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Side Effects

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"They've come to kill you." Shrill and light, her voice a windchime that dragged like a rope that hung from his neck.

The snap of his gun loud in contrast to the silence. Excella Gionne walked carefully around the man, her steps displacing the layer of dust that's accumulated over the years from lack of use, clicking in time to her breaths. She seemed to want more out of this conversation than she was getting; a reaction, perhaps, maybe comfort, but no. This creature didn't give comfort, didn't understand simple things such as love or affection, and if he did, it was an unutilized factor of his character; and right now, he was cold. His face was stiff as if he hadn't noticed she had said anything at all, his shoulders dangerously straight and fingers carefully running over the barrel of his weapon; a useless thing, she always thought. Someone as dangerous as this man didn't need something as tame.

Pursuing her lips, she tried again, "Do I sense concern?"

He could never be baited. Nothing she ever seemed to try roused him, never illicted any sort of raw response she craved. He was stone where she was soil, unmoving where she was pliant; and even with this operation in its final forms, she didn't feel as if she was getting enough. She'd never voice her thoughts, second as they were, a little bit out of fear, but mostly out of obligation.

Obligation, she thought later, quiet and horrible. Cold and unyielding as her skin lay dying as the virus rushes its terrible course through her body, tearing and causing her skin to grow blubbery and weak. Unfeeling, a scream ripped through her throat, her lungs crushed under the weight, alive as her heart connected into dozens of corpses that flung herself into the mercy of those she ruined.

Yet that was the future and this was the now, and Albert seemed more than willing to face what she was certain could be his peril.

All creatures with the capacity to live, all have the capacity to die.

All things that hate, can love, even if what they love is only themselves.

Albert Wesker was waiting, she sensed. Waiting, uncaring, and patient. He doesn't think he can lose, and although she admires such determination, she's seen enough to know that nobody is invincible, though some small part of her, the little girl in her, wishes that perhaps this battle is one they can accomplish. She's already invested so much into this man, that a little hope may see them through.

Stupid. The creature inside her screams when the injection she took ran sour.

Albert gave her a look, the first acknowledgment he's gifted her for the longest while, and something in her chest skips. This is a scene, she knows, because they can hear gunshots not very far away, and she supposes that his needs for trivial theatrics is the only thing connecting him to humanity anymore. He has nothing to say to her as she makes her way down to what she supposes is the stage, a wide arena just perfect enough to get his point across. To prove some silly folly he's been silently mulling over for many years.

Excella wishes she had questioned him more, but his silence proved any of her ventures fruitless. She was never sure if she admired him or perhaps loved him, but at the end of it all, she supposed it didn't matter. She was a powerful businesswoman, that had foolishly hoped she would be a powerful creature too, but later ventures and somehow quietly knew it would never be. She was hopeful, not stupid, but played the game like the pawn she knew she was on his intricate game of chess. Silly, she realized, as she felt herself dying, that she thought herself the Queen instead of the Rook he saw her as. Useful to a point, but not vital.

The next few moments happened so fast.

The entryway had been kicked open; Excella would be lying had she said it hadn't startled her, despite expecting the brashness of the two thorns that had been stabbing her nerves relentlessly. The woman, Sheva she believes, had her gun directed towards her head. There was so much fury resting so openly in her face that Excella almost lost herself in it; seemed foolish to get caught up in something as simple as emotion, but her body cried for it.

Mockingly, she clapped her hands.

"Bravo." Excella just dripped in sarcasm, her smirk a nasty copy of a smile.

Then came the clunky companion of hers, big and towering with the face of a true jarhead. The army poster boy, the little recruit Albert had told her so much about. He moved in unison with Sheva, years of training in his composure, and that sense of comradery in the way he stood made her feel oddly sick.

"Damn it, where's Jill!?" Chris cried out like a broken record, so desperate, so caring; so human.

"Hmph, Jill?" Excella felt as if she were reading off a script; careful, mindful, watch your tongue. "Maybe I'll tell you, maybe I won't."

Her breath counted in parts of threes, ready, aim - fire. A flurry of theatrical motion sprung into the air; all timed perfectly, all in sync. Her companion effortless and the effect was instant, causing the desired confusion and cared for chaos, all orchestrated, all precise. The companion landed perfectly by Excella's side, posture ridged.

"Stop playing around!" Redfield cried out, gaining back his footing, "we want some answers!"

"You haven't changed." Here's the moment, Excella could feel the tension shift near instantaneously, the air growing thick enough to cut and spread like butter.

Excella watched some impossible mix of emotions dance behind that rugged face. There was resentment, shock, fear - though, she couldn't help but wonder if she imagined it, if it was the lights playing tricks on her or if she was so blindsided by the rush she felt at the sight, but she could have sworn that in those layers of surprise, there was age-old hurt buried in his eyes, the word betrayal was thick in her throat but no words would ever come out.

"Wesker!" It would have seemed almost comical if Chris didn't wear his emotions so openly on his sleeve; so easy to read. Excella could understand why Albert wanted to do something grandeur; maybe this was how he felt things, she wondered, vicariously through others. Maybe he found it addictive, maybe he drank up what he could see, maybe he missed being raw and primal and having no control of his person. Maybe she was overthinking. "You are alive!"

"This is Wesker?" Sheva seemed to grow increasingly weary the closer Albert stepped.

"We last met at the Spencer estate, wasn't it?" Wesker showed no weakness as he walked further from the stairs to the B.S.A.A members, seemingly unfazed. "Well, isn't this just one big family reunion."

The plot thickened; Jill was revealed, and through the distraction Excella made her escape. Albert will handle them, she thought, and there came back that hope again. Pesky, simple, human. Albert never struggled with such a thing; determination is a form of hope, she supposed, but death was a form of certainty. She was certain, as she was always certain, that she was going to die; the moment the virus stung her, that split moment after the prick of the needle, she knew she shouldn't have. Albert knew it wouldn't work, and that's when she realized she wasn't sure whether or not she was too human for him, or not human enough.

Rook disguised as a Queen; just as this creature was disguised as a person.

"Seven Minutes. Seven Minutes is all the time I have to play with you."

Albert Wesker is not human. Nothing about him pretended to be. He prowled and existed as a being of Other, like a cave with no discernable depth, and a living thing with no tangible origin. He was mytho's incarnate, young but ancient in his bearing where it was impossible to tell whether he stemmed from the past or something alternate. He was alive, but only technically.

Albert Wesker had been human.

A long time ago, he wasn't this. Poor decisions and a calculated fate took that from him. He was a former US Army officer, a biotech specialist, a renowned scientist --but he was also a killer, a creature, a double agent and a vile thing wearing skin. He left nothing but death in his wake, and today would be no different than tomorrow

Then...- then there was Chris.

Hard headed, loyal little Chris.

Wesker's little prodigy soldier. Honest, kind, asking all the right questions even at the worst of times. S.T.A.R.S Pointman, and team's goofball, back in the days where Albert would allow himself to laugh. Those late nights long ago, questioning whether or not he could lead his team to their deaths, followed by the countless hours where he would shut down such intrusive thoughts, because he understood why he was even doing it in the first place. All the people that had to be assigned, the careful comments, and the hours mulling over fakes documents in order to assure the best line prepared for Umbrellas worst and to watch as they inevitably failed. Destroying his team, his life, and his home back in Raccoon City.

To his little one bedroom apartment in the middle of the city, his office and desk back in the old police station that's both been turned to rubble by now. He can remember everything; to Jill's soft teasing, Barrys obnoxious jokes and every misfire Joseph made. He use to wish he cared that so many of them were dead. Enrico, Kenneth, Brad, Forest, Edward - he realized that caring was pointless. Caring was for those destined to die, as they let themselves be blinded by things that weighed them down. The stink of survival, of loving, of hope -- he dreaded the plague of feelings he was born into, of shutting it down frequently as to never get too out of hand.

To care was a weakness, and Albert would never be weak, again.

Redfield was, admittedly, the most difficult to turn against. Albert never knew what love looked like directed his way, but he knew the moment it turned into the look of retched betrayal, feeling caught off guard at the sight of it.

Not that he has as many difficulties with such a thing now.

Redfield's admirable determination turned into a bane, and soon a disaster.

"Don't you two ever tire of failing in your mission? - You've really become quite an inconvenience for me." His old partner, William Birkins, use to tell him that his accent came out thicker when he was feeling particularly dire.

Killing them should have been easy.

It wasn't.

Wesker couldn't get the edge on them, they were too aware, too ready, waiting on something but he was running out of the patience to deal with them. It wasn't until the needle in his neck that jerked him into a state of distorted reality; the first thing he felt was pure unadulterated fury fitting in his core like a well fitted coat. It hit him with a scream that tore through his body with a surprising intensity that he almost didn't recognize it; fear and confusion breathed into him as he dropped to his knee's, but the dull ache of certainty was a constant -- the flurry of events passed with such an effective ease and he was gone in moments towards the plane.

Self-preservation came in a jolt and the sudden tightness in his chest disoriented the creature that tried to force it out.

Wesker could feel his whole body crying out; his shoulders shuddered in violent spasms that he was just barely controlling. His stomach convulsed and twisted, his throat tightening like a vice and he couldn't slam down his iron control to stop it. Heat rose into his cheeks, coughing hard with his body doubled over against the floor, blood falling from his lips, trembling as he struggled for air. The T-Virus surged and rushed violently inside of him, fighting against itself and weakening the creature, leaving the person who all but wished it would stop.

For a moment, a very long and painful moment, Wesker felt spayed and.. whole in a horrible way he couldn't rationalize. He could hear the heaving thudding of footsteps approaching, but only a single pair; it didn't take much to deduce who was able to make it on the plane and who had to be left behind. His vision swam when he tried to look up, anger pulsing and the feeling was both so foreign and uncomfortable and yet so familiar he couldn't stop shaking.

Looking up was a mistake, pain shooting through his spine; contorting his face in anguish as he cried out. It felt like something living was crawing through the bone, busting and twisting to claw its way up higher. Tears welled up in his eyes, causing him to choke on the coughs it caused.

"It's over Wesker! There's nobody left to help you!" His voice was too loud, too much. Wesker could feel the words on the tip of his tongue -I don't need anyone else!- but they got lost in his throat as his body crumbled under the weight of the pain. A cry that sounded something close to a sob burst through his mouth; everything hurt, his equilibrium was off balance and everything was spinning.

Somewhere between each wave of anguish, he realized he was dying.

Redfield seemed to realize this, too.

Wesker tried to get to his feet, but he couldn't. Instead, his back leaned against the coolness of the wall, keeping him somewhat upright, blood seeping from his nose and ears when he raised his head, knocking it back. Redfield was watching him in struck silence, his mouth a grim line but his gun was lowered. He just stood there, watching.

Wesker coughed when he tried to laugh, a mixture of saliva, bile and blood on his chin when he smiled up at the BSAA member. At the STARS pointman; at Chris.

"It seems you're getting exa- exactly what you wished, Chris-" Wesker swallowed thickly, licking his lips, "Christopher."

"You had it long since coming, Wesker." Redfield spat, "It's nothing less than you deserve."

"Never saw you as cruel," Wesker never missed the slight wince at the corner of the eyes of the other, "you were always... always the sympathetic one."

"Cut the bullshit," he snarled, "you never gave a damn about anyone but yourself."

"But you cared," Wesker closed his eyes tightly, gritting his teeth, breath harsh as another wave of pain crashed into him. "You use to watch me with..- with bright eyes and so much admiration it was suffocating." his breath was shuddering, fingers gripping his middle so tightly he was bruising, "You tried to prove yourself on the field because you thought I hated you."

"You're the reason most of my friends were killed," Redfield dismissed, "scum like you don't deserve sympathy."

"I wouldn't want something so pathetic from you." Wesker slammed his fist into the wall, startling the marksmen back, redrawing his weapon. Wesker breathed roughly, forcing himself upward using the crater he created.

Everything after that happened too fast.

Gunshots rang out, motions a blur. Wesker, in a sudden fit, slammed Redfield's wrists above his head as the BSAA sharpshooter lost his footing, back slamming against either a floor or the wall, he couldn't tell, snarling when Wesker snapped a hand to his jaw, forcing it open. Redfield was unclear what happened next, watching in abject horror, eye to eye with Weskers glowing monstrosities, as a black sludge retched out of the tyrant's throat and forced its way into his. Like tar, thick and molten hot, but pulsing as if it were alive. Chris thrashed and jerked but couldn't get leverage, gagging and sputtering but Wesker never lost his grip.

All he felt next was a violent tugging in his stomach, and his world ceased to exist.