A Rose by Any Other Name

Oh Death Where is Thy Sting?

The time went by slower than it used to. Nearly a month had passed, and it seemed as if Umbrella had been keeping quiet about everything. There were no new developments happening and it seemed as if Raccoon City had forgotten all about the incident at the Spencer Mansion.

Wesker, however, knew better than to think to Umbrella was through with their research. He had feeling deep down that things were about to get a lot worse than the accident at the mansion. He was almost sure of it. William Birkin had continued with his own research and was near completion of a new strand to the original T-Virus. When he was finished, Umbrella would attempt to assassinate him for it. It wasn't like Umbrella to share the glory.

Sitting inside an observation tank waiting for his next command, Albert Wesker felt a tad out of control. The HCF scientists were testing him to see how far the limits of his new found "abilities" could be pushed. So far, they hadn't even scratched the surface. Even he was surprised by these feats. He could jump higher and run faster than anything on earth. He could see and hear things that would be impossible to the human race. In his own right, he was a god.

But there were other things that needed his attention aside from his talents. Recently rumors had been circulating that Ozwell Spencer, the original owner of the mansion that Umbrella had used for their secret research, had experimented with the original T-virus on himself. If that were true, then the strain would still be present in his body, no matter how long he'd been dead. Wesker needed to find the body and extract the T-virus from it; then this new Organization could begin research on their own.

He also needed to do something with Miranda Harley. It had been almost month and she had shown no signs of getting better. If something didn't change soon he would be forced to kill her, a prospect that didn't seem like a very good idea. After all, with her being part of Umbrella, she'd make a perfect test subject for any virus that they managed to come up with. It would be simple and easy. Just like Lisa Trevor.

Wesker decided that with everything that was on his mind he was through testing for the day. Striding to the door, he proceeded to rip it off its hinges. He laughed as the tiny man meekly informed him that he'd have to replace that. When would they learn about him?

Miranda blinked back the tears as she struggled once again to wake herself. She didn't know why she was fighting so hard. Wesker was dead. She had nothing else to live for. How could she face Umbrella with the knowledge of what she'd done? They'd never understand why she hadn't done anything to save him. With her luck they'd probably kill her on the spot. What was it worth worrying about dying every time you went to work?

If only the Ashfords had minded their own business and stayed out of Biological experimentation. They would all be a lot better off.

She continued to hear the deep melodic voice day after day and the more she heard it the more she was convinced she was going insane. The voice belonged to Albert Wesker, the man who shunned her and yet showed an avid interest in her. The man she'd spent late nights with only to be abandoned when he'd gotten what he wanted from her. The father of....

Her mind was a mucky swap in which she hadn't the talent to mire through. But she had to. She had to remember. For Wesker. For her. The world spun as it always did once again went black...

The Birkins stood in the doorway of the hospital room, their eyes filled with hope. Annette had talked of a baby for years, but neither her nor William was able to reproduce. She had tried everything within her power to adopt, but Umbrella wouldn't hear of it. Outside of giving birth to one, no one involved with Umbrella Inc. was allowed to have a child. Miranda watched them for a long moment hoping she was making the right decision.

The tiny baby asleep in her arms sighed softly. She smoothed down locks of cotton blonde hair and smiled tearfully. Her heart was breaking. But the circumstances surrounding the child's birth were beyond her control. She could not afford to keep her daughter. Wesker had already been looking for her; she had precious little time before he found out the truth.

She handed Annette the baby and choked back a sob. "Sherry." She whispered. "Her name is Sherry."

Annette smiled down at the sleeping baby, her eyes twinkling. "Sherry Birkin." Inside a part of Miranda died. She knew that her daughter would never be known as Sherry Wesker; it was just too dangerous. She had no idea what would happen if Albert Wesker ever found out the truth...

She was mumbling in her sleep. At first she had been talking about Umbrella and death. But now she had moved on to other things. She was talking about Annette Birkin and her baby. Wesker had often heard rumors about the Birkin's child but it had never concerned him as much as it did right now. Especially when Miranda Harley mentioned the fact that she had given the Birkin's the baby.

What was she talking about? Wesker cocked his head and narrowed his eyes. Miranda was still speaking, her voice harsh and cracking. "Her name is Sherry." She said, moaning. "I wasn't good enough for her either."

Wesker laid a hand on her forehead. She was still burning up with fever. He hated to admit it, but they were right. He'd have to kill her eventually. Beside the fact that he wasn't even supposed to bring her out of the mansion with him, they had spent too much time trying to revive her. The Organization wouldn't tolerate it much longer. He wondered if they would force him to do the job. After all, being "inhuman" as he was, wouldn't it be simpler to have him rip her to shreds? The thought was not as altogether appealing as the one he'd often had about tearing Chris Redfield to pieces and feeding his remains to a few zombies.

Her knowledge of Sherry Birkin had to be investigated however. She could know something that would break the Birkin case wide open, not to mention that the very knowledge could help him in his personal pursuits.

Harley, like most Umbrella Corporates, was a deep well of secrets just waiting to be dipped into. He'd been trying to attain those very secrets for years to little avail.

Nearly nine years ago, just when he was about to persuade her to tell him the covert details of the Tyrant's DNA strand, she disappeared for almost six months. When she returned she was distant and aloof, forcing him to start from the very beginning.

Miranda moaned again. Wesker bent over her silent form as he'd done a thousand times throughout the weeks. But this time, without even realizing it, he let his lips brush hers.

Miranda's darkness disappeared in a flash of electricity. Her entire body was suddenly alive and on fire. She fought for breath. The immense power surrounded her and flowed through her like a swift-moving stream. But this power was evil, laden with the presence of something she could not explain. She forced her eyes opened and screamed, attempting to expel the malevolent energy building up inside of her. It did not belong there.

The room her eyes opened to was brightly lit, almost too much so. It was sparsely furnished with a bed, a chair, and three beeping machines. She had no idea where she was or what she was doing there. Another glance around the room and her eyes rested on a tall blonde haired man standing in the doorway, eyes covered with dark glasses. She realized who he was even before she'd finished her scrutiny.

"Wesker." She whispered softly, the words almost painful. His ghost had come to haunt her. "Oh Wesker." The tears filled her eyes making them burn. Even his ghost would not forgive her. He was here to haunt her for the rest of her life, however long she had left. She decided that it would be best to apologize now so he would know that she was well aware of her mistakes. Her chest was heaving as the tears continued to fall, but she could not force herself to speak the words that would damn her.

"Harley," Wesker's voice was no different as a ghost than it had been when he was alive. "What in the devil is wrong with you?" He took off his sunglasses and rubbed his temples. For a moment Miranda was lost…until he looked up at her. She gazed into his eyes they way she'd done a thousand times before, but this time she saw that they were no longer the same. His eyes were evil, the mirror into his soul.

At last Miranda concluded that she was still dreaming. She'd never believed in ghosts; her conscious mind would not allow her to. Therefore her conscious mind wouldn't oppose her resolve to tell Wesker the truth.

Her scream had shocked him. Startled he'd stepped away from her and watched in amazement as she sat up and those beautiful sea green eyes flew open. But he couldn't figure out exactly what had woken her up.

When she saw him, her eyes lingering on him as if he were part of some terrible nightmare, he felt an unexpected chill creep up his spine. She'd never looked at him that way before. Her tears had shocked him as well. But what had really thrown him off balance was the way she had spoken his name. He hadn't expected that to affect him. Displays of emotion such as hers had never had any influence on him before.

"I…am…so…sorry." She was gasping, her words halting as she tried to breathe. "I should have stopped the Tyrant. He was mine…my creation…I could have..." Wesker stared at her, eyes narrowed. It wasn't like Miranda Harley to cry. And it wasn't like him to care. "I let you die. I failed you. I've failed everyone haven't I? Even her." Her words jumbled together, but like always, she made perfect sense to him.

"Her…?" He coaxed. He was curious to find out more about this mysterious "her" that Miranda kept referring to.

"Sherry! Your daughter Sherry!" She shouted bursting into fresh tears. "She'll never know truth and neither will you." So. Now he knew did indeed know the truth. Sherry Birkin was not a Birkin after all, but a Wesker. His daughter. Now all he had to do was find out why Miranda had given her to Annette Birkin. "What happens now?" Miranda choked out. "Will I kill her like I killed her father? What sort of monster will I let loose to rip her to shreds?"

Miranda couldn't control herself. She was overcome with a grief she'd never known before. "I love you." The words were heavy with their own significance. A new wave of tears rushed over her. Wesker moved forward and sat on the bed beside her, his hand reaching behind her head and pulling her to meet his lips.

The kiss was unlike anything she'd ever experienced with him. Electric energy sparked between them, filling the room with its charge. But even the immense power that shot through her body could not stop her. Even if he was merely a ghost, she needed him.

Just when she'd thought the sensations surging through her could not get anymore intense; Albert Wesker plunged his tongue into her mouth. To her surprise she moaned loudly, and threw her arms around his neck pressing herself against his powerful chest. He growled inwardly and put his arms around her. She couldn't do anything to fight the feelings bursting from the inner recesses of her soul. He'd never kissed her like this.

But even as the sensation was pleasurable, it was also painful and dangerous. She could feel the evil beginning to raise its ugly head within her. It wasn't natural to feel this way. Something was treacherously wrong with this whole occurrence.

Suddenly, Wesker withdrew from the bed and stood up. He stared down at her, his face expressionless before returning his dark glasses to their normal position. Miranda gazed at him for a moment then realized that nothing about him was the same. However, right now her heart and mind were too full to think about it.

"Well…" She said, wiping the last of her tears away. "For a dead guy you certainly know how to kiss." Wesker's laughter echoed around her as she lay down and closed her eyes. When she did wake up she'd figure out what had happened just now.

"Its like some power within you transferred to her." Riley answered. "I've never seen anything like it. Totally amazing." Wesker stared hard at the little animated scientist. "Maybe we should send you around to all the hospitals and have you kiss everyone in a coma."

"It was not a kiss." Wesker said aloud, frowning.

"All right. Well, lean over and check their breathing then. How's that?" Riley sat down across from him and settled a clipboard in his lap.

"You are not writing anything I just told you on there. Am I understood?" Wesker growled.

"Oh sure thing. I doubt Corporate would believe me anyway. They do claim I have a tendency to exaggerate." Riley Davis was a short young man with a head full of brown hair and glasses that never quite sat right on his face. "Oh by the way, I found the information you were looking for about Ozwell E. Spencer."

"Did you?" Wesker said, darkly. He'd asked Riley to find out everything he could about the man who had financed the design of Umbrella's secret Bio lab in the United States. He'd also asked him to find out the truth behind the rumors.

"It seems that Spencer was originally born in France. He went to Boarding school with Alexander Ashford. Their fathers had started research on a bio-chemical known now as the T-virus. Alexander and Ozwell stabilized it." Riley took a moment to push up his glasses and flip through his notes. "But, when Alexander's daughter Alexia was ten she had already graduated from an Ivy League College and was quote-unquote hired by Umbrella as a Head Researcher."

"Ten? Doesn't that seem a little young, Riley?" Wesker was still frowning.

"That's what I said." He jumped out of the chair, papers fluttering around him. "How smart can a ten year old be? Heck, when I was ten I was picking my nose and wiping it on the desk in front of me."

Wesker smiled thinly. "Anything more?"

"You bet your super human legs there's more!" Riley shouted. Wesker found that he was constantly amused with the boy. Ever since Rile Davis had been assigned to study him, things were not as dull as they had once been. "It seems that during Alexia's interim there, an experiment went wrong and her father died leaving Spencer to run the company on his own. But then a few months after that, Alexia also perished in a freak accident."

Wesker scowled. There had been too many freak accidents as of late. He didn't like the sound of it. "And what of Spencer? What happened to him?"

"Umbrella happened to him. You should appreciate that." Riley kneeled and began gathering papers. "He suddenly got a conscious see…and he realized that these bio-experiments on humans were morally wrong. What a nut. So Umbrella assassinated him. Much like you say they plan to do to William Birkin."

"And what of his grave?" Wesker cracked his knuckles.

"It's funny. If he didn't believe in human experimentation, why did he do it on himself?" Setting the papers neatly in the chair, Riley adjusted his lab coat.

"Well?" Wesker had always been impatient, even the G-virus hadn't changed that.

"That's the bad part. Supposedly, it was in the mansion." Riley scratched the crown of his head and sniffed loudly.

"Why in the bloody hell didn't you tell me this earlier?" Wesker shot out of the metal chair and threw it; it's legs embedding into a monitor on the far end of the room. The monitor exploded on impact. "Do you really expect me to dig through all that to find it?"

"I…ah…no…" Riley gawked in bewilderment. "Jeez, Wesker. This room's the size of a freakin' football field. That's a gigantic break through!"

"If you don't find out where Oswell Spencer is buried, I'll have another gigantic breakthrough in store for you!" Wesker shouted. He shoved Riley to the floor forcefully and stormed out of the Laboratory.

"Somebody needs a nap." Riley mumbled dejectedly.

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