Small Warning: Piers gonna curse a bit more than usual.
Chapter 26: Fault Lines
The run to the helicopter was easy after that. Wesker did not follow them. No one did. Hallways passed beneath their stumbling feet until they reached the landing pad atop the mansion, a helicopter already primed and ready for them. They filed in one by one, tucking the unconscious men in first before Sherry and Piers jumped in after them. Their pilot didn't waste any time taking off, and no sooner had Piers slammed the chopper doors shut they were lifting off into the air. His heart pounded in his rib cage like an angry, cornered animal as he vigilantly watched the rooftop below them for Wesker - so sure that they had been followed.
But they hadn't, and suddenly Piers felt so foolish for thinking that they had. In that moment is was clear, oh so clear, the mistake that they had made. Jake was important, but evidently Chris was more important. Why else would Wesker stay behind, if not to save him from Ada's bullet. Why else.
"My God… we left him," Piers murmured, face tucked in horror beneath the weight of his palm and spread fingers as he watched the mansion disappear beneath them. "We fucking left him."
"Piers," Sherry said, Jake's unconscious head held protectively in her lap, "We had no choice. Chris would understand that."
"No, you don't understand!" He exclaimed suddenly, his voice tight and throttled in his throat. "Wesker didn't follow us and it's not because someone's fucking stopping him. Chris is more important than that little fuck and we just left him!"
"Don't you dare blame him or anyone else, Piers," Sherry said, her voice suddenly low and dangerous, "Both of them are important, and between the two of them, Wesker can't make a weapon of mass bioterrorism out of Chris."
"How do you know?"
"I don't. I don't know that he can't make something dangerous out of Chris, but I do know that he can and will with Jake. We made the best call that we could, Piers. Chris…" She paused, but Piers already knew what words were lodged at the tip of her tongue. And suddenly he felt a ripe ball of bitterness coil in his guts. He glared at her, his eyes narrow and disgusted.
"Go ahead, say it."
"He might not even make it, Piers. You already know that. You saw the damage from Ada's bullet, whatever it was. It was obviously designed for Wesker. If Ada thought it could take down Wesker, there's a distinct possibility it could take down Chris too." Piers felt the bitterness rise into his eyes, his two mismatched irises to glaring at her with fury. "I'm sorry, Piers. I know -"
"- Don't. Just fucking don't. You got what you came here to protect, so don't."
"That's not fair, Piers."
A laugh burbled up unbidden from his throat; a horrible, twisted sound that was more akin to mirthful than amused. He twisted his head to look at her manically, his face tugged into tight, painful angles as he bared down on her with the full force of life's "fairness".
"Fair. Fair," he spat, his words as venomous as his gaze. "Don't you dare try to talk to me about fair. This is the third time my team lost men covering you and that stupid, arrogant son of a bitch. Edonia. The underwater facility. Now this."
"- No! You don't get to tell me that I don't get to lay blame. I'm a fucking monster because that son of a bitch. He was more than happy to leave us behind to clean up the mess every fucking time, too busy chasing whatever the fuck he happened to want at any given moment to care about anyone else. People like me? Like Chris? Like Finn? - we're the people who ended up paying for mistakes from like punks like him."
"You think he doesn't know that?" Sherry said, her voice eerily quiet. "He donated months of his life to help us find a cure. Months in an underground facility, away from the light."
"For a cure that wasn't even real, you mean that cure?"
"That's not fair. We didn't know that then."
"Oh, sorry. Neither did I, because I was also in fucking underground facility. Away from the light, being treated like a monster. He got needles, I got wary glances and nervous fucking hands - constantly surrounded by people who worried I would snap at any moment. Fuck - I was worried about the same damn thing. So I'm sorry if I'm not impressed by his little donation. He's just a regular humanitarian, isn't he."
"We ran into our own problems in that facility, Piers. Haos wasn't the only thing in it; you didn't clear the whole way out of that facility," Sherry said.
"But would you have been able to handle both of those creatures if we hadn't been there to deal with the one you two released? Would you have gotten out if we hadn't followed Leon's tip and come for you?"
"I get it, Sherry, I do. He's important. Good for him. But stop trying to pretend like half this shit didn't happen because of him. Because it did. Haos. Hell, if Jake had just left when you told him to at the party instead of running off with the first waitress that happened to bat her eyes in his direction, maybe none of this would have happened. So stop. Stop protecting him, stop trying to belittle the people who sacrificed everything cleaning up that punk's mess. Stop. Because I swear to God you do it again and I might just push him out of this fucking helicopter myself."
Sherry suddenly stilled, her back becoming ramrod straight as a sheet of cold, icy professionalism passed over her face. She regarded him with hard eyes, her fingers gentle as they passed through Jake's hair. Behind them, Leon lolled bonelessly in the seat they strapped him too, the government issued paramedic beside him frozen and wide-eyed in the wake of their fight, hand firm upon the bloody wound in Leon's shoulder. Piers felt a small ping of guilt jab him beneath the red haze of his anger as he took in the paramedic's evident fear. It was only then that he realized he was effecting nearby electronics; the paramedic's equipment flashing and beeping anxiously. With a deep, stuttering breath, Piers reigned in his emotions enough to save the paramedic's gear - only to come face to face with Sherry's cold, disappointed face again. Piers hardened his face again in response.
"I get that you're upset. You and Chris are close," Sherry said. "And I get that you are the way you are because you and Chris covered our backs - I get it. But you made that choice, not us. You don't get to hold it against us. Not when you know that if we were back there, Chris would not have let it go down any other way. You're not human anymore and it's not fair. Welcome to our lives, Piers. I didn't ask for the G-virus. Jake certainly didn't ask to be Wesker's son. So that high horse you think you're so privileged to sit on because you took a bullet for us? Get off it. You wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for Leon and me vouching for you."
Silence hung like a heavy veil between them for long moment until finally Piers took a long, seething drag of air into his lungs and responded coolly.
"Yeah. Convenient that so far the only people who have reaped any benefits from "vouching for me" are the NSA and the Secret Service."
Sherry opened her mouth to respond, but was interrupted by the pilot, his voice apologetic as he said, "Sorry sirs, but we're approaching the rendezvous to switch choppers and get Mr. Kennedy proper medical attention. ETA five minutes."
"Thank you," Sherry said, eyes never leaving Piers.
"I'm not asking you to turn around and save him," Piers finally said, voice quiet in the aftermath of their argument. "I'm just asking for you to face the truth of what we all just did without hiding behind any excuses. We left the Captain behind. After everything he's done, we just left him with the very mad man we've been trying to save him from."
"He would've wanted that if he had been conscious, Piers," Sherry said gently. "He would have held Wesker down himself."
"That doesn't change what we did when he needed us the most and you know that."
Sherry didn't look away, didn't shy away from his blame. She merely held his eyes and said, "I know."
Behind them, Leon moaned in agony - evidently lifting from unconsciousness - as the paramedic continued to apply pressure to the wound. All the while, the paramedic murmured into her headset, no doubt delivering information and orders to the ground team waiting to take Leon into surgery.
"The bullet went clear through his shoulder but the damaged tissue is a mess," the paramedic said.
Somewhere in the distance, explosions screamed through the sky - rocking the helicopter and jarring their attention to the windows as they watched the "Westbarl" Estate go up in flames. Piers felt his breath stutter and tried to convince himself that despite the implications, Wesker saved Chris before the blast. A small, slender hand at his shoulder pulled him from his thoughts. He turned to look at Sherry, a sudden wave of guilt washing over him as she comforted him despite the sharp words he had struck her with not even moments ago. She didn't smile at him, but something in her face said that she hadn't taken his words too personally. She understood. She got it.
"It's going to be okay."
She was a better soldier than he'd ever be, he thought in that moment. A better person.
"Don't be," she said. "You're right."
They flew off towards the rendezvous and the flight was a silent affair from there - but less strenuous now that all the poison had been lifted from their veins.
[a/n] As always, thanks for your patience. I'm sorry it's a bit small, but I felt that this bit kind of should stand alone from the next part, thus it's a chapter all its own. Also, I wanted to thank those of you who constantly submit reviews, as well as anyone who has also been giving it kudos over on A3O. Your support always makes my day and it always makes me happy to hear people are enjoying this story. :)
So Piers is very upset and says shit that's probably not 100% right and probably hurtful. Poor everyone, what an awkward ride. :(