You Are Not Alone

~Put out the fire in your head and lay with me tonight.~

Title and lyrics are from Not Alone by Patty Griffin. Serious lack of love for my favourite couple at the moment, so I thought I'd dedicate a one shot to 'em. Sure similar things have been done over many of times, but here's mine. All the best,

Aritchoke xxx

24th July, 1998

"You should get cleaned up. Here." His voice was still croaky, she was unsure if it was due to dehydration or more likely heartbrokenness. Chris handed her a towel, and forced out a smile. It was unconvincing.

STARS Alpha Team was sent in to investigate recent murders, and for the last God knows how many hours, Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine had been living a nightmare they couldn't comprehend. Their Captain had betrayed them, their teammates turned into monsters. And worse of all they had to kill them with their own hands. It seemed surreal, it hadn't kicked in. Both were just praying they'd wake up, and their lives would go back to normal. Little did they know, their lives were to change forever.

Jill nodded and mouthed a thank you, she didn't even bother to attempt to smile, and she knew he would see through it anyway. Being the gentleman he was, Chris invited her to stay with him. He said he wouldn't have wanted to leave her alone, she figured it was more he was scared. Scared to be alone.

The lukewarm water cascaded down Jill's body; she barely even noticed the temperature. She watched as it flowed down, picking up dried in dirt and blood from her skin on its path. The water soon turned a murky colour. She ran her hand along her stomach, feeling the wound which stretched along it. The cut caused by the tyrant lashing out its claw. Surprisingly she felt no pain from it. She felt numb.

The water began to run clear, but Jill felt no cleaner. There was blood on her hands that would never wash off. The blood of her friends and compatriots. She knew from this day forth the memories would always haunt her.

"Are you okay?" Jill opened the door to his bedroom letting Chris enter and nodded, her damp brunette locks stuck to her skin. She was changed into one of Chris' large white shirts, having no clean clothes of her own. He was polite, waited outside for her to change.

There was a moment of silence between the two for the first time since they had met. Chris' eyes were fixated on hers. Both looking for answers, a reason for all this madness to happen, both waiting to be told it would be okay. Neither could voice the encouragement the other needed.

His eyes were drawn from hers to her stomach. Blood seeped through his shirt. She followed his eyes, and moved towards the cut. She didn't feel any pain.

"Are you okay, Jill?" His voice was full of more emotion than she had heard from him all night. She lifted the shirt, to see the cut was beginning to bleed once more through the rough stitches. He pulled a tissue from his bedside table, and immediately began to dab the blood. His fingertips were harsh against her smooth stomach, but yet he touched her with such lightness it made her heart flutter.

Once he was satisfied the wound was clearer, he threw the tissue into the bin.

"You should get to bed, Jill. I'll stay on the sofa." Chris was the more vocal of the two, Jill just seemed so absent. He worried where her mind wandered too in the silence. She didn't reply, just gently made her way into his bed, wrapping the covers around her fragile body. Not due to the cold, but more to feel protection.

Chris was about to turn to leave, but his eyes lingered on her. She was his best friend, and now she was all he really had left. He was worried to lose her, either through war, or his own selfish mistakes. She was the only one who would ever fully understand him, the only one who would understand what he had to go through.

"It's your bed Chris. You should stay too." Glancing away, she continued,voicing her true feelings in a whisper, "I don't want to be alone…"

Without saying a word, he slipped into the bed next to her. The two lay in awkward silence for a brief moment. Jill quietly whispered good night, and rolled away from him.

He remained on his back. His mind far too active, he knew he wouldn't be able to sleep. Even if he could, he knew his dreams would be plagued with nightmares.

Chris heard a quiet noise in the room, a small sniffle. He thought nothing of it, until he heard it again. He flicked his head to Jill still facing away from him. She looked still, sleeping. He was scared to say anything in case to wake her. It wasn't until he raised his head slightly he saw the silent tears which streamed down her face. Each one a tear for a fallen comrade.

In the two years of knowing her, not once had he seen her cry. She was a strong woman, not an emotional wreck. Yet now, her entire life had been flipped, and she couldn't keep it together anymore.

Chris refused to speak, instead just pulled at her shoulder, rolling her over to him. She shielded her face with her hands. Gently he moved them away, wiping the tears which flowed from her sapphire eyes. She refused to look at him, typical Jill still trying to act like the strong one.

He rolled onto his side, and pulled Jill's body into his, gently stroking her hair with one hand, holding her back with the other. All strength had left her. She sobbed loudly onto his chest, clutching the fabric of his vest. And he just held her, held her for as long as she needed. The warmth of his body bringing her more comfort than any words ever could.

Chris refused to speak; he refused to give her words of comfort. He refused to feed her false hope. There were no words he could say which wouldn't be a lie. It wasn't going to be okay, their lives would never be okay ever again. The only solace the two had was each other. And that brought them more comfort than either would have ever imagined.

1st October 1998

Jill had met up with Barry and Chris in Europe, in a vain attempt to stop Umbrella. She had only arrived, was exhausted. She was more than exhausted, she was haunted. Haunted by the images from the Raccoon City disaster. She quietly excused herself, and made her way to her room. Chris seemed distant. He didn't seem happy for her return, nor did he seem interested in her story. Secretly she had hoped for some sort of special reunion between the two, perhaps even romantic. They had grown closer, but she knew her notion was farfetched. Nevertheless he didn't even greet her with a hug, barely even raised a smile towards her.

He certainly did confuse her. She spent endless nights without sleep, unable to stop worrying about him; she just figured he would do the same. But it didn't seem so. He seemed more focused on Umbrella even to notice she was still alive.

Her door was knocked, bringing her out of her thoughts. She took a couple of deep breaths, recollecting herself, scared in case she appeared sad to however would be outside.

"Come in." Surprisingly she hid her pain well. Her voice sounded normal. Chris swiftly opened the door, gently closing it behind him. She sat upright, swinging her legs over the bed. Her eyes never left him. He moved closer to her, and she thought he would sit next to her. Instead he kept his distance, and stood away from the bed.

"Are you okay?" She noted his voice didn't sound completely sincere or genuine, something was on his mind.

"Yeah, fine." She lied. He didn't seem to care, so certainly wasn't going to open up.

"You don't sound fine." Chris was completely right. And Jill fought her hardest to stop tears from forming. She had to witness more innocents being ripped apart, they were completely helpless. The nightmares never seemed to end. And what made it worse, was she was alone through it. She had Carlos, but she needed Chris to be the one next to her.

"You wouldn't understand." Again, Jill lied. She knew rightly they only person who would understand was him. But he seemed to change, and she wasn't going to open her heart up to a different man. His eyes flashed with anguish. Her words cutting him deeper than he ever could have imagined. She saw his pained expression, and regretted saying it. He turned from her, and leant against the window pane, staring into the darkness.

"I'm sorry I wasn't there Jill." His whisper broke their silence. He sounded upset, an emotion she was yet to fully see from him. Any anger she had for him left her. He was just feeling guilty. "I should have been there to protect you."

Jill stood from the bed, to stand behind him. She placed her hand onto his shoulder.

"I'm okay, Chris…"

"No you're not! You shouldn't have had to go through that alone! I should have never left."

He was right about one thing, Jill wasn't okay. The tears swelled in her eyes. She reached out and wrapped her arms around his chest, placing her body against his; she gently rested her head on his back.

"Don't feel guilty, Chris…. Please."

"I should have been there to save you…" She swore she heard his voice crack. His body shook ever so slightly; clearly he was fighting the tears.

"You can save me now…" Jill spoke the truth. Surviving through the Raccoon City Disaster was nothing; it was surviving after it which was difficult. She could fight away the zombies easily, but in the years that would pass after, the difficult part would be to fight the nightmares.

Chris turned and snaked his arms around her waist, she quickly complied, standing on her tiptoes to place her arms around his neck. It was the one place in the world, she felt safe. With one hug he brought her the comfort she desperately needed. In the arms of Chris Redfield, the world didn't seem like such a bleak place after all.

"I'll never leave you again, we'll do this together partner."

15th May 2006

The mansion was familiar, far too familiar for her likings. It brought back memories, the memories she was never able to suppress.

Chris bashed the double doors open, the two running into a large intricate room lined with bookshelves. Moonlight poured into the room from large decorative glass which covered an entire wall. A shadow was formed in the room from the figure of the man she hated the most.

Turning towards them, Albert Wesker let out a slight smirk, his lips twitching upwards. It sent a shiver down Jill's spine. The only thing keeping her calm was the person standing next to her. Chris had been with her through everything, and she knew together they could survive anything they were faced with.

It happened in a blur. Gunfire rang through the room, and she was unsure if she or Chris was the first to fire. Wesker moved with feline agility, swiftly avoiding each of their attacks. Before she knew it, she was disarmed. She couldn't focus, just blindly moved her arms, countering any blows Wesker tried to give but to no avail. Within a fraction of a second, she was thrown across the room like a rag doll.

Recollecting herself, Jill lifted her head, her ears ringing from the collision with the stone cold floor. Her eyes finally focused at the window. And she was uncertain how or when they got in the situation. But Chris was pinned off the floor by the neck, Wesker's grip piercing the life out of him.

She tried to move, but her legs wouldn't let her. She tried to scream, but no words left her mouth. All she could do was watch.

Wesker pulled his arm back, forming a claw with his fingers. A slight smile played on his lips, and he thrust his hand into Chris' chest, ripping through the flesh. Pulling it back out, the blood and tissue of his enemy dripped off his gloves. Chris' body was let go of, and he slumped onto the floor. Blood pouring out of the gaping wound. His lifeless green eyes were fixed on hers.

"Jill?" She woke with a piercing scream, sweat sticking the locks of hair onto her forehead. Immediately her eyes were drawn to the person sitting next to her. Her heart began to beat once more.

Chris pushed himself groggily upright on the bed, his eyes not yet adjusted as he squinted at her. She sat rigidly upright; her screams in the night had woken him from his sleep. He placed a hand onto her back, gently making circles with it, attempting to calm her. He knew both of them needed to sleep, their mission the next day was an important one. Finally they'd be finding Ozwell Spencer, hoping to gain information about Wesker.

"I have a bad feeling about this mission, Chris…" His hand continued to stroke her relentlessly; he could feel her heartbeat even from the back it was beating so loudly.

"It'll be okay, Jill. It was just a dream."

"What if something happens to you? I've never felt like this before Chris, I'm really scared." She turned to him as she spoke, trying desperately to hide the fear which racked her voice. Usually missions wouldn't scare her; she always had Chris by her side. But there was something different about this one, she genuinely felt petrified. Chris noticed the moisture in her eyes, the tears glistening from the slight moonlight which entered the room.

"It's going to be okay, I promise. Come on, we need to get some rest." Regrettably she nodded, but he could tell she was still scared.

He lay onto his back, and guided Jill to lie with him. Gripping her shoulders, he brought her to sit comfortably next to him. Hesitantly she placed her hand on his chest, rolling over to place her head into the crook of his neck. It felt strange, the two were strictly professional. But yet, he was the only man whose arms could bring her comfort. The warmth of his body could calm her without fail, it was the only place she would ever feel safe.

"I'm never going to leave you…" Chris whispered into her hair. Jill gently closed her eyes, breathing in his musky scent; she prayed he spoke the truth.

15th August 2006

Chris sat alone at the edge of his bed, cigarette in one hand, beer in the other. Jill always hated his smoking, and his drinking for that matter. But she was gone now. And he refused to care, because right now it was the only thing that would bring him some sort of comfort.

Undoubtedly it was the most difficult day of his life. He spent three months searching for her, and for what, to find a battered and worn baseball hat. The search was over. Jill Valentine was officially declared dead. And in that moment in time, Chris felt he was too. He didn't want to attend the funeral, then that would mean accepting it. He only did go because his sister physically forced him too. Claire could be a real bitch when she wanted to be.

He was asked to speak at the funeral, he immediately refused. He understood Jill more than anyone else, and she understood him. He wasn't going to share their bond with the world. The only person he could ever open up to was her, and now she was gone.

He had no idea how he was going to build himself up from this. He had no one to talk too, no one to confide in, no one to laugh with. He was surrounded by worried friends and family all there to help, yet he had never felt more alone in his life.

He promised Jill it would all be okay, but he was wrong. It couldn't be worse. Though maybe everything was okay for her now, maybe she was peaceful. Who was he kidding; he didn't believe in Heaven, he didn't believe in God. If there was a God, why would she have been taken from him so soon?

Chris butted out the cigarette, and gulped the last of his beer. He didn't feel any better. He didn't need alcohol or nicotine; he needed her, the one woman who understood him. He missed the way she talked, the way she laughed, the way she smelt….The way she felt in his arms. All this time he had sheltered his feelings from her. Now he realised, he was completely and utterly in love with Jill Valentine. And there was nothing he could do.

The Redfield anger got the better of him, and Chris threw the beer bottle across the room. The glass smashed off his wall, shattering onto the ground. He clicked off the bed side lamp, and lay onto his bed, gently closing his eyes.

The darkness just made it worse, all he could do was think and worry… And miss his partner. His bottom lip quivered, a small tear forming in his eyes. As much as he tried to fight it, he couldn't. His hands shook, the tears cascading along his cheeks as he rolled onto his side.

The tears stopped momentarily, he caught his breath. For a split second he didn't feel alone anymore. He could have sworn delicate fingertips wiped the tears from his eyes. And in an instant, the fingers were replaced with her lips, leaving a loving kiss onto his cheek. For the first time in three months he felt comforted. He flicked his eyes open, she was gone. The side next to him cold, the room empty. Chris Redfield was alone.