Chapter 14: Skirmishes

Back in the Automatic Supply Room, a very mad, very wet Alexia got off of Wesker and gave him and angry kick that sent him halfway through the wall. She flicked blood from her wrist in an attempt for fire. It fell to the floor and was washed away in the torrent caused from the sprinklers without ever igniting.

Wesker was quick to his feet. "A bit wet for fire, don't you think?" He jeered, an evil smirk on his face.

Alexia laughed. "Back for another beating? You didn't fare so well against me last time, remember?"

"Yeah? Well at least I wasn't whipped by Chris!" He grabbed a little marble figurine and chucked it at Alexia's face like a pitcher throwing a fastball.

Alexia was not quick enough to dodge, and the little figurine hit her left cheek like a bullet. It busted upon impact, doing little more than jolting Alexia's head back a bit.

If it hurt much at all, she certainly didn't show it.

Laughing, she grabbed one of the marble fragments in one hand and held it palm up for Wesker to see. She tightened her fist around it. When she next opened her palm, Wesker could see nothing but dust and the powderized remains of what had once been solid marble.

"I'll bet you really think you're something special," Wesker grumbled, "Here's one for you, can you do…this?"

Wesker zipped forward at lightning speed and drove his fist into Alexia's face, using all the momentum from his charge. He had used this move in the past and found it quite effective. On normal people, it was more than sufficient force to send their head into orbit.

But on Alexia, all it did was knock her down.

She fell to the floor, her face reddened, and her nose a broken, bloody mess. The sprinklers quickly put out the flames that sprouted from her blood.

Wesker grinned. "Guess not."

For once, Alexia wasn't laughing. She knew that being in such a soggy environment put her at a bit of a disadvantage in this, at least where fire was concerned. She had Wesker's strength, certainly, but she did not have his speed. And, unlike before, he no longer seemed very intimidated by her. Not that he'd been trembling in his boots before, but he definitely seemed cockier now.

Must've been Redfield, Alexia thought angrily, If Wesker thinks I can be beaten by such a weak and inept normal person, no wonder he doesn't have a healthy respect for my power. I haven't given him much of a reason to fear me.

Alexia glanced over and noticed her son standing in the doorway, ready to help her if need be. She was going to have to see to it that there wasn't a need.

She could see Wesker's muscles tense even before he made the move, and this time she was prepared when he suddenly launched himself up into the air and aimed a diving punch at her chest.

Alexia rolled over to one side and Wesker's fist struck the floor with such force that it sent pieces of tile and debris exploding into the air as if his hand itself were a jackhammer.

Alexia took this opportunity to spring up and kick him in the side.

Wesker made an audible groan of pain as the kick connected and literally sent him flying through the far wall nearest to the door , taking a generous-sized chunk of wall with him. It sounded like a wrecking ball had hit, and Ash had to back off to be sure none of the debris would hit him.

As for Wesker, he was laying in the cracked plaster of the second wall he'd almost went through and already getting up.

This was not without it's difficulties, however. A dull pain roared through his side in fiery waves, and he was sure some ribs had been cracked. It wasn't terribly painful, and it would heal within minutes, Wesker knew, but it had served as a wake up call.

He didn't want to fight Alexia right now. Not really. Right now, all he wanted to do was catch Redfield before he pulled his famous vanishing act. As for Alexia, well, he hated to go all Brad Vickers on her, as the new saying went, but he had other things to be doing.

"Some other time." He mumbled as he stood up and zipped off, flying through the doors at an unnatural speed.

A soggy Alexia stepped out of the supply room through the hole she'd made with Wesker's body. She gave an indignant snort in the direction he'd gone. "Hmmph! He's nothing but a coward."

She turned to Ash, as if waiting for an agreement.

"Don't worry, we wont let him stand in our way." Ash soothed.

He gently pried two wet locks of Alexia's beautiful blonde hair away from her face with just two fingers.

Alexia smiled warmly. She knew it. Just like Alfred, she could always count on Ash to do whatever she said. It was good that he knew his place. It was good that he had accepted it. He is a worthy heir to the Ashford legacy. Alexia thought proudly.

In fact, if she had any concerns at all, it would be where Alexis was concerned. She didn't know her daughter that well, but some of Alexis's earlier words and actions had hinted at not only a conscience, but an inclination towards good as well.

Alexia found herself frowning a bit. That would not do. There was no place for softies in the Ashford family.

Ash cocked his head to one side, curious about his mother's thoughts. "Something wrong, Mother?"

Alexia shook her head. Nothing was wrong just yet. She held out her hand and placed a wooden ship crest she'd found on the floor into Ash's hand.

Ash stared at it as if it were the piece to a puzzle he hadn't even been working on. "What's this?"

"Redfield had it. He must have thought it was important to be carrying it around like that. It probably opens the door to a room he wants to get into somewhere." Alexia glanced to the clock hanging on the hall wall. The hour wasn't up quite yet, but now it didn't matter. "Ash, I want you to go back into the meeting room and find out what your father and sister have discovered once they return. Take the crest with you, we may need it, and I want to keep it out of Redfield's hands anyway."

Ash nodded like a puppet.

Alexia smiled at him again, this time meeting his gaze with the coolness of her icy blue eyes.

"What about you? Where will you be?" Ash asked. He wanted to know her plan, to help her attain her goal.

"Oh, I'll meet up with all of you in the room. I just have something I wish to investigate first. You will wait for me there." Alexia kissed him lightly on the cheek in true mother's fashion. "Understood?"

"As you wish."

Having settled that, Alexia turned and went off in the direction Wesker had ran.

Alan ran through the rooms and back to the elevator, retracing his steps as quickly as he could back to the Automatic Supply Room. Hopefully things have settled down some there. I wouldn't want to walk in on anything that could be hazardous to my health.

He wasn't particularly thrilled with the way things were going today. His back was still a bit sore from all the times he'd been tossed or hit into a wall or other solid object, and his clothes were still wet and miserable against his skin. It wasn't in the least a pleasant experience, and he was only thankful more damage hadn't been done. Of course, his father would never hurt him too severely.

He hoped.

He had just opened the door to the hallway leading to the Automatic Supply Room when he saw the fleeting image of blue and blonde as a door shut to the opposite end of the hall.

But what really grabbed his attention was the gaping hole that had been wrecked into the wall of the Automatic Supply Room.

Whoa, what happened there?! He ran over to inspect and found an entire section of wall had just been ripped out. What remained of it was scattered in debris out into the hallway, where the huge cracking of the plaster and paneling on the opposing wall indicated it had been hit forcefully with something.

Indeed, it appeared as if something had been thrown right through the wall.

All as silent save the sprinkling of the water in the next room and the occasional buzz of equipment winding down or shorting out in the water.

Alan could see just by looking in that the ship crest was gone. He dashed in and retrieved Chris's Beretta, slung it into his side pack, then went back out and started through the door the blonde had gone through.

Whoever it was, they might have the crest, and Alan needed that crest.

The bodies of dead zombies littered the floor of the next room. Some had been shot in the head, others were missing their heads entirely. Some were still functioning, but were crippled too badly to even move, as if something extremely powerful had simply knocked them aside. All this suggested that more than one person had been through this room, and Alan was willing to bet one of them had been his father.

There were two doors. One was all the way open, and the other only slightly ajar.

Going on a hunch, Alan picked the slightly ajar door and darted inside a rather spacious room filled with glass display cases and bookshelves housing all kinds of creepy stuff from bones to old tribal masks. He couldn't help but to think it looked very out of place in an HCF center.

He paused just before he got to the second door leading out of the room.

There was a very large, very tall shelf containing all sorts of books and oddities just before this door, and he could swear he heard someone breathing from behind it.

Ideal cover for someone who knows they're being followed to ambush their unsuspecting pursuer. Too bad I'm not unsuspecting.

Whoever it was, they were in for a surprise.

Alan backed up a bit and charged. He hit the bookshelf in a flying leap and sent it crashing down.

A blonde headed teenaged boy not much younger than Alan and dressed in a blue and white soldier type outfit launched himself out of harm's way and right into plain sight.

There was plenty of loud crashing and smashing as the top of the shelf hit the wall and the entire thing fell apart making a mess of which the likes had seldom been seen.

The teenager--Alan was pretty sure it was the same one who had been with Alexia--had his rifle pointed at Alan's chest even before he stood up.

During all the commotion, Alan had somehow managed to draw his Beretta, and now he had it pointed at the stranger. "Who are you?”

The other blonde held his head high, and when he spoke, it was with a thick, snobby English accent. "I am Ash Ashford." He said 'Ashford' with extreme pride, the way a video game addict might say 'Playstation Two' , or an older person might say 'Polygrip'. "Who are you?"

Well, since he's on a first and last name basis…

"Alan Wesker." He was already deciding he didn't like this guy. Something about him just seemed so…wrong. And it wasn't just the fact that he had been shooting at him earlier. Okay, so maybe that was a major part of it, but still…

He caught sight of the tip of the ship crest protruding from Ash's pocket.

"Why were you following me?" Ash sneered, his eyes trained on Alan's weapon,.

"Following you? You have something I need. That ship crest from the Automatic Supply Room. So if you could just hand it over, I would be more than happy to just be on my way." Alan was trying to be civil. He really was. But Ash's next comment really lit the fuse.

"Why would I want to give that to you, exactly? I found it. And you know how the saying goes: finder's keepers."

"My friend and I need that to get into a room." Alan said between gritted teeth, "Please?"

Ash's whole demeanor was really starting to bug him. This guy thinks he's such hot stuff!

Ash grinned like a young god. In one swift motion, he brought his rifle up into an arch and knocked the Beretta clean out of Alan's hand.

Losing no time, Alan dived for Ash's feet and knocked the Ashford to the floor. He was grabbing for the rifle even before they landed.

Ash swung the weapon in and attempt to hit Alan in the face, but the eighteen year old grabbed the gun mid-swing by the barrel and jabbed the butt of it back into his chin.

Ash gave a painful yelp and brought his knee up into Alan's gut.

"You might as well give up because you're not getting it!" He snarled as Alan grabbed for his pocket.

He reached for the trigger of his rifle only to have it jerked out of his hands.

Enraged, Ash summoned all of his strength into a vicious upward buck and knocked the rifle skittering across the floor.

"Geez, you're making an awfully big fuss over something that's not even yours." Alan said as he dodged a punch Ash threw for his face.

"I don't see your name on it!" Ash snapped. He dived to the side in an attempt to regain his rifle.

Sorry, not gonna happen. Alan thought as he grabbed the back of Ash's neck with both hands and crashed his head through a glass display case. He got a few cuts in the process as broken glass rained to the floor, but Ash was much worse for wear.

Alan kicked him in the groin and threw him to the floor amidst the broken shards.

He snatched the ship crest and regained his Beretta while a dazed Ash lay trying to collect his senses. Alan pointed his gun at Ash, then paused.

The young Ashford was banged up pretty badly and not likely to put up much more of a fight. He could kill him right now with a well aimed shot to the temple or chest.

Ash wiped the blood from his face with a sleeve and looked up at Alan as if he were looking Death itself straight in the face.

It all looked so pitiful.

I can't. I can't kill him. Alan thought.

He wasn't a murderer. He wasn't his father.

"Don't. Move." Alan kept his gun pointed at the fallen Ash as he went around and collected the Ashford's rifle. He checked the ammo and was delighted to find it fully stocked and ready to go. Now that he had the crest and a new weapon to boot, Alan was ready to meet up with Chris in B-1.

He backed up to the door he'd come through, keeping his gun aimed at Ash until he was out into the hall and running towards his next destination.

Ash waited until the last of Alan's footfalls echoed faintly down the hall before he painfully staggered to his feet. He felt as though he'd just tried to win a head-butting contest with a ram, and he was bleeding from various cuts all over his head and face. His hair was riddled with shards of glass, and now he no longer had the crest or a weapon.

I failed. I failed miserably. He thought, both angry and saddened at the same time, How was it that he got the drop on me like that? I guess I should consider myself lucky though. He could have killed me. He didn't. I certainly would not have showed him such mercy.

For a brief moment, he stood there, pondering all that had happened and deciding all the more that he needed revenge on Alan.

He was just about to go through the next door when it suddenly burst open and Alexia rushed in.

She took one look at Ash in his sorry state and made a face. "What happened to you?!"

Ash wiped his sleeve to his face once more, and once more he drew it away bloody. The wounds weren't critical, he could tell, but they sure felt that way.

"Alan Wesker. He came in here and just attacked me without any warning at all. He rammed my head through a glass case and ran off with both my rifle and the crest."

Alexia frowned, but her expression was not really a sympathetic one. Though she wasn't happy her son had been hurt, she couldn't really feel for him.

"Wesker." Alexia said it as if it were a swearword, "He must be Albert Wesker's son. What a tiresome family."

"I want revenge." Ash muttered, voice dripping with hate.

Alexia regarded her son proudly, as if he'd just said the right words, just what she wanted to hear.

"And you shall have it. Obviously that crest was important to Chris..." Alexia suddenly clapped her hands together and smiled gleefully, "Oh, this is too perfect!" She laughed, adding two and two together based on what she'd seen near the Automatic Supply Room, "Wesker's son is palling around with one of his worst enemies! How ironic! How fitting! Come along now, Ash. We'll go to the meeting room and see what Alfred and Alexis have learned."

Alexia turned and headed back out, Ash following closely behind, afraid to leave her protection even for a second.

"Um, not that I'm rushing, but when do we get to the revenge part?" Ash wanted to gouge Alan's eyes out with a very large shard of glass.

Alexia didn't even look back. "Patience, my son, patience."

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