I've returned from the dead! My inspiration for this story came back to me, and I can safely say that I will be updating this regularly again.
Tick tick tick.
The constant rounds of the hand on the clock made Jill think of every exam she had ever taken, where the only real difference between that sound and this was that now she sat on a lumpy, plastic mattress in a cold room as opposed to a hard plastic chair in a stuffy one. Maybe the clock is just a way of torturing you. With only a rough guess as to what day it was when she'd been brought in here, Jill had even less of an idea now. The clock meant nothing to her in this cell with no windows. She slept when she was tired, although she thought she was keeping to a schedule. Watching the hands on the clock tick by, Jill wondered if the time was even right. She wondered if time even mattered at all anymore.
Of course time matters. A bit of time means the BSAA may still be looking for you. A lot of time means they've given up. Old but familiar hopelessness filled her at the thought, and she struggled to keep tears out of her eyes. Clearing her throat and standing up, Jill began leaping up and down doing jumping jacks. After that, crunches. Then squats, then burpees, then jogging in place. One thing she knew for sure about time is that enough of it had passed for her to feel recovered from her fall out of the window. Or at least recovered enough that she could do what little training she was able to in her given space. If she sat still for too long, or lay down for more than a few hours, her ankle began throbbing and her sides ached. Doing these exercises made her feel normal; made her feel sane. Under her breath she counted the jumps, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three all the way to fifty. Back at the BSAA, she and Chris had endlessly run training drills. Before the estate, she'd begun to teach Chris how to pick locks, and he'd begun teaching her how to be a better shot. Feeling tears threatening again, she dropped to the floor, hooked her feet under the mattress on the bed, and began doing crunches. Four, five, six... The days had been sliding by with no more information than she'd received the first day she'd gotten here with Wesker. And Wesker...him she hadn't seen since she had been shoved through the door of this small, boxy room.
The room truly was small, and up until Jill occupied it, it had been used as a holding room for people deemed a threat to the secrecy of the company. Instead of killing them, Wesker had been ordering they be set aside for "experimental purposes". Jill however was oblivious to this, and instead inherited the room thinking Wesker had it made up into a prison cell just for her. There was no furniture except for a metal table, a metal chair, and the metal framed bed with the hard, plastic mattress along with two pillows and two sheets. One sheet Jill had pulled tight around the mattress, and the other, thicker one she used as a blanket since the room was always a temperature she found just slightly below what she could find comfortable. In the corner closest to the door was a toilet, and a roll of paper was brought to her every other morning, or at least what she thought of as morning since it was always there when she woke up. Beside the toilet on the wall was a sink, but no mirror, and only cold water came out of it. A long, rectangular light fixture hung from the ceiling, but she had no way of turning the light off, and the door was solid metal and as far as she could tell could only be opened from the outside by a key-card. Pushing herself to her feet, she began her squats, exhaling each time she lowered herself over her knees.
Upon her first day in this room, the first thing Jill had done was rifle through it several times, combing over every surface, running her fingers under the bedframe, chair, and table. Lifting the toilet lid, even attempting to pull the sink off of the wall looking for something, anything that she'd be able to use as a weapon or a lockpick. Finding nothing, she at first had done nothing but sit against the door with her ear pressed to it, listening for any hint that would tell her what was happening on the other side, or what was going to happen to her. The only contact she had was a strict faced woman who brought her food and a water jug three times a day, and a man who served as security and armed with a rifle that stood and made sure Jill didn't try anything. She'd tried desperately to speak to them, but whether they didn't understand her, chose to ignore her or both Jill didn't know. Fleeting glimpses outside of her door let her see it was a door part of a long hallway, and from somewhere she could hear loud talking and beeping, as if she were in a computer lab or something. Leaping off of her feet and then dropping to do a plank, Jill began her burpees, the most painful part of her exercises but the one she felt helped her recover the best.
The food brought to her was bland and simple, presented on a tray or in small plastic containers that made her think of a cafeteria. Pudding, mashed potatoes, dry chicken, soggy green beans, none of the food gave her any indication as to where she was. Picking at it, her stomach growled throughout each day and she began to eat all of it just to stop feeling so hungry all of the time. What she looked forward to the most was the cold melon she got each morning for what she considered breakfast. I guess I do have a decent understanding of time, if they actually bring my food when they're supposed to. What concerned her the most was that she hadn't showered properly since she'd been there and the exercises she made herself do certainly did nothing to maintain her hygiene. Instead of a shower she'd resorted to cleaning herself as best she could using water in the sink and the bar of soap they left for her. Whatever he's going to do to me, it's going to be soon, he doesn't give a shit what I look or smell like, but he's feeding me and keeping me alive, which is a bad sign. Like cattle, like...like a test subject... The thought wasn't a new one, but it managed to bring a great deal of distress to her mind any time it arose. Just before the thought could finish manifesting itself and she could move on to her jogging for the day, the door beeped and slid open.
"Come with us." A heavily accented voice, and the first time she'd heard the stern faced woman speak. The man was there and gestured with his rifle for Jill to step out of the room. Heart pounding from her workout and from the sudden new event happening in her newly tedious, stressful life, she paused, chest heaving and sizing them both up.
"Where are you taking me?"
"No question. You come with us, no disobedience." The words were clipped and sharp. Hmmm, German? No, not German. Maybe...Russian? It was freezing outside, maybe Russia. Oh god, could we really be in Russia? Not really seeing any other option, Jill suddenly realized this was her chance to scope out the lab. Getting a handle on the layout could help tell her where the communications equipment was, where the exit was...she'd finally make progress on escaping. Taking cautious steps, she walked in between the stern woman and the man with the gun, following them down the hallway her room was located in. It did look a bit like a hospital, but then laboratories usually did. At the end of the hallway were the elevator doors, with the two hallways leading off in either direction from where the three hallways met. Instead of getting on the elevator, she was guided down the hallway to the right, walking past several hallways each with a few doors scattered along the walls. At the end of the hallway, the woman led Jill into what turned out to be a large washroom, and Jill realized what she had walked past were most likely dorms or something. Jill followed the woman around to a row of very clean showers, and pointed at the one on the end.
"Fifteen minute. You try nothing." Turning on her heel, the woman left Jill there. Walking tentatively and quietly around the bathroom, she saw the only exit was the one where the man with the gun stood, and she sighed to herself. As if anything is ever that easy. Walking back over to the shower stall, she found a clean pair of clothes on the ground, only having been given one change of clothes since she'd been there. The clothing was black cotton pants and a grey shirt with white socks. They each fit a bit loosely, but Jill shrugged. Her boots she'd been somehow allowed to keep, although they were worn and tattered and filthy. On top of the clothes was a large white towel, and inside the shower were three bottles but no razor. Of course. She thought dully. Although stubbly legs weren't at the top of her priority list, if she was stuck here for a while it really wouldn't kill Wesker to give her the necessities. Besides, I seriously doubt that I'd be able to do much to him with a women's razor. Pulling open the curtain, Jill turned the water on until it was perfectly warm, looked self-consciously behind her, and stripped, stepping into the water. It felt so relaxing to just stand in the heat, that it was all she did for several minutes. Not wanting the man or woman to come in and get her, she hurriedly used the soaps and shampoos, lathering it as thickly as possible since she didn't know when she'd be afforded this privilege again. Finishing, she turned off the water and dried off as quickly as she could, pulling her clothes around her and squeezing all of the water out of her hair. Wandering to the mirror, she took a quick look at herself before the woman came and barked "Let's go."
Following the woman, she gathered her dirty clothes under one warm and held the towel and shampoo bottles in the other. Unsure whether or not she could keep all the things she'd been provided, she assumed she could when the woman didn't snatch them away from her. She was led back down the hallway and struggled to see more of the part of the facilities where she was being kept, but it was useless. The pair hurried her along and she wasn't able to see much except the closed rooms she assumed to be dorms, and another hallway with closed doors down the other hallway by the elevator. Further down the hallway her room was located on, it looked as if there was a large open area that expanded beyond where Jill could see but she came to a halt before she could walk any further. Turning to see why they had stopped, Jill's heart did a violent jolt against her chest when she saw Wesker standing in wait in front of her door. The man and woman who had escorted her were staring stiffly at him.
"Take those." Gesturing to the small gathering of things Jill held in his arms, the woman snatched them from her and slipped nervously past Wesker to throw them into her room. "Leave us."
Before Jill could begin forming the words to ask what he was doing here, the woman and man both nodded and darted off as quickly as possible. Jill watched as they walked as fast as they could to the elevator, and eagerly stepped on, the look in their eyes as the doors slid closed was one with which Jill could easily relate to; fear. God, they're terrified of him. Turning back to face Wesker, Jill felt incredibly vulnerable with her damp hair and flimsy cotton clothing.
"Follow me, Miss Valentine." Gesturing down the opposite end of the hallway, Jill thought passingly that she could see the rest of this area after all.But why, what does he want, where is he taking me? Cautiously, Jill began to wander with Wesker falling in step beside her, walking tall and stiff as he always did. And always had... A distant memory of her S.T.A.R.S. years passed through her mind, but that was so long ago and so much had happened since then. So many had died. Because of him.
"Where are we going? What do you want with me?" Watching him carefully, Jill readied herself to run, to fight, to do anything to protect herself that she could from him. At least he's not feverish and shaking anymore. In all honesty, Wesker looked very well actually. Tall and broad-shouldered, he was equally as intimidating walking along beside her as he was when she and Chris first saw him at the Spencer Estate. Coming out into the open area, Jill saw it was another area with computers, although few scientists were here. The people working here looked more like...communications officers her heart leaping into her chest. So close! In the centre of the room was a large staircase leading up and down. Wesker veered towards the stairs heading down, and Jill followed.
"Really, Miss Valentine. Do you believe I'm going to share all of my plans with you?" Smirking and tsking at her, he shook his head slightly. "And here I thought you were among the more intelligent BSAA operatives." A dull rage flared in Jill's chest. Don't. Don't give him the satisfaction. Once they reached the bottom of the stairs, Wesker directed her through a large set of double doors with Russian above them, and the translation beside them: Medical. The medical wing? Here there were doctors walking around, walls with charts and white boards, all with Russian written across them. Jill realized with some distress that even if she did manage to get herself alone with a communications server, it would only be in Russian and she'd be as stuck as if she wasn't near it at all. Walking down the hallway, they came to a large door with a black scanner along the wall. Reaching into his pocket, Wesker pulled out a swipe card and the doors beeped, a green light following the smooth sound of the door sliding open. Stepping cautiously through the door, Jill saw it looked like a regular examination one, quite similar to the ones at the BSAA hospitals. The sound of the door sliding cleanly shut behind them made her jump, and Wesker was walking over to the cabinet and pulling a number of things out.
"What are you gonna do to me?" Panicked, Jill looked at the door but couldn't see how to open save for another black paneled card reader. And the key, that was in Wesker's pocket. No chance in hell. The thought was one of defeat, but being in a medical room with Albert Wesker terrified her more than she would ever have admitted, even to Chris. Not turning to face her, Jill heard Wesker sigh and continue removing things from the cabinet.
"It is quite tiring, Jill, to hear the same question repeated every time you open your mouth. Sit." It was an order, but Jill was really not about to just go over to the medical table and sit down. Looking all around the room, she didn't see any alternative and couldn't see anything that would be an effective weapon against him either. Taking a few hesitant steps towards the table, she didn't get on top of it but rather stood on the other side of it, positioning it between her and Wesker.
"Maybe if you'd just answer me I'd stop asking." She said, bravely. Turning, Wesker organized a number of things on the small metal table. Among them was a blood pressure monitor, one of those instruments used to look in your ear and mouth...and a syringe. An empty syringe, but a syringe all the same. Eyeing these things, Jill remained standing, as defiant as she could be while Wesker gave her a level stare.
"I assume at some point during your...illustrious career that you've been subjected to a standard medical examination." Reluctantly Jill nodded, her eyes still shooting from the table with the equipment and back up to Wesker. "There's your answer. Now, sit. I will not order you again."
"You're...just going to give me a check-up?" She didn't believe him, not for one second. But looking at all of the instruments Wesker had laid out on the table showed her nothing suspicious, except for the empty syringe. Sliding around to the other side of the table, she half-sat, half-perched on the edge of the table as Wesker organized the instruments, turning to face her. Holding his gaze for a moment, she sighed, heaving herself up on the table the rest of the way. There's zero point in trying to do anything. Besides, be good and maybe you'll find out more about where you are and how to get out of here. Slipping the blood pressure monitor around her arm, she flinched away at his touch and he chuckled at her.
"Still not comfortable around me, Jill? After all the time we've known each other." Scowling at him, she winced as the band got tighter and tighter around her arm. Reading and filing the information away in his mind, he removed it and went on to look in her ears and mouth. Being so close to Wesker in such a normal type of environment was unsettling to her. Being held a prisoner at a bioterrorism lab somewhere in Russia is normal?Pulling away from her and pushing the used instruments aside, Wesker took a hold of her hand and held his fingers to her wrist. His grip was tight, but not so tight that she couldn't yank free... "Take off your shirt." Jill jumped at the order.
"What?!" The idea of making herself that vulnerable to him...no, no she refused. "No!" Wesker took a breath and gave her a hard stare, his jaw clenching.
"You sustained numerous broken bones, including a number of broken ribs when you decided to throw yourself out of a window. I can't properly examine you to ensure they've healed correctly with your shirt in the way. Now, take it off."
"I said no. I'm not just-" Before Jill could react, Wesker's hand was around her throat, and he slammed her backwards and down against the table. Her hands uselessly grabbing at his arm, she struggled to breath, tears springing to her eyes in pain and shock at what he was doing, and if there were any bones that had been broken in her body, they at once began to ache.
"Do not," Wesker growled, leaning in so close that it made Jill's heart hammer in her chest, "believe that because I have allowed you to live that you are not still expendable to me. I chose to do this while you were conscious, but I can just as easily accomplish what I want while you're asleep." Fear leapt into Jill's heart at his words, mingling with the fear and pain that he was already causing her. "When I tell you to do something, you do it. Or I will do it for you."
Holding on a moment longer, he released her with a slight shove so that her head hit the table. Gasping, and struggling to see past the black spots that had begun forming in her eyes, Jill panted for breath, rubbing her throat and coughing as she did so. Pushing herself up after a moment, Wesker was shoving the tools back into the cabinet, and with shaking fingers Jill slipped her shirt up and over her head, clinging it to her chest and panting.
"You're fucking evil." She spat at him, not caring if it earned her a slap or a shove across the room. Instead, Wesker chuckled as if moments before he hadn't been ready to kill her.
"And you are finally doing as you're told. Now sit up straight." Moving around behind her, Wesker began prodding and feeling along each of her ribs, up and down her back. In complete contrast to the iron grasp on her throat, his touch was gentle and medical in the methodical way he felt along her spine. A tear of anger rolled down her cheek, and she raised a still shaking hand to wipe it away, not wanting him to see her crying. Not wanting to give him the satisfaction. The room was cold, and small bumps had raised all up and down her arms at the feeling of the cold air against her skin. Hearing a small sound of approval from behind her, Wesker's hand left her back and she heard him walk around the table. "You can put that back on." He said, gesturing at the crumpled shirt she held against her. Waiting until he had his back to her, she quickly yanked the shirt up and over her head.
"A-am I done?" Rubbing her hand lightly against her throat, she wondered if any bruises would appear. Turning to face her with the syringe Wesker grabbed her arm, yanked it straight, and inserted the needle into the crook of her arm before she could react. "Hey!" But before she could do anything, he drew a full syringe of her blood and removed it. Lifting it up and examining it against the light, he gave a small, approving grin.
"Now you are."
Days turned into weeks, and Jill fell into a routine much different from her life at the BSAA. Every day she would do her workout, and after what she had counted as almost four weeks, was allowed to roam about the computer lab as long as the stern faced woman was in the room. There wasn't much to do and she wasn't allowed to touch the computers, but she was allowed to flip through some books. Most of them were in Russian, but she found a few in English about various topics surrounding virology and bacterial evolution. It was very wordy and didn't provide her with much information, but it was something to do. The walks to the showers and the three times daily visits from the stern faced woman were also routine, and Jill even managed to find out her name was Polina. Still not overly friendly, the woman at least had begun to answer Jill's questions with one worded answers, but still managed to provide Jill with the knowledge she needed to begin planning the layout of the building. Innocent questions about whether or not there were animals here, if Wesker had been here long, what the woman knew about his past. Her facial reactions told Jill all she needed to know when it came to questions about Wesker. Jill began getting weekly visits form Wesker too, each week he took her down to the medical room and did the same exam he had done the first time. The tense anxiety eased at his suspicious lack of variation, and Jill couldn't help but wonder what exactly he was checking for with her. Or what he thinks could make there be any change.
As Jill fell into her routine while the weeks got away, Chris Redfield fell into a routine as well, but his was much different from Jill's. After so long without her, the longest Chris had ever gone now that he thought about it, he had begun filtering in other activities for the BSAA into his daily review of all information surrounding Jill. To say he continued looking for her was not entirely correct, instead he continued looking for clues to allow him to continue looking for her. Grim determination and perseverance replaced the heart-broken desperation that had followed Jill's disappearance, but a visit from his captain informed him that they were rapidly approaching the three month mark since her disappearance, which also meant her funeral.
"Formality, Redfield. But all the same, it will be a serious event." As if Chris needed reminding of that. He dreaded it, because it wasn't just a formality. It was a symbolic implication by the BSAA that Jill Valentine was missing in action and presumed dead. Dead... It just wasn't something Chris had ever thought he'd believe about Jill. Jill Valentine couldn't be dead, she was his partner, they'd been through so much together...dead. A half-formed idea at the back of Chris' mind that Wesker was holding her captive haunted him and stopped him from fully focusing on anything else. As much as he didn't want to believe it, he knew that after her funeral, after the symbolic action of putting her to rest, he'd have to accept it. He'd have to let go of the idea that they were going to find Jill because he couldn't find anything new. All of the leads he had so carefully dug up and pursued had faded or come to abrupt halts, and the only person who still acted with any sense of belief in him was Claire.
The funeral itself came and went with Chris donning a stiff, stuffy suit and having to endure handshake after handshake. Some men saluted him, women and men alike hugged him and offered condolences, grim discussions and false optimism were held in the conversations with other branch officers. The BSAA gave Chris the remainder of the week off, but he refused. Despite his missing partner, there was work that needed to be done.And Jill would kill me if she knew I was putting innocent lives in danger because I was worried about her. He needed to trust that if Jill was alive, that she was able to take care of herself.
At the exact moment the empty casket was being lowered into the ground, Jill Valentine was getting yet another syringe of blood drawn. These 'donations' had begun happening one every two weeks, and no amount of questioning brought her any closer to her answer. Wesker was coldly distant most of the time, going about his work, ignoring her inquisitions, trading her back and forth with Polina. While Chris was shaking another pair of rough hands, Jill was back in her room, the medical exam having happened in the morning instead of the afternoon. While this slight change in scheduling wasn't much to go on, Jill made a list of possibilities in her head as to why the time of her exam and the time of her shower-trip would switch. Her workout had grown, and she'd begun coming up with new drills to run with herself to both keep her alert, and save her from the monotonous insanity of boredom.
Need to get out of here. Need a plan. Her best thinking was done while she was leaping into the air before dropping down to a plank, and every inch of available thought was dedicated to generating an escape plan. Needs to be done not on a day when I've seen Wesker. I know he's here those days. If only I knew what he did, if he went anywhere... She figured that he must. Sitting in one spot and doing lab-rat work wasn't on the list of Wesker's things to do. He needed productivity, needed purpose... What was it he was looking for? Documents about...evolution... Viral evolution, of that much she'd bet every penny in her frozen bank account. A virus needs to adapt to survive, and natural selection takes care of the rest. A new virus. Jill shivered at the thought, getting to her feet and jogging in place, breathing short and clipped, brows drawn together. Harder, better, faster, stronger. Those stupid lyrics floated through her mind and she found herself desperately missing her workout playlists. Wow, that's possibly the most normal thought I've had in almost four months.
Jill came to an abrupt halt, chest heaving and sweat trickling down her spine as she realized how long it had been. Four months. At the least, she'd been away from Chris and the BSAA for four months. Remember protocol? Missing units are considered dead by three. Dead. Jill Valentine had been declared legally dead in the real world. In the world where Chris still lived. Suddenly she was crying. It was uncontrollable in how rapidly the tears had formed, and the force of the crying made her fall to her knees and wrap her arms around herself. Clasping a hand over her mouth, the last thing she wanted was for Wesker to hear or see her like this. Shoulders shaking, she covered her face with her hands and let it out. The tears poured freely down her cheeks with her muffled sobs as an image of Chris came to mind for what felt like the first time in forever. She'd thought about the BSAA, and of escaping and seeing Chris, wondering what he'd be doing but now she saw with unsettling clarity Chris in a new suit and standing at her grave. Chris having to thank everyone who came, to deal with all those people who would by now, and with perfectly understandably, truly believe her dead. Oh god, Chris, I'm sorry...
Sniffling and wiping at her face, Jill wrapped her arms around her knees and drew shaky, steadying breaths. Crying had always made her feel tired, but now it filled her with a renewed sense of determination to escape. Biting her lip, she cleared her throat and sniffed the rest of the tears away, drawing her brows together and staring hard up at that ticking clock. There was no reason to cry over Chris, she was going to get back to him. Shecould get back to him, she just hadn't yet figured out how. It's a big facility, there's more than one way in and out. All you need to do is...
The sound of the door opening jolted her to her senses, and she jumped up to her feet, wiping her nose and sniffling again. Polina stood in the doorway and gestured Jill to go outside. Shower time. But as soon as the door closed behind her, Jill was handed a towel. Confused, she looked up at the woman.
"You know way. Fresh things in bathroom." Her tone was clipped like usual, but Jill noticed the man with the gun wasn't with her today. Frowning she opened her mouth to ask why she was suddenly being trusted to go on her own but Polina held up a hand. "Fifteen minute only. I come to collect you. No funny business, or else loss of privilege."
Nodding, Jill walked tentatively off to the bathroom, half expecting Wesker to ambush her at any time. Eyeing the cameras along the ceiling that were small but noticeable, Jill's mind was racing. Trust that I won't run away...this is good. Maybe not. This did not mean that he trusted Jill enough that he didn't think she'd run away. This meant he felt secure enough with the facility that she couldn't successfully do it. Entering the bathroom, Jill saw the usual pile of refreshed bottles, along with a big towel and...a razor. Spying this first, she was deeply confused, but shook her head, checking her appearance in the mirror. I guess he figured what I can do with a razor, I can do with a broken piece of mirror glass. Leaning in to turn on the hot water, Jill peeled her clothes off and let her eyes wander. Above her was the vent that sucked up the hot air, it's steady humming a comfort. But around the vent, something she hadn't really noticed before, was what looked like a panel.
Getting under the water, Jill rinsed her hair and ran the soap over her body, the razor making her skin smooth for the first time in months. Her mind, however, was not on these simple vanities. It was on the panel around the vent. Probably screwed on. Probably doesn't move. Probably just a maintenance pocket for the fan. But that perfectly cut square hovered in her mind. But that vent takes the air out, which means there's probably ducts...maybe big enough... Turning the water off, Jill wrapped the towel around her, fluffing her hair with it and staring up. Gotta try, gotta see.Throwing a furtive glance at the doorway as she dressed, she stood with shaky breath and pondered the square.
The ceiling was too high to reach on her own, but she didn't need to get up there, she just had to see if it would move...
"Valentine! Two minute!" Jumping at the sound of the voice, she called out that she was just getting dressed and turned back to the ceiling. Thinking fast, she took the shampoo bottle and moved to the counter. Hoisting herself up, Jill leaned out over the floor, stretching towards the panel and gripping the wall for support. Just...need to see...gotta make sure it doesn't... Poking it with the tip of the bottle, it didn't budge and she felt a wave of disappointment. Well, so much for... But her hand slipped and she had to jump off the counter so she didn't fall. In doing so, the bottle jolted against the panel slightly.
And it moved. A small lift; up then down.
"What are you doing? Let's go!" Polina strode into the doorway and gave Jill a stern look. Offering a flustered apology, she piled everything into her arms before slipping past the woman and walking hurriedly back to her room, a smile fighting not to form on her features.
I just found my escape route.
I am going to get out of here. Once and for all.