A/N: I know………..I suck. (Some of you already told me that~__^) I deserve to have stones thrown at me. *sigh* For what it's worth, I WAS going through a tough time in my life, and it has been HECTIC. Anyways here's the next chapter, and I made it longer than usual to make up a little for lost time. Hope you're all still around, and hope I haven't lost my touch since I haven't written in yonks.

*looks at reviews* WOW!! I just have to say I really love my reviewers, you guys ROCK! Almost 300 reviews! *cries from sheer happiness*

DISCLAIMER: You know how it is…………nothin belongs to me. (Dammit!)

LOOK FORWARD TO: My LEON/CLAIRE Shrine/fansite! Coming soon to a server near u! Or……………your server, anyways whichever! ^___^  I'm 70% done! So there, I hope that causes you to forgive my lateness on the fics, since I have been working on other things dedicated to the cause of L/C growing popularity and recognition. I'll try putting it up soon, and will announce it in one of my 'updates' so make sure to look for it! It'll be added on my profile once it's done.

CHAPTER 15- TIME HEALS WOUNDS……………OR DOES IT?

Leon's mind was now racing with questions. What was Claire doing at the mall with Jill? He thought Jill and Chris would be spending this day together. Claire's eyes had looked slightly red. Had she been crying? And if she had, what would the reason be? 'Could it be me? Maybe Claire does……………No. She doesn't. She can't. Man I gotta stop thinking this way. I've just opened myself up to Ada and we've only been together for 2 hours. I can't just ruin things now because of mere suspicions.'

Leon let out the breath he had been holding for longer than necessary slowly, watching the road ahead of him intensely.

"Oh Leon, what is it now?" Asked Ada, sounding slightly irritated. Leon did not answer. "Let me guess- Claire yet again." She continued crossing both arms in front of her.

"No. It's nothing," he lied.

"Yeah I can see that," said Ada rolling her eyes. "Listen. Claire just needs to GET OVER IT. She doesn't own you Leon, honestly!"

Leon turned to glare at Ada for a second. "Look, Claire and I have been best buds for ages. If I'm ever upset because she is, even if I don't know the reasons, it's totally normal."

"Well she needs to understand that you're with me now. No need to go around acting all jealous and immature," she replied sharply.

"That's ridiculous! She isn't jealous, why would she be? We're only *friends* anyway," he said bitterly.

Ada laughed haughtily and looked at Leon as if he were nothing but an inexperienced little boy. "Oh Leon, you really are cute. Didn't it ever occur to you that Claire wouldn't want you paying much attention to anyone but her? You said it yourself, you're best friends. She doesn't have to like you romantically to be jealous you know. Maybe she feels that she's not the priority anymore and that bothers her."

Leon was starting to get slightly annoyed now. "Whatever. Claire isn't like that."

"That's what you think," she answered simply.

Leon stopped the car in the driveway abruptly, taking his keys out the engine, and getting out the car quickly followed by Ada. "I'm sorry, but I think I'm more familiar with Claire's personality than you Ada," he said looking extremely annoyed now.

Ada looked slightly taken aback with his sudden outburst and quickly softened her expression. She quickly walked up to him putting both arms around his neck and he looked away. "Aww I'm sorry sweety. Let's stop talking about this now, it's already making us fight pointlessly," she said playing with the hairs on the nape of his neck.

Leon nodded reluctantly and allowed Ada to access his lips with a soft kiss. It didn't last more than 2 seconds however, because there was a loud cry behind them. They spun around quickly to see Sherry on the ground near the front steps of the front lawn.

"Oh I'm sorry. I just fell," she said, stating the obvious. Her face however, held no signs of guilt for disturbing Leon and Ada's moment.

Ada rolled her eyes and grabbed Leon's hand. "Let's go for a quiet walk," she said tugging at him to follow, but Sherry was too quick for her and didn't allow Leon to have a chance at opening his mouth to answer.

"Leon I think I sprained my ankle. Can you please carry me inside?" She said looking lost, innocent and in 'pain'.

Leon, who now looked slightly confused, nodded in defeat and jogged up to Sherry. He picked her up with ease then turned to Ada. "I'll be back," he said before turning to go inside. Sherry looked over at Ada and gave her a wave from behind Leon's back, smiling a sugary sweet smile, which only caused Ada's frown to deepen.

As soon as Leon entered the house, Sherry jumped from his arms and landed on both feet in ease. "Sherry, what happened to that 'sprained' ankle?' he asked frowning.

"I faked it. Duh!" She said, walking over to the couch, crossing her arms in front of her and giving him a questioning look which reminded him irresistibly of Claire. "Well are you gonna tell me what that freak show a second ago was about?"

 Leon looked taken aback. "Excuse me?"

Sherry let out and exasperated sigh. "You and Ada! Kissing on the front lawn as if you were some kinda………………Leon please tell me you're not going out with *her*!"

"Yes, yes I am going out with *her*. Is that a problem?" He asked looking surprised at Sherry's previous outburst. 'Is it just me or is everyone angry at me for being with Ada?'

"Of course it's a problem! I thought you liked Claire, and now you're with Ada. I don't even LIKE Ada. Heck no one likes Ada! You can't go out with her!" said Sherry sounding desperate.

"Sherry!" shouted Leon reproachfully. "You're being very immature and selfish about this. None of you would even give Ada a chance since she stepped into this house and that hasn't been very fair has it? I don't see why I need anyone's approval to go out with Ada. I like her ok!"

"No you don't, you like Claire!"

"I like Ada."

"Claire!"

"Ada!"

"You're in denial Leon."

"Am not."

"You are too! Look me in the face and tell me you don't like Claire," said Sherry raising both brows in challenge.

Leon looked her in the face. "I- Sherry this is stupid!"

"Ah ha! Knew you couldn't do it. Stop trying to hide your feelings Leon, it ain't good for you or anyone else."

Leon looked defeated and sat on the couch. "It's not like Claire likes me Sherry. I'm not gonna risk our friendship because of silly feelings."

"Silly feelings? How could you say that! You two have been through hell and back together, it's just meant to be," she said sitting next to Leon. "Besides I'm pretty sure Claire likes you too."

Leon instantly turned to Sherry looking hopeful. "How do you know? Did she tell you?"

"Er-well no she didn't," said Sherry and Leon went back to looking glum. "But it's quite obvious. The way she looks at you and the way she smiles at you. She doesn't look at anyone else like that."

"Well……………that's pure speculation isn't it Sherry. It's too late anyway, I'm with Ada now, and- I like Ada, she's attractive and smart, and returns my feelings quite obviously," he said, more to give himself excuses rather than make Sherry understand.

"I can't help but feel that you're making a HUGE mistake Leon," said Sherry frowning slightly. "But if that's your final decision, then there isn't anything more I can do. Just do me a favour and be true to yourself for your sake."

Leon chuckled, "Thanks Sherry, I'll try doing that." He stood up and walked over to the door, then turned to face Sherry one more time. "Oh, by the way have you talked to Claire at all today?"

"Yeah, she called a little while ago telling me that she'll be spending the next week at Jill's. They're having some girly sleepover party thing I guess," she said shrugging, as Leon, looking slightly disappointed nodded his head and turned to leave. "Oh, and Leon?"

"Hmm?"

"Please don't get all mushy with Ada when I'm around. I don't wanna experience seeing you two kiss twice. Once is more than enough for my poor tortured young soul!" she said melodramatically.

Leon laughed. "Alright then. See ya Sherry," he said as he closed the door behind him.

Sherry stood there in silence for a moment then kicked the couch in annoyance. She couldn't believe that Leon had chosen Ada. It was all so wrong, as though someone had just messed around with fate.

3 DAYS LATER- JILL AND REBECCA'S HOME:

"Claire?" called Jill knocking hard on the door. The loud angry music that was blaring out of the stereo inside was probably the reason that Jill had been standing there for the last 5 minutes, knocking on the door and not getting any responses.

"CLAIRE JUST OPEN THE GOD DAMN DOOR!"

Claire opened the door a slit and looked at Jill lazily, a teaspoon still stuck in her mouth. "Ya do't ha to shou' ya know!"

"I've been knocking on that door for the last 10 minutes Claire!" said Jill crossly trying to get past Claire and into the room, which was difficult with Claire blocking her way each time. Jill let out a sigh of frustration, "is it ok for me to go inside the guest room of my own house?"

Claire thought for a moment then shook her head.

"Claire!"

She took out the spoon from her mouth and grinned guiltily. "I'm kidding, chill!" Jill's annoyance at her friend vanished and she walked into the guestroom which had been Claire's new home for the last 3 days, gasping in surprise at what she saw.

"Aoww, Claire," she moaned as she kicked the dirty laundry from under her feet.

"I know, I know. The room's a mess," she stated, as she walked back over to her bed and huge bowl of chocolate chip and chocolate ice cream, the lyrics 'I HATE YOU SO MUCH RIGHT NOW! AAAAAAGHH!!' blaring from the stereo next to her bed.

Jill cringed and put the volume down. "You know most girls I know would be listening to something a little softer like 'unbreak my heart' by Toni Braxton or somethin."

Claire made a face, "hell no!"

Jill sat at the edge of Claire's bed and looked her in the face. "Claire, you can't do this anymore. It's been three days already, and you've rarely left this bedroom," she sniffed the air, "please tell me you've been showering!"

Claire sniffed an underarm then shrugged. "It's only been 3 days. Compared to our last encounter with Umbrella that's nothing."

"Don't remind me," said Jill shuddering. They had to go on 2 weeks without showering during their last fight with Umbrella, and by the end of it most of them had been covered in sweat, vomit, sewage water, their own blood, and the blood of the oh-so many creatures they'd much rather forget.

"Yeah well, I'd say I smell like perfume compared to those days!" said Claire chuckling and taking another bite of her ice cream.

Jill rolled her eyes and smiled. "Claire I'm here to talk alright. You haven't talked much since that day, you've been avoiding everyone, including me, and you've hardly eaten anything healthy! Everyone's worried about you. I've had to tell them that you had a high fever and were highly contagious to keep them away. I gotta say this didn't really stop Leon from trying, but I told him you'd rather not have anyone see you in that state. He's worried sick you know."

"Good. I hope he suffers," mumbled Claire.

"Claire, I never wanted to say this to you earlier, knowing how terrible your situation was but I think you need to hear it. This is NOT Leon's fault. You can't hate him for what he did and you can't stop your life like this either. It's just not you! It's not the strong, stubborn girl I met a few years back in Paris that acted like she was the female version of Arnold Swartzenegger. You're stronger than this."

"What would you know," snapped Claire. "You've never had the guy you like-no-LOVE, go kiss your arch enemy right in your face."

"Oh come on, Ada isn't your arch enemy. After all we've been through I'd thought it was clear who the real enemies of the world are."

"Yeah, but I *hate* Ada."

"No you don't."

"Ok, I greatly dislike her."

"Well that's a little better I guess."

"Is this supposed to make me feel better?"

"No it's supposed to make you realize something. That Leon couldn't have done anything wrong because you've never even told him you liked him! He wasn't your husband or boyfriend, so it's not like he was cheating on you. Leon did nothing to deserve you ignoring him for 3 whole days. The poor guy is lost, and actually thinks you've got a fever. He's been dying to talk to you, and I've had to give him every flimsy excuse I can come up with."

Claire signed throwing her spoon to her bedside table. "I dunno if I can face him just yet."

"Oh please, you've faced so much worse, so don't give me that crap about not being able to face an incredibly cute Leon Kennedy."

Claire groaned throwing her head onto Jill's lap. "See that's just it! He's so cute, and has these amazingly amazing blue eyes and I know I'll probably end up giving in to his charms, which is REALLY annoying, and I don't wanna be not angry with him. I've got every right to be! And I know that it really wasn't his fault………………it was that bitch Ada!! And I know I'm being slightly unfair to him, but I can't help the way I feel. And even though I wish I could just forget all this shit, and get away with it all, I know I'll have to face him sooner or later and-" Claire took a huge intake of breath before she continued, "I can't just stop my life because of this. I mean I've moved on before I can do it again! Isn't that right Jill?"

 Jill smiled, "that's right,"

"Yeah, so really, why the hell am I sitting here sulking and moping about? We've got a wedding and bachelorette party to prepare for! And even if I can't be happy I should at least try for Rebecca's sake, right? I mean I want her wedding day to be perfect, so I can't ruin things for her now can I."

"Exactly hun, that's what I've been trying to tell you," said Jill, playfully tugging at Claire's pony tail. "So get that fat ass of yours out of this bed this instant and march it to the bathroom! You don't wanna come out with us tonight smelling as you do now do ya?"

Claire looked set on keeping up her positive attitude till at least, after Rebecca and Carlos's wedding. 'Heck it ain't helping anyone if I'm acting all whiny and ill the whole time,' she thought as she did exactly as Jill told her and marched her 'fat ass' to the bathroom.

HURRICANE ALLEY – NIGHTCLUB:

"Chris, will you stop calling Sherry? She'll be fine!" Said Rebecca, who was now holding Carlos's hand leading him slowly to the dance floor.

"Yeah man, go and join your girl over at the dance floor," added Carlos with a wink as he allowed himself to be dragged by his fiancé. The entire gang now knew of Chris and Jill's new found 'love' and teased them subtly about it, since getting more obvious with the teasing might result with a good bashing from Chris.

"Yeah, yeah," said Chris smiling slightly, then turned back to being worried. "This isn't right. It's already past midnight and Sherry's cell phone is still switched off! How long is that movie anyway?" he asked turning to Leon, who was sitting next to him at the bar.

Leon shrugged. "Dunno, but I'm pretty sure she'll be fine. Her friends' mom is picking them up afterwards anyway, and she'll be sleeping over there tonight, so no point in worrying about her not answering her phone."

"Yeah I guess," Said Chris absentmindedly, "hey look, here comes Claire. You guys keep her company, I'm gonna go over and dance with Jill."

Leon's head turned so fast that it could've fallen off. Claire had walked in through the front doors wearing a blood red, open tie back crop top, and black hip hugger pants. Her face didn't hold much makeup, since her eyes were the only things made up along with the cherry lip gloss on her lips. Her auburn hair fell freely around her shoulders and reached her mid back, and the soft glow of velvet light reflecting from her face made her look absolutely stunning. Leon had once again forgotten to breath.

"Oh, so Claire has finally decided to show up," said Ada coming over from the dance floor to sit beside Leon, wearing her sexy Chinese dress, with a split that practically reached her waist. She crossed her legs, taking out a cigarette and lighting it, just as Claire, who had looked slightly lost, spotted them and walked over cautiously.

Leon frowned, "I didn't know you smoked."

Ada raised a brow at him and blew out her first gush of smoke slowly. "There's a lot you don't know about me Leon," she said winking. He looked at her slightly uncomfortable. "Relax- I've been trying to quit for 3 months now, but I couldn't find my nicotine patch anywhere, so it's only one harmless smoke."

"Hey it's cool, I have no problem with it," he lied. Truth of the matter was that the simple smell of cigarette smoke was enough to make him choke and his eyes water. 

Claire finally reached their table and gave them both a small smile. "Hi," she said desperately trying to avoid Leon's gaze.

"Hello," said Ada flashing her famous superior smile.

"Hey," answered Leon, his voice breaking slightly. He cleared his throat then took a sip from his water. "So," he continued, "you- feeling better?"

Claire nodded, "yeah much better, thanks."

Ada rolled her eyes. "Well Leon, I'm going back to the dance floor. Wanna join me?"

"Uh, sure go ahead. I'll be there later," he said, smiling back at Ada as she left.

This left Claire and Leon at a very awkward position as they had not spoken in 3 days and their last encounter had been less than friendly.

"So," they both said at the same time.

"Go ahead," said Leon quickly before Claire had a chance to open her mouth.

"Well, I was gonna say, uh……………So you're with Ada now." Stated Claire, trying to keep her face as straight as possible. The issue was still to painful for her.

"Yeah." Said Leon slowly.

"That's cool," she answered as though it was nothing, and it had never bugged her.

"I thought you weren't too happy about that," he said carefully.

"Why wouldn't I be? I mean sure I don't like her much, but I guess if you like her this much then I can learn to stomach her," she lied.

"Oh, right. Well thanks then," he said, clearing his throat again, and silence fell upon them once more. Leon looked over at Claire who had her head turned away from him as she watched the people dancing with a wistful expression. 'God, she's so beautiful' he thought as he pictured himself pinning her to a wall as he passionately kissed every-

"Anyways, how've you been?" she suddenly asked turning back to him.

Leon was startled to be awakened from his 2 second fantasy so soon. "Me? Well I- I've been great, I guess," he answered quickly blushing, as Claire gave a soft 'oh' and nodded her head. "I mean, well- I've missed you a lot you know, in those last 3 days. But enough about me how've you been?"

"Yeah, I've been great too," said Claire playing with the glass in her hand. "That is when my fever wasn't high or anything," she quickly added, feeling pretty silly about lying.

"That's good."

"Yeah."

They both sat in silence, with the loud dance music thundering around them, and feeling somewhat foolish at the formal conversation they were having. It was almost as boring as talking about the weather. Finally Leon gave a soft chuckle breaking the formidable silence.

"What?" asked Claire.

"This is just so stupid," he said grinning at her. "We're talking as though we've never met before or something."

She smiled slightly, "I guess you're right. So what do you suggest we do to fix that?"

"Dance," he said getting up and holding his hand out to her.

"Dance? But I thought you hated dancing," she said, giving him her hand anyway.

"Yeah I do, but I thought since this is a club and all, I might as well go ahead and dance. And who better to dance with than my best friend Claire?"

"Ada," she suggested, hitting a nerve both in herself and Leon.

"Well we already danced," he said quickly. "So I'm sure she won't mind."

Leon led her to the dance floor where they were greeted by Rebecca and Carlos, who were doing some sort of funky moves no one had ever seen before. This made Claire laugh and she felt in a slightly better mood. Leon twirled her around till she was in front of him, but just they had started on their dance moves, the song had finished, and a new one was playing. This time a slow song called 'kissing you'. Apparently Claire had missed the sign at the front doors which said, 'couples night'.

'Dammit!' thought Claire as she stood helplessly in front of Leon.

Pride can stand a thousand trials
The strong will never fall
 

He looked slightly nervous and gave her a goofy grin and a shrug. Jill and Chris who were dancing near by came closer to them and Jill accidentally on purpose bumped Leon so that he was pushed forward onto Claire.

"Oops! Sorry Leon, coming through!" she said, winking over at Claire. Claire scowled Jill's way. She couldn't believe her friend would do that, even though Jill had endlessly told Claire that she still believed Leon liked her and not Ada no matter what.

But watching stars without you 
my soul cried

Leon slowly put his arms around Claire's waist, and she felt herself stiffen. 'Just relax. It's only Leon…………………dammit that is the problem,' she thought as she cautiously put her own arms around his neck, making sure that their bodies weren't too close, since enough heat was radiating between them.

Heaving heart is full of pain

Oh oh the aching

"You're gonna have to forgive me if I step on your feet," joked Leon as a way of trying to get rid of the butterflies that were now fluttering crazily in his stomach.

"Like-wise," she said.

'Cuz I I'm kissing you, ooh
I, I'm kissing you ohh
 

'Damn this song,' thought Leon, as he tried desperately not to let it get into his head, and follow the lyrics advice. Claire seemed equally as eager to not look at him.

Touch me deep  pure and true 
Gift to me forever

Claire felt herself being pulled towards Leon against her will. Whether it was her doing, or Leon's she wouldn't know.

'Cuz I I'm kissing you, ooh
I, I'm kissing you ohh

Leon's eyes were now closed as he moved in rhythm to Claire, surprisingly not having stepped on her feet once. He could now feel her breath on his neck………………..

Claire also closed her eyes, resting her head near Leon's chest and sighing in content. This is what it felt to be in Leon's arms. It was so safe, no one would ever harm her when he was this close………………

(Piano music plays)

Claire and Leon looked at each other simultaneously, their heads getting closer as though some invisible force was driving them.

Where are you now
Where are you now

Leon was feeling a thousand emotions at once. He knew it would be risky getting this close to Claire, yet he went ahead and decided to dance with her, leading him to the vulnerable position he was now in. He couldn't think straight anymore, and he didn't really care either. All he knew was that he wanted to kiss Claire. He wanted to kiss her so badly that it scared him……………………

'Cuz I oh I'm kissing you

Claire tilted her head to the side, making the way easier for Leon. With her past momentarily forgotten she could only think of one thing: Leon. His lips were so close to hers now that she felt her knee's get slightly weak. She had wanted this for such a long time………………….

I'm kissing you ohh

"There you are Leon!" Came Ada's voice from behind him, startling both him and Claire so much that they jumped in surprise and bumped to each others heads. "What are you two doing?" she asked.

"Dancing," they both replied at once, looking slightly guilty.

Ada looked at them both suspiciously but didn't ask any further questions. "Leon, they're gonna be playing love songs for the next half hour, so come dance with me. I love to slow dance," she said taking Leon's arm and smiling flirtatiously.

Leon looked back desperately at Claire and opened his mouth to say something but nothing came out. She stood there and watched him go, then with a heavy heart, turned to go back to their table, where she would probably sit alone for the remainder of the night.

A/N: *dodges allt he flying chairs being thrown at her* I know I know I'm EVIL, but I could not resist!! But as you can see the tension is rising greatly between those two and I seem to love using songs to make people miserable, lol. Anyways I hope I used that song alright. I'm not too familiar with song fics in particular.

So what will happen next? Will Leon and Claire be able to handle this deadly unresolved tension any longer? Stick around and find out, and don't forget to REVIEW!~__^ I especially need it now, since I haven't been around in ages and need to know if I'm still doin alright.

I can see many of you want some serious Claire smashing Ada action. But I must ask you all to be patient…………I have to add in some details that are important to the plot (if there is one, LOL) not much left for the fic to go anyway, and I hope the ending will satisfy everyone^___^ And I promise to update much more often. Well it'll definitely be way more often than waiting 6 months for the next update……………yikes, lol. I'll make it every 3 weeks at the most.

Oh and darth…sorry I never sent the chappie! Server broke down on my butt and I finally got it up and working again.