It's been seven years since the Los Illuminados incident, as it was officially called. But that's not what I'm going to talk about today.
I've had more than my share of dealing with viruses and parasites, which all began for me back in 1998, in Raccoon City. I was exposed to a world hidden in plain sight to most, which live their lives without ever realizing it, if they're lucky.
Though Albert Wesker is gone, there are more than a fair number of fringe lunatics hiding out there with virus and plaga samples, the latter of which is all too easy to grow so long as even a single specimen exists. Even though the remote area of Spain where it originated has been sterilized, much as Raccoon City was, there is no telling just how many samples still exist.
The fact that I have a wife and young child just makes me nearly go over the edge in overprotectiveness. I'd do anything to protect them... kill to protect them, and indeed I already have.
After returning Ashley Graham home safely, I spent whatever free time I could in an effort to try and track down Ada Wong. I was sidetracked the next year by a reunion of sorts with Claire Redfield, who I first met back in 1998 under similar, zombie-filled circumstances.
There was no luck concerning Ada's whereabouts, and it was as if she vanished off the face of the Earth. I haven't seen or heard from her ever since she flew away in that helicopter with the plaga sample, and I suspect that I never will.
I remembered saying to Ashley that she was someone from my past that I couldn't let go, and Ada made the decision for me that day, but it took me years to finally realize it.
Ashley graduated from her college and became a nurse, and I only found out months afterward due to my work being my life. Government agents tend to not let themselves get distracted by anything, especially beautiful women.
Yes, if you haven't guessed by now, I married her in 2008 and over a year later she gave birth to my daughter. But I'm getting too far ahead of myself.
We really hadn't kept in touch at all after coming back from Spain. Ashley had slipped in the 'overtime' offer again after we reached the mainland, but once again I declined. I didn't want to take advantage of her like that, and I always thought that she really didn't want to have just a casual fling either, and she said as much a few years later when we met again.
She was in love. And for three years after that I ignored her and broke her heart, and never gave her a chance. In effect, I was doing to her what I felt Ada did to me, and was ashamed. She tried dating a few other men here and there while in college, but nothing ever went anywhere because in her own words nobody could compare to me.
I guess I should be flattered!
Anyway, I wanted to see Ashley and congratulate her on graduating, but I didn't have to: She came to see me, and we hugged and asked each other how we were and went through the routine that people who haven't seen each other for a while do.
It wasn't long until I noticed that she was crying, but I didn't ask her what was wrong. I didn't need to.
I held her, stroked her hair and wiped her tears away. Ashley wasn't just a mission, she was a lovely woman who I grew to deeply care about while in Spain, but I just couldn't take that final step while I was still holding onto Ada.
Ada let go long ago, and now it was my turn.
"I'm letting go, Ashley," I'd said, "and holding onto you."
"Yes, I... I want to get to know you better, Ashley. Now that we're not infested with parasites or at a constant risk of certain death, there's really no excuse."
I stood up, held out my hand, and said: "I'm Leon Scott Kennedy. Nice to meet you, miss?"
"Ashley Graham." she replied, taking my hand with her own. "And it's nice to meet you too, Meester Scott Kennedy!"
"Salazar! Get out of Ashley's mind this instant!"
We laughed, and as we met each other for the first time again, I knew there was something special. Ashley is really so sweet, kind and caring, more so than any other woman I have ever met. After being rescued and returning to her studies, she excelled in them and graduated in the top of her class, wanting more than anything to be able to help people after surviving the horrors we went through.
Nearly six months later, Ashley Graham became Ashley Kennedy. We didn't wait long because we knew that being with each other was right and what we truly wanted, and in a way to make up for time lost.
'Overtime' became a bit of a joke and code-word between us whenever we wanted to… well, you know. If you're looking for explicit details, then too bad. All I can say is that Ashley does overtime very, very well, but I love her far more than just for that.
Sometimes, it's truly worth giving someone a chance. Those who live in the past will die in it, as they have no future. Thank all that is holy that Wesker was stopped two years ago, and that for the most part we can all finally move on.
Ashley and I were worried during her pregnancy that our baby would have problems or side-effects due to our both having been infested with Las Plagas, but our fears were for nothing. Dana is a very healthy, happy normal two year-old girl.
Chris and Jill are expecting, and I just remembered that we were supposed to be getting ready to head to her baby shower. We actually only live a few blocks away from each other... things are actually normal and as peaceful as can be, but how long will it last?
I don't know, but I have two people that I love more than anything else in the world to fight for, and that's good enough.