A/N: TheRaider: Thank you! It is...unrealistic to expect him to carry nothing, especially when the rest of the world passes by unconcerned. Nothing can prepare you for zombies and death, yeah? But he's going to fight for a world that doesn't really give a shit anyway, that's what makes him the hero. For Claire more than anything else.
The rocking chair creaks against the wood floor, steady and rhythmic. The world outside the enclosed porch inky black night. Her blue eyes stare into the distance, seeing nothing but memories.
There was a time when Annette Birkin was fearless. As a child she walked on balcony bannisters, and caught poisonous snakes to the heart-stopping dismay of her parents.
For years it never changed. She studied the most deadly viruses, the worst plagues of humanity. She met Will, a man who was as fascinated by the deadly beauty of mortality as she was. The little ceremony with an ironic white dress and prayers to a deity neither believed in changed nothing but her last name. Umbrella and its dread reach didn't bother her.
Not even the disapproving glare of Will's best friend scared her.
The devil had filled her dance card and she laughed at him, unafraid.
The baby in her lap stirs, drawing her out of the past, splitting the air with a piercing wail. The most beautiful sound she has ever heard.
The day Sherry was born everything changed. The once-comforting dark was filled with monsters waiting to snatch her little girl, the beautiful complexity of Umbrella's B.O.W. Research was suddenly a thing able to destroy Sherry's future.
The woman who feared nothing was gone. Everything was sinister.
Especially Umbrella. Family was simply easy collateral. Like the Trevors.
It chills her very soul to think of Lisa Trevor in the same breath with Sherry.
Will and Al are working on it. It'll be ok.
She can't convince herself but she tries. Tries so very hard, cuddling her fussy baby tightly in her arms.
Whatever happens to us...as long as you're ok Sherry it doesn't matter.
Every sound in the inky dark is a creeping monster, every shadow a threat in hiding. Her paranoid blue eyes dart toward each crackling leaf or tree shifting in the night wind.
There was a time when Annette was fearless, had danced with the devil and laughed at him.
Sherry quiets, held tightly in her mother's arms.
Now she knows why the devil laughed back at her.