Title: Morning Afters
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Resident Evil except head canons. Yeah.
Summary: Jill looks back in her and Chris' life, one morning after he returned from Edonia. Post RE-6.
Their first time was tangled mass of limbs and sweat.
It just happened. To anyone who would ask her, and probably him, they would say it just happened. She had just touched down towards the chilly air in Europe, and just had felt her skin starting to dry with the weather when she arrived at his apartment. Or loft, they would say. He was crouched by the floor with papers in his research, and tobacco fillings, and empty bottles. Hi, he had said. She merely stared at him.
It was probably disbelief or relief or—but she could no longer remember—not when he had promptly stood and walked towards the door where she was. His hands automatically found her waist, and she smelled of dried blood, sweat and the scars of the undead, but he kissed her. Then and there, she found life starting to fill her again, and maybe it was his own way of reassuring himself that they might not have yet won the war, but a battle won was a battle won. She being alive was a battle won.
So she woke up a few hours after. The ashtray on his night stand was made of glass, and she ran her hand through the curves and the texture. Cold. But she could feel, she had thought. And the warmth beside her was not forgotten, because she remembered everything and she had felt. Jill Valentine was a tough woman but because she had felt, she had also stirred the tears in her eyes, starting to fall. In the distance between them—they were not touching, or cuddling, or anything—she found his arm, all big and strong, and like the ashtray in his night stand, his skin was cold. It was more than enough to allow her to keep her composure. She gripped his hand, and he did hers, and she thought that unlike the weather back home, the weather in Europe was a fuck up.
"Instant food?" She rummaged through his nearly empty fridge. Canned goods, beers, spam. Bacon. Energy drinks. One egg.
"I barely had time to leave this place." He was at it again, at the papers, at the tobacco fillings, at the empty bottles. Forget the clothes, forget eating.
"And to take a bath, I suppose."
"Up yours," he chuckled lightly, "I didn't hear you complainin' last night, madam."
She shrugged. When they had eaten just as natural as they were, just as casually as it had been, Jill went to the bathroom and decided to get comfortable with the most personal of his things. He shrugged. He found himself following after her anyway, like she had made sure to leave the doors unlocked.
Casual, he would think. But both of them knew that from then on it was anything but.
When they came back from Kijuju, she was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed was an understatement. There were series of tests that the BSAA required her to take—to desensitize her of P30, to make sure she was not in any way infected, to make sure it was still her and she was alive—the reasons were endless. As much as she hated it, she was detained for more than a few weeks than she would have liked, but she understood their reasons.
She died. Anyone would be reeling at the thought of her alive, after so much grief that had passed between this life and back then.
The soldier in her understood their reasons, yes. It was part of debriefing, post mission protocol and the like. She had understood their reasons, that, or she had no choice but to. Sometimes, being calm paid off. Most of the time, for Jill Valentine, finding the scraps and bits and pieces of life after Albert Wesker, being numb paid off.
She was barely conscious when they had arrived at the BSAA facility, the loss of P30 already getting to her system. There were flurries of whites, different octaves of voices shouting against the helicopter engine. You have done a very good job, she would remember. That voice was monotonous, superior, cold.
"Jill, keep awake," she heard him say. His voice was commanding, strong, warm. Chris Redfield had held her hand all the way until the doctors shut the door to his face. She had not let go until that moment, and that was the first time it had struck her.
She was still alive.
She had remembered the warmth of him leave her just like the way it had when he bolted towards the light that very day, preparing himself for the closure that finding Ozwell Spencer would give him, them.
"We've got a few more hours," she had said. He stared at her, long and hard, and forgetting the remains of his clothing on the floor where they belonged, Chris went back to her.
They didn't touch, the protocols of their love-fucking-making giving them the little bit amount of normalcy they could have. They never really did, especially afterwards. They both know being there for each other, with each other, by each other, as close as their skins could feel, was more than enough.
Later that night, she threw herself out a window to save his life.
Just as she had closed her eyes that day remembering, finally remembering, never forgetting, the way his callused hands had grazed her skin a mere hours before her un-death, she also closed her eyes off the hospital light. Drowning the different octaves, and lulling herself back to her nightmares, Jill comforted herself with the thought that in some fucking twisted way of life, it was going to be alright.
She had a little piece of her life back, like a puzzle, and she trusted her partner enough to fill the holes like he had always done.
They never said the words.
But lying down in the basic confines of her apartment, she knew herself it didn't mean it was not true. She herself had never said it in a long time. She had already forgotten how the sound of the words would escape from her lips.
The last time she had said it was on her mother's death bed. She remembered it tasted salty from her tears. Love tasted salty.
And then she never really remembered saying it to anyone afterwards. Not even the first guy she had given herself to. She thought she had loved Sean, and she had wanted to tell him that when she got herself her first break from being in the RPD, back in Raccoon. But she never got to say it. She didn't even remember him when Raccoon City had turned to ashes.
Come to think of it, she could no longer remember how it had sounded coming from another person's lips. Was it Kijuju? Did the P30 in her system drained the memories of something as fucking basic as its sound stole it from her memories, from her system? Jill knew she hadn't really gained all of her memories before she was captured, but she just had to deal with it. Maybe that was it.
He felt his arm, the bulk of him, stir by her side. He had turned his back on her and in the moon light; she could make out the scars in the battles they have fought. She touched one, lightly, never wanting to disturb him in his sleep. She wondered which of those scars had mattered the most.
"It was a bullet," he flinched as he said those words. She knew there was something else more than he was letting on but she remained silent. Keeping her distance, keeping her cool, like she always had. She had always trusted herself to know when to prod. That was how their lovemaking was. That was how their partnership had worked. That was how they always had been to each other, anyway.
"I could hear the wheels in your head turning." He reached for his cigar.
She sighed and she stared at him. She tried to stop him from reaching his cigar, chill the fuck off the nicotine, Redfield, and he had let her. He ran his hands over his head, his tired eyes.
"Wesker's son, huh?"
"That bastard's never going to give us—"
His voice was hard and unrelenting but she promptly cut him off. "He didn't give us a lot of things, Chris. He had taken quite a lot in fact," she said softly, her hand unconsciously touching the scar that tore his skin. It all came from the gun of that Jake Muller boy.
Chris only looked at her. She looked back at him.
"But he did give us a reason to fight. It was that, or nothing."
His sister Claire. His men who died in Edonia. The many many many lives.
They never said the words. But they both had understood it the way only they could. It was more than a string of letters, and spaces, and beyond the subject verb agreement. It had gone even beyond the sentimentality.
She heard it when the doors had opened in her cell and her heart started to live up to the hope that they both could make it out alive. He heard it in her promise to stay alive in Raccoon and follow him to Europe afterwards. She heard it against the cold warmth he offered in Russia, he heard it in her tired smile when they came back finding each other in the abysmal promise of death in the Queen Zenobia.
He heard it when the glass shattered, ringing in his ear like a wounded alarm clock of three years' worth of nightmares, when she fell down to her death. She heard the words speak themselves ever so loudly when he came back for her three years later, believing beyond knowing that she was alive.
They had never said the words. Never conventionally, anyway.
She heard it again in his invitation, and she would never ever get tired of hearing it as long as she could.
"Come to bed with me."
She had to smile. As rueful as her smile had been, she needed to, she had to smile. His scars were still there, raw, burned, scabbing. It had only been a week since he came back from his mission in China and back to her life.
And even suffering from amnesia, Chris had never forgotten how the protocols of their lovemaking had been. No touching afterwards, no words even. He had always been a smart man to her. But as she scooted closer, embracing all of him in her, her bare breasts to his scarred back and her arms around his own, her breath like a whisper to the skin by his neck, he gripped her slim hands in his, caging her to him, all of her to him. She never really realized how short his hair had been until her fingers ran through them, her soul pouring into the simple act. She inhaled his scent, and he smelled like morning after.
She heard it again and again and again in his tight grip, and he heard it too.
"It's dawn, love."
It was painful, holding each other that way, after fighting and losing and fighting again. But Chris Redfield knew that Jill Valentine was right. They would keep and keep and keep on fighting.
It was that, or nothing.
A/N: Alright, I had never ever done Resident Evil fiction before. And this is, probably, the most emotionally difficult sort of writing I had ever done with my life. I had always stayed away from the angst and the hurt and all those genre, huh. I'd rather read it than write it. Now I feel like crying and then sleep the sadness of Chris and Jill's relationship away.
I tried to give their very beautiful relationship justice, and this is what I've got. Their lives were a mess. But they are so beautiful, it actually hurts.
Anyway please be kind to me, and reviews are welcome. Until then.