e re nata
as circumstances dictate
by: notanotherfanficauthor & Chaed
Disclaimer: If we owned RE, it would be like this and not like Capcom makes it.
A/N: This story is based on a roleplay featuring Annette Birkin (notanotherfanficwriter) and Albert Wesker (Chaed). This is survival horror at its finest and lives up to its rating. You have been warned.
07/04/10: The first four chapters will be re-uploaded within the course of a week, edited and tweaked for better reading, then updates follow at weekly intervalls.
The steady whirring of the helicopter blades was the only sound to break the uncomfortable silence as Wesker focused his attention resolutely on a metal rivet beside his boot. The passenger area of the small chopper was cramped, but perfectly comfortable. Only the frequent sighs and fidgeting beside him told him that his companion for the journey didn't share that view.
Beside him Annette Birkin sat chewing her lip, no doubt still fretting over the prospect of leaving her husband and daughter alone. She laced and unlaced her fingers and stared out of the window, sporting dark circles under her eyes that could rival even her husband's.
While he rarely questioned Spencer's orders, Wesker couldn't help but wonder why Umbrella couldn't have sent someone, anyone else instead of them. Mission aside, he wasn't particularly enthralled with the prospect of enduring Annette's constant insecurities for three days.
"Are you sure," she asked, as if on cue, for what must have been the fourth time that hour. "That they'll be alright?"
"They'll be fine," he assured, although he could very well imagine that this might not be the case. Wesker had some very bad memories of William's propensity towards disaster. One incident with a microwave stood out as particularly spectacular.
"Yes… it's just… well, you know what he's like."
Oh yes, he knew. Wesker was well aware of what William was like and even if he hadn't been, one hour into a helicopter journey with Annette Birkin wouldn't have left much room for doubt. He found himself recalling William's tempestuous history with the Ashford family, the bitterness between him and Alexia, and all the trantrums and bad blood on both sides. William's behaviour had essentially cut a massive divide between the Ashfords and Raccoon City and been a disaster for internal relations.
So with the feud only just starting to simmer down, he couldn't help but question the wisdom of the idea of forcing him to take along William's wife to conduct diplomatic relations with Alfred Ashford. If he hadn't known better, he might have thought this was someone's idea of a poor taste joke.
Still, he knew that Annette could be charming when she put her mind to it, and this may have influenced Spencer's rationale. Perhaps he was looking to repair bridges, to salvage what was left of his hold on Rockfort, and sending Annette might be considered a gesture of good faith.
But he felt certain things wouldn't be that simple. From what he was aware, Alfred's spending had been getting more and more out of hand, and there had been no contributions from the Ashford side of the company since Alexia's unfortunate demise. Alfred was a spoiled brat, and it was up to him and Annette, as ambassadors, to coerce him into seeing eye to eye with company policy.
"How is that new project of yours faring?" he asked leisurely. „I can hardly catch a glimpse of William lately."
With a smile and a shrug, Annette gestured vaguely. "Oh, you know William, he's... the same as always. Completely absorbed in his work. It's early days. You know these things take years, but if this goes well it should completely eclipse anything Marcus ever managed with Progenitor."
"Still, you should try to get him out of that lab room more often," he suggested, referring to William. "Otherwise he'll forget how the world looks outside his four little walls."
Annette laughed, grinning broadly. "After what he discovered in the Trevor girl, these days I'm lucky if I can get him to eat properly, let alone take a break. I think I'd be fighting a losing battle if I was to try and turn Will into a socially adjusted human being. The fact that he looked up from his research long enough to marry me was probably a miracle in itself."
There was a note of satisfaction in her voice. While Wesker could hardly understand anyone wanting to marry William, he could at least concede that getting a ring on his finger had probably been something of a collosal effort. He simply nodded, with a hint of a smile.
"Anyway," she continued, brightly. "How are things with you? It's been a while since we've caught up."
"I can't complain," he answered. "The decision to leave the research division has proven to be the correct one. A new spark to an old flame, if you want to put it that way."
"You were good at what you did, but I always did get the impression you were never the type for locking yourself away indefinitely. I think that takes a special kind of madness," she suggested, half teasingly.
"I never could muster the kind of patience William held for all his projects. It is better this way."
"I think that's the first time I've ever heard someone use the words 'William' and 'patience' in the same sentence," she remarked, wrinkling her nose. "Still, I hope for your sake it'll be mostly smooth sailing, traffic tickets and paperwork."
"Spencer still finds ways to keep me occupied. But of course, I didn't ask for the transfer to change a lab full of paperwork to an office of the same kind." Which, actually, was only half true. He had reached a point where he would have chosen everything above research, even if it had meant leaving Umbrella completely. But of course, that was wishful thinking. Nobody simply left. Marcus was enough of a reminder for that.
"I'm looking forward to our transfer out of Arkley," Annette pondered aloud. "It'll be nice to be near civilization again."
"I heard only good things about the Raccoon Lab. I've not been there myself since its recent opening, but Spencer seems to have equipped it with only the best there is. And a change of scenery is always nice. William has been offered the Head Researcher position there, hasn't he?"
"Of course," she said, her voice shining with pride. „I have to say I'm delighted. The Spencer Estate might be well equipped, but it's no place to bring up a child. Before this offer came up, I was thinking I'd have to send Sherry away to boarding school."
Wesker was privately of the opinion that the kindest thing the Birkins could do for their child would be to do just that, but kept that thought to himself. Raising a family in the midst of bioweapons research was not what he considered to be a good idea, by any stretch of the imagination. But it did not seem wise to voice this to Annette, who seemed to be full of determination that she would be able to hold down a normal domestic life in conjunction with her job. So he simply nodded and let the conversation lull into a natural silence.
With twenty minutes to land, something occurred to him and he spoke again. "Spencer also ordered a check-up on the labs," he said. "He briefly mentioned it before I left."
"Are you joking?" Annette rolled her eyes and sighed petulantly, slumping back in her seat. "I thought drinking tea with the kid and trying not to call him a nutcase was going to be tedious enough. I highly doubt we'll find anything remotely useful or interesting, but from what I hear about Ashford and his paranoia and I doubt even more that he's going to be happy with a Birkin snooping around his research. Or lack thereof."
He was inclined to agree with her. While he may not have shared William's bitterness, he still didn't like the Ashford family. Certainly Alfred was not of the same brilliance as his sister, but even Alexia's deranged brother had enough intelligence to warrant being awarded his own facility and was undoubtedly still dangerous in some way or other.
"I have it in written form, if he objects. I dont intend more than a quick round of the estate. Spencer didn't specify, so we'll keep it short for the sake of everyone."
It was the preferable option, if only the sake of his own sanity. The tour could be as short as it wanted to, and there would still be some kind of inevitable tensions on the Bikrin-Ashford topic. Alfred wouldn't miss the chance, and Annette wouldn't simply swallow it.
"If he refuses written orders, we can simply leave, report back to Spencer and let him sort it out. As interested as I am in genetics, I don't particularly want to study the effects of inbreeding for any longer than I have to. From what I hear, Alfred has been simply freeloading on his family name and playing soldier in his spare time."
She sneered contemptuously, but there was a note of hopefulness in her voice that made Wesker think that perhaps this was exactly what she wanted. If she returned with news that Rockfort was nothing more than a failure, it would put her husband in a distinctly good frame of mind for quite some time to come. Even with Alexia dead, he was still forever looking for some way to get one-up on the Ashfords.
A sudden lurch within the cabin signaled to them that the helicopter was making its descent. Wesker glanced out of the window as the sea became land and they approached Rockfort Island. He noted the prison complex with pursed lips, a foreboding tribute to the teenage boy's famous penchant for sadism. But the most obvious fixture was the main residence, a fairytale mansion which presided over the base, the whimsy of the architecture casting stark contrasts against the brutally militant structures surrounding it.
It was time to see what Alfred had been up to in all the years since his sister's death.