Antarctica-or-bust (rata_toskr) wrote,
Antarctica-or-bust
rata_toskr

spend your last heartbeat - Part II: Agent

Title: spend your last heartbeat
Fandom: Resident Evil
Series: these ink-stained memories
Pairings: Leon/Everyone.[Spoiler (click to open)]
Leon/Krauser, Leon & Ashley, Leon/Luis, Leon & Manuela, Leon/Ada

Warnings: so much pining and canonical violence
Word Count: 3644 (6767 so far)
Disclaimer: If I owned it, Leon would get laid.
Summary: Leon always gets attached too easily.

Rookie


Four years later, Leon feels much the same about Manuela. Here’s another strong young woman fighting for her life against B.O.W.s and her own father; how could the agent not adore her just for that? He's not sure when her name appears, when admiration and protectiveness turns to love outright. Leon hardly has the time to check when he's running for his life.

This outbreak is enough to give him flashbacks to Raccoon City: the blood and rot and scent of death deep in his lungs. The smell fills his breath and seeps into him like it never left at all.

Yet Leon's hands are steady, every bullet striking true as he shoots the zombies down. In order to protect Manuela, he throws himself into danger without a second's hesitation, Krauser's presence steady at his side.

And yet that's just his job. If Leon has to pick the moment that he starts to love Manuela, it's not when he's saving her at all. It's the moment she decides that she would rather die a human than give into Veronica. She chooses death over the loss of self that her father suffered and Leon can’t allow it. Perhaps it's selfish of him, but the agent has to try. Yet even then she saves him, not the other way around.

Manuela rises wreathed in fire, bending the virus to her will through sheer determination. She fights for her own future and with her help, Leon and Krauser manage to take her father down.

When the dust has finally settled, the agent asks her if she's willing to return to the US. Although he doesn't trust his agency completely, there's nowhere else to take her, not with the virus still burning in her blood. Leon doesn’t sugarcoat it. He tells Manuela the truth because he refuses to lie after all that she's been through.

Leon admits that she won't have real freedom. She’ll be monitored at all times to make sure she doesn’t turn. But the agent promises to keep her human, no matter what it takes, and visit when he can. Manuela walks into her prison with her eyes wide open and for that he loves her more.

So Leon makes another deal. He sells his soul a little more. The frail and tattered thing can hardly spare the pieces, but it's a cost that he pays gladly. The agent can manage with what his handlers choose to give him. He doesn’t need hazard pay, backup, or vacations as Sherry and Manuela are both still taken care of. The girls could use a friend and watching them together, something deep in Leon’s heart says, This is my family.

---

Krauser though, Krauser is a surprise. Not because he's a man; Leon has always been more interested in people than their genders and he's been drawn to men before. But usually they're nice guys, ones who care about other people and always try to do what's right.

Krauser isn’t nice. He's a soldier through and through, focused solely on the mission, and he doesn't seem to like his new partner very much. When Leon tries to shake his hand, Krauser sneers dismissively and the agent has to work to bite his tongue. He's not the one who arrived late to their first meeting – he got here on time even though his plane was shot down – and he doesn't need some roid-rage soldier second-guessing him. But there's no point in angering the other man right before a mission and when shit hits the fan, Krauser has his back.

The soldier faces the zombies and the monsters with professionalism even if he doesn’t quite manage to take them all in stride. He’s willing to follow Leon’s lead once he realizes that the agent has experience with B.O.W.s and he asks for more information when they have a chance to rest.

Leon doesn’t like to talk about Raccoon City but he can’t see a reason to deny the man’s request. There’s no trace of arrogance on Krauser’s face; the question seems sincere and their chances of survival will be better if his partner knows what they’re dealing with. So the agent tells his story and to his surprise, the other man proves an attentive audience.

Krauser may not like Leon but he treats his experience with the respect that he deserves. For the first time in years, someone takes him at his word. There’s no claim that he’s exaggerating or wrong about what happened; the soldier just listens quietly until he finishes.

“You’ve seen some shit, comrade. Glad to have you on my side,” the other man says, clapping Leon on the shoulder and the agent thinks that maybe he can trust him after all.

Several hours later, the two of them are wet and filthy, their clothes covered in blood and muck and fluids that make Leon’s skin start itching if he dwells on them too long. So he slumps against Krauser instead, both men moving slowly as they dry their weapons off.

He knows the mission isn't over. They need to find Manuela; the girl is in danger every second and they can't afford to waste more time after being caught in Javier's trap. Leon knows this but he just doesn't have the energy to stand. He needs a chance to catch his breath again.

And Krauser understands. He lets the agent talk about T-Veronica until his voice stops shaking and then holds out a hand to pull him to his feet.

However, his partner yanks a bit too hard and Leon stumbles forward, catching himself on Krauser’s chest. He starts to apologize but the words stutter to a halt when he meets the soldier’s gaze. Where there had been disdain at first, now he sees desire and Leon can’t stop himself from leaning in. Krauser bends his head to meet him and suddenly they're kissing, the other man's mouth hot and desperate against his won. His lips are rough and searching as he rolls their hips together and then swallows the agent’s moan. Leon forgets where they are, forgets everything but the heat that scorches through his body and chases away the bitter cold.

“You all right there, partner?” Krauser murmurs when he finally pulls away, his lips curled in a half-smirk. “Not too much for you?”

“Fuck, our timing sucks,” Leon groans in lieu of answering the question. Then he steals one last kiss before stepping back again. “We've got to find Manuela now, but… after?”

“Sure, comrade. After,” the other man promises. The words are a filthy slide against his skin and Leon doesn't want to let this moment end. But he has a duty to Manuela so he shoves those feelings down. The agent can wait. At least now he has something to look forward while he’s fighting for his life. Indeed, Leon finds himself grinning as he and Krauser carve their way through Javier's monsters; for once he has the feeling that things might work out fine.

And for once, there is an after.

When Javier has been defeated and Manuela's finally safe, Leon and Krauser carve out a few hours for themselves. He brings the soldier back to his apartment and crowds him against the wall, leaning in to claim his mouth again.

They don't talk about the future; they don't really talk at all. There's no need for talking when they both know where they stand.

So the agent allows himself to forget the world around them. He focuses on broken moans and whimpers, on the rough calluses that stroke across his skin. Krauser kisses like he's starving, hungry and insistent, and Leon answers him in kind. He wants to drown in the man's touch, lose himself in pleasure until he leaves his ghosts behind.

Krauser doesn't disappoint. Even with one arm bandaged, he quickly takes control and the agent chooses to surrender instead of fighting him. The other man grounds Leon with filthy kisses as he works him open, the aching stretch almost overwhelming when he pushes deep inside. As soon as he adjusts, Krauser starts to move, hard thrusts slamming the bed against the wall. The two men move together until they both find release and Leon slumps onto the mattress with a sigh. Krauser drops down beside him, snoring within seconds, and the agent can't hold back a fond smile at the sight.

Despite their rocky start, Leon likes the soldier and while he doesn't know where this is going, he's hopeful nonetheless. It's been a long time since he had someone he could count on at his back.

Unfortunately, the agent is called in for debriefing before the other man wakes up. He leaves Krauser a note and his number on the bedside table and he's not surprised that the other man is gone when he gets back. The soldier needed to report in and see a doctor for his arm.

However, Leon is not expecting to be shut out utterly. He thought they had an understanding but Krauser never calls him, never returns his messages, and it stings to know that he was just a quick fling after all. The agent feels like an idiot for hoping that they might be something better. It's not as though anyone has ever chosen him before.

But even though he tries to put the soldier from his mind, Leon can't forget their time together. Not when there's a new name scrawled across his knuckles, an all-caps Krauser drawn in sharp black letters, and every time he looks at it, he feels that sting again.

Leon starts wearing gloves after that. Not only for his peace of mind but to hide the mark from others. His coworkers give him enough crap about his names already and while they're kind enough not to mention his lack of family marks, they don't need more ammunition. Adding Krauser to the mix would be throwing fuel upon the fire and the soldier doesn't need that kind of gossip chasing him. Former soldier now and Leon still feels guilty about his partner's injury. He should have protected Krauser better; maybe then he would have stayed.

It's Leon's fault that the other man was fired and so he keeps his mouth shut a few months later when he's told that Krauser died. The agent knows it isn't true – the color of his mark proves otherwise – but he accepts the soldier's knife as a memento anyway. If his former partner wishes to disappear that badly, Leon cannot bring himself to reveal his secret now.

---

Spain is nothing but regret. It's a perfect storm of past and present that leaves him grieving and exhausted with new words upon his skin. Too many words, his bleeding heart still falling easily.

Yet, how could he not care for Ashley when she's another innocent, caught up in a nightmare far out of her control? The girl does not deserve this but she's surprisingly resilient and she does her best to fight. Although she's clearly terrified, Ashley doesn't let that stop her and Leon loves her for her courage as much as her stubbornness. It may be his job to rescue her from the plagas and from Saddler's master plan, but he wants to do this. Like with Sherry and Manuela, he would have done it anyway.

The thought of Ashley keeps him moving when he wants to collapse right where he stands. She keeps him focused on his mission when he's running low on bullets, forced to wade through mobs of ganados with his knife and kicks alone. Leon refuses to give up when Ashley has put her faith in him; he's going to deserve it if it kills him and he'll gladly fight an army to bring her home again.

At least the agent isn't forced to fight them all alone.

Luis is a pool of calm in the midst of all the chaos. Another gun at his back, another friendly soul to fight the monsters; maybe Leon latches on too quickly, but he's learned to take his comfort where he can.

The other man doesn't seem to mind his overtures. He meets the agent's awkward flirting with much smoother lines, their interactions filled with heat and laughter that warms Leon to the bone. After they fight off a horde of ganados, Luis backs him up against a wall and smiles, brushing dirt and blood away from the agent's cheek. Leon doesn't resist when the other man leans forward, just lets that sweet mouth steal what little breath he has. It feels like a promise for the future, for when they both get out of here, and he looks forward to their next meeting, brief though it may be,

Indeed, Leon is bruised and aching when he reaches Salazar's strange castle but the sight of Luis still makes him smile anyway. The other man is obviously worried about the agent and his charge, particularly when they admit that they've started coughing blood. But Luis doesn't allow that news to bring him down for long.

Instead, he promises to find them help and then saunters off again, blowing Leon a kiss when Ashley looks away. The girl wants to follow him but the agent doesn't take it personally. He wants to follow Luis too, his eyes drifting down to watch that gorgeous ass. But if the other man can really find a solution to their plagas, having to watch Ashley would only slow him down. At least Luis manages to let the girl down gently and as Leon watches him strut off, he can't help thinking, Damn, I love that man.

Whether just as friends or something more, he's glad he met Luis and the agent can only sigh when he looks down and sees another name scrawling itself across his arm. Leon really is hopeless with matters of the heart.

Meeting Ada again only proves his foolishness. He's heard rumors of her actions through the years and he’s not the naive rookie that he used to be. Leon knows that she’s a mercenary, selling her services to the highest bidder, and yet the sight of her smirk still makes his heart ache painfully.

Ada is still beautiful. But the woman speaks in lies and riddles and even though he wants to, the agent can’t trust her anymore. Leon still believes that Ada cares about him and for now at least, he thinks she’s on his side. But that doesn’t mean she loves him and it doesn’t mean she won’t betray him. Even if it did, the agent knows it’s hopeless because love isn’t everything.

Leon could never date a person who takes a contract without considering the people who might be hurt along the way. He could never date a mercenary and he’s not foolish enough to think that Ada plans to change. All he can do is love her and try to stop her when he can. Maybe that means she’ll never stay but the agent has grown used to being lonely; better loneliness than guilt and if it means protecting people, Leon will choose to shatter his own heart every time. He's not afraid of the pain that love can bring.

But he's never lost a name before. He never knew how much it hurts.

When Saddler stabs Luis, Leon feels like he’s the one who’s been impaled straight through the chest. He barely even hears the bastard’s monologue, frozen in horror at the sight in front of him. Then Saddler throws Luis aside as though he’s little more than trash and the agent hates him more than he’s ever hated anyone. He wants to tear him into pieces, but his friend comes first. Leon can’t leave the other man here to die alone.

The agent tries to save him even though he knows it’s hopeless, his hands stained red with blood as Luis spits out his confession. Apparently the other man used to work for Saddler but Leon doesn’t care about the lies. Not when Luis has been trying to atone for his mistakes; he couldn’t ask for more than that. Leon just wants him to keep breathing. But those dark eyes slip closed while the agent watches helplessly and moments later, his arm begins to burn.

He groans with pain as Luis’ name seems to sear his flesh down to the bone, the deep blue mark slowly fading into an ashy grey. However, that agony is nothing compared to the pit within his chest. It’s a black hole of loss and longing that tries to drag him under and Leon clings to Luis’ cooling body desperately.

The other man was supposed to make it out of this alive. They were supposed to leave together and the agent comes damn close to giving up entirely. How is supposed to fight when his heart is bleeding and the brightest thing in this damn place just died because of him?

It’s a long time before Leon manages to walk away and even then, he’s shaky on his feet. He feels unstable and unsettled, his smile an ill-fitting mask when he reunites with Ashley, and he’s not sure how the girl doesn’t see straight through him right away. Maybe she doesn’t notice because she doesn’t want to and it’s probably for the best. If Ashley ever stops believing that he’ll save her, she’ll likely break entirely. Better for them both if she stays optimistic; Leon doesn’t have the strength to carry her as well.

He’s walking on the edge already and when Krauser tries to kill him a few short hours later, the agent nearly buckles beneath the blow. Leon can’t understand how the man he knew became a traitor and he doesn't know how much more his heart can take. The agent doesn't want to fight against Krauser. He still loves his former partner and the thought of losing Krauser's name makes his hands start trembling. He can't face that pain again so soon after Luis.

But the other man doesn’t give Leon another choice. It's fight or die and survival instinct keeps him moving when he might have fallen otherwise. Somehow the agent wins their battle, taking his final key off Krauser's unconscious body, but he cannot bring himself to strike the final blow. Traitor or not, he can’t be the one to take his partner’s life.

So Leon leaves the other man to weather his own explosion and immediately finds himself back in a war zone. This time the agent truly is facing down an army and the relief he feels when his radio crackles nearly brings him to his knees.

He wasn’t expecting actual backup. But here’s Mike anyway.

The helicopter pilot is a breath of fresh air amidst this utter clusterfuck of a mission, his cheerful introduction and seemingly endless bullets giving Leon a second wind. Mike escorts the agent through a maze of ganados and fortified machine guns, the chopper’s missiles making quick work of his enemies. For a few brief minutes, Leon feels like he’s actually in control and he latches onto that sensation with both hands. He desperately needs the respite after the day he’s had.

Without Mike, Leon’s mission would have failed here and he honestly wants to kiss the guy every time a tower blows. So the agent offers to buy the man a drink when all of this is over and he dares to hope that both of them will actually make it out.

Which is when a fiery explosion knocks Mike out of the sky. Sharp and sudden, Leon is blindsided by the loss. He can only shout the pilot’s name and glare at Saddler in the distance, promising himself that the bastard will be next.

The agent keeps that promise despite the grief and exhaustion and the plaga in his chest. Ashley drives him forward although the fight seems hopeless, Ashley and his anger, and eventually, Leon’s stubbornness pays off. Luis may be dead, but the man is not forgotten. His work allows the agent to remove the plagas and without that advantage, Saddler is just a monster to be slain.

And that’s what Leon does. He uses everything he has to destroy the bastard, killing him for Mike, Luis, and Krauser, for Ada and for all the pain that he put Ashley through.

But even then the mission isn’t over. The agent keeps himself together until Ada has saved him and betrayed him once again, until Ashley is safe at home and he can find a quiet corner in which to patch his wounds. Leon doesn't need the doctors. He isn’t hurt that badly and he doesn't want anyone to see his marks right now.

The faded name upon his arm just makes him miss Luis, the ache of grief cutting through the agent’s numb exhaustion, and when he removes his gloves, the sight of Krauser’s mark is another stab of agony. The once black letters have turned to grey, someone killed the man for good, and even though his former partner was corrupted beyond saving, Leon will still miss him anyway.

So he tries not to think about it as he strips down for a shower and he almost doesn’t notice the word upon his hip. It’s not a true mark really; Mike’s name is so light that it’s barely readable. Just the faintest echo of a friend who could have been.

Yet that's what finally breaks him. Leon crumples to his knees and weeps now that no one’s here to see him, sobbing for missed chances and the lives he couldn't save. The agent can’t regret his marks. He’d rather bear the weight of death than forget his memories. But between the losses and betrayal, Leon is almost ready to give up on love entirely.


Part III: Soldier

Tags: angst, fic, leon-ship, mid-series, resident evil, these ink-stained memories*
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