Warnings: Post RE5, mature themes, non-con, violence, language.

Pairings: Wesker/Claire, Wesker/Plaga (new species), implied Wesker/Excella


AN: This is pure indulgence, but what fanfic isn't? Inspired by I Am Legend, vampires in general, Splice, and Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty saga (and those who have read that, you know what you're in for!)

Anyway I wanted to set this story apart from Wesker's Chosen, but at the same time, expand on elements that won't make it into that particular story (reasons being they didn't fit, or detracted from the main plotline).


Critique requested and encouraged :)


-Empty Eden-

The Old World passes with a sigh, forgotten,

Empty except for one.

Wanderer, sifting through sand with stained fingers.

They tremble, refuse to believe,

The pearls are too deep.

The ocean called Guilt cries his name.

Black waters. Lifeless.

He will not answer.

Water swirled down a hole. Insulated piping. Six winters without maintenance and still going strong. His lucky day. No strainer for the drain, the dark hole drew his eyes. Riveting. Such mundane simplicity, and yet elegant complexity. Before he ended the world, water had gone down, traveled through miles of catch basins, pipes, and pump stations until it reached the treatment plant to be filtered and spat out again. Behold, the wonders of Green technology.

Ingenious, and now irrelevant.

Same with the soap. Pearly pink sludge inside a dirty dispenser. The sign above the dingy mirror: Employees MUST wash their hands before returning to work. Many would have considered the sign, but never heeded it. Not blissful ignorance. Willful stupidity. They would be fine. No worries. It would never happen to them.

Albert Wesker closed his eyes, counted to ten with slow, deep breaths. Two days without incident. A record. Sleep had arrived late this morning, a harried visitor who left too soon. Still, oblivion for a few hours. By midday tomorrow he would reach Detroit. A city that size held promise. And danger. An abundance of nooks and crannies for them to hide and wait. He would have to be vigilant.

To think, he had once desired an end to the monotony, the constant silence.

Now he wished for peace.

When the drain had lost its appeal, the cracks on the floor tile commanded his attention, the designs they made when they intersected the stains and splotches of black. Faded by time, but he smelled the blood, the sweetness of oil, and the stench of old meat. He studied the door knob not a soul had turned in the last six years. Had it squeaked before? On the wall beside the door, someone had written Richard + Sue 4 eva inside a wobbly pink lipstick heart.

Not likely, Richard. Sorry, Sue.

Guilt did not exist. What he felt was...adjustment. Acceptance? Not likely. Acceptance was tolerance of the status quo. And the current situation was intolerant. Unacceptable. Things had not gone according to his design, but the Worthy were out there – yes, fewer than he had anticipated, but he felt them. He knew they existed.

Inside the gas station, something fell off the shelf. It had landed soft, crackling.

Samuari Edge appeared in his hands, his thumb on the hammer. He listened.

Theories.

Doritos – now so stale he could bend them into animal shapes, the bag balancing precariously on the edge of the rack for years until the vibrations from the running water had knocked them to the floor.

Plausible.

The ceiling fan – populated with generations of dust bunnies – rotated with the incoming breeze to displace a bag of petrified Oreo cookies.

Reasonable.

That package of Twinkies, fresh as the day it had been sealed, was dislodged when his coat had brushed the end cap on the way inside, and had now just decided to flop itself out of place.

Creditable.

Or the shadow figures that have been trailing him for weeks had discovered his location, and now gathered outside, on the roof, between the aisles – waiting for a chance to attack.

Most probable.

Damn that squeaking knob. And he had shut the door. Locked it. Human habits, civilized behavior. Rules he didn't need to follow, yet he did anyway.

He braced himself, his back against the door, and pretended the hand holding the gun didn't shake. Of course it didn't. The dimming bulb in his solar-powered lantern was the culprit. Not the last few weeks as the shadows added more to their ranks – hyenas chasing a limping wildebeest through the urban Savannah. Not the threat of them pouncing while he slept in fitful spurts, or the danger of them waylaying him on a deserted street.

The constant heckling. The nipping at his heels.

He cursed again, not caring if they heard him. No matter where he went, what he did, how careful he was, they still managed to find him. Even when he had hidden downwind. Left no trace of himself.

He kicked the door open. Two tried to tackle him outright, their mouths blooming lilies, breath stinking of vinegar and blue cheese. Petals of his closest attacker, dripping with mucus and yellow gobs of saliva, exploded with one shot to the face. The other bellowed and ducked behind the hot dog counter.

Ganado. Majini. Las Plagas. And now another variant.

He leaped over the counter, shooting the fleeing creature in the back of the head. Its parasite tumbled from the ruined skull and found death with another shot. Gore sprayed the display glass; decals of hotdogs with perfect curvy lines of mustard and ketchup dissolved under the blood. Corrosive fluids. That was new.

Glass shattered. More scouts appeared inside. Their gibberish speech made his head buzz. He dodged a flat two-liter bottle of Pepsi, then flung himself backwards when a jug of rancid milk whizzed by his head. My, feisty today. He shot another between the eyes, and a bullet tore the face off the one reaching for him. A third leaped onto his back. Arms wrapped around his neck, skinny sticks with the strength of five men. Unbalanced, he hit the aisle, sending candy and Planters Peanuts everywhere. His sunglasses flipped off his face and skidded under the nearby soda machine.

He threw off his assailant. Hands empty. Gun gone. Out of its sheath came his combat knife, sharpened that morning and ready for blood. His metabolism and reactions went into cellular overdrive. Heat surged inside him, his movements a blur even to himself. He slit the throat of the closest majini, stabbed another through the heart, ripping lung tissue and breaking ribs. He gutted one to his left, but his knife went too deep, caught on bone. Gloves glistening red, he abandoned his blade, pivoting to break the majini's neck coming from his right. The others pressed forward, vapid greed in their eyes. He caught one and tore out its spine, using the jagged edge as a lance to drive the others back.

Ten became five. Five little majini boys left. His eyes flitted to their points of entry, the dark street outside, newspapers like leaves raked in piles. Where were their masters? He couldn't smell them, but he could sense the weight of their stare. Bad enough the Unworthy wouldn't die, the mindless, crying things, but now the plaga had become a greater nuisance than before.

This wasn't Kijuju. What control he had over those majini ended a long time ago.

The remaining five circled him. Through their wild eyes he imagined their minds working like furious machines, pistons pumping, gears rotating. All that commotion for such simple thoughts, like dogs worrying over whether to bark or bite. His muscles fluttered in his legs, his arms. One scout laughed, an idiotic hee-hawing sound. He snapped his arm out, caught the fool in the throat and sent him sprawling into the coffee station. Plastic cups and stirrers went airborne.

Stupid animals. All of them.

Blood pounded behind his eyes. Beyond the broken window he gazed, daring their masters to appear. He resented their tactics. How effective they were. Brilliant. Annoying.

Woeful sighing behind him. Every hair on his body rose. Something nicked the underside of his jaw, blood welling. His yelp startled him. Silence had become the proverbial, his default mode. His throat protested, clenched and tickled until he coughed. The wound throbbed. Stung by them for the first time. He had always evaded before. Concentrate. Observe the symptoms: Burning. Weakness. Fatigue. Reduced speed. His metabolism slowed to a crawl. His blood became lava. The sensation boiled through his body, sweat beading, then trickling down the valley of his spine, his temples, his neck.

Hands grasped at him. He threw himself to the side, his vision tipping the opposite direction. Add dizziness to the list. One head shake and the world righted. More hands, seemed like hands, but he knew they weren't. Tentacles, a mottled pattern of black and yellow, snaked around his legs. Their lily mouths brushed the back of his neck. His leg kicked back in reflex. He jerked free of their hands, used his strength to fling their oppressive weight to the side.

Five had become fifteen.

Breathing labored, panting. The world spun. They grabbed him again. He elbowed one, but the rest clung, their fingers digging into his arms. One of them whispered in his ear, sighed against his cheek. He twitched in their grip, a bird trying to take flight. His struggles turned frenetic, as if his body resisted this strange human weakness called "panic" now surging through him. They wouldn't pierce his skin again. He would not allow it. His frantic thrashing increased, and somehow granted him freedom – or perhaps they had let him go.

They did like to chase.

He dove out the window, snagging his pants on a shard of glass. More blood. It would heal. He didn't stop running, not even when he hit an abandoned car, doors rusted open and black stains upon the ripped seat. Unworthy, Excella said in his mind. Her rich voice, sultry. He gritted his teeth and regained his balance. He pawed at his breast pocket for the gun that wasn't there. They gathered behind him, their infernal sighing. He flinched and rushed toward the cluster of houses up the road. Suburbia. Enough dark places and empty rooms for him to hide.

Him. Hiding. Impossible.

A new, primal urge seized him. Fear. An alien emotion. Entirely useless save for producing more adrenaline to fuel his speed. The world passed by in colorless streaks. Their sighs faded, their footsteps a faint pitter-patter on the weed-infested asphalt. Wind and trees now, and a moan from an Unworthy scavenging somewhere close by. By his design, it should be eating the creatures pursuing him. Another failure.

Oh, Albert, they eat what pleases them, said Excella, her lashes a sooty fringe upon her pale skin, full, pouting lips. Beautiful. But hollow. Devoid of substance besides her jejune love for him, and her obsessive need to stand atop Tricell's glass ceiling. The Las Plagas have adapted. Made themselves unappealing. Like little monarch butterflies with poison wings. You should have foreseen this, darling.

"Enough, Excella." His throat closed over the words as if it found them painful. He leaned on the side of a small white shed, massaged where the creatures had stung him. Smooth skin and a sticky film of blood. He would have to wash that off. His blood was a beacon.

Toys in the yard, a blue rubber ball, a swingset of purple and yellow. Dolls scattered on the grass. They watched him with blank jewel eyes. He stiffened and moved to the next house.

The moon observed him through pale yellow wisps of clouds, indifferent to his plight. Night was the plagas daylight. Their ease of movement made him envious. And wary. His vision went hazy, the pulse of blood in his ears. Symptoms not abating. Venom was potent. He stopped, listened to branches creak. Uroboros left the trees alone. Leaves of red and orange, yellow and green. Autumn. He had lost track of the seasons. Keeping the days straight took effort. Time. He used to have that luxury before they began hunting him.

Next door to the swingset and dolls. A tan house, two stories, better condition. Points of entry: back door and the front. One broken window, the others intact. No basement. Good.

Roses bred out of control over the porch and side. Their scent delighted him. Lovely things. Layers of petals like lace furbelows. Red and white. Delight turned to nausea.

The door opened when he touched the handle. Convenient. One furtive glance behind confirmed no one watched. No one except the moon, and it didn't judge. He slipped inside, careful not to smear blood on the knob, the frame. Deadbolts. He used all three, and a bookcase to be certain. The broken window he blocked with another bookcase. Dark cherry. Solid wood. Stephen King, John Saul, and Robin Cook fell to the floor. More nesting material for the rodents.

At the back door, he stacked the washer and dryer, clothes still inside, reeking of mildew and molded. He made sure the lids stayed shut. After securing his barricades, he went over them a second time. And a third. If they tried to breech his temporary sanctuary, he would know.

Photos on the shelf, on the walls. He took them down, or turned them over as he passed, barest glimpses of a teenage boy with curly red hair, crooked smile. He opened drawers and found candles, matches. Bathroom downstairs, smeared with black ink from ceiling to floor. Out of the question. Up the stairs, another bathroom to the right. Blue. Fish on the border. Walls stained black. Tub as well. He almost left, but the mirror beckoned.

Damage report.

He hung a navy blue bath towel over the curtain rod, made sure the edges were flush. He swiped a broken glass off the counter, set the candles down. Sink. Cheap marble, stained on one corner with more black. He avoided touching it. The candle wick caught, crackling with dust. He lit another, blinked at the yellow halos. His vision had been affected. He raised his eyes to the mirror.

Around the wound, a contusion. He frowned, inspected it. The veins leading away from the discoloration appeared swollen. Heat there. Tender to the touch. Unable to describe exact sensation. Not pain, but a strange ache. When he pressed, that ache increased, rippled over his collar bone to his stomach, and then arched below his waist. He inhaled, his breath cutting his lungs. His image fuzzed, his eyes –

He leaned his head forward, face inches away, his eyes on his eyes. Severe pupillary response, a sliver of red and gold around a dark slanted void. He set his jaw, unnerved by the acute reaction of his body.

A creak downstairs. He pinched the candle flames and became a statue. His heart slammed against his ribs, circulating the last of the venom throughout his system. His eyes swept over the bathroom, the glass on the floor. Shards too small. Towel bar. Might work. Depended on the metal. Shower curtain bar. Bigger, sturdy. He would have to break it in half.

Steps up the stairs. Stealthy, but swift. A quiet sigh.

He hated those sighs. Why not a roar, a scream? Something loud, something less...eerie. The shower rings clinked, his gloved fingers cemented to the pole. On the curtain, the same fish as the wall border swam around a bright coral reef. Clown fish, angel fish. Even the bubbles rose in pleasing patterns. The Old World had sparkled like a gaudy necklace. Flashy, decadent, but utterly worthless.

In the hall now. Its scent wafted into the bathroom. Salt and earth. Better than their breath, but still revolting. It hesitated outside, its shadow eclipsing the band of gray between the floor and the door. The knob turned, slow, methodical. He tensed. Pressure in his arm, muscles contracting, tendons ready to burst. How had it entered the house? These bastards were ghosts.

"Father?"

The bar almost snapped in his hands. He stared at the dark blob of the creature's shadow, uncomprehending.

"We know you, Father. Inside." Its voice rasped low, thick tongue unused to words. Host sounded male, mid-thirties maybe. Its clothing rustled as it pressed against the door. An intimate gesture. Did it imagine the door was him? A fluke. The only logical explanation. None of them had ever talked before.

Perhaps he should take this chance, communicate. Discover their agenda. His mouth opened. Sand in his throat. All he managed was a hoarse croak.

Laughter in its voice, the last word came as breathy air. "Come out. We play."

And what games would those be? He doubted he'd enjoy them. He wet his tongue, tried again. "Why do you pursue me?"

The shadow did not speak.

"I ask again. What do you want?"

"Come out, Father." It thumped the door. Bold. Impatient.

"Why do you call me that?"

"You are." It sighed again, the sound of something slick and moist uncurling. Testing its petals, that stinger nestled in the middle. Another thump, the knob in its hands rotating back and forth, back and forth, as if it contemplated the inner workings of the bolts and springs. Unlocked, but the creature never tried to enter.

Hey, Captain," said Chris Redfield in his head. The young Chris, S.T.A.R.S newest recruit, cocky and cavalier. The good old days. The safe days. Obey Umbrella, be a good boy. He had tried. Tried very hard. But after the mansion, everything had changed. Chris snorted, unimpressed by his ruminations. Started something you couldn't stop, didn't you? Always had a God complex, even back then. Thought you could change the world. Yeah, great job with that, sir. Oh, and you might want to check the window behind you. I think lily mouth at the door is a decoy.

The towel flapped off the curtain rod as glass exploded from the tangle of limbs pushing through. The window frame cracked, and those cracks snaked into the walls from the combined pressure of thrashing bodies. Hands, unseeing, groped for him.

Raccoon City, his quick trip through the underground lab to save Ada Wong from her infatuation with a certain rookie cop. Zombies had stepped all over themselves to get a taste of him, throwing themselves through windows, doors, crawling on broken limbs. Pathetic.

But back then, he had plenty of room to maneuver, space to build momentum for his speed. This tiny bathroom had neither.

Fish and coral flopped to the floor, and the shower bar became a polearm. A savage thrust skewered the mass of flesh trying to get in. How they had stayed so silent climbing the roof?

The bathroom door buckled, slammed into his back, sent him crashing headfirst into the mirror. The world went dark for a few terrifying moments. He kept conscious through sheer force of will, the dark thought of what they would do to him if he did pass out, salient in his mind.

Decoy picked him up and tossed him into the hallway, a bag of bones who dented the wall when he hit. He scrambled to his feet, but the creature pounced, pinning him onto his back. Its petals opened, a barbed tentacle lashed at his face. A crimson sack throbbed under the tentacle's base, giving it a phallic appearance, tip curved like the apex of a scorpion's tail. The stinger punched his throat in rapid-fire succession. Once. Twice. Three times.

Numbness tinged with fire. Breathing became a challenge. He twisted his body, tried to heave the creature away. Fatigue weakened his efforts. A breathy sigh and it ran its hands over his chest, ripped open his body armor. Another jab with its stinger. This time delivered to his heart. His sight went gray, all sensation ceased except the blood in his veins, pumping, pumping, blissfully unaware it spread toxins to every cell in his body.

More of them came. They peered over the shoulder of Decoy. Yellow eyes ringed with black. Triumphant eyes. Look, they said. Look at what we caught. He struggled to stay conscious. Victory was not theirs. He would not die like this. After all he had done, and still had left to do.

The one pinning him tilted his neck back. Couldn't swallow. He gasped, groped with his hands. Where was his magnum? His knife? Decoy caressed his jaw, ran its finger over his convulsing throat. Hunger radiated from its body. Feverish hunger. A bark of laughter at that. All this effort, just to eat him? Why not eat the Unworthy? Their numbers were vast. It would save him the trouble of killing them all.

It slid its hand over his waist, over his hip, and curved inward. He froze, meeting its eyes. Why was it touching him like this? If it wanted to eat him, why wasn't it eating him? Its lily mouth closed, then opened again, dipping the petals toward where its hand stroked. His nostrils flared. Every muscle went taut; his fingers clenched in a spasm. Madness. What motive did it have? He opened his mouth, and his words made way for a groan. Numbness turned into a blazing inferno. Lust hijacked his body, his hands tearing into the carpet, his spine bowing. Get closer. Need more. So much more. His responses excited them. Their sighing went guttural, the gleam in their eyes became blinding.

They flipped him over, tugged as his pants, the rest of his clothing. Hands sought his skin, parted his thighs. The feeling of hair brushing him, a cheek rubbing, a stinging sensation where groin met leg. Not the scorpion stinger. Something bigger. Wet. Drinking. Unbelievable. It was drinking him. Fingers traced his spine, counting the vertebrae. When the fingers reached his buttocks, they slipped further. He groaned again, surrendering without a struggle. His solitude had made him weak. He had abstained for too long. Excuses, all of them. They did not justify his actions here.

Lightheaded, he leaned his forehead on the carpet, smelled the mold and the dust and imagined that red-haired boy walking barefoot, the once plush threads between his toes. That boy was dead. He had killed them all. Not Worthy. No one was Worthy. All were failures. No, his numbers were correct. Someone had to be left. Just one. All he wanted was one. One would be enough.

The sucking became intense, this purloining of his blood. Hands gripped his thighs. He couldn't help but thrust. Helpless. At their mercy.

What are you doing, Albert? Excella in his ear, disgust in her voice. I cannot bear to watch this grotesque display. A god, consorting with demons. How vile.

He shook on his hands and knees, overcome. "I can't...I can't stop." He had nothing to fight for. His new world stood like an empty house. Furniture and decorations, but no people. Rats and insects thrived, nested in the walls, ate the food. Even if people returned, they would flee. His house, infested, creatures breeding out of control. If he could light a match, he would burn it.

Something inside him bent, flexed itself free. A hidden ball of strength not his. Uroboros. His mind went back to the volcano, to the missile he had plunged his hand into. Cool ichor, alive and powerful. He swooned, a rush of energy leaving him.

Outside, one of the Unworthy wailed.

They all froze. Heads went into the air, sniffing. Hyenas sensed a lion approaching. He watched them, furious they had stopped touching him – relieved they were distracted. His mind and body warred. A paradox. He made no sense.

The one drinking him let go, reluctant as a cat pulled away from cream. A small, needy noise escaped him. Humiliating. Red dripped down his leg in a thin trail. Anticoagulant in their saliva. A sample of his blood should confirm this. Such a bizarre vicissitude of the plaga anatomy. What need would they have to pacify their victims? Incite arousal, make the prey docile, even willing?

In a careful, slow crawl, he began his retreat. His head cleared in small amounts, clouds of confusion dissipating every inch he scooted away. Despite his caution, they paid him no attention. No sighing. Their eyes fixed outside, lily mouths wide, stingers raised and ready.

Except Decoy. It knew a good thing when it had it. Stubborn creature snatched his leg, dragged him back. He kicked it in the face. Like a venus fly trap, the lily mouth closed over his foot, and the stupidity of his actions horrified him. When had they taken his boots?

Decoy stung him several more times. He lost count of how many.

The carpet greeted his body. Astonishing that it didn't catch fire. Flames ate him from the inside out. His blood boiled in his veins. The world painted itself in reds. Glass broke. Movement around him. Thrashing. The intruding Unworthy shrieked. More glass breaking. Something squealed in pain. Then chilly breath on his face. He welcomed the cool air. A tiny fan on a big fire. Not enough. He needed a windmill.

It's alright, darling. See? They heard your call. Excella kissed his cheek, stroked his chin. Memories of old times. That black leather couch. What they did on it. Through the flames and ash, she smiled at him. He felt...regret. He had been difficult back then. Judgmental. He had known all along she wasn't worthy, but it infuriated him when she had assumed her place would be at his side.

Arrogance, a vise that had crushed them both.

Shh. The past is gone, remember? Dead like the Old World. Just rest. You poor thing, look at what they've done to you. You must heal. Uroboros will keep you safe until you have recovered.

Something clammy curled around him. Black. Familiar tentacles. To shrink away was a reflex, one he didn't have the strength to perform. The Unworthy cradled him close like a child. Cocooned him in ice. Its cloying scent crept inside his nose, coated his lungs. Foul, but he knew it wouldn't hurt him. Excella was right. He had summoned it. Somehow. But just "how", he would wonder about later. His theories never abated.

The fires raged on.

He slept.