Title: No Time For Apologies
Rating: R (language, sexual overtones)
Fandom: Resident Evil: The Movie
Archiving: It’ll be at www.realmoftheshadow.com/harper.htm. Anyone else, please ask.
Disclaimers: I don’t own the characters. Screen Gems/Constantin Film/Davis Films have the rights to them. I’m just borrowing.
A/N: Maybe it was just me, but Alice seemed to be giving Rain some rather longing/involved looks during the movie. This is possibly a reason why. If you haven’t seen the movie, this won’t make a bit of sense. This fic is un-beta’d, so please forgive any mistakes. If you’d like to send feedback, I’d love to receive it. I’ll be at Xfjnky2@yahoo.com.
This is from Alice’s POV.
Looking at her lying there, perfectly formed crimson circle marring the smooth expanse of her forehead, I couldn’t help but remember. I’d been remembering little things all along, little snippets and big, overwhelming masses, but not everything had come to me at once, restoring itself neatly in place and filling in the large chunks marring the vast expanse of my past.
Rain had gotten lost in one of those craters somehow. I mean, I knew there was something there, knew that I was worried about her. But, we were teammates, or at least I assumed that we had been. And, what more closely knit camaraderie is there than the kind between members of a team, especially a team designed to confront potentially life-threatening situations, bound together by the intimacy that comes along with carrying another human life in the palm of your hand. Or, more realistically, with your hand curled around the butt of a gun.
Still though, there was something more. When I’d looked at her, deathly pale under the natural caramel brilliance of her skin, with violently dark trails of red running down the length of a neck that would be fragile and delicate under other circumstances, I’d felt lost, bereft. As if there was something I should be doing, as if my efforts at protection would never be enough. I felt like I’d failed her, and I could see from the caustic, carefully guarded hurt in her eyes that she felt like I’d failed her as well. So tough, with her no-nonsense determination and fiercely aggressive nature, but when I looked into dark brown eyes, I knew.
At the time, of course, I didn’t know what I knew. There was just the sense of something significant, the floating aftertaste of a missed opportunity. I wanted to help her, but I didn’t know how. I wanted to help myself, but I didn’t know why.
And then, when it seemed like everything was going to be okay, when those dark eyes had looked at me with a kind of relief and near clammy white skin had started to regain the bloom of health, I felt at ease. Things, whatever they were, were going to work out. Rain was alive and she was smiling at me, joking in her own rusty way, and for a moment, it was as if I only weighed a few pounds, as if I were light enough to float away at any moment.
Of course, all Hell chose that moment to break loose. As if things weren’t bad enough, what with Kaplan gone and a seemingly indestructible demon dog/man/thing/whatever trying to eat us alive, it all came crashing down. There she was, no life in her dead eyes, once fluidly athletic and graceful body now stiff and disjointed with a hint of rigor, with her beautiful and capable hands outstretched like claws. Gone, despite my best efforts, and before I could even comprehend, she was dead for the second and final time and I was fighting for my life. When it was over, I only had seconds to look at her, to remember. But, when I did, it all came back to me, far too late for it to be of any good. I didn’t even have time to apologize.
I saw her, standing in the doorway to her bedroom. Light was streaming in through the windows, blanketing me in strips. I could see myself, naked amongst rumpled sheets, careless and languid under her gaze. Looking at her, eyes tracing over her body, taking in her beauty.
Her long, dark hair was pulled back, like always, those few recalcitrant strands that forever seemed to evade capture brushing against her cheeks. Dark eyes were narrowed, focused with laser-like intensity on mine as her agile fingers swiftly undid the clasp on her utility belt. She’d let it fall to the floor with a thump, gun holster whipped off and laid on the bureau, and I laughed at her carelessness. She was usually so regulated, taking her clothes off with military precision, folding them neatly over the back of a chair. But then again, usually I saw her undress not as a lover but as a teammate, and here, in her small apartment, all rules were suspended.
The hint of a smile teased full lips as she pulled the tight black tee over her head, revealing the matching sports bra beneath, and as she continued to saunter lazily over to the bed, to where I lay waiting, her fingers teased down the flat expanse of her belly to snap open the button of her BDU’s. The rasp of her zipper seemed insanely loud, and I unconsciously licked my lips in anticipation of what I knew lay beneath. She was beautiful, in a primal, feral way, standing there with her intense, fathomless dark eyes looking up at me from under lowered lashes and the arrogant slash of dark brows, with her amused smile turned into a full-fledged smirk. Smirking, I suppose, because she knew of the hold she had on me.
Soon she was wearing nothing but standard Umbrella issued underwear. Short, black boxer briefs and skintight sports bra, and it took everything that I had not to lunge at her, to tackle her to the floor and wipe that smirk off of her face. She was teasing me, holding back just out of my reach, and I knew that my desire, my need for her, was written plainly across my features.
I remembered other things, long sweaty nights of limbs enfolded in patterns that would rival the most complex of jig-saw puzzles, of soft kisses and lazy touches and the hoarse cry of my name on her lips. Of the rasp of her palms against my skin…
I remembered the taste of her, and my tongue swiped out automatically as if to recapture the ghost-like tease of her essence, to hold it forever. To tuck it away.
Those memories I grabbed on to, not wanting to lose them in the morass of the other, less worthy events streaming through my consciousness. Useless memories, especially in comparison to the treasure I was holding.
With the good came the bad, though, and try though I might, I couldn’t push those images away. Days spent ignoring one another, protecting what we had from the prying eyes of those around us, knowing that it would rip apart at the seams were we found out. The aching desire to touch her, just the brush of our hands together as we passed in the hallway, and of the dull sheen of dark eyes that seemed to stare past me as if I weren’t even there.
She’d heal all of that away, though, with just one kiss. As focused as she was about everything else in life, it was only to be expected that when I garnered that intensity for myself, I wasn’t able to shield myself from it. She could send me crashing into a thousand pieces with a kiss, and the memory of her lips, blazing hot against mine, of the soft skin of her palms on my cheeks, holding me still, nearly sent me to my knees. Nearly brought me down even with her, with the shell of her body slumped over against the wall of the train, tainted by the ravages of the virus. I didn’t want to remember her like that, even if the image was forever burned into my memory.
Then, there was the hurt. All that time spent with Spence, the sheer emotional investment of the charade we’d perpetuated. Pretending to be married to someone, to be in love with someone… after a little while, you almost forget that you’re supposed to be pretending. When I didn’t see her, I let the memories fade, something I couldn’t ever envision doing now. But I had then, had let them fall away in face of the more comforting, the easier, option of being with Spence. He didn’t devour me whole, didn’t suck me completely into his being. She’d done that, had managed to somehow take everything that was mine and make it hers, and I hadn’t know how to stop her. It had terrified me, made me afraid that I would lose myself in her and never come back. But, when I was there, it felt so, so very good…
She came to see me, to see if the rumors were true. They were, of course. Spence and I were fucking by then, our pantomime of a marriage mocking reality. I’d seen it in her eyes when she finally realized it wasn’t an elaborate lie. The hurt, the distrust, the disbelief. Only now did I know that as much as she consumed me, I consumed her as well. When I was gone, there was nothing more for her than the goal, the mission, the objective. Nothing left but to blindly follow orders, to find a semblance of her old life in the comforting familiarity of routine. Everything else was inconsequential. She had to strive and strive and strive, because if she wasn’t going somewhere then it didn’t matter. So she fought, always the first one into the unexplored, fearless and, at times, reckless.
It was probably my fault that was dead. Taking chances had been her forte since we’d parted, and even if no one else understood, I did. Knowing what I did now, it made perfect sense.
I understood, too, why she looked at me the way she had back in the tunnel and as I crouched over her in the train, needle full of her salvation poised to plunge deep into a vein. Such hope under so many layers of pain and a thousand other unreadable emotions. Maybe when she was hurt and bleeding, I looked at her like I had before, like she was the most important thing at that moment, like nothing else mattered.
I remembered the way she just turned and walked out of the mansion. She’d asked me, straight out, if the rumors were true, and I’d been callous. Told her yes and turned away, probably more because I couldn’t bear to see her face, or more especially her eyes, and listened to the absolute silence that followed my words. There was nothing but the sound of my own breathing for so long that I thought she’d left, that she’d whispered away on mute feet, and so I turned, shoulders slumped a bit, unsure why I felt so empty, only to find her still standing there. She was as eerily motionless as a statue, eyes cold and hard, dead already. There were no recriminations, no tears, just the furious tic of the muscles of her jaw as she worked to keep back whatever it was she was holding inside and then the rapid steady thump of her boots as she left. She didn’t run, just walked away the same way she had a million times before, as if we’d just finished an everyday conversation.
Leaving her there in the train was perhaps one of the hardest things I’d ever had to do. My new self wanted to stay, wanted to gather her up in my arms and somehow make everything okay. The rational part of my brain told me that was impossible, that there was nothing I could do for her, but still, I needed something. Needed to apologize, to make things right, to bring her back to me.
Fate and circumstances didn’t leave me the time to grieve over my dead lover, but I think I’ve found a new way to make it up to her. I’ve got a whole city full of motherfuckers who owe her an apology, and I’m gonna have a hell of a good time getting them for her.
It’s the least I can do.
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