Resident Evil: A Change In Pace

17: The Next Step, Part One

Chapter Sixteen: The Next Step

Snafu's Notes: Well, looky here. I'm about halfway through with the War Against Umbrella Arc. Originally, I thought about having Chris and Jill take on the Wolfpack in a pitched battle, but I decided against it. I decided that it would be more feasible for the other good guys to get their time in the limelight for killing off the Wolfpack.

Snafu's Notes, Pt.2: I've been getting some emails as to what year the Umbrella Arc is taking place. Well, since Jill had gotten her commission in the Air Force in 1999 and this chapter takes place a year later, we are in early 2000. Oh, and I decided to pay homage to one of my all-time favorite movie series in the beginning of this chapter.

Snafu's Notes, Pt.3: After careful consideration, I have decided to add Resident Evil 6 to the story. According to most sources, Jake Muller is six years younger than Sherry, but for this story, he will be the same age as her.

Venice, Italy - March 1, 2000

An outdoor cafe in Saint Mark's Square. With the Grand Canal in the background, this could count as a perfect postcard image.

An image, which was wrecked when a manhole cover was removed in the midst of the dining patrons and tourists, startling them as out from the sewers, emerged a thoroughly soaked Chris Redfield.

"Gotta love Venice," he mumbled as he reached down and helped an equally-soaked Jill Valentine out of the hole.

Why were Captain Redfield and Lieutenant Valentine were in the City of Canals? They had received word from an unknown source about an Umbrella Facility built underneath the city, under the catacombs, under the famous canal itself, its hard drives containing the remaining locations of the Umbrella facilities and laboratories in Europe, Asia and Oceania. So a joint operation was ordered by Colonel Graham, with Chris and Jill working together with Captain Jettingham and Echo Six.

Unfortunately, as Chris and Jill went in first, they had walked into a trap. What the Umbrella agents did not know was that they had backup. A firefight ensued between the two parties, and despite having superior firepower, Echo Six and the two Air Force officers were about to be overrun until Ronson detonated several satchel charges. As the facility was built underwater, Chris and Jill found themselves separated from Echo Six as the facility flooded. While Jettingham and Echo Six had to take the main route through Umbrella's Venice Sales Office, Chris and Jill had to go through the catacombs in order to reach the surface.

"What is it with Umbrella and catacombs?" Jill asked, coughing out some water.

"If we capture any of them alive, we can ask them," Chris groused.

"Redfield! Valentine! Are you there? Can you hear me?" Jettingham's voice crackled through their earpieces.

"Good thing our military hardware is made of sterner stuff," Jill muttered. She then acknowledged her former boss. "Valentine here."

"Where's Redfield?" Jettingham demanded. "Did he make it out?"

"I'm fine," Chris replied.

"Thank God," Ronson's voice cut in. "Sorry about the satchel charges. Had to think of something."

"Next time...warn us," Jill sniped.

"If it's any consolation, we got the data from the hard drive," Jettingham said. "Where's your location?"

Chris looked around for a moment. "Saint Mark's Square, near the Grand Canal."

"Really?" Jettingham sounded amazed. "How did you and Valentine managed that? The both of you are way off!"

"Dunno, sir. We just make this all up as we go along," Jill replied. "We can't make it to the rendezvous point from here."

"Yeah, no kidding. Umbrella's got its men on the move looking for the both of you. We should make it to the sales office's roof and from there, get you guys out of there. Think you can hold out until we can retrieve the both of you?"

"I don't think so," Chris replied, seeing the eight Umbrella agents who had somehow survived the flooding of the facility round the corner. Grabbing Jill by the wrist, the couple ran off in the other direction. The lead Umbrella goon saw the drenched couple run off and shouted in Italian to his subordinates before giving chase.

*&^

Had either the Umbrella agents or Chris and Jill were paying attention, they would have noticed a Chinese female seated incognito in at a table.

Ada Wong watched as the Umbrella goons chase after Chris and Jill as she casually sipped at her tea. The former Umbrella operative-turned-Organization spy had to admit that despite Umbrella setting a trap for both Redfield and Valentine, they had proven once again to defy the odds, to make the impossible possible. Acting on orders from her superiors, she had leaked out the location of the Venice facility to the Anti-Umbrella forces.

'No wonder Wesker hates their guts,' Ada thought wryly.

Albert Wesker. The blond superman. Thought to have died in Raccoon City, he returned to the Organization following the incident at the South Pole. Despite his superhuman abilities and the fact that they had a sample of the T-Veronica virus in their possession, he had underestimated Chris Redfield, given the wounds – which were more than enough to kill a lesser man – he had suffered at the hands of his former subordinate.

Wesker had planned to kill the both of them while they were out retrieving HUNK, but his superiors had told him that for the moment, Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine and any other Raccoon survivor was off-limits.

When Wesker balked at the orders, they reminded him that it was only through their serum that the virus which granted him his superhuman abilities could easily be taken away from him, weakening him to the point where he could easily be killed.

What Wesker did not know – but Ada did – was that not only Wesker had to take his meds at the exact time of injection, but should he inject himself with an extra dose afterward could cause him to overdose, and in the end, weaken him.

But Ada kept that to herself.

Her superiors had their eyes on Chris and Jill for quite some time, watching their accomplishments with great interest. When Graham went snooping around for Sherry, they decided to hand her over to child protection services, as they saw that she even she needed a stable home.

'Oh well. Time to report in,' Ada thought as she paid for her tea and walked off in the opposite direction.

*&^

Meanwhile...

Any Umbrella agent that had came across their path were quickly put down. But the armed Umbrella goons were closing in and there was only so much that Chris and Jill could do.

Rounding the corner, they saw that the road lead to a nearby dock. A dead end. However, salvation came in the form of three speedboats that were docked. Not wasting any time, Chris and Jill leapt into the first boat, ignoring the shouts of the Italian boat vendor as Jill frantically undid the tether which kept the boat from drifting into the Grand Canal.

Chris turned the ignition and not giving the chance for the speedboat's engines to warm up, gunned the throttle and both he and Jill took off into the Grand Canal...but not before two of the Umbrella agents raced to their speedboat and jumped in. The other six men knocked out the vendor and took the remaining boats, three to each speedboat, and gave chase.

*&^

On the other side of the Grand Canal...

The Umbrella Sales Office in Venice was located inside an antique building owned by the company. Located on the shores of the Grand Canal, it had a picture-perfect view of the surrounding area. It was also home to an underwater laboratory which was accessible by two paths; an underground tram and through the catacombs and sewers, which was the long way around.

The door to the roof opened and out came Echo Six, having shot their way through the facility and part of the sales office. Given the amount of resistance they had encountered on their way out of the facility, they were nearly out of ammo for their weapons.

“I don't know about you, Boss, but I am really starting to hate Venice,” Morris groused out.

Jettingham grunted as he turned to the team's resident sniper. “Party Girl, see if you can find Redfield and Valentine.”

Brandishing her sniper rifle, Fowler walked over to the edge. “On it, sir,” she replied as she scanned the Grand Canal.

“Falcon, this is Dee-Ay,” Jettingham spoke, contacting their escape vehicle, which was situated several miles away. “Requesting immediate evac, over.”

“Copy that, Dee-Ay. ETA is five minutes.”

Jettiingham looked at his watch. “Five minutes. Better hope that Redfield and Valentine can hold out for that long.”

&^%

Meanwhile, on the Canal...

Jill was steering the speedboat while Chris dealt with the two intruders. The first man was armed with a handgun, which was sent into the Canal, with himself following suit shortly thereafter thanks to a well-aimed punch to the jaw from Chris.

The second man was armed with a knife – a KA-BAR, military-issue. The man had the upper hand in the fight, seeing as how he had Chris underneath him and tried to impale Chris through the shoulder. But Chris moved out of the way, and the knife went into the boat's hardwood finish.

Jill, having turned her head to see how Chris was doing, saw the predicament that he was in and decided to help. She turned the speedboat into a hard left, causing the Umbrella goon to lose his balance, allowing Chris to gain the upper hand.

Unfortunately, Jill had turned the speedboat into the direction of two freighters. Even more worse was that three tugboats was pushing the smaller freighter closer to the larger one.

Chris proceeded to bash the man's face repeatedly into the wood grain when he looked up and saw where Jill was headed...right in between the two freighters.

“What are you, crazy?!" he shouted. "Don't go between them!”

Jill, for her part, could not hear Chris quite clearly over the speedboat's engine. All she heard was 'Go between them.' To which she snapped her head back and retorted with, “Go between them?! Are you crazy?!”

Hauling the Umbrella agent to his feet, Chris punched him off the boat and made his way back to the front, where he took the wheel from his wife. By that time, the speedboat was on a course that would take them straight through the impromptu passageway that the two freighters had created.

“Damn it! I said go around!” Chris shouted.

“You said go between them!” Jill shouted back.

“I said don't go between them!”

Of course, the point was now moot, as their speedboat and the first one containing the Umbrella goons sped down the narrow passage, while the third boat went around the smaller freighter.

*&^

Back at the Sales Office Rooftop...

Jettingham, having a spare pair of binoculars, was watching the chase alongside Fowler, having spotted them minutes earlier. They were both watching as Jill had steered the boat toward the two freighters. Both Ronson and Jettingham listened with mild amusement at the couple's verbal fight over their earpieces.

“And Chris says that I'm nuts,” Ronson said. “Your former subordinate is out of her mind. I'm starting to think that Chris likes crazy women.”

“You should see her behind a tank,” Jettingham replied.

“Chopper inbound, Captain!” Kimbala shouted as he retrieved a signal flare. “Popping smoke.”

The chopper was a CH-3C/E Sea King – primarily used in the U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard. The Italian Air Force also used the chopper as well. Capable of landing on land as well on water, it was a favorite with the American and Italian air forces. This one, however, was on loan from Ramestein Air Force Base in Germany.

Once the Sea King landed, Echo Six piled onboard, Jettingham taking the co-pilot's seat. The pilot looked at Jettingham's team. “Hey! You're two short! Where's Redfield and Valentine?”

“In the Grand Canal,” was the commander's reply. “We're heading there to pick them up now!”

“Roger that,” the pilot said.

Within moments, the Sea Hawk was in the air and in pursuit of Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine.

(*&

Back on the Canal...

The two freighters were inching even closer as Chris and Jill reached the halfway point.

“We're not going to make it!” Jill shouted.

“You're not helping!” Chris shouted back. “This is going to be close!”

By this time, the hulls of the freighters were scraping up against the two speedboats. But whether it was pure luck or something from a higher power, their speedboat made it through the opening. Their pursuers, however, were not as lucky, as their speedboat was crushed between the two freighters, their engine exploding from the pressure, killing the men onboard. The men on both freighters, however, were not harmed, but shaken by the explosion.

&^%

On the Sea Hawk...

“You got to admit that Captain Redfield and Lieutenant Valentine sure as hell don't disappoint,” Ronson said, watching the chase from the chopper as they closed in on Chris and Jill.

“Indeed,” Jettingham concurred. “And here, I thought Air Force boys were pansies. Glad to know that he proved me wrong.” Turning to Fowler, he asked, “Party Girl, can you provide fire support?”

The blonde sniper didn't needed to be asked twice. Looking through her rifle's scope, she replied, “Given the distance, it's a fifty-fifty shot, but I'm willing to bet that Redfield and Valentine won't be able to last much longer out there, sir.”

Jettingham nodded. “If you got the shot, then take it.”

Fowler grinned. “Gladly.”

&^%

“Aw, shit! They nailed the engines!” Chris cursed as smoke began to rise from the rear, the engine sputtering and dying, leaving them dead in the water.

The Umbrella gunman fired off another volley from his machine gun, Chris forcing Jill to take cover from the spray of high-velocity lead, he himself narrowly avoiding being hit from the bullets, yet his hand did end up getting a chunk of glass embedded in it as a result of the gunfire.

As Jill tried to wrap her husband's hand with an impromptu bandage, the Umbrella gunman ejected the spent clip and produced a second one. He loaded it, cocked it and prepared to finish off Chris and Jill once and for all...

BLAM!

...when over the sound of an approaching helicopter, the sound of a sniper rifle went off, and the gunman's right eye socket exploded in a gruesome exit wound. Dead on his feet, he dropped the assault rifle and fell into the water.

The Sea Hawk was closing in, as Corporal Fowler took aim at the second gunman, who had retrieved the assault rifle and aimed it at the chopper.

"I don't think so," Party Girl whispered as she squeezed the trigger.

BLAM!

The second gunman's heart exploded in his chest. Dropping the gun, he keeled over and followed his companion, splashing into the water.

The Sea Hawk hovered over Chris and Jill. From the open hatch, a metal ladder was kicked down, courtesy of Ronson, who was prepping two more satchel charges for the speedboats. Jill went up the ladder first, followed by Chris. Once the ladder was retracted, Ronson dropped the charges into the speedboats and the chopper flew off. Thirty seconds later, the charges detonated, destroying the boats and sinking them into the canal.

Inside the chopper, Morris tended to Chris' injury. "Seriously, I thought you said to go between the ships," Jill said.

"I said go around," Chris replied.

As the argument continued, Ronson and Jettingham exchanged glances. "I think they are getting better at this," Ronson said.

"That and it's fun to watch," Jettingham continued as the chopper made its way out of Venice.

*&^

Andrews Air Force Base, one week later.

Colonel Graham had read the reports following the assignment into Venice, Chris and Jill were standing before him while he scanned the reports. Although he was upset that the mission was a setup in an attempt to trap both Chris and Jill, he was glad that the mission was not a failure, as they had gotten the information which was on the hard drives, meaning that the mission was a success. The fact that Umbrella was now missing another facility was a bonus.

"Although I wished that this mission would have been done better, good work from the both of you," Graham said. “Thanks to the both of you, Umbrella has been dealt a serious blow. However, I got no assignments for the both of you at the moment.”

“That's okay, Colonel,” Chris replied. “Valentine and I will make do.”

Graham shook his head. “No, Redfield. You maybe the top officers in the OSI, but the both of you are no good to me if you burn yourselves out. I hate Umbrella as much as the both of you do, but you two need some time away from work. Which is why I am giving the both of you the month off.”

Graham then landed the nail in the coffin when they tried to object. “Captain Redfield, Lieutenant Valentine, have fun. That's an order. Dismissed.”

Chris and Jill both exited the briefing room.

&^%

Redfield Home, later.

Later on that day, Chris and Jill were relaxing in the living room. The married couple were on the love seat, Jill stretched out, her feet on a pillow in Chris's lap. Sherry and Claire were on the sofa, Claire punching in keys on her laptop while Sherry worked on a letter.

"So your boss gave you a whole month off," Claire said. "What you got planned?"

"Honestly...we don't know," Jill replied. "Chris and I talked about it. We sure as hell do not plan on hanging around here. We were thinking about traveling."

"So long as it's nowhere in Europe, especially Venice," Chris added, shooting a nasty look at his wife.

Jill groaned. "For the last time, I thought you said go between them."

"Okay...I don't want to know about how your last assignment went," Claire said. Turning to Sherry, she asked, "What are you doing?"

"Writing to my penpal," Sherry replied. "He's a boy in Eastern Europe."

"Penpal? When did this come around?" Chris asked, interested.

"About last month. We send emails and write letters," Sherry explained. "He's really neat. Can also speak English fluently."

"What's his name?" Jill asked.

"His name is Jake," Sherry replied. "Jake Muller."

"Huh. Interesting name," Chris noted. "Dad must be American."

"I was thinking the same thing," Sherry said. "He said that his dad died before he was born and that he lives with his mother."

"Sorry to hear that," Chris said.

Meanwhile, Jill, having caught a glimpse of a slightly open magazine Claire had left on the coffee table, took notice of a bridal dress being modeled in an ad. A smile crept across her face as she remembered the conversation she had with Chris while hiding out in Sydney.

Once all of this is taken care of, I'll bring you here for a real vacation.”

I'll hold you to that, Redfield, but I'll settle for a actual wedding ceremony.”

Chris looked at Jill, whose smile grew as she turned her azure eyes onto her husband. "What? What is it?"

"Remember your promise to me back in Sydney? You owe me a wedding ceremony, Captain Redfield," Jill replied. “And now, it's time to collect on that promise.”

Now, Claire and Sherry looked on at the conversation with growing interest. Sherry knew that her guardians were married, but they had to rush it and it was before Raccoon had went straight to hell.

Chris remembered promising Jill a wedding ceremony after Rockfort Island. His own face broke out into a grin. "I believe I do owe you an actual ceremony," he replied. "So how do you want to do this?"

Jill thought about for a moment. "Not to big, but not too small either. Nice wedding dress, cake, the works."

"Invitations?"

"Close family and friends. Dad especially. Oh, and Carlos might want to come."

"Same with Melani and Evil Ed. Think we can pull this off?"

"What's the timetable?"

"Two weeks. Honeymoon?"

Jill thought about it for a moment. "Somewhere tropical...and where I can get a nice bikini. How about Hawaii?"

"Done."

&^%

Shortly after Chris and Jill's escape from Venice...

The Wolfpack had been away assissting Colonel Vladimir in excavating the ruins of the Antarctic facility when the reports came in regarding the destruction of the Venice laboratory at the hands of Echo Six and the two former S.T.A.R.S. members. Suffice to say, Lord Spencer was furious. In the past three years, Umbrella had been taking some serious hits, starting with the loss of his namesake mansion and laboratory in Raccoon City, followed by the destruction of its second hidden lab underneath the city, as well as the city itself.

That followed with the destruction of the labs in Caliban Cove, Rockfort Island (although he blamed Wesker for that, as that one was his fault), and the Loire Facility in which the Nemesis virus was created. The Wolfpack had been at the last facility, but had failed to eliminate Redfield, Valentine, Burton and HUNK.

Now, with the loss of the Venice facility, in which critical information regarding their bioweapons program was housed, Umbrella had been given a much serious blow. As a result Spencer had ordered the remaining Umbrella facilities and laboratories to be on high alert. Of course, that did little to stem the tide. Umbrella's bioweapons and virus programs were now out in the open, and it was only a matter of time before Umbrella would fall.

As Jill Valentine had put it, "Once the wheels of justice begin to turn nothing can stop them. Nothing."

&^%

Hotel Metropole, Principality of Monaco

The Wolfpack's latest gig was protecting a high-ranking Umbrella official who was on his way to Umbrella's Paris Offices. Once that was done, Lord Spencer would have their next assignment. The Umbrella executive had reservations at Hotel Metropole, and had it set up so that the Wolfpack's rooms would be surrounding his own - Lupo, Bertha and Specter on one side, and Four-Eyes and Vector on the other.

It was close to midnight, and the majority of the Wolfpack was asleep, save for Lupo, who was checking up on her children, and Four-Eyes, who was in the shower.

Having finished her shower, Christine Yamata exited the bathroom, dressed in a T-shirt and a pair of pajama pants. Almost immediately, the hairs on the back of her neck were standing straight up, as she knew that something was amiss.

The lights in her hotel room came on. Seated in a chair on the opposite side of the room, was Ada Wong.

"Doctor Yamata," the enigma greeted.

"You traitor," Four-Eyes hissed.

"I prefer 'opportunist,' to tell the truth," Ada corrected.

From the corner of her eye, Four-Eyes saw the Glock on the nightstand, in the same place where she left it. Only thing that stood between her and her gun was the bed.

"What are you doing here?" the Umbrella scientist demanded.

"Isn't that the million-dollar question," Ada replied. "Well, I've heard that you and your buddies are going after Redfield and the others. I also heard that by extension, you've targeted both Kennedy and Redfield's sister without Spencer's knowledge. That, my superiors cannot allow. My job is to take some of the heat off of Redfield and Valentine."

"Why?" Four-Eyes demanded. "What makes them so damn important? They seek to destroy the company!"

"And I hope that they succeed," Ada said. "As to what makes them important...absolutely nothing. Wait...I take that back. The organization that I work for had their eyes on both Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine for a while, especially Miss Valentine. As for Kennedy and the other Redfield...that's another story."

"So you know about 'Project V,'" Four-Eyes said. "Because of the fact that P-20 had bonded to Valentine's DNA and made her what she is today. Not only does she has the P-20 in her body, it's more than likely that she has antibodies for the T-virus as well."

"But there's something that you nor Umbrella does not know," Ada said. "You're not the only one with connections, Yamata. The vaccine used to save Valentine's life did not eradicate the virus from her system. The Tyrant virus is merely laying dormant inside her body, but it's not a threat in any shape, form or fashion. Her exposure to P-20 may have been a factor as to how she managed to survive her exposure to the T-virus, but we'll never know."

"How do you know this?" Four-Eyes demanded.

Ada smiled. "Blood tests are mandatory when it comes to physicals. My employers found out this little tidbit and shared it with me. Rather than follow Umbrella's example and abduct Valentine, we decided on a second route. Through her husband, Valentine has grown, and we believe that her potential can be reached under Redfield's guidance."

"And Birkin's daughter? You had a hand in that as well?" Yamata demanded.

"We did," Ada confirmed. "We're not cruel, unlike Spencer. Our methods and motives are...'questionable' at best, but the Birkin girl deserves a chance to live a normal life. The girl shows extraordinary promise with her own attributes, once they come into fruition."

Ada didn't even blink as Yamata dove across the bed and retrieved her pistol. She remained in her seat as Four-Eyes leveled her gun at Ada's head.

"Pity," Yamata said, a smug look on her face. "You should have stayed with the company, Wong. It didn't have to come to this," she finished as she pulled the trigger.

CLICK.

Yamata's eyes widened as she realized that her gun was empty.

"Works better with this," Ada said, holding the clip in one hand, while brandishing her own gun in the other. "Did you really think that I would let you live after revealing to you what I know in regards to the Raccoon survivors?"

"You wouldn't shoot me," Four-Eyes replied. "The sound of the gunshot will alert Lupo and the others."

"Sure...if the rooms were not soundproofed," Ada pointed out, calling Four-Eyes' bluff. "The executive in which the Wolfpack is guarding hates noise, which is why this hotel had a series of soundproofed rooms...and the Wolfpack is in every single one of them."

Yamata sighed. She knew that she would not live through the night. "So that's it then? I'm to be killed." Her tone was one of acceptance. "Do I at least get one final request?"

Ada's response was to raise her gun and pulled the trigger. Unlike Yamata's gun, hers was loaded. The nine-millimeter round made a perfect hole in Yamata's head, while the exit wound splattered blood, bone and gore onto the wall behind her. Four-Eyes was dead before she hit the ground.

"A quick death. That's your final request," Ada replied calmly as she holstered her gun. Once she secured Four-Eyes' laptop in her bag, she pulled out her grappling gun. Leaving Four-Eyes' body behind, she made her escape through the outside window.

Christine Yamata's corpse would be discovered the following morning by members of the Wolfpack. Ada Wong would be long gone by then.

^%$

Two weeks later.

The tide has turned in the war against the Umbrella Corporation. It would take months, even years, but it was certain that Umbrella would finally face the music for its crimes. In the meantime, inside a posh hotel somewhere in the D.C. area, a (long overdue) wedding was taking place. It had been nearly two years, but Jill was finally getting her dream wedding.

It felt strange to have a wedding ceremony after nearly two years of fighting Umbrella. But Chris did promised her a wedding ceremony and he was good on his word. The wedding was a quiet affair, since there were those who had ties to Umbrella wanted Chris and Jill dead. Despite the fact that Umbrella was weakening, Chris and Jill wasn't going to take any chances.

The ex-S.T.A.R.S. Operative and Raccoon survivor looked radiant in her wedding dress, her hair pulled back into a bun (think the wedding dress and hairstyle Yuna wore in FFX, only that the dress has no feathers). The only thing Jill didn't have on (and that she outright refused to wear) was the veil. Kathy, the matron of honor, along with Claire and Rebecca fussed over the bride until there was a knock on the door.

Dick entered the room, dressed in a suit. He had been released a year earlier and had retired to a nice, quiet life in Exeter. The former thief had even written a fictional novel based on his life as a thief (with the obligatory name changes), which was doing well on the bestseller's list. While his daughter was fighting Umbrella alongside Chris, Dick managed to deflect several of Umbrella's goons who were disguised as federal agents. When they asked if he had seen Jill, the wily Valentine had put on an Oscar-worthy performance, acting like a drunk who cursed his daughter's name. The phony agents bought the ruse and left Dick alone.

“Ladies,” Dick greeted. “May I have a moment with my daughter, please?”

The matron and the bridesmaids nodded and exited the room.

Dick turned to his daughter and smiled. “You look beautiful, Jillianne,” he said. “Simply beautiful.”

Jill was glowing. “Thanks, Dad.”

Dick pulled up a chair and sat down. “Jillianne...you know that I would only want the best for you. That I would trust the happiness of my only daughter to a man that I admire and respect. Chris is that man.” He paused for a moment. “Jillianne...I want to apologize to you. I know that I wasn't a good father, and that I had to raise you by myself following your mother's passing, but I did my best to give you a good childhood with whatever means I had.”

“Daddy...” Jill began, “you were a great father. You taught me how to stand on my own two feet.”

Dick shrugged his shoulders. “That and how to break into a house.”

Jill chuckled at her father's dry wit. “That too. Despite what people will say, I will always love you. Thanks for being there for me.”

Dick shook his head. “No...thank you for giving this old man the honor of walking his little princess down the aisle.”

The door opened and Claire stuck her head inside. “Jill? It's time.”

(*&

Inside the ballroom, the guests – mostly Raccoon survivors who had managed to escape the doomed city and those Chris and Jill had met during their war against Umbrella – wait in anticipation for the long overdue wedding between Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine. Chris stood before the gathered guests, dressed in his tuxedo (sans necktie), along with Barry, who was his best man, his wife Kathy as the matron of honor. Even Roland Graham and his wife, Sarah Graham and their daughter, 15-year-old Ashley Graham attended, having been seated in the front row.

Echo Six – dressed in their formal Army uniforms – sat in the audience, Captain Jettingham looking on with pride at his former subordinate being married. Sienna Fowler and Caroline Floyd were trying their hardest not to break out in tears. Edmond MacPherson sat beside Melani Jackson and Marissa Ronson, both wiping the tears from their eyes. HUNK was also present, seated next to Carlos Oliveira the former having some shred of emotion on his face as he remembered his former love. Bruce McGivern sat beside Carlos and watched the proceedings.

The judge who had overseen their wedding back in Raccoon was overseeing the wedding ceremony. Jill had warned him to leave the city days before the viral outbreak and fortunately, the judge was smart enough to heed her advice. Now he was back, at Chris and Jill's request to conduct their official wedding ceremony. The gathered guests rose to their feet as 'Wedding March' began to play. Sherry, Moira and Pollyanne Burton were radiant as the flower girls, followed by Claire, who was escorted by Leon and Rebecca was escorted by Billy Coen.

Then came Jill, looking radiant in her wedding dress, escorted by her father. Within minutes, Jill had taken her place at Chris's side as Dick stepped back.

"Dearly beloved," the judge began, "we are gathered together here in the sight of God – and in the face of this company – to join together this man, Christopher Lawrence Redfield, and this woman, Jillianne Catherine Valentine, in holy matrimony, which is commended to be honorable among all men; and therefore, is not by any, to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly – but reverently, discreetly, advisedly and solemnly."

At the moment, Chris and Jill were not interested in what the judge was saying. They were busy looking at each other.

"Through marriage," the judge continued, "Christopher and Jillianne make a commitment together to face their disappointments, embrace their dreams, realize their hopes, and accept each other's failures. Christopher and Jillianne will promise one another to aspire to these ideals throughout their lives together – through mutual understanding – openness – and sensitivity to each other."

The judge turned to Chris. "Do you, Christopher Lawrence Redfield, take this woman, Jillianne Catherine Valentine as your lawfully wedded wife? To live together after God's ordinance – in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon her your heart's deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall live?"

"I do," Chris replied.

"And do you, Jillianne Catherine Valentine, take this man, Christopher Lawrence Redfield, as you lawfully wedded husband? To live together after God's ordinance – in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon him your heart's deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him as long as you both shall live?"

"I do," Jill replied.

"Who has the rings?"

Barry produced the wedding band and the diamond ring. The rings were then exchanged.

"Into this holy estate these two persons present now come to be joined. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together, let them speak now or forever hold their peace."

Silence reigned throughout the hall.

"What has been brought here, shall no one tear asunder," the judge decreed. "By the power invested in me, I pronounce you husband and wife." He turned to Chris and grinned. "Have at her, cowboy."

Chris took Jill in his arms and planted a toe-curling kiss, which Jill responded with equal passion. Fowler was taking pictures. Ronson and Floyd had broken out in tears. Claire and Sherry were clapping the loudest. Rebecca and Carlos were doing their very best to not bawl in happiness. Barry and Kathy had huge smiles on their faces as they applauded.

(*&

Inside the reception hall, Dick Valentin approached Chris and Jill. "Although this is long overdue, congratulations to the both of you," he said, embracing his daughter and shaking his son-in-law's hand.

"Thanks, Daddy," Jill replied.

"Thanks, Dick," Chris seconded, just as Graham approached the pair and the elder Valentine.

"Now this was definitely worth seeing," Graham said, shaking both Chris and Jill's hand. Turning to Dick, he asked, "You're Jill's father?"

Dick nodded. "Yes I am."

"Dad, this is my commanding officer, Colonel Roland Graham," Jill said, introducing her father and Colonel Graham. "Colonel Graham, my father, Dick Valentin."

The two men shook hands. "You must be very proud of your daughter, Mr. Valentine," Graham said. "She is something."

"She learned from the best," Dick replied with pride in his voice. "Excuse me."

As Dick turned and headed for a nearby table – he had promised Alyssa an interview – Graham turned to the couple. "I planned on springing this on the both of you after you returned, but I thought why not." He grinned. "Consider this a wedding gift from Yours Truly and the Air Force. You two have been knocked up a rank, thanks to your actions against Umbrella. Major Redfield, First Lieutenant Valentine...congratulations."

"Thank you Colonel," Chris and Jill replied in unison.

As Graham returned to his family, Edmond MacPherson and Melani Jackson walked up to the couple. "Redfield, you old bastard!" Ed greeted as he shook Chris' hand, while Melani hugged Jill. "Although the both of you have been married for some time, congratulations to the both of you."

"Thanks, Ed," Chris replied.

Melani turned to Chris. "Chris. Congratulations," she said, giving him a chaste kiss on the cheek. Turning to Jill, she said, "Better take care of him, Jill. He's really something."

Jill beamed. "I know."

Following several more of their guests congratulating the couple, Chris and Jill moved over to the cake. Chris and Jill fought the urge not to smear it on the other's faces as they fed it to one another. The dance came next. When it came time for them to depart for their long-overdue honeymoon, the couple stood before the patrons at the hotel's entrance, Chris holding Jill's garter in one hand, while Jill had the bouquet in her hands.

Chris cocked his hand back and let the garter fly, just as Jill turned around and tossed her bouquet over her head. The garter landed in Leon's hands, while the bouquet landed landed in Claire's hands. They both looked at each other and Claire blushed, while Leon looked embarassed.

Saying their goodbyes, Chris and Jill entered the limo, where it sped off. Chris and Jill had agreed on Hawaii and Chris had made the arrangements. They would be spending the next three weeks in Honolulu for their honeymoon. No Umbrella. No rampaging bioweapons or ex-superiors hell-bent on killing them. Just the two of them on a much-needed vacation from the madness that was their lives.

Notes: Part One is complete. Part Two will be coming as soon as possible.


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