A Rose by Any Other Name

Infected Rain

Wesker was in the lobby sooner than he realized. Jacks stood in the breakfast area behind the stairs his gun trained on a strange creature on the other side of the window. It was tapping on the glass with massive claws, hissing at him.

"Jacks!" Wesker shouted. Jacks turned and the creature broke through the glass, running on all fours straight toward him. Jacks turned to shoot the creature lighting quick, the heavy fire sending the beast sailing back through the window.

Wesker smiled in spite of himself. He'd made a good decision in using this boy as a test subject. He had proved himself time and again.

"Sir." Jacks' chest was heaving. "The clean up crew is dead."

"Dead?" Wesker asked, raising an eyebrow. "What happened?"

"Riley Davis came down and told me you wanted us to canvass the Hotel again. I left Karman to guard the entrance. I took Heyman and Richt with me. I'm not sure what went wrong but..." He pointed at the multitude of body parts that had once belonged to a very large dark skinned man by the name of Ronnie Karman.

"Where is Riley Davis?" Wesker ground out through his teeth. He was not pleased with this staggering turn of events. They were not to his liking at all.

"Not sure, Captain. I left him in the lobby with Karman." The slap caught Jacks by surprise and sent him flying. He hit the wall behind check-in desk and fell to the floor. When he stood up Wesker was gone.

Wesker kicked open the door to Riley's room and scowled. It was empty. He could tell that without having to search the room that his uniform was gone as well. The growl was nearly a roar as he shot back down the stairs and grabbed Jacks, hefting him in the air. "Any order given by me will come directly from me. Do you understand?" His eyes were blazing. "If I had wanted you to canvass the hotel again I would have told you so myself." His rage was barley restrained as he squeezed Jacks' throat. "If he is dead, I will see to it that you are too." He let go and dropped Jacks fall to the floor, where he lay for several seconds, gasping in silence. "Get some of your men and we will go look for him." Wesker said contemptuously. Jacks did as he was told, silently cursing the mischief-maker that had caused all this havoc.

Gradually, the light returned to Riley's eyes. He moaned and rolled onto his side. The light brought with it pain. But this time, the pain was not only in his leg; it had crept up into his stomach.

"So, you're awake." It was she, the voice he had once strained to hear. She rarely ever talked.

"Ada." He said softly. His voice came out a squeak and he was instantly embarrassed. She had patched up his leg, he noticed as he attempted to sit up. The bandage was wet with blood. He reached down and began to unravel the gauze nearly choking as he saw the skin around the wound was turning a strange gray. He recognized the symptoms rather easily. He was infected with the T-virus. He wondered how long he had been unconscious. He needed to know to find out how much longer he had to live. The thought was unsettling. "How long...?"

"About an hour." Ada answered. She sat on a stool across from him, cleaning her gun. He only had an hour left? With his leg the way it was, they wouldn't make it to a laboratory in time for him to mix up an antidote. He swallowed hard and sighed. He wished he'd listened to Wesker and not his stomach.

"Well then..." Riley grinned to himself. At least he might have a chance to be happy before he died. "How about a date?"

"A date?" Ada's head came up and she stared at him. "I don't know."

"Okay. How about you act like you're my girlfriend then." Riley coaxed.

"Your girlfriend?" She sighed loudly, rolling her eyes. "Okay." She shrugged after a long moment of silence.

"How about giving your estranged boyfriend a kiss..." Riley ventured. Ada smiled ruefully and stood up. She sat next to him and patted his arm.

"You shouldn't have removed the bandage." She kissed him on the cheek.

Riley had the odd urge to bite her on the arm. Not a bite…just a nibble. He wanted a nibble. He wasn't thinking about it in an amorous way either. He was hot and the skin around the wound was beginning to itch. He wasn't thinking straight and he knew it.

"I can't..." Her face jumbled and stretched as his mind played games with him. He didn't like this game. But he was hungry. So very hungry...

Miranda ran through the alley way as fast as she could. She'd seen something shaped like a child scuttle through an open window. "Sherry?" She gasped. Her hair had fallen out of the rubber band she'd put it in and flew wildly around her face.

She climbed into the window and tumbled into a dark living room. She reached for her flashlight. "Sherry. Come on baby. It's me...Aunt Miranda." Aunt sounded so funny…considering. It hurt for her daughter to think she was some distant relative. Even though "Auntie" was the first words she'd ever said. It wasn't the same

The flashlight revealed only the dead body of what seemed to be a man, but without a head it was hard to tell. She shivered. No kind of zombie could have killed him. "Sherry?" She asked again. Her words echoed strangely in the room. She searched every room but found nothing. Either Sherry had already escaped or Miranda had followed something else into its den.

She heard the clicking and turned her light towards it. The Hunter was no taller than Sherry. It screeched loudly and jumped at her. For a moment Miranda was frozen. Luckily something inside her snapped her back into awareness and she sprinted for the window, feeling a rush of air on the back of her neck as the talons passed over her. She dived out the window and ran. "A baby Hunter. My god..." She realized what it was and the blow seemed almost physical. The Hunter's were reproducing...

The new clean up crew was advancing slowly as Wesker tried to think of where Riley might have gone. Knowing him, he had probably gone off looking for something to eat. That thought helped him almost as much as not knowing anything. There were plenty of grocery stores and gas stations, not to mention all the other places he could find food, littered around the city.

Jacks had taken a team to the other side of the town in search of him. He had also been instructed to see if he could locate the monster in the sewers. With the whole city gone awry and communications cut short Wesker hadn't had the chance to keep track of it. However, he knew deep down that the monster was he old "friend" William Birkin. What he couldn't quite figure out, however, was why he was still in the city. "Sir." Jacks' voice squelched on his com-link. "The police are gathering on this side of town. They seem to be setting up a barrier..." The transmission crackled and popped. "SWAT is here...Zombies are everywhere...They can't...Moving to higher ground..."

So what remained of the police department thought they could defeat a city full of zombies? What fools. Wesker laughed aloud and several members of the crew turned to look at him. His com-link squelched again. "Captain." It was Jacks. His voice sounded quieter, as if he were closer to them. "Three members of our crew are dead. Communications are coming through from Umbrella. They're sending in a Bio-Hazard Countermeasure team to clean up the mess. They'll arrive within the hour."

"Watch for them." Wesker replied. "It's imperative that we find Davis and return to the basement."

"Still looking, Sir. There's no sign of him on our end. I'll try Wong. Maybe she's got something." Wesker agreed and sent his team into the nearby grocery store. Gunshots filled the air almost instantly. He waited by the entrance watching as his the operatives searched the store, destroying zombies in their wake.

"No sign of him, sir." a man shouted toward the back. They followed him out and began to make their way to the Taxago not far ahead.

"Captain." Jacks voice was urgent. "Wong says she's found him but..." Communication cut out and Wesker growled. On top of all his other troubles, Riley was now with Ada Wong and it wasn't where Wesker wanted him at all.

Riley groaned loudly. He was still itching fiercely. Ada had taken a damp cloth and began wiping his forehead with it. She was watching him now. Her dark eyes looking him up and down. The com-link in her ear beeped and she answered it.

"Yes. He's here. But…" She paused and looked at him. "He's not himself." Riley's whole body was on fire. He wanted to itch it. He wanted her to itch it. He wanted to lie on a bed of nails and let them itch it.

He was hungry but his stomach wasn't growling. Still cleaning her gun, Ada stayed on the other side of the room, away from him. "I understand. We'll wait for you."

Ada's voice was distorted and sounded almost like a trashcan he'd seen as a kid.

"I'm Leo the Paper Eating Lion," He muttered to himself. "I'm hungry. Feed me!" He shouted. "I eat everything…trash…gum wrappers…flesh…" Riley lay back down, weak. "Yeah. Flesh…"

Miranda was lost. She'd never known Raccoon City had so many twists and turns, not to mention all the secret passages and entranceways. Standing at the gates to city, she'd discovered to her ire that the gates were locked. Studying the clock on the right side told her why. Two of the twelve gems were missing and without them all, the clock would not function. She thought about climbing the walls but realized they were too high and she was not Wesker.

She didn't want to look around her either. This particular street was filled with dead bodies; some pilled against each other, some sitting up against the sides of buildings and wrecked cars. One man was lying half way beneath a fire truck.

She swallowed hard. What was her daughter seeing? She hoped it wasn't as bad as this. For a moment she wondered if Sherry was afraid. Then she realized after years of watching this child, she was as brave as her father.

Sherry was all right. Miranda just needed to find her and fast. She had a feeling that critical things were beginning to happen here. Surely Umbrella knew about all this and was planning to do something about it.

Almost as if they had heard her thoughts, a helicopter flew by overhead with the words U.M.B. printed in white letters on the side. The Umbrella Bio-Hazard Countermeasure Team was being sent in. She knew that Umbrella would set up a team like that. They'd been talking about it when the whole incident at the mansion began. Even then they knew what the T-virus was capable of.

What were they trying to prove by letting an entire city be overtaken? Was Riley right? Was this all related to warfare? All at once, she hated Umbrella more than she'd ever hated anything in her life. Because of their lust of the Ultimate Bio Weapon, her whole world had been destroyed. She'd lost the Wesker she'd once known and now she may have very well have lost her daughter. Umbrella must pay, she decided to herself, if not for me, then for Wesker and Sherry. She would do it herself if she had to.

A door behind her opened and slammed with a metallic bang. She turned with her gun held high, ready for the monster that was sure to attack her. Instead, a woman stood opposite her with a gun raised. It was a woman that she recognized, and a woman she wanted dead.

Jacks stood atop an abandoned restaurant and watched as the remaining police and SWAT members were picked apart by zombies. A part of him wanted to laugh inanely. This city deserved what was happening to it. He had no doubt about that. They had not helped him when he was near death and he saw no reason to help them now. They were all doomed anyway. The Military had blocked off all escape routes from the city. Even if these men and women survived the attack, sooner or later they would get eaten. And Jacks was glad.

He motioned for his team to get off the roof and head back to the basement of the hotel. He had been thinking a lot about finding the monster in the sewers and taking it on himself but that was not what Captain Wesker had told him to do.

When they found that smart-ass scientist, Jacks was going to give him a piece of his mind, and it wasn't the nice piece either. He couldn't understand why Captain Wesker thought it was so important to keep that annoying man alive. Granted, he had a wide array of knowledge about the Bio monsters, but there were bound to be a hundred more just like him. He leapt from atop the building, leaving the police behind him the last of their gunfire fading as the rain began to fall.

Wesker kicked the back door to the Taxago and was almost blinded by the light. The room was a lot brighter than he had expected it to be. Ada was leaning against a wall on the far side, polishing her gun with an old shop rag. She nodded as Wesker walked into the room and looked toward Riley.

Riley Davis was naturally pale skinned, but now, his skin had taken on a grayish tint and that didn't bode well. He was lying on his back looking toward the ceiling mumbling incoherently. He was itching himself on the chest thoughtlessly.

"Hey Wesker," He said calling out from his darkness. His voice was weak and pathetic.

Riley reached out his hand and Wesker noticed with disdain that the skin under his nails was green. "What the hell happened to him?"

Ada showed little interest in the subject as she answered. "He was bitten by a zombie. He's been steadily getting worse." Behind his dark glasses, Wesker narrowed his eyes. He didn't like her attitude.

"And? What have you done about it?" His voice was abrupt and angry.

"What do you want me to do? I'm not equipped with the knowledge to do anything for him." Ada snapped. "I should have killed him."

"Wesker…make it stop…it itches…itchy…" the mumble was nearly a scream. He looked toward Wesker. At all at once he noticed that Riley's eyes were milky white.

Wesker grabbed hold of Riley's forearm and held it out, studying the veins. His blood was running thin. There was very little time left before he was one of the undead.

"Get up." Wesker said, lifting Riley by the arm. Riley shrieked and clawed at him. "Ada, let's go." He ordered. He set Riley on his feet but he cried out in agony and stumbled. Wesker looked down and for the first time he noticed Riley's leg. The skin was gray and falling off. The blood, which should have flowed freely from the deep wound, was nonexistent. It wasn't hard to see the shattered bones inside the wound.

"Wesker, please no more. Make it stop." He moaned the sound unnatural and unfamiliar even to himself. Picking Riley up, Wesker carried him outside. The young man was losing consciousness again but this time would be his last. Ada followed closely without saying anything.

The rain was coming down in torrents as Wesker started back to the hotel basement. Riley opened his eyes and smiled. "Tut...tut it looks like rain."

"Yes. It does." Wesker answered slowly.

"Christopher Robin said that." Riley told him quietly. "Winnie the Pooh…" He sang softly. Riley couldn't force himself to tell Wesker he was afraid.

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