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The End Is Where We Begin

Chapter Text

Piers was floating. Above the frigid water. Above the facility that had taken everything from him. Above even his own broken self. Piers was made of light and warmth, a far cry from the cold and pain of life. He floated beyond the oceans, past lands, until he could no longer tell where he was. It didn’t matter. In the infinite nothingness, he felt safe. Light spread throughout his limbs, slowly encompassing him. Embracing him.

If he could think, the young sniper may have questioned his own inaction. His own certainty of the lights intentions. Perhaps he would have protested at the very idea of accepting peace when there was still work to be done. Piers could not. Piers no longer existed. The light had washed away all that he had once been. All that remained was an echo of a person, a whisper on the breeze, a painful memory.

To go forward ... you must go back.

Suddenly Piers returned to himself, amongst a seemingly never-ending barrage of images. Each vision twisted and merged into the next until only the faintest impression remained. A red haired woman smiling fondly at him. An angry soldier pleading with him. An older man looking on proudly. A beautiful woman cruelly taunting him. Monsters falling by his hand … on and on they continued.

The visions spoke to him. Pleading with him to remember something important. Something about the soldier. No, that was wrong. Why was that memory that tugged at him? Why did the memory of that man's pleas twist Piers up inside? Who had he been to Piers? 

The man was his... Piers'... Try as he might, nothing more would fall into place.

Without warning, a sharp pain exploded throughout his body, and Piers’ thought no more.

 

(????)

When he awoke, Piers could only distantlyrecall that he'd been dreaming of his Captain.

Opening his eyes, Piers was treated to a parade of colours swirling before his eyes. Eventually they settled into comprehend able chapes.  Trees and grass. Piers inhaled deeply, his mind slowly attempting to process the new information. Something was wrong. The warmth of the light called to him once more. He tried to close his eyes and return, but found the pain radiating throughout his body prevented him.

Attempting to lift himself up proved a fruitless task. His arms felt heavy and weak, and the tips of his fingers had begun to tingle, as though his blood had only now decided to return to them. Though his mind felt slow and muted, Piers knew he needed to get up. It wasn’t safe here. Despite this, he felt as though he were struggling to push past some invisible barrier clouding his mind.

Slowly Piers became more aware of his unexpected surroundings. The first thing he noticed was the earthy scent which surrounded him. It was a comforting smell, thankfully inoffensive. Carefully so as to not over-exert himself, he pushed himself up until he was sat upright. His limbs protested vehemently, responding shakily. A burning pain erupted across his entire right arm. Piers blinked attempting to take in the sights before him, from the swings swaying gently to a light breeze, to the monkey bars showing early signs of rust. He was lying in a park.

There’s still time…

Piers yelped and stumbled forcefully to his feet. A wave of dread enveloped him. His right arm pulsed with agonising pain. His skin breaking and tearing as something ripped it’s was out. Piers consumed with panic and only half conscious of his actions twisted suddenly in an attempt to get away from it. Weak legs protesting, one foot tripping over an uneven patch of dirt and Piers found himself crashing to the ground.

Piers’ head slammed forcefully against the ground, stealing away the air from his lungs. The pain that he had been ignoring in his panic quickly made itself known again. Wetness trickled across his face. It was warm.

Piers didn’t know how long he remained on the ground of the little park. Long enough for his blood to have congealed across his face. Eventually he was able to regain his senses enough to stand. 

Making his way out of the park, Piers found himself in what appeared to be a quiet residential area. Ambling forward as quickly as his fatigued legs would allow, Piers passed several homes and a small building which appeared to be a nursery. Continuing forward he was eventually able to discover a slightly rundown corner-shop.

Piers was tempted to ignore the little shop. He hadn’t any money. It could be a good source of information however. The shop keeper would likely know where he was, and if anything out of the ordinary had happened recently. Particularly since the park was so close by. Peering through the glass door to check it was open, Piers carefully pushed his way inside. The counter was empty.

Disappointed Piers turned to leave. His gaze landed on the newspaper rack located to his right, which had been obscured by the door. It wasn’t exactly what he’d wanted but Piers felt relieved all the same. The newspaper could tell him where he was. Grasping for the closest copy, with renewed energy, Piers began to skim the cover.

Though the stories held no interest to him, the same couldn’t be said for the newspaper itself. The Racoon City Times. The name sounded familiar. No, not just familiar. It sounded wrong. Piers couldn’t place why but the name evoked a startling feeling of dread within himself.

All of a sudden a memory returned to him. The red haired woman. Claire. She’d told him about Racoon City. About its destruction. Sluggishly Piers felt his eyes drop to the date line below. The Racoon Times, 11th June 1996.

Chapter Text

Dying can be a funny thing. One moment you're being torn apart by a virus rampaging throughout your body. The next, you're 17 years in the past.

Okay so it wasn't exactly funny, but Piers was confident that it was something's idea of a joke.

Well joke's on them, Piers thought smugly. Despite being thrown arse first into the past, he'd been doing pretty well. Yes, initially he'd been thrown for a loop. Time travel can do that to a person. Even to a highly trained BSAA agent.

Despite the magnitude of that particular shock, it was still his apparent good health that disturbed Piers the most. He'd been dead infected. Piers couldn't understand how anything could change that. He was still terrified that one days he'd look down at his right arm and see the infection protruding out.

 

First day 

Piers hadn't realised until he caught a glimpse of his own reflection glinting back at him from a car window, that he was still wearing his BSAA uniform. Whatever had occurred to restore his body hadn't had the same effect on his uniform. It was a dirty, torn, foul smelling wreck. Piers needed to get rid of it before someone saw him and started asking questions.

But in hindsight it had probably been for the best that the shopkeeper hadn't been present. That horrid uniform jacket had probably been Piers’ one saving grace in this whole mindfuck of a situation. After all without it Piers would never have found Little Red's.

Little Red's was a Dive. If one could get past the crooked peeling exterior and find themselves inside, they’d be treated to a dingy looking room with sticky wooden floorboards stained from years of spilt drinks, and rickety wooden chairs paired alongside equally rickety wooden tables. The service wasn't much better. The owner, and only remaining worker, was a sarcastic, cranky old bastard. With grey eyes set in a permanent suspicious squint, and a deep growl to his voice, most people in the area simply wrote him off as another miserable old crank. To Piers though, he was also the only friend Piers had in the whole of Racoon City.

Well, at least the 1996 version.

Having stumbled upon the old dive of a pub, Piers had attempted to quietly make his way around to the back in hopes of finding a dumpster. What had actually happened was Piers found himself banging into a slightly obscured trash can, knocking it and its contents of used bottles and cans to the ground with a resounding SMASH! Piers knew if he'd been back in the facility Piers knew he'd have been screwed. He should have been paying more attention but exhausted limbs rarely respond the way they should.

Clive Collins, as Piers would later learn, was the owner of Little Red's. It had been clear from the man’s expression, and walking cane clutched tightly in his large calloused hands, that he'd expected to find something a little more fearsome than a freshly de-coated Piers.

After placating the man, and confirming that he wasn't there to steal anything, Piers had found himself being invited inside. "Get in or get lost," was what Clive had growled in his ever pleasant way. Grunting back that he didn't have any money, Piers had thought that would be the end of it. It hadn't been.

What it had been was one of the most awkward meals of Piers’ life. The old man had spent the whole time observing him as he wolfed down his meal, a rather bland steak pie, only occasionally breaking the silence to ask various, and sometimes nonsensical, questions.

Piers could understand his queries regarding What had Piers been doing behind his pub? and Where did Piers live? Both of which Piers responded to with a shrug. Less understandable were the questions relating to his ability to cook and his current employment status. Mostly out of surprise at the direction of the questions, Piers had admitted to not currently having a job in town, and that while his cooking wouldn't win any awards it was passable/ bordering on enjoyable. At least that's what Chris had told him.

 

Present day (1996 edition)

Even 2 months down the line Piers still couldn't believe Clive had given him a job. Initially Piers had wanted to decline the offer. Why would he want to work in a bar? He was a sniper for crying out loud. Also why would Clive want to hire a complete stranger he'd met by the bins? Giving the idea some thought though had led Piers to the realisation that accepting was the only reasonable course of action.  He wouldn't get very far without some form of income, and if he really was in the past none of his savings were going to be available.

Clive had even offered him board, except the room he was given above the bar was tiny and smelt of stale beer and mothballs. Even worse, the only mattress available was yellowing and filled with broken springs. It didn't matter to Piers though, he'd slept on worse.

It was still hard for Piers to accept that he was really in Racoon City. In 1996. 2 years before its destruction. Only a year before his captain and the rest of S.T.A.R.S were sent to the Spencer Mansion.

Piers wasn't an optimist by nature. Seeing the worst of what humanity had to offer tended to do that to a person. One thing Piers' training had taught him was to never go into a situation blind. It was admittedly not a rule Piers had strictly adhered to. The gaps in his knowledge had seemed insignificant back in the present, but here they were a major liability. If these things weren't true, how much could someone like him actually do anyway? He wasn't Chris. It seemed even more ridiculous to Piers considering his recent track record. He'd died been whisked away to the past on his last mission hadn't he.

Still, these were his friends. Chris, Claire, Clive ... Okay, so just his Captain, his Captain's sister, and an old man using Piers for cheap labour. Being a highly-trained BSAA sniper didn't leave a lot of time for making friends. Piers also distantly recalled that the floppy, blonde haired guy (Leon, was it?) had been from Raccoon City too. Not to mention that Umbrella Corporation was the catalyst for the constant threat of bio-terrorism in Piers’ time. It wasn't like Piers could make things worse. Right?

With this in mind, Piers had been looking into Umbrella, starting with the known players.

Wesker. 'The glasses-wearing backstabber' had, according to his Captain, been the main driving force behind the Mansion Incident. Even more usefully, he was currently one of the easiest of Umbrellas stooges to locate and observe.                                                     Piers had gotten lucky. Captain Wesker was currently the talk of the town. Who wouldn't want to be part of his new elite task-force? It made Piers feel sick. 

S.T.A.R.S was being formed, and this time Piers was determined to join.