Everything About You


'Nothing is predestined.
The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.'
~Ralph Blum~

April 26, 1996. 1:10pm. Raccoon City Police Department.

Gauging his reaction was a near impossibility, but somehow it was all she seemed able to do. She was a bundle of nerves, unravelling in front of a man she could not help but notice bore a striking familiarity to the T-1000.

'He could be your boss,' she reminded herself. 'Don't compare him to movie villains.'

He was not quite what she had been expecting. Her current superior was a man in his mid-forties, muscular in the way an ex-Marine was expected to be with an attitude to boot. Crew cut, cigarette permanently fixed between his lips, tattoos covering most of his upper arms...Albert Wesker could have stepped right out of a slew of 80's action movies with his slicked-back hair and reflective aviators. He was stern in the way a headmaster would be, neat down to the way he buttoned his shirt. Whereas her previous superior demanded respect through his actions, Wesker commanded it through the unspoken fear of what could happen were you to cross this strangely orderly man.

"Your résumé is impressive," he commented.

"Thank you."

"But I can't help but wonder why you want to join this unit," he mused. "A former Green Beret, the only woman I have heard of training with the Delta Force, and an application for the ISA denied solely on the grounds of limited experience and not expertise...and all of this within the space of two years. Had I not made the necessary calls I would not have believed a word of it."

Jill laughed uneasily. Her past was quite unbelievable, but she did not believe in slacking, and had ambition that she was often told could take her to the White House should she desire the position. It was perhaps a good thing then that she had little to no interest in politics.

"You were discharged from the US Army Special Forces for medical reasons, I believe," he continued. "Do you mind if I ask what these were?"

Jill nodded obligingly.

"I was involved in a road traffic incident," she explained. "I was a passenger and I suffered several broken bones, internal bleeding and traumatic brain injury that left me in a coma for two weeks. I made a full recovery but due to the severity of my injuries, re-enlistment was made optional and I decided to pursue a different career. But I am in perfect health; details of my medical should be attached."

"Ah, yes," Wesker realised. "Though I am sure your career history would make you suitable for far more well-paying jobs, I have to admit that it makes you a very appealing candidate. But, on a personal note, why do you want a career with S.T.A.R.S.?"

Jill thought long and hard about this. Her short tenure as a S.W.A.T. agent had not tested her in the way she had hoped. Perhaps she had given up on her dream of a career in the ISA too soon? But what did those bureaucrats know? They had told her that she was more than qualified for the job, but lacked sufficient experience. She came out top in her cohort and her application was endorsed by every Sergeant, Major and Colonel she had trained under. They knew of her age and experience when she had applied, so why had they wasted her time in the process? The experience was enough to put her off applying for a second time. Being young and female in a middle-aged man's world presented her with setbacks she knew that she should not face.

"I believe that S.T.A.R.S. can offer me just as much as I can offer the team," she explained, deciding to be honest. "The other members and I have similar military backgrounds, some barely a few years older than I. I guess this is an environment I would feel comfortable working in. My background more than qualifies me for the position available, and I feel that in this role I can achieve all that I want without my inexperience holding me back. If you were to give me this opportunity I promise that I will not let you down, sir."

Wesker lay down her papers and levelled his eyes at her. At least, she assumed that he did. She could feel him scrutinising every part of her being, and suddenly felt uncomfortably exposed.

"I will level with you, Miss Valentine," he sighed. "Your age, gender and inexperience are of concern to the Chief of Police. Fortunately, I never cared much for what he thinks; this is my unit and ultimately the decision lies with me. It would be hypocritical of me to deny you on those grounds, especially as there is currently an officer mere months older than you in our employ."

He paused, and Jill could almost feel her heart cease beating. He could not know what this job meant to her. Anew city, a fresh start. A place where no-one knew of her past or of her father, where tabula rasa once again slid into place.

"It will take a couple of weeks to process the paperwork and have a uniform made up for you," he announced as he began to scribble something down onto a pad before him. "By this time, your obligatory two weeks within your current job will be over. If you need assistance finding an apartment, I can have one of our HR officers contact you, and of course your moving expenses will be covered by the department."

She was sure that she heard him mutter something along the lines of "Irons will love that" beneath his breath, but her mind was suspended in a state of delirium that impeded all normal functioning.

"So I...I got the job?" she asked, to which the reply was a casual nod. "But sir...there are three people you have yet to interview...they are sitting right outside, don't you want to-"

"You had the job before you stepped into this office, Miss Valentine," Wesker chuckled. "The interview was a mere formality. I'd have to be crazy to turn down an application such as yours. The ISA's loss is our gain."

She stuttered a quick thank you before stumbling back out into the hallway, the eyes of the three remaining candidates on her as she fought to keep a tell-tale smirk from her features. Even as she retreated from the building with a self-assured swagger to her step, there were only two words that played on her mind.

'Hell yeah.'

May 20, 1996, 8:45am. Jill's apartment.

Jill slept unusually well the first night, considering the state of her apartment. She could never sleep in the midst of chaotic mess, and somehow her belongings had arrived before she had. The landlord had graciously allowed them to be placed inside her apartment and left a note of welcome on the door of the surprisingly spacious refrigerator - along with instructions for paying rent.

She did not know Raccoon City very well, and so she left it to an HR representative within the R.P.D. to assist her in finding suitable accommodation. The area in which her block was located was suggested for the simple reason that most of the other S.T.A.R.S. members lived in the vicinity, and it was only a short drive to the Precinct. It was not a well-developed area but was not exactly Cabrini-Green; it was more or less what she had been expecting for the price she was paying and a huge step-up from the last estate she had lived on.

The usual routine of showering, breakfast and coffee was completed swiftly, affording her the opportunity to check over her appearance in the bathroom mirror. She debated adding a little mascara to her lashes, or at least styling her hair but in the end decided to settle for a little concealer to hide the few blemishes upon her skin and pulled her long brown hair back into a loose ponytail. There was nobody she cared to impress. After all, this was work, not speed dating.

The uniform that had been delivered was tight-fitting, but that was to be expected; save for the colour, it followed a similar theme to her old S.W.A.T. uniform. She had chosen blue herself, having always been told that it was a colour that suited her.

"Keys," she muttered beneath her breath as she stepped over the many boxes that remained piled up in the small living room.

Her car waited in the building's parking lot, shipped over with the rest of her belongings. As she settled into the driver's seat, she reached over to open the glove compartment on the passenger side. The map she had found in preparation waited for her just where she had left it.

"Ennerdale street," she read, tracing the route from her apartment to the police department. The map was old but fortunately the building was too - marked here as 'Raccoon City Museum of Art'.

The drive was short, but every street brought a fresh set of fears to those that had already gripped her. By the time she pushed on the door of the main entrance, her hands were shaking.

Not much was known about her new position, other than it was similar to her role within S.W.A.T., only with a larger emphasis on investigation - apparently the S.T.A.R.S. unit tackled all of the department's high-profile cases. It was a relatively new unit, from what she could tell, the hiring process for the entire team having only just began in March. Her previous superior had seemed somewhat shocked when she revealed the details of her new job; as it transpired, Captain Wesker had been rather brutal in the selection process, had turned down many candidates more experienced then herself.

It served as a further boost to encroaching fear. This job was a chance in a million, a shot that she could not blow; she had a lot to prove.

She would have a partner, Wesker had told her. The structure of the teams was still a little unstable, but he wanted to place her in Alpha team, with an ex-Air Force pilot by the name of Chris Redfield. She had done a little digging of her own in an attempt to get to know her new partner before they met. It seemed that he had won every marksman award that he was up for, had participated in numerous successful assignments, saving the lives of at least a dozen men during his tenure with the USAF. At almost twenty-three years of age, he may not have been the most experienced member of the team, but he seemed by far the most competent. And Jill could not help but wonder why Wesker had chosen to partner the two of them. Did he truly believe that she was capable of the same level of performance as Redfield? Or was it a case of teaming the strongest member of the team with the weakest in the hope that she would learn from him?

May 20, 1996. 8:50am. Raccoon City Police Department.

Shoulders rolled, neck cracked, but still Chris could not relieve the tension from aching muscles. Once again, he had fallen asleep in front of the television; hardly a comfortable position. A yawn emphasised the fatigue he knew would work against him in training and he tried his best to stifle it. The truth was that sleep was just not coming easily to him these days. Long days working, late nights with his friends...just last week he had napped in his car during his lunch break.

"Rough night?" Forest asked, placing a steaming Styrofoam cup before him.

"Just one of these days I'd love to actually sleep in my bed."

"Rather than someone else's?"

Chris elbowed his friend, the aroma of coffee hitting him as he peeled the plastic lid from the did make it too strong.

"That happened once," he defended. "And she was hot, and I still have her number, so mock all you want."

Forest lowered himself into the seat at the empty desk behind his...the desk that would soon belong to the new recruit.

"Is she here yet?" Chris asked, mildly interested.

"Dunno. Captain said she isn't due to start until nine. Gonna feel weird having a girl on the team."

It was not a misogynistic comment; far from it, actually. They had all heard of this Valentine, mostly from the ruckus Chief Irons caused when news of her hiring reached him. Some military girl from Illinois who had seen a swift rise in rank. For a girl of twenty-one years, her résumé was nigh on unbelievable.

Perhaps that was where his unease stemmed from? She was skilled, there was no doubt about that, perhaps even more skilled than himself. To be recruited before the interview period had come to an end, to be draughted straight into Alpha Team...she had to be good.

Perhaps too good.

'So you're jealous now?'

It was a ridiculous concept, and he rejected right; it would be interesting to have a woman on the team.

The door to the S.T.A.R.S. office swung open and Wesker barely cast a glance to the men, preoccupied with documents in his hands.

"Redfield, I need you to pull all the notes we have on the Henderson-Whitely case," he instructed. "I need you to walk Valentine through them this afternoon, bring her up to date."

Confusion descended, caused him to burn his tongue as concentration lapsed mid-sip.

"But sir," he protested. "That's my case...it's a one-man job."

Wesker looked up from his papers, shuffled them into a neat pile.

"Valentine will be your partner from now on; you will be working every case together. This will be good practise while you get to know one another."

His words hit like an insult, and Forest rose to his feet, relocating to Brad's usual spot at the communication desk, evidently sensing trouble brewing.

"My partner?"

Wesker had already begun to partner other members of the team, but for the time being, Alpha had remained untouched. Somehow, he had assumed that it would always be this way. Alpha were the best of S.T.A.R.S., they did not need the partner system.

"Officer Valentine is a perfect match for your skills," Wesker explained.

"That is irrelevant!"

Forest made a slashing motion with his hand, silently pleading for him not to take this further. But anger had already taken hold, an opinion begging to be heard.

"I don't need a partner - she will only hold me back."

His years within the Air Force had taught him not to rely on others. It was always thanks to someone he was supposed to be working with at the time that he found himself in trouble on many occasions. Others would let you down; the only person in this world you can trust is yourself. Somewhere along the line, that had become his mantra.

"She will be good for you. You need to keep that temper in check, Redfield. My word is final; don't argue with me on this one."

And just like that, he was gone. Incredulously, Chris turned to Forest.

"Just do this," the older man sighed. "Take her as your partner, work together; what's the worst that could happen?"

"Am I not good enough?" Forest groaned at the question. "I thought I was the 'best on the team'? Why the hell do I need a partner?"

"Maybe to keep that ego in check?"

Chris flinched, realising how he must have sounded. But the reality was that he found this offensive. Was it a subtle attempt at sabotage?

His thoughts drowned out Forest's voice, and the glance that he shot to the empty desk could have burned a hole clear through the wood. Memories of the file he had read in advance returned; money had not been lacking in her life, not even when her father turned to crime. With an upbringing such as that, was it really any surprise that she had achieved so much? He had fought tooth and nail to get where he was, money never abundant in his life.

Fury reached a crescendo and he reached into his desk for the packet of cigarettes he always kept there. His sister had been encouraging him to quit, but it was moments like these that made the end goal far too difficult to accomplish.

May 20, 1996. 9:30am. Raccoon City Police Department.

"And this is the locker room. S.T.A.R.S.-exclusive."

Jill followed the young man, glanced around the spacious room. Each of the four walls were filled with floor-length lockers, a fifth and six row back-to-back down the centre. Large benches ran down the centre of the spaces between; it felt to her like a school gymnasium, not a police station.

"This used to be the general changing area for employees back when this building was a museum," her colleague explained. "Or so I've been told. We tend to store unpacked stock - from office supplies to weapons - in the lockers to the right of the door here; spare uniforms are on the other side of the central lockers. Yours will be number...17, just up here."

He moved to a locker towards the end of the nearest side of the central row; the key was already in the lock.

"If you need more room, just ask; obviously, we have a lot of spares."

"Thank you," she smiled. "Richard, was it?"

"Good memory," Richard winked. "So how are you finding it here?"

Glancing nervously around the room, she realised that she held her arms tightly to her chest; a defensive posture.

"I always have first-day nerves." There were names on several of the lockers around hers. Richard Aiken, J. Frost, Forest, Redfield. "But I like it here - everyone has been so welcoming."

She recalled an opening towards the end of the row of storage lockers, remembered the tiled floor on the other side. The showers?

"Are these lockers..."

"Unisex?" Richard chuckled, smiling uneasily. "Yeah, sorry about that. But it's okay; the cubicles are doubled so you can shower and change without stepping out. The guys are respectful for the most part; they like to joke around but if they make you feel uncomfortable, let them know and they'll stop."

The realisation did not unnerve her. If anything, it pleased her. Back in S.W.A.T., she had shared a locker room with the females of the department, and quite often she would find herself shying away from the area. Being the only female on the S.W.A.T. team somehow alienated her from the other female staff, though she never did learn why. Perhaps they had felt threatened? Or maybe it had been the rumour that had spread throughout the department; the new recruit, the ex-Delta candidate...a lesbian. She had never bothered to correct those who assumed so. Quite frankly, it would have been none of their damn business if she was.

Voices from the narrow hallway outside stole their attention.

"You ready for training?" Richard asked, stepping out of the way as the door opened and the rest of the team piled in. Most were already dressed for training, and a certain buzz of excitement seemed to pass between them.

"I feel a little rusty but sure," she laughed, a sudden boost of confidence bringing a smile to her lips.

The S.T.A.R.S. training regime seemed to be no different to a thorough work-out session with occasional team 'games', the focus evidently on keeping everyone in shape whilst encouraging teamwork and reliance on one another. As the team had yet to see active combat, it made sense.

"Say, Richard," she hummed, stepping aside as an elbow brushed hers. "Do you know Redfield well?"

A hand clamped down on her shoulder, long fingers gripping tight.

"He still not said hello?" The thick southern drawl belonged to Forest, a member of Bravo team. Though she could not recall what his specific role within the team was, she knew that his skills with a firearm rivalled Redfield's.

She dreaded the opportunity for the others to discover just how lousy she was with a gun in her hands.

"He's a good guy," Forest told her, removing his hand to slam shut his locker door. There was uneasiness in his eyes as he lowered them to hers. "Just...don't take his attitude personally. He ain't that good with change."

The door swung open again, and she barely caught the worried glance that Richard shot his older colleague.

"Hey, Chris!" Forest bellowed, the sudden impact of his voice causing her to flinch unexpectedly. But she turned at the sound of his name, curiosity proving too powerful.

First impression was a good one; compared to the others, Redfield appeared as just another man on the street. In fact, Jill was sure that she had walked past him earlier, believing him to be a visitor. He was muscular, but not overly so, short hair neatly styled, and despite his years in the Air Force and apparent love of his role, he sported not a single visible tattoo, unlike many of their teammates.

He turned in their direction but did not move.

"Meet Jill Valentine," Forest announced. "Jill, meet Chris Redfield."

She offered her best professional smile; lips curved, no teeth. But all Chris seemed able to do was stare. Moments passed, an unreadable expression falling into a frown.

"Huh," he said. And with an attitude that screamed as much interest as his mumbled word, he turned on his heel and left.

Confidence shrank, nerves trembling once again. Was it something she- ...well what exactly had she done?

"Time of the month?" Richard asked, seemingly unperturbed by his colleague's attitude.

"Seems like it," Forest replied with a sigh. "Sorry, Jill. He...gets in these moods from time to time."

Just how often was 'from time to time'? She had little tolerance for a lack of professional attitude when it was called for, and somehow she felt deeply offended by the lack of introduction.

'Don't judge,' she urged herself. 'You have no idea what is going on. Maybe he's just having a bad day?'

The 'training grounds' were impressive. She had never seen anything quite like it. Enrico, Captain of Bravo Team and second-in-command of the unit, had told her that in its museum days the building had looked out onto several tennis courts. It seemed that the Department had utilised this space well, converting it to a small track, a basketball court (likely for the amusement of staff more than training purposes) and a small assault course. There was an abandoned warehouse just beyond, apparently once used for storage of artefacts, that Forest had told her was somewhat of a set for tactical training.

Running had always been one of Jill's favourite pastimes. So it was pleasant to be able to beat her worries out on the track and in the process discover that she was in fact one of the fastest members of the team.

"Old age holding you back, Burton?" she teased as Barry reached for his second water bottle in half an hour.

Barry was an old family friend - or at least, his uncle was - and she had recently discovered that it was he who had recommended her for this position.

"Watch it, kid," he chuckled. "I'm only thirty-six."

"Still older than us, old man!" Joseph shouted as he sprinted past. It seemed that he was determined to prove that what he lacked in speed, he made up for in stamina.

"He'll burn out soon," Richard told her on the sly. "He does this every time."

It was Chris who held her attention, and her eyes continued to follow him as he completed yet another lap. He was not far behind her, but seemed capable of pushing himself much farther. Honestly, she had never seen stamina quite like his before.

Wesker seemed content to watch from the sidelines even as he called for the group to gather and led them back inside, to a room with a lightly padded floor - she had used one many times before when training for hand-to-hand combat. From what she had been told, the Captain was very rarely actively involved in training sessions. His role seemed to be that of a gym teacher; watching, analysing, making sure that everyone met his high standards.

"Redfield, Valentine," he called.

Uneasily, she stepped forward, the padded floor cool against the bare soles of her feet.

"Redfield, you know the drill," Wesker told him. "The goal is to pin your partner for three seconds. Valentine, I want you to focus on deflecting Redfield's attacks and neutralising him. Consider this your evaluation."

Chris's eyes met hers in a cold stare, chilling her down to the bone. Something had gotten beneath his skin, evidently plucked his strings. Whatever it was that had irritated him, it had pushed him to a state of anger she was not sure that she was comfortable with in their current situation.


He was right-handed, she knew this from the time spent observing him during their warm-up on the track. The first blow was easily avoided, and a well-placed hand to his wrist helped to alter the trajectory if his left fist as it swung. Somehow, she did not fully believe that he would have stopped short of hitting her. Was that the point? Was that normal for this exercise?

Chris was strong, but he was slow, and she spun around so that they were back-to-back, hooking his arms in hers before she brought them forward. A quiet crack sounded and he hissed; the act would not injure him, but it was jarring enough to gain her precious seconds, which she used to sweep his legs out from beneath him and pin him to the ground with a knee in the small of his back. With his arm twisted behind him, there was no way that he could rise.

Or so she thought. So impressed by her sudden victory, her attention lapsed and his free arm tugged on hers, catching her off-guard and sending her crashing to the ground. She was on her feet before he, and he focused his strength on his legs this time. A fist swung out of nowhere, hitting her painfully on the shoulder. But he was too slow to pull back and she swallowed the pain, grabbing his wrist to twist his arm and bring him to his knees with both wrists held behind his back this time.

"Impressive," Wesker commented, a half-smile appearing on his lips.

"Seriously?" Chris fumed. He shook her from him, climbing unsteadily to his feet. Great strength, great stamina...it was a shame that he was slow and too reliant on attacks.

"I am tired, sir. I'm not on top form."

"You are as capable as you always are," Wesker countered. "It seems that Valentine here simply brought your weaknesses to light. Jill, could you enlighten Mr. Redfield?"

"You put too much energy into your attacks," she told her partner. Feedback was always her favourite part of training; she had always been praised for her skills of observance. "You are too slow. You need to focus on defence, and attack when the opportunity presents itself. Otherwise, you leave yourself wide open to attack and will be too weak or too distracted to deflect it when it comes."

"Precisely." Though Wesker agreed, she could see that Chris was not too happy to hear what she had to say. Why ever not? The only way to improve was to know one's weaknesses and to know how others could exploit them. "This is the first occasion the two of you have sparred, and already Valentine was able to predict every move that you made. I recommend that you train together frequently; Jill, your attacks are a little weak...I believe that you will both benefit from this."

Chris would still not look at her, seemed to clench his jaw stubbornly. And her shoulder still ached; she had never suffered a punch quite so powerful when delivered by a co-worker. Every movement had been heavy, every attack hard.

"Okay, Vickers...you're up next."

May 20, 1996. 11:00am. Raccoon City Police Department.

The soothing touch of warm water upon his skin did not chase away the aches. It always seemed to be he that Wesker utilised to prove a point. Perhaps it was his way of teaching a man he claimed had 'a lot to learn'; whatever it was, it was getting old.

Chris shut off the water before angrily snatching his towel from where he had hung it. He never did bother to change in the shower cubicles, his clothes always getting wet on occasions that he had tried, so he wrapped the towel around his waist and made his way through to the locker room.

The others were gone, likely taking an early lunch. The captain didn't seem to mind on training days and so they were all sure to take advantage of it. Would he join them today? No. Because she would be there.

In many ways, he was glad that Jill was female, because he was sure that punching his new colleague on their first day would have been frowned upon. Who did she think she was? Skill did not grant a person permission to be such an insufferable know-it-all. 'You are putting too much weight on your right foot', 'You need to turn a little more', 'Don't swing so hard; it throws off your balance'. Was she his partner or his personal trainer?

As he slipped back into his regular uniform, he contemplated going to Irons, demanding that she be assigned to another as their partner. Forest and Richard already seemed to have taken to her and her family had history with Burton's...surely she would be more suited to one of them? Alas, it seemed to be a general case of 'what Wesker says, goes'. He seemed to be the only man in the precinct who held a great deal of control over The Chief; if anything, Irons often seemed afraid of him.

He had barely reached into his locker for a clean shirt when the door swung open. The scent of her cleanliness reached him before he was given the chance to turn; he was sure that none of the others used strawberry-scented shower gel.

Stubbornness prevented conversation. Perhaps it was best that he said nothing when every thought that he had ever had of her was a negative one.

Jill opened her locker, just a few down from his. Inside, it was a lot neater than his, its contents already organised.

"Hey, Chris," she said, suddenly closing the door of her locker, boxed sandwiches in hand. "About training..."

"It's okay," he replied. Apparently his vocal cords did not obey the order of silence. "I guess your tips were helpful."

Jill inhaled sharply, turning to glance around the empty locker room.

"My- What are you talking about? I am giving you the opportunity to apologise!"

There was something about that word that irritated him, and something within her voice that injected further insult into it.

"Chris, you were deliberately rough," she growled. "Wait...you were actually trying to hit me, weren't you?"

Something snapped within and he slammed shut the door to his own locker before slamming his fist into the metal.

"Who the hell do you think you are?" he roared. "You think I would hit a woman? Maybe you should keep your opinions to yourself and stop being such a damn know-it-all."

She flinched, but stood her ground. The girl was brave, he would give her that much. She levelled her eyes at him, crossed her arms across her chest.


Did she not remember her 'pointers'? Each had felt like an insult to his ability, and the smirks amongst his colleagues - his friends - had been the salt to the wound.

"I don't need your help," he told her. "Whatever my weaknesses are, I will overcome them on my own."

"So let me get this straight; you're angry at me because I tried to help you? I'm sorry, are we still in high school?"

The momentary block that his shirt caused as he pulled it over his head was welcomed - even just looking at her made his blood boil. His partner...her entire existence was an insult; it was evident that Wesker had only assigned her to him because of his so-called 'weaknesses'. She was as much a tutor as she was a partner, and he wouldn't stand for it.

"There it is; that attitude! You really think you're better than me, don't you?"

Confident, he leaned against his locker, lips twisting into a smirk. He knew her type. Privileged, experienced, having been told their entire lives how good they were; the kid who was hauled in front of the class as a standard the others were required to reach. She was good, but she knew it.

"Get over yourself," she sighed. "We don't have to like each other, we just have to work together. Try not to make that more difficult that it is evidently going to be."

He felt a sudden rush of air as she walked past him. Anger told him not to let her have the last word, his conscience scolding him with a demand to apologise. Every part of him knew that he was in the wrong, that he should at least get to know her before he wrote her off as a nuisance.

"I'm not about to go easy on you because you're a woman," he pointed out, calm now. She stopped momentarily, but did not glance back at him. Was that what this was? Was she truly upset about how he had fought in training? "The others may...and they may make excuses for you, but I won't. I expect the same from you as I do from the others, and I will treat you the same as I treat them. If you can't handle that, I suggest you leave."

Not another word was spoken before she left. It was ironic how he had saved honesty for the closing statement. Perhaps her previous colleagues and superiors had been lenient with her, had treated her like a queen, like a favourite child. She would not find that here.

"I wonder how long she will last?"

AN - So this story is an amalgamation of a few ideas that I had. I have wanted to write a pre-mansion story for a while because there's just something about that era that I love. I love the old S.T.A.R.S. members and I love the 'innocence' of the setting, at least compared to later times. Which brings me to a point I want to make clear before I get further into this story - the characters are younger. So, I have tried to think of their characters that way - they are less mature, less experienced...I guess they are just finding themselves, really. So they may seem a little OOC at times, but I assure you that they will grow as the story progresses (at least I hope I achieve that!).

Anyway, this is a little fun something, not really meant to be taken seriously. Aside from a pre-mansion fic, I really wanted to write something set at the start of Chris and Jill's partnership and to write their relationship in a different way. I am no good with humour, but hopefully there will be some. There will also be action, romance, all the usual. I hope you all enjoy! The title of the story comes from the song by Three Days Grace. As usual, I had trouble thinking of a title, and the ambiguity of the phrase suits this perfectly :).

Oh yes, and please review :).