Title: When the Waters Clear

Author: Janine

Fandom: Resident Evil: Afterlife

Pairing: Alice/Claire

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: I don't own them.

Summary: Claire is having trouble adjusting to life onboard the Arcadia.

Water battered against the side of the boat sending clouds of mist into the air. Claire breathed in deeply and closed her eyes, relaxing as the vapor washed over her. The air was chilly and the spray stung her cheeks, but Claire didn't mind. She had spent so long in a stupor that she was desperate to feel again. Even the cruel caress of wind, and cold water biting at her skin was treasured.

Water stretched as far as her eyes could see. The seas were as calm as they were endless, and as olive eyes swept over the deep blue expanse Claire felt a sort of peace settle over her.

The emotion was so unexpected, so foreign, that Claire's heart skipped a beat. Her body jerked back in surprise, her eyes snapped open and her hand automatically rose to cover her heart, as if she hoped that she could force it into beating normally.

"It's strange, isn't it?"

A small smile touched Claire's lips as Alice's voice reached her. She hadn't heard the brunette approach, but then again she never did. She had gotten used to being surprised when it came to Alice.

"What is?"

"Feeling secure," Alice murmured, her lips curving up slightly as if she was amused though her tone and her eyes remained staid. "Civilization fades so quickly," she sighed thoughtfully. "We've forgotten stability. Tranquility makes us nervous."

Claire sorted indelicately and smiled ruefully.

"It is strange not to be constantly surrounded by death and decay," the redhead sighed as she turned so that she was facing Alice. "I want this to last so badly, but everything in me rebels against it. Out there," she motioned towards the seas and all that lay beyond it, "nothing will ever be the same again. I think I'm finally starting to understand that I'll never get back to who I was before either."

Alice walked forward until she was standing directly in front of Claire, her thoughtful cerulean eyes lancing Claire with their intensity as they gazed at each other.

"Even before the world went dark nobody ever stayed the same," Alice whispered, looking down to take Claire's hand into her own, smoothing her thumb over the sparsely freckled back of it soothingly.

"Still," Claire sighed though she unconsciously leaned towards Alice, "I miss how at ease I used to be with the world. As awful as it sounds, I miss the, I don't know, the arrogance I had before."

"Of youth?"

Claire shook her head and then smiled humorlessly.

"Of species," she sighed, rolling her eyes at herself before she looked over at Alice through her eyelashes.

Alice smiled at the response and then leaned into Claire, wrapping her arms around the redhead, holding her tightly as she buried in her noise in flaming hair that smelt of the sea and the future.

"It's no fun being on the menu, is it?"

"On the menu?" Claire sighed. "We're the whole menu."

"Not now," Alice said seriously, pressing her lips against the soft skin of Claire's shoulder before she nuzzled her face into Claire's neck. "Not out here."

"The rest of the world-"

"Is too big and diseased for us to save," Alice sighed as she squeezed Claire's hands with her own. "Noah couldn't stop the flood. All he could do was survive it to ensure that when the waters cleared and the earth was fit for man and beast once more, that there were men and beasts to populate it. We're doing all we can by living."

"That's … an extremely depressing thought," Claire sighed, her eyes fluttering closed as she leaned back into Alice's lithe but strong body, comforted by the warmth and solidity of her.

"I know," Alice murmured, tracing her fingers lightly up Claire's arms. "But this life isn't all bad, is it?" she continued kissing Claire's neck softly.

Claire smiled widely as Alice explored the soft skin of her throat and then she turned in Alice's arms so that they were facing each other.

"No," Claire breathed out. "Re-animated corpses and all, there is still much beauty in the world."

Claire stared at Alice unblinkingly as she spoke, her hands lifting to take the brunette's face into her hands.

"And many pleasures to be had," Alice drawled, her voice a dry rasp as Claire's thumb caressed her plump bottom lip.

That tone in Alice's voice had a way of undoing Claire and the redhead found herself leaning forward to capture Alice's lips in a deep, lingering kiss that left her feeling unsteady on her feet.

"We should go inside," Claire said feeling parts of her body begin to warm though it was still cool out on the deck.

Alice smiled and took Claire's hand into hers. The world had been wild for long enough that having a bed was a novelty to those onboard the ocean-liner, and Alice and Claire had been making the most of the large bed in the Captain's – now Alice's – quarters since they had commandeered the ship.

Claire leaned into Alice's body as they made their way through the narrow halls and Alice held her hand more tightly.

It was an imperfect world they lived in, but Claire knew that she was lucky to be part of it, and that she was even luckier to have a woman like Alice at her side, waiting out the flood with her until the waters cleared and they could walk together on the earth once more.

The End