With Animal Ears


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Chapter Text

for redfieldandnivans

The old saying declared that, ’there was no rest for the wicked’ and not a truer word was to be spoken. It had been a challenging few months, tracking the infamous Ada Wong, who’d taken charge leading ‘Neo Umbrella’ a ruthless bioterrorism organisation. Or at least this is what Intel and suspicion had them believe. Though between the gun fights and mounding paperwork, came brief moments of downtime, allowing each solider to reflect and gather their thoughts. The 'alpha squadron’ scrupulously described themselves as family brought together under the watchful eye of their benevolent leader.

Meeting again with the younger Redfield was daunting, mostly due to how the men had behaved upon her last visit. In their line of work, they don’t get to interact with a lot of pretty women and they found themselves battling with reactions brought on by uncapped testosterone and the knowledge that she was a blood relation of their superior. Piers took it upon himself to apologise – profusely, yet beyond the nerves laid an exhilarated after-taste, as within a personal, yet professional message, he had requested pictures of the Captain when he was younger, mostly due to rumours that he was very different, back before even half the men knew him as the 'legendary’ Chris Redfield and much to his delight Claire had agreed.

For Chris, every visit from Claire was long overdue, with respect to both; they each had hectic work schedules, making simple, leisurely phone calls difficult and all too often pushed to one side for priority purposes. Watching the welcoming hug, showed there was indeed a softer side of alpha leader, one, only few had privilege of witnessing. His motto was simple - as Captain, he still had a reputation to uphold.

-– / * \ –-

Claire was eager to share a message she’d recently received, notifying her of some ancient relics and artefacts. It was, without doubt, that information, regarding the maze inspired catacomb had triggered her inner Lara Croft. So, how could the talented sniper possibly resist the opportunity to accompany his Captains younger sister on a 'possible’ once in a life time opportunity? Chris saw it as a bonding experience, though faced with a substantial amount of paper work himself, he felt the opportunity would allow Piers and Clare time to get to know one another.

Deciding if this was in fact a wise choice, was still up for debate.

So here they were, breaking some kind of entry; sneaking through scarcely lit tunnel; as the entrance fell from view. Strands of light pushed through tight cracks while the sensation of dust mounds, ridden with filth, whisked past their fingers. Despite some subtle hints, Clare withheld the identity of the trusted source, giving away nothing but the same knowing smile he’d often caught gracing his captain’s features. Their similarities didn't end there, much like her brother; the younger Redfield was, as easy to speak to, displaying a dry but witty sense of humour.

The conversation simply flowed between the pair, giving an illusion of a long standing friendship, meandering from imitations of Chris following a bad morning of field reports and a substantial lack of caffeinated coffee to taking wild stab in the dark to naming what exactly they’d stepped upon. Despite showing bravery to unimaginable mutations and barbaric situations it was surprisingly the smaller things that caught them off guard.

“I'm glad we came prepared -”.

The illumination from the torch was a welcoming relief, not only highlighting that all too familiar smile, offering comfort while making a young heart flutter but shining a light upon their intended target. There had been smaller rooms cutting away from the main path, leading to nothing more than semi-ancient pottery shards and copious amounts of rubble. The history behind the place was hardly worthy of an in-depth documentary as some of the fragments still carried the stamp 'made in China’ that at least, dated some of their surroundings back to the Second World War? Or at the very worst it was an ideal hot spot for ghost hunters.

Placed within the centre of what appeared to be a sanctuary, sat a momentous tomb with silver plated engravings, largely hidden with indistinguishable squalor, spaced evenly along the sides. An unsettling breeze picked up, encouraging the hairs to rise on the back of the explorer’s necks while triggering the reek of damp to circle and coax reluctant senses.

“Urrgh! It smells like something died in here!”

“It looks like something did …” Crouching down at the far side of the room, Claire focused the light onto a shrouded heap tucked with in a corner. “Some of these resemble animal bones, mostly resembling a canine – and here, some old pieces of parchment.”

“But isn't a shroud something to do with a religious burial? Why would it be hidden in some corner inside a tomb?”

“Good question. There is some writing here that – I can 'just’ make out”

Wiping dust encrusted webbing from his path, the snipers tone fleetingly, heightened; over shadowing the absence of his footfalls. “Claire?! … You've a –” his breath caught in his throat as he fought to find the words, “you've a spider the size of a baseball, crawling up your back!”

“Huh?!” the red heads demeanour remained uncannily calm even towards the subtle tickle against her neck. Claire quietly chucked to herself, carefully reaching for the over sized arachnid, for closer inspection. “Well look at you!”

Piers couldn't deny that he was impressed; it made sense overcoming some minor fears, in this case spiders, when choosing to seek out more unorthodox interests, such as archaeology. However the thought of Chris' reaction provided a compelling visualisation.

"Ad hoc et lector circuitibus scripto corroborati ne contempseris gesta maiorum trans terram sanctam. Excruciantur legere est tot laboribus et violare animae spiritalis oblatione amisit. Deos obsecro ut miserearis bile in hodierno die honorificam modo subtilis Electiones commonitionem. Tibi futurum sit, et quasi monimentum relicti...”

In English that translates to –

"To those surrounding and the reader of this script, you have trespassed across a sacred ground moulded by the acts of our ancestors. To read is to violate our spiritual struggles and bring torment to the many souls lost within offering. I plead to the gods to take pity, voicing only a subtle reminder to the choices you made this day. Take this to heart and a reminder you'll be left with ..."

“Erm, Claire – what did you just read?” Piers, was hardly one to be considered superstitious, principally due to his naturally keen eye and rule abiding attitude; thought under the influence of their current surroundings the snipers imagination appeared have caught the better of him, noting a slim glimmer of light momentarily surrounding the exposed burial. “-- I really don’t think we should be playing around with this sorta thing”

“... stultus canis ossa” - [“... stupid dog bones”]

“CLAIRE!!”

Scoffing audibly, the red heads gaze remained fixated upon the weathered parchment. “Relax Piers, this is obviously some fool’s joke left out for us to find, it’s actually nothing more than a jumble of words and phrases ... I think”

“You ... you think? That thing just – lit up”

“Urgh, you’re starting to sound like Chris and I'm guessing this place is starting to mess with your head – come on, let’s call it a day and get out of here.”

-- / * \ --

The remainder of the day settled back into a habitual routine of winding down with a Chinese take-out partnered with a couple of chilled beers. Claire had, much to Chris' dismay, taken to showing off a few, carefully selected, juvenile images.

"I haven't looked back on these images in ages, -- though I'm sure you where bigger back then" passing over another photo, the younger Redfield could sense her brother cringing.

"You forget Claire, your six years my junior and to be fair, back then, a lot of things would have appeared 'out of proportion'."

"True--" sitting back with her fingers loosely splayed over the dark tinged bottle, Claire coyly smirked to herself "It's funny, -- I'd never noticed just how much you resemble the young lieutenant over here."

"What?!" Both boys stuttered over their words, eyes widening as Chris took the building stack of photographs from the snipers hands. "That's ... ridiculous?"

"Well, he can pull off a convincing impression of you."

The evening progressed with a mixture of unforgettable childhood memories and mildly dignified impressions of larger named members of the BSAA and the human right executives at TerraSave.

-- / * \ --

As the winter months promised, the night sky upheld its dominance by taking earlier possession of the daylight hours; its cold demeanour washed over everything it touched, leaving frosty indications of its past presence and a sign of what waited come with yet colder nights. Piers audibly groaned into the crook of his arm as the source of radiating warmth rolled away from him, unsurprisingly enough taking the duvet with him.

“Chris!”

Piers grumbled turning and pushing himself up onto his forearms, earning nothing more than a deepened intake of breath from his partner, the alpha squadron leader, with due respect, was hardly known for his early morning alertness. Yet it was within these private moments the young sniper found himself able to gaze upon relaxed features; his glance followed the deeply imprinted stress lines, catching a glimpse of a hidden vulnerability as his captain now clung tightly to his feathered pillow.

Within the poorly ventilated room, the aroma of stale beer lingered heavy between the weary pair. Wriggling to scan through the darkened setting, red digitalised numbers flashed, almost mockingly revealing the premature hour of 07:37. Now was as good a time as any to get up.

With a slight shake of his head, Piers attempted to will away the mild headache taunting round his temples; stumbling towards the bathroom the sound of his bare feet slapping against the cold tiled floor echoed around the small room. Lifting a hand to balance upon the opposing wall, the marksman awkwardly tugged at the drawstring bottoms with the other as his feet cautiously shuffled closer to the latrine. An elongated breath accompanied with a contented groan escaped perfectly formed lips, as the discomfort from the full bladder faded with a steady stream. His chin fell deftly towards his chest.

With alcoholic intoxication running through his blood vessels at a mildly watered down rate, Piers was beginning to discover some similar tasks had become -- confusing.

Having still to finish his main task the sniper chose to take on the 'no hands approach'. His arms became twisted and tangled across his bare chest displaying the drawbacks of multi-tasking at its finest form. His fingers idly slipped while reaching for the facet, failing to prompt the desired appliance to life, forcing nothing more than a few droplets.

"Dammit!"

Suitably adjusting himself, Piers took a fresh approach, moving his weight to lean over and maintaining a firmer, grinning to himself as the sound of water cascaded throughout the silence. It was on taking the step back, he caught something off within his reflection, tentatively running his fingers through his slumber inspired hair and he touched upon large round tipped dog ears, seeming proportionate with the size of his head.

"What the --? C-CHRIS!!" Glancing over his shoulder to ensure his cries were heard the sniper swiftly turned back to his reflection "I knew listening to Claire would cause trouble"

"She's a Redfield, it's in her blood ..." Chris moved from his perched position against the door frame watching over his young partner as he furiously checked himself over. "There, there little pup; taking Jakes taunts a little seriously aren't we?"

"It's not funny Chris!" The words were practically growled as his brow furrowed darkening his already dark eyes.

"True, but depends on how you look at it. I'll be sure to get Claire started on looking for something to reverse the effects as apparently Google holds all the answers nowadays"

"You can't be ..."

Reaching out Chris cupped his lieutenant’s jaw, gently stroking his cheek before pulling him in for a comforting embrace "you are aware of the tail, right?"

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