A/N: The next chapter, I hope that you enjoy it!

Instincts

Chapter Four

Painful Memories

Claire opened her eyes, the world around her spinning as she tried to focus. Where was she? She squeezed her eyes closed as a pressure headache hit. She squeezed them tighter as she heard sounds from all around her- some were words, some were growls. She attempted to move her arms to touch her head, to at least attempt to alleviate the pain in her skull, but instead she heard a clink or metal and realised that her hands were bound above her head.

"Wha-" she groaned.

"Oooh she's awake!" she heard a high pitch voice squeal.

She then tried opening her eyes, wherever she was, the lighting was not great. The main colour of the room was grey. As the world around her started to come into focus, she discovered that the world around her appeared, she took note that she appeared to be inside some sort of old building, a church?

"Look who's awake." She looked to her left to see a tall, greyish woman walking towards her. The woman looked at her with a sinister grin. At least she assumed it was one woman, she appeared to have a concussion. At least the pounding in her head made sense.

Where was she? The last thing she remembered was arriving at the village. She had taken a rental car to the edge of the forest surrounding the village. She had been unable to find a road into the village so she had had to hike it. Thankfully, it had only been a ten-minute walk. When she had arrived at the village she had instantly gone to work and started asking people if any of them had seen her son, or Miranda.
The villagers were quite familiar with Miranda, but there had been no news of her son. She had been careful not to mention a kidnapping, but even then, it apparently had not been enough, because soon enough something had hit her in the back of the head, several times… and now she was here, wherever
here was.

"Mother Miranda, I insist that you gift her to me." The tall lady turned to a woman whom, appeared to have wings- while not the strangest thing that Claire had ever seen, it was certainly strange to see on a human. "I can smell her blood, it is, divine."

Claire rapidly blinked as the woman's words registered in her mind. The lady wanted her blood? What the fuck was happening here? She struggled against the binds and looked up to see her hands being bound by chains. She pulled at the again, she could feel her strength returning as she regained her focus, however, she noticed, that the more she tugged, the more the metal pulled, as though it had a mind of its own?

Shaking her head at her own insanity she looked back down and nearly jumped. Apparently, her insanity was spreading, because surely she had not just seen a doll walking around? She watched with wide eyes as the doll climbed into the lap of a woman in black- as she eyed the woman, she felt herself feeling sad, something about the woman just gave her the impression of sadness.
Through the corner of her eyes, she caught a shambling creature in black, his mutations reminding her of raccoon city, of Birkin.

"Please," she turned her attention back to Miranda. "I just want my son back- please, Jake needs me."

The woman, did not respond to her words, in fact she gave no indication that she had even heard Claire's plea- However, someone did react to her. Someone had listened. Were it not for her enhanced hearing, she would not have caught it, but she had, a brief sucking of air?
Her eyes turned to the one of the five whom she had yet to notice. A man in a trench coat, hat and a pair of sunglasses that looked as though they had been plucked from the eighties. She caught sight of the cigar in his mouth, the sucking of air could well have been him smoking, but something inside her itched at the back of her mind. This man was something, she was not sure what but there was something there.
She felt her chains move, marginally, not enough that those around her would assume it was anything other than Claire moving, but since Claire had not done anything, she recognised it for what it was. A sign. Someone was telling her something, and she had a feeling it was the man with glasses.

"Mother Miranda," The tall lady spoke again. "Give the girl to me and she won't come between you and the boy."

The boy. Claire felt her heart stop. She was talking about her son! How dare that bitch talk about her baby! She tugged at the metal. "Where is my son you oversized bitch!"

The man in glasses let out a cackle. "Oversized bitch!" Claire saw through the corner of her eyes; he had his head thrown back as his entire body shook with his laughter.

"You stay out of this, swine!" the tall lady turned her attention to the man, her fists clenched. The action gave Claire information, the group of people under Miranda were not a united front. The animosity between the two was firing off them like sparks. She glanced at the man who raised his hand, the giant hammer beside him rising to him in response.

Claire tugged at the metal and noticed that the binds were loosening. Taking a quick glance to the man who was shouting something back to the tall lady. She began to realise something. He was the one controlling the metal, and he was loosening her binds, not by a lot, but by enough that she would be able to get out without him being implicated- she assumed at least.
Gritting her teeth she gave a sharp pull, the metal buckling at her strength. Freeing herself of the metal she turned to flee.

"You let her go idiot!" she heard the lady scream.

"Well maybe if you'd shut up and let me do my job!" he threw back.

She ran to the church's door and tried to open it. She cried out as the doors would not budge and she stepped back to barge at the door, only to have a hand grip the back of her neck. "Where do you think you are going?" she heard the tall lady hiss.
Claire grabbed the wrist behind her and was satisfied when she heard a crack of something breaking. The lady hissed and loosened the grip, enough for Claire to turn and leap at the woman, forcing her to the ground with a loud thud. She briefly heard gasps and a cackle before she slammed her fist into the lady's face, repeatedly.

She seemed to be unleashing her pent-up frustrations and rage into the woman's face. She hit her so hard that her own hand started to bleed. It was only when she felt herself being pulled back by metal, did she halt her assault- not before giving the woman one last slug. As the metal chains wrapped around her, she noticed that the man- her potential ally- was touching his side lightly, he was in pain. What had she missed?

"Alcina." Miranda spoke and Claire instantly found herself hating the woman's voice. Though that could be because she already hated her. "Perhaps next time you will allow Heisenberg to concentrate." She looked Claire up and down. "I have decided. Claire Whittman shall go with you Demitrescu."

The tall lady gave a grimacing smirk as she pulled herself to stand. She adjusted her askew hat before responding to Miranda. "Thank you, Mother Miranda." She gave the woman a light bow before licking her lips, tasting the blood that sat upon them. As her tongue touched the blood, her head tilted to the side and her brow creased as though she was in thought.

"Your blood is positively divine." She held her hand out to the woman in black, who passed her a handkerchief. She wiped down her face and tossed the cloth away. "I think that you'll do just fine with me."

X

Just fine, apparently meant; 'we're going to tie you up in the dungeon and periodically feed upon you. Claire tugged at the chains holding her. She had enough length on the chains to reach the toilet, but that was it. Her arms were littered with bite marks, the lady and her daughters had been periodically feasting on her. She had been there for at least a week, and it had been torture. They would bite her and leave her, she had barely enough strength to live, but she was still alive, and that was the exact position that they wanted her in.

She needed to get out of there.

"You hurt mother." A far too cheerful voice chimed.

Claire closed her eyes as a swarm of insects descended upon her. She bit her lip to hold back the flinches as the creature's bit into her flesh. She would get out of this. She had to get out of this.

"Your blood is divine."

"You're lucky that you taste so good! Otherwise, you'd be dead already~"

"You're nothing but livestock."

"You should be grateful that we've kept you alive."

"Filthy human, except you're not completely human, are you?"

XXX

Claire followed Ethan up the steps towards what appeared to be a chapel attached to the Castle. As the snow crunched beneath her feet, she took a moment to appreciate the natural beauty of the place. Were she on holiday, and the energy of the place different, she probably would have felt at home here. Perhaps it was the snow? The crispness giving her a nostalgic feeling, and a pang in her chest.
She missed her home. She missed her modern cottage in the middle of a property surrounded by the trees. She missed having snowball fights- it would be getting colder at home soon and she would be able to have snowball fights again. She bit her lip. That was if she was able to get home again. That was if she found Jake and somehow managed to get them back. Her eyes began to water.

"You okay?" she looked up to see Ethan looking down at her from the top of the stairs.

She smiled sadly. "As well as I can be, I suppose." She said quietly before leaning against the railing. She sucked in a breath of cold air before releasing the breath with a shudder.

"We'll find your son." Ethan said, trying to comfort her. His feet crunching the snow as he walked down to stand beside her. He touched her on the shoulder before, he too, leaned against the railing. He noticed her as she shivered beside him. "Do you want my coat?"

She looked at him with a wry smile. "It's okay, I appreciate the gesture though." She looked back out to the snow. "You're a nice guy, Ethan," she pushed some snow off the ledge. "How did you end up in this situation?"

He ducked his head as he flinched. "I'd moved here recently to get away…" he paused and looked off into the distance. "After Louisiana, we wanted to get away. Chris helped us move… and then…" she noticed her tense- why? "Then Chris killed my wife, Mia, and took Rose and I away… next thing I know, I'm here and Miranda has taken my child."

"Who is Chris?" she asked, looking away from him.

"Chris Redfield, he.. he helped me in Louisiana, I thought he was a friend… apparently he's not." Ethan clenched his fists.

"I'm sorry Ethan." Claire gave him a sad look. "Did Chris… did he say anything? When he.." she trailed off with a helpless gesture.

Ethan shook his head. "He had his men knock me out and put he in a van- I woke up outside the village sometime later, after the van's had crashed." He drew patterns into the snow as he looked off into the distance. The memories of the last forty-eight hours replaying in his mind. Why, why, did Chris do what he had done? He had helped them, so why would he do that do him?

"I'm sorry that that happened to you." Claire shivered again. She rubbed her arms and turned away from the railing, she pressed her back to the railing and held herself. An odd expression took her face, as though she were ruminating on something. She eventually turned to him with sad eyes. "I wish there was some way that I could have helped you before any of this, then at least it would have only been one of us here. Chris doesn't talk to me about his work- if he had, I would have stopped him before he took your baby."

Ethan staggered back as though he had been shot. Claire knew Chris? What? How? She had said that they don't talk about work, so how familiar was she with him? "H-How do you know Chris?" he asked, voicing his thoughts. A bead of sweat rolled down the back of his neck as cold panic hit him. He had no right- actually he kind of had a little right wanting to know how the woman working with him knew Chris. Especially after what Chris had done to him.

"He's my older brother." She said quietly before turning to Ethan. "I promise you, I did not know anything- Chris and I… we…" she pushed some of her hair behind her ear. "We have our problems… and disagreements." She let out a shuddering breath. "So don't worry, I won't throw you under the bus for him."

Ethan felt himself release a breath that he did not even know he was holding. He was glad to know that one of his only allies here was not about to 'throw him under the bus'. So while he was her brother, their relationship was not a good one? He would be lying if he said that he was not curious, but this was hardly the time, or the place to go into family issues.

"Come on," Claire moved away from the railing and began to step up the stairs again. "We're lingering, don't want mother dearest to find us.

Ethan nodded and followed behind her. "Does your virus affect your relationship with Chris?" he asked, unable to hold back his curiosity. Not that it was any of his business or anything, so he would accept it if she refused to tell him anything.

"He actually doesn't know about it." She replied in a voice that was almost sheepish. "No, he.." she pushed the door open to reveal an old chapel room. "He doesn't approve of some of my life choices. "in particular, the man in my life." Her tone became casual, and she held the door open for him to follow her inside. Claire then went to the sides of the room and began searching the pews.

Relationship choices? That seemed like a silly reason for Chris to have a strained relationship with his sister. At least the Chris he had known gave that impression, and, if Ethan had learned anything in the last forty-eight hours, it was that he apparently hadn't know jack shit about Chris Redfield.
Shaking his head, Ethan glanced around the old chapel before he noticed the coffin. His curiosity piqued and he began walking towards it. He knew it was wrong as he pushed the lid of the stone coffin back, but he couldn't find it in himself to care. His eyes instantly locked onto the black knife lying within.

"Ethan!" Claire called out.

He gripped the knife just before he was grabbed and turned around by the tall lady. She said something, he did not focus on what she was saying and instead followed his instincts which resulted in him stabbing her with the knife. She cried out, black veins forming on her face.
He let out a grunt as she cried out and grabbed him harshly. She pushed him at the window, causing the stained glass to crack and shatter behind his back as she forced him through the window and wall.

Fragments of glass and wall shot past him as he fell through the wall. He watched in despair as the knife flew off the edge of the cliff. Well, there went something that could have been useful. Why did this sort of thing always happen to him? He glanced back to the hole in the wall and his eyes widened as the Demitrescu, while gasping for air, began to change, growths emerging from her body.

"Oh shit." He eyed her wings and tail briefly before she burst through another wall. Now a creature of massive proportions. He let out a gasp and staggered back as Claire came rushing through the hole that he had come through. He barely noticed Claire though as he stared into the gaping maw of the creature. He scrambled backwards in an attempt to get away from it. The creature lunged at him and he felt a pair of hands pull him back.

"Flesh, bones, I will devour all of you!" his eyes widened as he saw what appeared to be the Lady Demitrescu atop the creature. Only she had mutated, a grey figure with a mass of flowing tendrils for hair. He watched, wide eyed, as her massive wings flapped and she took off into the air.

Claire rushed to his side and grabbed onto his arm as she tried to pull him to his feet. This attempt at aid was short lived as the mutated Demitrescu swooped at them. Grasping both he and Claire within her claws. He let out a gasp and looked at the chasm below them. Claire, on the other hand, struggled and punched the claws gripping her.
They were eventually dropped and Ethan landed at the base of a staircase leading up to another part of the castle. Claire landed near to him but she was close to the edge of the chasm and began to slip. He leaned forward to help her, landing on his stomach his arm stretched out to clutch hers. She instantly grabbed onto him and he helped pull her to safety.

"Thanks." She nodded at him and pulled out her shotgun.

He did the same with his handgun and the pair charged up the stairs. Only to stop halfway as the creature landed atop the stairs. She appeared to be laughing at them while the large mouth snapped at them. Claire took aim at the humanoid figure, and fired, her lips curled into a pleased smile as the lady let out a screech of pain.

"I'll bath in your blood!" The lady screamed as she flew away.

The two continued their race up the stairs. As they reached the top, they hid within the little roofed alcove. While Ethan collected some stray ammo and health potions from the floor- how had they gotten there? Claire inched her head out to assess the situation outside. She was unable to see the creature, but she did see another hiding area, and she did learn that they were on one of the tower's roofs. That could be both a good and bad thing. She gestured for Ethan to follow her to the other part of the roof.

"I will destroy you!" the floor beneath them shook as she landed behind them. They hurried into the small 'safe' place just before Demitrescu walked past them. "Besides Miranda, you two are the only ones to ever see me in this form." Parts of the roof fell as she hit it with her large body. "You both will pay for this with your lives!"

Ethan fired at the large body. The bullet barely scratched the surface of her skin and she laughed in response to his actions. She had to be weak somewhere. He eyed the gaping maw and tried shooting it. The result was similar to the first time he shot her. He watched as she walked around the tower, parts of it breaking as she hit it with her body.

"Seems like a bloody waste of a house." He heard Claire murmur behind him. He turned to see her reloading the gun. "Aim for her." at his confused expression, she elaborated. "The her on the top of the body." She readied her gun. "You just confirmed that the big body is like some armour or something."

He nodded- she was pretty clever at this sort of thing. He wondered if she had any sort of combat experience because it certainly seemed as though. Staying close to one another, the two crept from the hiding spot. Ready to fire, the crept forwards looking around for her. She seemed to have disappeared. Then Claire turned to behind them, gun readied as the lady came crashing from around a corner.

"I'll crush you both! Scum!" she called out as she charged at them.

Ethan followed Claire's lead and fired upon the figure on the top. He felt a smirk touch his lips as she let out a shriek. Her wings flapped and Ethan covered his eyes as dust and debris blew at them. As he felt the wind stop, he opened his eyes and the creature was gone. He looked around and blinked as he saw her floating in the distance. How was he going to deal with that? Remembering the rifle that he had picked up, he readied it and took aim.

"Clever." Claire said from behind him.

It was a difficult shot to make, especially with Demitrescu moving around. But he eventually took the shot and felt satisfaction as the bullet hit. She said something by the missed it as she came flying at them. From her maw, a barrage of the flies came charging at them.

"Shit." Claire hissed as they ran from the insects. The biting into her arms and back stinging like burns. Memories flashed before her eyes as she ran into their hiding spot. As Ethan followed behind her, she pulled out a pipe bomb and threw it. As it exploded the insects scattered, flying away from them.

"-take everything from me!" they jumped as Demitrescu lunged at their hiding hole. Her claws reaching into their alcove. The two jumped back, out of the way and continued to move as the claw scratched from side to side in an attempt to get them.
She pulled her claws back and pulled away. Claire scowled and charged out with the shotgun. She aimed and fired. The lady screamed and charged.

"Eat you! I'll eat you! You human pest!" she screamed as Ethan also jumped out and fired at her.

While Ethan fired at the creature, Claire ran in the opposite direction. He was confused but continued to fire at her. Over the top of Demitrescu's screeches, he heard the bang of a gun and Demitrescu let out a scream. Ethan, fuelled by a hope that they might win this, continued to fire upon them. They might have a chance at this.
Demitrescu flapped her wings and took off again. Ethan readied his sniper to fire at her, only he did not get the chance to as she swerved in the air and came charging back at them.

"More blood! More!" she charged forwards, colliding into the building.

Ethan fell back from the force of the collision. He felt arms pull him up and he looked back to see Claire helping him to stand. He offered her a grateful smile and pulled himself up. Claire tugged at him, and he looked forward to see the stairs. He charged to the stairs.
The ground beneath them shook as she pulled back. They had to jump over her limbs as she moved back. They also needed to dodge parts of the building as it fell. Ethan winced as a piece of the ceiling hit his back.

"I need your flesh!"

Holy shit! He looked behind them to see the gaping maw screaming at them. His eyes widened as a mass of the bug creatures charged at them. His legs ached but he pushed himself to keep moving. He had to keep moving. For Rose. He flinched as the insects continued to bite him. He flailed his arms at them to try to keep them away, but it did not work. As they reached the top of the stairs, the insects seemed to fly off on their own.

"You've got nowhere else to go!"

Claire hissed leaned against one of the pillars, ready to strike. Ethan hastily collected some ammo and health objects that were littered across the floor- how had they gotten there? He shook his head; it was not important. He heard a sound and looked to see Claire walking around. She was gripping the gun tightly and looking around, waiting on edge. Ethan could understand why, it was oddly silent. Where was Demitrescu?
Suddenly, Claire charged at him, pushing him to the floor as the creature crashed through the ceiling. He gasped as chunks of stone and ceiling came crashing down beside him. He cried out as a heavy block landed on his hand- because of course it did.

"Time to die!" Demitrescu pulled herself back and stomped towards them. "I'll eat you up, every last morsel!"

Claire rolled away from him and leaped into action, she instantly started to fire upon the lady. Ethan reached for the closest weapon beside him, which was the sniper. He aimed at Demitrescu and fired. While he fired at her, Claire jumped onto her and fired repeatedly at the vampire's head.
Demitrescu screamed and clawed at the floor. Ethan jumped as the floor beneath him began to collapse.

"Fuck." He swore as he scrambled to find his footing, to grab anything to keep stable. He was unable to do so as he started to fall through the floor. He tried to look for Claire but he couldn't see her.

"It's too late… you'll never see your Rose again... Succumb to your despair!"

He hit the stone floor with a thud. Wincing as pain throbbed across his body, he pulled himself up. He watched as Demitrescu howled curses at him as her body turned to stone and dissolved around him. He watched in horrid fascination as the mass of muscles and tendrils turned to dust. As pieces broke off od her, he picked up the crystal bust left behind.
his heart stopped as he looked around for Claire, where was she? At the sound of a groan he snapped the remains of a wing and the rest dissolved, revealing Claire lying beneath it.

"Shit, Claire." He moved to help pull her up. As he helped her up, his eyes locked onto the blood pouring from her head. "We need to do something about that."

"P-Pour…" she coughed. "Pour some tequila on it." She let out a choked laugh, but gratefully accepted the bottle when he passed it to her. She took a quick swig of the drink before pouring the rest on the wound. "Even stings like alcohol- so it's definitely doing something…" she took a step forward and swayed. "Whoa…" she held her hands out to steady herself.

"Let's get out of here." Ethan held his hand out to steady her. "We'll find you a spot to rest."

Claire sucked in a breath. "I'll be okay." She let go of him and steadied herself. "I'll be fine."

Ethan eyed her for a few moments, assessing if she would indeed be alright. He eventually shook his head and walked to a strange yellow flask that he had noticed briefly. What was it? It had a crest atop it and it was somewhat heavy to lift. He turned it around in his hand and brought it close to his face to inspect it. He could not see anything about it that would make it special, but he couldn't bring himself to throw it away. Lifting it had seemed to trigger a mechanism, and the block that it had rested on dropped, making it possible to open the doors behind it.

"Well," Claire began as she stepped past him and to the outside. "At least we have our way out."

The pair walked down the snowy steps and were met with the sight of a small house. Without saying anything to the other, they both headed towards it. Once inside, Ethan went about hunting down supplies while Claire searched for a coat. Lucky for her, there was a green one hanging from the ceiling. She tugged it down and slipped it on- it was a little big, but at this point she did not care.

"We have to go through the caves to get to the village." Ethan said, holding up a piece of paper.

Claire frowned. "There were those doors that way," she pointed. "Perhaps that's where the caves are?"

Ethan shrugged. "We'll have to find out."

The pair left the house and headed to the black double doors. Ethan broke the lock easily with his knife and pushed the doors open. The caves were surprisingly warm, though this was most likely to do with the lit torches. The pair said very little to each other as they walked, though Claire seemed on edge, not that he could blame her, the caves were pretty unwholesome- and she had definitely not enjoyed the trek through the little watery part, though neither had he.
As the pair reached what appeared to be a ceremonial room, Claire tensed and gripped her shotgun. They walked in and were met with the sight of an old woman. Ethan recognised her from when he had first entered the village and put a reassuring hand on Claire's arm. She lowered her weapon but did not put it away.

"As the midnight moon rises on black wings, we await the light at the end..." She raised what appeared to be a key. "In life and death, glory to Mother Miranda."

Ethan caught Claire's scowl. Again, he did not blame her, he was not a fan of Miranda, and Claire had been there even longer than he had! "Hey, remember me? I almost died up at that castle!" he sent Claire an apologetic glance. "We both almost died!" he felt unease as the old woman turned to him. "tell us what's going on here!"

"How can you be 'almost' dead?" the old woman tilted her head in confusion.

"I still haven't found Rose either. Where did Mother Miranda take her?" he was becoming irritated with the woman. Something about her was not settling well within him and, judging by the way that Claire was clutching her weapon, she didn't feel comfortable with the old lady either. Just who was this old woman?

He felt dread set in his stomach as she let out a cackle. "You're too late! Or maybe 'almost' too later?" her face turned vicious, and Ethan felt the urge to take a step away from her. "The child will be sacrificed. Life for life."

"What the fuck are you talking about!" Claire snapped before Ethan had an opportunity to say anything. "Who do you think you are!?"

The old woman, ignoring them both, walked to the mural on the wall and gestured to the images carved into the stone. "The crests of the four bloodlines may open the path you seek…"

"I just want to find my daughter."

The old woman smiled at him before she began to walk away. "Hey!" Claire called after her. "You don't get to say things like that and then just walk away!" she charged after the woman. The old woman moved faster than anticipated and passed the wooden door before Claire could reach her. The door slammed in Claire's face. With a growl Claire kicked at the door, which was surprisingly sturdy. She growled as a laughter could be heard from behind the door.

"Who is that lady!?" she turned her attention to Ethan.

"I met her when I first came to the village." Ethan explained as he collected the key from the box. He then turned his attention to the mural. "Four houses?"

"For Lords…" Clair murmured as she came to stand beside him. "I think that our now dead friend the vampire bitch was one." She looked at the mural. A frown taking her face as she took in the familiar logo in the centre of the mural- that had to be a coincidence. There was no way that Umbrella would have anything to do with some backwater village in Romania. That being said, this seemed like just the kind of bullshit that they would pull.

Ethan hummed. "I think you're right." He mulled over the mural for a little longer. "When I first got here, I was in a church-"

"A church?" Claire interrupted him.

He nodded. "Yeah, a church. There was five of them, including Miranda. Tall lady, a woman with a scary doll, a deformed guy… and.. Heisenberg." Why was he able to remember the guys name so easily? Was it because that guy had been the asshole who had made him run the gauntlet? Or because he had been the first lord that he had met. He frowned as he thought of the man with glasses and a shit eating grin.

"I met them too." Claire said quietly. "They decided that I was to go home with the tall lady." She bit her lip lightly. "Come on- let's get going, staying here and mulling over things without all of the facts isn't going to help us."

X

"Is that the Duke?" Ethan said as they walked down the steps into what appeared to be some sort of ceremonial ground. He saw Claire nod beside him and the two hurried down the stairs towards the Duke's caravan. It was with a sense of disappointment and relief that he saw that Duke- disappointment because he had yet to find Rose, and relief due to the fact that other than Claire, the man was his only ally.

"It was all worthless." He said as he drew closer to the caravan. Distantly, his eyes caught sight of the food laid out. He wondered how much the Duke was selling it for.

"Is that so? I assume you've picked up something of value." Duke replied to his words.

"We found something." Claire interjected, giving Ethan a meaningful glance.

Ethan pulled out the strange flask and held it up to the Duke. "Not sure if it's of any value." And yet, he was not sure if he would sell it to the duke even if it was of value. Something about it made him want to keep it. He found it, it belonged to him- he frowned, that was probably not the sort of attitude that he should have towards strange flasks that he finds.

Duke's face seemed to light up. "Why, you have your daughter right in your own hands." He gestured to the flask.

"Sorry, what?!" Claire spoke for him.

X

From atop of the Duke's caravan, Claire sat. In her arms rested Ethan's sniper rifle which she was using to follow Ethan as he walked through the village. He was on a mission to the 'house with the red chimney' to find out the truth about his daughter. She had volunteered to stay behind, to both keep an eye on the Duke, but also watch Ethan and snipe any monsters that she could see before the reached him.

"Got you." She smirked before firing at a Lycan. Her smirk widened as the creature went down.

"Good shot." Duke commended from within his caravan.

Claire frowned down at the Caravan. She had also had another reason for staying behind. "What they did to Rose…" she began uncertainly. She found another Lycan and shot it. "Did they," another shot. "Did they do that to my son, Jake?"

"Ah Master Jake!" the Duke seemed almost excited to talk about the boy. It told Claire everything that she needed to know. Before she had a chance to demand answers from him, he offered it to her for nothing. "No, Miranda has not turned him into crystal. You'll be glad to know that, the last I saw the boy, he was in one piece."

"Where was he?" she wanted to jump down to see him. To demand he take her to Jake, but she had promised Ethan that she would keep and eye out for him. Though he seemed to be heading back so she would be able to get her answers soon, hopefully.

"Miranda is trying to initiate him into her family. He spends time with the lords- I couldn't say which Lord he's staying with right now though. My apologies."

She frowned at the information that she had been given. Miranda had kidnapped her son and she wanted to initiate him into her family?! She saw a group of Lycan's chasing after Ethan and, fuelled by a need for revenge, she fired upon them. Round after round until they were gone and Ethan had not had to fire a single round. She wanted to hit something. She felt restless and itchy. She had to find her son.

"Is he… is he alright?" she asked weakly. Her heart ached. She had gone so long without her baby, and now she had heard some news about him and it still did not help her get to him. With a sad sigh she pulled herself down from the roof of the caravan, at least he was alright? According to the Duke at least. She watched as Ethan returned through the gate. He looked pale, she felt a lump in her throat, the Duke had been telling the truth, hadn't he? Rose really was inside the flasks.

"How was it? Did you learn anything?" The Duke asked, the expression on his face and his tone of voice conveying that he already knew the answer to the question that he was asking.

"I found these feathers." Ethan held up some feathers as he walked towards the caravan. "Now, tell me how to fix this like you said you would." His voice was harsh, his irritation seeping into each word. He held the expression of a man who had had enough. He put the feathers away and ran a hand through his sandy blond hair.

"Settle down." The Duke began while Ethan closed his blue eyes and sucked in a deep breath. "First off, you must use that key and collect all of your little Rose's flasks. There are four in total. You have the one, and the other lords have the rest."

"Lords?"

"Perhaps I could offer my assistance?" a new voice interjected.

Claire watched as the Duke blanched in confusion- the expression was so brief that had she not been looking at the Duke, she would not have caught it. The man tilted his head to look at the owner of the new voice. She did the same. Her eyes widened as a man that she had met before stood at the ceremonial spot. A man with a hat and glasses. The man who had helped her when she had first been captured.

"You." Ethan hissed. "Just how could you help us?"

Heisenberg's lips curled into a large smirk. "I help you, you help me? You want little Rosie, I want Miranda dead, I think we have a lot to offer each other." He pushed his glasses down to lock eyes with Ethan. "Papa-bear, I think you have a lot of potential-" the flattery cause Ethan to scowl. "and I'd like to help you explore that potential."

"Why?" Claire asked, her expression even. She knew the man was dangerous, even if he had helped her before.

"You killed the tall bitch," he said simply. "makes my job easier, and when it comes to Miranda, three people are better than one." He folded his arms across his chest. "So, are we going to talk, or is this encounter going to end on a… sour note." His smile showed his teeth. The man spoke of making peace, but his body language spoke of an animal on edge, ready to fight if necessary.

Ethan moved to snap something at the man, but Claire spoke before he had the chance. "You helped me, didn't you?" beside her, Ethan gaped. The man who had taken such pleasure in sending him through the 'gauntlet' had helped Claire? He glanced at Claire, who had her eyes fixed on the man. What was going on here?

Heisenberg let out a laugh. "The sight of that tall bitch getting her face smashed will brighten my days for years to come~" his voice lifted at the end, he wasn't lying, he was genuinely happy about what had happened.

"What do you want?" Ethan snapped, confused by the whole situation.

Heisenberg chuckled. "He's a bit slow, isn't he?" Ethan let out a grunt of annoyance in response. "Easy papa-bear." The man reached into his coat and pulled out a yellow flask, almost identical to the one that Ethan had. "I want us to be friends." He took a step towards Ethan. "I'll give you this- and in return we work together to kill Miranda- I'll even let you use my factory as a safe house." He took a quick glance at Claire. "There's something for you back there as well."

"What do you think Claire?" Ethan hissed, his eyes fixated on the flask in the other man's hand.

"Enemy of my enemy." She quoted the old adage. "If it helps, he has helped me before, when I first came here."

"This had better not be a trap." Ethan said.

With his free hand, Heisenberg drew a cross over his chest. "On my honour!" he held the flask out to Ethan. "You coming, papa-bear?"

Something about the way that the other man had said that caused Ethan to feel a chill down his spine. He eyed the man for the longest time, and even though every fibre in his body screamed 'no', he listened to a small, almost silence voice in his head that told him to take the deal. It silently urged him forwards, and before he even realised what was happening, he was taking the flask from the other man. A shiver running up his arm as his fingers brushed the man's hand. What was happening to him?

"Good choice, Papa-Bear," Heisenberg seemed far too smug about the whole situation. "Now, shall we head back to my factory?"

A/N: I hope that you liked the chapter, let me know!