“What the hell are you doing?”
Leon’s eyebrows raise at her behind the ever-growing fringe of bangs. Below that is his adorably crooked beak of a nose, and lower still, the barrel of her gun clenched between his lips.
Leon loosens his jaw, but keeps playing, flicking his tongue against the muzzle. Ada’s lower stomach and cunt clench in response.
“We both know it’s not loaded and I’m tired of our usual script,” he says, pausing to kiss the slide.
Ada feels her cheeks heat and she stammers, “Of course it’s not loaded! But the security cameras!”
Leon snorts, “Ada, if they cared about us fucking we’d be dead by now.”
There’s a bitter edge that half-scares, half-excites her. She misses the idealistic rookie, but the rundown man in front of her still has the same splash of freckles.
Leon grins as his tongue darts out again, dipping into the muzzle.
“You don’t know where that’s been,” Ada sighs.
“I can suggest a few places where you can holster it,” he says.
She makes eye contact, “You’re kidding.”
“Come on, it wouldn’t be the biggest thing you’ve put inside me.”
“I’m not fucking you with a gun,” Ada holsters her pistol.
“Where’s your sense of adventure?” Leon says.
Ada gestures to the desert base around them.
“This is old hat for us, though,” Leon shrugs.
As if on cue, the virally infected giant scorpion launches itself onto the platform they’re sharing. It’s enough to knock Ada onto her ass with an undignified ‘oof’. Leon’s steadier with the kneeling position he was using to blow Ada’s gun.
Luckily, the scorpion isn’t intelligent enough to kinkshame.
“I hate our job!” Leon yells to her.
He barely dodges getting hit by its stinger, sighs, and throws a grenade.
“It has an exoskeleton,” Ada informs him via walkie-talkie.
“You have to wait for it to expose its soft spot to hurt it,” she explains.
“Sounds like a metaphor for our relationship.”
“Do you really want to do this here?” she asks.
“It keeps me engaged,” he says.
“Leon…” she says.
“Poor choice of words, sorry,” he gets hit with the stinger.
Ada’s heart jumps into her throat. He’ll get up. He always does. Leon writhes on the ground, venom working its way through his body. Ada doesn’t wait to see if he gets up, instead aiming a harpoon gun at the scorpion and skewering it. The chain attached keeps it in place, for now.
“Puppy, talk to me,” she says.
“Can we get breakfast after all this? I don’t care what time it is, I need eggs and bacon,” he grumbles.
“Sweetheart, Tunisia is a Muslim country.”
“I will settle for Shakshuka.”
“We will get Shakshuka if you get up and help me kill this thing and steal its DNA.”
“I should be making commission on all your sales,” he grunts, getting up.
After the first scorpion is killed, it looks like it’s in the all clear. She checks the fresh new cut on Leon’s back and the ugly shade of green it's turned his veins.
“Is it staying in your system?” she asks him.
Leon’s face is sweaty. He grits his teeth and shakes his head. His hair is too long. She pushes it back.
“It won’t keep me down for long,” he says.
She can see the blue of his eyes behind tawny lashes. Without reason not to, she kisses him.
It’s not their worst date. Comparatively speaking, no one has waded through shit. She hasn’t ruined her blouse, and there’s only the one new stab wound in him.
“Fuck, why is my infection so shitty?” he groans, flopping onto his side.
“Poor baby,” she pats his stomach.
He takes longer to heal than most of them. Mostly his T exposure gives him an ungodly amount of stamina (which she loves) and keeps him vaccinated from parasites. She watches the wound on his back stop seeping and begin to sew itself back together.
“Do you need me to carry you?”
“Oh, if you would,” he says, standing.
She pats the dirt off his ass and takes the offered hand.
“You have the sample?” he says.
“Okay, sample, woman, monster. What are we missing?”
“Self-Destruct Sequence has been initiated. Please make your way to the nearest exit in an orderly fashion,” an automated message announces.
“How could I forget?” Leon asks the sky, looking to maybe-God for answers.
“Come on, you know what comes after this,” she grabs him by the wrist.
They jog down identical metal corridors, listening to the lab around them come alive with fresh infected.
“Do you think it’ll be Alison or Dr. Grant who consumed enough of the virus to come back as some monstrosity?” he makes conversation.
“My money’s on Dr. Grant. He seems the type.”
“Well, I’m hoping to have my expectations challenged,” Leon says, firing a slug into one of the wall crawling zombies.
The ceiling above them rattles with the weight of something large landing on it. The creature wails, heartbroken, and pounds on the metal separating them. Something drips between the new cracks, splashing Ada's face and blouse.
“Motherfucker!” she says.
Leon drags her onward, “Come on, breakfast awaits us!”
The hallway ends in a locked door they have to scrounge for a key card to unlock.
It collapses, taking them in a heap downwards. Ada manages to aim her grapple at a support beam and prevents them from being impaled on the twisted metal below.
“You have the best toys,” Leon says.
She smirks. He's a lot heavier than Sherry and she doesn't usually carry passengers, so she lets them down quickly. They cling to a dropped ceiling beam and wait for the dust to settle.
Another wail. Two tones blending into one. The creature emerges, gooey in its glory. It has a vaguely insectoid body with one head on its neck and another on its tail. Dr. Grant and Alison.
“Gross,” Ada says.
“Kinda looks like a manticore,” Leon says.
“I'll get us an escape route while you distract them,” she takes off at a jog.
“Just once, just once can I not be the bait?” he mutters to himself.
Each bullet gets stuck in a gloopy shield. Alison screams, firing a stream of acid from her mouth.
“How goes our escape?” Leon shouts to the catwalk above.
His walkie talkie hisses to life, “Chainsaw mutants keep getting in my way.”
“Lab detonation in two minutes,” the computer lets them know.
“Cutting it pretty close.”
He blacks out from the adrenaline after that. It's common. Instincts take over and then he's coming back into his body in the Tramway outside the lab.
“You okay?” Ada asks.
He leans into the hand on his cheek, “Just tired.”
“I have to go.”
“I know, my hotel? 23:00 hours?”
“Between then and 04:00. If later than that there might be cause for concern.”
“Call me,” he says.
She kisses the scar on his cheek, “I'll leave a note.”
“Sandra,” Leon says.
She shudders, her true name giving him a power over her no one else commands.
“Take care of yourself, Leon.”
“Mm, but then what would you do?”
He kisses her gently. She exits outside of the emergency door.
Green Terrasave and black Blue Umbrella vans greet him as the tram arrives at the station.
He keeps his hands on his head as Umbrella troopers storm the vehicle and search for stowaways, human or otherwise.
Some rookie gives him the all clear and a salute. Leon hands him the tram key and says, “Don't scratch the paint.”
Humour is definitely a coping mechanism at this point.
Claire Redfield is a sight for sore eyes in her windbreaker, mom jeans, and red Doc Martens.
“Why, hello, who is this tall glass of water?” he wiggles his eyebrows at her. He can feel her rolling hers behind a pair of reflective sunglasses.
“You need a haircut,” she tells him.
He opens his arms for a hug and is stopped by men in hazmat suits.
“You know the drill,” she tells him.
“Please tell me you packed full sized towels this time,” he’s referencing Harvardville, where they ran out, and had to dry off with washcloths and hand towels.
“Any other survivors?” Claire asks him.
“Nah, just me, some mutants, and a rocket launcher,” he tells her in code.
Claire doesn’t react, instead writes something on her clipboard. She taps her pen twice. The sun glints off the gold of her wedding ring. A nice little touch that makes him smile.
“Feel like getting brunch while we’re both here?” he asks her over his shoulder as he’s being led away.
No matter how many times he does this, getting disinfectant in his eyes never stops sucking. It’s a million degrees outside, but he still feels cold and clammy. He shivers in the decontamination tent, feeling sticky-wet and smelling of fumes. To add insult to injury, they take out the shears and ask him to pick a number. They’re kind enough to give him a three when he asks for it, but take years worth of growth with them. Then the hazmat guys lead him from the showers to a locker room and stand at the door as he dries off and dresses in the sweats and shirt provided. The purple bruises on his ribs and ankle are already turning yellow as cells inside his body regenerate. Next come the doctors with the needles and swabs. His file is thick and marked ‘highly classified’. One of the doctors must be new because she gasps and takes a step back when she spots the scars in the shape of someone’s dental records on the inside of his bicep.
“Relax, that scar’s old enough to have student loan debt,” he reassures her.
It’s all so routine, after the physical is the interview. He doctors the events casually, eating a rations bar they’ve given him. He knows Claire’s behind the observation glass, vouching for his account. Protecting him from ugly words like treason and espionage. They can pluck samples from the wreckage if they want. He’s an exterminator, not a delivery boy.
“Thank you, Mr. Kennedy. We’ve scheduled you a psych evaluation for Wednesday, 08:00 hours.”
“That’s really not necessary,” he says.
“Your employer insists.”
Hard to argue with Air Force One. He spreads his hands and shrugs, “Am I free to go?”
“You can pick up your personal effects and a security pass on the third floor,” the interviewer says.
The lock buzzes open and he finds Claire standing outside waiting for him, folder in hand.
“Aw, you got my things,” he says.
“Sure did,” she says, handing him the package and falling into step with him.
“How’ve you been?” he asks her.
She leads him through the maze that is the compound until he starts to see natural light again. It’s nighttime already, only orange exterior halogens illuminating the sky.
“Good, enough work to keep me busy,” she says.
“And the missus?”
A small smile builds in the corner of her mouth and threatens to take over the rest of her face, “Well, it might be a bit early, so keep it on the sly, but she’s two months along.”
“No way,” Leon stops.
Claire rubs her jaw nervously.
“Shit, Claire, congratulations,” he grabs her shoulder.
“It might not, you know, be a sure thing, the last two didn’t take,” she says.
“Well, like, good luck then,” he feels at a loss.
She shoves her hands into her pockets, “Thanks. Brunch tomorrow?”
“Yeah, you got any favourite spots? I haven’t exactly had a chance to explore my options.”
“We’ll coordinate over text. Go get some rest, you look like shit.”
He stumbles into his hotel room around 21:00 hours and orders steak and eggs off the room service menu. Once he gets into bed he’s not gonna want to get out, so he putters waiting for that.
A glance in the mirror depresses him. Years worth of perfectly grown and styled hair, gone. Shorn down. His auburn hair is salted with silver now. He frowns and checks his hairline, still full and thick. There’s a grey shadow of stubble coating his jaw. He’ll deal with it in the morning.
Room service arrives and he puts it in the bedroom before running a proper shower.
The hot water baptizes him back to the world of the living. The bruises and cuts are all healed over, leaving him slick and smooth skinned. The only scars he has are over a decade old. The only thing he takes from these little expeditions now are memories and bullet ridden hip holsters.
The bed is almost too soft, but he’s too tired to do much more than sink into it. He lies on his stomach as he wolfs down the mess of egg and meat paired with some potatoes and chives. Stephen Colbert’s voice sounds tinny and distant from his phone, propped up on the bed as he sets his plate aside and cleans his nails. The time is 22:30.
An hour drifts by. Leon crawls beneath the covers and leaves the window open, covers up to his ribs.
Ada arrives at 03:58. (Her bag technically arrives at 03:57.) She’s in shorts and a sweater that she sheds immediately, stripping down into just her panties as she crawls over him and into the other side of the bed. Leon makes a few annoyed grunts, but allows the catlike way she shifts him around to make herself more comfortable. She finally settles against his chest, kissing the shoulder she considers 'hers’.
“You had me worried,” he says on an exhale.
She strokes his scar, “I've got a few lives left in me, Handsome.”
Leon wakes up on his side and an arm slung around his waist. He settles backwards, feeling sour breath on the back of his neck. Comforting. Normal. A peaceful treat even. But, still, paranoia gnaws at him like Orpheus checking for Eurydice. He slowly shoulder checks and is met with a flat featured grey face that distorts. The arm around his waist squeezes harder, holding him in place. He tries to thrash about, but he can't move. Sleep paralysis locks his body in place. The Tyrant's face goes blank and Leon wakes up. He takes in his surroundings with heavy breaths. The bed’s still warm on the other side, but Ada’s absent. For a moment, he thinks she’s left again, but then he hears the shower running. He rubs a hand over his face and joins her.
“Get my back, Handsome?” she says.
He kisses her shoulder, fitting himself behind her, “We’re meeting Claire for brunch at twelve.”
“Whatever shall we do with ourselves until then?” she says, lips curved in mischief.
“I can think of a few things,” he says.
His dick lets her know what he's implying by bouncing into erect against her thigh. He pushes it up and against her slit in a tease. Ada inhales sharply, reaching down to help him fit inside. It's a quickie. Just rutting and nutting, leaving a trail of semen dripping out of her folds. They make matching contented sighs as the water turns a little colder.
She turns in his grip and looks up at him through wet eyelashes, “When I said you could use a haircut, I didn’t mean that short.”
“Yeah, yeah, laugh it up,” he grumbles.
“I don’t know, Puppy, it kind of suits you. It’s been a few years since the 90’s.”
Leon grumbles, trying to avoid the smile she’s prying out of him.
“I packed a surprise,” she whispers against his ear.
“You’re gonna like it,” she says.
Then she leaves him standing in the spray with a hard slap to the ass, “Get cleaned up, I have plans for you.”
She’s in her harness and texting someone when he gets out of the shower. He takes a moment to admire the view. She's less pocked and scarred than most of them, having to look presentable when seducing petty dictators. She doesn't have her contact lenses in yet, so she's wearing those thin glasses that drive him nuts. The sassily cocked hip would be flirtatious if he didn't know she was stretching out an old stiff joint. She's getting close to the big 5-0, but looks maybe thirty six. Well, one strain of the T-virus was marketed as an anti-aging serum. Guess that worked.
“How do you want me?” he asks.
Ada circles him, a familiar image subtracting the perfume she hasn't put on yet. She's sizing him up, pressing one finger between his shoulders.
“On your knees.”
He obeys, chest heaving already in excitement.
“Close your eyes.”
Part of him wants to be a brat, to disobey and earn a much harsher punishment.
But, time or always of the essence with Ada, so Leon closes his eyes.
There's a zipper and shuffling, something being strapped into the harness.
Ada's hand is on the back of his head, leading him forward. Leon opens his mouth without being told.
The shape is familiar and unfamiliar, throwing him for a loop. Leon's eyes snap open. A rubber gun is at his eye level.
“You didn't,” he says.
“It's why I was late. Come on, Puppy, feeling shy all of a sudden?” she teases.
Leon's cock twitches, rock hard in his underwear.
“You do have the best toys,” he says, tonguing the rubber slide of the gun.
“Didn't want to ruin your cute little ass or a perfectly good gun,” she says lowly.
“Perfect compromise,” he sucks at the underside.
She loves watching him from this angle and he loves to put on a show.
“So pretty,” she says, stroking his ear.
He deep throats the gun, feeling it probe the back. He sucks his cheeks in instead of gagging.
“Have you been practicing without me?” she asks.
“Never,” he says.
He's painfully hard and his knees are starting to hurt. He shifts his weight, hoping she'll take the hint.
Ada watches him through low lidded eyes, but offers no relief.
“Thought you liked a little pain, Handsome,” she says, checking in.
“Pain yes, discomfort not so much.”
“Fair enough, up you go.”
He groans as he rises, dusting his knees as he goes. She offers a hand, “Don’t push it,” he says.
She smirks, kissing him as he sits on the edge of the bed. She reaches into his boxers, palming his cock into a stroke. His breath shudders. He tries to keep still for her.
“You’re so cute,” she says.
Leon pants in response.
“Do you want me to fuck you?”
“Front or back?” she says.
“You tell me,” he says.
“You’re looking cagey,” she says.
Leon takes a deep breath. His reactions to the situations he gets put in always have a delay period. It’s never been fast for the turnover though.
“It wasn’t even that scary this time,” he says.
She runs her nails over his shoulders, “I saw the wall crawlers pull Dr. Fung up by his head and pull him apart. It scared me.”
“Yeah, that was pretty fucked up,” he says.
Leon blows out a breath, “Can we do missionary first? I think I’ll be ready for you to blow my back out later.”
She laughs through her nose, “I look forward to it.”
Leon’s underwear is discarded. He reaches out to help Ada uncap the lube, she struggles with it in her leather gloves. Then she’s maintaining eye contact while fingering him.
“I have a real dildo if you don’t want the gun,” she says.
“No, we’re committing to the bit,” his eyes roll back.
“Okay, gotta admit, it really turned me on.”
“I could tell.”
Then she’s pressing into him, their foreheads bump as they both look down to watch the moment of penetration. Leon exhales, feeling pressure and relief at once.
Ada sheds her bra. Leon cradles her between his thighs, pushing her further in with the urging of his heels.
“Fuck me,” he insists.
Ada doesn’t need a second telling. The leather of her gloves creaks under the pressure with which she grabs his thighs. There’s not much sound except for the slapping of flesh on flesh. It’s not as hard and fast as he needs, but he does get to look into her eyes and kiss her mouth, so it’ll do. He can relax, breathe, and just exist as her fucktoy at this moment. Outside of this room the world is full of monsters and expectations, but inside he’s just a thing for her to play with. And, when she touches his cock, he sucks his teeth and shoots an embarrassing twitchy orgasm. She pauses in fucking him to giggle.
“Do you need a break?” she asks.
“Shut up and pound me,” he fires back.
Ada repositions them, fitting his knees over her thin shoulders. The spot that she hits is somewhere between ecstasy and agony. He throws his head back, openly whimpering with every thrust against his prostate.
She goes wild, biting his neck and rubbing his nipples as his half-hard cock bobs against her lower stomach. One hand moves down to stroke him, and he whimpers.
“I’m close,” he says.
“Good, I’m just getting started,” she kisses his cheek.
Her thrusts speed up, causing his voice to raise in pitch. He paws at her back, yelping as he cums in a wet splash that coats both their stomachs.
“You got a tissue?” Leon asks, feeling looser and softer in his post-orgasm haze.
“We’re in an expensive-enough suite to use real towels,” Ada says, getting up to grab some.
She mops him off with soft terry cloth that makes his eyes flutter shut. It’s nice, the slow, textured circles.
“Gonna need a map, Old Man?” she asks.
“You really gonna throw stones from that glass house?”
“Do you want me to keep fucking you or not?”
“Are you?” he cocks a brow.
“Get on all fours, Smartass.”
Leon does as he’s told gladly. He wiggles his ass at her, enjoying the ire he’s built with his brattiness. Ada slots herself behind him, pushing into him once again, hand going for his hair. Her fingers slip against his scalp. There’s no purchase, nothing to hold on to.
“Okay, I hate the haircut,” she says.
“Me too! I was hoping you’d get to use it as a handle!”
“This is unacceptable,” she huffs, getting off him.
“Come back,” Leon leans on his elbows to see what she’s doing.
Ada holds up a silk necktie. Men’s. Red.
“Is that a trophy?” he asks.
“Part of my undercover guise. Neck, mouth, or head?” she asks him.
“Neck please,” he says.
“See, this is what asking someone before choking them looks like,” she says.
“I’m never living that down, am I?” he asks.
“Spain was the worst,” she sighs.
“I didn’t have to wade waist deep through raw shit, so Spain was fine for me.”
“Leon. Invisible acid spitting insects.”
“I can still hear that Tyrant’s footsteps in my sleep.”
“Is that why you looked so anxious in the shower?” she pauses to ask.
“Yeah, but don’t worry about it.”
“Are you sure?” she asks.
“Ada, fuck me,” Leon says.
She loops the tie around his neck, not in a knot, but slack, otherwise wrapped around her fist. The air pushes out of him in time with her thrusts. His face gets hot with the blood pounding against his cheeks and temples, but all sensation is honed in on his ass.
Ada lets up on the choking, slackening her hold.
“I didn’t safeword,” he gasps.
“You’re turning purple,” she keeps in pace, stroking a hand down his back.
“You don’t have to keep using the kid gloves on me,” he says.
“It’s not going easy, it’s caring about you, Ass.”
Leon wants to argue but she compromises by covering his mouth. Her fingers dip inside his lips and he moans, tasting himself. She thrusts again. And again. And again. This time with wild abandonment. She bottoms out, bit takes the opportunity to rub the dildo against his balls. Then she's back at it, stretching him with a change of angle. She hits his prostate and he sobs around her fingers.
“So good,” she growls against his ear.
She hammers his ass into orgasms four, five, and six. After that he taps out.
Leon feels like his strings have been cut. He’s boneless against the mattress, watching Ada drop her harness out of the corner of his eye.
“You come?” he asks with a scratchy voice.
“Yeah, once,” she says.
“Come sit on my face then,” he croaks.
She doesn’t need to be told twice. She’s dripping, all wet pussy lips and black cunt hair. Leon slots his lips between hers, dipping his tongue in with little preamble. Ada’s breath is heavy and her hips are rolling. He goes deep and thorough and slow. She speeds her hips close to orgasm. Leon keeps her clit between his teeth and lets her ride in any way she likes.
Sweat drops off Ada’s face when she yells. The muscles in her arms stick out, bulging with the strain of her grip on the headboard. Leon licks her through another two, until she bats him away from overstimulation.
“What time we got?” he asks.
Ada shifts her weight around until she’s facing the clock.
“Hour and a half,” she says.
Leon hmms, “Shower and then nap?”
“Nap first,” Ada says.
He reaches across her to move the harness and it just gets knocked in a heaping thud to the floor. Leon sighs and pulls the sheet back over.
“Thank you,” he says.
“How many is that now?”
“I stopped keeping score,” he says, stroking her hair.
They dress up in their best tourist clothes and end up meeting Claire at something advertised as 'a real American diner’.
“If we die of food poisoning then I'm blaming you two,” Leon says as he holds the door for Ada.
She's in mom jeans, a Gators cap, and a ladybug print windbreaker. Her T-shirt has Bigfoot on it. She's always trying too hard to be inconspicuous.
Leon's in his standard cargos and leather jacket look. Maybe he should expand his wardrobe? He used to wear other clothes.
Claire's waiting for them in a corner booth, headphones in and in a video call. She lights up at this sight of Ada and Leon watches in amusement as Ada swaggers over.
“They're here,” he hears Claire say on approach.
She rotates her phone and he's greeted with grainy footage of nighttime Sherry.
He waves, “Hey Sweetheart.”
Sherry sets down her mug. Claire pops out the headphones so they can all hear the audio. He and Ada slide into the booth.
“You cut your hair!” she exclaims.
“Claire cut my hair,” he grumbles.
“I did not!”
“Your men did!”
“It looked filthy!”
Ada slides the phone away while they argue.
“How are you, Love?” she asks.
“I'm good. Callum's finally out of the terrible twos, but he's into the hyperfixation years. I now know everything about Transformers.”
“Could be worse. Could be GoBots. And meathead?”
“Jake got promoted to Sous Chef,” Sherry emphasizes his name.
That gets Leon's attention, “There's rampant drug abuse in kitchens.”
“Oh my god,” Claire facepalms.
“I'm just saying!” Leon says, Ada's nodding in agreement.
“It's been five years!” Claire whisper yells, “They have a toddler!”
Ada and Leon switch to nonverbal communication to exchange the 'he's not good enough for our baby girl’ look.
Sherry switches gears, rubbing her temples, “Any anecdotes from this biohazard?”
“Wall crawling zombies--”
“Two headed crab mutant.”
Sherry makes a face, “Gross.”
“Yeah, I think they used a strain of the… you know… the cruise ship virus Jill was talking about,” Leon says.
“Oh definitely. I wanna say T-Abyss. It was something stupid sounding like that.”
“Sounds like it could be the C-Virus,” Sherry chimes in.
“They were pretty gooey,” Leon admits.
Claire rubs her forehead, “We'll have a solid analysis on it soon. Ada, I thought you'd know more.”
“I'm in bed with the US Government, my employers tell me nothing,” she gestures to their waiter for two coffees.
“Right, I want whatever qualifies as a grand slam in Rabat,” Leon announces.
“I'll let you guys go. I should get to bed anyway,” Sherry says.
“Okay Baby, I'll call you tomorrow,” Claire says.
“Love you Sweetheart,” Ada and Leon say.
The call ends and their coffee arrives.
“Funny that the youngest was the first to reproduce,” Leon says, avoiding eye contact by reading the menu.
“Mm,” Ada sucks her teeth.
“Well, I mean, she is our kid. We're just all grandparents now,” Claire says.
Ada groans and inspects her reflection in her spoon, “Don't say that.”
“Yeah, but you're having an actual kid now,” Leon says.
Claire kicks him under the table.
Ada looks up from her menu, “Claire, congratulations!”
“It's not a sure thing,” Claire says.
“It's what... the third try?” Ada asks, “If it's a problem with the virus I can hook you up with something.”
“Oh my god,” Claire rubs her temples.
Their waiter comes by looking expectant.
Ada orders the crepes in perfect Arabic. Claire has a very elaborate order in French, complete with waiter banter. Leon sweats and just orders by pointing to the menu. The waiter leaves with promises of more coffee.
“So, when are you two gonna tie the knot?” Claire asks.
“So, how old is Moira turning this year? Sixteen?” Ada volleys back.
Leon has been in war zones and cities full of bioweapons. He's had to cancel an apocalypse or two.
He has never been more scared than he is in this moment.
Claire rotates her jaw mechanically.
“Ooooh they have a pomegranate cheesecake,” Leon says, playing with the desert menu to show them.
“Moira's been an adult through the entirety of our relationship,” Claire grinds out.
Ada sips her coffee, contesting that statement with her eyes.
“You got something to say about that, Wong?”
“Just that you pick 'em young, Redfield.”
“Ada rejected my marriage proposal years ago,” Leon says.
Her head whips to him as if struck.
“We barely know each other,” Ada says.
“I took an all day flight to pick you up from a hospital in Prague,” he fires back.
Claire's anger is nipped in the bud with fascination at the exchange before her. She stirs her coffee and takes a deep slurp.
“Meeting up for weekend flings and late night fucks does not a marriage make,” Ada snipes, ears turning red.
Leon feels that like a kick to the gut. She's being deliberately dismissive, taking cheap shots.
“You've met my sister, your phone is full of pictures of my dog.”
Ada opens her mouth to retort when the waiter shows up with their order. Then it's all fake smiles and shifting plates.
“I'm sorry I brought it up,” Claire says.
“I'm sorry I implied impropriety about your marriage,” Ada relents, dipping her chin.
Leon rubs the back of his neck, feeling like he should add to the round table of apologies, but not feeling like taking anything he said back.
“Pass the ketchup,” he says instead.
“That's not ketchup,” they both say.
The moods even out now that everyone's eating. Just a hangry reminder if anything. Ada's defenses go down and she switches hands so she can rest a hand on Leon's thigh.
Claire puts a foot up on their side of the booth, stretching out in comfort. Leon closes his eyes and for a moment he's twenty-one again, huddled in the dark and the wet with one of them leading him and the other following, guarding their backs.
“Love you,” he breathes out.
“Love you too, Handsome,” Ada kisses his cheek.
“Love you, guys,” Claire says.
“Claire, Raccoon City was the worst, right?”
“Oh totally, I almost died of hypothermia in Antarctica and I'd still take it over little fucking G-aliens launching themselves at my fucking face.”
Ada raises her hands up in surrender, “I guess you never forget your first.”
Leon leaves them, getting up to use the bathroom. When he returns they're chair dancing to an overplayed pop song from two years ago.
He goes to sneakily pay and finds the bill already settled. Damn it.
“Think of it as an apology for the hair,” Claire pinches his neck.
Ada hands him his hat, leading them out of the restaurant and idling by her car.
“This was nice. We should do it more often,” Claire announces.
“The meal or the slow decay of society?” Ada asks.
Leon rolls his eyes at her. Ada's looking through her phone, she doesn't unlock it fast enough to skip the lock screen and he sees his own sleeping face reflected back at him. He and Claire exchange a white person non-smile. She saw it too.
“I'm in Philly in mid June,” Ada says.
“Like, in a biohazard way?” Claire asks.
“I cannot confirm or deny,” she says.
Claire flips her off. She mirrors it.
“Okay, so meal then if the city is still there,” Claire sighs.
They hug. Leon watches Ada slip something into Claire's pocket and says nothing, waiting against the car and not even allowed to unlock it.
“Take care, Loser,” Claire hugs him.
“You're seeing me tomorrow,” he says.
“Yeah, but it's always a gamble with you.”
Ada drives them back to the hotel. Leon counts yellow houses and fiddles with the radio.
“Open the glove box,” Ada says.
“Look inside,” she says, swearing under her breath as they run into traffic.
He follows orders, digging through rental information, a warm power bar, and the shipping information on that dildo. On top of all of them is a jewelry box. Leon’s breath catches as he opens it. Tears come unbidden into his eyes as he lifts it.
It’s a silver bracelet engraved with the words ‘Security Clearance Level VI’.
“It’s perfect,” he says, choked up.
“I got a matching one… it’s not a ring but,” she trails off.
“It’s better,” Leon kisses her hand.
He fits it around his wrist, enjoying the snug fit. Ada shifts in her seat, looking like she has something to say.
“Thank you,” he adds.
“Oh, no, it’s just… she does like them young, right?”
“Who? Claire? Yeah, she does.”