Take a Breath and Softly Say Goodbye
Title comes from Here We Are, by Breaking Benjamin.
I have to say, I'm quite sad to see it come to an end so soon. Big thank you to all the reviewers, and everyone who's stuck by this since the beginning! :D
Jill woke and carefully sat up in the dull, plain room. Her hand immediately went to her head, attempting to curd the throbbing pain. Running her fingers against the stitches, she tried to remember the events of the previous night. But she couldn't remember much, anything in fact; all she knew was her world slipped into darkness and she then woke up in the hospital.
She hadn't seen the others, to even get the events retold. And she hadn't spoken to the doctor. The room was quiet, far too quiet for her liking. There was no one, just her. Fear quickly swept within her, she began to list all the endless possibilities of what could have happened to them.
Bringing her out of her nightmares, she saw a young man glancing into the room. He did a double take, and when he saw her looking, he turned to step into the room.
"Jill Valentine, my name's Officer Kennedy – you can call me Leon." He walked towards the bed, and held his hand for her, "How're you feeling?"
"Uhh, okay... A bit confused. How do you know who I am?" She said honestly.
"We arrived on the scene last night. We know all about you and the girls, and Wesker... I want you to know that we are going to get you pardoned no matter what. We have to talk to all the girls involved, and hopefully with all your help we can explain that you didn't have a choice. Everything will work out fine; I'm going to fight for you." He said, a small smile appearing on his boyish features.
"...Thank you." She whispered. It was all she could say, but yet it still didn't seem enough. She could tell the man's heart was in the right place, and she commended him for that. If the police were on their side, maybe everything would work out.
"Well, I can't stay long, I best be off. I hope you feel better, Miss Valentine." He said quietly heading for the door.
"Wait! Is everyone okay? I haven't seen anyone, I don't know anything." Her voice was laced with worry. Leon heard, and slumped his shoulders, but refused to turn to her.
"Wesker was pronounced dead on the scene, the bullet punctured his lung. Shot by Claire Redfield, I presume you know her." He said.
"What? What's going to happen to her?" Jill asked. She barely even absorbed the fact that Wesker was dead. It would take a while for it to kick in, but without a doubt as heartless as it sounded, she was pleased.
"Nothing. She's already talked to the police, and retold all the events. Her shot was in self defence, the judge can't hold that against her." He continued towards the door,
"And everyone else?" She said quietly.
Leon paused slightly, but then continued on his way, pretending not to hear the woman's question.
Leon stepped into the main entrance foyer of the hospital. Amongst the group of people entering and leaving, he saw the Chief of Police waiting for him. Leon would have preferred never to talk to the man again. He always felt an emotional connection to the case's like these. His heart went out to the people affected, but Irons never seemed to care. If Irons could have it his way, all the whores would be locked up, regardless of them being held against their will.
"Are we finished here?" Irons asked him.
"Yeah, I was speaking to Jill Valentine. I told her we'll get them pardoned." Irons scoffed.
"We're too easy on criminals these days..." Leon just rolled his eyes and the older man's comment, "Something wrong?"
"Yeah, I don't like your approach to things." Leon's voice was riddled with agitation.
"Like what in particular?" Irons asked innocently.
"Like the whole of last night! I told you not to fucking shoot, and what the hell did you do? You fired it anyway." He shouted, all his pent up anger and disgust for the man being released.
"I make the orders around here." Irons replied coolly.
"...Yeah. Well you didn't make a good one." Leon swept his hair back, and tried to regain his composure. "You were out of line last night."
"It's been a long night, Officer Kennedy. Take the rest of the day off to compensate. I'll lead the investigation."
"Hell no! The investigation can wait, they have been through a traumatic time, and you cannot push them. And there's no way, you are taking this." Leon demanded.
"Again, you are not the Chief of Police."
"And soon, neither will you be." Leon threatened. "You made a serious error, which was completely unnecessary and I warned you. You won't get away with this."
Leon left smug looking Irons, and walked out the hospital door to get well deserved rest.
Shortly after the departure of Officer Kennedy, a mature woman entered the room, wearing work clothes and a lab coat on top.
"I'm Doctor Carson, it's nice to meet you Miss Valentine." Dr Carson introduced herself. "Is your head any better?"
"Yeah I think so. Still throbbing a bit." Jill said. The older woman reached around and examined the stitches on Jill's cheek.
"The stitches look good. They're holding in okay, and the wound's pretty clean. You'll be able to leave in no time. And some paracetamol should do the trick against the pain." The doctor placed her glasses on, and looked at Jill's chart, running a hand through her short blonde locks.
"Well I have some news for you," She began after reading the results.
Before Dr Carson could finish, a small Latina nurse came in and whispered something to the doctor.
Jill noticed a shift in the doctor's demeanour, her face became solemn and she bit gently on her bottom lip.
"Is everything okay?" Jill asked, the silence beginning to worry her.
"...I have to tell you two things," The doctor said. Jill sat upright and listened intently to every word the woman spoke. As more was told to Jill, the tears began to flow, and Dr Carson did her very best to comfort the destroyed woman.
Jill stepped into the bright garden. The summer breeze gently pressed against her, lifting up the ends of her white summer dress. She glanced and a saw a small boy, about four or five, plucking up a small tulip. He looked around to see her, a small smile forming. He had the chocolate hair of his mother, and the deep alluring green eyes of his father.
"Mom!" The little boy exclaimed, and ran up to Jill offering her the flower.
"Aren't you sweet? Thank you." She said to the little boy smiling brightly up at her.
"Come here." Jill said a large smile plastered on her face. She took the flower and picked up her child, placing him around her waist.
"I love you, you know that?" She joked, and planted a light kiss on his petite nose. The boy reached his small hands around her neck and gave her a gentle hug.
From under a blossoming tree, Chris smiled while watching their interactions. Jill spotted him, and began to walk across the soft grass to meet him. She stood opposite him, not attempting to conceal her happiness. Her lips were curved into a broad smile.
"I love both of you," The little child said, placing a tiny hand delicately on his father's shoulder.
"I love you too, son." Chris said, gently ruffling the little boy's hair.
"You should go get some water for this flower. It's already beginning to whither." Jill said, lowering him. Their child nodded and took the flower from her, running off in the distance.
"You've done such a good job with him, Jill." Chris said. He reached his fingers up to her cheek, and barely touched her soft flesh. Tears pricked the corners of her eyes.
"It's hard." She said, closing her eyes to savour the touch of his skin against hers. A touch she had yearned for, for so long.
"I know." He fully cupped her face, and whispered, "You get more and more beautiful every day."
Her eyes gleamed with the extra moisture of her tears. She knew he hated seeing her crying, but it seemed it was all she could do these days.
"I need you to know how much I really do love you." He pleaded.
"...I know." She whispered.
"I hope you do..." She wasted no time to latch onto him, pressing her lips delicately across his. She cherished the feeling and taste of his sweet lips against hers. She rubbed her thumbs against his unusually soft shaven face, and pushed her body up to his. He kissed her so lovingly, with so much passion and emotion. Shivers were sent down her spine, he made her yearn even more for him, and she got a familiar fluttering in her heart.
He felt so perfect, so real.
"Mommy, come on." The boy said, returning as he began to tug at Jill's dress.
"What?" She turned slightly from Chris, to glance at their child. "No! Go play."
The boy continued to pull at her dress, "We don't belong here."
"No! We're staying." Anger rose within her, she was hurt and confused.
The boy stayed in his position, and Jill grabbed desperately to the collar of Chris's shirt. He remained silent. She looked deep into his eyes,
"You can't be going, no...You can't! Don't leave me..." Tears poured down her cheeks and she frantically grabbed out for him. Although he was just in front of her, she couldn't get to him. He felt miles away, her hands were merely groping for a shadow. She could never reach him.
Jill wriggled on her bed, and woke from her dreams. For a split second, she didn't remember what day it was, she didn't remember her dream and she didn't remember the events which occurred days before. She felt no pain. The content feeling didn't last.
Jill couldn't face to attend the Church service. She was never a big believer in religion anyway, and she couldn't bring herself to see all the other faces.
The graveyard was situated just outside Racoon City, it was well spaced out. The graves weren't cramped together, and in the space there were many trees blossoming. It was an eerie yet beautiful sight.
Jill arrived late in the hope must people would have left by now. She was wrong, although the Priest had finished his conductions at the grave a group of people still remained around the headstone and nearby trees.
Wearing a plain black elegant dress, she slipped herself into the small crowd, without attracting attention to herself. Glancing around the group, she saw all the lives affected by the pain.
Many of the officers had made an appearance, in remembrance, however the Chief wasn't in attendance. Jill recognised Leon; he caught her sight and gave an apologetic smile. Beside him stood the woman who worked with Wesker, Jill had learned after her name was Ada. It was touching that she would make an appearance. As Leon's eyes casted upon the stone once more, sorrow and regret flushed over the young man's face. He couldn't help but blame himself for everything. A warm hand was placed between his shoulder blades and moved down to rest in the centre of his back. He gave a sweet smile to Ada, and the two left arm in arm.
Barry was cradled within his wife's arms, pining for the loss of the son he never had. He was a strong man, but even he was reduced to tears. His wife looked just as broken up, as her eyes remained fixed on the headstone in disbelief.
Sheva walked up and placed a large bouquet of flowers beside the others. She had lived through many pains from the death of her parents, but nothing can prepare someone for a death. No matter how many times you can go through it, it never got easier. She had to be strong, and although her tears had dried up for now, her makeup was smudged down her cheeks. Her eyes were puffy not only from crying but lack of sleep. She looked exhausted.
And finally, there was Claire. Steve had his arms wrapped protectively around her waist, at least she had him. She clutched desperately onto the small teddy, which Chris had given her the day of their parent's funeral. She suffered more than anyone could believe; she had lost a friend, a brother. Amidst the quiet crowd, her sobs echoed.
The majority of the people began to dissipate. Jill took the opportunity, and slid up beside the marble slab. Delicately closing her eyelids, she carefully ran her thin fingers along the engraving on the cold stone which read, Chris Redfield.
She crossed her legs, and sat gently down beside the flowers, and opposite the gravestone. Light began to dissolve away, and the shadows grew. A small scattering of rain began to fall.
Jill stayed silent.
A small hand was placed on her shoulder. Looking up, Jill saw Claire. The younger girl had tried to halt her tears if only for a minute.
"We're all going to Barry's. You can come, you're not alone." Claire choked out, her voice raspy. Jill shook her head solemnly. She just wanted to be alone with him once more. She didn't need the comfort of strangers, the comfort of friends...she needed the comfort of Chris.
"Okay... I found this, it's yours." The younger girl handed the item to Jill, who clasped it tightly.
Claire left the woman, and walked away along with Steve. The graveyard was now empty. It was just Jill.
"...I miss you." She whispered. It seemed odd; she was talking to cold stone. Yet, it brought her relief. It enabled her to say the things she had lost the chance too.
"This seems weird... But I really hope you can hear me." Jill paused momentarily. Her once beautiful bright blue eyes were now merely dull shades of grey. Her eyes began to water, although she felt ridiculous, she knew somehow he was listening.
"I'm so sorry. I never wanted this...I'm just...so sorry." Her sweet voice began to crack, and her lips trembled.
The rain began to fall more heavily. Each droplet cascaded down her face alongside a tear.
"We're pregnant... Well, I'm pregnant..." She would have to do it alone.
Chris would never see their child, and their child would never meet the man who changed their mother's life. Chris would miss everything: their first steps, first words, growing up, going to school, having a family of their own. He would never see it, and to his child Chris would be a mere photo, a story. And to Jill, Chris would be a memory, a shadow of her former life.
"I love you, Chris Redfield. I always will."
Jill unclasped her hand to reveal a small black velvet box. She carefully opened it, and placed the elegant engagement ring on her thin, delicate finger.
Without Wesker the prostitution ring was ended. And, with the help of the police, the women were pardoned of their crime. No prosecutions were made against Claire, and an investigation was underway against Chief of Police Irons, as to why he fired the fatal bullet.
Jill Valentine was finally free to live the life she dreamed, but the price she had to pay for freedom made her question if it was ever really worth it.