Disclaimer: Resident Evil franchise, belongs to Capcom, but the movies are all written and produced by Paul W.S. Anderson. For these stories, I ignore the games for the movies.
Author’s Notes: This is the final of three stories for International Day of Femslash 2012’s Big Bang. I think Project Alice fits the Olympic Motto (faster, higher, stronger) and Olympic Creed. Resident Evil is all about struggle and survival against the best (of the worst) humanity has to offer. Happy to hear any thoughts. Special thanks to Dakota, my heart/muse/editor.
Dusk falls on the second night aboard Arcadia with Alice following Claire up the steps to the control room. The day had gone well after the helicopters inexplicably turned aside. Alice knows that Umbrella will return, but she’s still grateful for the reprieve. She has to pause for a moment at the sudden burning pain in her arm. The knife had inflicted more damage than she cares to think of right now.
Alice distracts herself with the slight sway in Claire’s hips as she walks ahead. It’s been better today, more and more of the redhead’s memories and behaviors coming back. Hopefully the rest--their relationship, Claire’s brother, KMart and the others--aren’t far away. She’s so deep in thought, it takes her a minute to notice the limp.
“You’re limping.” Alice catches up and shadows Claire as the redhead takes her time getting up the stairs.
“You’re bleeding.” Claire finally reaches the top and turns to trace the edge of the make-shift bandage on Alice’s arm. Her knee is killing her now that the adrenaline has worn off.
“Aren’t we a pair.” Alice’s hand rests at the small of Claire’s back in silent support and the selfish need to know that her lover is truly alright. She tries to usher the smaller woman through the steel door, but the redhead stops, leaning back into Alice’s touch.
“Are we?” Claire doesn’t move close enough to kiss her, but she wants to. “I’ve been getting some very vivid images. Not sure if they’re flashbacks...” She loves the way Alice is staring at her lips. “...Or fantasies.” Leaning forward until her body is barely brushing the other woman, she promises, “If you won’t talk to me, I’m going to take matters into my own hands.”
Alice really, really wants those hands all over her right now. And the lips hovering so close to her own. Had she mentioned something about flashbacks? “I’d really like to hear more about that when we get some time alone.”
Claire’s stomach drops at the intimate tone, another memory falling into place. Then they’re being interrupted by an enthusiastic KMart squeezing between them, mumbling directions to herself.
“Come on you two. Found Sick Bay.” KMart repeats a series of lefts and rights all the way down the stairs, but turns back to find her two patients haven’t moved. “You can stare at each other later. Come on!” She glares at them, hands on hips until Alice turns and starts down the stairs.
Claire groans to herself, not looking forward to the trip back down. “I’ll be right there.”
Chris sneaks up behind his sister. Normally he’d sweep her over a shoulder and spin until she was dizzy. But she’s not herself yet, so he asks, “Want me to carry you?”
Claire jumps, but turns to him with a grin. “Not necessary, thank you.” He offers his arm though, and she takes it as he guides her to a stool in the control room. Chris is starting to feel more familiar to her, but she still has no clear picture of him in her life.
“You remember anything yet?” Chris asks gently. He’s held his worry in admirably so far, but the calm is starting to slip. It’s disturbing to see his flesh and blood look at him like a stranger and recoil from his touch. That part is getting better at least.
“Bits and pieces. Lots of images with no context: Alice. A man, a friend I think. Older than you, but carried himself like a cop or a soldier. KMart is there a little bit.” Claire shakes her head, stricken by the look of disappointment he tries to hide from her. “I’m sorry Chris.”
“Hey,” he shrugs, hoping she buys it. “No worries. You’re a quick study. I’m sure it won’t be long.”
Claire smiles slowly. “I get the feeling you’re a bad liar... That true?”
Chris sighs, relieved to see a sign of his little sister. “You do tend to know all my tells when we play poker.”
Laughing, Claire pops up and kisses him on the cheek. “Thank you.” She looks at the ship map on the wall and finds Sick Bay before she remembers why she’d come up here. “Hey, will you make sure Alice and I are in the Captain’s Quarters please?”
Chris chuckles as he marks it down on the sleeping quarters chart.
“What?” Claire’s smile falters for a moment.
“It’s the end of the world and you still get the hot ones.” Chris dodges her punch to the shoulder and a couple of playful wild swings.
“I reserve the right to reply when I know what the fuck you’re talking about.” Claire smiles sweetly. “For now, this will have to do.” Her smile only gets bigger as she flips him off.
He laughs again, thoroughly enjoying the display. “I’ll make sure your room is ready, Cap’n Claire.” He winks and lets her leave without any further harassment. He’s happy to see her again, and thinks how much worse it is for her. Being locked up is one thing. Being locked in your own mind is another... He can’t believe she’s alive at all.
Chris turns back to work. There were enough ex-police and ex-military amongst the people to pick a couple lieutenants and take some of the strain from the three of them. With help organizing the survivors and taking stock of the supplies, some volunteers even managed to arrange a meal of soup and bread. It’ll be late, but many of these people haven’t eaten real food in months. Including himself...
Claire hurries down the steps as much as she can, hoping she’s not too late to help with Alice’s arm. She walks into Sick Bay to find the brunette wincing at KMart’s ministrations. Leaning against the doorframe, she watches for a moment, a wave of warmth filling all the cold parts of her.
Since she’d lost her memory, Claire has depended on the parts that feel absolutely right. Like the weight of a weapon in her hand. Like taking charge. Like Alice holding her on the cold nights. Alice checking her wounds so tenderly and accepting every barb she hurled with patience. Alice watching her at every opportunity since they’d parted that morning.
Claire moves into the room with the certainty of one who knows she’s going to get the response she wants. “That looks pretty wicked.” She watches over KMart’s shoulder. “You’ve still got the touch.” The teen looks at her strangely, and she finds herself explaining, remembering, “You used to help the kids in the caravan when they got hurt. You were always very good with them.”
Claire doesn’t meet Alice’s eyes yet, not trusting her control. Even with an escort in the room. “KMart, would you mind finding the galley please and seeing if there’s any ice for my knee?” She places her hand over the fresh gauze and waits for the kid to leave, calling after, “Thank you!”
Lifting the bandage, Claire assesses the damage. The bleeding has stopped, and KMart cleaned it well. She starts wrapping it, sitting close enough to catch how good Alice smells. It makes her stomach clench. None of them had gotten any sleep since the Citadel, but they’d jumped into showers and whatever fresh clothes they could find from the abandoned crew quarters ASAP.
Claire lets the silence get thick before she says, “Sometimes it seems like you avoid being alone with me.” She feels the arm beneath her fingers tense and smiles.
Alice knew the moment that Claire walked in, and now sits nervous and fidgeting at the redhead’s touch. Her arm vibrates at the gentle brush of fingers. She tries to relax, but finds it almost impossible.
“Between KMart and Chris, we have a constant escort.” Claire tapes the gauze on Alice’s arm and asks, “Are you still afraid I’ll jump you in our sleep?” She lets the double entendre marinate as she finishes her task, then slides her fingers to the bend of Alice’s elbow. “Or am I not safe around you now?”
Alice quit thinking a while ago, and stares at Claire's very kissable lips. Trembling and weak from restraint, she says, "You mentioned flashbacks?"
"I mentioned images. Very vivid images." Claire's grin is slightly predatory as she soaks in Alice's interest. She is so keyed up, she can barely keep her hands to herself.
Claire has had so many flashes that start like this, with them leaning close for a kiss. Her fantasies fill in the blanks with details personal enough to make her blush when Alice walks into a room.
"Can you give me an example?" Alice's whisper betrays her desire. If Claire says the right thing here, if she remembers a couple of details, then Alice's reasons for silence go away. And she can finally confess the love she's felt for Claire since their short affair.
Claire's temperature rises a few degrees as she sifts through which image to share. "I see you with an injury. You don't seem concerned. And you let me kiss it to make you feel better."
Alice's breath hitches as Claire's lips echo her words, kissing the soft flesh at her elbow. The redhead ghosts over the bandage and leaves another kiss on her wrist, tongue lingering for a taste. She shivers as Claire's hand slides up the back of her arm, petting bicep and triceps and shoulder and neck to tangle in the thick drape of her hair.
"I see myself kissing you." Claire pulls gently, sensitive to any resistance. But Alice surrenders completely, letting her lead them in an easy reintroduction. It only lasts a few seconds before Alice is taking her mouth in a demanding, possessively slow rhythm that hints at everything she’s holding back.
Alice's hands find Claire's face, cradling her jaw. And, for a few short moments, she forgets to be careful, caving to the lust raging through her veins. She kisses Claire like she used to, with long, deep strokes of her tongue meant to claim and brand and remind her love of what they'd shared.
Claire moans at the intensity, needing this and so much more. She stands to pull the taller woman flush against her, but Alice misinterprets the abrupt movement and pulls away instead. Suddenly, she is cold, and the steel door at the end of the hall clangs open at Alice's retreat. Her body is alive, reaching still for absent warmth and passion.
Eyes closed, body humming with a need disproportional to what little she remembers to be true, Claire succumbs to a very clear memory of what Alice tastes like. And she knows how much Alice loves it when Claire bites her neck at the precise moment she cums.
That thought sends a rush of wetness to her core, proof enough for her that Alice is much more than a friend.
Claire considers going after the brunette, but decides to put her energies toward the alone time they will get in the captain's quarters tonight.
Alice is at the other end of the ship before she stops, shaking from head to toe. In her mind, she’s still kissing Claire. This nightmare is behind them and they are making love in a safe, clean place that belongs just to them.
Twenty minutes later, she’s still gripping the handrail so tightly that her hands ache. She's no closer to corralling her desire, but the fresh air helps clear her head. Dazed survivors now pace the decks below, white suits everywhere. After the last several years of grit and ruins and filth, so much white is disconcerting. And it makes her think of the Umbrella labs she's been kept in so many times.
"Attention everyone." It's Chris over the intercom, bringing her back to the present. "We've got a light meal in the cafeteria on deck three. Please be patient, and we'll get you fed and assigned a bunk for the night."
Alice goes for something to do, automatically scanning the room for Claire. It seems the redhead had noticed her as soon as she'd come in. She waves Alice over, indicating the food waiting at an empty seat. Though her instinct is to flee again, she wants Claire even more, and joins her at a table with KMart, Chris, and a couple of their new lieutenants.
Claire squeezes Alice's knee under the table, barely missing a beat in the conversation. It is familiar and sweet and completely natural. It's Alice twining their fingers together on her thigh that makes Claire stop listening to Chris completely and turn her attention to the brunette. "How's your arm?"
Alice chooses to ignore Chris's grin at Claire's sudden abandonment and nods. "Better. Thank you. You too, KMart." The intimacy of the moment broken, Chris resumes his report, and she eats. It's nice that Claire leaves her hand there for a couple more minutes, stroking absently. Alice's body is still on fire, but she is gaining control. Strangely, it's easier now that they're in the same room again.
Since Alice had rescued Claire, being away from her, even for minutes, seems impossible. But it’s gotten worse in the last thirty-six hours. She gets agitated, and stays unsettled until the redhead is within sight again. Preferably within reaching distance. The want, the ache is starting to feel familiar. Her lack of control. The tingling in her arm as it heals, Alice suspects faster than it's supposed to. And somehow she can sense where Claire is, even amongst the couple hundred people they've freed so far.
Alice listens enough to respond, though frankly she's just agreeing with Claire. Which the redhead notices. It's unclear how much she remembers at this point, but it's enough for Alice to fill her in on a few things. At least she can answer Claire's questions now. After that kiss, she's looking forward to it.
Alice takes a deep breath, poised outside the captain's quarters. It's so late that surely Claire will be asleep. The thought makes her ache as she enters as quietly as she can. She'd wanted to say a proper goodnight, but Chris kept her talking for an extra long time.
Claire is propped in bed against a couple of honest-to-God pillows, knee elevated with a cold pack, and she's completely out. She really can't begrudge the woman some sleep. The sight itself fulfills a need, and she stows her gear beside the door so she can sit at Claire's feet. It's the first time Alice has seen Claire relaxed and somewhat at peace. Dressed in workout shorts and a T-shirt, she's so beautiful that Alice can't breathe. But the sitting wakes her up. Sliding under her legs, Alice is careful of the leg.
"I was afraid you might find some reason to stay out all night." Claire opens her eyes to find Alice examining her twisted, tender knee. She adjusts her uninjured leg to rest behind the brunette, wincing at the ambitious movement. She'd gotten stiffer by the hour since dinner. Something about relaxing makes your body think sleep isn't far behind.
Claire cries out when Alice starts massaging her calf, sitting up and grabbing the brunette's shoulder for support. She cannot believe how tight her muscles are, or that this woman has found her weakness so easily and eases her discomfort so thoroughly. And though it's midnight, and she's stayed up to talk to Alice, Claire finds herself content just to be near her.
"I can take the couch if you'd like." Alice continues the gentle massage, enjoying the steady contact. She moves up the leg slowly, until Claire finally starts to relax. She's so close, Alice can feel the brush of breath against her shoulder, and Claire's nails teasing absently at her scalp, reflexively pulling a bit each time Alice hits a sore spot. "I'd prefer to hold you again though."
Claire smiles. "I'm glad we're on the same page." Alice's proximity is intoxicating and over stimulating at the same time. Either way, she's not tired anymore, and leans forward to remind Alice where they'd left off earlier. Luckily, the brunette does not object, accepting her kiss as though they have all the time in the world. There is no shyness or uncertainty, only the exquisite satisfaction of Alice's tongue sliding erotically against her own.
Something inside Claire shifts, rippling through her body like aftershocks in an earthquake. She stops for a moment, breathing hard, wanting to know what changed, wanting Alice. The next kiss is an invitation, a surrender to instinct over memory as she maneuvers closer, dissatisfied with the inches between them. The brunette is tucked between her thighs, letting Claire take her fill, and there is nowhere else but here, no time but now.
Alice needs more too, and she is finally able to give it, to take it, without worry that she is taking advantage. Wrapping her arms around the smaller woman, Alice pulls Claire completely into her lap. She moans, low and needy, pressing her hips against Claire's open center, imagining the redhead already wet and bucking to meet her greedy thrusts. Slipping her hands up the shorts to grip Claire's perfect, naked ass, Alice pulls her into a slowly driving rhythm that matches her kiss.
Claire rocks her hips, still kissing, always kissing, and it feels like she's come home or found water in the desert. Ignoring the pinch in her knee, she crosses her feet at the ankle. Mine. Finally mine. Always mine. She is dizzy, with Alice, with raw desire, with muddled images tumbling at her psyche that definitely include them making love. Then Alice is saying her name, over and over between kisses, until it is finally clear that the woman is trying to get her attention.
"Sweetheart, KMart is at the door. It sounds like something is wrong." Alice knows when Claire finally hears her, because a switch goes off and she is scrambling to get to the door.
Claire doesn't do her knee any favors by moving so quickly, and has to lean against the door when she gets there. She barely has it open before a hysterical blonde teenager she only vaguely remembers is sobbing in her arms. Stutter-stepping them over to the couch, Claire soothes KMart with random comforting sounds. Alice is right there with pillows and her ice pack and a blanket for the teen. "Thanks." Alice sits beside Claire, adding her quiet coos for a few moments. "What's wrong, K? What scared you?"
There's some sniffling incoherence, and Claire gives up. She's basically just freaking out and doesn't want to be alone. A tiny part of her wants to shoo the kid away so she can concentrate on her own desires. But that doesn't feel right, and she cradles KMart's head in her lap. She has no idea how to comfort her though, a big hole where that information should be.
Overwhelmed by the events of the last four days, at the very least, Claire lets her head fall against the back of the couch. She doesn't want Alice to see how cored she feels right now. Absolutely gutted of everything that makes her her.
Alice senses Claire's distress, and tucks around the smaller woman, letting her other hand rest on KMart's trembling shoulder. As the only one who remembers everything, Alice feels like she should share something happy here, but all she wants to do is hold them. Her family.
"The first time I met you two, you were bravely fending off a flock of infected ravens. I got hurt, and KMart took care of me." The words are coming easier now as Alice realizes that her short time with Claire and her caravan were the happiest she's had since the world died.
"All the little kids in the convoy were scared of me, but K convinced them that I was a superhero or something." Now Alice strokes Claire's cheek, and blue eyes turn her way. "Claire was the fearless leader. I only knew you both for a couple of days, but you made quite an impression." She traces the line between Claire's brows. "What's wrong?"
"I'm trying to figure out how it was only a couple of days. I know I don't completely remember you, but I feel like I know you a lot better than that." Claire feels herself blush at the implication in her tone, unintentional but not inappropriate for the situation. They both steal a glance at KMart, who has settled down and almost fallen asleep in Claire's lap. "Tell us more."
"All I have are action stories." That isn't completely true, but at least the action stories are appropriate for teenage ears.
"Tell us about you. What have you done since we left you in the desert?" Exhaustion is setting in, and Claire fights to stay awake. In fact, her eyes close as soon as Alice starts talking, a soothing murmur that lulls the will right out of her.
Alice talks until both of her girls are asleep, then gently starts to rearrange so she and Claire can go to bed for real. The redhead wakes as soon as she moves, and Alice helps her over to the bed.
Claire pauses, so close to taking off her clothes to sleep naked. Only the kid in the room makes her hesitate.
Alice reads her intention and steps into Claire to whisper, "If you do that, I will lose all control." She kisses the redhead again, but keeps it short for her own sanity. "We'll find her a suitable roommate tomorrow. And I'll answer any other questions you have."
Claire takes another kiss, delirious and exhausted, and now elated. "The talking might have to come later."
Alice thrills at the promise in Claire's tone, and her soft body pressing so close makes nerve endings sing. She strips to her T-shirt and crawls between the covers. "Come to bed, woman; I want to hold you."
Claire does, and it only takes a few seconds to settle comfortably in Alice's arms, both asleep within minutes.
"What will you do?" Claire snuggles closer to Alice, the desert air coming through the window cold. "If Arcadia is real, and there's no infection, will you stay?" She senses the hesitation in Alice, and wishes she knew how to get the woman to open up. Truth is, she'd asked in a "let's imagine best case scenario" way, but now she wants to know for purely selfish reasons. She wants to know if Alice will stay with her.
"I don't know...I'm still a target, and a danger to all of you."
Claire wakes alone in the captain's bed, the thread of dream strong enough for her to follow for a few more seconds. They may only have had a couple days together, as Alice said, but she'd left out more than just the incredible sex Claire now remembers vividly. She'd left out the immediate connection, and the desperate need. Most of all, she'd neglected to mention that Claire had fallen head over heels pretty much immediately.
It's possible that Alice doesn't know, or maybe doesn't feel the same way, though her tenderness toward Claire the last few days is a good sign. More memories trickle in, along with a rush of guilt. By the time they met in the desert, Alice had been on her own and on the run for years. She'd had no one, and believed that it was her fate to stay alone, a permanent target for Umbrella, and therefore a danger to anyone she knew.
Claire hadn't been much better. Though surrounded by people, those people had been dying and hopeless. She was hopeless too, stuck in survival mode because that's what she was trained to do. The only long-term expectation she had was an early death, probably at the teeth of an infected.
Alice had saved them more than once, and brought them all hope. Alice showed her that there was still love left in the world. Then and now, Alice reminds Claire that there is a future as long as they live. A future worth fighting for.
She sits up in bed and immediately regrets it, every muscle in her body screaming in protest. How are you always sorer the second and third days? The whimper she suppresses as she tries to maneuver her injured knee to the floor is enough to wake KMart on the couch.
"Sorry, K. You can sleep some more if you like." Claire stretches some of the kinks out, and ignores the impulse to sleep more herself. She needs to find Alice, to tell her that, though they may not have known one another for long, Claire has now fallen in love with her twice.
"Morning." KMart sits up rubbing her eyes, trying to remember where they are. She's afraid to say anything else, because she realizes suddenly that the only remotely familiar thing here is Claire. The stark white Umbrella jumpsuit makes her skin crawl, but a few memories rush in to fill some of the gaps... Kidnapped by Umbrella. Asleep for more than a year. Rescued by Claire and Alice, who know her, and Chris, who doesn't. And he's really hot.
Claire let's KMart work through the confusion. She's a great kid, very smart and resilient. "The headache will last a couple days, and it seems like memory returns faster after that. At least for me." She joins the teen on the couch, careful not to crowd her. "You had me fooled a little yesterday, falling so quickly to helping others."
"It kinda kept me from freaking out." KMart doesn't exactly remember Claire, but she knows her. Tears start to well up at the thought, and she tries to fight them back, but doesn't seem to have much control. "Sorry I was such a spaz last night." When Claire pulls her into a comforting embrace, she starts crying in earnest, and clings to the redhead.
After a while, KMart goes to clean herself up, and Claire begins rummaging through drawers again. She finally comes up with some workout pants and a T-shirt that will fit the girl, and hopefully help her feel a bit more herself.
By the time they join the others on deck, the sun is high and warm, and there are signs of life everywhere. Claire checks the control room first, looking for Alice, but the brunette had only told Chris that she was headed to the labs. He grins when she grumbles that the whole ship is a lab.
Claire finds Alice more than an hour later, bent over a computer in Wesker's office. The brunette is so concentrated that she doesn't hear Claire come in, doesn't see how potently she reacts to the sight. Now that she remembers, her only instinct is to reconnect, to reclaim. She moves to do just that, and Alice turns her way, surprise and tears in her eyes. A seismic shift in her chest sends the lust away, replacing it with a gut-wrenching need to make things better for Alice.
Claire is holding her from behind before Alice completely realizes her presence, kissing her cheek. "Hey there." She sees that Alice is reading her own file, and knows that she is reliving some of the many horrors she's had to endure. Horrors that Claire has not heard and does not know. Suddenly, it’s very important that she came upon Alice in this state, at this time.
Aiming to give her a moment to gather herself, Claire retrieves a chair from the other side of the desk and settles beside the brunette. "Anything here you didn't already know?"
Alice is grateful for the question. It gives her something to focus on besides the monster possibly growing again inside. "Some. It seems they've continued to have a field day with my DNA. Not only did they make me a monster, they used my genes to make even scarier monsters."
"And the cure, look..." Claire points at a notation and reads for a moment. "It says you should have everything here to make it. Alice, this is great. But you look like someone walked over your grave. What am I missing?"
Alice wishes so much that Claire remembered more. They'd spoken of her initial infection in the desert, and Claire had made her feel better then. Maybe it would work again. "I told you that Wesker gave me a shot that made me human again... It says here that it wasn't just the cure, but also a vaccine. It's supposed to make me immune to any re-exposure."
Claire moves the lock of dark hair hiding Alice's eyes, tucking it behind an ear. "Supposed to?" She tries not to react, afraid of whatever is coming next. Not for herself or her convoy like last time, but for Alice. She cannot afford to lose this woman again. "Tell me what worries you."
"I don't think it worked the way they wanted." Alice hesitates, staring at the bandage on her arm. She'd been screwing up the courage to unwrap it when Claire walked in. She does so now with efficiency and a gut churning dread. What she sees doesn't exactly confirm her suspicions, but it doesn't reassure her either.
"That's healing pretty fast." Claire presses at the pink edges of the wound. The deepest part though, had clearly begun mending, and is now almost closed.
"But it's not healed." Alice runs through the various implications, confused and violated all over again.
"You sound disappointed." Claire continues to scroll through the file as Alice examines the gash in her arm.
"I don't understand. The healing is obviously accelerated, but the virus should have taken hold by now. It's usually pretty immediate." She stands and begins to pace. "It's possible the vaccine was ineffective on me."
"Let's not jump to conclusions... Have you been injured this deeply since surviving the helicopter crash?" At least Claire had been told of Alice's immediate past. "From what you said, you shouldn't have survived it. The virus was still in your blood enough then to help. Maybe the cure itself was ineffective, or maybe put the virus to sleep?" Claire is throwing spaghetti at the wall, and they both know it, but something sticks and she continues.
"Follow me here... If this is the first bad wound you've had..." Claire looks at Alice with a raised eyebrow, and the brunette gives one tight nod. "Your resilience hasn't been truly tested since he gave you the cure."
"But I was weaker, slower. Now I feel strong and healthy." Alice concentrates on breathing, on listening to Claire's soothing, reasonable, logical argument.
"Things that can be explained by food and sleep and the company of your friends." Claire takes Alice's hand when she paces within range. "Are you certain you were exposed again?" Another tight nod. "And in the past, you've known immediately that you were infected?"
"Look at me..." Claire takes both hands now and waits for Alice's eyes. "I see someone who feels a little better because she doesn't have to bear the weight of the world alone anymore. I see someone who's had some fucked up shit done to her by some seriously demented people. And maybe some of that has left a residue or something that means you're still a bit more special than the rest of us. The line between mutation and evolution is thin, and you're the only one left alive who's crossed it. As scientifically difficult as it is to accelerate evolution--and remember that you were an accident, an anomaly..."
Claire cups Alice's face when she looks away again. "They never did figure you out. Do you truly think Umbrella is capable of creating something that could strip that evolution completely from you with one shot? Has anything they've ever done to you gone the way they anticipated or wanted?" Claire finally has her attention.
Alice stops. Claire is right. All she has is circumstantial evidence and paranoid suspicions. Even if it's justified paranoia, Claire is right. Nothing is certain yet. She takes one deep breath, then another.
"We'll keep an eye on it." Claire knows Alice needs a distraction now, and gives her a sweet kiss. "I'm starving. Will you escort me to the galley? I've got a big night planned and we need to keep up our strength." She arches her eyebrows comically and presses close.
Alice can't believe it, but she finds herself smiling. Then laughing. She really does feel better. "Yes. And thank you."
Claire takes her hand and closes the laptop. She'd meant everything she said. But it doesn't matter if Alice is re-infected. Claire isn't going to let her leave again.
Claire paces as she waits. She'd dismissed herself after dinner with what she thought was a clear invitation for Alice to get her fine ass to bed. It's been an hour now, and still no Alice. She's on the verge of marching into the mess hall in her skivvies when the door finally clangs. She turns, armed with a sarcastic comment, when the brunette enters, grin still in place.
"G'night Claire!" Chris calls through the door, laughing at the look he imagines on her face.
Claire smiles, knowing she's been bested. Chris has been fucking with her since this afternoon when she told him her memory had returned. She made him promise to let her tell Alice in her own way, and he'd started making up for lost time with the teasing. She loves it, but she'll never admit it to him. "I'm going to kill him later."
Alice doesn't believe it for a second, and senses something different in the teasing tone. Less tension maybe? "It's my fault too. I could have walked away."
"What'd he use? Planning the next move? Reporting every little detail of the day?..."
"Protective big brother, getting to know you, what are your intentions-type stuff. What did you tell him about us?" Alice is feeling playful after Chris' pseudo-grilling, and pulls Claire close for a kiss. The woman looks good enough to eat, all bare skin and curves in a tank top just long enough to cover the creamy flesh of her upper thighs. She looks fresh from the shower, hair dripping, skin flushed pink. Like she looked after they made love in the desert.
"Just that I wanted you to myself tonight. We introduced KMart to a couple of stray teenagers, and they've taken over the room next door." Claire pretends to listen for the girls. "I don't hear any maniac giggling. Maybe these walls are thicker than they seem."
Alice actually feels herself blush. "That's excellent news." Another kiss, more languid, hinting at the desire she's held in check for so long. "Would you hate me if I took a quick shower?" She needs a few minutes to collect herself. Especially now that she sees what awaits. She takes another kiss, careful not to let it go too far. "You look beautiful."
"Flattery will get you everywhere. But fast. I'm ready to pamper you." Claire gives Alice's perfect bottom a squeeze, and manages to let her go. She's waited all day for this moment, and eighteen months for this reunion. Whether she remembers all that time or not, Claire feels every minute of it, and she wants it to be perfect for both of them.
Alice is having similar thoughts, and showers faster than she ever has before. She's standing in front of Claire within minutes, still dripping in her towel. But they don't come together immediately, circling one another like prizefighters ready to strike. Should she start with I love you, or work up to it?
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Now that they are alone, Claire's chest is so tight that she can barely breathe. And as much as she wants to quit talking, she needs to know the answer to this.
Again, Alice notices a couple of small differences in the redhead: she's standing taller, challenging physically where she’s been subdued, fire in her gaze, a smile in her tone. This is more like the confident woman she’d fallen in love with, the Claire that made her remember why she keeps fighting. Letting out a shuddering breath, she tries to keep the hope from her voice.
“Which part?” Hiding behind a water bottle, Alice takes a long drink. Her heart stops when Claire drills her with a look and saunters closer. The wet hair makes the material cling, reminding Alice just what lay beneath.
"That we were lovers. That it was more than an affair." Claire doesn’t stop until her body brushes the taller woman's. "That a couple days was plenty of time." She has just enough thought to put the precious water aside and explain, "I remember everything." Pulling Alice into her arms, Claire threads her fingers through thick hair, reclaiming with a gentle tug. “I remember us.”
Alice whimpers at the first touch of Claire’s lips on hers, and the restraint she’d mostly shown since finding the drug-crazed younger woman on an Alaskan beach evaporates. Surrendering to the sweet pressure of Claire’s tongue, she lets her in for a moment before taking over, backing the redhead against cold steel to help support them.
The towel drops to the floor as Alice tucks a thigh between Claire’s. Her stomach falls at the familiar but long-absent wetness against her skin, her moan more like a growl. No panties...damn. She hadn’t let herself think of how wet Claire would get when they made love. The reality is overwhelming now, making her touch artless and clumsy. But she cannot stop kissing, will not stop touching, taking everything back that had been stolen from her.
Claire cries out at Alice’s fingers inside, curling possessively, controlling the maelstrom with sure strokes that lift her onto her toes. She is panting, body burning for more as she scrapes her nails across Alice’s back. But it has been too long, and she cannot hold off the orgasm rippling up her spine, overloading every sense. Demanding lips are there to swallow her cries, and she tingles with the awareness that they are just getting started.
Alice doesn’t want to stop, but cannot remain standing. She needs more, and guides them over to the full-sized bed, pulling Claire’s shirt off so she can finally see her body again. “Sweet Jesus...” The younger woman is thinner and has a dozen new scars, partly healed and angry red, and she’s still the most beautiful thing Alice has ever seen. “I missed you.” She lowers herself slowly, teasing them both by feathering her nipples up Claire's body.
“How could I have forgotten this?” Claire writhes beneath the slight weight until Alice rests on her fully. She pulls her closer still, hands petting constantly. This kiss is tender and slow, Claire needing the contact. Her tears had dried months ago, but they return now. “I’m so sorry.”
Her gut twists when Alice tries to reply, but she stops her with a kiss. “I love you. I never said it before because I didn’t see a future; I didn't believe I could fall in love in two days, or that you could feel the same way. But I was wrong, and now I've fallen for you twice. I shouldn’t have let you go--I shouldn't have left you--without saying it. I shouldn’t have left you at all…”
Alice stops the confession with another soul-searing kiss, rocking her hips against Claire’s center until the redhead is whimpering for more. Watching over the younger woman these last few days has been a form of torture, knowing that the memory loss would cast anything Alice said or did in doubt. She had to wait for her lover to remember. Now she cannot stop to appreciate the fact that Claire has her mind back. There is only the writhing body beneath her mouth.
Claire bucks off the bed at the first touch of Alice’s tongue at her core. She growls, the feral sound ripped from her throat as she is teased mercilessly. This is the game they play, Alice taking her so thoroughly, her skin throbs. But she won’t let Claire cum again so quickly. And she feels empty. “I need you inside me.”
It’s a simple admission that makes Alice’s heart pound even faster. She’s not ready to relinquish her hold though, and continues to drink, the scent and taste an intoxicating mix of familiar and new. Wrapping her arms around Claire’s bucking hips, she slows down even more, savoring every stroke. The smaller woman surprises her by breaking away enough to roll them over.
Claire holds no illusions that she’s stronger than Alice, but pins her wrists to the mattress nonetheless. Finally in a position to catch her breath, she grins. “I like having you to myself.”
Alice tries to kiss the lips hovering just out of reach, but Claire won’t allow it. Whimpering, she tries again. Her chest gets tighter, something inside fighting to get out. It’s stronger than the T-virus ever was, and she can’t control it. Only touching Claire soothes the ache. “Please...”
Claire pauses at the plea, barely a whisper above their breathing. And she can’t tease anymore. “Alice...” The brunette sits up, fusing their mouths together, wrapping Claire’s thighs around her waist until she is completely open to Alice’s possession.
Alice takes her, filling Claire until her hand cramps. She can’t control the need, and wonders again if there is something of the monster left in her, if it’s growing even now. But Claire is strong and meets each thrust with her own hunger, giving everything until Alice pulls her over the edge. There is no guttural roar this time, only Claire’s tongue in her mouth as she rides Alice’s hand through the aftershocks. It’s almost enough to make Alice cum with her.
Trembling and weak, Claire melts into Alice, sending them sprawling back on the bed for more devouring kisses. Until she starts shivering uncontrollably, her body done with taking orders from her libido. She’d been utterly exhausted at the sight of the bed earlier, but couldn't sleep with the anticipation of this night. It tries to claim her now as Alice wraps strong arms around her, pulling the blanket up over them. She can feel the brunette’s heart beating against her ear, fast and steady, and the sound revives her enough to murmur, “Gimme just a minute, baby.”
Alice still can’t speak. She doesn’t trust her voice, her mind, or her sanity, and can’t explain any of it. Killing, cutting, shooting...surviving has been her one focus for so long, she cannot imagine words that could encompass her emotions or explain how she’s felt this way for so long. But they come out anyway. “I love you.”
Claire stops breathing, afraid she’s heard wrong. Then Alice says it again, over and over until Claire kisses her silent and wipes her tears away. She just needs one more thing to make the world complete again, and slides down Alice’s body to take it.
Being inside Alice again feels like home. Surrendering to the knowledge frees something within, and Claire wraps her lips around Alice’s swollen clit, taking, worshiping. She doesn’t remember any fruit or drink, any food or honey that tasted so sweet, so right, and she doesn’t stop, even when Alice’s thighs grip her head, hips high off the bed as she cums. Digging her fingernails into the soft flesh of ass and thigh, Claire keeps feeding, bringing her lover down enough to slip inside.
Alice purrs at the fullness, unlike anything she's known. So deep, as her muscles adjust to the invasion of the gently pulsing fist. Thrusting against the pressure, impaling herself over and over, Alice implodes, the orgasm redefining satisfaction. She cannot move, and doesn’t want to, so full and sated and happy.
Alice moans as Claire moves, and she is empty again too soon. Soft lips make their way up her stomach, and somehow her body responds, nipples hardening again beneath that very talented tongue. But Alice wants her mouth one more time before she passes out, and uses the last of her strength to persuade the redhead north until she is tasting herself on Claire’s sweet lips.
Claire wants more, could start all over again, this time slow and tender. However long they live from here, it won’t be long enough to slake her thirst for this woman. Now that she knows Alice feels the same though, she can at least let them rest. “Good night, my lover.”
Alice smiles, head still buzzing. “Welcome back.” Tucking Claire against her shoulder, she finally sleeps.
Alice wakes in the darkness to her own soft moan. Disoriented, she lay very still, hoping what disturbed her deep slumber was a dream and not something horrible in the room with her. The soft murmur against her shoulder is a surprise, but then she remembers...Claire.
Another involuntary moan escapes as Claire’s fingers lock down on a nipple already hard from her wandering hands. Her heart rate doubles in that instant, body coming fully awake.
“...be inside you.”
Alice shivers at the quiet plea and leans into Claire’s hand, wanting the same thing. But the redhead doesn’t respond, even as her fingers continue to tease. Body burning, Alice turns and realizes that Claire is still asleep. Normally, she’d let her lover slumber. But nothing is normal anymore, and Alice aches for their reunion to continue.
Kissing her way down Claire’s chest, Alice is driven by the softness of skin, the scent of their lovemaking still in the air, the way the redhead rocks against her, instinctively seeking more. Reaching between them, Alice finds what she wants, dipping her fingers into the honey at Claire’s center.
Claire is pulled from her dream by Alice’s tongue inside her, stroking, teasing, sensitizing every nerve ending to the point of combustion. Her hands move to Alice’s hair, holding her there for the tender assault. She doesn’t remember where they are at the moment, and doesn't care. All she knows is the aphrodisiac of her lover’s sure strokes bringing her closer and closer to the abyss.
“Alice...” Claire groans and bucks up, needing more.
She will never get tired of hearing her name on Claire’s lips. It drives Alice harder, faster, until Claire explodes, muscles holding Alice in, pulling her even deeper with each contraction.
Claire comes off the bed, hips frozen in air until Alice brings her down again, sliding up her naked body. But she doesn’t move away, settling instead between her thighs. Claire moans, licks her lips. “Right about now, I’d kill for a sex shop.”
Alice’s smile is big enough to see in the dark. “We might be able to arrange that at some point.” She rocks her hips forward, wishing for the same.
“Are you sore?” Claire doesn’t try to mask the concern in her voice. “Did I hurt you?” Her lover is remarkable, and Claire's hands are small, but even a small fist is...she loses her train of thought at the memory.
Alice checks the tears that spring to her eyes with a radiant smile. It’s been so long since anyone cared. It was one of the things that had drawn her to the redhead in the first place. “I’m fine. Better than fine.”
Claire kisses her, leisurely, thoroughly, until they are both breathless and simmering just below boil. She would love a repeat, where she could bury herself to the wrist and watch Alice cum again and again. But she really is concerned that she might have hurt the woman in her arms.
“Say it again?” Alice hopes Claire knows what she means. She’d never felt the absence of those words before, didn’t know she needed them until Claire’s declaration. Now she wants to hear it a dozen times a day.
Claire is grateful for the pre-dawn glow filtering through the porthole, lighting the room enough for her to see Alice. Brushing blonde-streaked hair aside, she makes Alice look at her. “I love you.” Another kiss. “More than that, I need you.” She leaves out the “so don’t die,” opting instead to guide Alice onto her back. “And right now, I need to be inside you.”
Alice’s center pulses at the low, suggestive tone, highlighting how empty she is. Expecting the same drive to overtake Claire as last night, she is surprised when the redhead slides in gently, slowly, and leans to her ear.
“I’ve loved you almost from the start.” Claire closes her eyes and buries her face in the crook of Alice’s neck, breathing deep. The taste of her is a drug, and Alice is so wet now, Claire fears restraint will abandon her. So she concentrates on the woman beneath her, fucking her slowly, kissing her with a tenderness that seems to make Alice restless and wanton.
“More...” Alice cannot bear the softness, the monster inside scraping at the walls of her chest again. But Claire just keeps kissing her, curling her fingers in a steady rhythm that simultaneously drives her mad and sates her darkest needs.
Claire feels the tension building around her fingers and adds another. Every small movement draws a new sigh, a whimper, a mewling sound that touches something deep enough inside Claire to make her pause. And she makes the first promise she’s made since the world went to hell. “I swear I won’t leave you again.”
Alice knows Claire’s rule about promises. She knows the fear and the discipline that has kept so many alive for so long. She knows, too, that Claire never breaks her word. When the redhead moves inside her again, Alice bucks once then shatters, surrendering to wave after wave of oblivion.
Claire covers Alice with her body, absorbing the tremors until she’s shivering too. It’s not possible to find happiness like this in what’s left of the world. Yet here they are... Alice had found her, saved her from wasting away under Umbrella’s mind control. She’d come for her when there was little hope they’d ever see one another again. Whatever happens now, their fates are tied.
Claire wonders if love felt like this before the T-virus escaped, desperate and all-consuming and limited to one day at a time. She can’t remember feeling anything close to it. She only knows that the stone that had begun to form in her chest before Alice is alive and beating again.
Alice stirs, wrapping her arms tighter around the smaller woman. She wants to say a hundred things, but doesn’t know where or if to start. The mansion was the last true home she had, and that was a lie. How does this feel so much more certain and solid when, in fact, their situation is far more tenuous?
“I thought I’d be dead a long time ago.” Alice closes her eyes at the sting of tears. “Frankly, I didn’t want to live. No amount revenge I could wreak on Umbrella would be enough or replace all that they’d destroyed.” She strokes Claire’s shoulder absently, the half-light making the confession easier. “Every survivor I found reinforced how hopeless things were. Every Umbrella site I destroyed seemed to breed another. While the world kept dying more and more violently, I kept getting stronger. Whatever they did to me...” Alice takes a deep breath, “What if I’m infected again?”
Claire stays still, keeps her voice even. “You were infected when I met you, and that didn’t stop us.”
“But Wesker fucked with it. There’s no telling...” Alice stops when the redhead moves, propping herself on an elbow.
“It doesn’t matter, Alice. We’ll deal. And we’ll bring the rest of them down together, so what’s left of life can move on.” Claire is worried, afraid Alice is talking herself into leaving them again. “Together, promise me.”
Alice tucks silky strands of hair behind Claire’s ear and pulls her close for another kiss. They’re all targets now, everyone on this ship. Leaving won’t solve anything or protect anyone anymore. More than that, she’s so fucking tired of being alone.
“Together, love.” Alice smiles, the endearment coming out as though she’s been saying it for years. Being with Claire feels good. So good, she quits talking and pulls her down for another kiss.
“I’m just a kid, you know.”
Alice's cocked eyebrow displays her confusion, but it’s Claire who answers the young blonde that sits across from them at breakfast.
“Everything okay?” Claire takes another bite of the closest thing she’s had to a square meal in years. Someone had found the food stores. Umbrella still feeds its employees well, it seems. But today she doesn’t care. She’s famished after so many precious hours loving Alice. They’d even managed to sleep a little late.
K-Mart waves her fork in front of their leader’s distracted gaze. “Earth to Claire...” Now she points at the string of love bites sprinkling Claire’s neck and chest. “I’m right next door, remember?”
Claire remembers warning Alice, and then promptly forgetting her own advice. She blushes fiercely as Alice chuckles. “Don’t laugh too hard, sweetheart.” She reaches over to point out a few of her own brands on Alice’s smooth skin, and leans close enough to whisper, “I like seeing my mark on you.”
Alice shivers at the warm breath on her neck, stomach dropping when Claire takes an earlobe between her teeth for a teasing nip. If the redhead isn’t careful, she’ll find herself back in the captain’s quarters beneath her tongue.
“Get a room you two. There are children about.” Chris sits by KMart, trying to keep his grin in check as he asks the teen, “How did you sleep?”
“You’re one to talk.” Claire turns an even deeper shade of red but laughs, fixing him with an amused stare that makes him laugh too. “How many girlfriends did Mom have to run out of your room?”
“You really do remember!” His euphoria catches the attention of several tables around them, and he leans over to kiss her on the cheek. “Nice to have you back, Little Red.”
Alice watches the exchange, wondering where she will fit into this small family. Then Claire’s hand snakes up her thigh, re-enforcing that her only place from here on out is beside this woman. She brings Claire’s hand to her lips, placing a kiss on her palm.
No one comments this time, the gesture so familiar, so intimate, that KMart and Chris look away for a moment. Alice doesn’t care. They’ve lost so much time together, she’s going to take advantage of every moment they can.
Claire watches sunset from the bridge’s outer deck. Only a few are allowed up here, and she enjoys the much needed privacy. Burrowing deeper into the peacoat Alice had been wearing all day, she sighs, content.
She knows Umbrella will be back for them. Whatever the reason those helicopters had turned aside, she’s grateful for the reprieve. Grateful for the extra time it has given her with Alice, Chris, and KMart...not the shattered remnants of family, but a family she found and built from the ashes of what’s left. She also knows it’s a selfish thought, but, if the world hadn’t ended, this is still the family she would want. Would they have found one another without all the zombies? She doubts it, so in a twisted way she’s a little grateful for them too.
Closing her eyes, she breathes in the fresh, damp air. She’s already grown a bit complacent, too comfortable, because she doesn’t know Alice is there until bands of lean muscle and soft skin wrap around her from behind.
“Here you are.” Alice chuckles low and cuddles closer, leaving a trail of kisses from earlobe to collar. “And here is my missing coat. Was this some wicked plan to get me alone again?” She turns the redhead in her arms, pressing her back against the half-wall of steel that mostly blocks them from those roaming the deck below.
Claire’s smile is relaxed as she opens the wool to let Alice in. “It smells like you. I like it.”
“Hmm...” Alice likes that. A lot. “And when I wear it next, it’ll smell like you.” Claire’s lips are irresistible, and she takes advantage. She’d promised herself never to pass up an opportunity to show the younger woman how she feels.
As a result, they’d been caught kissing and holding hands, touching beneath the table at dinner, making out in the armory, and cuddling in the bridge’s control room behind them. And thanks to Chris and KMart, the survivors have taken to calling them Admiral Alice and Captain Claire.
The first time Alice’d heard it, she hated it. But Claire had explained how the symbol helped people feel like they had someone to follow, so she’d left it. She still doesn’t love it, but she’s been looking for the captain’s hat for Claire.
Claire breaks the kiss, breathless. This is how they always get caught. The moment Alice touches her anywhere, her body and mind shut down to everything but her lover. One kiss leads to another, and they are making excuses to disappear for a while. She’s given up preventing or hiding the marks they leave all over each other. With skin so fair, she never had a chance anyway. “Why so serious?”
The joke takes Alice by surprise, a leftover from the desert, and it makes her laugh. As the de facto leaders, every decision is serious. “Just thinking about the plan.”
“We have a plan?” Claire diverts her attention from Alice’s décolletage to her eyes, but she doesn’t let the taller woman pull away. “Do tell.”
Alice teases with a nip at her ear. “Wouldn’t you rather talk about it in bed?”
Claire closes her eyes, letting the idea take root as Alice whispers what she’ll do to her first. “Tempting.” She knows the brunette hears her surrender already, and teases, “But don’t you want to watch the sunset?”
Alice pauses in the tender assault on the curve below Claire’s ear and looks at the sunset. “It’s beautiful.” She’s not lying. Out here at sea, safe for the moment, life holds hope again. But she holds Claire.
“When you took the group north, I watched so many sunsets, hoping you might be seeing them too. Now that I have you back, nothing is as beautiful as you. Not even the most dramatic sunset.”
Claire’s cold hands snake up the back of Alice's shirt, and she shivers deliciously, wriggling closer. For someone who claims to be bad with people, she certainly knows how to make Claire’s toes curl and stomach drop with a word. Another long kiss, and she’s forgotten any mention of a plan.
As night falls around them, Alice’s touch grows more demanding. She really had sought out her lover to run the plan by her. Now, again, her original intentions don’t matter, and she doesn’t care. Claire is so responsive, Alice can feel her vibrating.
Wicked grin in place, Alice peels the peacoat from Claire’s shoulders and puts it on herself. Breaking the redhead’s exaggerated pout with another languid kiss, she makes it clear that she has no intention of letting Claire get cold.
Alice is already trembling with need, but restraint has proven to pay off for both of them. So she takes her time undoing Claire’s belt, unbuttoning the tight pants to slip her hands inside. Something about Claire’s naked ass captivates her to the point of obsession, and she kneads it lovingly as the redhead surrenders to Alice’s tongue in her mouth.
Suddenly, Claire is spun about, Alice placing her hands on the half wall. “Keep ‘em there.”
The quiet rasp next to her ear makes Claire moan and press back into Alice’s taut body. Shielding them with the coat, the taller woman moves even closer. Thankfully, dark has fallen, and to anyone down below, they’ll look like they’re cuddling.
It’s Claire’s last coherent thought as her sensitive breasts find a home in Alice’s hands. She never thought herself this wanton, this abandoned. ‘Before Alice’ is a vague dream compared to the intensity of life with her. And she wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Alice’s restraint is draining quickly at the unbridled response. Letting her hands roam lower, she moans her delight at finding Claire so wet and ready for her. The pants are an unfortunate constraint that make the redhead writhe against her fingers. Light, teasing strokes that stoke the flames, fulfilling the need for contact, but little else.
Claire doesn’t beg anymore. What she asks for is rarely as satisfying as letting Alice have her fill. It’s the same now...where she would push for climax, Alice retreats, teasing her desire into a frenzy of lust only matched by an infected’s hunger. “So close...”
Another of those sounds that makes Alice feel invincible, and she closes her eyes, channeling every sense into a pulsing rhythm that throws Claire off the ledge. Alice catches her mouth, devouring the redhead’s ecstasy to keep their tryst from the rest of the ship. But she doesn’t stop until Claire is leaning weakly against the wall, rocking through the aftershocks.
Claire holds Alice’s hand against her, blood slowing to a molten flow in her veins. Turning to face Alice, she guides the brunette deeper, kissing her again and again, touching every patch of skin she can find. Nothing is enough, and she reaches desperately for Alice’s belt.
A frustrated whimper escapes when Alice blocks access, and she tries again. But Alice curls her fingers deep inside and Claire’s knees buckle. Cold steel at her back shocks enough to give her strength, and she pulls Alice down to the even colder deck. Trapping the brunette’s arms in the peacoat, she tears at the offending pants, pushing them down Alice’s slender hips.
There were a few moments when Alice could have stopped. But Claire’s passion, her desperation to touch drives them to a frenzy. As the redhead jerks her clothes aside, Alice’s body begins to hum, a low-frequency vibration that makes her lover pause.
Claire doesn’t know what the sound is, low and pulsing around them, through them. She only knows sensation. Like their first time, everywhere Alice touches her comes alive, stimulated by this energy coming off them in rhythmic waves. Claire ignores the impulse to just feel, to let Alice take her again in this state. But she knows it won’t be enough.
Finally, she frees Alice’s hips from the pants, and Claire gets to taste again. She drinks deeply, the nectar a drug that makes every other sensation richer, darker, fuller, more. Blood roars in her ears, body on fire in ways that it has never been.
Alice’s world becomes very small, the center Claire’s tongue on her clit, her anchor lean arms wrapped around her thighs. She strains against the younger woman’s hold, grinding violently against her mouth.
One gentle scrape of Claire’s teeth, and the air contracts around them, holding them in limbo for a heartbeat before plunging them back to earth, sending out a pulse of energy and a tone that hums through the steel around them. Then utter stillness and harsh, uneven breathing.
Alice pulls Claire up, needing the weight on top of her, needing her kiss. She tastes herself and moans, taking her time even as the cold air descends around them again. She doesn’t want to move, but knows nowhere on this ship stays private for long. “Thank you.”
Claire smiles against Alice’s lips, shaking inside so much she doesn’t trust her voice. When she finally catches her breath, she murmurs, “What did you do to me?”
Alice holds the redhead to her chest, eyes stinging with unshed tears. She's almost certain now that the virus is back. Or awake, or whatever... Psychic sexual enhancement had been a side effect before, and, she suspects, now. She wraps the coat around them both and squeezes tighter.
Half an hour later, Alice is following a few paces behind Claire, on their way to dinner. She’s admiring the confident swagger when Chris grabs her from behind and corners her against a wall. He doesn’t say anything for a moment, so she prompts, “Yes?”
“What the fuck was that?” Chris rolls his eyes at her cocked eyebrow. “Don’t give me that.” He pauses, trying to find a way to say what he needs to. “Look, I’m excited that you and Claire found each other. She deserves some happiness...” Realizing he is far too close to Alice, he backs away and takes a deep breath. “But whatever’s going on between you two, it’s powerful. And maybe a little contagious.”
Again with the arched eyebrow. “Don’t make me spell it out. Just please remember that guys are sensitive.” He starts to walk away, but is afraid he wasn’t clear enough. “And whatever y’all do makes us feel like frat boys at a strip club. So...get a room or somethin’.”
Alice watches him go, only a little embarrassed. Mostly she is nervous, her fears more than confirmed. She and Claire need to talk.
“It seems we caused a stir earlier.” Alice plays with a strand of Claire’s wet hair. After making love again, and a hot shower, they lay naked and spent. She doesn’t understand the electricity between them. How it started so immediately when they met, and only seemed to grow stronger over time. Eighteen months apart, and they come back together with such ravenous hunger, they apparently turned on half the ship’s population. And they simply cannot stop touching one another, no matter how often they make love. Not that she’s complaining.
Claire traces Alice’s smile with a finger, and then her tongue. “Was I too loud again?” Alice doesn’t chuckle like she expected though, and Claire rises to an elbow.
“It seems that, earlier on the bridge, we triggered some sort of physical reaction in others. We should probably keep indoors for a while.” Alice won’t meet her eyes, dread making her heart pound and her chest ache.
“Did we hurt anyone?” Claire’s concern is minimal. If it were really bad, Alice would have told her immediately. Instead, she studies the brunette, wondering what’s really bothering her.
“No, apparently it was quite...stimulating.” Alice is quiet until Claire ducks her head, trying to keep the laughter at bay. Alice feels lightheaded at the genuine smile and fire in Claire’s eyes, and finally gives into an amused view of the situation. They giggle for a few minutes, then fall into another weighted silence.
Finally, Alice says, “I’m infected.” When Claire stirs against her chest, Alice just squeezes tighter.
Claire stays, breathing through the anxiety that grips her. She tries to keep her voice even, heart breaking for Alice. Despite their earlier conversation, the certainty in her voice is still a shock. “How do you know?”
“Besides the uncontrollable outbursts of psychic stimulation, there have been little things... I’m freakishly strong again; I can see better. I’m more naturally aggressive and restless. I run a little hotter.” Her breath hitches at Claire’s fingertip on her nipple, confirming her point.
“And my sense of smell...” Alice swallows, trying to keep her mind on the seriousness of their situation and failing miserably. “I’m so attuned to you that I can track you down anywhere on this ship by following your scent.” She nuzzles Claire’s head with her chin and runs a long, slow stroke down her naked back, tracing the line all the way down until she cups a very squeezable ass. Her breath hitches, and Alice smiles. “I know the moment you want me, even from across the room.”
Claire rocks against her, savoring the way their bodies fit so well together. “But I always want you.”
“I know.” Alice pulls her close for a long kiss, but Claire stops after only a moment.
“Does it hurt?”
Alice doesn’t answer immediately, but finally admits, “Sometimes. Like growing pains.”
Claire suspects that’s where Alice has been disappearing to. She always comes back drained and quieter than usual. Whatever it is, she’s confident they’ll figure a way through it. “We’ve got what we need here to make the cure again...”
“No.” The word escapes on a breath. Alice had been unsure of her decision until now. But Claire’s presence makes it very clear. “No. For whatever reason, the T-virus keeps finding me. If I’m to protect you and these people, me infected is a tactical advantage.”
“Stop talking about yourself like a weapon.” Claire sits up, straddling one of Alice’s taut thighs, settling so the brunette can feel how wet she still is. “No matter what, first and foremost, you are human.” She takes a trembling hand and places it over her heart. “We will find a way to do this, whether you are enhanced or not. I’m with you either way.”
Alice stares up at her, hands still on her body, possessive. “I don’t know how I found you once, much less twice.”
“That must mean something.” Claire moves slowly up and down the thigh, determined to look on the bright side. “Tell me about your plan.”
Alice pulls the redhead into another kiss, every nerve reaching out for Claire. “Tomorrow.”
Claire straddles Alice’s hips, offering herself completely. “Tomorrow.”