I've been meaning to get around to this for a while now, but this story is an anthology of what happens with the characters that our heroes interacted with. They're going to be mostly side stories, but don't be surprised if a few things from here pop up in the main storyline!

Anyway, hope you enjoy!

Chapter 1: New Mission

Leon drummed his fingers idly on the car door's windowsill as it trundled along the dirt trail. He ignored the mutterings of his traveling companions; they'd never asked if he could speak Spanish, so he'd never told them that he could. So far they'd mostly kept their complaints to inter-governmental politics, but at least twice they'd also referred to him as "Mr. Stick-Up-The-Ass". It didn't matter; they could think whatever they wanted as long as they got the job done.

He scanned the folder once more, wanting to take the opportunity to review the case, but as focused as his mind could get on a mission, it always tended to wander beforehand, especially when he'd already studied the notes once. And, as always, his mind preferred to tread familiar ground…

Leon woke up, blinking wearily. He looked around the train car, careful not to stir too much with Claire next to him. Annette was exactly as she'd been before he'd slept; breathing slowly and deeply, even with her face looking as troubled as it was. Sherry was still sound asleep with her head resting in Claire's lap.

And no one else was there.

He'd known that would be the case, of course. Leon was sure that they would be okay, but all the same, the train car felt so…empty now.

Leon took a steadying breath, and then reluctantly removed his arm from Claire's. As much as he didn't want to risk interrupting her sleep, he couldn't put nature's call on hold forever.

Once he returned, Claire was awake as well. "Didn't mean to wake you," he whispered.

"It's okay." She looked around the train car, a look of resigned disappointment on her face. "…So they're really gone, huh?"

"Yeah." The engine car was still rattling along the tracks, but light was now streaming through the windows.

"It's too quiet in here."

"…Yeah. I could probably scrounge up a few drumsticks, if it would help."

She tried to smile, but couldn't quite bring herself to do it. "Maybe later."

"Well, even if we're not looking for musical entertainment, we should still search this car. Who knows if we're out of the woods yet?"

She nodded, and they began looking around for supplies. Sherry woke up while they were doing so, but they kept their voices down anyway, for Annette's sake.

"Are you KIDDING me?!"

Well, they tried. But honestly, who wouldn't have been shocked to find a minigun under one of the bench seats and a rocket launcher under another?

The train began to slow, the sun outside indicating it was mid-morning. "We'll probably get to the next town before lunchtime," Leon observed.

"Let's hope so," remarked Claire. "We could use some time to recuperate."

It had been four years since that night in Raccoon City. As soon as they'd reached the next town, they were approached by government agents who wanted a full story. They'd provided one, and every single bit of evidence they had on them. Leon and Annette agreed to testify against Umbrella, and for Leon to join a government task force, on the condition that Annette receive medical care for her injuries and that Sherry would have no involvement with the government whatsoever.

Still, there were a few caveats…

"Are you sure?"

Claire nodded, pulling on her shirt. "It's like you said; even if Umbrella goes down publicly, it won't end until every one of their labs and factories are shut down permanently. If I can find my brother, we can work together with his team to put an end to it once and for all." She buckled the straps over her shirt, attaching her knife holster. "I'll say goodbye to Sherry, and then I'll be leaving with whatever vehicle those agents are willing to spare."

"Take care of yourself."

She looked at Leon, surprised. "You're not going to try to stop me?"

"It's important to you, right? Then don't worry about us; we'll be fighting too."

She turned away from him, sighing. "Sherry's going to be heartbroken when I tell her. I wish there was something I could do; she's been through too much already. Seeing her face is going to make it tough for me to leave." Claire felt Leon's arms wrap around her from behind, smiling as she sighed once more. "As will that."

"Better be careful saying things like that, or I might never let you go."

"Promises, promises." She let out a content sigh as his hands slid down her sides…

He shook himself slightly, reluctantly pushing that thought away and looking at the folder. Ashley Graham, age 17 and daughter of President Graham. Kidnapped 90 hours ago by unknown individuals; number and affiliation unknown. No ransom demands made, no proof of life given. Received intel 18 hours ago that a possible sighting may have occurred in a small Spanish village. Agent sent to confirm. Funny; they forgot to add "because he doesn't have anything else to do for the next week" at the end. And he'd just started to enjoy his impromptu vacation, too.

His eyes drifted again. Somehow, they had put their time in Raccoon City behind them and moved forward with minimal problems. There had been a few close calls, though. Just last year, they'd taken a trip to Rome that had been going pretty well until the second day, when they'd returned to the hotel. There had been a tall, bald man talking at the counter with the manager, and he just so happened to be wearing a dark green coat. Leon had gone for his gun on instinct, but fortunately Claire was holding his right hand already and hers had clenched powerfully as her whole body tensed, while Sherry, holding Claire's right hand, hurriedly whispered "It's not him!" They'd gotten a few funny stares, but thankfully that had been the worst of it; at least the nightmares for the next three evenings didn't need to be on public display.

His eyes closed, and he felt his focus slipping away.

What felt like a mere second later, he felt himself being shaken. Leon stirred, opening his eyes. They seemed to be at the location specified.

He felt himself snap awake. Leon nodded to the officers, exiting the vehicle. He walked forward to the small stone wall in front of him; the vehicle, having done its job of delivering him, turned around and left. "Nice to meet you too," Leon grumbled. He pulled a satellite video phone from his belt and flicked it on. "This is Leon. I'm at the drop point."

It crackled, and a display screen flickered to life, showing the face of a dark-haired woman with glasses. "Roger that, Leon," responded Ingrid Hunnigan, his operations coordinator. "You're ahead of schedule, as usual. Any complications?"

"None yet, but don't get your hopes up."

She rolled her eyes. "I never do on your missions. The insertion point is a five minute walk to the north. From there, your objective is to investigate the town and do whatever you can to rescue the target. This should go without saying, but…"

"But quick and quiet does the job best," he finished for her.

Ingrid nodded. "Leon…technically speaking, you've got five minutes until the mission officially starts. Do you want me to patch you through to her?"

"…Yeah. Thanks, Hunnigan."

He waited for a few moments, and then a young woman's face appeared on the device's screen. She beamed as she looked at him. "Leon!"

"Hey, kiddo. Everything going okay?"

"When are you ever going to stop calling me that? I'm a teenager," she insisted, sticking out her tongue. Even in just four years, Sherry had grown so much; she was going to high school, and was now big enough that Claire's jacket actually fit her quite comfortably over the white button-up sweater she was wearing. As usual, her hair was tied back in a loose ponytail. "I went to visit Mom today; she's doing a lot better. The doctors say her condition is improving; she only falls asleep during the early afternoon now."

"That's good to hear. Any problems with that guy from before?"

She shook her head. "I think you might have scared him off last time. I don't know why the government would employ a creep like him; I still can't believe he threatened us like that!"

Leon's eyes narrowed as he recalled the confrontation. The last time they were visiting Annette at her care facility two weeks ago, a man in a suit with a very high opinion of himself (and a very low opinion of Leon) had barged into the room right after she'd dozed off. He'd insinuated that Sherry should give herself up for government testing if she wanted her mother to have continued care, and implied that she had no proper guardians for good measure. Leon had been content to let her verbally tear into the jerk for several minutes, but then the man had made a very grave mistake. Right after telling Sherry that "a little girl like her" couldn't understand the real world, he'd grabbed her arm.

That was when Leon snapped.

Forgetting the fact that Sherry was more than capable of handling some arrogant pencil-pusher, or the fact that they were at someone's bedside, Leon had made the man release her, then put him in an armlock while very calmly explaining that his deal with the government was non-negotiable, just as it had been after they'd escaped Raccoon City. To make sure the man understood his position, Leon added "I fought my way through a city of one hundred thousand zombies and monsters to protect her, so what do you think I'll do to you?" He also might have put enough pressure into the hold to dislocate the man's shoulder.

He'd been issued an official reprimand from his superiors, and Ingrid had informed him, while looking like she was holding back a proud smile, that his punishment was a three week-long paid suspension. Whispers at the training camp said that the man who had accosted Sherry and Leon had been reassigned.

"…Leon, you still there?"

He blinked, coming out of his reverie. "Sorry, yeah. I'm here."

"Is that something I can look forward to when I'm an adult? Being rude to people on a phone call without consequences?"

Leon chuckled. "We both know there are always consequences. For example, now I have to buy you ice cream. Cherry nut, right?" She frowned, sighing. "What? Do you have a different favorite now?"

"It's not that. Claire promised me the same thing to make up for taking longer on her trip. I wish you two would be home longer between stuff…and your bosses dropping this mission on you while you're on leave doesn't really help."

He forced a smile. "Well, I'll just have to twist the arm of another government snob. There's plenty more out there…"

Sherry snickered. "Maybe. Just take care of yourself, okay? Claire should be home in four days, so I want you to be back to surprise her by then."

"Sounds like a plan."

"You promise?" she asked, clutching her locket nervously.

"I promise I'll be back soon," he said.

"Okay; I won't forget!"

"I'm counting on it. And I'm also counting on you having your homework done by then."

She winced guiltily. "Uh…sorry, there's…kchhhh…static …kchhh…"

He didn't have the heart to challenge her, so he just said "We'll see each other soon. Be good!"

"No…kchhhh…problem!" She winked, and the call ended.

Leon smirked, returning the video phone to his belt. It was a mile-long hike to the abandoned village that was his destination; might as well get moving.


Happy New Year, everyone! Hope you had a good holiday season, and that you have a great year moving forward!