Hello readers! So I do believe this is only going to be a one-shot, maybe two if I feel up to it or if I get enough reviews asking for more. Thus far though, it is only a one shot. Also, this is my first attempt at this pairing so ye be warned. This story will jump between Claire's POV and Alice's but you should be able to discern the difference. If you can't, there's a little button at the bottom that says review. Go ahead and complain all you want. One more important thing, if you didn't know already, this story is AU even though it is set during Extinction with a few things relating it to the movie plot line, its totally AU.
Heads up, I don't have a beta or any attention span to speak of so any and all mistakes you are bound to find belong to me and only me. And I apologize for them.
As a disclaimer, I believe it should be rather obvious that I do not own any rights to Resident Evil, the games or the movies.
Sun bounced off the gleaming silver skin of the BMW motorcycle speeding down the forgotten highway. The once busy road now being consumed by the desert sands as everything else in this sordid apocalyptic world was. Merciless sun that, like the undead creatures hosting this wasted planet, sought to consume the bikes rider, with its heat, hoping to pull every last drop of moisture from her thrumming veins and burn every square inch of her already dried skin. Sun that failed in its attempts, the heat nothing but an annoyance in the back of her mind, scorching as it was. The only signs of discomfort her body showed were the small droplets of sweat trickling down the base of her neck to soak into the hemline of her shirt, drying from the hot air instantly, leaving behind a filthy salty crust in the fabric. She was determined to ignore it. Just as she was determined to ignore the blinking red light just above the gas gauge informing her the tank was practically running on empty. As if the chokes and sputtering coughs the engine put out each time she hit the throttle and the sparkplugs found nothing to light for the piston to extinguish were not enough to alert her to her bikes condition. Still she ignored it, instead twisting the throttle to its max, pushing the bike to its very limits as she continued on down the abandoned highway. If she could just make it a few more miles to her destination she'd be pleased enough with the thing she straddled, if not she'd most likely be forced to move on foot and that would not please her.
A somber scowl tugged at Alice's features below the goggles she wore over her eyes and the scarf pulled taut across her nose and lips. Ever since she had opened her eyes early that very morning she had known that today was going to be a bad one. Not saying that every day wasn't a bad one, just that this one was going to be exceptionally horrid for whatever reason. She just knew it. And alas, after packing away her small camp and prepping herself for the harsh elements, that feeling of knowing had come to pass 15 minutes into her lonesome ride when the gas light had flickered to life. On top of that Alice had planned on moving into Nevada territory today to refuel and replenish her meager supplies at a diner that had thrived in its day. She had chosen it over the truck stop listed on the different maps she kept stowed in a pocket just inside her duster near her heart due to the diners promise of clean water and perhaps edible food. Now, however, she'd be lucky if she'd make within a hundred miles of that diner before her bike burnt every last drop of fuel egging the dying engine to carry on. She knew that she couldn't make the bike run on her spite and prideful determination because if that were the case she'd never need gas again but she hoped that by pushing the bike to max out its speed she could coast a couple more miles before being forced to trek the rest of the way on foot. The needle on the speedometer bounced tiredly at the very edge of its field just above the silver printed numbers of '200' and the tachometer's needle drifted up into the red area which generally meant she was pushing to the point the motor would blow very soon. Drawing her sun chapped lips into an even tighter line she growled low in her throat, showcasing the aggravation building deep in her stomach towards the damned motorcycle she lay hunkered over.
Yep, today really sucked.
Azure eyes shot to the blinking red light now that it began flickering rapidity, indicating that the BMW was as of that moment completely burned out. Alice felt the sparkplugs begin to miss with each turnover of the ever working pistons against her knees before it sputtered and went still. The loud hum of the engine died in an instant, leaving behind only the sound of rubber gliding at a speedy pace across sand dusted pavement.
Scratch that. Today epically fucking sucked.
Alice sighed loudly though the sound was quickly carried away in the wind sweeping past her. A glance at the speedometer informed her that the bike was declining in pace rapidly though still within the 100's and for that she was grateful knowing she'd end up at least a handful of miles more down the road before she'd roll to stop. From there she would walk. Judging by the mental map in her head she was about 12 miles from the diner adding in the extra miles the BMW would give her and given the height the sun was in the sky she'd traverse those 12 miles to her destination just in time for the sun to begin it's decent. She'd either be forced to spend the night in the diner or travel at night until she reached the Podunk town that the diner sat on the outskirts of. Neither idea was an appealing one to her. Both were riddled with the possibility of having herself a zombie tea party with her being served as the tea and crumpets.
Minutes of silence save for the sound of tires coasting rolled on before the BMW came to a dead stop on the side of a forgotten Nevada highway.
"Fucking fuck." The dirty haired blond muttered moodily to no one but herself as she swung a long toned leg off the bike. She didn't bother with the kickstand, opting instead to just let the useless heap of overheated metal and rubber tumble onto its side by her feet. Swirling angry eyes narrowed at the BMW almost as if it were an animate object that could cringe under the intensity of her stare. She relished in the thought. None the less no matter how hard she willed it or how deathly her glare was the BMW was still an inanimate object; pathetic and useless.
Huffing more so for herself than anything else, Alice gave one last look of detest towards the two wheeled vehicle before unloading all of belongings she could carry with her and loading it into a rucksack she salvaged from her last raid in a zombie infested Goodwill. She only packed the necessities like her scratchy blanket and ammunition for the assorted guns strapped all over her body, the whetstone for her cherished kukris knives, the cleaning kit for her beloved guns, her flashlight, and the spare water canteen in the event she did come across clean water. Everything else would just be a burden and further hinder her. She slid her nimble fingers around a strap of her pack and hoisted it over one shoulder, leaving the other strap to dangle near her hip that way the rucksack wouldn't cover her shotgun between her shoulder blades or the wickedly sharp kukris knives strapped near her lower back. In her free hand she kept a tight grip on the loaded crossbow she had been keeping on the BMW less she come across any undead, the other remaining curled around the strap of her pack.
Now all she had to do was walk 12 miles in the blistering desert sun.
"Fuck my life." The sun bleached blond growled lowly as she began strutting down the road in the direction of the diner.
"Come on people, work with me here. Just one cigarette?" Claire lifted her thumb from the button on the radio pressed in her palm, her long fingers encasing it. She dropped the hand with the radio in her lap as she waited for an answer. The hand not busy held a firm grip to the leather encased steering wheel of the H2 that barreled down the old highway. Out of trained instinct her eyes flicked to the review mirror to check on her convoy speeding a safe distance behind her and felt an inlet of relief ebb at her normally knotted insides seeing them all accounted for. Those same eyes swept from the mirror to the passenger seat a young blond sat in with her boot covered feet on the dash so that she could rest the spine of the book she was reading against her knees. Sensing she was being watched, the blond tore her hazel eyed gaze from the words littering the pages in her hands to look up at Claire. A warm smile lit up the girls face to which Claire couldn't help but return. Smiles like the one the girl gave were nearly, if not more, infectious than the deadly T-virus plaguing this barren world.
"Smoking is bad for you." The girls voice chimed, filling the Hummer with a pleasant sound followed closely by the redheads rumbling chuckles.
"Smoking is bad for you K-Mart. Smoking is good for me."
K-Mart rolled her eyes with a smile, turning her attention back to her book, "That doesn't even make sense."
Claire spared one more second to stare at the teenager in fake contempt before going back to the road, flicking her eyes to the mirror, then to K-Mart and repeating the cycle every 15 seconds or more. As became her habit when she adopted the great and heavy title of leader. The weight on her shoulders seemed to grow heavier with every day and night that passed; a weight that didn't perish even when living bodies under her protection did. She felt like the Atlas of the modern America though, unlike the Greek myth, her burden wasn't a curse bestowed upon her but a self inflicted choice. Yet even if she had the choice again when all hell broke loose and the world ended, she wouldn't change any of her choices except perhaps the ones that had ended in fatal tragedy. Claire Redfield was the Jesus of this undead apocalyptic world and she was damn determined to lead her fucking flock even if it came with an almost unbearable weight, gut wrenching loneliness, worry that kept her up all night, and enough stress to turn her insides into bleeding pretzels. All she needed was her Hummer, her guns full of lead, and a god damn cigarette.
The radio in Claire's life crackled to life, alerting the burgundy haired woman. In an instant she raised the radio towards her ear, her eyes flicking to the mirror in the same action.
"Claire? You there?"
"Hey there L.J. Please tell me you've got what I need?"
"Oh baby, I got what you need unfortunately it isn't a cigarette."
Claire rolled her eyes at the mans blatant flirting, smirking a little when she heard K-Mart giggle from a seat over.
"Don't lie to me L.J. I know you've got something. At this point, I'll take alternate."
"Sorry sweetheart. Clean out."
"Damn it. Carlos?"
"C'mon Carlos. Tell me you've got something with nicotine in it in it for me."
"Not a single one. Chase says you can have a dip if you want. He has a little left."
"If you mean chew, Cowboy, I'll pass. I'd rather suffer."
"Suit yourself oh fearless one."
"Otto? You holding out on me?"
"I wish. That would mean I'd have something to hold out, I don't though. We're both shit out Captain."
"God damn. What this world comin' too? Betty? C'mon girl. Don't do me like this."
"Wouldn't dream of it lovely lady! You know I'd share if I had it. Ain't got none girl."
"Guess it really is the end of the fucking world. Alright, stay tuned guys. We're a getting close. Maybe we'll find some there. Over and out." Claire waited for the chorus of goodbyes to sound before dropping the radio into the cup holder in the center consol so she could return both hands to the wheel.
Times like these when Claire was driving down the open road in utter silence made her wish her car stereo still worked. She could still remember the good old days in her T-Top Trans Am, cruising down the road at an ungodly speed blasting Metallica and Godsmack at an equally ungodly sound level. Rifts in the earths crust were left in her wake due to the earthquakes the subwoofers in her car created. A wry grin spread across her face just thinking about it. To bad she had to leave her baby behind when undead started popping up and chewing on mail men.
"What are you smiling about?" Claire blinked in rapid succession, her musings thoroughly interrupted by her teen counterpart.
"None of your business Nosey Nelly." Claire smirked, casting a glance at K-Mart to see the girl looking over the brim of her book at her in a clear attempt to cover a smile of her own.
"Nosey Nelly? You can be so old sometimes Claire." The redhead scoffed loudly, reaching a hand over to thump the cover of the girls book all the while without taking her eyes off the road. The teen squeaked in surprise, her book loosening enough in her grip to slap the end of her nose. Claire's hearty laughter reverberated off the interior of the Hummer at K-Mart's misfortune much to the pouting teens displeasure.
"I'm old?" Again Claire tapped on the book but more gently this time to avoid maiming the poor girls nose, "You're the one reading a book twice as old as you are. 'War of the Worlds'. I read that book in high school I think. Pretty sure it's about the end of the world, alien invasion and what not. What's up with that? Is an apocalypse not enough for you?"
K-Mart dropped the fingertips that had been rubbing her reddened nose back down to her book, caressing the cover with a sort of reverence. She closed the book on her fingers to mark her place and hugged the book to her chest, closing her eyes briefly as if she were thinking over the answer to Claire's question. Claire watched with something akin to curiosity the very few seconds she allowed herself to steal a glance, wondering just what K-Mart was doing. She was treating the book as if it were a long lost friend or relative.
"It's my favorite book. I've read it so many times I could probably quote the entire thing to you." K-Mart chuckled to herself, opening her eyes and pulling the book from her chest and setting its spine against her knees again so that her eyes could roam the pages laid bare to her, "Funny thing is, I didn't even read it before the world turned to shit-"
"Hey! Watch your mouth!" Claire interjected much to K-marts amusement. She loved when Claire berated her for her foul language.
"Like I was saying, before I was rudely interrupted," K-Mart smiled at Claire who just glowered towards the road in order to purposefully ignore K-Mart's stare, "I didn't read it before. But I remember it being in my Dad's parlor, on his book shelf. The one next to the liquor cabinet. I specifically remember this book because he…my point is when you found me in K-Mart, I had saved a couple books I found in the store. This was one. I kind of like it. It's like…I dunno. Hope I guess? My own special brand of hope. Like 'Hahaha Dad I can read the fucking book you told me you'd beat me with if I touched it!'."
Claire didn't know how to respond to that in the slightest. K-Mart had never talked about her past before, not to anyone, not even Claire who K-Mart had taken keen interest in. It was common knowledge in the convoy that there were two things about K-Mart. One, the girl was an enigma. She didn't have a name outside of the self-appointed one and she didn't have a past that anyone knew of. Anyone knew better than to ask because, if you did ask, K-Mart would merely smile, turn on her heels, and walk away without a word. And the second thing about her was that she absolutely adored Claire. The older woman was like an adopted mother for the blond or an older sister, a best friend, a confidant, anything and everything a teenage girl could ever need. K-Mart never liked being to far away from the leader and the spunky little blond was fiercely protective of their fearless leader. So for her to just open up like that, without warning, was a bit mind boggling for Claire. Enough to render her brain dead. Not enough to make her stupid but certainly enough to make her angry. Just from that she gathered that K-Mart's life before wasn't exactly a pleasant one. No wonder the girl ditched the name and lost the past. An apocalypse is a good way to start a clean slate albeit a dangerous, messy way.
Claire considered pushing her newfound luck and asking more questions about K-Marts abusive Dad or perhaps learning more about the girls life before but ultimately decided against it. She decided that she waited this long and K-Mart spoke to her about it of her own free will that if the girl wanted to indulge more, she would later in her own good time and Claire could wait. Just as she had done prior.
So instead Claire did what Claire did best. She avoided the possibility of emotions and connections altogether. She slapped the girls thigh with the back of her head and shot the girl a stern look that would make even veteran mothers cringe.
"What did I say about language young lady?" K-Mart giggled quite loudly, fending off Claire's offending hands with her book. Occasionally she took a swipe at Claire herself but missed each time, Claire being to fast for the younger girl.
"Fuck, fuck, fucky fuckfuck!" The teen sing-songed between fits of giggles. Claire tried to wipe the smirk off her face placed there by K-Mart's blatant disregard for authority. K-Mart just reminded Claire so much of herself at that age. Hell, what was she talking about. Claire still acted that way.
"You are a rottenone aren't you?" Claire shot a grin to K-mart that was quickly reciprocated.
"I learned from the best!"
"Damn straight you did!" The pair shared a laugh until they were interrupted by the radio residing in the cup holder between them. Suddenly switching into leader mode, a somber Claire yanked the radio from the consol and held it to her ear awaiting whoever was trying to get a hold of her.
"This is she. What can I do for you today Sir?"
"Can you make out what that is in the road ahead?"
Claire leaned forward, squinting because of the sunlight even with her aviators on to look for whatever Carlos was talking about. At first she saw nothing except the distant mirage heat created and a lot of sand but then she spotted something that didn't go with the scenery. From this far back it looked like a lump of silver laying on the side of the road but even without the binoculars K-Mart was fishing around for in the glove compartment, Claire could tell.
"Well, Carlos, I'd say that looks like a motorcycle to me."
"That's what we thought too. But did you notice anything else?"
"Yeah. It's not covered in sand. Guys, I want everyone on the look out. We may have a survivor around here somewhere. He's probably on foot so it shouldn't be to hard to spot."
"Rodger that Captain! How much further until we hit that town we decided on this morning?"
" Well Otto, your guess is as good as mine. Once we pass the diner, we'll be about 20 minutes outside of the town I believe. Not much longer guys, hang in there. That's it for now unless anyone has anything else they'd like to share with the class? Now's your chance to speak up."
"I think we should stop and check the bike out."
The woman drummed her fingers on the steering wheel while she deliberated that idea, not once taking her eyes off the bike as it drew nearer.
"Yeah alright. K and I will check it out. You guys pull over now and we'll go on ahead. Just in case it's a trap. Chase you mind being an eye in the sky with that rifle of yours?"
"Ya got it boss."
"Thanks. Let's make this quick guys, it's going to be dark in a couple hours and you all know how I feel about the dark. Over and out." With that Claire switched the radio off and tossed it in the back seat to free her hands up. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed K-Mart putting her book into the glove compartment with the binoculars for safe keeping.
"Don't worry. If it's a trap, I won't let anything happen to you. Okay?"
Claire felt K-Mart's soft touch brush her taut forearm in what was meant to be a comforting manor.
"I know." The blond whispered, removing her touch and looking out the window in succession. Claire smiled softly but was sure to wipe it off her face quickly, replacing it with her war face instead.
Alice's day honestly couldn't get any worst. After her horrid walk which she was sure that, if the T-Virus didn't heal her so quickly, she'd have blisters littering her feet from; After her horrid walk Alice had reached Diablo's Downtown Diner. Following it's namesake the place looked like Satan's eatery. The few sparse cars that were in the parking lot were smashed and upturned onto their sides to act as makeshift barriers at the entrance of the lot. Glimmering pools of liquid pooled around the tail ends of both cars, leading Alice to assume that it was either precious gasoline or oil. Perhaps a mixture of the two. The lot in itself wasn't very large maybe just large enough to park 50 cars maximum. Aside from the two upturned cars acting as a gateway, however, there wasn't another vehicle in lot.
Diablo's Downtown Diner in it's day wasn't a large diner but it had been a nice one. The entire north face of the diner was composed of large windows that, now, were either broken out or had spider web cracks crawling from one corner to the next. Brass lined the window in the two wide double doors standing shut just below the large busted out neon light atop the diner displaying the name and miraculously the thatched roof still stood even with all the sand now piling atop of it. Red paint as bright as blood once coated the exterior of the business though now it had faded to a mottled wine color, bubbling up or flaking off in certain places that looked as though it had sustained heat damage. Judging from the flash burns on the walkway along the edges of the building the damage was from just that.
All that wasn't what irked Alice however. No what had irked her were the figures she noticed looming inside the diner, bumbling around on unsteady legs and occasionally bumping into one another. Their presence in the diner was making Alice's entire body itch and crawl unpleasantly. Normally when Alice was in a bad mood the undead were a perfect stress reliever but today it just felt like a slap in the face seeing them here. Alice was tired of only crossing paths with creatures that wanted nothing more than to sink they're decaying teeth into her flesh. Though she was weary to admit it even to herself, Alice longed for human company and a conversation that for once was her speaking and getting intelligent responses instead of the grumbles and moans of the undead. More than anything Alice missed the warmth of another human. That was the only thing Spence had ever been good for, keeping her bed warm. She longed for a night in this god forsaken desert that she could crawl into her bedroll and feel the warmth of another human there, waiting for her, with arms wide open.
The woman sighed loudly, peeved with herself for thinking up such annoyingly depressing thoughts, and pushed herself off the half buried bus across the street of Diablo's she had been leaning against. No sense in thinking up stupid things when there was no chance of them ever happening and even if it did, she wouldn't deserve the pleasantries anyway. All this was her own damn fault, she may as well deal with the consequences. Alice dropped her pack into the sand, using her foot to push it behind a tumbleweed growing from the rear fender of the bus to hide it from sight. One could never be to cautious. Quickly Alice reached up with her free hand to tug the goggles from her eyes to hang around her neck and pull the scarf loose so that it pooled around her shoulders, freeing her choppy blond locks. Already she could feel the suns harsh rays biting into the flesh of her scalp even through her thick hair, warming her to her toes in seconds. Not the kind of warmth she wanted though.
With a glower Alice cast a glance left and right before sprinting across the streets towards Diablo's with the stock of her crossbow pressed into the curvature of her shoulder, one azure eye peering down the scope attachment. The crosshairs were trained on the nearest undead about 10 feet from her current position. He shuffled alongside the turned over car, his matted hair full of leaves and a clump of it hung over his shoulder with part of his skull still attached. Luckily his back was turned to Alice so he hadn't noticed her approach nor had he noticed the bolt she shot until it pierced his exposed brain matter and pinned him to the vehicle he had been standing near. Alice decided to leave him them, dangling from the arrow pinning him to the fiberglass body instead of freeing her arrow. She also felt the need to leave her crossbow seeing as it had been her only bolt for the weapon. She had already pulled her M11A1 from the holster on her thigh before the crossbow had even hit the sand near the Undead's swaying feet.
With the stealth of a trained operative Alice quickly made her way to the diner's entrance that, now that she was closer, she noticed had been boarded up from the inside so that whatever was inside couldn't get out. There she paused, leaning against the door while she listening to the undead inside trudge around. From her point of view, she found herself to be in a bit of a situation. She could kick the door in and break the boards barring her entrance with ease but the sounds this would put off would alert everything crawling and staggering around inside to a new chew toy coming to visit. Granted even if they did get a hold of her she couldn't become infected seeing as she already was and any damage they did to her body would heal relatively quickly but that wouldn't stop it from hurting like a bitch. A few weeks back in Tampa she had been snuck up upon by an undead and had felt it take a good sized chunk out of her neck. The wound had bled profusely and, after she had turned and snapped the creatures neck, the wound had healed itself shut but it had been an agonizing process. Since then she had avoiding taking risk if at all possible.
Plan B wasn't a better option as far as noise was concerned but at least it would keep her from being bitten or chewed on. Holstering her pistol Alice quickly felt around her many pouches until her fingertips brushed a smooth spherical object. Instinctively she closed her hand around it and brought it to her chest, looping the index finger from her left hand around the pin and yanking it free. Alice took exactly three steps away from the door to throw the live grenade through the broken window on the left side of the building before turning and couching down, throwing her arms over her head to buffet the sound and protect herself. She counted to three under her breath.
The thunk of the grenade hitting the linoleum tile inside made all the sounds of the undead turn into a unified sound of a horde running towards movement.
Alice's super hearing could hear the undead merging and grouping around the grenade. The pops and creaking of their weakened bones sounding like gun shots when they shook their heads and clacked their jaws as if confused to find no human there awaiting consumption.
On three her eyes slammed shut and her teeth ground into each other when loud sounds of shattering glass and tables being turned over, bodies flying back to break against walls mingled in with the sound of the explosion. Heat licked at her backside to an almost unbearable point but she held fast, knowing it would pass in a few seconds. Sand blew up in tuffs all around her when shards of table, flying limbs, and glass hit the ground in a circle all around her. Little lances of pain lit up her nerves when bits of burning debris or glass would hit her but she ignored it with ease. Finally when the explosion died away and silence reined once again Alice stood from her crouch and in the same swift movement pulled her handgun and ran at Diablo's to jump through the same window she had thrown the hand grenade through.
The interior had seen better days, specifically the days before zombies congregated inside it and before it had been forced to withstand the blast of a hand grenade. Pierces and chunks of undead littered the hexagonal titles in the furthest corner of the diner, near where the doors and toppled over cash register lay. Slick coagulated blood spilled from the torn ends of limbs and, what appeared to be, various different organs heaped near semi burnt and twice dead bodies. Some of the bodies had knocked over the sparse dining tables that had been free standing in the center of the diner or knocked over the high bar stools that had been in front of the long bar separating the cooking area from the dining area. Smoke rose from the blackened ground below Alice's feet where the blast had blown away the tile and burned down into the plywood. Over the counter the window where the waitress would have taken the plate piled with peoples orders from the kitchen was closed off with a heavy metal gate of some sort and was held shut with a thick padlock. Another padlock also locked the door that would lead into the kitchen area though the oval shaped window near the top of the door was busted out and dried blood colored the jagged edges of it. Alice assumed it to be the either the previous occupants of the diner whom she had just blown to literal pierces or perhaps desperate survivors trying to find a way past the locks to no avail. Without keys the survivors wouldn't be able to get the doors open and get the precious stash of food that was presumably back there. However Alice had superhuman strength to rely on that would make breaking the lock easer than counting to 3.
Movement out of the corner of her eye put Alice on high alert. Her well kept muscles tightened on instinct in anticipation for a fight and the corded muscles lining her forearms twitched restlessly beneath her sun kissed skin when she swung her gun around to point at the source of the noise. Bloodied hands missing fingernails on all fingers clawed at the linoleum with crazed fever to pull the heavy body attached to them towards Alice leaving behind a grotesque trail of liquids oozing from the severed torso of the undead. The mans jaw clacked each time he snapped his jaw open and closed, grinding what was left of his blackened, bloodied teeth together mindlessly, probably preparing the weakening jaw muscles beneath his hole filled cheeks for biting into Alice's living flesh. The dark skin still left on his body ranged from his shoulder blades to his chest before it began to dissipate until nothing was left but stringy muscles still clinging to the showing spinal cord and ribcage adding to his vile self image. The mans body stopped just above his hips leaving his intestines to trail behind him like some disgusting banner and filling the room with the sound of something wet slithering across a smooth surface. If Alice weren't immune to the uninhibited stench of the undead and the different stages of decomposer the undead ranged in she may have doubled over then and there to dry heave the empty contents of her stomach but after years of dealing with all this Alice hardly blinked an eye at the repulsive nature of the undead. Nothing really registered with her anymore, she had long sense disconnected the little part of her brain that created emotions. Feelings were pointless these days and only served to slow you down or hinder you. To her, this was just another creatures needing an execution, not a former human turned mindless ravager. On the very rare chance that Alice had come across survivors she had met, she had found they couldn't pull the trigger without thinking that they had once been a brother or sister in this shared fight for survival or wonder if maybe they had known this person. Alice shared no such view on the undead. So it wasn't difficult for her at all to lift a leg and press the heel of her boot into the nape of the undead neck restricting its movement and put two bullets into the things skull. Grey matter and blood splattered across her boots and the tan stockings covering her toned legs much to Alice's distaste.
"Son of a fucking bitch! Now I'm going to have to find a way to clean these! Thanks a lot." Alice growled in her husky voice, cracking slightly from disuse. Out of irritation the blond gave the undead's head a swift kick, loosening skull fragments and sending them skittering across the floor.
Still glowering because of her misfortune Alice turned and strutted towards the counter, her pistol held firmly at her side less she come across anymore undead as unlikely as it seemed after the grenade. The counter itself reached about as high as her navel from one end of the diner to the other making it something of a barricade between her and the kitchen door. The only way through was the small swinging door on the far right end, near the cash register. It reached to just below her hip and, when she pressed her side into it after trekking towards it with echoing footsteps, the gate protested loudly with squealing hinges obviously not having been used in a long while. Alice winced slightly at the loud noise disturbing the otherwise dead quiet diner though no undead remained for the sound to alert. Still she found herself freezing in place and lifting her pistol to her eyelevel, poised for an attack of any kind. When nothing came rushing at from a dark recess of the diner Alice continued pushing the gate fully open until she stood behind the counter. The crème tile of Diablo's was painted entirely red behind the counter with thickened dried blood of the once living. Alice assumed the copious amounts of blood were due to the litter of bodies residing in the corner near the locked kitchen door. Flies buzzed around the decomposing bodies and bullet casings lay around them resembling a hallowed circle to ward of the undead. Clearly a family had come here, judging from the two smaller bodies laying prone in the adults arms and, upon noticing no way into the kitchen and the impending death threat of undead committed a murder/suicide to prevent becoming infected. A respectful way out in these times, Alice tipped her metaphorical hat to the parents decision even though Alice knew if it had been her, she would have fought to the very end. But that was just her. With her free hand she pulled her scarf up around her mouth and nose to block out the smell of death as a sort of reverence to the family. Seeing that these people died as human and had gone through the trauma of having to shoot one another, Alice felt uncomfortable breathing in their fumes because it pushed at her carefully constructed walls blocking out emotions.
Alice moved against the wall, trying her hardest not to tread upon the blood of family but found the task impossible with how much there was. Incessant flies buzzing around the bodies continued to bump into Alice's face further adding to the difficulty of walking without dishonoring the family in the small way she could. After a few more steps Alice realized her plan was futile seeing as who she presumed to be the father of the family was leaned against the locked door of the kitchen with his family all scattered around him. She'd have to move his body as well as the others in order to get through. Frowning deeply Alice cast a glance around the diner out of pure habit before holstering her weapon and striding over to the deceased blocking her way.
She moved the children first, feeling a slight pang of something tap at her chest when she had to literally break the parents arms in order to gain access to the children due to their stiff nature. Alice showed a great deal of gentleness that was uncharacteristic for her when moving the small girls to lay them out on the counter beside one another. Children had always been a weak spot for the lonesome blond. Especially after Raccoon City and Angie. Though she pushed that all behind her great walls that worked at stopping any emotional flow in her brain and heart, the sight of a child dead or alive still managed to sneak past her careful guard. After she had finished with the children Alice hoisted the mother over one shoulder and laid her near her children's feet. The woman probably should have taxed her strength more, lifting her the way Alice had, but as it were Alice was only left breathing a little harder than before. Hot tuffs of breath that warmed the scarf still wrapped tightly across her lips and nose. Finally Alice pulled the heaviest of the family members up onto her shoulder to lift him and dumped him onto the table beside his wife. There she paused. Granted she hadn't known these but she felt she owed them some sort of ceremony after disturbing their bodies so rudely. She hadn't been a priest in her previous life so she didn't know the words to a death prayer. Nor did she know any other religious prayers linked to the death of a loved one. Somewhere in her past though she had remembered what she had once read about Ancient Greek customs and she felt that would do this family justice. Turning Alice strode to the toppled over cash register to check for any remnants of money left behind and was pleased to find a great deal of coins though no cash. No bother. She rummaged around the pile of dusty, blood stained coins until she found eight relatively clean quarters and turned back to the family. Alice split on the dirtiest of the coins and used her thumb to rub the grime from the murky discs. Once pleased with their new shine Alice laid a quarter over each closed eyelid of the dead and, on a sudden impulse, folded the parents hands together between them then stood back. It wasn't much but it would have to do. Nodding to herself Alice regarded the family in a short remnant of silence with her hands clasped behind her back and her legs spread to stand at parade rest. When she felt enough time had passed in respectful silence the blond turned around and refocused her attention on her prior task.
Drawing her M11A1 again the blond moved closer to the door and pressed her ear against it, listening for signs of undead. No sound came from the other side but that didn't necessarily mean anything. She had been surprised to many times to go lax even if it appeared safe. Stepping slightly away from the door Alice closed her slender fingers around the padlock and yanked it downward with all her strength. The lock didn't break. Instead Alice ended up pulling the thing through the metal it had been looped through as easy as if it had been butter. Loud clinking noises and groans of metal bending past its limit filled the otherwise silent diner accompanied with the sound of the door handle that had been pulled from its inlaid place within the door hitting the ground near Alice's feet.
Alice turned her hand over to peer down at the padlock resting in the palm of her hand, a small increment of self-loathing leaking into her sad smile. Stupid inhuman capabilities. She absolutely detested the side of her Umbrella had created which in turn led her to detest herself. If there were ever a way to change who she was, to become human again, she would do anything to achieve getting it. With a resigned sigh she dropped the lock to the ground without giving it so much as a side glance, hearing it hit and clink against the door handle laying on the floor. The cool metal of the door chilled Alice's palm when she pressed it over where the handle used to be and pushed the door open. The hinges, unlike the waiters entrance at the far end of the counter, were still well oiled and allowed the door to swing open smoothly without a sound. Darkness loomed beyond the tall doorway, the only scrap of light being the fading rays of daylight hitting Alice's back.
"Perfect. Just perfect." Alice tapped the barrel of her pistol against her thigh in agitation, already thinking about what nasty fiends may be crawling around the kitchen in the dark waiting for her. Not to mention the only flashlight she had was on the verge of death if not dead already.
"Today just keeps getting better and better." Alice shucked her pack off her shoulder and took a few moments to locate her small flashlight that had managed to find its way to the very bottom of the bag. She clicked the button to check if it did still work and let a pleased smile grace her features when it flickered to life. Finally something today was going her way. Alice left her pack leaned against the wall and stood from her crouch, throwing the flashlight out before her to hover above her handgun. The small circle of light illuminated a kitchen sink piled high with grimy pots and pans, bloodied shards of plates littering the area all around the sink and the floor near it. At the very edge of the light bloodied digits that, upon moving the beam of the light, Alice noticed were attached to a very dead body. Probably either the waitress here at Diablo's or the chef long sense gone. Whomever it was, had obviously been dead twice over going by the sunken eyes and grotesque translucent skin of an undead and the two bullet holes adoring its forehead. This undead had probably been the one to punch out the oval window of the door, most likely attempting to reach the once living family residing in the dining area. Dad or Mom must have been a good shot. Raising her light Alice spotted the many bullet holes ranged across the expanse of the wall facing the door. Smiling a little Alice took back her previous statement; Mom or Dad wasn't a good shot, just a lucky one. Alice glanced over her shoulder, checking to see if the diner was still empty save for the bodies lying about and once she was sure she still was alone, moved into the kitchen.
The air inside the kitchen was thicker due to it being stagnant and absolutely reeked of death. So pungent was the air that Alice was reminded that she did in fact have a gag reflex and it was fully functioning though still not quite enough to make her vomit. Alice brought her forearm to her nose, pressing it tightly against the cloth and slammed her eyes shut to prevent her tear ducts from reacting to the horrid stench. She had never before come across a single body that smelled so strongly. Something inside her warned her that the stink wasn't coming from the dead waitress alone. That something was proved correct when Alice heard a low guttural growl emanate from the mouth of a rotting undead pitbull not even two feet from her. Sounds like a thunderstorm filled the room when that growl was followed by many, many more. Slowly Alice swiveled her light to shine on a doorway missing a door in the far corner of the kitchen, just now noticing that it was a doorway that led to a staircase going down. A staircase that undead dogs varying in breeds spilled into the kitchen from, all hunkered down and growling as they moved towards Alice.
Moving as slow as possible Alice holstered her pistol and reached over her shoulders to pull her shotguns free, clicking the safety off as she withdrew them.
"Well now I know why that door was locked." She took slow steps backwards towards the exit leading back into the diner, flickering her eyes from one dog to the next when one would bark or growl louder than another.
"Redfield! Did you hear that shit!?"
"Copy that Carlos , I heard it. Everyone I think our survivor is close by and in deep shit. Be ready to move!"
"Alright, alright! Finally a little action, I've been dying back here! Lock and load people!"
"I want everyone to be careful and under no circumstances do I want anyone to take unnecessary risks. Am I clear?" Claire's rose colored lips bumped against the speaker of radio she held against her mouth, her hot breath dampening the weaved metal. Beside her K-Mart paused in her doings to look over at her leader, a fond smile pulling her lips across her surprisingly white teeth considering hygiene these days. K-Mart had always found Claire endearing when she was in leader mode. Granted being in leader mode generally entailed that Claire hardly, if ever, smiled. And that was enough to make K-Mart want to cry because she knew her savior wasn't a happy person. To K-Mart, Claire deserved all the happiness this depressing existence offered but it seemed like whenever Claire was offered that happiness, she turned it down so that someone else wouldn't go without. Claire was always looking out for everyone's best interest except her own. K-Mart tried to be the one looking out for Claire but the redhead didn't make it easy for her what with telling her no all the time or starving herself or sometimes giving up sleep entirely so that others would get a full nights rest. Claire needed someone strong and just as pig headed as her to take care of her since Claire wasn't capable of doing it herself. But every time they found a new survivor the person ended up falling short of K-Mart's expectations or just flat out would not work for Claire at all. Until K-Mart located Claire's better half, K-Mart would just have to be the one keeping an eye on the feisty redhead.
"You got it Captain."
"Alright good. Radio me if you see our man before I do. Over and out."
The leader dropped her radio in her lap and resumed both hands to the wheel, pressing her right foot harder into the accelerator. She was hoping and praying that they would reach the survivor before it was to late. There had been to many incidents when Claire had been to late and a little part of her died inside each time she was.
"Claire?" The redhead glanced over at her blond counterpart, noticing that the girl was still going through the things they had found within the motorcycles bags. Nothing of serious value had been recovered from the BMW except maybe the radio wave scanner but Mikey already had one of those in his van and it was better than the one they had scavenged. Mostly there had just been books, more accurately put, journals. Journals that had been written in elegant script by someone with an impressive vocabulary and a dry sense of humor. Journals that cataloged years of existence after the world had turned to shit. Journals of a very desperate, sad, lonely individual who had grown void of hope and any kind of feeling towards life. Upon discovered the five or six autographical tomes K-Mart had been buried within the thin pages, soaking up every finely written word without pausing to even breath. Claire hadn't managed to take a look at one herself yet but she felt it wouldn't hurt anything to let the girl read them, if they had been important to the person that left them then they would have taken the journals with them.
"Yeah K? What's up?"
K-Mart marked her spot in the book by placing her finger against the spine and closing it on her digit, raising her head to look over at her leader, "What noise were you talking about just now?"
Claire's perfectly sculpted eyebrows fell low over her emerald eyes in confusion, "You didn't hear it?"
In response to Claire's question K-Mart smiled abashedly and ducked her head to hide her tinted cheeks, "Um, no. I've kind of been absorbed in these." To emphasize just what, the blond shook the journal her finger was trapped inside of.
"Huh. Well, it was an explosion."
K-Mart choked on the air she was breathing, her hazel eyes going wide in alarm, "A-An explosion!?"
If possible Claire's brows drew lower, wondering what could elicit such a heartfelt response from the bubbly teen, "Yeah. From a grenade we think. Could have been a car too but we didn't see any flames or smoke so we just stuck to grenade."
K-Mart drew her fear filled eyes from Claire to stare out the front window, watching the landscape fly by at a dangerously fast rate. Subconsciously she leaned forward in her seat in a mindless attempt to see further ahead, hoping to catch a glimpse of the woman who had been filling these pages with this wonderfully depressing writings. K-Mart found herself becoming quite attached to mystery woman who had wrote these journals, the one her finger currently pressed between the second one she had read. The first book detailed her work as an Umbrella agent and her work done at the Hive, her plot to steal the T-Virus to aide another woman, how everything had gone horribly wrong. At the end of the first book Alice, for that's what the woman had signed at the bottom of each entry, had explained in graphic and horrid detail all the things that had happened in Raccoon City and what Umbrella had done to her. That all carried over into the second book K-Mart was now in the middle of reading as well as what had happened afterwards, how Umbrella had revived Alice with yet another massive dose of the T-Virus. K-Mart wasn't to far into this one yet but already Alice was alone again. That seemed to be a reoccurrence in this woman's story. Loneliness. K-Mart wondered how long Alice had been alone. She was eager to put a face to the name and even more eager to give Alice a hug. Provided she was still alive.
"I hope Alice is okay." The teen mumbled to herself, frowning deeply and clutching the journal tightly to her chest. K-Mart really wanted to meet Alice, if not just to give her back her journals. She had obviously put a lot of time into these, leaving them behind was like leaving behind her legacy. She must have had no other choice.
"Did you just say 'Alice'? Who is 'Alice' K-Mart?" Claire's tone was clearly not one to be trifled with yet K-Mart hardly heard it with the mess of thoughts her brain currently was.
"K-Mart! Are you listening to me!?"
The blond startled, her thoughts of the mystery woman melting back into the recesses of her mind.
"What did you say Claire?"
"I asked who Alice was."
"Oh. She's the one who wrote these. Do you think she's okay Claire?"
The redheads grip on the wheel tightened immensely causing the leather underneath to protest loudly in the form of high pitched squeaking. Claire could tell just by the tone in K-Mart's voice that the girl was already overly fond of this woman and that was not something the redhead liked. Especially considering they not only didn't know if the woman was still alive but they also didn't know her in general. How was Claire suppose to know if she could trust this woman enough to allow K-Mart to fangirl over her? K-Mart was like the daughter or sister that Claire had never gotten around to having and because of that, the redhead was extremely protective of the teen. One could compare Claire's feelings towards K-Mart to how a mother bear felt about her cubs. You don't fuck with Mama Bears babies unless you want fucked up.
"I dunno K. I guess we're about to find out. Look." Claire freed one of her hands to point her long index finger in the direction of a weathered diner, proudly displaying a busted up neon sign that read Diablo's Downtown Diner. The diner itself didn't look so formidable as opposed to the outside and what was happening in the parking lot. Fire consumed two overturned cars, its long glowing tendrils reaching towards the sky and spewing black smoke that closely matched the night closing in around them. In the middle of the flames a shadowy figure could be made out standing their ground as hundreds of blurs circled around it. Even over the roaring engines of her convoy Claire could make out the sounds of shotgun blasts, the dying yelps of canines and the rumbling of many beasts growling lowly in their throats. Claire pulled her foot from the accelerator and placed it over the brake, tapping it until her H2 came to a dead stop. Behind her the convoy's drivers followed her lead.
"Claire! It's L.J. I think I see our guy."
"Yeah I see hertoo L.J."
"Holy fucking shit! Do you see her choice in company? She must be a dog person."
"Yeah I see them too. Carlos?"
"Yes oh fearless one?"
"What do you think? Can we salvage this one or should we cut our losses?"
K-Mart whipped her head to side to give Claire a dumbfounded look, her jaw nearly resting in her lap. Had Claire just said that? Surely she didn't mean it. They couldn't leave Alice! Not when they were so close!
"Well Boss, I'd say we leave her. That is just as crazy as crazy gets. I've only met one person stupid enough to ever try something like that and unfortunately she's dead. It's a no go Boss. Cut our losses."
"My thoughts Exactly. Alright everyone-"
"Claire no! You can't just leave her! Please!"
Claire reached across the consol to lay a comforting hand on the blonde's arm, "K-Mart, we don't have a choice. If we tried to save her we'd end up loosing more lives than her one is worth-"
K-Mart yanked her arm free of Claire's touch, tears falling from her eyes to roll down her paler cheeks, "No! I won't leave Alice!" Before Claire could say another word the blonde threw the door open and jumped from the Hummer, her feet already moving in a stumbling sprint towards Alice battling for her life in the parking lot.
"K-Mart! No! Come back!" Claire screamed hysterically, already unhooking her belt and kicking her door open to race after the teen, Glock in hand. Claire would never catch her.
K-Mart was already across the street and nearing the burning cars, the heat of the fire so intense it dried her wet cheeks before she was even within 10 feet of them. Thanks to the light of the fire K-Mart got a clear view of the statuesque blonde woman standing in the middle of the lot. As were the undead animals surrounding her made clear by firelight. Fear crept up K-Mart's spine and threatened to stop her heart upon laying her eyes on the many forms mingling around the lot. Fear that tripled and presented itself in the form of a scream when many eyes of many beasts turned their attention to her and began stalking in her direction, their low, hungry growls spinning around in her head. At the same time the dogs noticed her so too did Alice. The fear inspiring woman let out a string of curse words that would have made any good Nun throw gallons of holy water on her and began swiveling her head from side to side as if assessing her situation. K-mart found herself keening quite loudly as she backpedaled, already lamenting her own anticipated death and feeling massive amounts of guilt knowing that now she would die and there would be no one to take care of Claire.
A sob ripped from the teens throat when her back hit something solid, effectively trapping her between the wall behind her and the dogs coming at her. The wall wrapped its arms around her and moved her so that the wall was standing between her and the undead canines.
"Claire…I-I'm sorry." K-Mart gripped the back of the older woman's shirt, pressing her nose between her shoulder blades to seek the warmth and comfort Claire normally gave.
Claire narrowed her eyes at the horde of dogs coming at them, her right arm raised and suffering a tax to the tight muscles in her forearm each time she pulled the trigger of her Glock. Each bullet she shot off found it's mark in a body or a skull cavity until the Glock began dry firing and Claire dropped the weapon, useless without ammunition. Her attack had only delayed the oncoming death, new swarms of animals coming for them. Claire held her arms out in a natural defensive stance, using her body as a human shield for K-Mart though both of them knew that would do nothing once the threat was upon them.
"Claire?" A teen behind her whispered but Claire heard it as if it were being screamed directly in her ear.
"Yeah K?" Emerald eyes looked over her shoulder to meet hazel ones peeking up at her, tears freefalling from the teens eyes and soaking into Claire's bunched up shirt wrapped tightly in K-Mart's closed fists.
"Are we gonna die?"
Claire had never lied to K-Mart before, never had a reason to. She didn't feel like now was the time to start. So Claire just nodded and turned her eyes back ahead of her so that K-Mart wouldn't see the utter despair to be found there.
"Oh. Okay. Claire?"
"I love you." Claire's chest tightened painfully. Tears burned at her eyes. Gently she reached over her shoulder to pat the top of K-Mart's head, leaving her hand there when tears too began falling from the older woman's eyes.
"Love ya too K." Then they waited for death. Together. But death never came.
When the dogs were at an arms length from them an unbearable heat resonated from the burning cars on either side of them as if they had suddenly grew thousands of degrees hotter. When the heat became nearly suffocating, there was Alice. Standing not but a few feet away, her stance wide and her pupils so dilated they nearly encompassed her entire iris. Her hands hung loosely at sides free of weapons and her hair blew in the stirring wind that had suddenly come to life around them. Fire suddenly burst from the cars and spilled onto the cement like a wave crashing onto the shores, splashing across the dogs circling in around the three humans. Alice's eyes remained locked on the animals as from that fire little flames outstretched as far as to create a circle around the entire parking lot. When both ends of the fires touched, completing the circle, Alice tilted her head and the fire circle imploded. It grew into a towering spiral, encompassing every single canine within its cone shaped inferno until there was not another sound to be heard except the sounds of fire raging. Claire's wide eyes finally tore from the fire when it died away, leaving no traces of fire behind except the ash littering the parking lot and the scorch marks on the cement, to look over at the culprit behind the extreme display of supernatural power.
Alice was swaying slightly, blood dripping steadily from her nose across her plump lips to drip off her chin onto her chest. This powerful, regal woman had saved not just hers but K-Mart's life as well with godlike powers. Claire searched the woman's face, noting her defined jaw line and her shaggy blond hair that framed her cheeks and fell lightly across her forehead. Her azure eyes rounded from the carnage she had just created to lock with Claire's. The tightening in Clare's chest intensified as her lungs stopped working. This woman was-what had K-Mart called her? Alice-Alice was beautiful. No, not beautiful. Stunning. She had never before seen such beautiful, intense blue eyes as the ones the redhead was currently drowning in. They pulled her in and lit her alight just as they had the cremated dogs dusting the lot they stood upon. Claire's thoughts ran rampant through her mind, the thundering of their crazed track around her skull almost matching the pounding of her heart.
I want to know this woman. I want her to know me. I want… "Alice." The redhead whispered reverently just before said woman's eyes rolled into the back of her head and she pitched forward, doomed to fall face first into the hard ground had Claire's strong arms not caught her.
Alice awoke with a horrible dryness in her mouth and to the sound of muffled voices. Her mind took awhile to catch up with her body, not really registering the fact that she was lying flat on her back or that she was lying flat on her back on a bench seat staring at the ceiling interior of a vehicle. She wasn't sure how she got here or if here was safe but she did know one thing; she needed to find the woman with red hair.
Everything prior to seeing the woman with red hair was a bit hazy, only bits and pieces standing out to Alice. She remembered the diner. She remembered the family and getting into the kitchen. She remembered the horrid stench coming from the hundreds of dogs residing in the basement of the diner. Obviously the owner of Diablo's had been running secret, illegal dog fights in the diners basement as a means to bring in extra cash. That was the only thing that made sense to Alice in any case. After that Alice couldn't really recall much except being extremely pissed off. Her day had already been sucking royally then she just had to walk in on a doggy ambush of colossal proportions. She remembered making a mad dash for the parking lot and realized only after she got out there that it had been pointless. She didn't have a car and her motorcycle was sitting on the side of a hot desert road 12 miles back. She remembered cussing quite a bit and kicking a couple dogs out of sheer frustration, relishing in the sounds of their necks snapping from the blunt force of her kicks. Then all she remembered was one minute there being nothing but dogs and then the next there was a blond teenage girl staring at her with wide, wet eyes. Alice had switched from not really caring to survival mode, already going through scenarios of how she was going to get that girl out of this situation alive. By the time Alice had thought of something that might accomplish that task, she had looked over and noticed that the blond was no longer alone and the red haired woman was with her. Something inside of Alice shattered and crumbled to indefinable pieces, not realizing that the thing that broke were her massive walls until Alice realized she wasn't breathing and she was running towards the woman and the teen. Everything inside Alice screamed at her to protect the woman with red hair at all costs, even if it took her nearly immortal life. And it nearly had. The blond had stretched all her supernatural muscles, draining her of every drop of energy buzzing behind her eyes, to create the light show with the fire. She hadn't even stopped to think about doing it, she just had and she didn't dare let the flames die out until she felt every creature out there die. Again.
What happened after that Alice could never forget. The woman with red hair had turned to Alice and Alice had turned to meet her eyes. Deep, sparkling emerald eyes that dug deep into Alice's soul and carved out her insides to leave her a vulnerable heap of mushy feelings for the woman to see. Nothing Alice could have done would have prepared her for the way that woman made her feel in that instant. She stripped Alice bare and laid her on display for the woman to search thoroughly, nothing left unturned to those soulful eyes. Heat, pleasant wonderful heat that Alice had missed dearly, scorched though her body and heated her to the core like a kettle above flames. Alice found herself being drawn to the woman's alabaster skin, surprised that it remained so white considering the harsh desert sun. The paleness of the woman became so alluring all Alice could think about was running her tongue and lips all along every inch of it, not even caring that the woman probably hadn't had a decent shower in ages. Her wild hair, a deep red color, lay splayed across her slender and very kissable shoulders framing her tantalizing bust. Alice trailed her eyes from that bust up the woman's throat to her pointed chin and red, kissable lips. From the alluring lips to her cute nose that fit her face perfectly back to those eyes Alice had already convinced herself she had fallen for. Then like a witch casting her spell, the woman had husked out her name and Alice had slipped from consciousness. Thus bringing her full circle to this moment in time where she remained lying on her back, staring unblinkingly at the roof, thinking of the woman with red hair. Longing for the woman with red hair and her red, detectible lips.
Alice raised her weary arms to press the heels of both her eyes into her eyes and rub hard circles into them, hoping to rub away all evidence of sleep clinging to her thick lashes. Before Alice pulled her hands away vivid color caught her eye and forced her attention to the thick, colorful bracelet adorning her thin wrist. She couldn't remember owning that. In fact, she couldn't even remember seeing it before. Confused, Alice using her opposite hand to inspect it, running the tip of her index finger down its raised surface. The bracelet was woven out of bright nylon and judging from the precision, it had been handcrafted. Where in the world had she gotten it?
"Hi." Alice's head whipped to the front of the car, seeing the blond teen from before sitting in the front seat leaning her elbows on the console to get a good look at Alice lying in the backseat.
"Hey." Alice barely contained her wince at hearing the gruffness of her own voice, suddenly quite self conscious of it now that others were having to hear it. How long had it been since she had partook in an actual human-to-human conversation? Far to long if she couldn't even remember. In fact she couldn't even remember the proper etiquette pertaining conversation except that you had to wait turns because it was rude to interrupt.
Alice glanced at the bracelet on her wrist one more time before draping her arms across her abdomen, "You make this?" The teen looked down at Alice's wrist, a grin spreading across her face.
"Yup. You like it?"
Alice shrugged, "It's nice."
"Cool. I'm K-Mart." Alice raised a questioning eyebrow upon hearing the name to which the teen just laughed quietly at, "Long story. But that's where Claire found me and I didn't want my old life or the people who knew me so Claire just called me that. And I liked it so I didn't tell her my real name."
Butterflies swarmed Alice's stomach, pulling her abs tight with tension. She had to take a few deeps breaths before she poke again because that name could very well belong to her mystery red haired angel.
K-Mart's face lit up brightly, a toothy grin pulling her lips tight, "Claire Redfield! She's the leader of this convoy and my super awesome Mom! And you saved her life! And mine. Thank you so much Alice! I dunno what we would have done without you!" Suddenly Alice found herself with two arms full of bubbly teenager, blond hair tickling the tip of her nose. It was the first hug Alice had received in years and though it was as surprising as it was nice, it wasn't from the person Alice wanted most. She wanted it from the woman with red hair. From Claire.
Alice began patting the girls back awkwardly, not sure what to do in this sort of situation considering her lack of expertise where humanity was concerned. Then something occurred to her and she froze. K-Mart had called Alice by name, as had Claire. Both of whom Alice had never met before in her entire life. The older woman gripped K-Mart's shoulders a bit roughly and held her at arms length, having to practically dead lift the whole weight of the 16 year old above her to do so seeing as she was still lying flat on her back. The teen's eyes grew wide at the display of strength then wider still at the cold look Alice was giving her.
"How did you know my name Kid?" Alice's voice was low, lower than usual, and as sharp as the edge of a knife and just as daunting.
Alice gave her a rough shake, pushing down the guilt she felt upon seeing the blonde's head loll on her shoulders, "Speak clearly!"
"I r-read the journals you left with y-your motorcycle and…and L.J. and Carlos said-" Alice gripped the girls shoulders, much more gently this time, affectively cutting K-Mart's speech short.
"L.J. and Carlos are with you…?" K-Mart gave a small nod, "And you read my journals?" Again K-Mart nodded. Alice let out a light sigh and let her grip on the girl go slack, K-Mart dropping back down atop of Alice in an awkward embrace. Alice stiffened when she felt K-Mart shivering against her, probably from fear.
"Ah, sorry I…sorry if I hurt you Kid." Alice looked away, holding her tight fists against her sides.
K-Mart picked herself off of Alice to get back into the front seat, smoothing the wrinkles from her shirt and staring out the windshield as she composed herself. Alice hadn't scared her, granted she had hurt her a little with how tightly she had gripped her, but she hadn't scared her. Just made her guilty for intruding into Alice's personal thoughts by reading her journals and made her feel stupid for not going about that a much gentler way. It was no wonder Alice freaked out, K-Mart probably would have too.
"It's alright. I forgive you."
Alice looked at the back of K-Mart's head with widened eyes. She hadn't expected her to say that. People usually didn't take kindly to being manhandled, especially when it was Alice doing the manhandling. Azure eyes closed briefly, her fingers searching for the addiction to her grimy garb on her wrist. The bracelet already felt like a safety blanket. The bracelet being a peace offering, a token of friendship that K-Mart had offered a stranger who had just practically spit in her face. A sigh fell between her lips, eyes popping back open to glare at the roof in contempt.
"I'm not very good with…humans. Or human contact. It's…been awhile since I've been around anyone alive. I'm real sorry Kid. I know that doesn't excuse my actions, I know but….yeah. Did I hurt you?"
"Not really," K-Mart turned in her seat to offer Alice a pleasant smile that, after a few seconds of deliberation, Alice returned, "though we probably shouldn't tell Claire. She might murder you. Literally."
Alice's smile tripled in size and warmth, "Yeah?"
K-Mart nodded vigorously, "Oh yeah. She's really protective of me."
"That's really…um…" Alice couldn't bring herself to say the word.
"Cute? Sweet? Adorable?"
Alice nodded, visibly cringing from the use of such girlish words, "All of the above."
"That reminds me, Claire told me to tell her when you woke up. I'll be right back okay?"
"Whoa hold on!" Alice reached over to grab the teen's arm, stopping her from exiting the vehicle just yet. K-Mart turned back around to give Alice a questioning look.
"I'll come with you. Just…can you tell me where my boots are?" Alice wiggled her sock covered toes and K-Mart giggled loudly, covering her mouth with her cupped hands as she did so. Alice couldn't stop the little smile that lit up her normally glowering face.
"Mikey how we doin'? The perimeter all set up and lookin' good?" Claire asked the blond man, her shoulder leaned against the open door as she watched him wheel around in his business chair as he surveyed his computer monitors. The man grinned broadly, pushing up his glasses with the heel of his hand and spun around in his chair to face the redheaded leader.
"Perimeter it up and lookin' good beautiful lady. Is there anything else a good lookin' man like myself can get for you?" Mikey waggled his eyebrows suggestively causing the redhead to chuckle goodheartedly.
"Not right now Mike but I'll let you know if anything comes up." Claire slapped her palm against the metal frame of the news van and pushed herself off the door, turning on her heel to strut away.
"I'll be holding my breath until that day comes Lady Red!" Mikey, ever the geek, called after Claire and dragged another bout of chuckling from the woman.
"Careful Mike, you might suffocate yourself!" Claire waved him off without looking back, her sights already set on L.J. and Carlos standing over by Otto going over the supplies they had found in the diner.
After Alice had preformed her superhero powers and passed the fuck out in Claire's arms, the redhead had taken it upon herself to personally take care of Alice. If anyone asked she would have told them she had done simply because the woman had saved K-Mart's life which, in part, was the truth. But the main reason, a reason Claire didn't quite understand herself, was because Claire wanted to nurse Alice back to health and she wanted to be the one taking care of the blond. She had been the one to carry the slightly taller woman to her car and lay her across the bench seat. She had taken off Alice's boots and she had been the one to sit in the backseat with Alice's head in her lap while she wasted her precious drinking water to clean the woman's face of blood and grime. Granted she had spent a little more time doing that than necessary and yes she felt a little creeper-esque when she just sat there with Alice's slumbering head in her lap and watched the woman twitch in her sleep. Big deal. When Alice required nothing more than rest Claire had climbed out of the H2, making sure to gently set Alice's head down, and instructed K-Mart to watch Alice until she woke and inform her immediately when that occurred. Claire hadn't been pleased to leave Alice for one second but she reprimanded herself for such thoughts, she had a convoy to lead. There was absolutely no time for her to have a silly crush on a crazy inhuman lady with gorgeous eyes and a pair of the sexiest legs she had ever seen.
Claire had sent L.J and Carlos into the diner to check for supplies after they made sure there were no longer any occupants left after Alice's fire show. Thankfully, there had not been a single one. Aside from the horde of undead dogs, Diablo's had been quite gracious to the survivors. They had found a bulk supply of distilled water in flats wrapped in the plastic shipping companies used to ship goods. Claire couldn't have been more relieved. Sure people starved to death, but people died of dehydration much quicker in the desert. Coupled with the luck of finding such an abundance of clean water they had managed to find quite a stock of canned goods and assorted jerky that Claire had immediately laid claim on. The gold of their spoils, however, had to be the carton of cigarettes they had found. Claire had yet to get her hands on a single tobacco stick though she was about to if she was half as intimidating as she had been labeled.
"Carlos!" Claire clapped her hand onto the chiseled Latino's back, drawing his attention from his work to the shorter redhead standing beside him. The olive skinned man broke out into a grin, the whiteness of his teeth contrasting with his dark beard coating his jaw and upper lip.
"Redfield! To what do I owe the pleasure? Is our sleeping beauty finally awake?"
A small tugging in Claire's gut made a bit of jealous anger bubble up her throat in the form of a carefully disguised growl. Carlos and L.J. both had already filled her in on their shared past with Alice as soon as they noticed who it was that Claire was carrying back with her. Not that their past with Alice had been what sparked the jealously. More over, the way Carlos had spoken of Alice had built a little fire that simmered in Claire's gut, burning hotter whenever the Latino man mentioned her. He had embellished all her adventures, spoke of her with such high regard, and of course he couldn't help but mention that she still looked as hot as the day he met her if not hotter. Claire herself didn't even understand why she was getting so possessive and green with jealously but never the less, she was.
The redhead grit her teeth and gave the man a fake smile that bordered on psychotic it was so terrifyingly bogus, "Nope, not to my knowledge. K is gonna come get me when she gets up. I was just coming over here to see if I could swindle you out of a cig or two."
Carlos laughed deep in his belly, his eyes alight with mirth that made all the girls in the convoy save Claire swoon like schoolgirls. He clapped a hand on Claire's shoulder and shook his head, that smile of his back in place.
"I should have known that's what you came for. And here I thought you just missed me."
Claire snorted indignantly, shrugging the mans touch from her shoulder much to his amusement, "Yeah right, I'd rather get munched on by an undead than start missing your ugly mug. Gimme the cigs before I kick your ass."
Carlos threw his hands up in the air, taking a step back from the woman though still smiling broadly, "Yeesh! Hell hath no fury than Claire in a mood!"
Claire shot the man a malicious grin, tapping her index finger against her holstered Glock in a pseudo threat, "Damn straight."
"Well I s'pose I better get you those cigs then or you'll just go about shooting my fine ass huh?" Carlos shrugged, a look of mock fear crossing his weathered yet still handsome visage.
"I wouldn't go as far as to call yourself 'fine' Old Man. Maybe seasoned or okay but not fine. I'm fine if you want to know what it really looks like." The undeniably husky voice of Alice sounded from the right of the two adults. Both Claire and Carlos looked over to find a smirking Alice with her arms crossed standing beside a grinning K-Mart, one of Alice's journals hugged against the girls chest.
Claire's heart did a little tap dance against her ribcage upon seeing the blond again alive and somewhat worse for ware but still alive. Overwhelming urges to step forward and close the gap barely separating the two woman and wrap her wiry arms around Alice's solid torso and nuzzle into the woman's shoulder with her nose surged up within her. To place a kiss against the skin exposed there and move her lips up Alice's warm throat until she reached those luscious lips. Tingles of pleasurable anticipation shot through Claire's limbs like adrenalin on dope causing the redhead to suddenly become very jittery.
Just as Claire began scolding herself for staring at the woman's curvy figure Alice rounded her bright eyes to Claire and they once again locked gazes. Searing heat coursed through Claire's veins, warming her even standing without a jacket in the cold air of a desert night. So many emotions flashed through Alice's eyes but one showed dominance among the rest; desire. The thought alone, that Alice was staring at her in such way, made Claire's knees go weak.
The sound of K-Mart clearing her throat broke whatever Alice induced trance Claire had fallen into and brought a blush to creep up the redhead's neck.
"Glad to see your still kicking Abernathy. Though I wasn't sure I was ever gonna see you again after that last stunt you pulled with us." Carlos stepped forward to pull Alice into an embrace that the blond woman excepted quite awkwardly. Jealously flared up tenfold inside of Claire, her eyes narrowing to dangerous slits as she glared holes into the back of Carlos's head.
"Please," Alice shoved Carlos's shoulder, sending the burly man stumbling back into the side of the army vehicle he had been loading the salvaged supplies into, "It's gonna take more than a couple undead bitches to take me down."
"A couple!? You call that a couple!? That had to be a whole fucking town and a half!" Carlos let loose another rumbling laughter, spurring Alice to smirk that trademark smirk of hers.
"What can I say? I'm the worlds biggest badass. No one is better than me." Alice shot Claire a flirtatious grin that made Claire turn a color that closely matched the color of her hair.
"Understatement of the century you sexy bitch you!" L.J. popped up beside Alice, slapping a friendly hand on her shoulder and holding out a fist for the blond to bump with her own. A smile that melted Claire's heart bloomed across Alice's face seeing her old friend there. Clearly she had been closer to L.J. than Carlos. That made the angry monster inside Claire purr with contentment.
"Well, well, well! My brotha from anotha motha! How's it you fucker? Still have those piece of shit Golden Eagles your so proud of?" Alice didn't bump her fist with his so much as punch his knuckles with a great deal of force, grinning widely when the black man let out a hiss of pain and clutched his fist tightly in his other hand. He looked up at her with a pained smile, shaking his head from side to side.
"Still a hard hitter I see."
Alice glanced over at Claire and gave the woman a sly leer, "Oh for sure."
Carlos chuckled uncomfortably, drawing the attention back to him because he wasn't liking the way Alice was staring at the convoy leader. L.J. just rolled his eyes and gave Alice a shove to the shoulder. When Alice glanced over at him he pointed a stern finger at her.
"Don't be talkin' shit 'bout my babies Alice! I lost one awhile back, saddest damn thing. And your still white as fuck! Brotha from anotha motha, bitch your crazy." The friends shared a laugh that brought a fond smile to Claire's lips though she was quick to wipe it away, hoping no one noticed. Of course one person did. A blond teenager grinning from ear to ear noticed.
"So Olivera," Claire socked the Latino man in his arm dragging a girlish whine from him, "Gonna give me the stuff or what?"
The man nodded his accent, reaching into his pocket to withdraw a pack of cigarettes and shook out three or four that he handed over to the eager convoy leader. Claire didn't even waste a second before pressing the filter between her lips and raising the tip of a flame from her lighter to light the end of the cigarette. Her eyes fluttered shut as she pulled in a large drag of the cig, savoring in the taste of nicotine and the burn in her lungs. She couldn't help the low moan of pleasure that slipped passed her lips when she blew the smoke into the chilled night air.
"Enjoying that are you?" Claire opened her eyes to look directly into Alice's amused ones, noticing how the hue of blue had darkened considerably.
Claire offered one of the three remaining sticks in her hand to Alice, "Want one?" If Claire bothered to notice the shocked looks on everyone's faces except Alice that Claire Redfield was offering one of her cigarettes to someone, she didn't show it. She just smiled sweetly before taking another deep drag and shaking the proffered cig in Alice's face. The blonde woman took the cigarette by the filter and brought it to her lips and leaned into Claire's space so their cigarettes touched and Alice's caught flame. When it did Alice leaned back and took a pull from the stick, letting out a tuff of smoke. Claire couldn't help but feel a bit envious of the cigarette for being caressed between Alice's lips with such reverence.
"Thank you." Claire couldn't suppress a shiver from the way Alice husked the words out. As it were she couldn't really come up with a response other than a short nod.
Alice glanced at the boxes resting on the tailgate of the army vehicle and Claire watched as she walked over to them to rummage through the boxes with the cigarette hanging between her lips. A pleased hum of satisfaction radiated from her chest when she came up with a air sealed bag of jerky and two bottles of water. She leaned over to tap Carlos on the arm with one bottle, not that she needed to garner his attention in the first place, he had been staring.
"Is it dire that you have this stuff or can I take it?"
Carlos shook his head profusely, "No, no go ahead Alice. Figured you'd be hungry anyway."
The woman smirked and tapped his chin with the cap of the water bottle in an almost patronizing manner, "It's not for me Old Man. You," She rounded on Claire and poked the woman in the stomach lightly with her water bottle, "C'mon. We're gonna go for a walk."
Claire brows lowered in confusion, her eyes dropping to the food in Alice's hand, "A walk?"
Alice shrugged, "Slash picnic."
"Yup!" Alice bumped Claire's shoulder sending sparks shooting up the woman's limb, "C'mon. Dinners on me this time." With that Alice strutted-because Claire had noticed the woman didn't walk, she strutted-away leaving Claire to stare at that ass as she went.
"Lucky," Clare glanced over at a pouting Carlos who was also staring at Alice's supple posterior firmly supported in her tight shorts, "I'd give an arm and a leg to have Alice look at me like that. Your so getting laid tonight you bitch."
Claire's monster was again purring, loudly, with a smug pride upon hearing Carlos's whining. So with a grin, Claire following after Alice's long strides.
Their walk ended up not being to awfully long of one, just long enough for Alice to let Claire catch up beside her so that they could walk beside one other in silence. Occasionally Claire would glance up at Alice, trying to be secretive about her ogling, but knew she was caught each time she saw Alice smirk. Eventually Claire gave up trying to be sly all together and just stared ahead of her, refusing to give into her monster growling at her with unhappiness about not drinking Alice in every five seconds. The monster turned into a purring mesh of glee when Claire felt Alice's warm, calloused hand slip into her own. Warmth spread up her arm and she just couldn't fight off the huge, stupid grin splitting her face. Glancing up at Alice through her lashes Claire caught the blonde's shy look just before it vanished and she cleared her throat, trying to play tough. Claire found it absolutely endearing. Still grinning like a buffoon the convoy leader leaned her head on Alice's strong shoulder while they walked.
Alice stopped the journey when they reached Claire's H2 and let go of the convoy leader's hand, much to her ever growing displeasure. Claire watched as Alice stood on her toes to set the water and the jerky atop of the Hummer's roof before turning Claire and holding a hand out which Claire eagerly took. Once Claire' hand folded around Alice's the blonde looped an arm around Claire's waist and hoisted her in the air to sit her on the edge of the Hummer's roof beside their meager dinner. The leader took Alice's incentive and moved to the middle of the roof so Alice would have room to climb atop which Alice did in one graceful move.
"I should be mad at you." Claire spoke so lowly it was nearly a whisper but Alice heard, pausing in stripping off her duster.
"Whatever for Miss Redfield?" Claire smiled upon hearing the way Alice said her name and scooted closer to the blonde, laying a hand on the woman's toned thigh. Alice purred at feeling Claire's touch, her eyes falling shut in bliss.
"For making me feel all weird. I'll have you know I'm not normally so," Claire gripped Alice's thigh, smirking when Alice's purr sounded slightly like a moan, "affectionate with strangers. You're just….you're so beautiful. And I don't know what it is but I feel this irresistible pull towards you. I dunno, I sound dumb huh?"
Alice's eyes fluttered open and stared deeply into Claire's, stealing the oxygen straight from the redhead's lungs, "No. I feel the same way. I want to be around you. I want you to want to be around me. I want to touch you and I want very badly to just be there with you for…forever. Look! You turned me of all people into a sap. A gooey, romantic sap. No one has done that before. You make me crazy. And stupid. And breathless."
Claire stared up into Alice's eyes, smiling with a fondness that was nigh on doting, "You saved my life."
Alice shrugged, dropping her eyes to Claire's hand that still rested on her thigh and began tracing light nonsense patterns on the back of the woman's pale hand, "I guess."
Claire shook her head at the woman and reached up to very gently touch Alice's smooth cheek with her fingertips, drawing the woman's attention back to her face, "Not 'I guess', you saved my life. And K-Mart's. There is nothing I could ever do that could express my gratitude. That girl is like…my surrogate daughter. I love her to death. And we would have died if you hadn't showed up. If there is ever anything I can do, let me know. Please."
Alice's eyes filled with mirth, an impish look flashing across her face, "There is one thing."
Claire perked up, already eager to fulfill Alice's any wish, "What is it?"
Hot breath splashed across Claire's lips when Alice leaned closer, sending shivers down her back, "You could…give me permission to kiss you?"
Claire's eyes dropped to Alice's lips, a little whimper escaping Claire when she watched Alice's pink tongue drag across her plump bottom lip. The convoy leader could only nod her consent, all the oxygen within her burning in her lungs as she continued to hold her breath. Alice hummed happily before closing the gap between them.
Sparks. Fireworks. Perfect bliss. Whatever cliché bullshit Claire could come up with couldn't even compare to what it felt like to kiss Alice. Simple as it was gentle, the kiss stole Claire's heart and set her ablaze with a hungry fire that burned just for Alice. The longer they kissed, the more intense it became and Claire knew it wasn't just her feeling it when she felt Alice's hands on her hips pull her to straddle the blonde's lap. Claire moaned lowly against Alice's lips upon feeling more of Alice's delicious body press into her own and wove her fingers through the hair on the nape of Alice's neck. Alice's hands moved from Claire's hips to slide up the small of her back until Alice's arms encircled Claire's waist and hugged the redhead flush against her body. They broke the kiss, neither sure whom, but didn't pull apart just rested their heads together. Both panting but smiling huge, happy smiles.
"Thank you." Alice whispered, the she had fingers resting against Claire's ribcage tracing light circles.
Claire shook her head and pecked Alice's lips a few times, "No, thank you. Would you mind terribly staying with the convoy and sleeping with me tonight in the Hummer?"
Alice chuckled wryly, "Damn I'm good. One kiss and you already want to jump my bones. I should save hot woman from death more often if this is what happens."
Claire growled, taking Alice's bottom lip between her teeth and giving it a gentle bite, "The only woman you better be talking about is me because I'm so not in the mood to be breaking other girls necks right now."
Alice rose a single brow, her perfect bow mouth drawing into a lazy smile that made Claire's heart race, "You're feisty aren't you? I like it." Claire matched Alice's smile and gave the woman a long, hard kiss that left the superhuman dazed.
"Mmm how about," Alice ran her hands up and down Claire's back, casting a glance at the water and the jerky sitting forgotten beside Claire's knee, "you eat that and then we'll talk about sleeping arrangements?"
Claire pouted, tugging lightly on the blonde hair she held in her clenched fists, "But why would I do that when I could spend my time kissing you?"
Alice pecked Claire's lips before reaching for the jerky and tearing the pack open, taking a piece of the dried meat and holding it against Claire's lips until the woman opened her mouth and took a bite, "Eat first, then we can kiss some more. Sound fair?"
Claire chewed thoughtfully and nodded, swallowing and opening her mouth to signal Alice to feed her more, "Sounds fair."
"Good." Alice placed a light kiss on the corner of Clare's mouth and let Claire take the rest of the jerky into her mouth, shivering a bit when Claire purposefully drug her tongue across the tips of Alice's fingers.
Well that about does it. The longest damn fic I've ever wrote so, c'mon people, show me some love. Take the five minutes to send me a review or to complain and I'll love you forever. Gimme props guys, 16,343 words here all for you.
Awesome One, over and out.