|Leon Kennedy||*BACKDATED TO BEFORE THE EXTRACTION*
They'd left the church as the sun rose, in a pickup that'd been pressed into service for the National Guard as a technical with a gun mounted in the back. The mount ran out of ammo days ago, though, so it's really just a pickup again. Leon is at the wheel, with Ashley in the passenger seat, maneuvering carefully through the streets back toward his apartment. There are broken down cars and assorted rubble clogging the roads, and it's a real treat trying to get through. He glances toward the young woman next to him, making sure she's okay. They did just leave everyone else behind, after all. "You doing okay?"
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley sits in the passanger seat beside Leon, ever muscle in her body taut. When the time to leave came, it seemed like the most foolish thing to do. Leave a barricaded space just to wander around a dead city. But of course it had to be done, and she went without raising a word of displeasure about it. Just because she doesn't like it doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do.
"Hmm?" she asks, when she hears his voice break through the dull churn of the city around them. Rather than cars, people, and life the sounds are now of gunfire, of burning buildings, and the moans of the sick or the dead. Ashley still isn't quite on board with the whole 'dead' thing but that too is kept to herself.
She looks at Leon for a moment, and then nods. "Yes, thank you," she replies. "I'm feeling much better. I suppose you were right, it was just something I'd eaten." There's tangible relief in her voice at that.
She turns and looks forward again. The Glock that Leon gave her is resting in her hand on her lap. Ready. Just in case. "How far is it to your apartment?"
|Leon Kennedy||"A couple of miles," Leon replies, hands tight on the wheel of the '92 Ford Ranger. It's a small pickup, and not the most capable, but it's what the major had to spare. Shockingly, the thrifty logistics officer hadn't been too keen to give them a Humvee or anything like that, so they're making do with what they've been given. "You remember the ride over," he reminds her, peering through the windshield at the street ahead. A camper is stretched across the road, and cars line the street blocking off the sidewalk. "Looks like we're going back."|
|Ashley Graham|| "What?" The idea that she remembers the ride over is set aside for now. Because really she doesn't remember it, not well. And two minutes in a car in a situation like the one in Raccoon City feels like years. It's no surprise her concept of time and distance is skewed.
"Shouldn't we try to walk?" she asks Leon, turning her head to him. She looks startled, nervous, and dissapointed. This was the plan! The plan must work! "You said it's only a few miles," she reiterates, as though a few miles on foot is a walk in the park around these parts. "If nothing else, the Church needs those supplies."
|Leon Kennedy||"We're not going back to the church, we're just going back around this," Leon explains patiently, popping the truck into reverse. At least it has an automatic transmission, and he jerks the stalk on the side of the wheel into place. "We'll take a different street." The truck eases back as he accelerates carefully, eying the rearview.|
|Ashley Graham|| "Oh," Ashley says with a touch of embarrassment. It says something that she can feel and convey embarrassment in this, what is surely the end of days. Could she be getting used to the surroundings? "Right." She nods at that, shifting her hand on the gun in her lap.
The girl bites down hard on the lower right corner of her lip as she turns to look out the window again. Another patient, sick person, undead wanders by, groping for the truck as it moves. But he's a shuffler, and isn't nearly fast enough to get close to them. So Ashley just watches.
"Have you heard from your government contact at all? Any more word about an extraction?" she finally asks, quietly. Because chances are she already knows the answer.
|Leon Kennedy||"Not yet," Leon confirms, eyes flicking over at the zombie as they roll past. It's nice to not have to shoot /every single one/ of them. At first he probably would have freaked out and just blasted the head off it, but now he's more relaxed around them, at least when they're single and not charging towards him in a raging horde like an army of demons to drag him into the underworld.
"Looks like we're on our own for real." He cuts the wheel, turning them back the way they came, and then shifting quickly back into drive to accelerate down the road toward the next street. "We're gonna make it," the officer assures her, looking her way.
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley looks over at the man and makes a soft 'hmm' sound, smiling to him. Yes, a smile, in this awful situation. "You don't have to keep saying it," she assures him. "I trust you." Of course, her belief in his statements tends to waver given the situation they're in. But for now, in the truck, it's easy to feel safe. Which is probably why it's so dangerous.
"Major Stadler was talking to me the other day," she goes on. "He's actually a biologist, it turns out. He says that we might all be carriers of the virus. It might be dormant in us, and that might be why there hasn't been much more help coming." She looks to Leon curiously, as if to see his response to this.
|Leon Kennedy||"A biologist, huh?" Leon replies, raising his eyebrows. He didn't expect that from the nervous man with the oak leaf. "...actually, that makes a lot of sense." As they turn down the next street, a worse sight than before is waiting for them. A small horde of walkers just idly roaming around in the middle of the road. The officer jams on the brake, staring at the group, looking down at the dash. "...Think we can plow through?" She's had more experience with that.|
|Ashley Graham|| "Scarily so," Ashley agrees, only for her free hand to shoot up and grab the 'oshit' handle of the vehicle when Leon jams on the breaks. She exhales and gasps quickly at the sudden change, but by the time she's bringing air back to her lungs her eyes see what Leon's have already seen.
"Jesus," she sighs, dissapointedly. She pauses a moment to think, biting on the lower right corner of her lip again. She's no poker face, this girl. She's got an easy tell. "Maybe," she decides. "But you have to go slow. Go too fast and you start catching them in the undercarrage, they slow you down and gunk everything up." She had that experience, too. "So you move just enough to nudge them out of the way. But they'll follow us, after that."
|Leon Kennedy||Leon stares at the group of zombies clustered ahead, frowning. His eyes peer past toward the street beyond, trying to discern if that will be free of obstacles or if they're just going to get stuck again. "It looks clear if we can get past this," he murmurs, glancing down at the clock on the dash. And then the sound system. "I wonder if..."
Classic 80's rock starts blasting through the speakers. "This might be ill-advised," Leon confides, raising his voice to be heard around the sharp notes of Sweet Child O' Mine, "but we're doing it." And he hits the gas.
|Ashley Graham|| "You think?!" Ashley manages to argue back at him over the music. The moment his fingers touched those dials, her eyes went wide in shock and horror. He couldn't possibly, could he? And then he does, and it's horrible music besides. What a soundtrack to die to.
But then Leon's going for it, and there's nothing else to be done for it. Ashley's gun hand tightens in a white-knuckled grip, and her hand on the 'oshit' handle does the same. Even still, she's sitting back in her seat, as if trying to shrink back from what might be oncomming.
|Leon Kennedy||"Whoooooaaaa sweet child-a miiiiyiiiine!" Axel Rose's tremulous tenor pours into the cab as they accelerate toward the mob, and bump, /hard/, into the first zombie, bowling it over. Leon resists the urge to gun it, like he does everything else (he loves guns, this kid), and continues steadily ahead, forcefully barging zombies aside but not hard enough to actually run over them. "It's working!"|
|Ashley Graham|| Great kid, but don't get penis-y. Ashley certainly isn't. She's gone pale, even more pale than her normal porcelain color. At least that's a healthy pale. This is the blood-draining-going-to-die pallor sometimes seen in exsanguinated bodies. "If we do, they'll follow us with all the noise we've made," Ashley points out, keeping her voice as low as possible while loud enough to be heard. So a gentle shout, one might call it.
Beyond that? There's only one word that comes out of her. Two, rather. "Oh Jesus," the blonde will sigh. "Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus." Is she even religious?
|Leon Kennedy||Is she?! Who knows. Leon hasn't bothered to ask, and it hasn't seemed that important. As soon as they're past the main body, he cranks the volume down to mute, chuckling at her white-knuckled fear. "I'm sorry," he tells her, honestly, despite the smile painted on his face. "I just- that was perfect. If we do make it out I'd regret not having done something like that." Oh yeah. Totally badass. Until as he's laughing and smiling at her, one jumps up in the bed of the truck.|
|Ashley Graham|| A glare for a woman like Ashley Graham has likely withered boys before. But it won't wither Leon now. Because while she glares at him to start, once she sees that smile and hears that laugh, her own will breaks. And she bursts out laughing too.
"You're something else, do you know that?" She asks, turning her head to look at him. And then, out of the corner of her eyes, she sees something else.
"Leon." Her voice is more somber now. "One's on the back of the truck." A perfect opportunity for a quip about a hitch hiker or something, but then Ashley doesn't quip very much. Instead, she looks down at the gun in her lap, and out the back window again. She holds the gun up. "Should I?" Because discharging a weapon still seems like a big deal to her, even in this scenario. She needs a nudge in the right direction.
|Leon Kennedy||"Shit," Leon breathes, realizing with consternation that there's a hanger-on back there in the bed, trying to stumble forward towards the back window hatch. Ashley asks if she should shoot it, but he's not too keen on that idea just yet. "They don't like sound," he reminds her, cutting the wheel to swerve back and forth in the middle of the street, sending the zed tumbling over the side, where he falls with a crack and thud of rotten flesh to the pavement. Watching in the rearview, the rookie cop breathes a sigh of relief. "That was close."|
|Ashley Graham||Well she was ready, Leon. She was there with the gun and she was ready. But then the creature tumbles off the back and she lets out a slight sigh, settling back into her seat. "I can't imagine I'd make much more noise than the radio did," she says with a slight wrinkling of her nose at the music choice. It's all said with good-natured relief. And then she laughs again, as she does sometimes when her own stress builds up. "Has anyone ever told you that you're bold as brass?" she asks, easily and almost fondly.|
|Leon Kennedy||"I /am/ the brass," Leon replies with a joking tone to his voice, giving her another easy smile. Damn, a ride in a truck will loosen you up, especially when you're escaping almost certain death. But things are going far too well.
So it's at this point that a zombie comes falling out of a third story window and lands directly on the hood of the truck.
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley is endlessly amused, at this point. And they are having too much fun, now. It's all bound to come crashing down. "Oh, is that so-AHHHH!" Sorry if that was your ear, Leon, but Ashley does scream. It's a short scream that she manages to get under control quickly, but it's a scream nonetheless. Accompanied by a jerking in her seat as she nearly jumps out of it, held in place only by the seatbelt. Always wear 'em, kids.
"Jesus, brake!" she tells Leon, perhaps a bit too loud as the terror of the initial incident still holds powerful sway over the young woman. She's ready for him to brake too, one hand on the oshit handle, the other, gun still held in it, pressed against the dash to steady herself.
|Leon Kennedy||"/Shit!/" Leon slams on the brake, and the body tumbles off onto the street, rolling over and over before it starts trying to heave itself back upright. The hood is dented, but the truck is still running. "Okay. We're alright," he confirms quietly, almost as much to reassure himself as Ashley, looking over at her where she's clearly a bit upset about what's just happened. "We're alright." As he does this, a shape catches his eye. A fast-moving shape, a shape he's come to recognize as trouble. The vague shape of a body, hurtling towards Ashley's window. "-Hold on."
His foot slams down hard on the gas, and the truck spins its tires. Rangers are rear-wheel drive, and light in the back. It's not the best combination in this situation. The zombie has time to slam its head into Ashley's window before the wheels catch and the vehicle surges forward, smashing the head of the zed in the street in front of them on the grill.
|Ashley Graham|| Poor Ashley doesn't see it at all. She looks frazzled, by the time the breaks stop the vehicle, a few tendrils of her platinum blonde hair having fallen loose and hanging around her face. She breathes once, then twice, her grip on the oshit handle still firm. She's likely going to hurt when she finally relaxes those hand muscles
But then Leon is saying something else. Hold on? She turns to look at him curiously, and as such she doesn't see the shape behind her. So when it slams into the side of the car and her window she cries out, throwing herself sideways into the space between them. At least, as far as the seatbelt will allow.
But in just another moment, they're moving, and the shape and source of the sound are gone. She's breathing heavily (thanks Adrenaline, you bitch) and clearly very shaken up. She just stares at the window, not relaxing back into her seat.
"Jesus," she finally breathes.
|Leon Kennedy||"Sorry about that," Leon offers, turning eyes between her and the road, gaze wide with adrenaline and a little sprinkle of panic. "That was close." Again.
The road ahead appears to be relatively clear, for now, and it turns out to be smooth sailing all the way to the apartment. Leon pulls up outside, parking the truck and putting the gearshift on the P. For Park. "...you okay?" he asks quietly, eyes running over Ashley. She seems a little stressed.
|Ashley Graham|| Is she okay? It's a great question. She went from almost relaxed, which she should never have let herself be, into blind panic. It was interspersed with nervous laughter. A long car ride, to be sure, no matter how few miles they actually went.
So is she okay? She looks to Leon, her eyes still wide, and swallows. Then nods, entirely unconvincingly. One hand remains on the oshit handle, the other, still holding the gun, has the fingers tangled with the seatbelt as if she's holding on for dear life. Slowly, very slowly, she withdraws her hands from both, lowering her gun-hand to undo the seatbelt. Both hands are shaking moderately. "Uh huh," she says, as if that's more convincing.
She doesn't ask what comes next. Doesn't ask what they're going to do or where exactly they're going to go. Just prepares to get out of the car.
|Leon Kennedy||Leon watches her carefully as she extricates herself from the restraints, doing a little mental evaluation of how true what she's telling him really is, but there's not really a good option other than to keep going and hope she can handle it. "Let's go," he encourages her quietly, turning off the truck and popping his door open.
The squad car is still there. It doesn't look like it's been badly damaged, but the gas tank cover's been torn off and the gas likely siphoned. The complex looks similarly ransacked. It was never upscale, but now it's looking even worse, spotted with broken windows and shards of glass and the occasional busted door. "Let's see what's left," Leon mutters, pulling out his sidearm and heading for the stairs.
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley nods quietly, her own gun still in her hand. Well, not technically her gun. Technically Leon's. But she holds it all the same, ready to counter a threat or, possibly more likely, shoot Leon in the back by accident. For that reason, she lets him cover the area in front of them while she will keep her head swiveling to look back.
"Didn't you say you had some supplies buried?" she asks as they approach the building. She looks upward at the apartments, frowning gently. "What floor are you on?" Because they're going to have to walk. They've done it before, but now the threat is much greater that they'll be harried much of the way by the living and the dead. Or just one. But possibly both.
|Leon Kennedy||"Third floor," Leon answers, moving cautiously toward the staircase. His feet are quiet, using careful, practiced steps to avoid making much noise even in the heavy boots. No one yet. Starting up the stairs, he keeps his handgun up and positioned next to his face in the classic police pose, glancing left and right at each landing before continuing upward. Nothing happens, and they reach his floor uneventfully. Before long, they're inside the apartment, which looks like it was broken into, judging from the way the door is hanging, but a quick sweep reveals... "No one's here," Leon decides, coming back out into the entry area, tucking his gun away. "It's safe."|
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley finds herself holding her breath almost the entire way. It's not until they're in the apartment and Leon closes the door, declaring it clear and safe, that she exhales. She walks over to the kitchen bar, setting her weapon down at last.
Then she bends down to pick up Leon's pants, the ones she wore the first night he brought her here, where they remained deposited on the floor after she'd kicked them off. She hmms softly in amusement, folding them up and setting them on a chair. "I imagine most of the supplies you had here are gone," she muses, turning to look at the man.
|Leon Kennedy||"At least they left my pants behind," Leon quips, moving into the kitchen to start going over what's left. The cupboards are pretty picked over. There's a can way in the back, canned tuna that was too short and didn't get seen. A container of salt. That sort of thing. "Not much left in here." The MREs, the propane, that sort of thing, are long gone. "But. There was some more in the trunk, and what I buried in the landscaping."|
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley helps as she can, going through some of the lower cabinets curiously. She moves slow, since there's no rush and not likely to find much anyway. "Tuna's good," she quips once she's standing again. She moves beside Leon to lift the can and look over it. "Tuna's protein." This time she knows she's right. She was wrong on the almond bar but on this? She knows she got this one right.
The blonde moves to the window, peering out slightly to see what she can see from the higher vantage point. "Maybe I can borrow another shirt," she says with a chuckle, clearly teasing. Then she looks back to Leon once again. "So we're safe here, do you think? Or are we moving on straight away, after you've dug up what you have?" She shifts to hug herself slightly, resting her folded arms just beneath her bust. "It's amazing to me that you thought so far in advance." She turns to gaze out the window again, one hand coming up to draw back the curtain just enough for her to get a better view. "Even if someone had told me, I'd never have imagined any of this."
|Leon Kennedy||"People are desperate. We do what we have to to survive." Leon purses his lips stoically as he closes the refrigerator, which is empty of even spoiled food. "I knew if it got this bad, people would be this way. I just never thought it would get this bad." Looking over at her, he musters up a smile. "You're welcome to check." He's going to get a sweater, we know that already, but that will come later. "I'm going down to see what's still in the trunk. Will you be okay up here?" The raise of his eyebrows, the concern in his voice, make it clear that he's still in Protector mode.|
|Ashley Graham|| When Leon says he's going downstairs, Ashley turns from the window to look at him, looking surprised. She takes a moment to get her thoughts in order. "Well, yes, of course," she assures him. See Leon, she's fine! Stop worrying!
"But shouldn't I go with you? In case you run into trouble?" It all depends on if Ashley, in said trouble, would be more of an asset or a burden.
|Leon Kennedy||"If you're sure you'll be okay," Leon allows cautiously. "Don't be afraid to use that gun." His perfect head nods over at the Glock sitting on the countertop. "I'll be back in a minute." The young officer carefully exits, checking the area visually before heading for the stairs.
A few minutes later, quiet footsteps return to the door, but when it opens, it's slowly, cautiously, and not Leon's head that peers around the corner. It's a bedraggled woman, her hair put up in a messy bun, cheeks drawn and thin.
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley had been in Leon's bedroom, picking out a new one of his button-downs to borrow. She's just doing up the last buttons as she hears the door creak open. "Leon?" Ashley's voice asks, but it's clear from her tone that she doesn't actually expect it to be anyone but Leon. So she walks as she talks. "Do you need help carrying anything-" her words cut off as she sees the woman peering around the corner. She's a deer in the headlights, with big eyes and a look of shock on her face. That's not Leon. The hair alone is so far from Leon's.
So for half a beat, she stares at the woman. And then Ashley's running, throwing herself against the counter at the kitchen, groping for the gun in case the woman's making the same move, if she even saw the gun when she peered in. Ashley's hand wraps around the firearm and she turns, standing by the kitchen entryway now, pointing the gun in the woman's vague direction. "Who are you?" she asks. The question isn't unkind. Just frightened.
|Leon Kennedy||"Lan'sakes!" The woman cries, throwing her hands up as Ashley comes barrelling out of the bedroom. "Lan'sakes, don't shoot!" She's got a thick accent, ostensibly Southern, and Ashley might not know to pay attention to things like this, but she keeps coming into the room, just slowly. "I ain't out t'hurt nobody, no! Nobody gotta get hurt here. I been stayin' upstairs, I come down t'see if somebody tryna loot, see if ya was gone yet. Guess not," she concludes with a nervous titter, keeping her hands in the air.|
|Ashley Graham|| "What?" Ashley asks, sounding kind of incredulous. But even hearing the woman speak, it's enough for Ashley to lower her weapon slightly. "No, ma'am, we're not looters." Even now, Ashley is polite. Force of habit. "My friend lives here, this is his apartment. Do you live here, do you know Leon?" She lowers the weapon a little further.
Ashley's bright blue eyes travel over the old crone for a few seconds. "Are you alright?" she finally asks.
|Leon Kennedy||She's more like a middle-aged crone, Ashley, be nice. "Good Lord above," she drawls, shaking her head at Ashley. "You look like you ain't more'n a child. You could be my very own daughter, God bless 'er." Lowering her hands, she clasps them together. "Ain't right, it ain't, a poor sweet thing like you goin' through all this mess," she nearly coos, still slowly gravitating towards the President's daughter. "It ain't fair at all, God love ya."|
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley by now has the gun pointed mostly to the floor. After all, it seems rude to just stand there and point a gun at someone. "Well," she says, slowly, still looking a little startled. "Why don't you sit down there?" she gestures with the gun to the comfortable chair she'd nearly slept in the last time she was here. "You'll be comfortable and Leon will be up in a minute." Because Leon, at least, will know what to do with this situation.
"We don't really have much to eat," Ashley goes on, apologetically. The can of tuna sticks out in her mind. It'll go between three people if it must, but really that won't hardly be anything at all. She frowns then, slightly. "Are there more of you? Wherever you're hiding? Is anyone sick, or do they need help?" Stupid bleeding heart.
|Leon Kennedy||"Oh lord," the woman laments, coming further into the apartment, making as if to go towards the chair Ashley's indicated, when suddenly, at the questioning, she pulls a knife from her belt and lunges at the girl, her eyes wide with manic energy, flailing out at her. It's a kitchen knife, a good eight inches long, and Miss Graham will have to move quick to avoid it.|
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley is quick, thank goodness. The swipe doesn't come close to her as she steps back, bringing her arms up over her head as if to make sure the gun is out of reach. Safety first.
"What are you doing!" Ashley cries out, though it's clearly not a question. She brings the gun up again, leveled at the woman once more.
"Stop! Stop it!" Ashley demands, gesturing at her with the gun to make sure she sees it. "Stop it or I will shoot you!" Is that true?
|Leon Kennedy||The crone is not one to give up that easily. "Drop the gun!" she screams, lunging forward again, lashing out with the knife. Admittedly, at close range, a knife can easily be just as dangerous as a gun, and these are close quarters.
Coming up the stairs, Leon hears something. Something shout-y. Shout-y is bad. He drops the box of supplies and starts running, taking the steps two at a time.
|Ashley Graham|| And then the crazy woman is charging. Ashley sees her coming close, the poor girl's hands are trembling with the gun. In a moment of sheer panic and helplessness (damn you fight and flight, neither of you really showed up for this adrenaline rush) Ashley closes her eyes and pulls the trigger.
The noise is deafening, particularly for people not used to being around a gun. Two shots into the floor and one into the wall, but none on their target. Ashley notices that almost immediately. She steps back again to get away from the knife with a terrified gasp. And then she lifts the gun to fire again.
|Leon Kennedy||The Crazy Crone is less than unsettled by the fact that gunfire is continuing, unfortunately for Ashley. Fight or flight is real, and she's chosen fight. She desperately swings her knife at Ashley, trying to hack into the young woman before her before she can get a shot into her.
When Leon kicks open the door, all he can see is the back of some wench attacking Ashley, and the gun already in his hand barks a sharp report, catching her in the non-knife-wielding arm. The crone shrieks, flailing the injured limb madly, spraying a small amount of blood onto the carpet, flailing out at the President's daughter again. "Give it to me!"
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley flinches at the noise of yet another gun. But this time she doesn't close her eyes. They're wide with shock and awe as the woman starts to come at her again. Ashley, perhaps giving Leon a little coronary episode, doesn't step back.
Rather, she lifts the weapon in her hands and points it directly at the attacking woman. Ashley's eyes remain wide as she pulls the trigger. The small caliber round makes a tiny hole to the right side of the woman's forehead, but it blows out a half-dollar sized chunk of the back of it. For a moment, Ashley and the dead-but-still-standing woman share the same look of surprise. And then the crone falls, leaving Ashley there, staring at her corpse, holding the gun.
She lets out a breath, which carries with it a wordless utterance of surprise and shock. And she just stares.
|Leon Kennedy||The mid-aged crone's body just stands there staring at Ashley for a long, long moment, and then she drops to the floor, crumpled in a heap of her own limbs, blood, and brains. The corpse twitches a few times and then falls still.
Across the room, and almost directly behind the woman, Leon blinks, wiping the specks of blood from his face (but really just smearing them for the most part). The bullet had gone right past his head, and that's the precise reason he hadn't just unloaded on her- Ashley might have been caught by the bullets as they went through the aggressing lady. "It's me," he states quietly, holding his gun up in a loose grasp so she can tell it's not pointed at her. "It's Leon. It's just me. You're safe now." His voice is soft and insistent, comforting, and his feet carry him steadily forward toward her, at a slow, non-alarming pace.
|Ashley Graham|| Leon? It's Leon? Ashley still has the gun pointed at the dead woman which, right now, means she has the gun pointed down. That's got to be some small measure of peace for the man. It means if she does twitch and fire again, it likely won't be at him. Not this time, anyway. The blonde girl is wide-eyed, staring at the corpse at her feet. Because this is a corpse. A dead person that won't be getting up again. Not a sick person, nor a reanimated one. One that went straight from living to dead.
And then? Ashley probably does the worst thing she can possibly do. She starts laughing. First it's a little chuckle, then it comes out more and more. She's now bawling or rolling by any means, but it's a steady stream from her. Some part of her seems to realize that it's inappropriate, however, so she brings one hand up to cover her mouth, away from the gun. The gun-arm relaxes too, at this point. After all, what threat is there in a dead woman?
|Leon Kennedy||There's no one there to judge her; no one but Leon, and he's not about to hold her reaction against her. No one is reacting the way they're /supposed/ to, not anymore. That ended when the quarantine barriers went up. The officer continues to come forward, tucking his own handgun into the holster at his hip, coming towards her with his hands raised and his arms outstretched, about half. "It's alright. It's alright. It's just me." He's close to her soon, moving easily into arms-reach, having stepped past the dead woman.|
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley holds that position, for the most part. Though the laughter's almost gotten the better of her where she is bending over slightly at the heaviness of it. "I don't know why I'm laughing," she tells him, apparently fully aware that her response is inappropriate. "But I can't stop!" So she laughs some more.
And then she manages to lift her eyes to the man who's just arrived, and she looks at him nearly somber for a moment ... before more laughter breaks out. "I told you I could shoot!" Yeah, one out of four is technically shooting, but it's not /good/ shooting by any stretch. "And you didn't believe me!" So she laughs more. "Jesus, what's wrong with me?" She asks between chuckles.
|Leon Kennedy||'Because you're in shock', Leon thinks, but he doesn't say it just yet. "It's alright, nothing's wrong with you," he assures her, smoothly, steadily reaching out towards her gun. "You /did/ say you could shoot. You were right. Let me see your gun for a second." Once he's got that away from her the situation will at least feel a lot less precarious. "I just want to hold it for a minute." He doesn't try to take it, he's waiting for her to hand it to him.|
|Ashley Graham|| Gun? What gun? Oh, the Glock. Ashley seems to have forgotten that she had it, so she lifts it and turns it sideways so she can look at it, though it's still pointed away from the both of them. "Oh, this," she says, the laughter finally starting to die down. She offers it over without much hesitation. "I don't think I harmed it at all," she says, almost apologetically. The laughter's starting to die down.
While she goes through all her stages of crazy, the body on the floor is bleeding out. Leon's kitchen floor is now covered with a growing puddle of dark red blood, dribbling out from the back of the crone's skull. It's fanning out like fresh pancake batter poured onto a warm skillet, slowly becoming thick as it cools, rather than heats. Ashley seems to notice that too, now, for the laughter has died all together. "Jesus," she says, the whispered disbelief sounding far away, to her.
|Leon Kennedy||There it is. There's the realization dawning over her of what's just happened. Leon quickly snags the gun away from her, dropping the magazine into his hand and slamming back the slide to pop the round out of the chamber, not bothering to catch it in the air all-fancy like and just shoving the empty receiver onto the countertop. It's actually /safe/ now, dammit Glock.
"Ashley. Ashley, let's step into my bedroom for a second," Leon's voice stays calm and even, in control of the situation, in control of himself. "Everything is fine. Let's just- just come with me, just for a minute," he half-suggests, half-instructs, starting to move that way, nodding and gesturing for her to follow.
|Ashley Graham||"I bet you say that to all the girls," Ashley retorts, though it's weak and distracted. She might not necessarily know that she says it.
But she starts to follow, starts to obey that smooth voice and calm demeanor. At least, until it's time for her to step around the corpse in the middle of Leon's kitchen floor. Ashley slides herself against the wall, as if trying to move past a great precipise. But she stops before she really comes too close to the main body of that once was that middle-aged woman, otherwise known as a crone to an 18 year old. "Leon?" She asks, her voice trembling. "Will she get up?" She sounds so sad. It's one of those heartbreaking little moments, like when a child in a warzone can name the types of guns she hears firing. It's a statement of fact, or question of fact in this case, but it's still just sad.
Ashley seems afraid to move past the corpse until she knows the woman won't get up, staring at her dead body as the shock seems to have a stranglehold on her brain, for the moment. Still, she's trying to obey Leon's directions. She /wants/ to obey Leon's directions.
|Leon Kennedy||"She's not going to get up," Leon assures her in a sad, sure voice. He waits for her, reaching out his hand to give her something concrete and human to anchor herself to. "Come on. Just come with me. Just for a minute, everything is going to be okay." He keeps repeating that, a solemn, peaceful refrain, a fervently wished-for hope that somehow it will be true. "It's alright. You're with me. It's safe. Just come in here for a minute."|
|Ashley Graham|| The hand offered seems to be enough for Ashley to, literally and figuratively, hold on to. She reaches for him and clasps her hand firmly to his so she can step over and around the corpse to stand by Leon's side. She doesn't let go then, though, and instead allows him to lead her into the next room at his own pace.
"Leon," she says, almost needfully as he leads her. "Leon I swear, I didn't mean to." Well, yes she did. She pointed a gun at the woman's face and pulled the trigger. But it's one of those things people say. "She came in, said I was her daughter, and then she started swinging her knife at me. Who hates their daughter like that?" Naturally that doesn't make any sense. But Ashley is rolling a pretty low intelligence, just now, likely from the shock of it all.
|Leon Kennedy||"I know you didn't." Leon takes her by the hand, his grip gentle but firm, leading her away from the body and towards the bedroom. "It wasn't your fault. It's okay." The door swings open at his touch, and the bedroom is quiet, undisturbed since their last night here, except the candles are gone, all stolen other than one or two that fell behind the dresser. "It's not your fault." Shepherding her inside, he closes the door behind her, cutting them off from the scene in the kitchen.|
|Ashley Graham|| "I don't feel well," Ashley announces. She's already released his hand by the time he goes to close the door, and sits on the edge of his bed without the slightest invitation. Generally she'd have at least asked first! One hand goes to her stomach, and indeed she does look a little green. But she manages to choke it down. She doesn't look at him, downright refuses to even glance in his direction.
"Jesus, Leon," she swears again. "What happened?" Because right now she doesn't understand it. "And what's happening to me? I can't think straight."
|Leon Kennedy||They've made it this far. Leon cannot afford a mental breakdown from his charge right now. Not now. "Take a seat," he offers lamely as she's already sitting, coming over to sit down next to her since she's refusing to meet his eyes, or really even to look at him. His hand finds her back, settling at first a little awkwardly between her shoulders. "You did what you had to do, and now you're in a little bit of a shock." He says 'a shock', not 'shock'. For some reason it makes a difference mentally. "It's going to be okay," he repeats, and then his hand starts to move, rubbing her shoulders a little, just making a circle. "It's okay. You're safe now, and that's what matters."|
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley doesn't really register the slight pressure on her back. She just stares at the floor ahead of her now, pinching her hands tightly between her knees. "Why would she do that, Leon? Just run at me with the knife. Even when I shot and I missed her, she didn't stop. Who does that? Why? Do you think she was Sick?" From the way that Ashley says 'sick' it's safe to assume she means pre-zombie sick.
There's a little wimper from the girl, stiff and choked back. They're tears she's fighting away. And while a few of them start to stream down her cheeks and fall, they do so silently.
She's having a bad moment, but she's not lost herself in it.
|Leon Kennedy||Leon's hand slides up to pinch at Ashley's shoulder, working his thumb into the tense knot at the base of her neck. "Maybe she /was/ sick," he allows, knowing that explanation might help her calm down and frankly, not knowing enough to contradict it either. "People get desperate. I was just telling you that, remember? It's not your fault. She thought you had something and she wanted it." That hand slides back down the middle of her back, coming back up again to rub over her shoulderblades. "It wasn't your fault."|
|Ashley Graham|| It's that little pinch digging into her back that seems to actually and truly remind Ashley that Leon is there. She gasps a little, and straightens, arching her back just slightly in response to the unexpected sensation. And then she turns to look at him. She looks truly at a loss, just now, pale with a tint of green, her eyes wide and full of tears that stream down her cheeks. It's anything but a hot look.
"Wasn't it? I mean really, Leon? Jesus, I just shot a woman in the head." Well at least she's coming back a little bit, right. "That's no one's fault but mine. And I can't help but think only selfish things. What's going to happen to me now? I must be in terrible trouble. I'm a murderer, for Christ's sake." That causes her to tremble under his hand. "What do I do now?" The remains of that adrenaline are showing themselves, trying to nudge her into action.
|Leon Kennedy||"No, it wasn't," Leon argues quietly, his arm still around her. "She didn't give you a choice. I'm a police officer, remember? That's called 'self defense.' You're not a murderer." He shakes his head, looking into her red-rimmed eyes with his calm, grey-green ones. "You're not a murderer." Repeating that bit for emphasis, he moves back into comforting talk. "Nothing is going to happen to you. You're safe now. There's no other police left to care, and I saw the whole thing. Just relax. You're going to be fine. Everything is alright." His eyes aren't away from hers for long, intent on helping her calm down. "Relax."|
|Ashley Graham|| Bless Leon and his rookie's heart. But his repeatative methods do finally seem to be gaining traction. Ashley manages at last a slow nod or two. It's not enough to indicate that she believes him; that she won't be in trouble, that she's not a murderer, that everything's alright. But it's enough to hear what he's saying and trust that, for now, locked away in this little room, there's nothing to worry about. Or, you know. Less things to worry about.
"What do we do now, then?" she manages to ask, bringing one hand up to smear the tears at her cheeks. She stares at him now, anxiously searching for every scrap of reassurance he can offer. This, right here, is why she has absolute and blind faith in you, Leon. Sillly boy.
|Leon Kennedy||"We do what we have to," Leon assures her, never once wavering in his conviction that things are going to work out against all odds. Not in her view, anyway. "I'm sorry that happened. I won't leave you alone again. I just thought- I thought it'd be alright just for a second, for me to run down to the car." The small furrow in his brow threatens to grow, but then he shakes it off and focuses on her again. "I'm not going to let anything happen to you. We're going to get out of here. Now someone might have heard the gunfire, so I don't think we should stay here tonight. What we /could/ do is stay in one of the other apartments here. I don't think anyone would expect that. Otherwise we need to keep going."|
|Ashley Graham|| "You can't keep //anything// from happening to me. That's impossible." Ashley seems like she might to say more, is even possibly on the c cusp of it. But she sinks her teeth into the lower right corner of her lip and looks away, choking the thoughts back.
"You went downstairs," she says slowly, as if she's not still sure that's accurate. "For supplies, right? Did you find anything? I can move what we have here and we can get the supplies and we can find somewhere else to sleep tonight." She looks at him, sadly and apologetically. "I don't want to go out again tonight, if we don't have to. If there's no reason to." Like an incoming rescue.
|Leon Kennedy||"Anything /bad./" Oh Leon. You poor sweet innocent child. "I went down to check on my squad car. Somebody broke into it and took everything from the backseat and most of the stuff out of the trunk. /Luckily/ there's a locked compartment /inside/ the locked trunk that they /didn't/ break into. And I had two MREs in there." They will feast tonight like kings on cheese tortellini and meatballs in marinara. "I didn't have time to dig up the rest yet, but we can find somewhere close to stay."|
|Ashley Graham|| MREs. It's no Chef Boyardee, but even so it might taste good considering how they've been eating. "And there's a can of tuna," she says, as though Leon hadn't been the one to discover it. "Jesus." Once more the girl sighs, lowering her face into her hands. "I feel like I'm having the worst hangover of my life." Not that she'd know what a hangover feels like, Officer! She's a law-abiding 18 year old, honest!
After a moment, Ashley lifts her head to sniffle and look at Leon again. "Can we go, then? I just want to lie down, all the sudden. And if we're not staying here, I want to get wherever we're going."
|Leon Kennedy||"Oh right, tuna," Leon agrees with a little smile. By now his hand has fallen away from her, moving back into his own personal bubble, and he brushes his hair back from his face a little. "We can go." A nod, and he stands up from the bed, hand falling reflexively to the handle of his gun for a moment, and he pulls a drawer open on the dresser. Sifting through, he finds the loosely-knitted wool sweater he's looking for and tugs it out from under the stack of t-shirts. "Did you want any other clothes?" At least they know these ones are clean. "Otherwise we can get going."|
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley shakes her head numbly, rocking her weight back on the bed a few times before she pushes to her feet at last. "We can't forget the tuna. And the gun." Because the Glock is still out there, where he left it after taking it from her. After she killed that woman. Yeah, that's a thing that happened.
She won't open the door to go get it herself, though. Rather she'll wait for Leon to do the leading, as he so often does. No complains, no arguments, nothing from Ashley. Not right now.
|Leon Kennedy||"We won't forget it," he assures her quietly, opening the door to the bedroom and leading the way out. "Just stand outside while I grab those," Leon instructs, moving towards the kitchen. With any luck she won't see the corpse she made lying behind the island. His hand falls on the Glock, pulling the slide back with the other and peeking in there before sending the slide slamming back home and tucking the unloaded weapon into the back of his pants. With the can of tuna in hand, he heads out the front door after her.
Thoughtful eyes scan the inner courtyard of the complex. "Let's try for something on the other side," he decides, taking a few steps down to the landing and grabbing the small package with the two MREs inside before he rapidly skips back up the stairs to rejoin her and lead the way around the walkway. "Looking for a door that isn't destroyed," he mutters to her.
|Ashley Graham|| Alas, on a rookie's salary, Leon's apartment is not spacious. So it's hard for Ashley to avoid seeing the top of the woman's head as she lies on the floor. No more bleeding out now -- everything that had been in and around the wound has dribbled onto the floor, and the blood in the rest of her body is settling elsewhere where gravity has deposited it. It's an oddly still scene. Ashley pauses for only a moment to look at it, but Leon's moving quick and she does too, going out to wait in the hall.
And there she waits, twisting her fingers nervously in front of her like she did the first time he met her.
She moves down the hall as he comes back up the steps, looking at different doors in different states. Some locked shut, some busted and broken in to. One, about five doors down and on the opposite side, she finds hanging open but otherwise undamaged. Without much hesitation (and she should likely have at least some) she pushes the door open with her hand, and it swings and creaks.
Only then does she regard Leon again, moving to mechanically take the box of MREs from his hands. He'll likely want to search and clear the place before they go in, after all. She'll just wait out here.
|Leon Kennedy||When she takes the box from him, after she's discovered an intact door, Leon nods at her. "Good find," he mutters, pulling the handgun from his hip again and holding it out in front of him. Trained feet glide into the apartment, wheeling around each corner, suspicious eyes peering into every nook and cranny, staring down each shadow. "Stay behind me," he whispers, "and close the door." It takes him probably a minute to sweep the entire apartment. That's the perk of small living spaces. "It's clear," he calls from the bedroom, coming back out and shoving the Samurai Edge back into its holster.|
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley, once receiving the all clear, sets the box on the counter. The apartment layout is the same as Leon's, just backwards. Still, knowing that it's clear, Ashley moves to the door and locks it. First the knob lock, then the deadbolt, and then the chain. It'll be problematic if they need to get out in a hurry, but it'll be more problematic for someone trying to get in.
She turns then, and lifts her eyes to Leon as he's coming out of the bedroom. And she just sort of stares at him for a moment, as if he's something she hadn't ever really seen before. Like she's surprised that he's there. And then? Her cheeks burn hot, and she tilts and casts her eyes down and away, bringing a hand up to rest her palm against her forehead. "Jesus," she mutters to herself in displeasure and dismay. She keeps her eyes low as she marches back into the main part of the apartment and begins to set out the MREs. "Are you hungry?" she asks, refusing to look at him.
|Leon Kennedy||Leon is mostly oblivious to the reaction she's having, at least at first. He makes his way in toward the kitchen, head thoughtfully lowered, off in his own little world for a second. "Hungry?" Is that even a question, Ashley. "I could eat," he decides with a small grin, that charismatic, photogenic nature of his coming straight to the forefront as he tosses his long bangs back just a little from his face, plopping himself down on a barstool. "Let's just break these up and-" his voice halts as curious eyes notice hers are studiously avoiding him. "...Ashley, I promise everything is okay," he offers, searching her downturned face briefly.|
|Ashley Graham|| Dammit, Leon. Ashley did manage a quick glance at him when he said he could eat, as though to reaffirm his words. And when she looks at him, he's got one of those ten million dollar smiles on his face. Though maybe it's more like five, given the stress he's under and that he's fairly dirty. Still. Damn him.
Ashley's face flushes brighter, spreading from her cheeks to just a vauge glow all over her porcelain skin. "I know," she tells him, perhaps a bit tightly when he says everything is okay. "Everything's okay," she repeats, so he knows she's listening. Even though now she refuses to look at him as though her life depends on not doing it. She reaches for one of the MREs and, with a sigh of distaste at something or other, begins to unwrap it. She shakes her head while she's doing it, as if trying to shake something off.
|Leon Kennedy||Leon is a beautiful man, through no fault of his own. It doesn't help that he's genuinely charming and selfless to a fault, though.
"Well, what are the odds of you splitting one of these snack breads with me? We've got uh... peanut butter from this one and jalapeno 'cheese spread' from that one." Maybe she's just hungry. "And you can pick which entree you want, I don't mind either. The cheese tortellini is really good, though."
|Ashley Graham||Hungry? HA! The very description of the food almost makes her want to keel over. "Whichever one you want," Ashley says quietly, keeping her eyes down as she begins to unpack the snack bread. "I'm really not hungry. And I don't know how to boil the water for the pasta. Any ideas?" She lifts her eyes to look at him again. This time, flushed as she is, she manages it. Though her eyes do this weird thing for a moment. They flick down, for the briefest of moments, to his mouth, and then back to his eyes. Damn shock is making her into a crazy person.|
|Leon Kennedy||Oh, right. Leon had forgotten she's probably never dealt with MREs before. "You don't have to cook the pasta," he corrects gently, getting up off the stool and relinquishing his grasp on the snack bread. Aka manna from heaven.
He comes around the corner then, coming up next to her and starting to sort through the packages himself. "Here, see? This box is the whole entree, so the pasta's already cooked and everything in there." Popping the flap open easily with his finger, he dumps out the gray-green pouch inside. It almost matches his eyes. "So, then /this/ thing," he continues, sifting through and finding one of the heaters, "heats it up. If you want it hot. You put the pouch in and add water and it heats via magic." Glancing over at her, he frowns a little, realizing how hard this must be for her. "...I know you probably don't feel much like eating right now. We can wait a little longer, but it might help just to get some food inside you."
|Ashley Graham|| "Magic?" Ashley asks with a little chuckle. The man's ease and charm get the best of her, momentarily, and she forgets she's having a freak out. So much so that when he comes to stand beside her, she looks up at him with a ghost of a grin on her face. She just shot a woman, so that's all she can manage. But at the sight of Leon, that too fades.
The blush seems to have faded as well, and rather than an all-over face glow it's now just an attractive rosiness to her cheeks. Once more her eyes flick over his face, taking in all the various views to be seen there. His eyes. His cheekbones. His mouth. His hair. And then she turns away, reaching up to push a bit of hair back behind her ear, almost shyly.
"I'm alright," she assures him in more quiet tones. "Don't wait on me, when I'm hungry I'll eat." She steps back from the counter. "I'm going to go see if there's a hairbrush," she says, and indeed she's already moving for the bathroom with her eyes cast away again.
|Leon Kennedy||For his own part, Leon has thus far seemed strangely immune to the feminine charms of his ward, and there are any number of reasons that this phenomena may have occurred. For one thing, she's the President's daughter, and therefore the shroud of celebrity cloaks her with a certain untouchable veil. He's just a 'normal' person. For another, he's in full-on Protector mode, every fiber of his being stretched to the limit in pursuit of that one goal, the formative, driving passion of his entire life: to help and protect other people. Not to mention Zombie Apocalypse hasn't settled in as normal enough to make time for 'that' sort of thing.
At any rate, he's not clueless enough not to notice that something is different about the way Ashley is looking at him. He /is/ clueless enough to write it off as the results of the shock of shooting a woman in the head, which, granted, the two might be linked. "Okay," he tells her as she starts to head off, deciding to eat one of the sides instead, tearing open the package of tortillas and folding one in half to tear off a bite. Mmm flour. He stands there, chewing, leaning on the countertop, thinking things over.
|Ashley Graham|| It's fair to assume the two are linked, considering one is happening almost directly after the other. In that, Leon isn't clueless.
Ashley, for her part, goes into the bathroom and draws up the blind to let some light in. She stands there, staring at her face in the reflection. Then, slowly, she brings up a found hairbrush and undoes her braid, starting to comb it out. It's a slow, methodic process, but eventually the waves and creases are worked out and her beautiful platinum blonde locks fall naturally. Which, when you're Beautiful, is fairly attractively. It's helped when Ashley teases her fingers through her scalp, giving it all some body and life, so she could flip and shake it out like a Pantene commercial.
And then she stops, staring at her flushed face in the mirror. "Jesus," she sighs. "What the hell is wrong with me?" She frowns deeply and sets the brush down, stepping back out into the main room.
Naturally her eyes fall back on Leon, and she gives him a sheepish little smile. "It's good that you managed to save these," she says, moving to look into the box at the one unopened MRE and tuna. When it's only two people, meager supplies like these seem a lot more robust.
"Did you want to go out and find your other cache tonight, or wait until morning?" She leaves her hands on the box, but turns her gaze up at the tortilla-comping cop beside her.
|Leon Kennedy||Leon glances up and over as Ashley returns, his eyes moving around her face and hair, blinking. It looks nice. It's really pretty, even, for a girl who hasn't had a proper bath in days and just shot someone in the head. "We'll find the other one tomorrow," he tells her, shoving a torn-off piece of tortilla into his mouth. "Assuming it's still there. You should have some of this tortellini later, I'm not opening it yet." It's one of the best MREs out there and he doesn't want her to miss out on it. What a good person.|
|Ashley Graham|| Isn't the best MRE still the worst that cuisine has to offer? Ashley will find out, when she tastes. "I will," she assures him, and moves to step past the man toward the box to see if the MRE also contains any water. She starts rifling though the contents, biting down hard on the lower right corner of her lip as she does so.
"Should we check the other apartments, see if there's anything left to be scavenged?" she asks while she works, only glancing up at Leon once before sinking her teeth back into her lip. Rummage rummage. "It might be a nightmare of 'what's behind this door?' so I don't know if it's worth it, but if you think it might be perhaps we should try." Since there's currently no scheduled evac. And there might not ever be.
|Leon Kennedy||"I think we've probably had enough excitement for one day if we can avoid it," Leon decides, nodding once. "I don't want to leave you here and I'd rather not go door to door with the sun going down soon anyway. We can poke around in the morning, but we have enough for now." The MREs don't include water, but that doesn't mean Leon didn't have some stashed. There's a flexible bladder filled with it in the bottom of the box, under the MRE. "There's water in there."|
|Ashley Graham|| Fortunately, one of the things that people don't take is glasses and mugs. Most households have too many as it is to start with, so if you're going to steal stuff, why steal those? Ashley's able to find a pair of mason-jar-cups rather easily and sets them on the counter. She fills each with about a cup full of water from the bladder, and then seals it and puts it back. Casually, she lifts both glasses and walks around to Leon, offering him one.
"I suppose we can play scrabble," she says, with forced levity. Even she seems to realize it's forced, painfully so, and so she lifts her cup to her lips and watches Leon while she sips. Because, for whatever reason, Leon's charm and good lucks just hit her like a ton of bricks. Stupid shock.
She turns away after that, shaking her head at herself as though, once again, trying to shake something off. She moves across the room to find a sofa to sit on.
|Leon Kennedy||"Scrabble?" Leon raises his eyebrows, letting out an easy chuckle. If he's as bothered as she is, it certainly isn't showing. Lifting his glass, he takes a long, slow swig, savoring the feel of water in his mouth. It's not often they get a good drink of clean water, and even with the slight taste of rubber from the container, this is a sweet thing. Grabbing the tube of raspberry beverage blend from the MRE pile, he follows after her, sitting down on the other end of the couch after tossing the little packet into her lap. "Here, put that in your water." It's just flavored sugar, really, but calories are calories.|
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley seems startled when the drink packet falls on her lap. She looks over at the man curiously, her hair falling about her face and shoulders more naturally that she's brushed and fluffed it out. Still needs a good washing and a hell of a conditioning, but it's easy to be a flower in a desert. And Raccoon City is a desert in terms of beauty, these days. Zombies are not easy on the eyes.
But she does as she's told, tearing the packet with her teeth and pouring the powder with a slight whisper into the cup. She swirls, and sips, and then just sits, quietly, staring at it.
And then she sighs again. "I'm sorry," she says, sounding pained. "My head is just all over the place right now. I can't focus on more than one thing." And that one thing is Leon, currently.
|Leon Kennedy||"It's alright," Leon assures her, assuming she's still trying to get her mind off of what happened at his place and not wanting to upset her anymore than she already is. He's leaned back against the couch, but then he sets his water down on the side table to undo the velcro holding his bulletproof vest in place and pull it off. "That thing gets so old," he mutters, setting it down on the floor and leaning back again, releasing a heavy breath of satisfaction. "What was that one, raspberry?" The drink packet.|
|Ashley Graham|| Jesus, Leon. You don't help things, do you? So Ashley turns her head away, as if giving Leon some privacy to remove the vest. It's not like he's naked underneath it. Far from it, he's fully dressed! Still. Jerk.
"Hmm? I think so, I don't know. It just tastes like sugar," Ashley admits, noncommittally. Still, she takes another deep drink of the stuff, and looks down at her glass again. It's a safe place to look. Her cheeks are flushed again.
"So how do we do this, then? Do we take sleeping in shifts?" Ashley's fine, Leon! She can totally watch you with a gun while you sleep!
|Leon Kennedy||Leon is a great help, Ashley, just look at the way he left you alone in an apartment with a crazy lady. He's too busy putting the vest down to notice the way she averts her eyes, even though he's wearing a t-shirt still. "I think they're just sugar with food coloring," he theorizes aloud, before answering her question. "I think we should be fine here as long as we leave the lights off and lock the doors. We'll move to the bedroom and lock that door too. Anyone who can get that far and has to hit me with the door to open it deserves to get our stuff." Since evidently he'll be sleeping on the floor in front of the door, ala their first night together.|
|Ashley Graham|| Poor Leon. Just trying to have a normal conversation and Ashley has blood pounding in her ears so loud she can hardly hear. Thankfully she's set the glass aside when, perhaps surprisingly, she stands up. "I'm going to go lie down," she announces, in a hushed and rushed tone. With one hand pressed against her forehead, she moves and quickly makes for the bedroom. It's the bedroom in Leon's layout, anyway, so it should be the bedroom here too right? These apartments aren't so big as all of that.
She looks flushed and distressed as she rushes by, but coherent enough.
|Leon Kennedy||"Are you alright?" Leon frowns as she rushes past, holding her head and looking flushed. She's been acting strange ever since she, you know, killed a woman, and she looked like she was about to puke a little while ago, and then she refused to eat. He'd been in the middle of congratulating himself for tricking some calories into her with the drink packet when she suddenly excused herself.
Concerned, he pushes himself up off the couch and follows a pace or three behind, stopping in the door. "What's wrong?"
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley moves to the bed, settling down and pinching her hands between her knees. She rocks slightly. "I'm alright," she assures him with a sigh. She follows that with a few calming breaths through her nose, keeping her eyes closed. It helps relax her slightly.
"My brain's just muddled. Things I shouldn't be thinking about. I don't know why." Likely her young 18 year old brain trying to figure out what just happened, combined with her 18 year old body frizzing between all the adrenaline and stress.
She chuckles, dryly, shaking her head at herself again. "I'll be alright," she promises him. But she doesn't look at him.
|Leon Kennedy||"Are you sure?" The dry laugh isn't the most convincing. Sorry, Ashley. "You're not... looking at me." There's some hesitation in his voice, halting before finally deciding to go ahead and bring up the elephant in the room, but Leon goes ahead and points it out.
She's always looking at him. She looks at him when she wants support, when she wants to know which way to go, when she feels like she needs help with something, when she needs someone to talk to. It's concerning and a little unsettling that she's refusing to do so now.
|Ashley Graham|| She smiles down to her lap. "No," she admits. "I just killed a person and all I can think about is," she lifts her eyes to the man and flutters her lashes, just a little. That coquettish young woman is there, for a moment, with her knowing yet sweet smile and her beautiful hair. "having fun." She settles on that, turning her eyes away from him again and looking down.
"I wonder if that's normal," she muses, out loud. Would Leon know? Has Leon ever killed a person? That, at least, goes unsaid. Because how strange would it be for Ashley to be the more experienced of the pair on that front.
|Leon Kennedy||So /that's/ what's bothering her? Leon blinks, and it's his turn to flush a little, a slow creeping tinge of red that creeps up into his cheeks, coloring the tanned skin just slightly pink. "/Oh./" And here he thought there was something seriously wrong with her. "I mean, uh," he continues, breaking into a flattered smile that's far too charismatic for his own good, "I don't think there's any /normal/ reaction, but I don't see anything wrong with that one." It's a hell of a lot healthier than, say, getting drunk as a skunk and shooting drugs. (Just say no, kids.)
Even in embarrassment, Leon is casually relaxed, reaching back behind his head to scratch at the nape of his neck for a moment and putting his shoulder against the door. What do you do with this? He's a hormonal young adult too, after all, and she's sitting there looking all pretty and they've been bonded by trauma and all that stuff, and she's making pretty obvious insinuations. And they /could/ die in this city. "...Nothing wrong about it at all," he decides slowly, thoughtfully, but he stays in the doorway.
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley is a graceful, social creature. So sitting on the bed, awkward, is not her style. Perhaps, that's why, when Leon blushes too she's able to look at him again. And smile. His own smile, the epitome of handsome as he damn well knows, is infectious.
"I think this is the point where I say I'm not that kind of girl," she says, sounding a little bit more good-natured about the whole thing. After all, he isn't looking at her like she's crazy. And he's saying that her own reaction isn't necessarily wrong. So that all helps. "Which is exactly what those kind of girls tend to say," she says, blushing once more. She looks away.
And then she looks back to him, and she's grinning slightly to the right. Her eyes travel over him once more. Now that he knows why she couldn't look at him, she doesn't seem to want to hide it so much. I mean, it's out there. "This is your own fault, you know," she tells him, quietly and fondly. "Rescuers shouldn't be so handsome and charming." Yeah Leon! How dare you! It's clear she's teasing him, and fondness overlays each of her words. Now that it's out there it's kind of funny. Awkward, but funny.
|Leon Kennedy||"Next time I'll make sure you get the grizzled station sergeant," Leon replies with a teasing grin, tucking his hands into his pants pockets. "The one with the scar and glass eye." Leaving the joke, he gives her a sort of appraising glance as well, noticing her hair again and the way she's styled it. "If you weren't so pretty, it'd be easier for me to defend my sense of propriety," he adds, with a cheeky smile. "So really, I think we can split the blame."|
|Ashley Graham|| "I'd appreciate that. Do police sergeants also carry handcuffs?" Ashley retorts, running with the joke rather easily. She doesn't blush when he compliments her, though. That's something she's used to, something she can take in stride. She lifts her eyes to him again and smiles a bit more broadly. It's a good smile.
"I suppose you're right, though," she says with a resigned sigh regarding the shared blame. "What on earth were we thinking, getting stuck in here like this?" That question is obviously rhetorical, and a joke. And it makes Ashley look away again. Weirdly enough, flirting seems to be relaxing her. She's not clenching her knees on her hands anymore. She's not rocking in her seat any more or sitting stiffly.
|Leon Kennedy||Picking up on the fact that the flirting is having a better effect than any amount of his earlier comforting, Leon plays along. "I don't know about the sergeants, but I know a rookie like me always has a pair handy." Wink. So bold, Leon.
"It's nobody's fault we got stuck together, really; you can blame fate, if you want." A casual shrug lifts his shoulders, still leaned up against the doorway while they toss lines back and forth. "I'm not complaining about the view."
|Ashley Graham|| That makes her grin. "Is that a fact? No wonder it's like a dash to date cops," Ashley responds, idly bringing a hand up and running her fingers through her hair. Yes, there's another glimpse of her. That confident, sexy, jailbaity creature who has both feet solidly underneath her.
The blonde reclines back on the bed, crossing her legs at the knee and leaning her weight back on her hands. It lets her view him in the fading light, and since it seems to be momentarily allowable, she's going to enjoy herself and flirt a bit. "Nor am I," she responds, flitting her eyes back up and peering at the man through her lashes. And then she smiles again, this one more honest and fond again. "Thank you." That might seem out of place.
|Leon Kennedy||The cop chuckles, crossing his arms over his chest now as he leans there to one side of the doorframe, regarding her frankly, fondly, even, as she leans back on the bed. The way he lingers in the door is a product of the other factors already mentioned; her perceived untouchability is the main element still at play here, in the midst of the relaxed atmosphere their banter has created. The Protector barrier has lowered slightly, but she's still in a space above him, if only in his mind.
"There's not /always/ a press to hook up with the cops," Leon replies, with a flirty grin, "But it's nice to be around for one of the high periods." He pauses just slightly, and then "You're welcome," he adds, because Mama Kennedy raised a gentleman.
|Ashley Graham|| "Well, I can only speak from my own experience, but it's been nice to be around one for the low periods," Because these days have certainly been some of the lowest of the low. Ashley maintains that comfortable smile upon her surprisingly rested features. The lowered barriers, it seems, have been more of a help than anything else of late. Even the offer of food.
"I think you would have been a very interesting man to meet under different circumstances," she notes. Because there's obviously something keeping him at the door, but there's obviously something too keeping her perched there on the bed. Lowered barriers, but barriers all the same that keep them from doing anything young and hormonal. "Not that you're not interesting now, of course. But it may surprise you to know that I'm something of a social butterfly," she says with a playful tone and a mischievous glimmer to her recently crying eyes. "Why I bet I could have swept you right off your feet."
|Leon Kennedy||"I would have liked to meet 'the real Ashley Graham' too," Leon replies, with a smile of his own. She's looking at the 'real' Leon Kennedy. There will be a different version of him, sure, for civilian life after this is over, but the old rookie cop Leon is dead. This is who he is and who he will be from now on. Which is fine, because it's clear the different circumstances she's talking about are those where she wasn't upside down in a black sedan when they first met. "It's not that surprising, either," he mentions, with another little shrug. "I've seen the way you handle yourself and how you address people. I can picture you at the university coffee shop talking yourself into a free latte."|
|Ashley Graham|| "Who knows what the 'real' Ashley Graham looks like now?" Ashley asks, apparently having a similar thought to Leon's. Whatever she was before, that's all set aside and gone now. Neither one of them will ever be quite the same. "I suppose whatever we are in a moment like this is the real one, because there might not be another." She glances aside at that, the cloud of their circumstances draping over their flirtatiousness, now.
But in another moment, she looks up at him and gives him a sad little smile. And she rises to her feet, but doesn't move. It's a rather awkward second or two, where she stands there, biting on the lower right corner of her mouth, watching Leon. Some decision she's trying to make.
She makes it by turning her back on him toward the bed, pulling the blanket away from the sheets and mattress. "I should lie down for awhile," she finally says, still facing away from him. "I'm feeling a little better. I thought I was going to explode before, and though I might still, I am a little better." The horniness is, if not abated, at least at bay. "I'll see if there's some more blankets and pillows for you in the closet. Do you want to pull the couch cushions up too?" Since he'll be nesting by the door again.
|Leon Kennedy||"At any rate, I'm glad we /did/ meet," Leon mentions as she stands up, still lingering there in the doorway, all forlorn. She starts talking about exploding with desire, though, which causes his mind to start churning on how that would have played out, which has some predictable effects on him, not the least of which is the blush returning to his cheeks and a generally cloudy sensation. "Uh, yeah, I can- um. Blankets, that's a good idea." Because they're not sharing the bed. /Not/ sharing it. He blinks a few times, swallowing, and now it's his turn to shake his head a little. He didn't realize she was thinking about 'having fun' /that/ hard. "Blankets."|
|Ashley Graham|| Trauma + a libido-related scavenge result apparently has a very profound physiological response on young Ashley Graham. She turns from her position over the bed, where she's folding up the quilt for him, and smiles fondly at him over her shoulder. "I am too," she says honestly, and then goes back to what she's doing. She takes a few pillows off the bed as well, placing them in the pile. Then she goes to the closet, starting to rummage for what she might be able to find in the way of blankets. Alas, it's likely just mostly clothes. Later she'll pick out a new bra and underwear from what's here, but that's for later. When Leon isn't standing at the door, parroting the word 'blankets' and blushing at her.
"You don't mind?" Ashley asks, turning to face him again. She's able to meet his gaze once more, like normal. Apparently talking and flirting it out had a relaxing effect on the woman. "Sleeping on the floor again. I imagine the couch would be more comfortable for you." She glances away, and speaks apologetically "I'd just feel a lot better if you were in the room with me." She looks up at him again as an idea hits her brain. "We could drag it in, between the two of us. Would that be better?"
|Leon Kennedy||Leon can't help chuckling at her helpfulness, even if the idea isn't the best she's ever hatched. "Uh, no, that's fine, I don't mind at all. I can sleep on the floor." That's not what's stumbling his tongue. "The floor is fine. I can get the cushions if I need it." He won't, but he doesn't want to try to drag an overstuffed couch through a narrow apartment door with little Ashley Graham, no matter how optimistic she is about the result. "I'm just, uh." He looks over his shoulder towards the kitchen, brow furrowing. "Are you hungry yet?"|
|Ashley Graham|| Of course he's hungry. Poor growing boy hasn't had his supper yet. No wonder that's why he's a bit out of sorts, now! Except that Ashley isn't quite so naive. She knows what she did to him; basically laying sex out on a platter during the most stressful period of either of their lives, but lined the path to it with barbed wire and booby traps. You know, President's daughter, lots of current trauma, that sort of thing.
So when he asks if she's hungry? "Sure." She's not, at all. But with a warm smile she walks toward the door, prepared to follow him out toward the kitchen. Perhaps getting them out of, you know, a bedroom will make it all easier. At least she looks a touch sympathetic for his current plight. She was there herself, just moments ago. And even now it's by sheer force of will she's not there again. Because if some circumstances were just slightly different...
|Leon Kennedy||There are other appetites than for food, of course, but sometimes indulging one can quiet the other. When she agrees, Leon moves slightly out of the doorway, nodding towards the kitchen again with an "After you." If she's not careful, she's liable to brush up against him on the way past. This may not be deliberate, but it is reality.|
|Ashley Graham|| She does brush up against him, but it's not deliberate and only in the slightest, most innocent of ways. Her shoulder brushes against him as she moves past. Hardly a thing at all, right? She still has that blush in her cheeks as she moves past him, and she has to swallow at one point to steady herself. But through she goes.
"It shouldn't be after me," she notes once she's through the doorway, moving back to the sofa to pick up her cup full of sneaky calories. She sips. "You're the one who knows how to make the magic work," she finishes, gesturing with her cup at the MRE. "I'm happy to help however I can, though." Fortunately it likely doesn't take much culinary ability to prepare an MRE. Right?
|Leon Kennedy||She does brush against his body as she goes, and it's just a touch, but given the circumstances it just arouses his hard-fought desires a little bit more. Shaking his head to shake it off, he follows behind, trying to keep his eyes up as she walks in front of him, but the mention of magic still draws a chuckle and he pulls himself, as if by a string, toward the counter where the MRE stuff is laid out. "/Magic,/" he reiterates, grinning as he tears the top off the little heating sleeve and shoving the pouch of tortellini down inside. His cup doesn't have the raspberry stuff in it, and he pours water in up to the line printed on the side, quickly folding it over and propping it against the wall. "I think there's some kind of incantation that goes into it," he explains scientifically, trying to will the color out of his cheeks.|
|Ashley Graham|| This'll all pass by morning. Ashley's sure of that. Sexual tension can't stand up to a good night's rest, right? In a real bed, behind a triple locked door. Surely the memories of what's transpired today won't haunt her dreams. Though if they do, that's yet another way to slay the beast called desire.
Ashley moves to sit at the counter with her own cup, lifting herself up to peer down at the magic that Leon is performing. "Is it the national anthem?" she suggests, lifting her bright blue eyes to the man before her. At least there's a full counter between them now. Ashley settles back in her seat, wetting her lips with a small sip from her cup. "You must know that by heart," she observes, cheekily. "You seem to be an All-American boy."
|Leon Kennedy||"Who /doesn't/ know the National Anthem?" Leon objects, immediately proving her assumptions to be true. "Everyone knows that." He can't believe that anyone wouldn't. "I'm not sure if it's the Anthem /exactly,/ but they might play it backwards and mix in some bald eagle feathers." Regardless, he's decided it's done heating, because he takes it over to the sink and pours the water and pouch out.|
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley just watches him in his indignation, smiling that fond smile that's becoming more of a frequent fixture on his features. "Some people who vote," she points out, and no doubt that's something she would know. Having survived an election as a first family member. A successful election, too.
She finishes her water and sets the cup in the sink out of force of habit. Because really who gives a shit where it goes? And then she sits back, content to watch the man quietly in his work, just smiling that same fond smile.