(First and) Second State: (Idaho and) Montana, 25th of September 2013
He gave up everything for him. His house. His job. Literally everything.
"You didn´t have to do it..." That led to this situation of said person just sitting next to him and blaming him and complaining without end.
He tried real hard, reminded himself why he did what he did but with Piers´ never-ending and constant nagging it got hard.
Shouldn´t the boy be grateful, dammit?!
"You ruined everything, you know...? They could have done their thing to me... it would have been okay..."
Chris pulled over to the side of the road. On a rather popular road in the middle of nowhere, where the speed limit was apparently endless, not the most safest thing to do.
Chris calmly counted to ten in his head, stared dead ahead as Piers looked at him with wide eyes.
"..." He had done everything.
When the news from HQ came that they would put down Piers, no matter anything, Chris was furious. But nothing he could do, really. The virus was still present in Piers´ body and even if he proved that he could stay in control even in immense stress like tests proved, the higher up´s wouldn´t take the risk.
"It´s okay...", he had said. "If that is what command wants..." Chris couldn´t understand how Piers could just accept his fate. Maybe it was the fact that he almost died once already or his strong sense of obedience but...he was fine with it.
This day, when Chris had entered his hospital room and he stood there by the window, dressed in uniform, almost made him think everything was like before. But that wasn´t Piers´ original uniform and they would not leave for a mission. They would leave for execution.
"You... just shut up!" Chris grunted the other one´s way before he slowly drove the trailer back on the street. He had no time to argue with the kid. He had to bring more distance between them and HQ. But he had already told himself that two states ago.
Piers was now silent, awkwardly leaned his weight on his scarred right arm and shifted against the passenger door, looking out the window. The landscape had long become foreign and if he was honest he had no idea where they were anymore, yet alone where they headed. Chris had the map and he refused to let him look at it at all cost. Piers assumed he couldn´t read it and got them lost some time ago.
It was barely a week since Chris had come to get him for his execution but halfway through the complex of HQ Chris had began taking weird turns and after 5 more minutes Piers was sure they were neglecting the way they were supposed to take.
"Sir... I don´t think...", and suddenly it had become so complicated as sirens all over the place went off and Chris yelled aggressively towards him to run. His reflexes kicked right in and he sprinted towards the nearest exit he remembered.
"Freeze!" But the door opened by itself and he stared down the barrel of a gun. Well, considering this was the view he prepared himself all week for, it felt strangely.. anticlimactic.
Chris came to a stop merely a meter behind him, desperately huffing.
"Captain Redfield..."A group of four soldiers suddenly stood in front of them. The one with the gun in hand spoke. "Where do you actually think you´re going with Nivans?" He tried to play tough but the sniper saw the slight shivers that caused the gun to shake. For a brief moment he wondered who his comrade was more afraid of. Chris or him?
"...I´ll take him with me.", was Chris´ short but determined response. Piers tried to turn around to look at him but the gun made contact with his forehead and the cold metal on his skin made him freeze.
"You do?", came the mocking tone right back. Piers wondered how he even allowed himself to speak like this towards Chris. "You´ve been just freed from all your privileges." Maybe because of that, Piers swallowed nervously.
He and Chris got forcefully pushed in the other direction again and for a moment only the steps on the white tiles of the hallway could be heard. Chris next to him started whispering.
"When I say now... you attack. And when I say attack I mean it. No holding back because these are BSAA." Chris´ voice was too deep and husky to not have been heard.
"What was that, 'Captain'?"
"Do it now!" Once again Piers´ body responded all by it´s own and he whirled around, getting a firm grip on that soldier´s wrist and actually, for the first time since Lanshiang, used the electricity to make him pass out and collide right onto the floor. The reaction was instant and a total of three guns were immediately aimed towards him.
"..." The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Slowly he tried to make out where Chris was. All the other soldiers were just having eyes for him so they never paid attention to Chris.
"Argh-!" The first soldier fell to the ground, revealing the sight of Chris who legitimately just snapped his head. He drew his gun faster than they could pull the trigger.
The second soldier fell to the ground as Chris shot him in the area around his chest. He had aimed for his legs...
The last one standing was shakingly taking aim at Chris but Piers´ lightning wasn´t something he could deal with. His body twitched on the floor. "...!" Piers stared in horror at what they had just done. Two out of four were definitely dead. They had killed them. Normal humans, no infected.
His eyes wandered up again and disbelievingly found Chris´. Just in that moment Piers realized he had no idea if Chris ever killed a perfectly fine human being before. The way he still seemed totally collected made him see his captain with other eyes.
"Nivans!" Chris yelled him out of his shocked state of mind. "Move it!"
Piers instantly took the way he was denied earlier. When they pushed open the wide double doored exit, the fresh air outside hit him like a wall. After all he had spent so much time in quarantine...
Chris pushed him hard, almost making him stumble over before roughly grabbing his hand and dragging him off the base. They were incredibly lucky and made it into the woods without getting tailed.
From there on out it had been exciting, hard, depressing, relieving, sad.
The first day they just kept walking through the forest without any idea where they were, just bringing distance in between. The second day they broke out of the green hell and found a small village. The third day Chris had bought a horribly cheap looking trailer from his last money. On the fourth day they had already left Washington.
In all this time there was barely dialogue between them. It was like Piers was in trance. Everything happened so fast and he had no idea how to feel about this. Here and there they would stop in a run-down diner or shop to buy food or clothing. They purposefully chose big and messy locations so people likely wouldn´t remember their faces. Even if Piers was kinda hard to forget with all the scars in his face, so Chris would make sure to park the trailer in the shadows and advance alone. It were these moment Piers had time to think.
What would they do now? They couldn´t always be on the run until the end of their days. Chris left everything behind. His career, his personal life. Was he really that important? More important like Claire for example? Probably not. Maybe Chris was just feeling guilty... but was it worth it to throw everything away then? How long would they still be able to live from Chris´ last few dollars? Where would they park the trailer tonight to sleep a bit without raising suspicion? When would the BSAA finally catch up to them...? When would he die? And what would they do to Chris then?
They never talked about these fears even if Piers knew Chris had them too. It was in the way he thrashed around at night, mumbling terrible things of events in the past and present. Of his fears. Of losing. Piers knew they were both in a fragile state.
"Piers..." Said ex-sniper ripped himself off the view of ...Montana, he supposed.
"Yes?" "I´m sorry...", Chris mumbled out of nowhere and Piers looked over to him, surprised.
"Not for what you think. I´m not sorry for leaving the BSAA behind or my home... for the house was never a place where I stayed in for long or found comfort in. And regarding... the BSAA, it had long stopped being 'my' organization..."
"...What?" Piers asked intellectual which got Chris chuckling for a moment.
"I founded this organization many years ago together with Jill and a few other folks. It was small back then. It just started expanding this rapidly after the incident on the Queen Zenobia, then we got all the equipment from the FBC. The BSAA grew so big I lost sight of many things that were important... Jill was there to back me up but now... even she is against us. Seems like the BSAA doesn´t care about me or my opinion anymore. It was time to leave this place." Chris mused aloud and stretched a little in the driver´s seat.
"Maybe... I just grew too comfortable in one place, Piers. Maybe I should be grateful that you broke me out of my routine. Not gonna lie... I like the 'Driving around the United States, being on the run' thing. Then I was young I watched a lot of old series and stuff. Thought it was kinda cool back then." Piers just continued to stare at him like the man in front of him was someone else entirely. Chris Redfield always liked keeping secrets. Being at arm´s length with his coworkers. And in this little second, Piers thought, he learned more about this man, who was supposed to be his Captain, then in working 4 years side by side with him.
Piers´ lips twisted in a little smile. Chris caught himself wanting to print this image into his head, so rare were the occasions Piers smiled so honest and so carefree.
"I see.~ You never told me much about you 'back then'. Had to ask Claire all the time." Chris almost lost the fucking street. "You... You did what?!"
"I asked your sister." Piers admitted honestly and he had never thought that could be so easy to say.
"About what?!" "About you." "You´re a fucking stalker!" Chris laughed loud and Piers almost flinched. The man could be loud as fuck sometimes... so not like he himself...
"Just trying to please my captain.", he shrugged but at the same time wanted to cringe at the honesty of these words. He had a goddamn problem...
"Anyways..." Chris cleared his throat and Piers realized he got uncomfortable as well. "All I wanted was to say sorry for bringing you into this situation..."
The sniper hummed before letting his smile shine through once more. "They would have killed me if it wasn´t for you. Should I really complain?"
There was a small silence in the trailer. "Well, you always complain, that´s how I know you. Earlier you did it too."
Piers had to realize that he did complain a lot. In fact, he did it so often he rarely noticed it anymore. "Whatever...", he huffed and turned away again. There were so many things they had to talk about but once again chose to be silent. Like mumbling to himself he asked: "...Where are we headed now?"
Chris had troubles understanding the question in the first place with Piers covering half his mouth with the hand he leaned on, but when he did he shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
"...Don´t know..." Piers sighed. "That´s just great..."
"Look!" Chris jumped up a little in irritation. "We´re driving east, okay? Maybe... Minnesota. Minnesota is nice."
"And then?" The older soldier hated it how Piers could never let things happen. The sniper ace liked to plan. Plan everything weeks before into the last detail. Chris was the opposite.
"We´ll change names, I´ll get a job. You never saw one of these movies, did you, Nivans?"
"Nah, was too busy actually caring about my future..." He threw a poisonous look towards Chris. He got the message. The kid could still not understand, to this day, how he became Captain of Alpha Team with dropping outta high school.
"Where do I fit in your plan, old man?" Piers began playing with his shemagh out of pure boredom. His original one got destroyed in China but when he woke up in the hospital, Chris left a new one on his bedside. They never talked about it besides a quick 'Thank you' from Piers but he was actually really glad.
"Let´s see... You´re bossy as hell. You like house chores. What would that make you, kid?" Piers growled at the pet name. He was no kid, goddammit. Chris would have to know this by now...
"Your wife?" "My wife!" Chris agreed, laughing. The younger one couldn´t believe they had this conversation. Where had they gone wrong? He hadn´t meant it at all, more like a joke. Good to know Chris liked the idea...
Chris continued fast. "You have these scars... Don´t get me wrong, I... like them? I guess. But everyone else..." "Gets totally freaked out. Believe me, I noticed." Piers finished.
"..." The awkward tension rose again with Chris staring dead ahead on the street. He wanted to say something, anything. But the China mission was still a thing he and Piers simply did not talk about. Just as everything regarding it.
"What about Nebraska?" Piers finally said and Chris lay his head to the side, thinking.
"What´s in Nebraska?", he asked back, a little smile on his lips. "...My parents..."
Chris´ head turned over to Piers in an instant. The kid never talked much about his parents, hell, until now Chris didn´t even know he was from Nebraska. "You trust them?"
"My mom with my life. My dad... not so much.", he answered truthfully. Chris thought about it a moment but Piers already continued talking.
"I´m not asking here to live with them. I know this could be dangerous, especially with my father being the most reliable soldier on this planet." Piers rolled his eyes. "I´m just asking for Nebraska... I miss the landscape."
"I see... Nebraska it is, then!~" Chris exclaimed grinning and concentrated on the road again.
It had long become dark outside when they were still driving hours later. Piers had fallen asleep on the passenger´s seat while Chris still searched for a good place to park the trailer.
They had left the highway half an hour ago and Chris made his way through little bumpy paths in the mountains. He was driving extremely cautious but the old vehicle still crunched and crackled aloud. How Piers could sleep like this, he had no idea.
When he finally parked it in a dark place covered by trees a few meters away from the actual road, another 20 minutes had passed. Exhausted, he pulled out the key from the ignition.
For a little while he just sat there and looked out into the blackness of the night. This kind of reminded him how he had to stay the nights in Claire´s bedroom when she couldn´t sleep. How was she now? He wondered if the BSAA told her that he 'turned sides'. He wondered if they searched her place for traces of him. To tell the truth here... he missed her. But there was no going back anymore.
The Captain of Alpha Team looked over to his right to find Piers watching him with a slightly worried expression on his face. Or maybe he was just tired.
"Yeah...?", he asked back quietly, almost whispering. A little smile appeared on Piers´ face.
"Alright.~ Already thought you had an attack there..." Piers yawned and stretched himself. Chris knew he shouldn´t but he watched every movement.
They both had mental problems, Chris wasn´t going to lie about it. In his case it started in 2009, in Kijuju. After he killed Wesker and got Jill back from the nightmare she had been stuck in, bioterror got a hold of him. He started seeing things, hearing them. But it wasn´t as bad as he had seen it plague other people. The BSAA advised him a therapist. And since then it had been better. Then Edonia happened...
Piers, on the other hand, was an individual with a strong mind. He was young. He was healthy. He was fine. Before... because after the Lanshiang mission the younger one had just the same problem like him. PTSD was just a thing that happened to a soldier. The only question was 'when?'.
"Nah... you notice when I have a real attack..." Chris tried to make it sound cheerful but it had the opposite effect on Piers and made him frown.
"Nevermind, go back to sleep, Piers." Chris grunted as he ran both his hands through his face. He was getting too old to drive for hours without end.
"You too...", the younger one hesitantly mumbled before getting up from the passenger´s seat and grabbing Chris´ hand firmly.
Something sparked inside Chris and he knew what it was. But it was something he also forbid himself to think of. "..."
Slowly he got up and followed Piers into the back of the vehicle where their 'bed' was located. They passed the small kitchen with a fridge to their right. On the left was a closet, not really big but enough for their few belongings anyway.
Then they finally arrived in the back with a battered looking couch with a small table in front of it and a tiny TV standing on it. They moved the table further in the middle of the room, away from the couch. They folded it out, it was still small as shit but both soldiers were used to little comfort while sleeping.
Sleeping next to someone was, however, something they still had to get used to. Piers barely had relationships in his young life. If he did, they broke fast due to his dedication for the army. Chris... didn´t have a warm body next to his in forever, he realized. His job consumed his private life for some time now. Sure, somewhere in between he had some encounters. Other then that he was living like a priest. Not considering the killing zombies for a living part.
Their bodies were so used to being at alert even while sleeping they hardly had found a calm minute the first night. The nights after, when they did, the nightmares played their part also. When one of them did have one and thrashed around, it kept the other one awake as well.
Piers grabbed his night wear and disappeared into the way too small bathroom while Chris changed as well.
He threw a look onto the couch. Piers had made sure to buy new, fresh covers and throw them over but at the arm and back rest you could still see... things. This trailer was old, of course, it was the cheapest thing this weird dude, he bought it from, had. But there had been more than one perverted encounter this couch had to endure. He shuddered thinking of it.
Piers returned not long after and dropped onto their couch like a dead man. Chris gave a quick chuckle before turning off the lights and laying down as well.
"Good night, Piers.", he whispered into the darkness and the only response he got was an acknowledging but tired grunt.