A/N: This is pretty self-explanatory. It's about a week after Code: Veronica, as Claire thinks over what happened with those creepy Ashfords on a train going to Paris. A sort of contemplative fic, I suppose. (And I don't really know if there are dragonflies in France. But pretend that there are for right now, okay? The same goes for the train to Paris. Do they even run trains to Paris? If the Resident Evil staff can make inconsistencies, so can I.) Oh, and this contains major spoilers, so if you haven't played CV all the way through, I suggest that you don't read this, so you don't have some of the better plot twists ruined.
Many thanks to Darth_Bond, who kindly edited my story. You have my eternal thanks for putting up with my ramblings.
Claire stood silently, leaning on the rail at the back of the train car. The thick trees, with a light dusting of snow, whirled by in a blur of green and white. The fresh smell of pine wafted gently through the air.
Suddenly, something zipped through the air in front of her in a blinding flash of electric blue and vivid green. A dragonfly. There had been a time not too long ago when she thought she'd retch if she saw another dragonfly, or even an ant, for that matter. They reminded her too much of Alexia and her brother Alfred, and Antarctica, and, most of all…Steve.
Claire sighed, and shifted more of her weight onto the rail. The wind whipped her hair loose, and several strands flew about her face, slapping against her cheeks and forehead.
She thought about that prick Wesker, too…something about the way he'd touched her made Claire want to shudder. She had the nasty feeling that if he hadn't been pressed for time, he'd have done more than simply kill her quickly.
Claire raised her head to stare out at the tracks as they disappeared out of sight. The dragonfly…Alexia and Alfred enjoyed feeding dragonflies to their pet ants. Was that all she had been? A dragonfly? A meal, for the queen ant to feed on? The image of the Ashford twins, hovering over a pot of ants, flashed into her mind. Alfred pulled the wings off, and dropped the writhing body into the pot. The ants swarmed onto it, eating it alive, as the tow-headed siblings looked up and smiled at each other…
Steve was that dragonfly, and he'd been eaten alive – eaten by the T-Veronica Virus that, in his dying moments, drained from his veins. Steve lost his wings as Alexia laughed in her cruel, mocking way, and Alfred smiled at his sister's pleasure. But the Redfield siblings flew away, flitting through the wintry air to freedom, and a life away from Umbrella's horrors…survivor's guilt, they called it. Claire didn't really have a reason, other than she was living and Steve was not. That he'd died so she could live.
Maybe Steve had found his peace – with himself, his father, and hell, maybe even his mother. Remembering Wesker's taunting after Alexia's final form had been destroyed, Claire clenched her fist involuntarily. Performing experiments on poor Steve Burnside, no doubt…! Claire realized it it wasn't Steve's death that hurt her so much, but rather the way he died. She'd seen Chief Irons die, and that man in the albinoid room back at Rockfort, among many others. But Steve was different. Steve had died for her, and the realization that she'd laugh again, cry again, sleep, walk, smile, read, think again, and he wouldn't because of her made her heart throb painfully.
Her brother was worried about her, Claire could tell. As she stood there, Chris was probably right inside the car, glancing out the small window every so often to make sure she was okay. He meant well, and it was hard to be angry with him. Added to the fact that Claire herself just wasn't feeling up to fighting.
Claire straightened her back. The scenery was starting to change already, more and more buildings popping up around the tracks. They'd be at the station soon, and Claire would finally get to meet the elusive Jill Valentine. Chris seemed smitten with her.
Rolling her shoulders, she thought for a moment about the irony of the entire Antarctican fiasco. Two sets of siblings, and only one had survived. The Ashford legacy was gone, wiped clear from the earth. The bloodline had ended with the untimely demise of Alexander's twisted experiments in Antarctica.
Claire frowned as she thought over another odd occurrence – she'd taken a dragonfly key apart in the Rockfort residency, the way the twins did. And Chris put a dragonfly together, symbolizing…a full circle?
A faint smile graced her lips. Her English teachers of the past would be proud. But it was over, Claire decided as she stepped inside, nodding at Chris's apprehensive look. It was over with those hellish twins, and over with Steve and…well, maybe not with Wesker, but for now he was nothing but a fading memory.