Disclaimer: Resident Evil and Resident Evil characters are the property of Capcom. This is nonprofit fan fiction.
Chris Redfield was so quiet, it frightened Piers.
Where previous sightings had been numerous, there were none now. Ada Wong had slipped off the grid.
Chris was sitting on the rubble, knees drawn, an unnatural sheen in his eyes.
Piers was so angry at himself. He shouldn't have said that. He should never have brought Finn into this. That had been a blow below the belt, and he had dealt it knowingly. He had no idea what to say now. It should have been his chest constricting, but no. His head hammered.
...Location of Ada Wong unknown. All teams are currently engaged. No location on Ada Wong...
Chris sprung to his feet. He must have deduced no good was going to come out of waiting. Silent, forbidding, he paid no mind to Piers.
Piers was quick to mimic. He followed a step behind. "Chri—" until suddenly, his brain blanked out. Thoughts cut off short. His head was bursting at the seams. The floor was suddenly much closer. He felt like retching, but nothing came up.
"Piers. Piers!" There was no need for Chris to be shouting like that. He was holding up fine; something was supporting him. Chris had been angry earlier, and that transpired into a too-aggressive tone now, but he wasn't angry now. "What's wrong?"
"Fine when chasing snake hit my head." He was giving a perfectly logical explanation so why was Chris gripping his shoulders?
"Did you take a health tablet?"
Apprehensively, "Didn't have any."
"Christ, why didn't you say something?"
Piers tried to shake him off half-heartedly, but the pressure on his arm was tighter. He wasn't quite vertical anymore. His head twinged at the angle. Chris was telling him to sit down, quieter now, and he found himself lowered on the floor. A little blurred, Chris was kneeling before him and offering tablets from his own pouch. "Don't need them," he tried, but was forced to accept a pair.
Chris dropped on the floor.
"We're not going anywhere. Just sit still and wait it out. Lean on me if you're feeling dizzy."
Piers mumbled dismissively. He wasn't going to pillow on the captain. He'd just hit his head a little, no clue what the fuss was about. The herbs hadn't kicked in. His head was swimming. A solid wall supported his back, but he felt unsteady. There was nothing on the other side.
Chris was sitting beside him. His head fell on Chris' shoulder, and he slumped against him.
When Piers woke up, he was lying down.
He was resting on his side, his head tilted by the book, so in case of any nausea, he wouldn't choke. He was warm and comfortable. There was a weight on his side, extending to his chest, keeping him secure. He correctly identified the weight as an arm wrapped around him.
"Hey." The weight left him. "You awake?"
Piers made a noise of affirmation.
"Take it easy. Don't get up too quickly." A hand squeezed his arm tightly. Chris returned to using him as an armrest.
"How long was I out?"
"A coupla hours."
Gradually, Piers took in his surroundings. They were still in the same passageway they'd blown open with Marco's C4. He was on the floor, a blanket draped over him. His head was resting in Chris' lap. Embarrassed, he struggled up.
"Eaasy," Chris admonished, but supported him until he found his balance, sitting shoulder to shoulder. The blanket folded over in his lap as Piers pulled upright, leaving him vulnerable to a creeping chill. Chris glanced at him sideways. "How's your head?"
"It's fine." It felt a little stuffy, as though he was fighting a stupor, but it no longer drummed. "It's been just two hours? That's it?" He felt he had been hibernating a lot longer than that.
"More like four. There weren't medics available, and you looked to be just sleeping. I only left for a moment to pillage for that blanket." There was apology for neglect he would never have even known of.
Piers stole a glance. Chris hadn't taken anything for himself. He had sat still, dismissing the short-sleeved fatigues against the cooling night, and waited for him to wake up. Piers was already self-conscious enough that Chris had to be mollycoddling him on a mission, but they had been held back on his account. Piers' face burned.
"Don't worry about it. We aren't missing out on anything, and we needed a break. It gave me time to think."
He could imagine that. Chris, sitting in the waning evening, running things in his head over and again. In the next room of Marco's body. Distraught, he stole a glance at Chris.
His composure was back. His expression betrayed no emotion, but his color was a little pale. He had to be chilled.
The com sprung to life. HQ was calling out to them. Chris cued in and nodded confirmation to Piers. South for the harbor. He laid a steadying hand on Piers and was up himself before the transmission ended, as if limbs falling asleep didn't even exist to him. He didn't move until Piers looked up.
Chris held out his hand. There was no change from the bleak expression, but there was heart in his eyes. Piers accepted.
Chris waited until Piers was back on his feet before speaking further. "When this is over, you and I are going to have dinner. And we're gonna talk this through. But not until the mission's over. Understood?"
Piers thought it best to stare at the floor and dipped his head quickly.
Chris nodded, slowly. He checked the gun and fixated on the path ahead. "Let's go."
Deep thanks to Gypsie (Gypsie Rose) for the proofreading!
Published November 18, 2012.