By Metal Harbinger
Epilogue: One Last Goodbye
One month after the events of Raccoon City.
Grayish-black clouds hung overhead on the gloomy early November day, foreshadowing yet another round of rainfall that had been battering the area for the past few days already. It almost seemed like the perfect backdrop for a small cemetery and the doom and gloom associated with such a place.
Many of the trees were left bare, adding to the innate theme of lifelessness, contrasting with a few scattered lively pine trees that grew within the cemetery's stone walls. Tombstones of all shapes and sizes lined the landscape, many with bouquets of flowers, small statues and other knickknacks lying in front of them, left in tribute by the grieving loved ones of those inhabiting the graves. A hill was at the back of the graveyard with more tombstones and at a family plot three individuals had gathered.
The three individuals, a man and two women, were gathered around the gravesite of Mary Cavanaugh, described as a "beloved mother" by the epitaph. Bowing their heads for a moment of silence the trio produced bouquets of orchids, daffodils and roses, much like the flowers they had seen in their mother's garden growing up, and gently laid them before the stone.
"Happy birthday Mom," the older of the two women spoke.
The younger woman knelt to the stone and placed her hand to it, clutching her crucifix necklace with her free hand. "Happy birthday Mom, wherever you are we hope you're happy."
It was the man's turn to speak and he bowed his head again before whispering softly. "Mom, we still miss you and love you. We hope you're all reunited at last."
The man then looked to his right where the next stone simply read "Steven Cavanaugh" and listed his dates of birth and death. His description was plain and simple, nothing more. Then again to have listed that he were a "loving husband" and "devoted father" would have been poorly disguised lies in the eyes of his family, so they kept it simplistic enough to avoid the shame associated with him.
Sighing deeply, the man blinked away some forming tears and stood up to face his two sisters, who also struggled to hold back their tears. With a collective nod they turned to face a grave to the right of their father's, one that had been largely neglected, save a solitary flower pot with fading plastic flowers in it. Inscribed was the name "Ryan Cavanaugh," along with his date of birth and death followed by a short prayer, considered ironic as he was never a religious person.
Reaching into her long burgundy coat, the younger of the two women produced a long, thin box and opened it to reveal three bright red roses. Kneeling down she placed them before a small wooden cross that bore the name "Jacob R. Cavanaugh, beloved brother."
"Do you think anybody will say anything about it?" she asked looking back to her two siblings, "I mean…they obviously knew what he was. I don't want them to desecrate our family's graves," her gaze returning to the three other gravestones before her.
"I don't think they will Liz," the man spoke, "He may have been a wanted fugitive, but in the end he was still our brother."
"He might have done some bad things, but deep down we still loved him because he was our own flesh and blood," the older woman replied.
Elizabeth Cavanaugh rose to her feet and stared silently towards both of her older siblings Jason and Rachel, both of whom shared their father's resemblance with their jet black hair and blue eyes, while she looked more like their mother with her dark brown hair and light green eyes.
The cross had been Jason's idea and he had gone out to their uncle's woodshed to build it as soon as he had heard the news of their brother's "passing." A body had supposedly been found, but the authorities wouldn't allow them to claim it for undisclosed reasons. Still, they decided they would find some way to honor his memory regardless of whether or not they had his physical body with them.
"Jake, it's been a long time," his younger brother spoke as if he were there with them, "We know you haven't made the best decisions in your life and that some people may never find it in their hearts to forgive you, but we do and I'm sure Mom and Ryan both would too." With the feeling like he was there with them, Jason wisely chose not to mention their father as he knew of his older brother's sullied opinion of him. "We just hope that wherever you are, you are all reunited and resting in peace. Take care big brother."
The three surviving Cavanaugh siblings turned and made their way out of the cemetery's main road towards the ancient gates.
"So how long are you back here in the 'States for Jason?" Rachel inquired looking towards the taller man.
"Until the middle of next month," the brother replied solemnly, "I know I'm going to miss Christmas over here again, stupid dipshit commander of mine."
"Yeah, it is…" Rachel replied, knowing how her family was already shrinking due to her brother's recent passing, "At least we still have you around for Thanksgiving though."
"So you bringing that dreamboat of yours over?" Elizabeth joked trying to lighten the somber mood, making reference to her older sister's fiancée.
Rachel rolled her eyes and looked down to the hand displaying her engagement ring, "Sure, even if you haven't gotten it through your thick skull yet that he's all mine."
The two sisters laughed amongst themselves, "So you going to bring that one guy you were talking about over for Thanksgiving?" Rachel asked referencing one of her sister's classmates from the university.
"Maybe," Elizabeth replied, "he'd better because I'm tired of him playing the waiting game with me." With a chuckle she then returned her attention to their brother.
"How about that specialist chick you were telling us about a while back Jason?" the younger sister shouted.
"Fine," Jason flatly replied, "Remember love matters aren't the only issue at the moment. Tranquil Flats called, Rose has gone missing," he said mentioning the asylum where their oldest sister was held.
Both young women suddenly froze in terror and stared at their brother wide-eyed.
"What do you mean? I thought they had her under watch 24-7!" Rachel half-shouted to her two siblings.
"They did according to the warden, but they said something about their being a massive blackout on the premises for two hours and when everything came back on she was gone!" Jason said stepping up to the gates. "We have to find her and from what I've heard, detectives are already on the case."
"I hope they find her," Elizabeth said, "We've just lost one sibling and we don't need to lose another." The trio exited the cemetery back into the outside world and then nothing was heard.
The creaking of ancient rickety wooden doors broke the inhuman silence of the graveyard as a lone figure stepped out of a mausoleum not too far from the Cavanaugh family plot.
Jake Cavanaugh stepped into the light and watched as his siblings exited the graveyard, a forlorn stare as he watched them move on with their lives blissfully unaware of his survival. As much as he wanted to approach them and let them know Big Brother was still alive, he had to let them move on as he knew his presence in their lives would only endanger them.
"As long as they think I'm dead they will continue to live," he gloomily muttered as he listened for the sound of his younger brother's car taking off down the nearest road.
Sighing deeply he approached the site of where his family members slept for eternity. Today would have been his mother's birthday and he noticed how his siblings had each left a bouquet of flowers as gifts. Reaching into his overcoat he produced his own bouquet of white roses and laid them gently before her gravestone.
"Happy birthday Mom," he nodded with a brief smile, "I know it's been a long time, but I came home one last time like I promised I would."
The brief joy he had felt from his brief "reunion" suddenly darkened as his gaze met that of his hated father's tombstone. No matter how much he had promised himself he would avoid staring at his father's stone, he had found the urge irresistible and his head turned as if guided by an invisible pair of hands gripping him.
"You drunken bastard…" the hitman hissed as he remembered his father and all of his drunken rages. His mind suddenly flashed back to that dark, stormy night when he had come home to find his father standing over his mother's corpse, having killed her in a fit of rage because of the love she had shown for a wayward son. Within another flash Steven Cavanaugh lay dead on the kitchen floor, murdered by his own son.
Jake's teeth gritted and his fists clenched as he fought the urge to destroy the tombstone with his own bare hands. He found it a strike against the memory of his beloved mother that she should have to rest next to the abusive bastard for all eternity. Yet at the same time he couldn't bring himself to do it, feeling the soothing presence of his mother within him and it was only through her that he held back, not wanting to disgrace her memory.
"I'm sorry I can't stay long Mom, but I have a mission to complete and if I ever do come back it will be a long time from now. I will make you proud of me."
The criminal rose back to his feet and then looked over to the crude cross his siblings had erected in his honor. He smiled at the thought that they had still loved him enough to create their own personal memorial to him and felt a sense of redemption in the fact that they had referred to him as a "beloved brother."
Lastly he would have to stop over by the grave of his older brother Ryan.
"Hey bro' long time no see," he said with a brief chuckle, feeling as if his older brother were standing there next to him about to put him in a noogie like he used to do when he was little. Jake still revered him as a loving brother and stalwart protector, who had taken his fair share of beatings in the past just to protect him from their father's tyrannical rampages.
"It's been a while and believe me I still think about you a lot and everything you taught me growing up. I hope wherever you are you're off protecting someone else just like you did me. I'll see you on the other side one of these days."
Having visited his mother and older brother, there was still one very special person he had left to visit and had wanted to get out of the way before he would have to depart.
Walking up the small hill he followed the very path he had remembered by heart leading to the large tombstone with a young woman's visage carved into it. His strides became faster and more powerful as he approached, knowing it had been something he had been waiting for over six years for and he had been determined to see it through no matter what.
Reaching the top of the hill he had finally come to the tombstone that bore the name Ashley Marie Hawkinson, his beloved Ashley. Overcome by powerful emotions he collapsed before her grave and touched her stone, closing his eyes and feeling as if he were touching her warm skin all over again.
Ever since her death Jake had messed around with his share of loose women, but still she was the only one he never forgot, the only woman who had an undying place in his heart, the only woman he had truly ever loved.
Opening his eyes he stared deeply into her portrait engraved upon the stone's surface.
"God she was so beautiful!" he thought to himself and pulled out a locket Ashley's mother had given to him at her funeral and opened it, displaying the final picture of her ever taken. Breathing deeply he held the locket against his beating heart. His mind was taken back to the day he first met her when she visited him in the hospital. What he wouldn't have given to relive that day over again. More importantly, what he wouldn't have done to go back and save her from her father's wrath, then maybe she would still be alive today.
Normally so calm and collected, for once Jake had found himself struggling to control his emotions. More so, he struggled to find the strength to speak.
"Hey Ashley…" he muttered staring directly into her engraved portrait, "I know it's been a long time…" he said trying to laugh, but couldn't. Again he stopped to collect himself. It was harder than it looked for him, but had to be done so he could be at peace. Taking a couple of deep breaths he continued where he left off.
"I know I haven't been around to see you in a long time…I've been gone way too long…I've had to stay away from here…" Jake stopped himself as he had suddenly felt shame for his past actions, illegal acts he knew his girlfriend wouldn't have approved of had she still been alive today. Whenever he felt like that he often told himself that maybe things could have been different had she still been alive today.
He often felt mad that she couldn't have just come to him instead of taking the easy way out and leaving him all alone in the world. From the grief he witnessed of his friends' families he knew losing a child was an unbearable pain no parent should ever have to endure and he knew that had Ashley lived, she too would have had to endure the same emotional distress.
"But I would have been there for her," Jake told himself, "I would have been there whenever she needed me and would have gotten her through that whole ordeal. We wouldn't have been able to replace a child, but we could have started over with a new family. Yes, that's what my vision meant! We would've had a family together and had a happy, peaceful existence."
Despite what his mind may have told him at times, his heart told him that he couldn't be angry at Ashley for what she did. After all, she was the first person he was truly able to open up his heart to, the one who could make him truly feel like a human being rather than some cold, emotionless shell. Working again to summon his strength he spoke.
"I know these past few years have been a very tumultuous time for me, not having you around, and I've done some things…bad things you wouldn't have approved of," the hit man spoke lowering his head in shame. "I know because of some of the stuff I've done, it's very questionable if we'll ever be together again once my time comes. I'll probably be sent to the fires of Hell while you're probably up in the Heavens somewhere forced to look down upon me for all eternity. If God can't forgive me, I hope you will find it in your heart to. Whatever happens, I wouldn't let it stop me from coming to visit you one last time."
Reaching into his coat again Jake produced another bouquet of flowers, roses of the reddest hue he could find, similar to those Ashley had given him when they first met. He gently laid them in front of her headstone and then proceeded to lovingly stroke the stone, like he had once stroked her long silken brown hair.
"I'm going to be gone for a long time," he continued removing his hand, "I have a long mission ahead of me, one of personal redemption. It's going to be a long time before I come to visit you again, if I do come back at all."
Again Jake stopped himself, "What am I saying? I will be back," he said with determination, "I'll come back for you if it's the last thing I do. I'm going to help bring down Umbrella and when I do, I'll come back to visit you again…I promise."
Slowly rising back to his feet the young man's gaze never left his deceased lover's stone. He never wanted to leave her side now that he was finally reunited with her. Now that he had found the strength to speak he had so much more to tell her, but wouldn't have the time to. Instead he could only look upward towards the heavens far above and once again ponder if his beloved was watching over him and what would be in store for him up there, if he would even be allowed at all to ascend the stairway to Heaven.
Looking downward again Jake had to have one final gaze upon the gravesite of his beloved girlfriend.
"Goodbye Ashley…I love you and I will be back for you one day."
Slowly turning around Jake started down the trail towards the cemetery gates, now having to muster all his strength to walk away when he didn't want to. Yet gentle warmth had overcome him as he felt at peace, so serene he almost couldn't feel the solitary tear trickle down his cheek.
"Thank you for being in my life Ashley Marie Hawkinson. Thank you for showing me I could be loved when I thought no one else did. Thank you for making me feel human. Wherever you are, please wait for me when my time comes."
Stepping through the gates Jake approached a waiting black Kuruma and it started up once the driver spotted him. He opened the back driver's side door, but first he would have to look over his shoulder to have one final gaze upon the cemetery where many of his loved ones lay to rest. With an unseen nod he climbed in and shut the door behind him.
"I hope you got to say your final goodbyes," Jill Valentine spoke from the front passenger's seat, an empathetic look in her eyes as she looked back to her darkly-clad companion and reached back to gently pat his gloved hand.
"Yes, thank you. I greatly appreciate you allowing me to stop here," Jake spoke rubbing his right eye.
"No problem, it was the most we could do for you," Chris Redfield said from the driver's seat, never turning back instead looking at him through the rearview mirror.
"What time is it now?" Jake asked, leaning back to relax and stretching out his arms.
"It's almost 5 o'clock, we've got less than an hour to get to the airport," Jill replied staring down at her watch. "Luckily we don't have far to drive."
"I'll punch it all the way if I have to," Chris chuckled shifting the car into drive and slowly pulling away from the graveyard.
"Please, you don't need another ticket," Jill replied rolling her eyes.
Jake sat silently in the back thankful his companions had honored his request allowing him to stop in Somerset so he could say goodbye to his loved ones. It had been a risky move on his behalf, but in the end it proved to be worth it.
Now he could move on with his life and focus on the looming war with Umbrella, one they were determined to win.
Author's Note: Well I thought the day would never come, but finally it has! "Darkness Arises" has FINALLY been completed, and it's only taken me a little over 4 years to do it! Only seems like yesterday I was just writing the prologue.
When I started writing this fic a few years back, I figured this would be a big Grand Theft Auto/Resident Evil crossover and for those of you who don't know, Jake Cavanaugh was originally conceived as an idea for a Grand Theft Auto character, which is why he may seem a little "Mary Sue-ish" to some of my previous reviewers. He was originally meant to star in a GTA fic that never came to be entitled "Jake Cavanaugh: Criminal For Hire," but as time flew by I got more and more into writing this fic to the point where I came to identify Jake as being more of a RE-type character, figuring that his dark, brooding nature fit in better here than it did with the often campy nature of GTA, hence that fic ended up being shoved to the backburner and eventually lost altogether when my computer took a crap on me once in the past, hence this fic is his "proper" debut.
In the end though, I ended up writing one epic fic that I truly enjoyed working on and was always happy to hear what the other members of this site had to say and if they gave me constructive criticism, I took it into consideration for the sake of making my next chapter better than the last. Over time I improved a lot, but I always believe that there is improvement for more and for anybody I may not have told this about in the past, one of my plans for the future is to rewrite this story and make it better than before!
Rest assured though, I AM NOT removing this version of DA from , that way if you decide you don't like my new and improved version of DA, then you will always have this one to fall back upon. I just feel there is so much to improve upon and I want to get it done instead of sit back and forever ponder "what could have been?"
For all you hardcore Jake Cavanaugh fans rest assured this will not be the last you hear of him! Besides the DA rewrite I will also be including him in a sequel entitled "Return to Darkness: The Proteus Strain" and he is one of the main characters in my Street Fighter fic "The Chosen Ones."
In addition to Jake Cavanaugh-related fiction, I will also be working on side stories based on David McGraw and Angela Cataldo.
First up is "Downward Spiral: The Road to Raccoon City's Demise," which follows the story of R.P.D. Officer David McGraw and his activities within the R.P.D. before and after the events of the Spencer Estate incident leading up to the events of the outbreak in Raccoon City. This is both a prequel and side story to "Darkness Arises" as I probably will incorporate some of the DA scenes that prominently featured David in this fic and tell them more so from his point of view.
Next is "Springvale Outbreak," which tells the story of how Detective Angela Cataldo wound up in neighboring Springvale during the events of the Raccoon City outbreak and follows her own battle for survival as Jake fought through the nightmare of Raccoon. I don't know when these projects will be started as I have a lot on my plate creatively at the moment, so bear with me.
Another RE fiction-related idea that's been floating around in my mind lately is a fic where I re-imagine the events of RE1 and 2, but I won't do like the movies do and completely ignore a lot of the RE video game related details at the same time, although it would have plenty of original touches as well.
I'd also like to thank all of my readers and reviewers, past and present, for your support and encouragement. It's because of all of you that this fic got to be as big as it did and you have my infinite gratitude for helping out the way you did. I want to give a few shout outs before I run down the entire list:
Terry – My bro' I know you haven't been on this site in a freaking LONG ass time, but still I count your "Three Days in a Nightmare" fic as one of the major inspirations that really gave me that proverbial kick in the ass I needed to start this fic in the first place. Wherever you are in the creative world (aside from being on my Facebook buddy list) I hope you're doing alright man!
Hyperactive Hamster of Doom – It was because of you allowing me to use Amber Bernstein in this fic that we became great friends; even if it's only online I still count you as one of my great friends whom I met thanks to this fic. Your encouragement helped a lot and you also provided great assistance in acting as a soundboard for new ideas and what not. If you haven't checked out her fics "Project: Lucifer," "Fallout" or "Double Amber," please do so now!
Noctorro – It was also your fics that I count as helping give me the inspiration for starting this fic. You provided some very insightful constructive criticism that helped me think about what to do to improve and make the next chapters better and in the end it paid off. I'm definitely going to take some of your stuff to heart when I work on the rewrite of this that I will entitle "REBORN."
Escape the Shadows and jnhxtreme18 a.k.a. SarahBearX – You are two reviewers who I became great friends with through your many reviews of this fic and you two were both also great for pitching ideas at, some of which I would eventually incorporate into this fic. I know for sure you'll probably follow me on these next DA projects I'm working on.
Crow T R0bot – Once again I'm always glad to inspire and I know both noctorro and HHoD are too, so yeah I'm definitely game if you wish to sound off your ideas for an RE fic of your own. Thanks for your insightful reviews too!
Now onto the long list of those I wish to thank for your reviews:
qwerty, JosephWilliams, Raimi, LordFrieza, Silent Hill Citizen, Bizzyb420, Spider938, Jammer69er (Read his "The Fall of Raccoon" DAMN IT!), Katzumi-sama, mr. red, JNM, TheGreenKnight63, israelbauman, Luke Franklin, Disturbly a.k.a. FireChainsaw, Imortal Fiend, finalfaw, KyleSui, gmanhass, SwordOfLightBladeOfDarkness, Lizard90, noodle-monster, Tale Spinner, M870, -The Ninja-, lionheart614, The Fifth Rider of Armageddon, virulent heresy, cloudfightback, Broden, C, oloeopia333, Auston, Just call me is that a cookie, Leon's Better Self, KiaGirl07, Catalina87, critic, JMec79, Paradox022, ()ChIBI()-chan, HajimeSaketo85, JDM, Jorge, FrEakinGittt, GenLi-sama, TylerD., mEsSenGerofwho?, thoughtmaker, JBabeJanice, Sideris, Innocent Nightmare, BenJehrico, JDDjarrod, Kayla, GradyJMM, Death by Jello, XxMs Ayame RurounixX, Lindsy1, kingofcenturyme, Meowth's Toon Dragon, NatkeyMnnn, ClarkRedfield907, Laney77, Jano, and Mildconcussion
Oh man that's a lot and I know some of you have probably long since departed by now, I still appreciated your support and it was because of all of you I made it this far. Yes there were a few asshole reviewers on here whom I blatantly left off, but rest assured if you're on this list then you're NOT one of them!
Once again it's been one hell of a ride, but in the end I managed to get this story completed and in the process managed to entertain an entire score of hardcore Resident Evil fanatics!
Thank you all for reading "Darkness Arises" and I hope to see your reviews in both the rewrite and the sequel. Until then, I wish you all the best of luck with your stories and future endeavors in general. Keep on updating and keep Resident Evil fiction alive!
For the final time in this fic…
This is the Metal Harbinger (formerly E-Z B) saying SPREAD THE SICKNESS, ONE MIND AT A TIME! \m/