Summary: Post RE6. This world is no place for heroes. Leon/Sherry.
A/N: (an intro of sorts)
My first RE fic. It's after RE6, which we know little about, so I took from what I saw in the trailer. Just to warn readers—this is disturbing and dark. There is no happy ending and it's not for the faint of heart. If you read and comment, I'd be eternally grateful. Please, no flames.
death's a sad Bone; bruised, you'd say
and yet she waits for me, year after year
to so delicately undo an old wound,
to empty my breath from its bad prison.
Leon remembers the sounds of the ocean. Waves crashing. Sudsy water and clear air. The water is endless.
He sees the Jet Ski cleave through the cave as the tidal wave closes in on them both, like the rolling boulder that might have killed a less clever Indiana Jones. They hurtle through the air, the force of the explosion propelling them into infinite space.
Leon feels it clearly. A flashbulb memory, the psychologists call it.
He doesn't remember himself, the act of breathing or an urge to scream. Only the feel. Ashley's fingers dig into his ribs, but her shriek suspends itself. He keeps the Jet Ski in the air for several moments in his head, recalling the elevated placement of his guts, and keeps them there. It is a terrifying, eerie elation—like the blissful erasure before ejaculation—and he readjusts himself in his bed to keep a past mission from dipping southwards. He lets the Jet Ski hit the surface of the water, and he lets Ashley fling from the backseat and dive into the ocean.
He skips to where she clearly solicits sex, an offer he would have taken had she been anyone but the President's daughter.
If he'd been fired, then at the very least he wouldn't have had to see a lot of things.
It's kind of scaring him, but no matter how hard he tries, he can't get himself to care about it anymore.
He didn't have a choice.
His mind has trained itself to shut off any other response but the action of aiming and pulling the trigger in times of calamity, no matter who is lunging toward him. He's killed men, women and children alike—zombified, plagafied, mutated or insane. It is a thing that keeps hours of sleep far from his reach. A thing that murdered his belief in the wonder of creation and the omnipresence of God. A thing that has an urge to die growing steadily in the pit of his stomach, weakening the foundation of his bones.
The guilt that had doubled him over in cries of anguish in the distant past clumps up in his arteries.
The urge—it drums its fingers on him, yet he can't reply. He can't still it.
How can he answer?
Then he hears the knock. He has no shirt on, and his fly is unzipped. He recalls that he'd briefly considered masturbating before he associated the image of a woman's sex with the cave explosion in Spain.
He zips himself up, throws on his jacket, and pads to the door.
It's Sherry. Plain and tall and 26 years old. Staring at a 35 year old Leon.
She's been in the U.S for about 3 months, and he still can't believe how much she's grown. Every time he sees her, it's like time-travel. Like an old father, he has trouble coming to terms with how she's caught up to him.
"You've gotten big. Are you legal yet?" he smirks.
She rolls her eyes. "Ha ha."
He steps aside. She walks past and he closes the door.
He's always mildly disappointed by her hair cut. If it's new remains to be figured out. She could have had it for years. But in any case, he likes women with longer hair. Short hair only seems to belong to bitches.
He sighs and digs into an itch at his side as Sherry explores his less than dazzling abode. A one-bedroom apartment, so small that if he had a roommate, he'd have to sleep in the kitchen. His salary could buy better. Penthouse-better.
"Why do you live here?" she lifts her arms to hold the air of 'here', a place that has been rightfully judged as a lightless hole.
"It fits my needs."
"And what are your needs?"
As if he doesn't know and he should.
He scans the apartment. "I need… Ceilings that don't leak. A shower that works. A refrigerator that works. At least one window, so I can see what I'm missing—"
"Leon, save the sarcasm."
"It's the truth."
"Are you always this alone?"
It's his curse. Government agents learn to take the idea of friendship very coldly. Other people are simply acquaintances, faces that smile at him as they go on their way. Gradually they shift into the void and are forgotten, just as he starts to forget himself. He hadn't noticed it was happening at the time, but when the day came that he'd successfully aliened everyone and became a ghost—he was well past the point of caring.
It's easier not to care. He remains sane that way.
The passing overhead lights that beam through the shutters are all that distinguishes her figure in the blackness.
The side lamp turns on. "…the fuck is it so dark in here?" he catches.
Sherry sits on his unmade bed. The covers are tousled like unwashed hair, hanging off the edges. Her panty-hosed legs are lovely against them—thin, shapely limbs against the comforters that drive his mind somewhere else. Somewhere less than holy. Her breasts hide underneath her fur-lined coat. He imagines them as pale, soft mounds, perched right on top of her chest. She's a small, petite thing, so her nipples would probably be a cute red, her areolas youthfully pink.
He shakes his head. Just why is he undressing her in his head?
Sherry, sensing his stare, turns to him. His handsome, dejected face. The fringe dips over his features, the stubble accentuating his chin.
Her teeth draw her bottom lip into her mouth somewhat. He could have sprung a stiff from just that. What worsens the matter is that she didn't mean to be so inviting.
Leon stands where he is and doesn't think of moving, when all he really wants to do is gently push her back onto the bed and press his lips into her neck. He wants her to sigh into his hair, to run her hands over his back and shoulders like women do.
"Take your coat off." he says. A none too bright thing to say. He's already forgotten himself. Foolish Leon.
Sherry quirks a brow, as expected. "What do I take off after my coat?"
Leon smirks, playing it off. "Your top."
The coat is thrown to an arm chair, over which lay his other jacket—the 'business' jacket. The one he runs into helicopters wearing, or jumps into the line of fire wearing. The one that shrouds the faces of damsels in distress as explosions go off.
He faintly misses his Spain jacket. It was genuine leather, that one. Cost him no less than 300 bucks. He misses it more because it was warm, rather than mourning the fashion loss. He's not so concerned with appearances anymore.
Sherry falls back on the bed, folding her arms behind her head. "Chris is getting better."
"Chris?" Then he remembers. The legend of anti-bioterrorism. The brave man. The broken one.
He only ever met the man once.
Leon remembers thinking, as he glanced at Chris' battle expression, that there was nothing there.
Joy had been drained. Smiles almost permanently disabled. Leon knows this breed of despair. The helpless abjection. He wakes with it every day.
"Yeah?" is all he can really come up with.
"Jill says he used to cover his face a lot, like he couldn't bear to see what was in front of him. He had this way of holding his gun to his chest and staring off into the distance. Jill says she hates it and wishes she could take it away, but she can't."
Leon nods. He hasn't moved since she splayed herself out beautifully on his mattress.
"So how is he now?"
"He talks more. He's… a little more receptive to hugs. He likes lying against her chest."
"I hope he doesn't do that to you."
Sherry snorts. "Of course not. I'm talking about Jill here."
"You make it seem like he could do it to anyone if he's feeling lovey-dovey."
"No, no. Only Jill."
"…They've been through a hell of a lot together."
"So have we."
It hangs in the air. Different responses swim around in his head.
"Yeah… Look, I'm sorry about all that. That you had to go through that."
Her face scrunches up.
"Why would you ever apologize for that?"
Leon's tempted to shrug, but decides against it.
These words are hated, unsaid for years.
"He's the one. He turned into something else and came after me. Like some bat out of hell. He killed my mother. He leveled my entire world." She closes her eyes. "And you saved me. When I thought no one would come. When I thought no one cared and that I'd die alone. You came for me."
A lump is growing in Leon's throat. He can't think of a single thing to say. A few years ago, that would have been something out of the ordinary for him.
He walks to the bed and leans over her. Not touching yet. Their concentration lingers. His arms are like bars she can't escape, on either side of her, commanding she stay in this small space. She belongs to him.
Lips graze each other. Shy. The air he exhales through his nostrils reaches her. She breathes him in. Their foreheads touch, noses bump. She smells so innocent. Untouched. Though he knows she's far too beautiful never to have been taken this way before.
Her hand snakes around his neck and teases the end-hairs behind his head. His eyes wander to her breasts. He thinks perversely, then stops himself.
The last time he'd ever seen her was before she had anything there. He always knew she'd grow to be beautiful, but that she'd ever stir him like this, make his stomach coil in longing like it only used to do for Ada..
The shame is rather acute.
He spots the locket. The chain flaring against pale skin. Not the one she dropped all those years ago. This is a different one, heart shaped and more of a girly trinket. Not a harbor for a family photo.
It's just as real as when she first showed it to him—physically here or not.
His eyes close. He descends on her again. And she lets him in wholeheartedly, like the good girl she is.
It is a piece of sad history. It is a portrait of a murdered family.
He waits for her underneath the cherry blossom tree.
The samurais considered it a last gift to die under them. He imagines petals raining over wounded skin. A desperate fist staunching a fatal opening. The passing American only sees beauty and color.
He sees sleep and release.
Sherry catches Leon leaning against the tree trunk. He's staring off into the distance, just like Chris used to do in states of terrible deliberation.
"How are you?"
"Fine." A lie.
"What did you have in mind?"
"Just a walk. You cold?"
Sherry shakes her head, but she has her arms wrapped around herself, so Leon sniffs out the fib easily enough. He sheds his jacket and gently places it over her shoulders. He smiles that confident, full-lipped smile. Sherry has always loved his lips. He has a habit of trapping her bottom lip between his at the end of a kiss and pulling on it, like he would do to her reddened ear lobe or the skin of her neck. She can barely hide her blush.
The pedals swirl in lazy circles, as lazy as the wind that carries them. The White House recedes as they leisurely wander off.
Leon finds them a stone bench when Sherry's feet tire of the long promenade. She props her legs across his lap. He runs his hand up her long socks and dips a finger in, pulling it down.
He prefers skin to fabric. He continues the soft strokes, while Sherry tries to hide her breathing under the muzzle of her scarf. He reaches her soft tush, squeezes. She grabs his wrist and he laughs. "Shouldn't have tempted me, then."
"I was just resting my legs on you." she pouts.
He leans in, pulling the scarf away from her mouth.
If anyone is watching, she's grateful she doesn't know where they are.
When he retreats, she's left without a word in response. Always, that sudden flutter, deep in her stomach.
Her name cuts the air.
Adorable, how red her cheeks are. How prettily flushed.
He laments ever knowing that he'll break her heart.
"I'm going to be leaving soon."
She smiles. "I'll miss you." She caresses his stubble. The shame. He wants to disappear into her warm palm.
No questions. Another mission, she thinks.
Nevertheless, they go home together that night. Through the door and right to the bed. She digs her arms underneath his and pulls him atop her. They meet in fevered kisses, tentative touches. Labored breathing.
When he invades, she holds his head to her neck and squints her eyes shut. They were too eager.
But soon the pain settles, and he can move within her with the practiced ease she only wishes she could return. She bites her lip, a common habit that she doesn't know he adores. The truth is, she's always been in constant fear of embarrassing herself in front of him. What would he think of her mousy cooing, her girly gasps?
She's nervous, though they've done this twice before. Every time she shrinks into her shy, diminutive innocence, and he feels like she is too pure for him or anyone.
The kiss he places on her cheek is comforting, like an understanding parent.
"..Do you want me to stop?"
She closes her eyes and now only begins to appreciate the darkness. That she can't see the disappointment in his features, if he's wearing it.
"No. You… make me feel little, is all."
Their foreheads press together. Slowly, they're starting to synchronize, moving together and remembering the love of oneness. He's not disappointed in her at all.
He is a slow, hushed lover, not the one of 8 years before who plowed into women wantonly and partook hungrily of their breasts. That stupid zest is gone. His youthful hedonism has since worn itself out.
Sherry doesn't mind. He's always been quietly affectionate with her, not even daring to make a sound because he'd rather hear her.
The warmness pools in them both. Soon the union is unbearable. The spasms arch them into clumsy postures, as if there were warring snakes.
Her stomach flutters into frenzy. It flies like beads of hot metal, buzzes like a shaken beehive right at the moment when she loses all sense of identity—when he has his hands clutched to her waist and is spilling inside her.
What annihilation may feel like.
Being alone is like being dead sometimes.
How many times he's told himself "This isn't the end. I'm not gonna die here…" are innumerable.
Now it seems like he only had to live because there was so much at stake at the time. The hope of finding survivors in Raccoon. Keeping Claire alive. Keeping Sherry alive. Keeping Ashley alive. Same old story.
He's been commended on his will to survive in the past.
It's hard to go on now that he's only got the skin of his back to worry about.
Through subsequent visits, Sherry has begun to suspect something. Though Leon has repeatedly beaten it down, he's sure she doesn't believe a word.
'I'm fine. Don't worry about me.'
He feels a little sorry for her. Sorry that her love hasn't saved him.
And he tried. He tried to find something—anything to make waking less of a headache, or the act of living less arduous.
But now it isn't defeatism. It isn't giving up.
It's letting go.
Giving in to a lovely void that asks nothing of you—a name, a few trinkets.
Now he's staring at the gun—a heavyweight in the beginning, when he first held it. A dumbbell. It went from that to being light and portable, like a wallet.
He knows it'd be instantaneous.
He lets out a shaky breath. He thinks of his mother, who died when he was 13. How much she loved him. She made him breakfast every morning, packed his lunch, which was never bland, and patted his book bag as he boarded the bus. He never looked back at her. Not even to wave or give a simple smile.
He was such an asshole.
Head in his hands, his thoughts turn to Dad. The gun presses against his forehead, against his conscience. The steel is cold and unaffected. Like Dad could be in the face of loss. He refused to cry in front of him. No sympathy was given for scrapes and bruises thereafter, or for all the stupid, scruffy fights he lost at recess. His father took his despair and swallowed it like a pill.
While Leon's gonna let his splatter all over the fucking floor.
They will analyze all that. Try to pin it down to something. Things have to happen for a reason. Whether they attribute this to his parents or call him a casualty of Umbrella is hardly a concern to him now.
He petitions the room.
The desolation is terrifyingly indifferent. The lamps, the bedpost, the TV, the books, his business jacket—they all don't care either way.
Tonight could quite possibly be a revelation. He can't back down. Come hell. Come heaven. Come nothing at all.
Leon bides his last moments. He tries to think of something penultimate. He waits for a revelation. An epiphany.
No other opinion. No guardian angel to ease the window open and implore him to stop.
The dark shields his horrible thoughts. This last deed.
It just might be too simple to flesh out into loftier terms.
There's an immutable whirring in his head. A hymn of sadness he can't name. He wonders if death will really lift it, or if it will haunt this room long after he's gone, like the ghost-believers say. If wandering the earth is what he's consigned to after this bullet, then he'll be content to watch life go by. Never taking part. An apparition at Claire's wedding, the unseen well-wisher. Guarding Sherry as she grows older and reaches beyond the age he decided to end things.
He will never announce his existence to either of them. His only gifts will be unfelt kisses goodnight.
And if there is nothing, he won't have a restless soul to wander in.
He breathes out a sigh. Doesn't sound too bad.
Silver stares back. The glint is a leer.
This world is no place for heroes.
Sherry's scream pierces like animal claws. The door, flung open, bounces back and closes itself as it would after a nasty argument. The knob trembles. Her face reflects in the gold, an ambiguous balloon.
She falls to her knees. Grasps his cold hands. The hands that would fold over her own.
Her cries don't go beyond the apartment. They're contained here, in the place she damned.
This little hell where a life was not saved.
Again and again.
There is no answer.