A Rose by Any Other Name

Los Muertes Angelico

Jacks stood alone in the courtyard of the Clock Tower. The rain poured around him drenching him to the bone, but he hadn't noticed. His mind was blank. He'd kept it that way since arriving at the Tower.

He'd never had a problem killing. Ever since he'd been forced to watch his two little sisters killed in front of him, he'd never even noticed. Blood was like water to him, cleansing and natural. His was hand on the .44 Magnum in his hip holster. Jacks closed his eyes and listened for voices inside the Tower.

"Come out…Come out…where ever you are!" Jacks' eyes flew open and he realized that he was not in the Tower Courtyard anymore, but in his old home. He heard the frightened whimpering of his youngest sister. He braced himself for what was coming. Without warning Jacks was about to relive his ultimate nightmare.

"Nessa, be quiet!" his own hiss of fear was as clear as a bell.

"Check through there!" The voice was Spanish and right outside the door. Jacks realized with sickening certainty that he was merely an observer in an old memory. The three of them were underneath the bed in his room. His sisters were crying uncontrollably. "When you find them, kill them." Upon hearing this, Nessa choked out a sob so loud there was no doubt the mercenaries had heard.

His older sister grabbed his arm and dug her nails into it. "What have you done, Robert?" He'd never answered. He didn't have time to. The door flew open and two men burst inside. "Find them!"

Nessa cried out again and one man with black hair and brown eyes grabbed her by the arm, yanking her from underneath the bed.

"No!" Jacks crawled out and threw himself at the other man. "Leave her alone."

"Kill the girls first, then the boy." The one who spoke was been tall with short dark brown hair and beady, evil eyes. His sisters broke down into sobs.

"Leave them alone. They don't know anything!" Jacks screamed as the three of them were dragged into the living room. "They don't know!"

The two men were about the same height and build and were wearing the same olive green shirts with utility vests and khaki pants. Their Umbrella issued combat boots clunked heavily across the floor. Even though he'd been deathly afraid, Jacks had memorized every detail, swearing that if they killed his sisters, he would hunt them down and kill them in return.

They pushed his youngest sister to her knees. "Maybe we should have a little fun with her." The black haired one purred.

"No!" Jacks leapt toward them again and began furiously hitting and kicking. "Leave her alone!"

"Call Sergeant Nicholai. He's going too be much of a problem for us to get the job done quickly." The dark brown haired man slammed the butt of his shotgun into Jacks' stomach. Jacks rolled away and clutched his mid-section, coughing haggardly.

"Please." He wheezed. "Leave them alone. They're just little girls." Nessa was twelve and Melissa was fourteen. The men ignored him and forced his other sister to her knees as she sobbed. It was only a few minutes until "Sergeant Nicholai" arrived, but to Jacks it seemed like an eternity.

The Sergeant strode through the broken front door and stared down at Jacks who was still lying on the floor. This man looked like what Jacks had always imagined the devil would like. That was, of course, until he'd met Albert Wesker. The Russian man had silver hair that almost gleamed under the lights. His eyes were empty as if he wasn't even human. "Hold him." The Sergeant said with an evil laugh. "I kill these two."

"Please, sir. Let them go. They don't know...Please." Jacks reached out for the sergeant's arm.

"The family that plays together, pays together." the brown haired man said with a laugh. In the courtyard, Jacks dropped to his knees as the gunshots rang out in his mind. He could see his sisters' blood like the opening petals of a flower spreading on the wall behind them. He screamed the sound guttural and inhuman.

For a moment Jacks wondered if the scream had really come from him. It echoed in the courtyard, sending a set of shutters bursting open on the top floor of the Clock Tower.

"Who are you?" someone shouted. Jacks looked up and locked eyes with a brown haired man. The man's wicked eyes gleamed.

"Help me!" Jacks shouted back. "I'm from the city. My whole family..." Jacks paused in his lies, laughing between his teeth at the irony.

"Wait." The man's voice was the same as it had been all those years ago. Jacks stood, ignoring the mud that soaked the legs of his pants. Soon the dark haired man appeared in the doorway and in a flash Jacks had him on the ground. Taking out the Magnum, Jacks grabbed the man by the collar and dragged him to the middle of the courtyard in front of the statue of an angel.

"Get on your knees..."Jacks ground out. The man turned to look at him, still in shock. After a few moments of staring at him, the man began to shake violently.

"You!" He cried. "You're dead. We shot you in the..." He began to cry.

"Please don't kill me. I only did what I was told to do..."

Jacks forced the man to look at the statue as he spoke, "The family that plays together, pays together." He pointed the gun at the back of the man's head and fired.

Riley leaned against the wall and watched as Miranda was typing on the main computer. Screens opened and disappeared faster than he could keep up with them. "Have you found it yet?" Miranda shook her head without answering. Screens continued moving erratically. Riley sighed loudly. "At least let me sit next to you. Quit hogging the computer."

"I'm not hogging it, Riley. I'm just...Found it…Oh no." Miranda's voice was excited then suddenly uneasy all in the space of a few words.

"What?" Several other scientists had been watching her as well.

"Birkin hid the other G-virus sample in Sherry's pendant. She's got it with her." Miranda's voice was shaking.

"Which means?" Basin went up to stand behind her looking at the blonde haired girl in the monitor.

"It means William Birkin is after her." Miranda caught Riley's eye and he nodded.

"Find out where Ada is and I'll try to work around her to find Sherry." He assured her. Miranda smiled, relieved.

"Ada and Wesker are together on the south side of the police station. Sherry is on the north side." Green Hair said loudly. "Now would be our best shot." Riley nodded again and sighed. He moved away from the wall and reached for the com-link Miranda was holding out.

"Are you sure you should do this...I mean with your leg…?" Miranda asked, handing him a gun. He hadn't thought about it. So far, he hadn't even noticed the pain. It was almost obsolete. It didn't bother him to walk on it. With the leather sewn over the gash, it seemed as if his leg were whole.

"I'm good, M, don't worry about me. You've got enough on your mind." He didn't know why, but he leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. She blushed and smiled at him.

"Keep in touch, Riley." She said softly.

He smiled back and nodded. "You bet." Miranda watched him leave her hand on her cheek. Riley was such a sweet man. She'd never had any real friends before and it was strange for her to think that she had one now. She hoped Riley would be okay. If what Wesker said was true, and Riley got into trouble, he would be on his own. Wesker would not save him again.

She sat back in the chair and sighed heavily. What had she gotten him into? She wished that she was the one going to get her daughter, but like Riley had said, there was no way. Wesker would be likely to kill her personally if she disobeyed him again. Plus, she could not save herself and she was too afraid of the monsters.

"Can't someone go with him?" Miranda asked anyone who would answer.

"Sure," Basin said loudly. "Jacks...But ah... I don't think he'd like that much." Miranda sighed exasperated. Had she just sent Riley to his death?

Ada Wong stared at Wesker as if he'd grown an extra head. "You want me to what?"

"You heard me, Ada." Wesker said angrily.

"I've been following this moron cop around because you told me to. Now you're telling me to find a little girl? What do I look like to you? A Babysitter or an operative?" Ada snapped.

"You look like Zombie fodder to me, but that's irrelevant." Wesker told her simply. "It's not a choice, Ms. Wong. Arguments are not acceptable." Ada snorted and walked away from him. "Besides, the girl's got a pendant and I want it."

Ada continued walking without turning back. "Why don't you tell your bitch to find the girl for you." Wesker's shot forward, grabbed her by the arm, and flung her to the floor. He said nothing as he picked her up by the hair and sat her on her feet.

"Remember this, Ms. Wong. You live only because I allow you to."

Robert Jacks had spent a lot of time learning that life wasn't fair. Now as he stood over the body of the fourth and last Countermeasure team member the fact hit home.

It had never been so easy to destroy a human life, but in a city that was nearly devoid of it, it seemed the natural thing to do. Turning on his heel he frowned. In his haste to kill the fourth man, he'd killed a young woman. But, from the looks of it, she was on the verge of becoming a zombie anyway. Captain Wesker wouldn't have cared anyhow.

The back door to the Tower stood wide open and Jacks stepped through it. The door led into a rain-covered alleyway. The alley gave way to a road leading to a hospital. It wouldn't hurt, he decided to gather some extra medical supplies and wait for the Captain there.

As he walked to the Hospital, Jacks found it strange that the zombies standing on the street ignored him. For a moment he felt like Wesker and wondered why. He got close enough to a female zombie so that he was looking her into her blank eyes, but the zombie never moved. It was as if he wasn't there at all. He found it funny considering the undead monsters had attacked several of his crew when they'd made their way into the city. He could have sworn he'd been attacked as well.

Now that he thought about it, those bio-monsters had disregarded him as they were doing now. The only creatures that had come after him were the Hunters, the Lickers, and those strange green creatures. The Surveillance team hadn't given them a name yet.

The hospital was deadly quiet. Although hospitals usually were, this was too much. A hunter lay on the floor, its green blood pooling beneath it. Jacks kneeled down to examine it and found several bullet shells belonging to a semi-automatic machine gun.

"Help me..." Someone groaned. Jacks eyes darted around the room, finally coming to rest on a man in a U.M.B.C.S. uniform lying on the floor near the elevators. "Help me, please." Jacks recognized the black haired man even in the darkness. He took out his hunting knife and stood, walking to the fallen mercenary.

"Why should I?" His voice was harsh.

"Oh no…I...not you..." the man was gargling, blood slid down his lips and dripped off his chin. "No! Not you!" Jacks cocked his head almost whimsical.

"Why not me?" He kneeled next to the man and made sure he saw the knife.

" Los Muertes Angelico …You were sent to take me to hell weren't you?" He was trembling. "I pay for my sins, don't I, `Angel? It is only fitting that it be you."

Jacks placed the knife against the man's throat, his eyes half closed. "It's only fitting that it be me." He growled into the silence.

Riley was half way to the front door of the police station when the Nemesis spotted him. He'd been running as fast as his injured leg would carry him. He was too tired to run any longer.

"S.T.A.R.S." The Nemesis spoke in an ominous tone, striding towards him like it had all the time in the world. Riley was silently cursing himself for his heinous luck when a gunshot nearly knocked him off his feet.

"What are you doing, moron? Run!" The voice was vaguely familiar but Riley didn't have time to figure out whom it belonged to. He ran as quickly as he could. His leg sending out shock waves of pain twisting through his body.

The Nemesis had turned away from him and was heading in the direction of the gunfire. Riley could hear the thuds fading as they got farther away. A second gun sounded and Riley turned back. Two men stood across from each other on the police station gate firing into the Nemesis. After what seemed like an eternity, the Nemesis stumbled and fell, groaning unhappily as he did so.

The two men jumped down at the same time and Riley saw them the same way. Jacks and Wesker weren't looking too happy with him.

"Davis!" Wesker roared. "What the hell are you doing here?" Jacks scowled and Riley noticed that he was covered in mud and blood.

"I was...ah...that is..." Riley stuttered. He remembered what Wesker had said about leaving him to die in the city.

"I told him to come here." Jacks interjected. "I thought we might use him to follow Ada." Wesker stared at him, his jaw set.

"No one listens to me do they?" Wesker shouted. "Perhaps we should wait here. Is Harley on her way too?" Wesker threw up his hands.

"You have to admit sir, there's more of them than us." Jacks said. "Even being super human doesn't make you omnipotent."

"You think not?" Wesker snapped. Riley continued to stare at Jacks. Why had he interceded for him?

"Well, with Ada being my girlfriend and all, I thought it might be nice if I...you know, kept an eye on her." Riley told them, with a grin. Both men groaned.

"Fine." Wesker said at last. "But if you get into trouble, Davis, there won't be anyone to help you. Be aware of that." The warning was clear-cut. Jacks nodded his agreement.

All conversations suddenly ended as the three of them heard a strange rumbling. Jacks and Wesker shot toward the gates, leaving Riley to hobble behind.

"A trolley?" Jacks was frowning. "How the devil did they get that thing running?" The trolley thundered past the police station gates, smashing through the wrecked cars in its path.

Riley squinted to see who was inside and saw Jill Valentine in the lead car, yelling something inaudible. There was a man standing behind her. It was obvious that the trolley wasn't going to stop for anything.

"It's headed for the hotel!" Riley shouted out. Wesker's eyes grew wide as he realized that Riley was right.

"Find Ada and follow her!" Wesker bellowed. With that, he leapt over the wall and Jacks followed through the gate, both running at top speed. Riley turned toward the doors, praying that what his mind saw happening at the hotel would not come pass.

Miranda had fallen asleep again. She'd been fighting exhaustion for hours. The cot felt good beneath her body, which was still aching from a myriad of things. She felt safe enough to go to sleep for a few hours, trusting in the knowledge that Riley, if no one else, would bring her daughter to her safe and alive. She'd feel a lot better after she, Wesker, and Sherry were far away from this place. Miranda Harley was lost in such a wonderful daydream that she never heard the trolley approaching as she closed her eyes and let the darkness gently overtake her.

The trolley crashed through the hotel lobby above them, slamming into the support beams and rocking them as it continued through to its ultimate destination at the Clock Tower. The beams teetered but didn't fall.

Albert Wesker had been trying to get in touch with the basement Surveillance team but all communications had been lost moments before the trolley hit. Something exploded from inside the hotel and fire reached for them with hungry flames. "Miranda!" Wesker shouted. The tone of his voice took him by surprise. "Stay here!" He ordered Jacks.

Wesker charged through the door and had only taken a few steps when the support beams gave way and the six-story hotel collapsed on top of him.

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