Author's Note: Another Valentine's day oneshot! I wanted to post this on the according day, but since I had a history exam I couldn't focus much on it. Anyway, this is dedicated to three awesome authoresses in the RE category: Chaed, Hobohunter and MA-121 (I'll soooo let her know about this). I really hope you like it, girls, and everyone who reads it!^^
Disclaimer: I do not own Resident Evil or any of its characters.
Note: The name of the fanfic is taken from Mat Kearney's song 'Annie' (the song I listened to whilst I wrote this). I do not own it, since it belongs to him.
Resident Evil: Annie
Annette didn't expect to find him there, leaning against the old metal railing on the rooftop that overlooked the vast Arklay forest.
She thanked the door hadn't made much noise and he hadn't adverted her presence; either that or he was ignoring her. It had been one of her hobbies since childhood, watching people be in silence engrossed in whatever train of thought that crossed their minds, and he was no exception. In spite of her best efforts though, he was impossible to read. She had already seen it: whenever he was thinking, his brow would furrow in a very peculiar way, his features would harden and his eyes would turn icy and calculating.
Whenever that happened, she knew better than to interrupt him.
That same spot where he was currently standing had been her usual 'relaxing' place where she could go and clear her head without other scientists hot on her heels to ask her about how to proceed with the many breakthroughs on the T-virus. She, as an assistant, had managed well, and very well, to issue orders and set a certain course of action. Annette was the only means they had to reach the man in charge, William Birkin, whom they barely saw in the last few weeks.
The reason was still unknown to her, and she definitely wasn't going to meddle in his affairs.
What for, really?
The aforementioned person was known around in the labs -and, per ende, in the whole Umbrella company- for his snappy attitude. In her days in training, she had heard others speak about him with quite the disdain and, when she at first met him, she had to agree that his reputation preceded him. But of course, appearances tended to deceive. Yeah, sure, he could be arrogant, demanding and everything she'd heard about him, but in the year and a half that she'd worked as Birkin's assistant, Annette had managed to form something close to a friendly relationship. When people stereotyped others, there was no way to get the idea out of their heads...
Unless they experienced it personally, just like Annette had.
The difference between the William Birkin in lab-mode and the William Birkin in normal-mode was radical and vast.
First of all, he was a very secretive man and many times liked to keep things to himself, a trait which of course didn't help to clean his status as the typical bitchy scientist. Because of that trait, not many people had come to know him; besides, he had never made the attempt to allow that.
"They have to know about me as much as I have to know about them: practically nothing," he'd specified, his voice as blunt and sharp as a knife.
But with Annette around, it had all been different. It had taken its time, yes, but it had all been successful.
She had been the only person who he actually had maintained a truthful conversation with. William himself had said it, "How can I be talking to you like this? Just like that?". Annette hadn't known the answer; it was all up to him to reply to that one, she was sure. A little while later, he mentioned Wesker -about whom Annette had come to know that he was in a tie with William for the 'Bastardly Scientist' place- and William suddenly came up with an idea.
From then on, things changed for both of them.
Meeting William led to the inevitable meeting with Wesker; meeting, and not acquaintance. Much to her surprise, everything had worked out well, even though she'd felt uneasy at first. Also to her surprise, Wesker's long time friend had eased that anxiety of hers with proof against people's statements, such as proving how Wesker "can keep up with normal conversations without snapping at you," just like Birkin had said. The question that had inhabited Annette's mind was finally answered.
From that moment until this time, November of 1982, the three remained close friends, and through this was how Annette realized how complex Wesker's and William's friendship was.
"Don't worry. You'll find out Wesker can keep up with normal conversations without snapping at you. The worst it can come to is a bark."
"I heard that, Birkin. For your information, my sense of hearing works incredibly fine, thank you very much. Now, if you please would focus on your work again instead of spreading around ill rumours about me?"
"Ha! As if you cared much about that."
"That's rich coming from you. That I don't listen to the rumours doesn't mean that I don't care about them, unlike a certain someone who takes them all to heart..."
"An eye for an eye, don't you think?"
Birkin scoffed, and Wesker smirked.
"Yeah, yeah... Let's get on with this again."
"Just like I proposed from the beginning. It relieves me that you can still listen to me."
"I'm not deaf."
"Then don't act like it."
That conversation amongst the others was the one that assailed Annette's mind. She remembered she'd witnessed it with a face in surprise and fear. It could've been mild and light-hearted bickering but instead of finding out by herself, she had remained silent.
"See? I told you before; he's completely against me," William had said then, and Annette had known that the tension had eased.
Leaving all of these thoughts aside, Annette crept up on him, leaning over a bit so that she could catch his attention. She noticed how quickly he was spinning a black pen in his fingers, and she remembered it was one of his ways to get rid of stress, or at least try to. When William finally noticed her, he jumped back in shock and an arm shot up in defense, as if trying to shield himself from whatever danger he had in front of him.
"My God! You scared me out of my skin!" he exclaimed, cracking the faintest of smiles.
"I'm sorry, I didn't think I was that hideous," she replied with one of her own. "Ah, forget it, I've got an odd sense of humour." Once again calm, William leaned on the railing again, his icy blue gaze getting lost and staring at nowhere in particular.
"At least it's better than mine," he commented after a short pause, his tone absentminded.
"Is that supposed to be a compliment, doctor?" she inquired, shooting him a short glance through the corner of her eyes. Annette saw his features mellower than usual, with a somewhat dreamy touch to them, but that was only her eyes... right? C'mon, there was no way in hell he'd be as calm as that, not with the mess they were going through at the labs!
And why in the world are you thinking about work right now? But I have to say that it's true; he's different than usual.
'Come on, you've seen how he's looked at you lately.'
He has NOT!
'He has... definitely.'
"Take it as you may, Miss Lewis," William offered with a shrug of his shoulders, making her snap out of her thoughts. She quickly looked away to avoid letting William see her cheeks, which Annette was sure that had turned red, and beet reed.
The paused that ensued was more than enough to make Annette cringe inwardly. It had been so long since they'd addressed each other in such a formal manner that it sounded strange, but that's how it should've been since the beginning. For some reason, Annette knew that William also knew this but he'd decided to... 'skip regulations' and be a bit more loose. He wasn't known to loosen up at work though, so it was kind of strange coming from him.
What the hell though? We're... friends? Oh-ho! Don't let it get to your head, Annie.
She then caught his widening smile, and she came face to face with him, one thin eyebrow lifted. "How come you honour me with that smile?" He merely shrugged in response without looking at her, although he then turned around and propped his back against the railing, folding his arms across his chest. Annette kept looking at him, scrutinizing him, and she could've sworn she'd seen him open his mouth to say something before hesitating and closing it again.
Uh-oh, he's up to no good...
"Hey, would you like to... do something tonight?"
"Excuse me?" she blurted out a bit harsher than she wanted. Annette soon berated herself for that, since it only made William cross his arms more tightly and hesitate again. She, on the other hand, was fearing the worst.
Another one of his characteristics is that he's sometimes as readable as a book! I don't like this.
"Well... you know, I could- Oh, c'mon, stop staring at me like that! You're making this more difficult than it already is," he exclaimed, fixing her with a hard and frustrated gaze. Annette couldn't avoid smiling.
"Okay, okay, I get it. I'm sorry, it's just that... I didn't see it coming," she explained, averting her gaze from his face. Annette had to think it twice before agreeing; one mistake and it could send everything to Hell. "Alright, I accept."
"Say what?" Annette turned her face to look at him again and she found his expression in disbelief the funniest of all as of yet. She could tell he was nervous and no matter what she did, she'd make it worse. "I'm sorry about that, I didn't see that coming either."
"Then I guess we're in the same boat, aren't we?" Annette teased, smiling. Then, she felt something cold fall upon her head for a very brief moment, and she looked up, only to find out that it was starting to rain. "Uh-oh, we should get in-"
"Oh no, you're not," he said, scoffing. "Where do you think you're going?" Annette felt her face drop in surprise, her mouth opening slightly.
"Uh... inside? To avoid getting wet?" she replied, rising her voice with each reply. "Or have you- Ah!" She couldn't finish the sentence, as she was cut off by the ice-cold rain that made contact with her body just a second later. "Damn it, let go of me!" She then exclaimed as she noticed William had grasped the lower part of her labcoat and was impeding her from leaving. Annette was indignant, scowling at him as fiercely as she could, but his hand didn't let go.
"Okay!" With nothing else, no more gestures or words, she slid the garment off her shoulders and stepped under the observatory's ceiling, shaking her arms and angrily admiring her drenched figure. "Goddamn it..."
"Thanks for the souvenir! It'll keep me better company than you."
Her head perking up, Annette corkscrewed around to glare at him, her eyes widening, and she saw him waving the labcoat in his hand in front of her eyes. The mirthful glint in his eyes wasn't helping: it seemed as if he was doing that just to upset her! There were many times Annette Lewis didn't take things as jokes, and this time was one of them.
"Oh well, it'll be here waiting for you. Now you just have to take it..." Annette heard William's voice fade away and she watched him tilt his head at her in a challenging way as if saying 'You can't take it!'. For a moment that seemed like aeons to Annette, she stared at him, getting lost in the blue hues that stared back at her. For a moment that seemed like aeons to Annette, her heart skipped a beat and stopped.
She finally realized what was happening.
'Took its sweet time, huh?'
In a rash moment, Annette ventured outside again, loathing the feeling of the rain falling down on her, and she yanked the lacoat from his hand, scowling at him. "Thank you very much! Looks like you got your wish, eh?" Her scowl didn't last long on her face, as it was swiftly replaced by a smile. "I admit it, I have no skills to remain serious sometimes."
"Yeah, I can see that," he replied, "and no, I still haven't gotten my wish. Sorry if I disappoint." Annette eyed him with care, her skepticism spiking. She took a closer look to him; definitely, he seemed another person.
"Who are you and what have you done with the William Birkin I know?" she asked, her tone teasing. "Something's wrong with you today."
"Everyone's got their happy day."
"Easier said than done, right?" she shot back, ignoring the rain that kept reminding her of her soon-to-be-present cold. "But really, what-"
Annette gasped and stiffened, lowering her gaze to her right hand. Something else, something cold had closed itself around it: William's. It felt strange at first, but what he did next was even stranger; at least for her, since she had no idea of what was going through his mind: his other hand travelled to her forehead and it brushed a few wet locks away from it, leaving Annette to shiver... and it wasn't exactly because of the cold.
"You don't look any better than me," she hurried to add, smiling. He chuckled, lowering his head, and then the rain seemed to transform his mirth into sorrow and uneasiness. Annette frowned. "Something wrong?" He lifted his gaze and looked at her, as if boring a hole right through her, and he smiled again.
"It all depends on whether it is or not, but anyway..." William shook his head, sighing. Unconsciously, she tightened her grip around his hand, stepping in front of her.
Whoa, whoa! Easy, Annie! Awkward? Possibly. Reckless... sure as hell not.
Then, before she could even realize, their faces were inches away from each other, which made Annette's heart skip yet another beat. And afterwards, just like that, without another thought crossing her mind, without nothing else to care about -not the rain, not the cold, not the wind-, Annette moved in and took his lips with hers, kissing them gently.
For God's sake, what am I doing?
She didn't know, and she didn't care. What she did know was that she loved him, just like her conscious had hinted at, and there was no denying it. William's lips soon kissed hers back as he rested his hand on her neck. Annette wrapped her arms around his neck, pressing herself just a little bit closer, ever so lightly, and her hands slid into his wet blonde hair, stroking it as if it were dry and softer than silk itself.
They broke away very slowly, Annette unwilling to disturb the peace and the silence, and she stared into his eyes again, noticing how a smile spread across his features. She smiled too, biting on her lower lip with her canine, and William just chuckled before pressing his lips to hers again, this time taking the initiative. Annette responded to the kiss with all her gentleness, and they shared the greatest of moments yet. Delighting in his touch for one last time, Annette separated her mouth from his and smiled again.
"What else do you want to do?" William asked, his tone sly and too close to her ear. The only thing that broke the silence that ensued was her laughter, which soon was joined by William's.
"Maybe a change of clothes, because I'm freezing," she replied, rubbing her arms with a grimace in mock-indignation.
"Yeah, that'd be the best thing now." She saw him hesitate again, then he said, "Thanks, Annie."
"Since when did I allow you to use the nickname?" Annette snapped playfully. "Ah, come on." This time fully aware of her actions, she took his hand and dragged him inside.
This was going to be an unforgettable evening.
A/N: How was that, huh?! Yeah, I have my soft spot for WillxAnne as you can see (such a soft spot that every time I play DSC's Raccoon City scenario I keep ranting about the unfair fate that befell them), but anyway enough of my rant. I hope you enjoyed this!^^
Reviews are appreciated!^^