It started during the Mansion incident. Hints may have cropped up here and there while they were training in STARS, but it took him seeing her worse for wear behind that metal door to actually acknowledge what he was feeling.
Handholding in the helicopter ride back to Raccoon City felt good, but after a few minutes, it did not feel enough. He had volunteered to drive her back to her place, an offer she had willingly accepted. However, when they got to her apartment, he all but pounced on her, pressing hungrily against her, his lips glued to hers and his hands running all over her body. She more than willingly welcomed his advances, even encouraging him, tugging his shirt over his head and pulling him to her bedroom.
While their initial actions were rough, their actions in bed were gentle, although no less wanting. However, when Jill woke up the next day, her partner was gone.
They never spoke of that night afterwards, and both thought that it would never happen again. For a few hours, they found comfort in each other, seeking to drown the horrors they've gone through physically. Nothing more, nothing else, although a part of them wished that there was more to that, even as another part of them longed purely for something physical.
They got their wish. When Chris called up Jill to go to his apartment, all he wanted to do was to show her his findings. About how the threat was far from over. About what Umbrella's plans were. About what the G-virus could do.
One minute they were arguing, Jill accusing him of sheer recklessness for his desire to handle the "problem", as he called it, singlehandedly, and the next them entangled with each other.
Eventually, it became a pattern. After every battle, they would find themselves in bed, finding solace in the other. The harder the fight, the rougher they were in bed, as though desperate to block out the unpleasantness of their experiences in sex.
It was a habit they carried over even after they managed to bring down Umbrella, and it continued on as they formed the BSAA and became its top field agents. While they did not speak of what they felt, they verbally told each other that they will keep each other safe, no matter what.
Their protectiveness of each other soon grew even more, to the point that they seemed to read each other's minds while in battle, their movements practically in sync.
While they took care not to show any public displays of affection, their physical relationship became one of the worst-kept secrets of the BSAA, with fledgling agents making snide remarks about it, either because of jealousy (there was no denying that the two were good-looking, even though they obviously put little stock in their appearance) or spite (they couldn't care less about stepping on anyone's toes). Bets were made about when they would get married, when Jill would get knocked up, and they would break up. Some opportunists even took active attempts to try to come between the two of them, but both paid no attention to these, only went back to focus on their work. It was as though they did not care about anything other than their missions – and of each other.
Even so, neither of them spoke of their relationship, in bed or out of it. Words were not needed. They did not try to define what they were. For them, they simply were.
Eventually, however, one of them, possibly Jill, began to notice just how co-dependent they were of each other. They partnered up in all their missions. Both of them knew they were a good team, but they soon realized that their relationship, or lack thereof, was not helping their missions. They became too focused on saving each other's asses while on the battlefield. It seemed like a good thing at first, but reached the point wherein they almost compromised their mission because of sheer recklessness.
Eventually, one of them suggested splitting up, at least, in their missions. It was just temporary, they reasoned.
Unfortunately, the first time they worked with new partners was for the Veltro Mission. It was then that they realized that while they became too engrossed with each other when they partnered up in their missions, it was worse when they were separated. Upon hearing Chris's disappearance, Jill cut her day off (a rare enough event for the workaholic Valentine) short to search for him, without caring who was chosen as her partner. In the same vein, upon hearing of BSAA losing contact with Jill, Chris all but demanded to be pulled out of his own mission to try and find her.
Needless to say, the heads of the BSAA weren't pleased. It was only because of the clout the two agents had in the organization that prevented them from being suspended. Nonetheless, the bosses all but demanded that the two cut the bullshit and go back to their old partnership, all but telling them to leave their personal matters in the bedroom.
Somehow, this remark cut through, and they had a blazing row when they got back to Chris's apartment, yelling at each other about this or that perceived slight, but neither of them spoke of what they genuinely felt yet again, although the need was even more urgent now.
Eventually, they reconciled. Nonetheless, a divide seemed to form between them, and it was clear to everyone the almost-legendary partnership of Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine seemed in danger of breaking up once and for all.
It was this tension that would lead to the disaster that occurred in Spencer Mansion. Jill might have problems admitting what she felt for Chris, but her last action in that mission proved to him once and for all where things stood between them.
Unfortunately for him, his realization came too late, and it was all he could do not to vomit as he saw her plunging down the cliff, bringing Albert Wesker with her.
Much like Jill, Chris is not much of a talker. Instead of responding to pleas from his friends and his sister Claire to talk about what happened, he instead focused on working harder. At first, it was because he had made that vow with her to wipe out bioterrorism from the face of the earth. However, when he found hints that Jill was alive, he redoubled his efforts, if that was even possible. In the stillness of the night, he vowed to himself that he would finally be able to speak the words that have long been left unspoken.
Even so, he did not say anything when he finally found her in Africa, not even after he had gotten rid of the device controlling her. Not because he did not want to, but he knew that confessing his feelings in a godforsaken place was not the way to go. Besides, Jill would not have forgiven him if he had eschewed running after Wesker in favor of waxing poetic over her.
Things changed, however, when they finally beat Wesker once and for all. After all the shit was over, Chris had volunteered to drive Jill home, much like what happened when they first came together. However, unlike that time, he was no longer plagued with doubts and fears. Holding her hand back then may not have felt enough, but it was all he could do to let go of it at that point. Words spilled out from his mouth, a result of a decade-worth of pent-up emotions.
Three words, however, were heard clearly by Jill Valentine, and it was those three words that she echoed, whispering.
"I love you."
Finally playing RE: Revelations right now, and I was struck with how insane these two were dedicated to each other, to the point of Chris abandoning his mission to go and search for her (something he would do again in RE5). On one hand, it's cute, but it also made me think about how unhealthy this relationship – or lack thereof – could be, hence, the birth of this fic.
I was debating pulling a stupid joke at the end (like with the three words being something like "Cheeseburgers are awesome") but that would be too cruel, so I went down the cheesy route. I was actually trying not to go over the top with the cheesiness, but it was kind of hard not to go there, since the first part of the story pretty much set the whole tone.
Reviews are much appreciated.:)