Sessions

Author: Azzy
Beta: Asylumfarm/EJ
Fandom: Resident Evil (gameverse)
Pairring: Chris Redfield/Jake Muller
Warnings: alternate canon divergence, alternate universe, ambiguous/open ending.
Rating: M
Summary: When Nivans die, Chris is hurled into a long period of amnesia. Once he is discovered he is sent to therapy with Doctor Muller to prevent it from happening again. Therapy doesn’t really go as planned, and the doctor has a couple of secrets of his own.
Authors Note: A silly thing that has been idle on my desktop for the better side of a year. Thanks to Maxxiedemon for helping me point out the outrageous plotholes before I went too far out. ❤


“My guiding principle is this: Guilt is never to be doubted.”
– Franz Kafka
SESSION 1:
Jake stood bent over the computer, and idly looked through a small pile of papers on his desk. It was a great gig to work for BSAA, it paid well and everything but he could not help but wish that just once in a while one of them would land on his couch, with an interesting problem. It was always the same shit, trauma, panic, and your rare psychosis. Not everyone dealt equally well with near death experience and BOWs. Jake sighed, this one seemed to have suffered from amnesia, which was not all that rare either, but rare enough that Jake’s interest was piqued. ”Wonder what brought that on.” He mumbled, clicking on the service file, which by any means was ridiculously impressive. ”It’s all about the job with you, isn’t it Mr. Redfield?” Jake sighed again, even deeper. This was not as interesting as he had first thought. He could almost diagnose this man without ever having met him. He had seen something so terrible that his mind refused to process it, and because of that, he ‘chose’ to forget it all. The brain was a pretty efficient tool when it came to suppressing terrible things, and sometimes it just got out of hand. Like with mister Redfield here – Jake could almost hear himself say ‘take a month off duty, go somewhere you always wanted to visit, or maybe somewhere that has a personal positive and spiritual meaning to you, and blah blah blah… Good luck Mr. Redfield – Next!”

”Doctor? Your ten o’clock appointment is here.” his assistant, Sara said through the speaker.

”Great.” Jake said, ”Show him in.”

Jake reached for his coffee as the door opened, only to realize that his coffee had gone cold. He smiled politely at the soldier as he shuffled nervously inside Jake’s office. ”Good morning Mister Redfield, you want some coffee, or something?”

”Yeah, that would be great.” Chris mumbled, not sure if he should sit or what.

Jake walked past Chris and said, ”Sara, could we get two coffees?” He smiled at his assistant as she rolled her eyes, ”Please?”

”Sure thing Doctor.” She said in a fake singsong tone.

”Great.” Jake said. ”Just come in with it.” With that, he closed the door again, and turned to Chris. ”Sit down.” He gestured towards the chair on the opposite side of his, separated by the giant desk.

Chris looked confused but sat down politely and silently, fidgeting his fingers.

Sara came in with two cups of coffee and left, and then Jake focused on Chris again. ”Don’t be nervous. I’m Doctor Muller, and we are just going to chat a little, okay?”

”Sure.” Chris said softly, not reaching for his coffee before he saw Jake reach for his.

”So, you know why you are here, right?” Jake asked.

”Yeah, sorta… I mean, I guess it’s about the whole memory lapse thing.” Chris said, slowly putting his cup back down on the desk.

”Yes.” Jake said, ”And you and I are just gonna make sure that it doesn’t happen again, the management worries that current events might lead to another breakdown, and you are too valuable an asset to have roaming around in god forsaken countries not knowing your own name.”

”Excuse me?” Chris said blinking confused.

”It was a joke Mister Redfield.” Jake smiled amused, adjusting his glasses. ”Relax.”

”I don’t think I can.” Chris squirmed a little.

”I’m not gonna bite you.” Jake said, deciding against the rest of his terrible pun. He never was a people person. Chris did not answer, he just took another skittish sip of his coffee. ”Alright,” Jake said, folding his hands in front of him. ”Today’s session is just preliminary; we meet up and get to know one another. First thing is first, what would you prefer that I call you? Christopher? Mister Redfield?”

”Chris is fine.” Chris said.

”Alright, Chris.” Jake said, still smiling professionally. ”And you can call me -”

”Doc?” Chris half stated, half asked.

”Doc.” Jake smiled, taking another sip of his coffee, and discreetly looked at the clock on the wall. ”You’re staying on base, am I right?”

”Yeah.”

”What about your sister… uhm.. ”

”Claire.”

”Claire, yes.” Jake looked over at the computer monitor. ”Is she staying close by?”

”No.” Chris said, slightly worried.

”You seem pretty close, would she be alright with you calling at any hour then?” Jake asked, folding his hands in front of him again. When Chris just looked slightly confused, and nodded slowly, Jake continued, ”It’s important that you have someone to talk to. Therapy often brings up issues that might not seem connected, but it’s like many small brooks makes a river”

Chris nodded, but did not answer.

Jake resisted the urge to sigh, and discreetly looked up at the clock on the wall. ”So let me hear what you thought about this. Coming here, therapy.” He leaned back in his chair giving Chris space.

Taking another sip of the cup before he gingerly set it down on the desk, ”With all respect Doc, I don’t think a whole lot of it.”

”Alright.” Jake nodded affirming, ”I hope to change your mind with my mood altering magic.” He grinned a little, relieved as he saw Chris smile through his skittish nervousness. ”What would you say if I gave you some homework?”

”How so?” Chris asked puzzled.

”What would you say if I asked you to allow yourself to indulge in one thing that makes you happy till we see each other again next week, and you tell me about how that went.” Jake said softly.

”I guess.” Chris was wringing his hands idly again.

Jake just passively observed Chris’ reaction to the suggestion, and finally reached for his coffee cup as he asked, ”Does that worry you?”

”No,” Chris said, but his fidgeting body language spoke said otherwise.

Jake looked up at the clock again, ”I’m gonna let you off the hook now Chris,” He said with a friendly smile, ”And I will see you next Friday, don’t forget your homework okay?”

”Sure.” Chris said standing up from the chair with a jerk, as he was not sure he was really being allowed to leave, so Jake leaned in over the table to offer a handshake, just to officially end it.

As Chris left, Jake buzzed his assistant in to clean up the coffee cups, and bring him a fresh cup. He sat down by his desk and rubbed his temples. This week had just been up hill all the way. He opened Chris’ file on his computer and typed in a quick recap of the session.

Session 1, Subject C
Session one was a success, the subject (Subject C) was very nervous and reacted badly to being in unknown territory, it is a possibility that Subject C has never been forced to internalize before, time will tell how well he manages this process of slowly opening his private Pandora’s box. I remain positive for now, and while I think it will be hard for him to allow himself to allow himself to find something simple that he enjoys, he will attempt it. Next session will tell if he actually understood what the exercise was about, or if Subject C approached it as he would any mission appointed to him. (Personal note: There is no doubt in my mind that Subject C will draw on his military cultivated principle and attempt flawless success.)

SESSION 2:

Jake smiled professionally as Chris entered his office the following Friday. He looked less skittish, but still nervous and downtrodden. ”Hey Chris, glad you came.” Jake said cheerily. ”I trust that my assistant offered you something to drink.”

”Yeah. Thanks.” Chris said while he slowly made his way to the chair he sat in last session.

Jake chose to ignore it and kept his smile easy. ”So tell me about your week.”

”It was alright.” Chris muttered.

”So did you get around to doing your homework?” Jake asked softly, leaning out towards Chris, ”Was it harder than you thought?”

”Doc?” Chris asked, ”Could I.. could we perhaps.” He wet his lips and nodded at the couch in the far end of the room.

”Would that be easier for you?” Jake asked slightly surprised.

”Yeah I think so.”

”Well then, be my guest.” Jake said friendly getting up from his chair and walked over towards the cot with his papers in his hand, sitting down in the other chair over there, waiting for Chris to join him. Then arranged his papers as Chris got comfortable on the couch. ”Better?” Jake asked.

”Better.” Chris said, taking a deep breath.

”So do you want to tell me a little about your homework?” Jake asked again.

”Yeah.” Chris said softly, seemingly much more relaxed, even closing his eyes for a moment. ”I didn’t do it.”

”Alright.” Jake scribbled something down on his paper. ”And why not?”

”I couldn’t think of anything.” Chris said.

Jake smiled he had anticipated this. ”Why do you think that is?” Jake asked.

”Don’t know.” Chris said with a slightly shrug, ”Maybe because I felt it was ridiculous.”

”Mhhm.” Jake nodded. ”Which part? The part where you’re in therapy? Or was it the task?”

”Both.” Chris said, his hands twitched a little at his sides, ”I don’t see why I am here. I’m not crazy.”

”No one said you were.” Jake said softly, shifting his legs discreetly. ”You are here because a lot of people are worried that another trauma will trigger another blackout.”

”But that is stupid.” Chris argued, ”I hit my head in Edonia. This is different.”

”A hit over the head is not enough to suffer this severe a memory loss as you did.” Jake said, ”You didn’t want to remember that your entire squad was killed under your command.”

Chris stayed silent, but looked slightly ashen.

”And now you lost the last survivor as he sacrificed himself to save you.” Jake said softly, studying Chris’ expressions as he spoke. ”So it’s not because anyone thinks you are crazy, we just think that you might be more fragile than you let on.”

”I just want another mission, I can’t just sit around here and talk about feelings and drinking expensive coffee, when someone needs me out there.” Chris made a weak gesture with his hand to empathize ‘out there’.

”I can see how that is a quite rational coping mechanism.” Jake said, ”Is that how you usually would deal with death and loss?”

”What do you mean?” Chris sat up on the couch, and stared directly at Jake.

”Your parents.” Jake said without blinking.

”That is a lot of years ago.” Chris argued sitting up straight, tense as a bowstring.

Yes.” Jake said, ”But back then you filled the void with taking care of Claire.” Jake put down his pen and looked directly at Chris, ”My question is, who looks after Chris?”

”I do.” Chris said, but his voice seemed to pitch slightly.

”You don’t need anybody then?” Jake asked.

Chris did not answer, realizing he had been caught. ”What does that has to do with anything?”

”You tell me.” Jake said with a smile, waiting for Chris to lay down again.

”I..uhm..” Chris squirmed on the couch, ”I just hate feeling useless.”

”And that is what you’re feeling when you come here?” Jake asked, picking up his pen again.

”Yeah, I feel like a lame horse.”

Jake nodded. ”Understandable.” He said.

”I can work out my shit while doing what I do best.” Chris said.

”Killing things?” Jake asked softly.

”Yeah. And protecting innocent people from harm.” Chris said.

”So who are you saving really?” Jake asked.

Chris opened his eyes and starred off into the white ceiling, ”Have you ever saved someone?”

”I have.” Jake said.

Chris hummed, ”It’s a great feeling isn’t it? Like you know that this person is going to be alright, all because of you.”

”Absolutely.” Jake agreed, ”So what happens when you don’t save them? When they die no matter how hard you try.”

”I failed them.” Chris said, ”Pretty simple.”

”And you’re afraid of failure?” Jake asked.

”Yeah. Ain’t everyone?” Chris huffed half amused, half annoyed.

”Indeed, it’s a very common fear.” Jake said with a nod. ”But it also means it’s pretty common to fail.”

”Suppose.” Chris sighed. ”But there is a difference between not turning your taxes in on time, or getting a divorce, and then looking into someone’s eyes as they realize that they are going to die, and there is nothing you can do about it. That moment where all hope leaves them.. that is really.. something else.”

Jake smiled sadly down at his papers. ”Are you a religious man, Chris?”

”Not really no.” Chris said.

Jake looked discreetly over at the clock and then back at Chris on the couch, ”Ever heard of Niebuhr and the serenity prayer?”

”maybe.” Chris muttered.

”Well broken down it is just about acceptance. To accept the things you can’t change, and the courage to change those you can. – And to be able to tell them apart. ” Jake said, ”And no matter what, it’s food for thought.”

”Yeah… yeah it is.” Chris agreed.

”So are you up for some more homework?” Jake asked.

”Well I can try.” Chris said.

”I want you to tell me about something you are really proud of.” Jake said, ”You have till Friday to think of something.”

”Anything?” Chris asked, slowly sitting up again.

”Sure.” Jake said.

”I’ll try, I promise.” Chris said, holding out his hand at Jake.

Jake took it and shook Chris’ hand, amazed how warm and soft his hand was. He had not expected that, and it was hardly a professional thought to begin with. ”See you Friday.” Jake said, smiling while Chris left his office.

He looked down at his block of paper at his notes and with a tired sigh walked over to his computer and sat down, typing up.

Session 2, Subject C
Much against my premonition last week, Subject C had chosen not to just follow ”orders”, but instead make an individual and qualified assessment of the task, which he then deemed ”ridiculous”. I am very pleased with this, since I can conclude from this that he does have the ability to sort in orders given. I might be able to help him after all, with luck it’s a pretty simple and fast process if only I can make him acknowledge the negative feelings associated with his self-inflicted inadequacy.

SESSION 3:

When Chris arrived that Friday he was fifteen minutes late, and he looked like he had not slept for the entire night. Jake studied him as he just walked straight to the couch and laid down, not saying a word. ”Good to see you Chris.” Jake said as he walked over to sit next to the couch. ”Are you sleeping alright?”

”Did my homework.” Chris said flatly, staring up into the ceiling.

”Okay?” Jake said smiling, ”Let me hear then.”

”Nothing.” Chris said, ”I can’t think of a single damn thing. I don’t have one fucking achievement in my life that makes me proud.”

”You have an impressive service record.” Jake said, leaning back in his chair, just watching Chris.

”Maybe, but I have done what I did because I had to. I don’t feel like I should be proud of any of that.” Chris said sadly. ”I parried orders, and that something good came out of it, isn’t really my own achievement. It could just as well have gone belly up.”

”You impressed a lot of people with your military service Chris, so you have to have done something right.” Jake said, he had not read it through, but he had browsed through all the decorations with which the BSAA had showered Chris.

”But you see Doc, for me to take pride in something; it should be something personal, something I did because I chose to.” Chris sighed, ”Like if I had – I don’t know… ”

Jake wet his lips, ”With personal, do you mean family related?”

”Yeah, I think I do.” Chris turned his head and looked at Jake for a short moment before he looked back up at the ceiling. ”I guess what I am trying to say is that all the achievements I got, could just as well had been anyone else. Had they not sent me, I had not been there, had I not gotten those orders I wouldn’t have done it, and had I not cared about the man next to me… then.. Shit.. It could have been anybody really. So why me?” Chris took a deep breath ”I am a horrible squad leader, I take all the wrong decisions, and when I do that, people die. People who depend on me to look out for them, and get them home safe. That is hardly an achievement, Doc.”

”It’s human to err, Chris.” Jake said.

”So is it extra human when you keep doing it?”

”No.” Jake said.

”Exactly, that is not error, that is incompetent leadership.” Chris whispered. ”I’m just so fucking tired of people dying.”

Jake nodded slightly, ”So what would you see as an achievement? Maybe we can work towards that?”

”Maybe I’m just fed up with all that death?” Chris asked in a fragile tone.

”That could be it.” Jake said, scooting out to the edge of his chair and leaned in to look at Chris closer, ”We all grow up eventually, what we thought would be the answer to the world’s problems when we were twenty, change. Suddenly we see that it’s not that easy, and that we might be a part of the problem not the solution.” He whispered. ”What you do is extraordinarily brave, and you make a lot of difference, not only in peoples life, but also to the world. But maybe you came to a point in your life where that is just not enough, and that it’s just not worth it anymore?”

”I told him I would quit when that mission was over.” Chris said softly. Jake said nothing he just waited patiently. ”I told Pierce that I was done. I am tired, and I have been doing this for too long.” He turned his head and looked at Jake, ”There has to be more to this, than watching people get hurt, torn apart and die.”

Jake nodded, ”There is.” He paused and smiled, ”Right off the top of your head, what would you rather be doing right now?”

”Anything?”

”Yes.” Jake said.

”I guess I’d like to see that new Monster movie.” Chris said. ”Popcorn, cola – the works.”

”So what is holding you back?” Jake asked.

”I don’t want to go alone.” Chris said smiling a little embarrassed.

”Call your sister.” Jake said with a nod. ”Maybe she’d love to go.”

”Man I can’t remember the last time we had time to just go catch a movie.” Chris said mostly to himself. ”Yeah maybe I should call her.”

”Call her.” Jake said.

”Right now?” Chris asked surprised.

”Why not?” Jake asked, leaning back in his chair again, ”Go on. Call her.”

Chris slowly sat up and pulled out his phone, looking up at Jake for a second, who nodded for him to go on. He dialed Claire’s number and held the phone up to his ear.

Jake just sat and watched, noting the smile when Claire picked up. He looked away as Chris’ smile faltered, apparently Claire was engaged elsewhere. Chris hung up and pocked his phone. ”She was busy.” Was all he said.

”It was worth a try.” Jake said, ”How about asking someone at base?”

Chris huffed, ”They’d think I was a fucking homo if I suddenly started asking them out.” He shook his head frustrated.

”So you’re afraid of being called out as gay, if you ask some of the guys from base if they want to watch a monster movie?” Jake asked, knowing it was hardly professional, but he was absolutely shocked. ”Besides there are women in the BSAA as well.”

”No.. ” Chris said, tensing. ”Yeah… maybe.. I don’t know man. I just know it would be weird.”

”Alright, so I don’t know how army bases work, but can’t you put up like a note saying ‘movie next Tuesday at eight’ and people could sign up or something?” Jake asked.

”It’s not a college campus.” Chris argued.

Jake nodded, ”Alright, point taken.”

Chris looked up at the clock, ”Time’s up Doc.” He said and slid from the couch to stand, walking through the room.

”Wait, Chris.” Jake called, but Chris was already out the door. ”Damn.” Jake tossed his pen at the empty couch. He got up from his chair and walked over to his computer and typed:

Session 3, subject C
Today was a complete and utter failure, I got Subject C to open up about his fears of being alone, but when I pushed him a little, it backfired. He is not as ready to address this as I had initially thought. He got very defensive and stormed out my office, which is a natural coping mechanism for being stuck in a situation that makes you uneasy or you cannot control. Maybe instead of addressing his fears. I should address his need for control, and see if that might make him more compliant again.

HABITUS 1:

Jake blinked and rubbed his eyes, he looked out the window of his home office, the sun had set, and maybe he should turn on some light. Or maybe he should just give up on this for the day? He stretched and yawned, kicking off his shoes and pulled off his socks before getting up from his office chair, he walked out into the dark hall and down the stairs. His house was dark and silent, it almost blinded him as he turned on the lights in the kitchen. Jakes stomach rumbled in the prospect of food, and he went to the fridge and looked in there, found nothing but stale bread and milk. Closed the fridge again, and walked over to his coffee maker.

He idly browsed through his calendar on the kitchen table as the coffee was brewing. He had to stop this, checking his work calendar when he was in reality having a day off. He went a couple of pages back and forth, Chris Redfield had cancelled his sessions five weeks in a row. Jake bit his lip and looked up at the clock, it was nine in the evening on a Saturday night. Jake reached out for his phone, and flipped the calendar to his contact info over patients, looking down the list until he found Christopher Redfield. He punched in the number on his phone, but did not call. He just stood and stared at his phone for a moment, this was hardly professional, calling a patient outside office hours. Why was he even thinking about calling him? Was it because he was worried about Chris? Was it because he just wanted an excuse to talk to him? Jake might be the professional, but he was not exactly ready to analyze himself. He pushed the call button, waiting for Chris to pick up, or to get through to his answering machine.

Jake went to his cupboard to get a cup for his coffee. He was on his way to get the milk when Chris picked up. ”Who is this?” Chris asked in the other end.

Jake cleared his throat, okay so he had not been thinking this through. ”It’s Doctor Muller.” He said, carefully pouring milk into his coffee. ”Sorry for calling you at this hour, did I interrupt anything? I can just call you back Monday if that is better for you.”

”Doc?” Chris asked his voice confused. ”It’s fine, you just surprised me.”

Jake took a sip of his coffee, ”Why did you stop coming to your therapy?” He asked straight out.

”Eh..” Chris paused ”No offence Doc, but I just couldn’t see the point.”

”None taken.” Jake said, idly circling a finger on his kitchen desk. ”I just think it’s a mistake to stop your therapy.”

”Maybe.” Chris said in the other end. Jake could almost hear his shrug.

”I can appoint you to someone else, if you think that would be better?” Jake said, ”You just landed on my desk because I am commissioned by the BSAA, but I know other therapists that would make time for you.” He said, ”Just say the word. But I think it’s a big mistake if you stop your therapy.”

It took a long time for Chris to answer in the other end. ”Nah it’s not you Doc,”

”Can I expect you back next Friday then?” Jake asked.

”I don’t know.” Chris said.

”Fair enough.” Jake said. ”But I want you to know that I really think you should.”

”Yeah.” Chris mumbled, clearly dismissing everything that Jake just said.

Jake looked down at his toes on his white kitchen floor. ”Did you ever go see that movie?” He asked.

”What?” Chris asked and laughed a little confused, ”No.. no I didn’t.”

”Would you still want to?” Jake asked, he flexed his toes as his heartbeat went up, so this maybe wasn’t purely professional, so what? He could still defend this as being an alternative approach to therapy. What if he wanted someone to go watch a movie with too? Wasn’t it all right to have a personal interest as long as the patient never found out? Jake decided that it was.

”I sorta forgot about it to be honest.” Chris said.

Jake felt ridiculously disappointed, which was completely misplaced. He knew that, but still. ”Oh okay.” He said.

”Why do you ask?” Chris asked drily, ”Wanted to check if I did my homework?”

”Chris.” Jake said, taking another sip of his coffee, ”I was just asking.”

”You’re my therapist, not my friend. When you ask, you always have an ulterior motive. Doc.” Chris said.

Jake had to control himself to not just hang up, ”nothing up my sleeve.” Jake said, ”What about if I pay your ticket for that movie, then you come to your appointment next Friday?”

”What?”

”I said -”

”I heard what you said.” Chris said, the confusion evident in his voice.

”Hey I’ll even throw in popcorn and a cola.” Jake said, ignoring the little green devil on his shoulder, telling him that this was highly irregular and totally out of place.

After a long pause Chris sighed, ”You got it Doc.”

”Great.” Jake said.

”See you at the Imperial in thirty minutes.”

”Wait, what?” Now it was Jakes turn to get confused.

”If you want me at your therapy session Friday, you better be at the Imperial in half an hour.” Chris said laughing softly.

”Alright, see you there.” Jake said, thinking ‘challenge accepted’, and hung up. It was not until he was in the car he questioned himself. What the hell he was doing. He had to ask himself if he had wanted to do this for any client. He knew the answer was no, but still. It had been so long since someone had tickled his interest just a little bit, and while it was true that he really wanted Chris to come back to therapy, then he had to admit his reasons for this whole call late in the evening was purely egocentrically. It was not as if it was a date, he knew that. Still it had been too long since he had allowed himself something so simple as to just go watch a movie with someone. He could entertain the thought of Chris really wanting to spend time with him, in his own fantasies. That would not hurt anyone.

-*-

Chris was already there when Jake arrived. Jake told himself to snap out of it as he got out of his car. Chris was not really waiting for him ‘like that’ he just wanted a free ticket to this movie, and did not want to go alone, that was all. He smiled and pocketed his hands, walking across the parking lot to the entrance where Chris was waiting. ”Hey Chris.” He said as he made it there.

”Hey Doc.” Chris said, ”We have to hurry.” He nodded towards the cinema.

”Ah okay,” Jake said, ”You get what you want from the kiosk, and I will get the tickets and come over to you, okay?”

”Fine.” Chris shrugged and went in the direction of the kiosk.

Jake went to get the tickets, and then came to the kiosk where Chris stood with a big cola and a huge box of popcorn, Jake could not help but to smile. He almost didn’t get anything, but decided he wanted to have fun too, after all how often did this happen? He got his own cola and popcorn before paying.

Walking towards the theater, down the hall Chris finally spoke. ”I’m a bit surprised that you called to be honest.” He said.

”Oh?” Jake said, and then opted for the truth and a little smile, ”Maybe you are not the only one who don’t have someone to go watch a movie with.”

”Really?” Chris asked, stopping in the middle of the hall.

”Yeah really.” Jake said with a little nod, ”Now come on, or we’re gonna miss the beginning.”

”Yeah.. yeah right.” Chris mumbled and followed Jake to their seats.

-*-

Jake enjoyed the movie more than he would have though, or maybe he just enjoyed the evening off, doing nothing that demanded something of him. Chris elbowed him and mumbled ”Dude check that!” with his mouth full of popcorn, which made Jake smile.

-*-

Once the movie was over, Jake and Chris left the theater and walked outside. ”I had a great time.” Chris said, as they stopped at the edge of the parking lot.

”Me too.” Jake said, buttoning up his jacket.

They stood in silence for a little while, Jake not sure what to say, this was completely new territory for him, and he was not exactly sure how he ought to react.

”If you weren’t you, I would have said that we should do this again sometime.” Chris said, scratching his neck idly, knowing the words had come out wrong.

Jake nodded, but felt a tiny twist in his chest, ”Anyways, I’m glad you got to see your movie, and I had a brilliant time.” He said, hoping he hid is strange disappointment, which he knew were completely inappropriate. ”Do you need a ride?”

”No I’m good.” Chis said.

”Okay, see you Friday then.” Jake said, turning around and started to walk towards his car. Mentally reminding himself never to do this again.
SESSION 4

As promised Chris showed up the following Friday with a smile and a cup of coffee in his hand. Jake was pleased to note it was a far cry from the downtrodden man he had seen just a month ago. He was not about to be fooled either, he knew that when patients seemed to do the most progress they were really doing worse than ever. There was only one way of knowing was just to keep at the therapy. ”Good to see you Chris.” Jake said smiling.

”You too Doc.” Chris said, and this time he sat down in the chair at the table.

”You look good.” Jake said, ”Did something happen?”

”Yeah.” Chris said sipping his coffee, ”The brass at BSAA decided that I’m good to go.” He smiled at Jake, ”I deploy back to Edonia next week.”

”Oh?” Jake said, ”He wanted to call Chris out for lying, cause surely they wouldn’t let him enroll in another mission abroad without the paperwork, or the psych evaluation from him. On the other hand, why would Chris lie? ”Are you sure that is a good idea?”

”Are you kidding? This is exactly what I need.” Chris said, ”This whole sitting about talking is great, but – it’s not really solving anything.”

Jake just blinked, ”So what about all the death? Are you ready to have that happen again?”

”It’s like you said.” Chris said with a shrug, ”I can try and protect them, but if they die, they die,”

”That wasn’t what I said.” Jake said studying Chris worried.

”Well that was what I walked away with.” Chris said, placing his coffee cup down on the table. ”I promised you I’d come today.” He looked up at the clock, ”But I think I have to cut our session short.” He smiled, ”Thanks for everything Doc, you’ve been great, really.” Chris stood up and held out his hand for Jake.

Jake took it and shook it. ”It was good to meet you,” he said.

”You too.” Chris said, ”Sorry for wasting your time.”

”You didn’t waste my time.” Jake said smiling.

”Okay. Bye then.” Chris said, and then walked out the office. The door had hardly shut behind him before Jake reached for the phone and called the BSAA operator who was signed Chris’ assessment.

-*-

It was dark out and Jake was still at the office, he sent his assistant home a long time ago. He was going to be stuck here for a while, he might just as well sleep the couple of hours he could, on the office couch. Good thing the only living thing waiting for him at home was a cactus. Jake took a sip of his strong coffee, and looked at his paperwork.

This would submit Chris to Shady-Crossroad mental facility, but he had no other way of keeping Chris from deploying. His assessment operator had said that Chris had been so convincing that they were going to cut his therapy short. Jake had been outraged, but at least the operator had agreed that she wasn’t sure if Chris was okay or not.

Jake was staring at the prompt on his screen, was it really his professional opinion that Chris was suicidal? He looked through his case notes, and decided that everything he had written down, and the progression of the sessions all pointed to Chris wanting to return to the front line to redeem himself somehow, penance, death. Jake wasn’t sure, but what he knew was that he couldn’t let that happen.

He opened Chris’ file and looked through it at random, there was a picture of the operative that had picked up Chris when he had been lost in Edonia, Nivans. Jake read on, and found that the same young man had died later in the mission, and was the last of Chris squad. What was it Chris had said? That he had told ‘him’ that he was done. ‘he’ had to be Nivans. Interesting.

Jake looked on, pictures of people who had been alongside Chris throughout his career, Jill Valentine, Sheva Alomar, his sister Claire, and a bunch of others. Jake flipped a page and felt his stomach double over. ”What.” He whispered staring at a picture of Albert Wesker. ”So you were the one to shoot that asshole.” Jake mumbled to himself. He picked the photo out of the file, and studied the picture of Wesker. He could not help but to try to find similarities in their features, he did not want to, he did not want to be related to this mad man to any extent. But he was, he could not run from it. He could lie, and he did. He told people he did not know who his father was, but he did, and so did the BSAA, which was probably why he had landed this gig. So they could keep an eye on him, just in case he turned out to be a fucking psycho as well – and woke up one morning and decided to go for world domination. Still a small part of him wished that he had met him, he had read about Wesker, seen pictures, case files and videos of his atrocities. He had never met the man, ever.

His mother had kept it a secret for her entire life, she had just told him that his father was an American scientist. She had told him his name shortly before she died. Jake had embarked on a mission to figure out who he was, and where he was. However, he was already too late. Many were the times that Jake had asked himself what the hell he would have said anyway. Did his father even know about him? His mother insisted that he did. So why had he never…

No use thinking about that. He put the photo back in the file, and closed the file folder. ”Fuck you too, Albert.” He sneered out into the empty room, and hit ‘send’ on the paperwork that would submit Chris. He turned in his chair and dialed the number for the mental facility, to let them know that the paperwork was sent, and that they could pick him up now. And that they should call Jake once they had Chris securely locked up, and he would come along and have a chat.

Session 4, Subject C
When Subject C arrived today he was in a good mood, he seemed like he was almost looking forward to go back to the hell, which had landed him here in the first place. He left after less than fifteen minutes in high spirits. I am worried that his main reasoning for returning to Edonia is redemption, or revenge. Maybe even to end himself in a ‘heroic’ way, so he felt like he achieved something. On the background of this, I contacted the BSAA and the Shady-Crossroad mental facility, putting out a request that he be picked up tonight at base, and submitted. I cannot let him leave while he is this unstable, and I cannot believe that the BSAA was ready to let him leave. I should make an official complaint about Subject C’s assessment operative, Sally Stevens’ incompetence.
SESSION 5.

Jake waited for two days before he drove down to the hospital. A part of him knew he had probably saved Chris from death on the frontline, and another part of him knew that whatever silly little fantasies he had been entertaining had died the second he had made that call. Chris would see him as the enemy – he knew that. What he had done was betrayal, even if it was for the greater good.

He small talked with the nurse at the front desk, and got his personal visitors ID from her, fastening it to his shirt pocket. He came here quite often to look after patients or when a patient was reassigned, either on their way in or out, he would come.

Walking up the stairs and down the long hall, Jake had to take a deep breath and steel himself for this. He walked through the doors to the dayroom, and spotted Chris pretty fast. Counting to ten in his head he nodded to the orderlies in the room, he walked over to where Chris was sitting watching some stupid show on the TV, and sat down in the sofa next to him. ”Christopher.” He said with a soft smile, which he hoped did not come off as nervous.

Chris turned his head and looked at Jake, frowning he just turned back to watch his show.

”I know you’re upset with me, but I had no other -”

”I don’t care.” Chris sneered.

”I know.” Jake said nodding. ”But I’m still your therapist, and if you want to get out of here, you have to talk to me.”

”Then I will just have to get another therapist.” Chris growled annoyed, scooting further away from Jake in the sofa.

”You can do that.” Jake said, he tried to keep his own uncalled for sadness out of his voice. ”You want me to put a good word in for you to someone here?”

Chris turned his head and studied Jake. ”Fuck you.” He said frowning.

”I’m not surprised by your hostility, I would be angry if I was you too.” Jake said, ”But you left me no choice, I could not let you go back there yet.”

Chris’ frown lessened, but he stood up from the sofa and started pacing. ”I trusted you.”

”I know that it looks like I betrayed you.” Jake said, correcting his glasses. ”But I wanted to protect you. If you went back to the frontline while you -”

”I don’t need your protection.” Chris yelled, startling everyone else in the dayroom.

Jake closed his eyes and took a deep breath. ”Maybe I should come back in a couple of days when you are less upset.”

”Don’t you fucking dare leaving me here.” Chris leaned in against Jake. ”You are going to march out there and sign whatever paper is getting me out of here. And that is right now!”
Jake shook his head, and stood from the sofa. ”No.”

Chris grabbed Jake’s shirt and pulled him close, chest against chest. ”Yes.”

”You don’t wanna do this here.” Jake warned, letting Chis twist his shirt. Sure enough, before Chris even answered, two orderlies came and pulled him off Jake, holding him in an iron grip. ”Are you alright Doc Müller?”

”I’m fine.” Jake said correcting his shirt, and glasses. ”Told you not to do that, Chris.” He said in a motherly voice. Jake looked at Chris and then at the orderlies holding on to the struggling Chris. ”Give him something to sleep on.” He said, and then turned his attention back to Chris, ”I’ll see you in a couple of days, okay?”

Jake walked out of the dayroom as the orderlies was hauling Chris out the other end of the room. He had intended to let Chris out of here next week, but now he was not so sure. He was not even sure if he should continue to be his doctor.

Back at his office, Jake sipped his coffee and pulled up Chris’ file.

Session 5, Subject C
As I had expected he was very upset and exhibited a behavior of someone who had been betrayed by his friend. Which is slightly paradoxal since he was the one who told me I was not his friend, and never would be.

Jake stared at the prompt, and erased the last bit.

Session 5, Subject C
As I had expected he was very upset and exhibited a behavior of someone betrayed, which to some extend is a correct analysis of the situation. The hospitalization was something that happened to him, a situation where all control of his life is taken from him, and someone has done this unto him. I will attempt to talk to him again next Tuesday and hopefully he has accepted his fate for now a little better. I do not think that Subject C is suffering from anything but some sort of suicidal survivor’s guilt. And this is why I have to make sure he does not return to the frontline for a while.
SESSION 6

The hospital had called Jake sometime the following Monday and informed him that they had had to restrain his patient, so it was with a little more frustration than last that Jake walked up the stairs and greeted the receptionist to get his visitors pass. An orderly followed him down some stairs to another hallway, ”He’s in 14.” The orderlies said.

”Great thanks.” Jake said and walked down the hall, usually he had no business here, and the few times he had been here, he had hated. ”Hey Doc!” The orderlies called after him, ”I think he might be out cold, So -”

”Well he’s a patient none the less.” Jake said, turned his back and walked past a row of closed doors before he came to number 14. He stepped inside and found Chris laying on the bed. His restraints had been opened, hanging from the bedframe. Jake stopped and looked down at Chris before he signed and pulled a chair up to the bed sitting down. He studied Chris for a little while, ”I’m so sorry that it has to be like this.” Jake said mostly to himself. Jake looked over his shoulder, and the door was still closed, he gingerly placed a hand on Chris’ and took a deep breath, ”I don’t know if you can hear me Chris, but I’m gonna get you better,” He paused and studied Chris for any sign of him waking up or having heard him. ”You should be outside enjoying yourself, living your life. So please work with me.”

Jake did not see any change in Chris’ expression, or hear any change in his breathing. Jake sighed and nodded to himself, reaching up and placing a hand on Chris’ cheek, running his thumb over Chris’ cheekbone. At war with himself because this was not professional, but he did not really care. Something inside him just wanted to know how it felt, ‘just a silly little fantasy’ he told himself. ”I’m gonna get you better, I promise.” Jake whispered, looking up at Chris’ face only to see that his eyes were open. Jake withdrew his hands quickly, and looked away from Chris’ slightly glazed over eyes. ”I’m sorry.” Jake mumbled.

”Doc?”

”Yes?” Jake said, mortified that he had been caught. Trying to form a story in his head how it had been genuine concern, and not because of personal reasons that he had caressed Chris.

”Did you really mean that?” Chris slurred, turning his head to look at Jake, who was struggling not to wring his hands in his lap.

”Excuse – excuse me?” Jake just said, his voice a little too high pitched.

”Your promise. That you’ll get me better.”

”Oh.” Jake let out the breath he had been holding. ”Yes, of course.” he said, now he was back on the right side of this again, slipping back into being Doc, and less the sad excuse for a man called Jake. He picked up his pen and his pad and smiled professionally at Chris. ”But you have to work with me, Chris, I can’t help you if you won’t let me.” He gestured towards one of the restraints with his pen.

Chris sucked in his breath and looked up into the ceiling. Banging his head against the mattress a couple of times he finally closed his eyes and sighed. ”Alright.” He said, ”Just get me the fuck out of here.”

”And I will.” Jake said, ”You have my word. But I need to know that you won’t run, and I don’t believe that yet.” He looked down at his pad, staring at the black front page. ”Could you maybe try this for a little while, and I’ll have you out in two weeks.”

Chris smiled bitterly, ”Valentines, huh?”

Jake nodded, ”Yeah we could set Valentines for the final evaluation. And hopefully the release date.”

”So what do you want to know? That I never got along with my father? How I never really liked playing sports? How I enjoy killing things?” Chris said, angry working itself up in his words.

”No.” Jake said softly. ”I want to know why you don’t think you deserve to live anymore.”

”Why do you think that?” Chris said, hoping that Jake wouldn’t notice his little twitch.

”Indulge me.” Jake said, correcting his glasses.

Chris smiled to himself, almost secretive. ”I could have saved him. I know I could.”

Jake just listened, and swiped his finger over the pad to look through Chris’ file.

”But I didn’t.” Chris whispered, ”He wouldn’t let me.”

”Piers?” Jake asked.

”Yeah.” Chris mumbled, ”He was supposed to – I don’t know, be here.”

”To be alive you mean?” Jake asked softly.

”Yeah.” Chris sucked in his breath, and without thinking about it, Jake placed a hand on top of Chris’ again.

Chris didn’t move his hand, but he turned his head to look at Jake for a moment, ”Can I ask you something personal?” He asked.

”Sure.” Jake said squeezing Chris’ hand.

”Have you ever lost someone you loved?”

”Yes.” Jake said, thinking of the horrible emptyness his mother had left in his life.

”Who?”

”My mother.” Jake answered, ”She died of a slow sickness, and I was her only family. So I took care of her till the end.”

”And what then?”

”Then I was so lucky that someone noticed my uhm.. me. And gave me a second chance here in the States.” Jake smiled, when Chris looked slightly confused. ”I’m originally from Edonia.”

”Really?”

”Yes.” Jake said, ”I was truly lucky to be discovered and sponsored or I wouldn’t have been sitting here. I would probably have joined one of those pitiful mercenary groups, that is what most people do.”

”What about your dad?” Chris asked.

”He was never a part of it.” Jake said, knowing it was a white lie, cause it was only because of his unique heritage that he had been sponsored, he figured that they wanted to keep a close eye on him, just in case he was like – him. ”Anyway,” Jake said, ”I answered your question. Tell me more about why you think Piers didn’t want you to save him.”

”You -” Chris bit his lip, and slowly sat up in the hospital bed, folding his legs up under him, and looked down at his hands in his lap. ”You have to promise me not to write this down.”

”Alright.” Jake said and as a sign of good faith he put down the pad and pen on the floor next to his feet.

”I have never..” Chris wrung his hands, ”I.. uhm.. we were…” For a brief second he looked up at Jake, ”You gotta promise me it stays between you and me, it can’t go down on paper anywhere.”

”I promise.” Jake said, and placed a hand to his heart.

”We were lovers.” Chris said so softly it was almost a whisper. ”I loved him, doc. I fucking loved him! And when it mattered the most he didn’t trust me enough to come with me.”

Jake blinked he had just never seen that coming. It explained many things for him which he had struggled to understand before. It also stirred those silly daydreams of his in a way he did not care for. Jake took a deep breath, ”Maybe he knew that your judgement was clouded because you loved him, and therefore wanted it to be okay so badly.”

”Maybe.” Chris said wringing his hands still. ”But no one can know, ever. Promise me!”

”I promise.” Jake said again. ”Have you ever given yourself time to grieve?” Jake asked.

Chris shrugged, ”I don’t know, maybe not..”

”I think you should allow yourself to feel it, you don’t have to bottle it up Chris.” Jake said with a sad smile, ”Maybe talk with your sister? I think that would -”

”No!” Chris stated flatly, ”She can’t know.”

”That you’re gay?” Jake asked innocently.

Chris opened his mouth to say something but did not, and then just nodded.

”It doesn’t have to be a secret Chris, and maybe she would surprise you? Anyway, I would never ask you to tell her if you don’t want to, just promise me to consider it. I can however make sure you have phone privileges, so you could call her.” Jake said. ”Have you ever kept a journal or something like that?”

”No.” Chris said, biting his lower lip, not entirely sure he knew what to say.

Jake smiled, ”Consider it. Cause writing letters to people who never receive them, is a great tool to deal with what you can’t make yourself say.”

”Makes sense.” Chris nodded.

”Okay then.” Jake said standing up. ”I’ll be back in.. uhm two days? Would that be okay?”

”Yeah.” Chris nodded.

”Alright then I will make sure that you are brought up to your room again, and get computer and phone privileges.” Jake said. ”That okay?”

”Yep.” Chris said.

”See you then.” Jake said placing a hand on Chris shoulder. ”And – thank you for trusting me.”

”You’re welcome.” Chris said, feeling horribly naked, like Jake could see right through him, and he didn’t know what to do with that.

Jake let go of Chris’ shoulder and walked out of the room. He went to the receptionist and signed a consent paper to let Chris have phone and computer privileges, and left a voice message for the doctor who was responsible for Chris while he was here. He told him that he had had a good session and that Chris was ready to work with him, he didn’t foresee more incidents so he saw no problem with letting Chris back in his old room.

It was not until he sat down at home with his computer, staring at the case file the reality sunk in. Chris was not shell-shocked, he was trying to find a way to grieve alone, to make his lovers death count for something other than saving his life, since Chris didn’t sit back with a feeling that his life was worth saving. Jake sighed and took a sip of his coffee.

Session 6, Subject C.
We had a groundbreaking good session at the hospital. It is my professional opinion that Chris needs a grief counselor more than he needs a therapist. I will not abandon the subject for now, but I will be putting out an inquiry for someone else to take over mid-February.

Jake hit the save button and sat back in his chair. Chris had invaded his dreams, and even when he had made his last pathetic attempt of getting back on the dating scene, he had been looking for a guy who resembled – Jake sighed, this had to stop.

HABITUS 2

Chris was staring at the prompt on the computer screen, his letter just said ‘dear Claire’ and that was it. He didn’t know how to tell her, he wasn’t even sure he wanted to. Torn between being who he was, and being the brother he believed that Claire needed, and the picture perfect soldier that the BSAA needed. It might be easier to type stuff up that you didn’t want to say aloud, but if you weren’t sure you would ever want to tell them, then what?

He erased ‘Claire’ and wrote ‘Doc’, staring at it for a while he realized he didn’t know what the hell Doc’s first name was. He knew it was something with a J and that his last name was Muller. He minimized the file and clicked on the internet, for the first time he was glad to have full computer privileges, so no one would come ask him what he was doing. He typed in title, state, street name of his office and what he knew of his name and hit search.

He smiled as a picture came up of Doc looking all serious and geeky. He clicked the link and came into a page about him. Chris chuckled as he realized that J stood for Jacob, American father, Edonian mother both dead apparently. Chris read on and stopped dead where it said ‘sponsored by the DSO’ – ”What?” He said aloud, why the hell would the DSO sponsor him? Chris had thought they had just paid for an outside doctor to deal with what the military doctors could not. That was apparently not the case. Chris scrolled down over the nominations, recommendations and achievements of Doctor Jacob Muller, and stopped dead again as he saw a picture of a much younger Doc Muller standing next to someone Chris could read from the text was a professor. He clicked the picture to enlarge it, why did he look so different? Chris figured it might be because he didn’t wear glasses in this picture. But then why did he look so oddly familiar?

He hit back on the browser and looked down the links, there was an article written by Doctor Jake Muller in this gay activist magazine, Chris clicked the link and skimmed the article. The article itself was about parenting, but what made Chris stop and read more carefully was the footnote from the editor, it said that Jake had been openly gay since his early twenties.

Chris closed the internet window, and opened up his text file, and wrote ‘Jake’. Staring at the empty page for a while, he closed it again and opened up the internet once more, clicking on his email and sent an email to a friend of his in the BSAA, saying that he was fine, but he needed some information on a doctor Jacob Muller who was on DSO payroll. Sending the email he closed the internet down and opened the text file.

Dear Jake
I understand that you want me to reach out to family and friends, but I am just not ready to do that, so I am addressing my letters to you. I know that it’s hardly what you had in mind, but at least you got me writing – right?

I spent so many years keeping my personal life under the radar because..

Chris stared at the blinking prompt, yeah because what?

Because I want it that way, I don’t want other people to be poking about in my private life even if they mean well. I am not ashamed, I just don’t want to talk about it. It does not define me, and I am comfortable in the way I am. This was why I didn’t want to tell you, from the beginning because I knew that it would suddenly be focused on my private life. It has nothing to do with it, but has everything to do with finally meeting someone whom I respected, trusted and loved. I dared to hope we would have a future. I know that my love was unrequited, he cared about me, but he was not done, like I was or am. I wanted to stop all the fighting and take out some time to just enjoy life, far away from death, just me and him. But all he saw was defending mankind, very much like me just five years ago. Maybe that is why I wasn’t more surprised when he chose to stay behind. I was furious because I wanted him with me, where I could protect him, save him I suppose. Paradoxal that the one thing I wanted for myself, and not for the sake of something greater like mankind. I lost. I also know that had we made it out of that underwater facility, he would not have gone with him. He probably wouldn’t even have thought twice.

When I told him that I had had enough, and wanted to quit the BSAA, he was outraged, I was his captain, his role model, his hero. Never once did he say something like boyfriend, I wish he had but I also know why he didn’t. His last words to me was that ‘I did it for the BSAA’. He was dying and he told me he chose to die for the BSAA and for the future. What future? I don’t want this future.

I would have given anything to hear him call me by my name, but he never did.

Writing this I feel like a giant fool, but it doesn’t take my feelings away, or make the void left any lesser. Maybe that really is the problem? That I gave all I had for the cause, and the moment I found something that made me happy, it’s denied me. Maybe I am wondering if I will ever be happy, or if this is what life has for me. I am by many means a lucky man, got some friends I trust with my life, and I love helping those who need it. But the older I get the more I wonder what it is that I need?

SESSSION 7

Smiled as he saw Chris sit at the computer typing away. ”Hi Chris.” He said walking over towards where he sat. ”I see the writing pays off.”

”Hi Doc.” Chris said, swiftly minimizing the text document. ”Yeah you were right, it helped a lot.”

”Great.” Jake said sitting down, looking at Chris with a smile. ”You look a lot better.”

”I feel better.” Chris said with a smile.

”I was thinking of doing a fieldtrip today, you up for that?” Jake said shooting Chris a boyish grin that looked both like it shouldn’t exist on the buttoned up therapists face, but also it made Chris grin back cause Jake just looked so damn exited.

”Sure.”

”Great, get your coat, I will wait by the reception.” Jake said getting up and walking out the room, still smiling to himself. Inside he was kicking himself, what the hell was he even doing?

Chris walked down the stairs from the hospital with Jake, ”So Doc what did you have in mind?”

”A trip to the beach.” Jake said while he got his car keys out his pocket, disabling the alarm with a loud beep in the empty parking lot.

”The beach?” Chris said amused, ”we’re in February.”

”Exactly, means we’ll have it to ourselves.” Jake shrugged and got into the car. ”The ocean air is good for you, or so they say.” Jake laughed, leaning in to open the passenger seat door for Chris.

”Yeah but so is tea, and that shit is vile.” Chris muttered getting into the car.

”Just give it a chance.” Jake smiled.

”Doc?” Chris asked, ”Now don’t get this wrong, but I looked you up online, and.. I was just wondering what your connection to the BSAA is?”

Jake’s smile died down, ”Yeah well, it’s a long story.”

”We got time.”

”Alright,” Jake looked over his shoulder as he backed out of the parking lot. ”My mother was dead, and I was trying to figure out where to go from there. I was approached by some suits all the way from the US of A whom told me that they’d pay my way.” He stared at the road, just listening to Chris breathing. ”They had been keeping an eye on me for a lot of years, and I had something they needed, and so they were afraid I would slip under their radar or get killed now that my mother wasn’t around anymore. I took their offer, and now I’m here. That’s the short version.”

”So the DSO pays for this kid from Edonia’s PhD?” Chris asked puzzled, ”What you have must be pretty damn valuable, cause the DSO I know aren’t exactly the red cross.”

”It is.” Jake just said, and then sighed, ”Look I can’t tell you about it. I promised I never would.” Jake shrugged, ”But that is my connection to the DSO.”

”Jacob.” Chris giggled

Jake chuckled, ”Christopher.”

”So you speak Slavic?” Chris asked.

”Yep.” Jake said.

”How do you say Yo Momma?” Chris laughed.

”Yo Momma?” Jake laughed too. He was still amused when they parked the car by the kiosk, getting out. ”Come on.” Jake nodded towards the kiosk, ”Coffee is on me.”

The kiosk lady handed them each a paper cup of coffee, ”This place is perfect for a date this time of year. Have a nice day lads.”

Jake smiled politely, and expected Chris to set her straight with a comment like ‘he’s my therapist’ but he didn’t, to Jake’s utter surprise he just smiled and said ‘Yes ma’am.’ Jake was puzzled but didn’t react to it, he just flung his scarf around his neck an extra time and walked out towards the cold grey beach.

They walked in silence for a long time, ”Can I call you Jake?” Chris suddenly asked.

”If you want to.” Jake said stopping to take a sip of his cooling coffee, careful not to lift the lid. ”Look at this,” He gestured with a gloved hand out over the ocean, ”Isn’t it beautiful?”

”I guess,” Chris shivered a little from the cold.

”You guess?” Jake turned and looked at Chris, ”You cold?”

”Yeah.”

Jake pulled off his obnoxiously striped scarf and with a swift move wrapped it around Chris’ ears and neck. ”There, that will help a little.”

”What about you?” Chris asked.

”I’ll manage.” Jake grinned, ”I’m Edonian, remember?”

”Asshole.” Chris grinned. ”So care to tell me what we’re doing here?”

”Nothing, Chris – Nothing at all.” Jake smiled wide, ”Isn’t it marvelous?”

Chris raised a brow, ”I guess there is an exercise in there somewhere.”

”Of course there is.” Jake said sipping his coffee again. ”It’s all about allowing yourself to just exist, to focus on nothing but the wind on your face, and the air in your lungs, the sound of your heart beating and knowing that you’re alive.” Jake held his arms out to the sides closing his eyes. ”Try it.” He grinned.

Chris felt like a giant fool but he closed his eyes and just listened to the ocean, and his heart beat.

”It doesn’t get better than this.” Jake whispered.

”Well I can think of a couple of things I enjoyed more than this.” Chris chuckled, hearing Jake chuckle too.

”Well if you don’t know you’re alive, you don’t enjoy anything, not really.”

”My hands are freezing off.” Chris whined. The next thing he knew someone took his coffee out his hand and slipped on a warm glove, handing him back the coffee in his gloved hand. And then two warm hands took his other cold one rubbing it, warming it. He smiled to himself, funny how intimate a relatively innocent gesture felt when your eyes are closed.

”Better?” Jake asked still nestling the hand in his, guiding it to Chris’ pocket. ”There.”

”Yeah, a lot. Thanks.” Chris smiled not opening his eyes.

They stood like this for a long time, till Jake said, ”So what are you thinking about?”

”Claire.” Chris said, ”That we used to have fun as kids, and how much I miss her, I mean I was so busy taking care of us and making sure that she was okay after our parents died, that I forgot to be her brother.”

Jake smiled, ”Seems to me you often neglect Chris.”

”Maybe I do.” Chris muttered.

Jake moved behind Chris and placed a hand on his shoulder, ”Think about all the times you could have died, should have died, and then take a deep breath and know that you didn’t. You’re alive and you should celebrate that, not hate yourself for it. You should call Claire and take her out just for fun, doing something you both enjoy. You should buy a drink for that cute guy where you don’t think you stand a chance. You should take a road trip cross-country. Anything you want Chris, cause your life is yours. And you’re meant to enjoy it.”

Chris opened his eyes and stared at the ocean, ”anything I want huh?”

”Absolutely.” Jake said behind him.

Chris turned around, and without hesitation leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on Jake’s lips.

”Wha-” Jake managed to mumble before Chris stepped up to him so they were toe to toe, reaching up and caressed Jake’s cheek, before he kissed him again. This time it was more a kiss than just their lips briefly touching. Jake tried desperately to make sense of it, but failed, and just kissed Chris back. And while Jake wished it would never end, he pushed Chris away and mumbled ”Stop.”

”What’s wrong?” Chris asked slightly out of breath, trying to get eye contact with Jake who looked anywhere than on Chris.

”I’m your therapist, Chris.” Jake turned his side to Chris, and started walking ”We should get back to the Hospital.”

”Jake.” Chris sighed, ”Don’t freak out, I’m sorry all right! I have just been thinking of that for days now. It was a spur of the moment thing.. And besides..” He jogged up to fall in step with Jake, ”You kissed me back.”

”I could lose my license over this Chris.” Jake said in a frustrated pitch.

”Jake..” Chris grabbed Jake’s wrist and forced him to stop. ”Look at me.”

Reluctantly Jake looked at Chris. He wanted nothing more than to just get back to the kissing, but it would be ethically and morally wrong. Chris was his patient, his charge, and he had read in textbooks about patients who developed romantic feelings towards their therapists, or well they thought they did. What was really in play was the fact that the therapist took the time to listen and worry, and maybe he or she had been the first person in that patients life who bothered to do that. And so naturally the therapist filled a void that should be filled by a lover or a family member.

”I won’t tell.” Chris said sadly.

”Thanks.” Jake mumbled, ”We should get back.” He turned and walked towards the car again.

Once in the car, Jake turned the key and backed out on the road, driving in silence. He just didn’t know how to deal with this at all. All he wanted was to get away from here and hide, think things over and form a battle plan.

”So you’re an only child?” Chris asked casually.

”Yes.”

”Dog or cat person?”

”Neither.”

”Favorite color?”

”Goddamn it Chris.” Jake sighed.

”Just trying to make conversation.” Chris shrugged. ”Cause we wouldn’t want it to be awkward.”

Jake just nodded, but said nothing.

”You told me to live, and I am telling you to stop overanalyzing.” Chris stated, crossing his arms over his chest staring off into the fields outside the car window.

Jake’s jaw clenched, how he hated hearing that. The few times in his life where he had tried to open up enough so there would fit another person in his life, it always ended pretty fast, and it always ended in ‘stop overanalyzing everything Jake’. It was just in his nature to take a step back and assess the situation. ”Don’t tell me how to do my job.” Jake just said softly.

”I wasn’t.” Chris said annoyed.

Jake stopped the car and sat back in his seat with a sigh, ”Okay, let’s just for arguments sake say that you are right, that I overanalyze the situation.” He looked up in the rearview mirror for a moment to see if there was any traffic around. ”You kissed me, how am I supposed to react to that? You tell me.”

”You kissed me back.” Chris stated. ”And you were supposed to, uhm not freak out – that is my job.”

”You caught me off guard.” Jake said and took a deep breath, ”Look if you want me to continue to be your therapist, then that ehm, situation never happened. Okay?” Jake looked over at Chris quickly, but for long enough to notice his frown.

”Alright.” Chris just mumbled. ”You got it Doc.”

”Great.” Jake said, and started the car up again. Eyes on the road, Jake told himself, why did this victory seem so hollow? Was this really what he wanted? No what he wanted was to stop the car and kiss Chris again, open his jacket and slide his hands up under his shirt to feel muscle and skin. He smiled bitterly to himself, knowing that this line of thought would get him absolutely nowhere.

Dropping off Chris back at the hospital was not as awkward as Jake had feared. When he left, he sat in his car for a long time, just thinking. Chris was right wasn’t he? The paradox was not lost on him, something with the pot and the kettle. That night at his computer when he was typing up the session report, he was half-heartedly browsing dating sites, looking for someone who resembled Chris enough so he could fool himself. In the end he just closed the computer and went to bed, not typing the session up, or sending a PM.

HABITUS 3

When Chris finally heard back from his friend at the BSAA he wished he never had. He looked over the email again and again.

Chris.
Jake Mullers file is way over my security level, but I used to date this chick at the DSO and so I called in a favor. She hunted for his files, but they were closed off for her as well. I mean they are seriously top secret. My best bet is to have your sister contact Sherry Birkin, remember her? William Birkin’s daughter. Maybe her clearance is higher up than I can access. The only thing I can say is that he is listed as a consultant for the DSO but it makes no sense that his file is like crazy secret.
-Dave.

Chris just sat and stared at it, top secret? That was crazy.

-*-

A WEEK LATER.

Jake had called the hospital in advance and given the doctor who oversaw Chris a report on his progress, and the doctor agreed with Jake. So now here Jake was filling out the release form. They had reached their goal on time, and everything about this therapy course was a success. Then why didn’t he feel like he had accomplished anything? Maybe because what he did was running, Jake Muller, doctor in psychology hiding under the covers. Redfield wasn’t a success story, it was just Jake giving up. The lines were blurred and no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t undo what had been done, only way to make it end was to put distance between them.

He signed the papers and handed them back to the nurse with a smile, ”There.” He said, ”I’m gonna go pick him up then.”

Jake walked down the narrow halls and stopped in front of Chris’ door, knocking before he opened the door. ”Hey Chris.” He said with a little smile, ”Pack up cause you’re out of here.”

”Really?” Chris said looking up at Jake.

”Yep.” Jake said, leaning against the wall, waiting for Chris to toss whatever stuff he had scattered around the room, into his duffel bag.

”How come you came here to tell me that in person?” Chris asked. ”I mean isn’t it usually just the hospital doctor who hands you some papers to sign, and then it’s ‘have a nice life’.”

”Your car is still at the base, so I thought that…” Jake looked down at his shoes. ”I could have called a cab. I just figured that you didn’t have any money or…”

”Doc.” Chris laughed softly, zipping up his bag. ”Come on, why did you really come here?”

Jake twitched, why indeed? ”As I said, you can’t pay for a taxi and…”

”The BSAA would have paid for it.” Chris stated flatly, brushing past Jake with an annoyed huff.

Jake turned and walked after Chris out through the hospital, all the way to his car. ”Alright, I thought we could have a little chat on the way.” He finally said, getting into the car.

”About what?” Chris asked, settling in, tossing the duffle bag on the backseat.

”Your therapy.” Jake said, starting up the car.

”What’s wrong with my therapy? I did what you asked of me.” Chris said staring at Jake with a puzzled expression.

”That’s just it.” Jake smiled but his smile didn’t reach his eyes. ”You did perfect, Chris.”

”And?”

”Bottom line is,” Jake said counting to ten inside. ”The bottom line is that you don’t need more therapy, whatever remnants of what brought you to my office is left, will be seen to by the BSAA grief counselors.” Jake nodded, ”Congratulations Mr. Redfield, you graduated from the school of crazy.”

”So I don’t have to come in for more sessions with you?” Chris asked.

”No.” Jake said. ”And that was why I wanted to come pick you up. To tell you that in person instead of sending you a letter.”

”But I don’t feel any different.” Chris said rolling down the window slightly.

”Of course not. What is important is that you got a different outlook on things, the rest have to come from within you.” Jake said.

”That’s bullshit.” Chris said, ”Tell me what’s really going on.”

”What makes you think anything is going in?” Jake asked, hoping that Chris wouldn’t notice his twitch.

”Because I know bullshit when I hear it.” Chris shrugged. ”I didn’t tell anyone about the beach, if that is it.”

”It isn’t why.” Jake said, his heart skipped a beat just being reminded of it. ”It’s as I told you, you’re done. No one stays in therapy for ever.”

Chris took a split second decision and stepped on the break, stopping the car. ”Tell me what the fuck is going on.” He yelled desperately.

Jake turned in his seat. ”Why did you make inquiries about my files with the DSO? Huh Chris?” He said softly, unable to keep the disappointment he felt out of his voice..

”The cat is out of the bag I see.” Chris said with a haughty smile, ”Did Dave go tell his XO?”

”No the attempt was picked up, and he is no longer working for the BSAA, that’s all I have to say. Why did you do that? Why couldn’t you just leave it the hell alone?” Jake squeaked, high pitched and frustrated.

Chris just stared at Jake who was visibly upset. ”I just thought you looked familiar, and so I looked you up, noticing that you were sponsored by the DSO, and well I figured that it was pretty harmless.”

”Well it wasn’t.” Jake growled.

”So Dave was fired for trying to access your file?” Chris asked, ”That is pretty extreme.”

”Well that depends.” Jake answered, ”Just leave it alone okay?”

”Jeesh..” Chris shook his head, ”If it means that much to you.”

”It does.” Jake huffed, starting up the car again.

-*-

They stopped in front of the BSAA local office, and Chris got out of the car, only to lean in through the window. ”Hey Doc?” He asked with a little smile.

”Yes?”

”If you’re not my therapist anymore, does that mean I can invite you out?” Chris asked so innocently that Jake almost laughed.

”Suppose it does.” Jake said, ”But I don’t think it’s a good idea cause -”

”Would you join me for dinner tomorrow?” Chris asked, ”On me.”

Jake bit his lip. ”I uhm.. I mean.. maybe?”

”Just say yes. I will behave.” Chris said his smile widening.

Jake reluctantly nodded, hating his own horrible resolve. ”Yeah okay. But -”

”Great! I will pick you up at eight.” Chris said with a large happy grin, ”And before I ask, then your address is hardly top secret, is it?”

Jake couldn’t help but to laugh, ”No.” He reached in over the passenger seat to get a scrap of paper and a pen from the glove compartment. He scribbled down his address and handed it to Chris.

”See you tomorrow.”

”See you.” Jake drove off with a stupid grin on his face, he knew that it was terribly wrong of him but he couldn’t help it. When was the last time he had done something for him, and him only?

That night when he came home he sat down and wrote.

Session 8, Subject C
The therapy course was a complete success, Subject C is now aware of the tools that he needs to return to society, and regain his life quality. And I hereby sign his future cancelling over to Gladys Kern from the BSAA. I wish them both the best in the future.

Then he hit save and send, and sent it all off to Gladys Kern, it was a weird feeling, both relief and sadness in the same. He thought back at the argument in the car, and maybe he should have told Chris the truth? But what good would that do? The DSO had spent so long to keep his information under several layers of top secret, and he was pretty sure that his complete file was for the president only or something. And for good reason.

HABITUS 4

Ten minutes to eight Chris rang the doorbell. Jake opened the door with a smile, ”Hey Chris.”

”Hey Jake.” Chris said, ”You’re looking good.”

”Come in.” Jake said stepping aside, ”I just need to finish up.”

”Thanks.” Chris said as he gingerly stepped inside.

”Just make yourself a drink in the living room.” Jake said while he walked up the stairs.

”Thanks.” Chris walked into the living room, and went straight for the bar. ”Awfully nice place you got here, must be expensive.” He called.

”What?” Jake called from the top of the stairs.

”Nothing.” Chris called back, looking around in the room, drink in hand. There were a lot of photos with people he didn’t know who was, and then he came across a picture of Jake, Sherry and Leon. While it made sense, Chris noted that Jake looked different in most these photos, it took him a while to realize that he wasn’t wearing glasses, and he hadn’t been wearing them when he had opened the door either.

”Done.” Jake said softly from the doorway from the hall to the living room.

”Where’s your glasses?” Chris asked.

”Oh.” Jake smiled amused. ”To be honest, they are fake. I don’t need glasses at all.” He blushed slightly, which just made Chris grin. ”It’s just that I was told that it made me look cleverer, and older so people, my patients would trust me more.”

”I think they look good on you.” Chris said, testing waters. ”But you look mighty fine without too.”

”Oh.” Jake chuckled nervously sidestepping in a slightly neurotic move.

Chris stepped all the way up to Jake, leaving his glass on a side table on the way. He placed his hands on Jake’s hips, studying Jake’s reaction closely. Chris figured they were both grown men, and knew why they were here, and was sure that Jake felt the electricity of anticipation in the air.

Jake suddenly pulled Chris close and kissed him, it felt so good to do that, he had been thinking of it since they had kissed on the beach. Chris’ arms wrapped around him, holding him close, he lost himself completely in the kiss. When Chris pulled Jake’s shirt up from his pants and stuck his hands up under the fabric unto Jake’s hot skin. Jake knew they’d never make it to a restaurant; Favor fortunes the bold or something, Jake thought to himself as he started pulling Chris’ belt up, without ending the kiss.

”This is crazy.” Chris mumbled as he pulled his shirt over his head, while pursuing Jake up the stairs towards the bedroom..

”I know.” Jake grinned over his shoulder, tugging at Chris making them tumble into the bedroom, and unto the bed.

”Fantastic, wrong..” Chris kissed Jake’s neck, ”And God how I want you.”

Jake wrapped his legs around Chris, closing his eyes just enjoying being touched. One thing he always had always been ambivalent about in relationship, was when it came to meeting up with men. Then it was that it was pretty much always to the point right away, and while he loved the fact that he didn’t have to suffer through fake dinners where you couldn’t carry a normal conversation because in reality you had nothing in common, all while you sat there either planning your escape or fantasizing about their cock. So goddamn superficial, but for once he found himself relax more in the fact that he knew Chris, he knew exactly what he was about even if he didn’t know his agenda. Nor did he care when his legs was pushed apart, and soft lips enveloped his cock. Jake let out an undignified sound.

Gently Jake ran his fingers through Chris’ short dark hair, needing the contact to ground him, assure him that it was really happening. Careful not to be too creepy, we are not lovers, we are just fucking, his inner voice told him. If he had been able to collect a thought, he had asked himself if it was he who was afraid of commitment, or if it was because he was sure that Chris just wanted to blow off steam.

Chris let Jake’s cock slip from his lips, and looked up at Jake with a grin, he looked absolutely delicious like this, but Chris was sure he could make him look even better. Jake twisted around and reached for the lube on his bedside table. Chris turned around and went through the pant pockets of his discarded pants. He knew he had brought a condom, just in case.

There was nothing soft about Chris, he directed, turned and flexed Jake, chasing that high their bodies promised. Jake smiled into the pillow, hand against the headboard to not bang his head into the wood. The best form of therapy, Chris needed to be in absolute charge, and he himself just wanted to let go and follow directions. A sweet chill rippled up along his spine as Chris relentlessly fucked him into the matrass, yes, this was what they both needed. Not lovers, just fucking.

Chris fell back in the bed with a breathless chuckle, and Jake just tried to catch his breath when his stomach let out a loud rumbling sound. This just made Chris laugh, and Jake pushed him playfully. ”So what? I thought I was going out for dinner,” he said slowly sitting up in the bed.

”We can still go out.” Chris said more serious, ”I’m kinda hungry too to be honest.”

”Now?” Jake looked over at the clock on the bedside table.

”Yeah, there’s this burger place that’s open all night.” Chris said, ”If you want to, that is.”

Jake was about to refuse, but he couldn’t when he saw the happy smile and hopeful eyes. ”Sure.” Jake said with a soft smile, much against his better judgement. He wasn’t here to start something new, he just wanted to get laid, right? Ignoring the voice in the back of his head, he leaned in and kissed Chris. ”I need to take a quick shower though.”

”Me too.” Chris whispered against Jakes lips.

-*-

Sitting on the bed, trying to dry off and get his clothes back on, Chris heard the water turn on in the bathroom. He took the moment to look around in the room, seeing a picture in a frame on the commode. He looked at the woman for a while, she looked nice, friendly eyes and a pretty smile. The smile looked familiar. ”Hey is this picture on the commode your mother?” Chris yelled.

”Yes.” Jake called from the bathroom, turning off the water, ”Her name was Ilona.”

”She looks nice.” Chris said, putting the picture back on the commode.

”She was.” Jake said, stepping out from the bathroom, stark naked.

”Ouch, that’s some bite you got going there.” Chris looked at Jake’s shoulder where he had bit down while they were in bed. ”Sorry?”

”I’m not.” Jake stated, coming to join Chris at the commode. He smiled at the picture of his mother, ”She was a woman ahead of her time, well-educated and strong.”

”Do you miss her much?” Chris asked softly sitting down on the bed to lace up his boots.

”Yeah.” Jake said, ”I do.”

”She raised you herself? Or.. I mean maybe she remarried and stuff.” Chris said, and when Jake just looked over his shoulder at him with an undecipherable look, Chris added, ”You told me your dad wasn’t in the picture. Remember?”

”Yeah, yeah.” Jake nodded seemingly calmed, and returned to putting on clothes. ”She raised me on her own, and did a damn good job till she got sick.”

”Oh.” Chris said, ”How old were you? When she got sick I mean.”

”Twelve.” Jake said sadly. Then turned to look directly at Chris for a moment, ”Anyways I won’t lie, I read your file.”

”I imagined you had. Otherwise you’d be a pretty lousy therapist.” Chris said amused.

Jake chuckled, ”True.” He turned away from Chris and resumed his hunt for socks in the drawer, ”You were only a big boy when you were forced to keep you and your sister together. I would have imagined that you have some serious abandonment issues.”

”Why thank you Dr. Phil.” Chris said getting up from the bed and walked over to Jake, wrapping his arms around Jake’s waist. ”What do you say we go get something to eat now?”

”Good idea.” Jake nodded, ”Come on I’ll drive.”

HABITUS 5.

A MONTH LATER

Jake was finishing up his previous patient, smiling as his assistant came in with a fresh cup of coffee. ”thanks.” He said, about to say more but was interrupted by his cell. ”Excuse me.” He picked up the phone and hit the receiver icon. ”Hey,” He said with a smile that made his assistant chuckle and exit the room, closing the door after her.

”Are you done for today?” Chris asked in the other end.

”Not really.” Jake sighed.

”Does one have to schedule a meeting to see you?” Chris laughed.

”I’m beginning to think so.” Jake said with a little smile, ”Look I have two patients left, so give me an hour. I can always do the rest at home.”

”It’s fine, we can catch a later -”

”You made plans?” Jake asked, looking up at the sky through the window, rainclouds were gathering.

”No?” Chris said chuckling at his obvious lie.

”Alright.” Jake looked at the clock on the wall, ”I should be done in an hour. Maybe an hour and a half.”

”Great, meet you down at the parking lot then.” Chris said and hung up before Jake could answer.

-*-

Sara the assistant had gone home for the night, and Jake was typing up another request of a pickup of a patient, ”Omnipotent personality disorder,” He said to himself as he typed, ”Unrealistic expectations to self-importance…”

”Hey Doc.” Chris said from the door, smiling.

”Chris, God I’m sorry.” Jake looked up at the clock and it had been over three hours since he said he’d be done in an hour. ”It’s gonna be a second, I really need to get this done.”

”Shepherding your flock, huh?” Chris snickered, walking over and laying down on the sofa as if he had when he was still in therapy here.

”Something like that.” Jake shook his head amused. He swiftly typed the last of the document and hit ‘send’. ”There – all done.” He turned to look at Chris in the sofa, smiling to himself. ”Have you been seeing Dr. Kern?”

”Yeah.” Chris said softly. ”She’s alright.”

”Good.” Jake said.

”Not as hot as my previous therapist though.” Chris laughed softly.

Jake lashed out and mock-hit Chris’ shoulder. ”So what was your plan? You said you had plans tonight.”

”Change of plans.” Chris said with a dirty grin sitting up in the sofa, and with a swift move pulled off his shirt, ”Come here.” He opened his arms for Jake to come sit in his lap.

Jake stood and with a smirk placed his glasses on the desk before starting to unbutton his shirt, ”So what was the original plans?”

”To introduce you to Claire.” Chris said softly, wrapping his arms around Jake as he came and sat in his lap. Kissing his shoulder he mumbled, ”She’s back in town, and I thought I’d tell her the truth, and I’d like you to be there with me.” He looked up into Jake’s light blue eyes.

“As your therapist? Jake asked with a tiny voice, if that was what Chris wanted, that was what he’d give him.

“As my, eh – special friend.” Chris’ cheeks heated up momentarily.

Jake smiled and had to stop himself from laughing, what were they? 15? ”There is nothing I rather would.” He whispered back kissing Chris’ jawline up to his earlobe and then stopped, and inched back to look at Chris with a serious expression. ”Are you sure? I mean one thing is to embrace yourself for what you are, but this is another ballgame.”

”I’m sure.” Chris answered, ”It’s time.”

”Alright.” Jake said, ”In that case I’d love to hold your hand.”

It was a silent agreement between them never to talk of the future, and if Jake was honest, he didn’t want to know.

-*-

When Chris returns home to Claire’s house he tiptoes upstairs to check on her, but she is fast asleep. He closes the door to her bedroom and walks downstairs again to have a drink and turns on the computer, figuring that he would write a little in his silly diary that he had been keeping faithfully since Jake had suggested it, and by now it made sense. He could look back on earlier things he wrote and wonder where that had come from, remember without feeling it.

What he found was an email from Dave, he took a sip of his drink and opened it. He fully expected it to be a shitstorm about how he lost his job because Chris asked him to look into stuff. It was just a line and a couple of attachments. The email said ‘You aren’t gonna believe this shit’. He clicked the first attachment, fully expecting it to be like a 7 feet tall penguin or some shit. What he saw was a screenshot of a personal file. He reached for his drink scrolling past the DSO bullshit, wondering what it was Dave got his hands on. ”I regret to inform that..” Chris mumbled as he read on, ”lab assistant Ilona Muller,” He stopped, where had he heard that name before? Taking another sip of his drink, and recalled that Jake had talked about his mother. The file ended with ‘Doctor James Marcus’. Chris sat back and scratched his neck, who the fuck was that? It wasn’t till he noted the logo on the document a lightbulb went off. ”She worked for Umbrella?” He mumbled to himself, so she had been fired from Umbrella? That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

He opened the next file that was a birth certificate. He blinked twice reading it over ‘Ilona Muller, father unknown, and – ”Baby Wesker?” Chris whispered, he could feel fear shoot up his spine like spiked goosebumps. He hesitantly clicked the next attachment, it was some graphs and curves that he didn’t know what to make of, the names under them said ‘Albert Wesker’ and further down it said ‘Jacob Wesker’.

Chris sat back in his chair, ”Jake Muller is Jacob Wesker? Wesker?! Fuck!” He tossed his drink and the glass splintered against the far end of the living room.

Claire came down the stairs scratching his hair, ”What the hell is going on?” She yawned.

Chris sighed, and pointed to the computer, ”Read this and tell me what you see.”

”Alright.” Claire shrugged, ”But you’re making me coffee.”

”Deal.” Chris said, shooting Claire a heartbroken look before he went to the kitchen, leaving her to read the files that Dave sent. What the hell was he going to do with this? There was of course always the slim chance that he was wrong, and that he had panicked for no reason. He thought of Jake, his guarded smile, his soft voice. He wasn’t Wesker.. or was he? Was madness hereditary? He pushed those thoughts out of his head and went back to the living room with Claire’s coffee. ”So?” He asked as he came back to stand behind her, putting down her coffee on the desk.

”So Wesker had a kid by this woman Ilona Muller.” Claire said, ”Thing that doesn’t make sense is, a child of Wesker would be valuable to Umbrella, so if they knew she was pregnant they would never have let her go. But then she has the balls to name her child Wesker?”

”DSO huh?” She turned around in her chair and looked at Chris, ”What is this Chris?”

”It..” Chris took a deep breath. ”This wasn’t how I imagined this”, he went for another drink. ”So I asked an old friend to check up on someone for me.”

”Chris..” Claire sighed.

”Alright, so I looked up my shrink online and found that he was funded by DSO and asked Dave to look into it, and this was what he found.” Chris took a large sip of his drink, ”So you read this as Jacob Muller is in fact Jacob Wesker, son of Albert Wesker – right?”

”Yes.” Claire said, ”But I don’t think that Wesker knew, and I think that was why it was hidden away, to protect the kid.” She reached for her coffee, ”But why is this such a big deal? You afraid that he is walking in daddy’s footsteps, and that we’re gonna have Wesker Jr. loose on the world?”

”No,” Chris looked up at the ceiling taking a deep breath, and for an insane moment wished that Jake would be here to support him. ”I’m afraid that I might be in love with him.” Chris finally said.

”What?” Claire asked softly, but nonetheless confused. ”You’re in love with -”

”Jake.” Chris said miserably. ”That’s right.”

”Oh.” Claire, looked at her brother standing by the bar, fidgeting all over the place. ”And so you’re worried because of what?”

”Wesker! Have you forgotten what he did? I could never – ” Chris let out a deep sigh, ”I don’t know.”

”Look.” Claire got up from her chair and walked over to Chris, placing a hand on his shoulder. ”If you fell in love with him, he’s nothing like his dad.”

”Pfft.” Chris couldn’t help but to pout and smile in one. ”Just like you to say something like that.”

”But it’s true isn’t it?”

”Maybe.”

Claire caressed Chris’ cheek ”Why didn’t you tell me?”

”I don’t know.” Chris mumbled, smiling nervously at his sister. ”Guess I didn’t know how.”

”Come on.” She took the drink from his hand and placed it on the bar, ”You need to sleep.” She ushered him out the room and up the stairs to the guest bedroom that had become his over the years.

”Claire?” Chris asked as he opened the door to his bedroom, she stopped midstride and turned. ”What am I gonna tell him?”

”The truth.” Claire said with a smile.

”I don’t know why I even ask you.” Chris shook his head and finally walked into his bedroom, laying down on his bed. How was he supposed to ignore the fact that Jake was Wesker’s son? How was he not supposed to see Wesker in everything Jake said and did? That little insecure smile that he loved so much would suddenly seem like an evil smirk, the beautiful light blue eyes, would suddenly look steel grey. Troubled Chris settled into an uneasy sleep full of pain and apathy.
HABITUS BELGRADE 7

Jake had not thought of it when Chris had not called him in two days, truth was that he had been crazy busy, he had just been handled a bunch of new patients. On the third day he had tried calling but no one had picked up, it was what it was, Chris had the right to a life too.

On the tenth day the phone stopped offering him to leave a voice message, but instead it informed him that the number he had called was no longer available. He had called Dr. Kern under the cover of making enquiries on his old patients’ progress, but Kern told him that Chris had never showed up.

Here he was on the seventeenth day and still no word. Jake had went over the evening at his office, asking himself if he had said something wrong, but Chris had seemed happy when he left, they had even made plans for later that week. The only logical reason n that Jake could come up with was that Chris had not been as ready as he had said that he was. And that he had found comfort in going back to how it was before. Jake had seen this before, when things got too new and scary, people would revert to well-known territory.

And really he only had himself to blame, he had been swept up in it as well. It had been so long since he had seen that side of himself, the side that was willing to open up and let another person close. The poetic justice wasn’t lost on Jake, he had guarded himself because he was tired of having his heart ripped out, and what happened? He let himself end up here again, sitting with a phone he knew wouldn’t ring, missing someone who had no need for him. He would forever be amazed that some people could turn their feelings on and off like if they had a switch.

He really wanted to ask Chris what he had done wrong, but he would respect Chris’ need to leave him behind. So he had a large drink while he deleted his phone number, and sent all his files on Chris back to BSAA writing that he had assigned Redfield over to Dr. Kern, but that he had not shown any interest in continuing his therapy. And as a side note he added that he would rather not have this patient returned, because what Redfield needed was outside his field of expertise, and he couldn’t help him.

Not even fifteen minutes later he got an email back saying that Redfield had returned to duty, and had been shipped back to Edonia. And that his request had been noted.

-*-

Jake had settled back into a steady routine, work and sleep like before Chris. Even Sara his assistant had noted that he looked gaunt and sad, but he had ignored her. This was not his first time around the block, and he knew that all he needed was some time to get it out of his system, and settle back to being alone.

In addition, he had not thought a whole lot about it when he had gotten an invitation to speak at this psychiatrist convention in Belgrade. He had actually welcomed the change of scenery, thinking that getting back home might do something good.

He had forgotten how silly it made him feel to be surrounded by soldiers, as if he was stuck between being a criminal and a celebrity.

When he got to his hotel room, there was a BSAA agent waiting for him, which he figured was odd, but didn’t think too much of it, until she walked into the hotel room with him and closed the door behind her. ”Excuse me?” Jake said, ”Can I help you with something?”

”So that’s what you look like.” She said.

”Okay, well then, I’m quite busy and -”

”I’m Claire,” She said, ”Chris is my brother.”

”Yes, I heard of you. Great to finally meet you.” Jake held out his hand to shake hers, politely.

She seemed to weigh her words and then said, ”Did you know that my brother has nightmares about what Albert Wesker did? That even after he died he kept seeing him on the street. He would wake screaming covered in sweat. My point is that he feared him as much as he hated him.”

Jake nodded, ”I read his file. ” he said, amazed that his voice was even. ”I know that he had some run-ins with the man, and eventually killed him.”

”I know.” Claire said, ”He knows.”

Jake said nothing he just walked through the room, and opened a window, leaning out into the city below him, inhaling. ”Belgrade always had this special scent, no wars or contamination have ever ruined it.”

”Doctor Muller.” Claire said a bit softer than before. ”Learning the truth about you knocked him completely out of orbit, he started to see Wesker everywhere again, till I pulled all the favors I could and had him reassigned here, at least he wouldn’t be idle and have too much time to drive himself nuts.

”I am not him.” Jake said, hating the way it sounded. ”I’m not!”

”I didn’t say you were.” Claire said slowly advancing on Jake in the window.

”That is not what I heard.” Jake huffed, turning to look at Claire, ”Look there has to be a reason for you being here. Besides telling me that I traumatized Chris.”

”You didn’t. Albert did.” Claire stated. ”But that is not how Chris sees it.” She shrugged ”I don’t know what I’m doing here, playing the devil’s advocate.” She looked up at Jake, ”He was really torn up about it, and he really cares about you I know he does. But he can’t seem to move past your genetics, and I am no doctor, but I do know that running away isn’t the answer long term.”

”True.” Jake said with a court nod, ”But I respect his need to put distance.. uhm, between.. it, us..”

Claire chewed on his bottom lip, ”Okay so he doesn’t know that you are in town, he is here in Belgrade as well. If I get him here, you talk to him. I don’t care if you decide to live up to all his fears, or if you can persuade him that blood is not soul. But he needs closure one way or the other, and only you can give him that .”

”I see your point.” Jake nodded. He should have told her that Chris was not the only one who needed closure, or reassurance that blood isn’t soul. He didn’t, he just held out his hand to signal their conversation was over.

Claire left and Jake sat down with his head between his knees, so that was what had gone on, someone had leaked his file to Chris. He wished that Chris had told him what it was all about, then he wouldn’t have had to beat himself over the head for weeks. He couldn’t change the fact that he had sprung from Albert Wesker’s DNA, and if had known that it was the reason for Chris flying under the radar, he would accepted that in a different way.

-*-

Jake got on stage and held his two-hour long seminar speech on the importance family inclusion in a patient’s development and security net. For once he was happy that he had lights in his face so he couldn’t see the audience, he didn’t want to know if Chris was down there somewhere listening.

On his way to his car he saw Claire stand by it, but no Chris. He nodded to the guard who walked with him. ”I’m good.” He said and walked over to Claire. ”Hi again Claire.”

”Jake.” Claire said with a nod. ”He didn’t want to come.”

”Oh.. well, you tried.” Jake said with a little smile, not sure if he was saddened or relieved. ”You are a good sister Claire, and I think it’s a good thing you are trying to do for him. But he needs to return to the States and resume his therapy with Doctor Kern. This is not the answer.”

”This, being?”

”Him here in Belgrade, fighting.” Jake said, He fiddled with the keys in his hand, sighing and then looked down at Claire who rested against his car door. ”I do want the very best for him, but as it is, I just gave him yet another reason to stop caring. I saw a glimpse of Chris underneath all that soldier crap, and he is the very best there is, kind and compassionate.” He pulled off his tie, and unbuttoned the first button of his shirt. ”But I can’t fix his problems Claire, and I refuse to hunt him down to try, when he clearly doesn’t care for my company.”

”Is that your professional opinion doc?” Claire raised an unimpressed eyebrow.

”He don’t want me around, he don’t want to talk to me. He wants to move on. And I am going to respect that. So in all respect Claire, I know you’re just trying to fix your brother. But -” Jake shook his head and pushed past Claire, unlocking his car door. ”It was great meeting you, Claire. Keep him safe.” He got into his car and ignored Claire when she said something outside. Driving away had never left him with a worse taste in his mouth.

-*-

He drove straight home to his hotel room, locked the door and tossed his jacket over a chair. He had to hand it to Claire, she really tried. But she was wrong, he was not the answer to Chris’ recovery. The hotel room phone rang, Jake was surprised – he hadn’t told anyone where he was staying. It kept ringing and in the end he picked up, ”Muller.” He said.

”Sorry to disturb you sir, but there is an BSAA agent on his way to your room, said he had orders to escort you to the airport, but according to your credit card information, you are scheduled to leave tomorrow.” The girl at the front desk said.

”It’s probably just a misunderstanding.” Jake sighed, ”Don’t worry.” There was a knock at the door, and he hung up the phone. He grabbed his gun, and took some long strides to the door, gun in one hand he pulled the door open swiftly. He was ready to dodge, not sure if this was an attempt on his life, it wouldn’t be the first. He aimed the gun out at the person in the corridor, “Wha-“ he started in an angry tone, but the words died on his lips, he would recognize those eyes anywhere. ”Chris?”

”Oh..” Chris swirled around himself ”Claire, that bitch.. I.. Look I’m sorry.” He picked up his phone, and started to walk back towards the elevator.

”Wait!” Jake called, ”Chris, please.”

Chris stopped and turned around, but still wouldn’t look up. ”What?”

Jake realized he had no fucking clue what to say, but he just didn’t want Chris to leave. ”I was just about to order some coffee, do you perhaps, uhm want some? And I’m sorry about the gun.” He smiled timidly at Chris.

Chris hesitated, and then pocketed his phone, ”Alright, I got five minutes.”

”Great.”

Jake stepped away from the open door and called up the front desk, ordering coffee, letting Chris enter at his own pace. He hung up the phone and turned to Chris, ”How have you been?” He asked.

”Fine.” Chris said quickly.

”Great.” Jake said again. ”I’m glad.”

”Great.” Chris mirrored.

Jake ran a hand through his short-cropped hair, which he mentally told himself he should get around to shave off. ”Don’t be mad at Claire,” He finally said, ”She is trying to do the right thing.”

”How so?” Chris asked, daring a look at Jake.

”She thinks that in order for you to leave all this behind and move on, is for us to lay it to rest.” Jake shrugged, ”I don’t think so, but then again I’m not always right. It isn’t like psychology is an exact science.”

There was a knock at the door before Chris could answer, and Jake crossed the room to open up for room service. He took the tray and left it on the coffee table, taking his own cup and leaving Chris to deal with his.

”Curls huh?” Chris finally said weakly.

”What?” Jake turned around and looked at Chris who was sitting down in the sofa with his coffee.

”I just didn’t think you had curls.” Chris said with a slightly blank expression.

”Well I do.” Jake couldn’t help but to smile, this had to be the weirdest conversation known to man.

Chris was the first who was brave enough to touch down on the elephant in the room. ”You could have told me.”

”Yeah?” Jake said with an offended snort, ”And just how would I go about that? I’m the bastard son of the fucking maniac that almost managed to -”

”You read my file, you said so.” Chris said annoyed, ”You knew I had a history with him.”

”Yes.” Jake said, ”But I am not him, Chris. He just happened to impregnate my mother I never even met him. I didn’t even know any of this before she died and the DSO moved in and – did their thing.”

Chris nodded, however betrayed he felt, he had to admit that Jake made sense. ”You still share his DNA.” He offered lamely.

”Well they can fucking well have it!” Jake yelled, ”I am so sick and tired of hearing about it, so my blood held the key to a vaccine that saved a bunch of people. And in turn I they took care of me.”

”Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.” Chris muttered, finally reaching for his coffee.

”Well it’s not.” Jake growled, ”I’m constantly surrounded by someone from DSO just in case.” He paused and sighed, ”I don’t know what they are most afraid of, that someone will kidnap me and use my unique DNA for creating a new virus, and kill me. Or if they are afraid of the same thing you are – That I am my father’s son.” He turned around and stared at Chris with tired eyes, ”I will never be free of their surveillance, do you understand that? Even Sara is DSO,” he waved his hands over his head in a frustrated gesture. ”Special trained something agent Sara Godfrey, spends her days pretending to be my secretary, keeping more an eye on me, than I do on my patients.”

”Can’t really blame them, they are just being extra careful.” Chris said, licking his lip.

Jake laughed bitterly, and in one horrible second Chris paled as he thought he could hear Wesker. ”Now you know why I didn’t tell you,” Jake’s voice fell to a near whisper, ”You don’t get it. And you never will.”

”I’m trying Jake!” Chris argued hotly, ”Otherwise I wouldn’t still be here.”

Jake nodded, leaning against the windowsill, silently sipping his coffee. ”I don’t think there is a person on this earth who hates him more than I do.” He said softly. ”I’m not blind to the paradox that he is the reason why I am where I am, but – ” He paused, ”I would give it all away if you’d only stop looking at me like that.”

”Like what?” Chris asked.

”Like you expect me to – Like you’re looking for signs. It’s just like everyone else who knows the truth looks at me.” Jake sighed defeated, he hated to talk about himself, there was a reason why he was good at talking about everyone else’s problems, and he did not want to deal with his own. He buried his resentment for his father, for DSO, for the world – far underneath everything, and covered it up with fancy words and an expensive education.

”I can’t help it.” Chris finally said softly, ”When I look at you, I don’t see the Jake I knew, I only see the parts of you who’s Wesker.”

Jake nodded slowly again. ”I understand.” He said in a near whisper.

”Do you really?”

”I do.” Jake said with more confidence than he actually felt, ”Doesn’t mean that I have to like it.” He looked directly at Chris. ”But this is not about me, actually it has absolutely nothing to do with me. But everything to do with your history with Wesker.” I just happen to pay the price, Jake thought to himself.

”Is this a goddamn session, or what?” Chris sneered.

”If you want it to be.” Jake shrugged. ”You have a lot of unresolved issues with Albert Wesker, and killing him didn’t grant you the satisfaction you thought. And so I am the next best thing, so it’s easier to transfer all your buried issues to me, than to acknowledge what is right before you.”

Chris’ lips was a fine line of anger, and he crossed his arms across his chest. ”Which is?”

”That I did not betray you, I am not him, and that I really cared about you.” Jake said, looking away from Chris, suddenly feeling horribly exposed. He had expected Chris to yell at him, but instead he heard a soft, I cared about you too. Jake smiled bitterly, ”It’s not fair Chris.”

Chris said nothing, but didn’t get up to leave either.

”It’s not fucking fair!” Jake yelled, slamming his coffee cup down into the windowsill so it shattered in a million pieces. Out of the corner of his eye Jake noticed that Chris placed his hand on his sidearm, making his heart sink in his chest. Was Chris afraid of him? Was that really all there was left? ”Can I ask you one thing?” Jake asked softly.

”Sure.” Chris said, his hand still resting on his gun.

”How come you didn’t see Wesker in me before you knew?” Jake turned and looked at Chris.

”Because, because I hadn’t made that connection.” Chris said flatly.

”Look.” Jake said and walked over towards the sofa, but stopped before the sofa table and leaned on the backrest of a chair instead. ”I am exactly the same man you used to trust.”

”I know.” Chris whined. ”But when I look at you now, all I see is his smirk, and his cold eyes – and..”

Jake sucked in his breath, and clutched the chair till his knuckles went white. ”I’m sorry.”

”No I am sorry.” Chris said softly, completely surprising Jake with his change of subject. ”I’m sorry Jake, I should have picked up the phone, or sent you an email, anything. I just ran, and left you to figure out the rest.”

”Don’t be.” Jake said, lying his ass off but hoping that Chris wouldn’t hear it. He exhaled deeply as he pushed off the chair, ”Now don’t think I believe in suppressing your feelings or running away. Because that is not the answer, the way to deal with it, is to figure out why you’re afraid through conversation and baby steps.” He smiled swiftly but it never made his eyes. ”What I mean is that Claire means well by sending you here, but it will do nothing for you.”

”Maybe.” Chris scratched his head, something Jake had noticed him do when he felt out of his element before. ”But what about you Jake?”

Jake shook his head while walking over to sit down in the foot end of the hotel bed. ”You don’t wanna go there. Believe me.”

”Why not?” Chris said, ”I know it sounds crazy, but I care about you, and I want you to be okay.”

”I’ll be okay.” Jake said, but contrary to his words, his shoulder slumped.

Chris got up from the sofa and slowly, hesitantly walked over to where Jake sat, and sat down next to him, shoulder to shoulder. ”No you won’t.” Chris said softly, ”And neither will I.”

”What do you mean?” Jake said, fighting the urge to inch away from Chris so their shoulders didn’t touch.

”I miss you.” Chris said, ”God, I’m so confused. I really wanted it to not matter who your father is, I know you Jake, you’re the guy who took me to the beach and reminded me that in death there is life, and you are the one who made that fancy ass coffee for me in the morning, and..” Chris’ voice fell to a whisper. ”I started having these night terrors, I would dream of you but it wasn’t you it was Wesker, and he would – would do horrible things, and I would wake completely paralyzed, I couldn’t even scream.”

”Sounds terrifying.” Jake said, ”Maybe you are right though, maybe I should have told you from the moment I realized the history you and he have, or just have sent you off to a different therapist.” Jake wrung his hands in his lap, God how he hated talking about his own feelings, it made him feel tense and like a ball of naked nerve ends. ”But I was so infatuated with you that – for once I wanted it to not matter. Guess the joke is on me, huh?”

Chris took a deep breath and turned halfway around to face Jake, ”Look at me.” He said.

Jake hesitated but turned around and looked directly at Chris who lifted his hands to Jake’s face and gently touched him, ”His eyes were grey, yours are blue.” Chris’ fingertips danced over Jake’s eyelids, ”And your smile is nothing like his.” Chris said, running his fingers over Jake’s lips. ”You aren’t blond.” Chris buried his fingers in Jake’s short red curls. ”So maybe if I focus on what sets you apart..” He mumbled more to himself than anything.

”You really think you could do that?” Jake finally asked softly.

”I don’t know.” Chris said, ”But I can try.”

Jake wanted to believe him so badly it hurt.

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