Author's Notes: This tale was written to fit into knune's universe as well though it my take on post RE5 events. Anyways Merry Christmas Knune I hope you have a lovely one!
Beta: A huge thank you to my amazing beta reader Cariel for taking time out of her holidays to beta read this for me on the fly. Thank you so much for wisdom and insight girl I don't know where I would be without you! *glomps*
Tomorrow would be their first Christmas together. Albert was never a man who bothered with trivial holidays, but this year, he made an exception for Claire. The traditions she spoke of seemed tripe and foolish to Albert, but he played along as best as an outsider could. After a lifetime of observation, he still could not understand its significance but knew it meant a lot to her.
The warm, sincere smile he saw on her lips when she had found the perfect tree had been difficult to ignore. Just as her humming along to the Christmas carols playing on the radio was a moment he would remember. Even the sound of her laughter when she helped him untangle himself from Christmas lights was worth the awkwardness he experienced.
Oh come on. It's not that bad, is it? Just pretend as though you're having fun. Who knows, maybe you will actually start enjoying yourself!
Her gentle teasing replayed in his mind along with the impish wink she had given him. The day proved to be more enjoyable than anticipated. For a brief time, Albert was even able to imagine that life was as it used to be during the early days of their relationship: simple and filled with contentment.
It was not until that night, as they relaxed on the couch watching the snowfall, that he noticed the sadness in Claire's eyes. She longed for her family just as much as he longed for the simplicity of the past. Even in each other's arms, he always knew when they were miles apart.
Albert Wesker could not recall the last time he saw Claire smile, the kind of smile that lit up her face and made her eyes shine.
The hour was late and Claire was sleeping soundly, her arms loosely wrapped around his waist. Yet, there was no peace in her expression; her brows were tightly knitted, her lips pursed, and her jaw was firmly set. Albert had long since grown used to it, just as he had once been used to the gun strapped to her bare thigh. Until recently, the weapon was the only article of clothing she never took off while in his presence. Even so, he could still recall the days when their rest was blissful, her smiles were ever ready, and only mere clothes kept them apart.
When they departed for France, he believed everything would change for the better and in many ways, it had. No longer did the expanse of the dinner table separate them, nor did she wear the berretta strapped to her thigh. Her appetite had returned, as did her need to chatter.
Yet the sorrow he saw in her eyes, the internal struggle and unspoken guilt remained. So much had changed, but the things that truly mattered had not. Claire was not happy and no matter how hard Albert tried to give her the joy she deserved, it always fell short.
After years of hiding in the shadows and opulent hotel rooms, they were finally free to embrace what they shared, to love without shame or secrets. Nonetheless, the walls remained, separating them in ways he did not want to consider. He never allowed himself to question why Claire was still with him, why she never walked away in spite of having many opportunities to do so. He knew better than to ask why.
Tonight, he hoped that would all change.
In the past, gifts had always come easily for Wesker. Hours spent searching out the finest jewellery shops in the world had always brought him a strange sense of pleasure. They both knew Claire would never wear the trinkets, but it did not matter. She understood the weight of the gifts' meaning and that had always been enough for him.
His eyes drifted to the grand windows that overlooked their chalet. Outside, snow slowly fell from as the moon peeked out from the clouds above. A moment later, his cat-like eyes moved to the small drawer by his side of the bed. Inside its four wooden walls held the end of life as he knew it and the key to a new beginning.
Carefully shifting himself about, so as not to awaken his lover, Albert opened the small drawer that resided by their bed. The pale moonlight reflected off the needle, casting a light on the ceiling and causing new shadows in the room. Gingerly, he collected the sterile instrument as the young woman stirred slightly before drifting back to sleep. Frozen in mid-action, Wesker waited until he was certain her breathing had slowed. This was one surprise he was not yet ready to share with Claire.
After years of constant study, private testing, and cross-examination, he had finally created an antidote for the virus he once prized. The variant of the progenitor virus had proven difficult, but not impossible to defeat; in his hands, Albert Wesker held the only known cure.
The clear liquid shimmered in the moonlight. The antidote was more than a cure; it was filled with all promises Claire rightfully deserved, the sort he never could give until tonight.
The syringe felt heavy in his hands, as he knew it carried the weight of her hopes and dreams. The virus had robbed Albert of more than his appetite or emotions; it had robbed them both of everything they had once taken for granted. He had thrown it all away in the name of power. Now, years later, he finally understood what his lover had known all along.
With great care, he disentangled himself from the warmth of his lover's arms. She murmured her disappointment, causing Wesker to pause before slipping out of the bed. Claire was used to waking up alone and would not be troubled by his absence.
In silence, he stood by their bedside, watching as she slept. The antidote was his greatest creation and ultimately his undoing. In the past, the progenitor virus he carried was his destiny and sole reason for existence. Without it, he was nothing more than a mere mortal, of no use or purpose to anyone so he once believed. Studying Claire's resting form Albert understood his greatest legacy was never the progenitor virus, rather its antidote. There was no pride felt to the masterpiece, no sorrow for the price he was about to pay either, only cautious hope.
Albert was confident it would work, but was not foolish enough to believe that it was entirely infallible. For this reason alone, he chose to keep it a secret from Claire. He could not afford to feed her false hopes or fill her head with needless concern. Be it a success or a failure, she would learn the truth soon enough.
With his left arm fully extended, he pierced the flesh with the needle's tip and punctured a vein. Closing his eyes, he drew in a deep breath before slowly pushing the plunger. As the antidote emptied into his body, Albert gave a hint of a smile.
It was the one thing Claire desired and the only sacrifice he had ever made.
For the first time in what seemed like an eternity, everything in his universe was right again.