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Putting The Pieces Together

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September 2013

The definition of insanity; repeating an action over and over again expecting a different end result. That was what Leon Kennedy felt, going insane. He poured his heart and soul into this woman. He made love to her as if tomorrow would be the last. He would quite literally jump into the pits of hell had she asked. But it always ended the same. Helping her redress, her same old “This was fun Leon, see you next time.” And him just letting her walk away and pretend that everything was fine.

However, this time he couldn’t pretend. Cause everything wasn’t fine. Each time they had one of their nights of passion together, and each time she walked away, it was as if she were taking a part of him with her. It was something he could no longer bare. And hoped that somewhere deep down she felt the same.

“Stay.” He whispers as he caresses her soft skin on her back. She sighs, relishing in the touch. If there was one thing that she enjoyed most about their get togethers was the way his touch made her forget. And she hated it all the same.

“What are you expecting out of this, Leon?” She asks, peeking over her shoulder. “This has been fun, the sex has been fun, don’t ruin it with needless thoughts.” She turns to smile with her plump pink lips. And then starts redressing herself “You know I can’t give you anything more. I adore you and your handsome face, but I adore my job more.”

It stung, of course it did. All these years playing cat and mouse with this woman, he had hoped that she would eventually feel the same tiredness that he felt. No matter how much they tried there’s just no end to this world of terror that they live in. There was no ray of light where everything would slow down enough for them to enjoy each other’s company, because there’s always work the next day. What had he been expecting? I guess somewhere down the line he felt that their game of chase would come to an end and they’d be able to settle down.

“Right…” He says a bit detached.

She scoots closer to him on the bed and cups his face with her hands. “This has been fun Leon, see you next time.” With that she plants her soft pink lips to his and then walks away yet again taking another piece of his heart with her.

How long before they meet up again? He wasn’t sure. But for now, he will wallow in his self-pity. Cursing at himself for having such complicating feelings. “Damn You Ada.” And maybe a little of her, for wrapping him around her little finger. It would have been hell of a lot easier had he fell in love with Claire Redfield.

He falls into more misery at the thought of his once best friend. How was she holding up? Was she better off then him? He contemplates calling her, picking up the phone and putting down multiple times, before deciding against it. The last time he had spoke to Claire he was an ass, which ended up ending their once soaring friendship. He throws his phone blindly in the run downed room.

“How did you fuck things up so badly Kennedy?” It was tale of two survivors who found the best in each other. It was tale of a friendship that overcame the odds. It was a tale of a love that would never see the light. It was the tale of how he completely shattered his best friends’ heart.

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December 2005

He had contacted Claire. It was about a month after the incident of Harvardville. A month since they reunited after years of silence. And was she a sight for sore eyes! It was good to see Claire again, but even better to see her someplace more normal.

It had taken him a bit to gather the nerve, more than he would like to admit, to ask her out, as a friend of course. He couldn’t fathom why he was so nervous, this was Claire, his best friend. Sure, they haven’t talked much over the years but being a government agent would do that. Still, Claire was someone he could trust. Claire was someone he could easily tell all his secrets to, because she listened. And because she genuinely cares about him. It was just who Claire is.

“So, I’d say this is someplace more normal!” She says as the waitress walks off with their order.

“I’m not so sure about that.” Leon jokes.

“What? Why?”

He leans forward as if he’s about to tell her a secret and she follows along. “Well for starters, that guy up there?” He points to an individual who slumped in his seat and who looked rather out of it. “Hasn’t moved an inch since we got here. Pretty sure he’s infected. It’s only a matter of time before we start making our grand escape.”

“Oh my god you’re right!” Claire plays along and clamps her hand over her mouth to muffle her overly exaggerated gasp. “The waitress! Pretty sure she’s the one responsible for spreading it!” To any other themselves, they would have thought the pair were a bit odd to say the least. However, for the duo, they were still copping.

“See, this place is far from normal. Right now, it’s burgers and fries but before you know it, it’s blood, guts and the walking dead and a big guy”

“In a fedora!”

“In a fedora chasing us around the small diner. And just when you think it’s over the self-destruct system activates, of course.”

“Of course.”

“But we’ll make it out just in the nick of time.” He ends with a wink. They laugh at the ludicrous of their story and almost simultaneously their laughter stops. Both stuck seeing the ghost of their past.

“It all sounds so far fetched when we speak of it.” Claire says, cutting through the silence.

“Yeah, we’ve been through hell of a lot, haven’t we?” a hell of a lot and neither one made it out without a few scars to add to their story.

“That we have. We saved so many lives in the process.” So many lives that would get to see what tomorrow held.

“And lost so many just the same.” And so many that won’t get to see the morning sky.
It was a blessing and a curse to have been able to escape the fiery pits of hell. A blessing for they get to see what tomorrow looks like, but a curse all the same, for the ghost that occasionally haunts their dreams. The screams of those that could not be saved. The blood that no matter how hard they try won’t wash away. But the smiles of those they saved was a beacon of light through their dark and hazy days. For them it was worth all the scars that had been made.

They talked for hours it seemed neither ready to turn in. It had been a few years since the last time they were to just sit down and talk. In fact, the last time they were this comfortable with each other was a little after the incident in Raccoon City. They had spent a half a month playing pretend family with Sherry, trying their damnedest to keep the little girl a secret. The two weren’t stupid. They knew someone eventually would be after her.

“Go and find your brother. I promise I’ll look after Sherry.” A broken promise that ate away at him for the longest time. That still does. It was funny to Leon that the first thing that popped in his mind when he saw Claire at Harvardville was “I’m sorry.” Somehow the words never seemed to make it out of his mouth.

“How’s Joe.” Leon decided to ask rather than opening up old wounds. Or so he thought as he sees Claire’s face turn sour.

“How do you know about Joe?” She squints her eyes playfully.

“Let’s just say someone has a very overprotective brother.” It was true. Chris had informed him of this Joe that had supposedly stole his little sisters’ heart. Though he never asked for a background check. Leon was pretty sure the brother was capable of running his own background check of the man, and had no doubt that he already has.

“Of course.” She scoffs a bit before answering. “Well… were not exactly seeing each other anymore.” She begins to rub her neck, a nervous tick that Leon had learned years back.

“I’m sorry to hear that. What happened?” The way Chris talked about it seemed the two were really into each other. Not that he was jealous or anything. If his friend was happy than he was happy. Claire deserved a little normal in her life.

“Me. I happened.” She pouts a bit and begins to twirl her straw in her cup.
“I don’t follow.” She looks at him and he begins to worry. The pain in her eyes made him unease, and for a brief moment he wishes nothing more than to embrace her and chase whatever pain she’s feeling away.

“I uh, sometimes have these very vivid dreams. Night terrors if you will.” He felt like the wind was knocked out of him. Was Claire, his Claire, suffering from PTSD? And did anyone other than him and that jerk off Joe know? “Sometimes It’s about the Police Station. Sometimes I’m back on that damn island with Steve, and now Harvardville.” She turns to look back at him with a broken smile.

“Claire…” was all that he was able to get out.

“Anyways” She cuts in “I believe his exact words where ‘I can’t be with someone who can’t let go of the past’ So we just ended things.” She lifts her shoulder a bit to emphasize, and begins to slurp the remaining of her sweet tea.

“Claire, I’m sorry. He’s an idiot.” The Girl is traumatized. The least the prick can do is be there for her. He had halved wish that Joe were there so that he could knock some sense into him. But another part of him were glad that the man wasn’t there. Too many witnesses and not many places to hide a body.

“Is he though?” She says, breaking him out of his raging thoughts “I mean I sign myself up for this line of work. I know exactly what I’ve gotten myself into. These things should be expected. Maybe I’m the idiot in this story.” It almost hurt, no it did hurt to hear Claire berate herself.

“Claire, I can assure you, you’re not an idiot. You have a big heart. The people come first. Your compassionate, that doesn’t make you an idiot.” Leon tries to reason with her. Claire is to caring to be defined as an idiot. Joe was a dead man if Leon ever ran into him. Leon pays the bill and stands up making the chair scrap against the wooden floor.

“Come on, there’s somewhere I wanna check out.” He says pulling on his leather jacket and proceeds to drag her along.

“Where are we going!” She shouts gleefully as he drags her to the entrance of the diner. Many guests turned their heads to the happy couple. Some hiding their smiles behind their hands, others blushing on behalf of the duo and some just plain irritated. But that didn’t bother Leon one bit. He had a mission to complete. Which was making sure one Claire Redfield knew just how wonderful she truly is.

“You’ll see.” He says looking slightly over his shoulder to give her a wink.
Half a month. That’s all it took for the ‘pretend family’ to actually feel like a family. As soon as they made out of Raccoon City the first thing they sought out was a place to crash. Which happened to be a motel that was just located on outskirts of the city of the dead. From there they traveled as far as they could on foot. Which was a lot for a couple of battered parents and a small child. Eventually they found a vehicle.

“I don’t like this.” Leon had voiced his disdained.

“Oh, Leon! Stop being such a boy scout. We need to get out here as soon as possible!” Sherry was their priority. The little girl had been through so much. Had been brave for them for so long. They couldn’t take away the bad things that had happened but they can sure as hell give her good things to counter it.

“I know! It’s just…I’m a policeman Claire! I can’t go around stealing vehicles! I’m supposed to be upholding the law, not breaking them!” He huffs out crossing his arms over his chest.

“You’re not breaking it! I am! Now stop being a baby, and help me load the car.” Luckily for them Leon had, had his wallet still and was able to get them supplies to last them for their drive up north. The car however didn’t last the trip to the original destination. But it had got them far enough from that city.

They had stayed there for no more than two weeks. But the two weeks spent, was filled with bliss. Had she stayed with Leon and Sherry, she wondered what their life would be today? Would they still be the happy ‘Pretend Family’ that they were all those years ago? Or would they have still been broken up? But this was the real world, there was no going back. Perhaps leaving them was the reason why she decided to move back to this small town. The guilt that she still carried.

“Oh my god! Is this?” Claire sits up in her seat as soon as they drive up to a rather old looking building with words that read ‘Jerry’s Arcade’ in red font. It was a bit faded but still readable.

“It is. This is where we brought Sherry to play her very first game.” Leon says smiling at the nostalgia the rushed over him.

“I remember!” It was as clear as if it were yesterday. She remembers the exact moment the girls face lit up when the characters came to life. It was also rather sad that it was the first time that she ever experienced something like that. “I can’t believe it’s still open.” Jerry’s Arcade had become somewhat of a paradise for the little family. It was somewhere they all went to vent their frustration. The Arcade had seen them at their worst and their best.

“I wonder if they still have Gunner X.” Claire says, putting her hands to her hips.

“Why? So, I can kick your ass?” Leon Laughs.

“Ha-ha very funny Kennedy, but if I remember correctly, I believe I was the one kicking your ass.”

“In your dreams Redfield.”

“Are saying I’m lying?”

“There’s only one way to find out.”

“Oh, bring it!”

Despite the years of being separated, it was in this moment that they realized that nothing at all has changed between them. They were still and always will be each other’s best friends.

They had spent hours trying to best the other on any game they found. They laughed until the tears were spilling from their eyes. They laughed until their sides and stomach began to hurt. It was just two friends enjoying the company of each other. At the end of their parade they cashed in their tickets to get what was supposed to be gag gifts for each other. And gave away the rest to kids who had been in awe of their stash.

“A care bear?” She says looking at the little pink bear with a rainbow on his tummy. It stuck out to him as soon as he saw the plush. Every ounce of the bear screamed Claire. He knew he had to get it for her.

“What? Don’t you see the resemblance?” He says holding it up next to her face. “Both bright and both cheerful. It’s the perfect combination” Claire is not an easy girl to make blush. But here she is blushing on a man she considers to be her one and only best friend. She laughs nervously and takes the bear from his grasp.

“Now I feel lame for not putting much thought into mine.” She says handing over a two-piece keychain. The keychains connect together like a puzzle piece, engraved on the keychains are the words ‘Best Friends’. “A little juvenile, but it’s speaks truth. You’re my best friend Leon.” His heart fluttered at the smile she gave him. That was the smile he wished to protect.

It was dark out when they decided to call it a night. The ride was quiet but it was a comfortable quiet. This was a night neither one would forget. Perhaps next time Sherry would join them in their journey down memory lane.

“I never did tell you why I became an Agent, did I?” Leon ask as they stop at a red light.

“I just assumed it was one of these ‘feels right’ moments.” Claire says, smiling at the care bear in her lap.

“Hmm…Sort of.” It was topic that he felt he needed to share with Claire. It wasn’t as if he was breaking any protocols. Not really anyways. “Back when they took Sherry, I had an option to just leave and never look back.” He gazes down at her to gauge her reaction. She didn’t look up but he knew he had her full attention. The light turns green and he begins drive again. “I wanted to. God did I want to. But the look on her little face, when they dragged her away from me. I will never forget the look of despair she made” It broke his heart when they just out right took her from him. They literally had to yank her from his grip because he wasn’t cooperating. “As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t just walk away. So, I was offered another option, which worked out for the best. This way I can continue to find that ‘world peace’, but also continue to give her that friendly face she desperately needs.” He was granted visitation rights. It was almost awful to the way it felt as if he was visiting a prisoner. He could only imagine her pain.

“Leon…I’m so sorry.” And She was. She never meant burden him with such a heavy task. She meant to stay, she did. But the thought of Chris being locked up somewhere had plagued her mind.

“She talks about you, you know?” He says turning to smile at her softly.

“She does?” Now that was something she never expected. She left in the dead of night. Waiting till she knew Sherry was fast asleep. With the aid of Leon, she was able to sneak out without notice. Her heart had sunk as she drove to the airport. And she cried for hours till the plane had landed.

“She doesn’t hate you Claire, despite what you might think.” Hate was not something that was coded into Sherry Birkin. She loves Leon and Claire. She loves them just as much as she still loves her parents despite everything. “You were her mother, even if it was just pretend.” Just as much as he was her father. He remembers Sherry waking up running down the flight of stairs, that night. She was too smart for her own good. She knew something was up, she knew that Claire had to do what she needed to do. Nevertheless she cried.

“When she’s done, she’ll come back right? “The girl had sniffled. “And we can go back to being a family, right?” He had picked up the little girl and carried her in his arms.

“Of course, she’ll be back. Then we can all go to the Arcade and have fun! How does that sound?” He says rubbing her back trying to calm her.

“Yeah, I’d like that.” Somewhere deep down he knew things wouldn’t work out like that. No matter how optimistic he had stayed for Sherry, he knew the exact moment when they came clawing their way in to their home, that things would never be the same.

“Sometimes I think about that night I left. I wonder if I would have done things differently had I known Chris was safe.” She hadn’t seen Sherry since that night. She missed her a lot more than she would let on.

“Nope, you would have went just to be sure he was safe.”

“You’re right.” He was. She wasn’t the type to just set back and let fate take the wheel. She would have gone regardless because the gut feeling she gets. Even if said gut feeling lead her astray. “Why are you telling me all this all of sudden?”

“I wanted to show you.” He tells her. He comes to a full stop in front of her house.

“Show me what?” She leans slightly forward.

“I wanted to show you what a fool Joe is. Let go of your past? Your past defines who you are Redfield, it shows how compassionate of a person you are, and if he took his head out of his ass for one second, he would have seen how irreplaceable of women you truly are.” Her eyes widened slightly, and for a moment and Leon becomes that puzzle piece that she never realized she was missing.

“There you go making me cry.” Claire wasn’t completely sure why fate had brought her and Leon back together, but whatever the reason was, she was happy.

Just this once she was happy to let fate take the wheel.

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September 2013

His mind was mocking him. Of course, it would conjure up the beginning of it all. A time where everything was much simpler. The innocence of their budding relationship. Claire was much happier there. Her smile was like a ray of sunshine. God, what he would give to go back to that time, just to have her give him one of her famous hugs.

Now he can’t even get her to speak to him. No matter how many times he tried calling or texting her, she would never reply. He groans and curls into a miserable ball in his rather cold bed.

Sleep. That was what he needed. And maybe a cold beer.
Where did it all fuck up? Were his last thought before the slumber took him again.

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January 2006

It was the middle of January, that their budding relationship took a surprise turn, neither one expected. It was the day that started the tear in their friendship. As always whenever he was in town, he took it upon himself to take his best friend out. Whether it was to see a movie, drinking, or even dancing he made sure she had the best of time.
It had always ended the same, with him dropping her off at her home and saying good night.

This time However he had somehow found his head in between her spread legs causing her to mewl and thrash about on his bed.

How did it end up like this? Innocently enough it was an accident.

After dinner at a nice restaurant, it had started to downpour over the city. In turn flooded the route to Claire’s place. Which was no big, she was always welcomed to stay with him. However, neither of them was prepared for the rain, so by the time they had got into his hotel room they were drenched to the bone. Of course, Leon more so than Claire, considering he did his best to cover her with his jacket. They laughed at how ridiculous they looked, with their wet clothes sticking to their limbs.

There was wine, there was soft music playing in the background, there were gentle sways of the hips and there was an accidental slip that caused the both of them to tumble to the floor, which erupted more laughter. There was the brush of his fingers as he slipped the damped strand of hair behind her left ear, then there were her lips that crashed into his.
At many times they could have stopped. Like when he picked her up and pushed her onto the wall, all the while grinding his hips to hers. Or when she raised her arms up for him to pull off the wet black dress, to even when he let her unbuckle his belt and unbutton his black slacks. He could have stopped when he pushed her semi nude form onto his bed or even stopped when last piece of clothing hit the floor.

But in all honesty, he didn’t want to. Nor did she.

Her hips raised with each merciless attack he made with his tongue. And each time she would moan his name like it was a mantra spurring him on. Afterwards he’s kissing up her body nipping at her nipple in the process and finally makes his way to her swollen pink lips.

It was almost taboo for one to sleep with their best friend, and small part of him chastised himself for it. But even bigger needing part of him wanted to feel what it was like to be inside Claire Redfield. And oh, was it a feeling. He couldn’t remember the last time he had sex. Of course, he couldn’t remember the last time he had saw Ada. The woman of his affection.

The things that she could do to him. With her hands, her lips, her body. Nope! No this was about him and Claire! Why the hell was he thinking about fucking another woman when he was currently fucking his best friend. With a grunt he shifts her a bit so that he’s fucking her into the mattress. Her cries become a signal to him the she enjoys the new angle, so he continues to pound into her mercilessly, making it his sole mission for her to be completely satisfied.

“Wow” She says breathlessly.

“Yeah.” He agrees as they lay side by side.

It was when they turned in for the night, that Claire decided to break the looming silence.

“Leon?” She asks ever so softly.

“Yeah?” Was this it? Was this the moment that she was going to end their friendship? His mind raced at the thought. He wasn’t sure if he’d be able to go back to not having Claire in his life.

“You’ll still talk to me in the morning, right?” Guilt. That was what he felt. Had he done things properly he could have conveyed better that she was more than just one of his one-night stands. He scoots closer to her and wraps his arms around her frame.

“Of course, I’ll still talk to you Claire. You’re my best friend.” He kissed her hair and both feel asleep to the sound of the rain hitting the window. It was the first time in a long while that Claire had felt at peace from her own mind. And it was first time that Leon felt a piece of himself being regained.

It was just a night of two friends coming together. At least that was how it was supposed to go. But he found that sex with Claire Redfield was like a drug for him. The ‘accidental’ night had become somewhat of a habit, that would happen again, again and again.

Friends with benefits, neither willing to define it as such.

It would happen for the sake of being in town, to celebrations of a foreign country, to even just being horny. But whatever the excuse, Leon had picked up on her telltale signs for whenever she was about to pounce. And boy did she pounce!

It was an odd yet strangely pleasant feeling at how normal it felt to be with Claire. He was with her more times than not, even if he had to fly over a few states just to see her. But a turning point to their blossoming relationship takes yet another turn that no one expected.

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September 2013

“Stupid, stupid, stupid!” Leon shouts as he throws a half bottle of beer to the wall, glass shattering. All this reminiscing wasn’t helping him! He should have never defiled his best friend like that. He should have left well enough alone, before things ended the way it did.

Why was he thinking about Claire anyways? It has been four years since he last saw Claire. Four years since they ended whatever it is, they had. Four years since he just stood there watching her cry, when he could have embraced her like he should have.

“Why did I lie?”

Was a question he could never answer.
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July 2006

“Good job kiddo!” He says giving the girl a high-five. “What did I tell you? Practice makes perfect.”

“Yeah, well we’ve been going at this for a week so I was bound to pick a thing or two.” Leon had been trying to reach out to at least give Sherry some combat training. The girl was stuck until they decided to release her from her own personal hell. With luck finally on his side, permission was granted.

“You look different.” Sherry says as she sips on some water.

“Yeah, it’s called aging.” He jokes, causing her to roll her eyes.

“Har-har Leon! I meant you look happy.”

Truth was, he was happy. He hadn’t felt this alive in a long while. But this line of work would do that to you. What was it that changed? Was it because Ada had been visiting quite frequently? Or was it because Claire had moved slightly closer so that she can be near her brother?

“Careful Leon, I’m going to have to tell mom their someone else.” Ha! If only she knew. Luckily for him training with Sherry made him break out a sweat, so the blush that appeared from her off comment blended in with the rest of the redness on his face.
Things had been going well with Ada, well as much as it can go. And things had been going good with Claire. It was almost sickening how much they keep in contact. From little text like ‘How are you doing?’ to even phone calls at night. He didn’t mind in the slightest. He loved hearing Claire talk. But furthermore, he knew that their phone calls kept the nightmares at bay.

As if summoned by his thoughts. His phone began to ring and he smiles as soon as he sees her contact on the screen.

“Hey Claire bear” A nickname she loved and hated. Sherry’s head popped up and her eyes widened with joy. All of which didn’t go unnoticed by Leon. “You’ll never guess, who I’m with right at this moment.” Sherry began to gesture wildly with her hands for Leon to hand it over. However, the broken voice on the other end of phone had him on his feet and out the door. He flinched a little, leaving Sherry like that. He’ll be sure to make it up to her.

“Claire what’s wrong?”

Jill Valentine. A close friend to the Redfield’s. But an even closer friend to Chris. Was dead. Chris is not at all taking it well. Not that he’s expected to. Jill was his friend, his lover and now she’s dead thanks to the bastard that she had taken down with her. Albert Wesker.

As soon as Claire gave the call, Leon was already making preparations to leave. He had to be there for them. He had to be there for Claire.

Claire was trying her best to stay together, she had to be for Chris's sake. Meaning Leon had to be her support. Each mournful sigh that escaped her lips, he'd make sure she knew that he was there by rubbing her back softly.

Chris couldn't handle running the wake so Claire stepped up for him. Allowing the older sibling to further drink away his sorrow. The man would drink for hours, sitting just staring begrudgingly at ceiling. His drinking habit was taking a toll on Claire. This wasn't her brother. Her brother was strong and could overcome anything, this broken man could not be her brother.

"They couldn't even find her body. How can we bury her if we don’t even have her fucking body?!" She screamed one day as she was cleaning the dishes. "What kind of cruel joke is this to bury an empty casket?" She had been bottling up her emotions for a while now, Leon was surprised it didn't happen sooner.

"Hey, hey come here." He tells her as he brings her into his embrace. Her cries are muffled by his chest.

"I don't know what to do. I've never seen Chris like this." Chris was a train wreck without his partner. He no longer had a sense of what was going on around him, and he took to alcohol for his form of comfort. The man was completely and utterly destroyed.

"Just be there for him. That's all we can do until he's ready." He tightens his hold on her, caressing her hair and laying a kiss on her head.

"Thank you for being here for me. I don't know what I would've done without you." She mummers and plants a small kiss on his collarbone.

"You don't have to thank me, I'll always be here for you." A promise that he had no idea would be broken.

That night he had for the first time witnessed one of her night terrors.

It was a scream that had woken him up. She was thrashing around so badly in bed, the she had clipped him on the chin with her elbow. He would try calling out to her to even trying to hold her still. But she just wouldn’t wake up. She kept crying for help and giving these god-awful moans as if she were in pain. Leon’s heart sunk.

“SHUT UP ALREADY!” An angry cry came from the other room. Something smashes against the wall and Leon grimace. He was glad he made trip up here. He couldn’t imagine the emotional pain she would had have to endure from her own brother.

“I’m sorry…” She had awoken when the loud smash hit the wall. Her broken apology set him ablaze. Chris was angry, he got that. He’s mourning. That doesn’t mean the man has the right to act like a total ass, especially to his sister whom herself needs comfort.

“Claire, stop. You have nothing to apologize for.” She turns away trying to hide her face from him. He tries to bring her back into his embrace but she begins to pull herself further from him. “If anything, that jerk should be the one apologizing to you.” He sits up and runs his hand up and down her arm.

“I’m broken.” She cries into the cover.

If there was a time to hate Chris Redfield, it would be in this moment.

He sighs, trying to bottle his rage for the drunken idiot. And slides back down and embraces his best friend. He kisses her hair, then lays his head on top of hers to where their cheeks touch.

“Even the best of us are little broken Claire.”

“But not all of us are haunted by it constantly.”

“I don’t know about that.” He tells her and tightens his grip. “I still see ghost.” She shifts out of his embrace and turns to look at him with surprise.

“You do?”

“All the time.” He nods his head.

“How do you deal with it?” She stares intently into his eyes. He reaches up to tuck her hair behind her ear and brings her head to rest on his chest. She closes her eyes at the warmth radiating from him and inhales, somehow feeling that much better.

“Sometimes I just do whatever I can to get my mind off them. Even if it means doing little chores like cleaning or cooking. But when it’s at its worse, I usually just step outside. It helps me feel grounded.” Many times, he had found himself just walking aimlessly through parks and such. Even at odd hours. However, he realized he’d been doing that a lot less these days.

“Recently? Talking to you.” She looks up at him with her wide blue eyes. And for brief moment she looks to his lips. He kisses her.

It was that night that he made love, true love to Claire Redfield. And it was as the both of them had found a matching piece.

"Chris come on no more alcohol, why don't you go take a walk? Clear your head a bit." Chris's turmoil was taking a toll on Claire. Though she would never voice it. Despite how much of an asshole he was being, he was still her brother.

Chris hadn't exactly been keeping up with the bills ever since the loss of Jill. It was for that reason the younger Redfield had found herself housing her brother. And it took a large amount of control for Leon to bite his tongue. It wasn't fair that Jill had go in that way, it wasn't fair that Chris has to suffer the after effects. But it also wasn't fair for Claire to look after her older brother. But he couldn't exactly voice his own opinion, they were both still mourning the loss of a friend and Claire a brother.

For now, he would keep out of it by staying in Claire's room.

"No." Chris mutters slightly pushing his sister away.

"Chris come on, you can't sit here all day and drink!" Her pleads land on deaf ears. Leon becomes a bit anxious, his leg bouncing out of nerves.

"No! No! No! I said no! Get off of me dammit!" The rise of Chris's voice sprung Leon to his feet.

"Why don't you just fuck off! God I'm so sick and tired of you acting like you're my goddamn mother!" Chris seethed in his anger. He towered over Claire as if to scare her, but this was Claire and she had had about enough of this bullshit!

"Hey!" Leon shouted hopping to get the older sibling’s attention. He didn't care for what Chris had become, nor did care for the lack of respect he seemed to give Claire these days.

"...Yeah, well maybe I wouldn't have to act like one if you just sobered up a bit!" Her voice had wavered slightly.

"I can act however the fuck I want!" He flips the table in his tantrum and kicks the chair in the process.

"Yeah well maybe not under my roof, let's not forget I took you in because you couldn’t keep up with you bills! You're in my house and I'm tired of seeing you as a lousy drunk!"

"You don't understand. How could you? You don't have a fucking clue what's it's like to lose a partner, a friend." But she does. And it was sad seeing how self-absorbed he had become when he was drunk.

"Jill was my friend too..." she sniffles. Leon gives a heavy sigh and runs hand on her arm. She smiles slightly at his gesture and walks over to her brother to put her hands on his big shoulders. "You can get through this Chris, we got through mom and dad’s deaths, we can get through this too." Words that were meant for comfort only rattled him even more.

"Fuck you!" He shoves her harshly causing her to fall back, only for Leon to catch her. This was it. He has had enough of this asshole, and wasn't about to just let him walk away. Only he does.

"Just let him go." Claire says weakly. The front door slams shut. It was the roar of the engine and the screeching of tires that alerts them that Chris has left.

"I need to clean this mess." She sighs. Leon helps her clean what could be cleaned. It was fortunate that nothing had been too damaged during Chris's rampage. After he helps Claire to bed, who just needed rest, he sits at the edge and plays with her hair until she feels sleepy.

"I'm gonna go get your groceries taken care of, you gonna be ok by yourself?" She gives a content sigh and smiles.

"Yeah, thank you for being amazing." She mummers sleepily.

"I told you, you have to thank me for being here for you Claire." He kisses her forehead and makes his way towards the door.

It only took him fifteen minutes to find Chris's Hummer in front Sara's Pub.

"Typical." He said with as much disdain he could muster. Of course, he would be here. "So, you can't get drunk at home so you decide to get drunk at a bar? For fucks sake Redfield." It didn't take him long to find the man sitting at the bar with his head hanging low.

"How's Claire?" He asks not even bothering to look up.

"How do you think she is? She's hurt, confused and over all tired. What the hell was that Redfield?" That wasn't the Chris Redfield he knew. The Chris Redfield he knew would have never hurt his sister like he had.

"I don't know, I don't know what came over me." His voice cracked. It was good to see that at least some of the old Chris was still there.

"Look I get it. You're mourning the loss of a friend. But you need to stop taking it out of your loved ones. Otherwise sooner or later you're gonna lose them too." He was right, and oh how Chris hated he was right.

"Now come on. Thanks to you we have to do some actual grocery shopping." Claire's pantry and fridge were always stoked. There was no need for shopping, however it was the only thing the he could come up with at the time to go looking for this buffoon.

The plan had been to grab just enough things to avoid suspicion, but when Chris started grabbing things such as a table and chairs to replace the 'broken' ones that he had caused, he couldn't help but to lend a hand. Every aisle they went down Leon made sure to point out the most useless crap claiming that it was destroyed during his outburst. To which he would get an "oh right."

At one-point Leon began to feel bad about trolling the poor man. But then he would remember how hurt Claire was and attack him with a vengeance, pointing out even more absurd things he could find. It was just a matter of keeping his laughter to a minimum, so, he wouldn't alarm the older man.

"Don't you think you've had enough of that for today? Why not try something a little less toxic, like soda or something." Leon had told the man at one point when they passed the alcohol. Chris was a work in progress it seemed.

By the time they were done shopping they had two baskets full of mostly crap. And Leon couldn't help but laugh out as soon as the big guy was out of earshot. God Claire was going to kill him, but it would be worth it.

"You let him buy all this crap?" She says picking up a random object not even knowing what the hell it's used for.

"I thought it was a good lesson to learn." He says, desperately trying to hold in his laughter.

"Leon, a smack on the head or even a punch to the face is lessoned learned, but this?" She gestures widely at all the bags. "How much did all this cost?!" Frankly she was scared to know.

"But then he might have punched back, and anyways it only costed him $677.65." Leon says digging at random through one of the bags.

"I know your fast enough to dodge him. Besides he's too drunk and slow and you know that!" She smacks his arm, causing a few laughs to erupt. "I can't believe you let him spend that much money. What were you thinking?!" She screeches.

"It was his idea I only intervened a little." Leon mockingly pouts.

"A little huh? Well maybe you can intervene your way to return all this stuff."

"Don't you at least want to see if you could use any of this?"

"What use could I possibly have for this Leon." Leon burst out laughing no longer able to contain it all.

"I honestly didn't think he would say yes to that one!" He says in between his fits of laughter. Leon’s laugh was so infectious that Claire ended up joining in. They laughed even harder when Chris had came by to see what the hell they were laughing at. To which she holds up the drinking bird to her brothers confused face.

"Oh. Hey I remember having one of those as a kid. Where did you get that?" They laughed again. It was a joke that would run on between the two, a joke that only they would understand.

It was in this crazy moment of laughter where Claire realizes that she was in love with her best friend Leon Scott Kennedy. But like all good things, this too would come to end, before it even began.

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September 2013

"I can't do this anymore." His broken whisper echoed through his rundown room. He caresses the compact with a butterfly engraved on it. "I can't do this anymore." He repeats.

That was what she had told him when they had ended it, wasn't it? The words that had shattered his world. His head began to spin and he felt sick to his stomach. Realization was hitting him hard.

All this time playing cat and mouse with Ada, he never once realized how he had played the same game with Claire. Except in Claire's story she was that cat and he was the mouse. Had he been just as cruel toying with her emotions?

He cries out rolling off the bed. Looking for the phone he had thrown.

"Please....please..." please what? What was it that he was looking for? A beam of light hits him in the eyes that causes him to still.

What was it that he was looking for?

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November 2009

"You still have it?" Claire reached out and touched the little puzzle piece charm that hung off his keyring.

"Of course! My best friend gave it to me." The puzzle piece had somewhat become a good luck charm over the years. It brought him and Claire together. It had brought him closer to Sherry again, whom was now in special training to become full-fledged agent for the government. Things were increasingly looking good and he owed it all to his good luck charm. "Don’t tell me you lost yours?" He glares playfully at her.

She hums as if to ponder and then pulls her puzzle from within her shirt. She didn't care much for the keyring so she had turned it into something she could wear, a necklace. "Also still have Larry the Care Bear. He's tucked in nicely on the bed, he says hi by the way."

"Sleep with him, much do you?" He says with a mischievous glint to his eyes.

"Oh definitely! Especially when I'm lonely. " she tilts her head to the side to expose her neck. That was the signal.

Leon sighs dramatically. "I suppose I need to take care of that then." It wasn't long before they were making out feverishly in his car in front of her house, like a couple of horny teenagers.

"We should really take this inside." She says breathily. Meanwhile his deft hands found its way to her breast, rubbing ever so slightly and eliciting a moan from her.

"Yeah we should." He agrees as his other hand lands on her ass.

She begins to rock her hips back and forth on him making him moan out. Taking off clothes in a car was a lot harder than they anticipated. Especially when they tried peeling off Claire's jacket and ended up hitting the car horn.

"You know, your right we should take this inside." Leon laughed.

"Oh God please! I think the whole neighborhood knows what we've been up to. " she covers her eyes with both of her hands.

"Well not everyone. I'm sure Mrs. White hasn't a clue." He slaps her bottom playfully.

"True, damn this neighborhood for not harboring nothing but old people!"

They didn't make it past the living room. Which was fine. The carpet was pushed and there were enough blankets and pillows to keep them all warm and comfy. They lay sprawled out on the floor, with Claire resting her head on his bare chest and Leon playing with her hair.

"Leon...there's something I want to ask you, but I'm not sure how you'll take it." She slightly moves her head so that she staring at him. His hand stills, and his heart begins to race for a different reason.

"It's just we've been at this for four years now, give or take." Please.

"Do you even see this going anywhere?" Please, say something.

"Do you even want this to go anywhere?" He couldn't even make eye contact with her.

"You don't do you?" She moves off of him. She stares at him trying to look for a sign any sign that he was willing jump in this with her. But there was no sign. And her heart shattered. Four years. She gave him four years in hope that he would feel a single ounce of what she felt for him. She bites her lip and hangs her head to hide the tears the threaten to spill.

"Claire..." finally able to find his voice.

"Damn I really thought this night was going to end differently. " she hurries to dress herself.

"Claire..." Leon tries again himself redressing with haste.

"I'm sorry I....I forgot to check something." She tells him and heads for her room.

"Claire wait!" He grabs her arm stopping her before she could get away.

"I'm not sure I can do this anymore.” She looks at him, and he can see the hurt clear in her eyes. “This on and off relationship, can you even call it that?" The wavering of her voice tells him she's crying. And he hates the fact that he was cause of her tears. "The thing is Leon, the more time I spend with you, the more I wish that you would just stay...that more I wish that I was enough for you." Claire wasn't blind or stupid. She knew of his affection for Ada. But somewhere down the line she felt that they had grown closer together, she could have sworn that they were on the same page.

"I love you Leon. But I need someone, no I deserve someone who's willing to love me back. Do you love me Leon?" Yes. He wanted to tell her yes.

"I... I don't know." And he left her with her tears. And a part of himself.

He couldn't feel anything. All he wanted was to feel something. Something that would ground him. What did he do? The only thing he could think. He found Ada. Surely, she would be the one to make him feel again.

"What is it that you want Leon?" Her breath tickles his ear.

" I want to feel... something" And so, she made him feel and made him forget. Again, and again and again. She made him forget about the sound Claire made when he touched her just right. She made him forget about the mewls Claire made when she was close, or the way her nails dug into his back when he hit that spot deep within her.

"I can't." He says brokenly.

"Ok. I'll bite, Can't what handsome?" Ada says as she continues to swirl her hips just the way he likes it.

"I can't love." He wanted to love Claire so bad. He wanted to… he just couldn't find it in himself.

"Hmm..." Ada hums. "That's the secret, no one can." No one can love? Was that why he was incapable of it? No, that’s not right. Claire could love. She told him that. And he loved Ada...hadn't he?

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June 2011

It was a phone call from Chris that had his heart drop. Claire had been caught in another unfortunate incident. He should have been there with her. God how he wished he had been there.

"I'm on my way." He’d be there for her now, of course he would, she was his best friend. Best friend who wasn't speaking to him. One year and seven months. His heart still ached at the memory of her broken sobs as he had walked away.

"Look, I don't Know what went on between you two, nor do I think I want to know." He knew. He was just a good man not to say anything. "But right now, she needs space. She doesn't need needless drama." It was a polite way of him saying fuck off. Which hurt more than he ever thought would. Great now he was needless drama. " I just felt you needed to know the situation."

"Understood." It was an asshole move. Hanging up right away. But at the time he really didn't give a fuck. All he wanted was to see Claire. And he was being politely told to fuck off. None other than by her brother Chris Redfield.

What did he do afterwards? Well, whatever got his mind off of Claire. Which had turned into fucking Ada in every angle possible.

"I would ask what has gotten into you, but I really don’t care. Not if you keep me that fulfilled." The sheets slide off her form as she gets up scavenging for her clothes and he helps her redress.

"Well handsome, this has been fun. See you next time." She kisses him on the lips before she exits out his window. Why she never uses the door was beyond him.

He could do this. In time he knows he can ease the pain in his very battered heart. He will forget Claire Redfield.

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September 2013

How could he do that to Claire? It was one thing for him to be in a sticky situation with Ada, but for him to completely do the same thing to Claire.

He was furious with himself!

He raced around looking for that damn light that kept hitting him in the face! Finally, there stuck between the blinds of the window was the source of his current annoyance. Only as soon as he grabbed it, he felt nothing but despair.

"What have I done?" There in his palms lay the puzzle piece, his ‘once’ good luck charm his ‘once’ best friend had given him. "I'm such an idiot." What was it that he had told Claire that night at the arcade?

"If he had taken his head out of his ass, he would have seen what an irreplaceable woman you truly are."

Fuck. He was Joe except worse! Fuck he was also Ada! He screams in agony. Why was his mind turning against him like this? Why couldn’t everything just shut the HELL up? And why after so many goddamn years, did he finally realize, that he Leon Kennedy was in love with his best friend Claire Redfield.

“dammit…”

Fate was rather cruel it seemed. Though his heart ached as if it shattered into a thousand pieces, nothing could prepare him for the heartache that was to come. The hatred that he would have for none other than himself.