyd the way she had, for turning her back on everything they had built together. Was giving up everything they had for the last several years of her life worth one night with Leon? Because essentially that's all it was. A trade for all of it with one night with Leon.
Your relationship with Lloyd wouldn't have worked out regardless. She reminded herself.
Leon had made it perfectly clear that he wouldn't be able to have a relationship with her, though he wished he could. Not that Claire minded. She wasn't the type of girl who ever had a one night stand, and until the other night, the thought of having one had never crossed her mind. But with Leon, all her morals seemed to go right out the window.
A smile spread over Claire's lips as she remembered the night she spent in the arms of Leon Kennedy. It was amazing, simply amazing. She had never had a man do things to her body like Leon had. She forgot the feelings her body could revel in at the touch of another person. And she loved every minute of it. A night of love making had never gone as fast as their night together seemed to. Go figure. When you're having fun, time flies.
And now that it was all over, it left Claire's mind flooded with worry. When he left again, would it hurt her worse than it ever had? She had a problem with it all these years as his friend. Would it be even worse for her now that they had taken the next step in their relationship?
"Of course it would." Claire muttered, shoving her clothes into the empty dresser at the foot of the bed. She would be sad about his departure, but she would get over it. Eventually.
Claire closed the dresser and moved to her suitcase that was sitting at the foot of her bed. Closing it, she slid it between the wall and the wooden stand of her bed before sitting on the edge of the soft mattress.
Claire let out a small sigh, her gaze falling to the open window across the room.
She had gotten all of her belongings from the house she shared with Lloyd. She was surprised to see that he hadn't thrown it all out, or burned it. But he wasn't a spiteful person, and for that she was thankful. So Claire decided that she was going to start her life again and whether Leon was going to be in it or not was no longer her concern.
When he came back on vacation, if he wanted to see her, he could. But she sure as hell wasn't going to sit around and wait for him to return. She still had her job, a job that she was great at, a job that she was made for. And Chris and Jill would still be around, making Claire's life a living hell. A fun and interesting living hell, Claire reminded herself. Life with Chris and Jill was always interesting.
Claire glanced at the scrubs she laid out for herself and let out a heavy breath. Her thoughts were so consumed with her ex-fiancé and her night with Leon that she almost forgot she had to work the night shift tonight. Running her hands through her hair, she looked towards her door when it opened just a crack.
"Yeah." Claire watched as Chris slowly poked his head in.
"The pizza's here."
Claire got off the bed and walked towards the door. "Great. I'm starving. You haven't had any yet, have you?" Claire pulled the door open and saw a half eaten slice already in Chris's hands. He smiled at her as he chewed it, swallowing whatever he had in his mouth as she rolled her eyes. "Jesus, Chris, save some for me sometime, will you?"
Claire looked at her reflection in the locker room mirror as she scooped up her straight, red hair in her hands. Her bangs fell over her forehead as she tied the elastic band around her hair, setting the ponytail high on her head. The tips of her hair brushed against the back of her neck, sending a quick shiver down her spine as she gave her reflection a quick once over before starting work.
Claire turned her back to the mirror and jumped when another nurse stood suddenly behind her. Claire rested her hand over her heart and smiled at the older woman.
"Lisa, you really should stop sneaking up on me like that. I swear, we have to get you in some high heels or something like that. It's the only way I'll ever hear you coming or going."
Lisa laughed as she walked past Claire and turned on the faucet. Pushing her blonde hair away from her face, Lisa splashed water in her face before looking at Claire in the mirror.
Lisa picked up paper towels and patted her face dry, turning to face Claire. "There are some people here to see you, Claire."
Crossing her arms over her chest, Claire frowned. "Chris and Jill?" Maybe Leon coming to say goodbye?
Lisa shook her head and tossed the damp paper towels into the garbage. "No, I've never seen these people before. They're in the waiting room, they said it's urgent and they need to see you right away."
"Thanks, Lisa." Claire turned and pulled the door open, her mind racing with thoughts of who it could be when Lisa spoke again, stopping Claire in her tracks for only a short moment.
"Be careful, Claire. They don't look very friendly. Security is crawling all over this place, just give a shout and someone will come."
Jesus, what did I do? Claire settled her nerves, drying her clammy palms on her scrubs as she made her way to the waiting room. It was very rare for anyone other than Chris and Jill to come to the hospital looking for her, especially someone who, in Lisa's words, didn't look too friendly.
Maybe Lloyd is spiteful after all. Spiteful enough to send people to Claire's work to try and scare her? Maybe, but highly unlikely.
Claire turned the corner to the waiting room and felt her heart pound faster in her chest. She remained calm and flashed the two men a smile as she walked over to them. Dressed in black suits with white shirts underneath, each man wore black sunglasses that reminded her all too much of Albert Wesker.
"Hi there. I'm Claire Redfield; I heard you were looking for me." Claire held out her hand to greet the men and was surprised when they got to their feet. They smiled back as they shook her hand before taking their seats again.
"Please, Ms. Redfield, have a seat." The blonde haired man sat, motioning for her to sit across from him.
Claire did as she was told and forced herself to keep her smile on her face. Don't show any fear. Even if they make you want to scream like a scared little girl and run. "What can I do for you gentlemen?"
"It is our understanding that you were one of the few survivors of Raccoon City." The blonde haired man spoke, catching Claire's attention.
Her eyes darted back and forth between the two men as she nodded, folding her hands in her lap. "Yes, I was. What exactly is this about?"
"Ms. Redfield, we're from Terra Save, an organization formed by the United States government shortly after the incident known as the Raccoon City outbreak. Our goal is one that we've been fighting ever since, and is one we are unfortunately seemingly far from achieving."
"And what exactly is your goal?" And why the hell are you here?
"To end bio-terrorism."
"I'm not sure I fully understand what you're doing here." Claire raised her hands and glanced down at her scrubs. "I'm a nurse. And when I escaped Raccoon City I was a nineteen year old college student. My escape was by a mere fluke, I can assure you, and I have nothing of use to you at this point."
"I'm afraid that's where you're wrong, Ms. Redfield. You do have something that is very useful to us."
"And what's that?"
Claire was rendered speechless. Were these men serious? More importantly, what the hell did they mean? She felt herself begin to panic and fear what these men were capable of.
"Don't be scared, Ms. Redfield. We're not here to hurt you or harm you in anyway." The blonde man reassured her with a gentle voice. His softness surprised her almost as much as what she had just heard. "We came to find out if there was anyway to have you join the organization."
The black haired man who sat beside the other finally spoke. "We know that you lost a lot in Raccoon City, we know that you witnessed a lot of pain and heartache. We also know that you managed to survive something that a lot of other people didn't."
"I can assure you, as I said earlier, it was by fluke. Sometimes I don't know how I survived that myself."
"Your experience, your drive and determination, and your background in biology and chemistry make you the perfect candidate for us. You can use your nursing skills to help people who need you, ones who aren't lucky enough to have the option of a hospital."
The blonde man leaned back in his chair, scratching the stubble that was growing on his chin. "A new threat has risen, as I'm sure you've already had some victims of it in your hospital."
"H1N1." Claire muttered.
"We would need you to start immediately, and it would require you to leave behind everyone and everything you love." Claire watched the blonde man as he spoke.
"Will you join us in our fight, Claire Redfield?" Her eyes turned to the man with dark hair as his words circled in her mind.
Raccoon City took the innocence that had once been in her life. It was ripped out of her hands and was something she would never get back. Same as the people who lived in Raccoon City would never get their lives back.
She lost a lot since then. Chris had never been the same since he discovered his Captain was not the man he said he was. With each infected teammate Chris passed, Claire knew a part of her older brother died with them. Jill was never the same after her experiences either. She tried to act as though nothing had changed, but the heartache and sorrow never disappeared in her clear eyes.
And Steve, the one she lost along the way. The one who slipped through her fingers when she knew it should have been her to fall instead of him.
She had to do it, for them. Someone had to stand up for those who had fallen along the way. Someone had to stand their ground. "I will."