Previous Chapters; o1
Fandom; Resident Evil
Word Count; 3,838
Rating; R for swearing and toplessness!
Suggested Listening; um to be edited I can't think of anything right now and the music I was listening to while writing this doesn't actually fit 8D
Notes; Wow so uh. Chapter 2! Two years later! At this pace, I'll be done with this fic by the time I'm sixty. Please note, I did start this fic in 2006, so in light of recent revelations due to the pending release of Degeneration, this is now technically AU. So please no one be all "THEY DIDN'T MEET EACH OTHER UNTIL SEVEN YEARS AFTER RACCOON OMFG :["
By the time Claire emerged from the bathroom and her post-shower routine, Leon was in the kitchen, turning a glass of coke heavily laced with rum thoughtfully. He’d initially come out, poured himself the drink, and intended on being completely incoherent by the time the woman emerged, but after taking one sip he’d proceeded to just sit and content himself with rotating the glass on its coaster.
Probably for the best. He didn’t have his best interests in mind whenever his inhibitions were hampered. Hell. He had no clue what the hell he was supposed to say to her after that conversation, and he was completely sober. He’d have even less of a clue when he was thinking through an alcoholic haze.
He knew what he WANTED to say. More or less. There was a lot. Starting with the fact that she’d slowly driven him mad every second of every day since she came trembling back into his life. There’d been before too, of course. When he’d still been under the impression Ada was dead, he’d been in a bad way.
He knew a part of him would always be drawn to Ada. There was no changing that and…god, he didn’t want to. She’d saved his ass with that rocket launcher, even if she’d turned on him barely a minute later.
She just wasn’t the type of woman you stayed with. She was the type of woman you spent a couple months with, doing dangerous things together, fucking until you were both too sore to move. The girl all the bad guys want, really.
Admittedly, on some levels that appealed to Leon. Hell, it’d appeal to any red-blooded American man.
The difference was he’d always wanted more than a dangerous life and rough sex. For all his bravado and flirting, he wanted someone he could spend the rest of his life with. The day before he’d left for Raccoon City his girlfriend of three years had left him for another man. He’d been cut by that, because he’d been fully prepared to spend the rest of his life with her. He’d talked about her moving to Raccoon after finishing college, that she’d do her thing, and he’d do his. He was planning to propose to her right before he left.
And then she told him she was cheating on him, and that it wouldn’t work out. Because she’d grown bored with their relationship. Maybe that was why he’d been drawn to Ada, that night in hell.
Because after that, normal seemed like a risky thing, and if they’d both survived sure, that wouldn’t have worked out either but really he wouldn’t have ever fooled himself into thinking it would.
“What are you thinking about?”
Leon was broken from his quiet reflection by Claire’s voice, and he looked up, startled. She had moved into his field of vision, her hair still visibly wet and pulled back into a low ponytail, per her usual hate of having it hanging on her shoulders. She had on an oversized faded RPD t-shirt, more than likely it used to be Chris’s, and a pair of sweatpants he recognized as the pair she’s requisitioned from his drawer earlier in the week when she was doing laundry.
For someone who insisted she didn’t want to disrupt his bachelor lifestyle, she was sure doing a damn good job of acting like a live-in girlfriend.
“What makes you think I’m thinking about anything at all?” He leaned back, looking at her evenly. She smiled at him, leaning against the table before picking up the glass that lay forgotten on the table.
“You’ve got that ‘AFM’ look on your face.” AFM. Her cute little acronym for ‘Away From Mind.’ She’d mentioned something about how one of her old college friends had always used online acronyms in real life, and AFM was the equivalent of ‘AFK.’ It had apparently stuck with her, over the years.
“I’m plenty in my mind, thanks.” He raised an eyebrow slightly, crossing his arms and continuing to watch her. She bit her lip and watched him back for a moment, as if expecting him to say something, before glancing down at the stolen glass of soda and alcohol and taking a sip from it.
“Oh, ew. You put booze in this.” She wrinkled her nose, and set the glass back down, pushing it away from her. He chuckled a little at that. One of the many things he liked about Claire was the fact that she hated mixed drinks. She’d always said that there was no point in getting drunk unless you were AWARE you were getting drunk. And taste was all a part of that.
“Well. I figured it was an appropriate alternative to drowning.” She tilted her head at him, before shaking her head and punching him lightly on the arm.
“You don’t sound drunk.”
“I’m not drunk.” She rolled her eyes, shrugging her shoulders.
“So. Wasn’t there something you wanted to ask me?” Leon sighed, raking his hands through his hair. There it was. And he still was no closer to what he wanted to say than before.
She’d made it sound like it’d be as easy as asking her out for a cup of coffee and good conversation.
The big problem was, they’d done that loads of times. Granted, Claire always ordered a small coffee but asked for it in a large cup, and then filled it the rest of the way with cream and sugar, so she was drinking some ridiculous coffee-flavored milk but it was still just…one of those things they’d done a million times.
Go to the movies? They’d just gone to see The Grudge last weekend. And they’d eaten before they’d left.
In theory, he had been steadily dating Claire Redfield for the past month. But it wasn’t really that easy was it? They’d been considering it all in the sake of friendship. They’d had moments of tense silence, sure.
But getting involved with Claire Redfield was really fucking hard. She drew you in, but then you’d catch a vulnerable look in her eyes, and you couldn’t follow through.
He sighed again, standing and shaking his head. “Forget it. Stupid idea.”
He moved towards the living room, intent on the relative safety of the couch. It was around time for the news, and it was becoming a ritual for the two of them to sit and watch for any hints of Umbrella in the reports. She wouldn’t keep at it if the news were on, and if he were lucky there’d be some kind of crisis and she’d forget the topic completely. He knew he was fooling himself, thinking he might actually be able to go through with admitting to the steadily growing attraction he had to her.
He’d made it into the living room before she caught up with him, catching a hold of his shoulder and stopping any further progression.
“Leon, stop it.” He looked surprised as she walked around him, her face serious. He didn’t see her with a serious look on her face often. That was usually reserved for Umbrella-related matters or when a game of Monopoly got a little too intense. But there was no mistaking the seriousness in her face. Still, his brain thought it was best for him to play dumb, so before he could even think about his response, he replied.
“Stop what?” He could practically feel her irritation with him doubling. Stupid answer, Kennedy.
“You know exactly what. This—" she flailed her arms as if that indicated exactly what she meant, “—distancing crap.” She sighed, falling back a little and rocking onto the heels of her bare feet. He frowned at her, his brow wrinkling slightly. She wasn’t going to let this drop, and he wasn’t really sure what to tell her. Frustrated, he ran his hand through his hair, trying to think of a reasonable excuse to end this.
“…I’m not…I mean…” He sighed, trying words and failing. He averted his eyes, and he could feel her watching him, trying to catch his gaze, while he stared past her shoulder, focused on the corner of the couch. He’d been so close to escape and there it was, just out of distance, mocking him in all it’s upholstered glory.
“Leon. Look at me, will you?” Her hands were on his face then, and she turned him to face her, and while he didn’t quite meet her eyes, he did catch the warm smile she gave him, and knew he was in for it now. “Stop running away from me.” He couldn’t help snorting at that. She’d done nothing but run since he’d met her, really. He finally looked back at her, his eyes meeting hers.
“You’re one to talk.” She sighed, releasing his face from her grasp and bowed her head, although he noted her hands didn’t leave him, resting instead on his shoulders. After a beat she nodded her head and looked back at him.
“I know. I know. I’ve been running ever since Raccoon. But I kept coming back, right? You’re still running and you haven’t even gone anywhere.” His eyes scanned her face, and he was unsure how to respond. He knew she was right, and it surprised him how well she knew him sometimes. Ever since Raccoon he’d been running too. Most of the time from the memory of Ada, but there were other things too. As much as he wanted that normal relationship, he was afraid of what would happen if it didn’t work.
With Ada that was pretty safe. He knew it’d never work. She’d fuck him and leave him dry and aching for more. Claire though. She was a whole different story. He didn’t know if it’d work, but it could. And that did frighten him, a little. Because they had built an amazing friendship, and the idea of that being ruined by a relationship…
Stupid as it sounded, he didn’t want to lose her like that. She meant too much to him. After he was fairly certain he’d been staring at her for a full minute, he sighed and shook his head, his eyes leaving her face again.
“Claire I…” He looked back at her, his brow furrowed slightly. “I don’t want to risk what we have here.” She stared at him for a minute, and he was worried she was going to either smack him or walk out the door. Mentally flailing a little, he tried to continue, to get any kind of reaction besides the neutral look she was giving him. Serious and irritated were one thing, but neutral was just scary.
“We’ve been through a lot together, and if something happened... If we didn’t—" He broke off his attempt at rationalizing when suddenly she was grabbing his face again, pulling him down to her level and rising on her toes to meet him halfway. His brain shut down for all of five seconds when her lips met his, and he found himself unable to react. He’d always been well aware she was a forward and impulsive person, but he’d never really thought her impulses stretched through every aspect of her life.
“That was kind of pathetic, Leon.” She’d pulled away before he’d snapped out of his shock, and was now arching an eyebrow at him, only the slight curl at the corner of her mouth indicating that she was teasing him. He gave her a withering look, before reaching up and brushing the backs of his fingers along her cheek. His eyes focused on the movement, before he looked back at her, the teasing look on her face having quickly faded into what he’d only ever been able to pin as Claire in one of her self-conscious moments. She was probably second-guessing what she’d just done, and he didn’t have the words to assure her she hadn’t done anything wrong. He knew his silence would give the wrong impression but she’d just kissed him and despite the fact that he hadn’t exactly returned it, he knew from that there wasn’t any going back.
The hell with friends, then. With that thought his hand that was wandering somewhat hesitantly over her cheek slid down behind her neck, still damp from her hair, and he pulled her to him again, leading this kiss, and it was her turn to be surprised, although she caught on more quickly than he had the first time. Her hands moved quickly to wrap around the back of his neck her mouth opening, tongue seeking his, and he knew she was going to fight him for control. It was the kind of person Claire Redfield was, and he accepted that. Of course, Leon wasn’t the type of person to give up without a fight, especially when she’d just accused him of being pathetic.
His other hand moved down to her waist, tightening around her and flattening his hand to the small of his back, tugging her closer. In answer to that she pulled her arms tighter around him, one hand drifting up into his hair while the other slid down his arm still firmly holding her neck. Slowly he got it in his head to push her towards the couch, because his neck was starting to hurt bent down even with the occasional switch when she arched up on her toes to press her mouth harder to his. He shifted his hand around her neck to her back and nudged her legs into moving without actually breaking from the kiss. He was getting dizzy from a combination of a lack of oxygen and the intoxication of the knowledge that this was Claire Redfield he was kissing, but he was fairly certain he knew where the couch was, still.
Claire, however won the battle, when she twisted him around just before they reached the couch and broke away from him as she shoved him over the side of the arm. He fell uselessly onto his back while she grinned in what he could only describe as a wicked manner, although she was quick to follow him, straddling his hips and pinning him to the couch.
Jesus Christ. She was amazing and he was pretty sure he knew where this would go if he let it. He hadn’t realized she’d had this kind of pent up aggression. He knew he had, and he’d taken more than a few cold showers to keep his gentlemanly ways about him, but she’d always seemed untouchable. As her hands raked up his chest and his eyes fixed on hers he realized untouchable didn’t really describe her. Not anymore.
“Claire.” He spoke her name as she leaned down to press her lips to his again and she paused a millimeter from his face, and he mentally groaned, watching her blue eyes burn into his.
“Hmm?” The answer she gave him was more in her throat than vocal, and he sighed, reaching up and grabbing her face, kissing her again before responding with what he’d originally intended. She couldn’t just hover like that, he couldn’t focus.
“Are you sure—" he shifted his hands slightly so he could see her face more clearly, the closeness having blurred her features together slightly. “—About this?” She stared at him for a moment, before letting out a surprising giggle and leaning against his hands, she kissed him again, light and playful contrasting the previously intense kisses.
“Kennedy if I wasn’t I would not be straddling you in your living room.” Her eyes were sparkling with amusement, and that was really all the answer he needed. He gave her a lop-sided grin, one hand automatically moving to brush her bangs behind her ear.
“Okay. Just making sure you’re not going to hate me tomorrow.” He arched his chin up again to claim her lips in his, his hands trailing down her back and tugging her shirt up, not really interested in wasting time. In his opinion, they’d wasted enough time. She was helpful in getting the overlarge t-shirt off, reluctantly breaking the kiss long enough so he could lift it over her head and throw it on the floor.
She didn’t give him a chance to take in any of her topless form besides the briefest of glances before she was kissing him again, so he contented himself for learning her skin by touch. His fingers slid over her bare back and down her shoulders before he allowed himself to wander into dangerous territory, first skirting around the raised flesh of her breasts before sliding his hands fully over them, letting his hands learn what he couldn’t see as she gasped against his mouth, and he couldn’t help but grin a little.
Her hands were on his shirt, then, tugging in a demanding fashion, although as long as she had him pinned to the couch he couldn’t very well get it off. He wasn’t sure why she was trying to keep him so busy so he couldn’t look at her, but he had a feeling she was feeling a little self-aware, even if the humming in the back of her throat as he brushed his thumbs over puckered flesh indicated she was enjoying the experience.
Reluctantly he moved his hands away from her breasts so he could bring them up to cup her face again, gently prying her away. He gave her as innocent a look as he could manage, although he couldn’t entirely keep the grin from his face.
“This’ll go a lot more smoothly if you let me move, you know.” She smirked back at him, although she couldn’t entirely hide the blush that rose to her cheeks, and smacked him lightly.
“Smartass.” She gave him another brief kiss, while he idly noted that she seemed really fond of oral stimulation, before pushing herself up so she was upright again. The full sight of her looking slightly embarrassed but absolutely beautiful was stalling for him. He’d been overly aware how beautiful Claire was, and how well she’d matured from the scared 19-year-old he’d met in Raccoon to the stunning woman with him now, but the realization that all the flirting he’d thought was completely meaningless over the years had led to this.
He rose up to slide his arms around her and pull her close, and for a minute she looked surprised because she’d had his shirt half up without him realizing it, but her arms were pinned in between them now and he kissed her, slow and deep, before breaking away and pressing his forehead to hers.
“You’re beautiful, Claire.” He was rewarded with another blush and she turned her head to focus on his shoulder.
“Shut up and take your shirt off.” The somewhat embarrassed look she carried from his compliment watered down the intensity of her statement completely, but he laughed and pulled away from her, finally letting her pull his shirt off. With her eyes focused on his chest for a moment he had another chance to take in her full beauty, the curve of her hips before they disappeared into the thick sweatpants and the swell of her breasts. He didn’t realize her fingers were lingering on his left shoulder where one of his more prominent scars still remained, before she spoke.
“No matter how much time has passed, we still carry our scars, huh?” He blinked, tearing his eyes away from her body and refocusing on her face, before glancing down at where her hands were. Sighing silently he slid his hand down her arm, covering her smaller hand with his own. That had been the first of many scars he’d received in the fight against Umbrella, and there were probably more to come. The bullet had at least passed completely through his shoulder, but it had been a bitch to rehabilitate.
“Got to remember our mistakes somehow, right?” He gave her a slight smile, fully aware how completely bizarre and slightly inappropriate this sudden line of conversation was, considering he was sitting half naked with a beautiful, and equally half naked, girl in his arms. But then again, their whole friendship had been bizarre at times, so maybe it wasn’t that inappropriate.
She nodded slightly, before leaning forward to kiss him again. He noticed a sudden hesitance, although it was quickly replaced by her former intensity, her hand on his chest twisting to thread her fingers through his. He shifted slightly, adjusting his other hand so he had a firm grip around her waist, and swung them around so he could lower her down onto the couch this time, carefully working to keep most of his weight off of her. When he was sure she wasn’t going to protest his hands slid down her body again, briefly lingering on her breasts before moving for lower lands. As his fingers passed her navel he grinned a little into her mouth as her breathing hitched slightly, and he continued on his path towards the waistband of her sweatpants. He worked the knot in the cord keeping them tied into place around her hips, freeing it—
—and then the buzzer on his intercom went off. He groaned and broke away from her, his head sticking up over the couch to stare at the offending piece of technology, and Claire was scrabbling at him with her hands, a look of displeasure on her face.
“Ignore it. They’ll think we’re out and go away eventually.” Leon smirked a little at that and turned back to the woman beneath him, lowering his face to hers again as the buzzer went off again.
“Sounds like a good idea to me.” He was able to ignore the buzzing for a moment, his hands continuing on their previous deed, but when whoever was persistently hitting the buzzer tapped out the Morse code for SOS, well. Neither one of them could ignore that at that point. They looked at each other, a mutual look of panic reflecting briefly on one another’s faces masking any annoyance either one felt, before Leon pulled himself up off of the couch and stalked over to the intercom, holding the speaker down.
“Someone better be shot and bleeding down there.” He growled, not even trying to sound polite. He knew some of his friends from the office weren’t above using crisis signals to get his attention when he was trying to ignore them. He could feel like an ass later if there were an actual crisis. He was trying to get laid, and he felt that gave him the right to be a bit of a jackass.
“Sorry to disappoint.” A familiar voice floated into the apartment and Leon glanced over at Claire who had located her shirt on the floor and was clutching it to her chest, the look of surprise on her face mirroring what he felt. “Claire’s there?” Leon stared dumbly at the intercom, before hitting the button again.
“Good. Let me in, we got shit to do.” Leon felt Claire’s hand on his shoulder then, and he hit the other button as his stomach sank, unlocking the door for her older brother. He had thirty seconds to get rid of the erection in his pants and get his shirt on, before he was faced with whatever gritty reality Chris Redfield had brought knocking on their doorstep.