Disclaimer: I don't own Left 4 Dead or Resident Evil. Paul, the yet-to-be-identified-wolf, and the Predator/Berserker are mine, however. Well, the wolf is KINDA mine, though his character ties in with one from one of the games...right. If you want to use them(which I doubt you will, but hey, whatever.), ASK first, wait for a response, and give credit where credit is due.

Concerning the side-story of Paul's adventures: I've decided that it'll be a separate side-story, which I will update, most likely all at once, once Paul comes back into WiSC so that there aren't any spoilers. I already have the prologue and chapter 1 typed, and I have chapter 2 already started. It's working title is "The Misadventures of an Idiotic Sheep." Unless I come up with another title (which I probably won't, 'cause I like that one), then that will be it, so keep your eyes open for it!

I wasn't even planning on writing the next chapter for WiSC...but then I got birthday money in the mail from my grandparents...and went to Game Stop...and saw RE6...and then beat Leon's campaign(for the fourth time) in under three hours...so, yeah, I've got them zambies and Leon on the brain. XD On another note, I'm considering bringing in Jake into this fic, 'cause I like that snarky son-of-a-bitch.

If you're still reading this author's note, I applaud you and your family, and praise you on your upbringing.

Chapter 7

Birth of the Prowlers

Saying that Leon was annoyed was an understatement.

It wasn't the threat of zombies, or the still slightly-suspicious teammates of his that was annoying, oh no.

It was the freaking talking wolf that defied all laws of logic.

Who was stalking him through the woods.

And would not shut up.

The massive animal had lapsed into Infected tongue, and had explained that he found the Infected language easier to work his tongue around, considering its grunts, snarls, and growls were similar to the way he was used to communicating with. Either the wolf had said that, or had gone off on a tangent about watermelons. Leon wasn't entirely sure. He had stopped listening right around the fifth time the wolf refused to take a hint and leave.

It wasn't that Leon wasn't excited about finding another Infected who wasn't completely bat-shit insane, because he was. Of course, if that Infected had been human, it would have been better, but Leon was willing to take what he could. On any other occasion, Leon would gladly engage the wolf in an intellectual debate; in other words, interrogate the hell out of the wolf over how the animal knew him. But his personal opinion wasn't the problem, it was his team's.

Even though the Survivors acted calm around Leon, like the accepted him as he was, they still jumped if he snuck up behind them on accident, flinch as his mutated hand - even with the bandages covering it - was lifted too close to them, recoil if he did something that made his status as Infected painfully obvious. Leon wasn't blind, or stupid like the other Infected; he saw the way the others reacted. Surprisingly, Zoey was the only one who didn't flinch around him. If it had been anyone to behave the way Zoey was, Leon would have guessed veteran-Bill, or dense-Francis. Even level-headed-Louis, to a certain degree. But not run-into-every-situation-gun's-blazing-because-"I saw it on a TV show/video game"-Zoey.

...on second thought, her calm demeanor made perfect sense.

Either way, his relationship with the Survivors was still on shaky grounds, and a massive wolf that hid tentacles under his flesh that was currently lapsing in and out of the Hunter and Smoker variations of the Infected tongue wasn't really helping him.

For the past two hours since the wolf rescued them, Leon had been carefully and methodically slowing his pace, until he had unnoticeably dropped behind the group of four. Once he was satisfied with the distance he had put between him and his teammates, he whirled on the white wolf.

"Would you shut up for ten minutes?" Leon hissed, glaring hard at the wolf, forcing his eyes to flash yellow in an attempt to frighten the wolf. And of course, it had no effect; the wolf just stared at him with that strange "raised eyebrow" expression of his.

"I was trying to annoy you into talking." The wolf replied evenly. He shook out a bit of dust from his fur, and continued to trot after the group of Survivors, forcing Leon to resume his walking. "You're being too quiet. Of course, you were never much of a talker before, but still, I would think that somebody who forgot their past, and then found somebody who could fill them in, at least a bit, wouldn't stay quiet. Soooo..." The wolf trailed off. "What do you have on your mind?"

"No, I'm not doing this." Leon muttered to himself, shaking his head. "I am not getting into a discussion with a wolf."

"No quiero hablar?" The wolf spoke, cocking his head. "Si quieres, puedo hablar."

"No!" Leon snapped, his annoyed expression faltering as the wolf grinned.

"Well, you remember Spanish. That's good."

"...I'm going to throttle your neck."

"No you won't! Because, if you do, you'll never get answers to your ever-burning questions."

"There's somebody else who can tell me about me." 'BLACKOUT, for one. They probably know everything about me, especially if Paul's theory is correct.'

"Oh? And you know where to find this person?" Leon was silent. "I thought so. So! Looks like you're stuck with me!"

"You are not following us all over the damn country!" Leon barked, tangling his fingers in the fur on the back of the wolf's neck to keep the massive animal from moving off any further. "I've already got enough problems on my plate, I don't need a logic-defying animal added to that!"

Instead of agreeing with Leon's words, or agreeing to leave like Leon had hoped, the wolf lazily blinked, long and slow.

"You don't exactly fit into the box labeled "logic" yourself there, Leon." Leon released a frustrated squeak, sounding more like a dying chipmunk than an annoyed man.


The mentioned man was suddenly gone, vanishing with a loud, indignant screech.

Zoey stood directly two feet from where Leon had been, her confused eyes blinking rapidly as the wolf rolled around on the ground, literally roaring with laughter.

"Shut up, mutt!"

Zoey craned her neck, peering up into the tree branches above her.

Leon was clinging to a thick branch, the claws on his hands digging so far into the bark, his claws weren't even visible anymore. His legs were wrapped around the branch, and he was hugging it like his life depended on it. Upside-down. Like a sloth.

"...what're you doing up there?" Zoey asked, her cheeks inflating with barely-suppressed laughter. Seeing this, Leon's face brightened to the likeness of a tomato.

"Well, what're you doing down there?" He countered.

Great comeback, Leon. Really. That was very nice, very well executed.

And to make the situation so much better, Scott had returned. Lovely.

Peeling his fingers from the branch, Leon dropped back to the forest floor, his face set in something that was "definitely not a pout."

"That was perfect."

"Nobody wanted your opinion!" Zoey offered a sickeningly-sweet smile, one that could send shivers down the spines of war vets and bikers alike; in fact, it did, a fact that could be attested by Bill and Francis.

"Aw, you're talking with your pet! So cute..."

"He is not my pet!"

"Ha, the woman likes me! Score! I'm totally starting to blend with the group. In your FACE! Hey, can I have a gun?" Leon rounded on the wolf, choosing that over glowering at the brunette woman.

"Listen, buddy, she does not like you, you are not starting to blend, it is not in my face, and NO YOU CANNOT HAVE A GUN!"

Zoey was by the wolf's side in mere seconds, somehow teleporting there in the time it took for Leon to blink. Her face was buried in the side of the wolf's neck, rubbing her cheek on his bright fur.

"Aw, his name is Buddy? That's an adorable name, Leon. I didn't know you had it in you."

"I didn't name him, because he isn't my pet!"

"He's totally your pet."

"I'm totally your emotional-support puppy."

"...both of you, shut up." Leon pinched the bridge of his nose. "Zoey, I didn't name him, and he's not my pet. I don't even remember where I would have met a wolf, let alone when I may or may not have met this one." He waved his hand in dismissal. "He likes you, maybe he'll listen to you. Tell him to leave so we can go find the evac camp."

For a long moment, Zoey looked back and forth between Leon and the wolf, her face blank, her eyes unblinking.

"I now dub you Buddy Kennedy."


"Zom-boy, Buddy. Buddy, Zom-boy. Now let's make nice so we can all be one, big dysfunctional family again." She stood, and unceremoniously rejoined the group of Survivors, who were stopped for a break a few yards ahead. "I was serious, you know! Anybody sane is a Survivor to me, whether you're human, animal, or something in between." She said pointedly, staring hard at Leon. He frowned and diverted his glare to a tree, silently attempting to burn a hole through the bark. Of course, he understood what Zoey was trying to say. But did that make him want to listen any more? No, not really. He would still rather kick the wolf off a cliff.

Speaking of the wolf...

"...I like her. Can I have one?"

"...shut up, Buddy."

:::One Day Later:::

'So, it's official.' Leon thought along as his fingers flew over the keyboard of his patched-together laptop. 'Our rag-tag little group of dysfunction now has a talking, mutant zombie-wolf as a teammate. So instead of scouting ahead and killing Infected to keep our temporary camp safe, I have to baby-sit a mutt.

'...my life is now complete.

'He doesn't even make any sense! I mean, a talking wolf! How does that work? How does the Infection make a wolf able to speak human languages?! The Infection removes the ability to speak Human, not create it!

'...oh, and the damn dog won't leave me alone.'

"Hey, vamp-man!"

Leon slammed his laptop closed and stuffed it into his backpack before Francis could lay his eyes on it. He had found the laptop, and had managed to repair it, while still in Mercy City. He hadn't told anybody that he had it, that it was working, or that the Internet of all things was somehow still working. And, fearing for his laptop's life, he had refrained from telling anybody he had it. Even Paul. Especially Paul.

"What?" Leon responded, adding an extra edge of annoyance and gruffness in hopes Francis hadn't caught a glimpse of what had been in his hands, nor what he had been doing. That man would never let Leon live down the fact he was keeping a type of blog concerning life as an Infected.

"We've got good news." Francis pulled a folded-up piece of paper from his back pocket and flicked it over into Leon's awaiting hands. The blonde Infected peeled it open, grimacing at the dried blood that had been keeping it together. He sent a pointed look to Francis. "Yeah...ran into a few vamps while scouting ahead."

Ignoring the fact that Francis got to scout ahead and have fun instead of him, Leon returned his attention to the paper.

Riverside, Illinois

Northeast Illinois

Military Evacuation!

There is an evacuation center being run by the U.S. military in Riverside, Illinois. Any and all who are able to make the trip are advised to do so for evacuation to a safe zone.

Leon frowned and pulled out one of the many maps he had shoved into his backpack on different occasions. He unrolled the map, his eyes scanning the different towns on the map of Illinois. 'No...no...no...ah ha!' There, in Lake County! A small dot labeled Riverside! And if his estimations were correct, that little town wasn't too far off; it was probably the place he had smelled in the first place.

"Where'd you find this?" The Predator asked, waving the paper in the air before handing it back.

"Bill and I found a road not too far from here."

"In the direction I had pointed?" Leon asked with a shit-eating grin, one that went ignored by the biker.

"We found it there." The darker-haired man continued. "Zoey and Louis are looking over the maps now, and they think that road leads to Riverside."

"A town?" Buddy asked, leaning over Leon's shoulder to peer at the map. Leon snatched it away from him, rolling it up and replacing it in his backpack with a glare at the wolf, who had been sleeping. "With military evacuations? That's what we're looking for, right?"

Leon pushed against the neck of the wolf, forcing him to back up.

"Yes, that's what we're looking for." Leon turned to Francis, ignoring his confused expression at Leon's responding to a bunch of growls. "When will we be heading out?"

"As soon as you're reading to go." Francis replied, crossing his arms. Leon was on his feet in moments, swinging his backpack over his shoulders.

"Then I'm ready now."

:::On the Road:::

"...well, this is a load of bull." Zoey spoke in a falsely-cheerful voice, staring with a blank face at the mangled bridge before the group. The entire bridge had collapsed, leaving only a few feet left over on either end. One end was just a sheer drop, while the other end - the end of the bridge they were wanting to reach - had a slanted slab of concrete and asphalt tilted towards the ground. Even if they went down the embankment into the dried up river, though, the end of the slanted slab was too high, and it was too steep to shimmy their way up.

To put it simply, they were stuck.

"So, either we try to find another way around..." Zoey leaned carefully over the edge of the broken bridge, peering down to the end of a fall that would certainly break her legs, if not just kill her from the impact. She looked up to what remained of the other side of the bridge. "...or we can risk sliding down that thing, and possibly fall to our deaths."

"That's assuming we don't just gouge ourselves to death, first." Bill added, nodding his head towards the rods of twisted, jagged metal that were supposed to reenforce the bridge, but had failed at its job. Louis groaned.

"Why can't our lives ever just be simple?"

"Then it wouldn't be a apocalypse, now would it?" Leon asked rhetorically, staring thoughtfully at the gap between the two ends of the bridge, paying no real attention to what he was saying. He glanced to his teammates. "I could probably make that jump, even with my ankle all screwed up."

"No. Nuh uh. No way." Zoey shook her head. "Not gonna risk it."

"Your concern is touching, Zoey, really, but we have to get over there-"

"And we will. The bridge isn't our only way of getting to Riverside, you know." Leon glanced at the green highway sign that read "Riverside," which hung askew directly above the mouth of the tunnel across the bridge.

"Yeah, but it'd be faster." He raised an eyebrow in Louis's direction, the aforementioned man still quietly lamenting about life's lost non-complexities. "And simpler." Zoey crossed her arms.

"As your self-appointed nurse, I'm telling you no. Don't make me drug you up on pain pills until you think you're on fire. Again."

Leon was torn between laughing at her statement, pointing out that Paul had threatened something very similar once, attempting the jump anyway, or cringing at the memory of the night before, when he had refused to rest. So instead, he settled for just shutting up and nodding.

"I bet I could make the jump." Buddy mused, cocking his head back and forth while staring at the gap. "Tell her!"

Leon relayed the message, grinding his teeth together. They all knew Buddy could speak English, so why didn't the dumb wolf not just do that instead of using Leon as a go-between?

"Are you sure?" Zoey asked. "It's a far jump, and the only reason Leon would be able to make it is because he has the abilities of a Hunter." Buddy just nodded enthusiastically. "...alright, if you think you can, go ahead and see."

Buddy whipped around to face the bridge, his long tongue lolling out of his mouth in concentration as he dragged his claws along the road. He suddenly darted forward, racing towards the gap.

He threw himself off of the bridge, limps stretching out and head lowering to cut down wind resistance.

He sailed through the air, tail like a streamer behind him.

It was like the world had gone into slow motion, the group of four Survivors and one Infected tracking the wolf's progress with their eyes, while Louis's and Zoey's jaws dropped in awe.

A confident grin spread across Buddy's maw.


Buddy slammed stomach-first into the end of the slanted slab of concrete, and slowly slid off, peeling away from the asphalt before falling to the ground, far below, with a resounding THUD.

Leon promptly introduced his palm to his face.

A short series of barks were issued from the dried-up riverbed, and four pairs of eyes turned to one fair-haired Infected for translation.

"He said, and I quote, "Never mind, screw that.""

"Plan A, then? Right. Plan A." Bill waved for the group to follow him, leading them around the barrier of the bridge, and down the steep embankment to the bottom of the riverbed, where Buddy was gnawing on a freshly-slaughtered Infected.

'Lovely.' Leon thought with a grimace. "What now, oh wise and powerful leader?" Leon asked, sarcasm dripping from his words, as he gestured to the torn-apart ladder that would have brought them up to the top of the other side of the bridge. He contemplated asking Zoey if he could jump now, but the look on her face was answer enough. 'What's the point of having these abilities if I can't just use them already?!'

Women, am I right?

'Nice of you to make a return, Scott. Where were you when I was crashing a helicopter?'

I was...busy.

'Busy?! With what?! You're a voice inside my head! What were you doing? Going to a mental-club with my inner child?'

As a matter of fact, I was.

Leon refrained from palming his forehead again, but he desperately wished to.

Keeping a tight grip on his beloved Desert Eagle, he strode over to Bill, who had pulled out his own map once Leon pointed out the broken ladder. Noticing the blonde man hanging over his shoulder, Bill shifted slightly, and pointed at a spot directly on Lake Michigan's coast. "See this spot here?" The silver-haired man asked. "That's Riverside. That's where the evacuations are happening." He shifted his finger minutely to the left. "We're around here. We have to get from here to there with little supplies, few guns, and our massive group."

"And hope the evacuations are still going on." Leon muttered, narrowing his eyes as he peered at the map. Leon, personally, had no problem going on a hike instead of through tunnels and over roads. Knowing his luck, even if they had gotten to the other side of the bridge, he probably would have had to lead the group through a series of tunnels and sewers before they found anything even remotely related to a town. The chances of running into Infected would be greater on roads, too; the Infected might not be the brightest crayons in the box, but even they knew to stick to places that were popular for travel, in hopes of snagging a Survivor.

"Yeah, and that...I don't suppose you've remembered something about your days of being an agent, and now know the best route to get to the evac point?"

"If I wasan agent... and no, I don't." Leon spun in a slow circle, once again sniffing the air. Thanks to them being near a road, the smell of death hung heavier in the air, but he had already learned to pick through the scent, and move on to others. "There's some hiking trails over that way, I think." Leon said slowly, gesturing towards the east. "But I smell quite a few Infected over there."

"Better than sitting around here like bait." Bill grunted as he hefted his M16 up onto his shoulder. "Hiking trails this way, folks! Let's go!"

Leon took up the mantle of leading the group towards where he had smelled the hiking trail, the scent of sweat, food, and hiking supplies concentrated in a long, thin line; how hiking supplies had a scent, and why he had managed to identify it, he had no idea, but he wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth. Buddy trotted alongside him, keeping an alert eye out for any Infected that thought it wise to try and sneak up on the group.

"So. You said you knew stuff about me. Start talking." Leon muttered out of the side of his mouth, staring unblinking at the lines of trees on either side of him as the group entered the hiking trail. He suddenly whirled and pulled the trigger, lodging a bullet in the skull of a wandering Common that had been stumbling a bit too close for Leon's liking.

"Well, I don't know too much - hey, don't give me that glare, I probably know more than you! - so I won't be able to answer all of your questions, but...go ahead, ask away." Buddy replied.

"How do I know you?"

"Ah, the obvious question. How creative. You were on a mission in Spain. To make a long story - one where I'm missing most of the details - short, I had my foot caught in a bear trap, and you stopped and helped me out of it. Thanks for that, by the way; I never got to thank you properly."

"I was on a mission? So I was an agent."

"Yes, one of the president's closest, if your assignment was anything to go by. You were rescuing the president's kidnapped daughter."

"I knew the president? Holy-"

"Yep, you knew him. You have a new president now, so I don't understand why that is impressive."

"It just is, alright?" Especially since Leon had been operating under the assumption that he had been a run-of-the-mill agent, not a special one. "What about what you said back there? That I had a...thing...inside of me?"

"A Plaga! Nasty little buggers. That was the Infection of the week back then. The gist of it is that a Plaga is this littler parasite that you get put inside of you, it matures, and then boom, you're pretty much dead, and the Plaga runs your mind. You had one inside of you, but you got rid of it in time. I wasn't actually there for that, but I would be able to smell if you didn't. That's what I have in my back; a Plaga. A Plaga inside of a wolf turns that wolf into a Colmillos. That's what I am, but without the does of insanity." The wolf seemed to frown. "That's all I really know, though."

For a while, the group walked on in silence, with the quiet broken only by gunshots to take out any stray Infected.

"What about a group called BLACKOUT?" Leon asked, frowning as he forced himself to speak in Infected; the Survivors knew little to nothing about the group following Leon, and he wanted to keep it that way, for the time being.

Instantly, Buddy's fur bristled.

"They're annoying." He responded, a light growl lacing his words. "I've seen their agents all over this country, and I saw a few of them in Spain, too, before I came here. I don't know anything about them, aside from that they're sticking their noses where they don't belong. Why? How do you know about them?"

"They've been following me." The Predator said. "They've attempted to attack me more than once now. Once, they almost succeeded."

"...I don't know much about them, Leon, but I do know that if they're coming for you, then you're in trouble. I saw their agents drag off Infected and Survivors alike, and I've never seen either returned. They're bad news, I can smell it."

"Thanks, I'll keep that in mind." Leon suddenly halted, throwing up his arm to get the Survivors trailed behind him to halt, and he drove his knee lightly into Buddy's side, alerting the Colmillos. "Buddy? Didn't you tell me yesterday that the Green Flu doesn't effect animals?" The wolf frowned, but nodded.

"Yes, why?" He asked, speaking English for the benefit of the four behind him and Leon. Said blonde Infected slowly holstered his Desert Eagle, and slid his M16 from his back. He lifted it, pointing the barrel to the trail ahead.

"Mind telling them that?"

Up ahead on the trail, near a bend in the road, crawled two figures, but equal in size, a size that nearly reached Buddy's own. The beasts resembled wolves as well; in fact, they were wolves, both a deep black in color, with eyes a cloudy white from the Infection. Behind the wolves staggered a mass of Common Infected, following the wolves like the souls of Limbo who scrambled eternally after a blank banner.

"What the-" Francis choked. "Vampire wolves?! I thought that white one was the only one!"

"If it makes a difference, so did I." Buddy called back over his shoulder, his hackles rising as he pulled his black lips back from his fangs. "Taking out Lessers is easy. Taking out Greaters is a bit difficult, but still easy. Human bodies are naturally soft, and easy to shred. Something that's been raised to fight for its life?" Buddy snorted.

"This won't be easy. We should probably run...you take the one on the left, I take the one on the right?"

"Just what I was thinking. Vamos!" The Colmillos was off like a shot, back splitting open with a snarl to reveal the whipping tendrils of flesh that sprouted from his back like vines. Buddy unceremoniously tackled the wolf on the left, quickly becoming a snarling tangle of fur, flesh, claws, and fangs.

"You guys take the Infected! Leave the wolf to me." Leon gave a little hop - which, in reality, carried him to the point that his feet cleared seven feet - and latched onto a low-hanging branch. He swung himself up on it, momentarily paused to readjust his weight and regain his balance, and then braced himself for the recoil of his M16 as he fired it directly into the face of the other wolf.

The Infected animal snarled, a bloody froth dripping from its shredded maw, its deranged, milky-white eyes focusing intently on him. 'Great, I have his attention. Now what?'


Now, Leon had learned to trust his instincts, especially when his instincts were able to create their own body in his mind. So when his instincts told him it was a good idea to run, he usually didn't argue.

Leon sprang backwards, the very same instincts that had told him to move forcing him to automatically land and readjust his balance on the next branch. And not a moment too soon, either; the black-furred wolf was no pushover, and had leapt the distance to where Leon had been standing previously, razor-sharp claws smashing right through the branch that was as wide around as Leon's neck.

'Note to self: Don't be hit by its paw.' Leon thought. He spun around and leapt to the next branch, spinning around the drunk to an opposite branch to veer off the trail and leap deeper into the forest. He picked up the pace, blindly springing from tree to tree like some kind of rabid squirrel on steroids, firing randomly over his shoulder to attract the attention of the black-furred wolf, and lead it away from the others. 'This is awesome! Jumping across buildings is cool, sure, but this is like being a ninja! That's cooler than being a government agent, right? Holy crap, I could do this all day!'

And then his ankle gave a painful twinge and rolled from its socket, and Leon rolled right of the tree he was navigating. He wrapped his fingers around his injured ankle tightly, the pressure on the joint relieving just a bit of the pain for the moment. "Dammit!" He barked, massaging the joint. Oh, he could just hear Zoey's taunting voice now, about how she had been right, and that nurses knew best, and blah blah blah...

Without even realizing it, Leon rolled to the left, just barely avoiding the massive, slamming paws of the black wolf as it smashed through a tree, splinters of bark flying every which way. Leon blinked his eyes wide, scrambling to his feet and hardly taking the time to aim his M16 before pulling the trigger.

The dozens of bullets that he unloaded from the magazine slammed into the side of the wolf, knocking it back as it flailed and screeched. Even as it did so, though, Leon only saw a few, small droplets of blood fly, and for all he knew, the blood had been from a previous victim that had yet to dry.

Ratta tatta tatt-click click click cli-

'...uh oh.' The Predator whipped a new magazine out of its pouch at his waist, swiftly and effortlessly twitching out the empty magazine for the new one. But the few seconds that this took was all the wolf needed; it lunged.

Leon danced backwards, backpedaling as fast as he could while still trying to reload his weapon. The wolf's claws slashed at his chest, just barely breaking through the cloth of his shirt, and the skin beneath.

"Hey!" Leon snapped, thrusting his fist into the snout of the beast, a satisfying and loud CRACK bouncing off of the trees. "This was my last shirt! I like these shirts!"

The wolf whimpered, rubbing its from right leg against its muzzle and face to clear the fresh blood from its eyes.

Leon waved his hand up and down, rolling his wrist. "Dang, your face is as hard as granite!"

"I'll kill you..." The wolf snarled, and Leon blinked in slight surprise. So Buddy wasn't the only animal that could speak the language of the Infected. Then again, it only made sense, since the wolf was Infected, so he didn't really know why he was surprised at all. Leon grinned.

"I'd like to see you try." Taking advantage of the wolf's shocked expression - a "human," understanding and speaking the language of the Infected - Leon unloaded the new magazine of bullets into the freshly-wounded face of the Infected wolf, the high-speed pieces of metal tearing into the soft flesh underneath the rock-hard but broken skin. "Why won't you just die already?!" Was this what would happen if he got shot in the face? Absolutely nothing?!

The wolf suddenly squealed, reeling backwards, flailing its head back and forth, blood splattering on the bright grass.

Leon stared in confusion, lowering his weapon slightly. What had-

You shot him in the eye. Scott supplied. Nice.

'Oh, I did? So spraying and praying DOES work!' Leon reloaded his M16, tossing the spent magazine into the pocket for empty magazines. Out of all thirty rounds, only one hit home. Only one did any kind of damage. 'Sort of.'

The wolf's head snapped around, its blind eyes - 'Oh, I hit both his eyes. Sweet!' - glaring unseeingly at the male Infected. 'Ha, he can't see me! This'll be easy-SHIT!'

Leon struggled under the sudden grip of the wolf's claws; the massive beast had sprang the distance between itself and Leon, slamming into him and driving him to the forest floor.

It can still smell your blood, genius.

'Thanks for warning me sooner!'

Grunting, Leon slammed the butt of the M16 into the wolf's sternum repeatedly, reaching around the thick front limbs of the monster to reach his - hopefully - softer underbelly.

The wolf, however, was unrelenting, and refused to remove from where it had the upper hand. It snapped its jaws, pushing against Leon's gun in an attempt to sink its long fangs into his face, bloody drool dripping in thick strings onto Leon's face and the ground surrounding him.

'Ugh, gross!' "Screw this!" He pressed his left foot against the underside of the wolf, and shoved off with as much strength he could muster in his compromised position.

That sucker flew.

Leon watched, his jaw dropped and eyes wide, as the wolf sailed off into the evening sky, a loud mix of a screech and a howl trailing behind it, long limbs flailing as it tumbled off into oblivion.


A long, shrill whistle startled Leon out of his frozen posture, his head whipping around as far as it could go.

Standing by the tree that Leon had slipped off of was the four Survivors plus one slightly-bloodied Buddy, all eyes comically wide, and more than one jaw dropped.

"Damn, boy." Bill whistled again.

"I, uh, forgot I was able to do that." And he had; his intent had been to just shove the wolf off so he could get back to his feet, not launch the poor sucker into the upper atmosphere.

He scrambled to his feet, dusting himself off and replacing his M16 on his back. "How was everything on your end?"

"Good enough." Louis said with a shrug.

"I got bit." Francis moaned, cradling his left hand, gingerly rubbing his thumb over the round, semi-circle of a bite mark. "A dumb vampire bit me! I can already feel myself turnin'. Can anybody see my fangs? I think my fangs have already shown up!"

"You're immune, Francis. Shut your mouth."

"You shut your mouth, old man! You don't know what this feels like! I'm dying!" Francis's shoulders shook with suppressed sobs. "We're gonna have to cut it off! I'm gonna lose my shotgun hand!"

"You use two hands for your shotgun, boy, they're both your shotgun hand!"

"Sorry about him." Zoey sighed, moving over to Leon's side with an apologetic smile. "I gave him some extra-strength pain pills so he would stop complaining about his little bite."

Leon glanced over at Francis, his eyebrow raising as the dark-haired man collapsed dramatically onto the ground, weeping openly about his "lost humanity."

"How's that working for you?"

Zoey just sighed and smacked her forehead with her palm.

:::Later That Night:::

Leon reclined against a tree with a content sigh, slipping his backpack off his shoulders and letting it plop unceremoniously onto the ground. He slid after it, hitting the ground with a dull THUD.

The Survivors had decided to stop for the night, even if they were still out in the open. Without any sign of a safe house around, there wasn't much of a choice. Buddy and Leon had helped the others erect a barrier between them and the outside world; Leon and Buddy had worked to tear down trees and stack them in a small, sort of roundish circle seven feet tall. At the very least, it would slow the flow of Infected down long enough for them to pick them off.

Now, though, he sat against a tree inside of the small circle, rubbing his chest where the wolf had slashed him.

Buddy trotted up to the blonde-haired Infected, frowning and cocking his head. "You're hurt." He said needlessly. "Do you want me to get Zoey?" Leon smirked and shook his head, removing his hand and lifting his shirt to show three, thin pink lines where the wolf's claws had made contact. Even now, the pink lines were fading to a faint white.

"Rapid healing. Gotta love it." Small injuries, of course, were easier. Large wounds, like broken bones, took longer. 'Especially when that broken bone is your ankle.' Leon thought with a small glare in the direction of the aforementioned joint. Leon's smile vanished. "Is something wrong?"

"I...have to talk to you." Buddy trotted to Leon's side and lay down. He curled his head around behind him, near his left hind leg, and pulled something from around his paw. He thrust his head forward, offering the object to Leon.

The Infected man took it slowly, glancing back and forth between the wolf and the thing he had handed to him. "How in the hell were you hiding that around your ankle?"

"Just look at it, Leon."

The man sighed and redirected his attention, staring at the long strip of thick leather that Buddy had handed to him. He frowned. "A collar?" He asked. "...are you asking me to put it on you or something?" Buddy shook his head with a snort.

"No! It belonged to the Infected wolf I fought. I ripped it off his throat on accident." Buddy gestured with his snout to the jagged tear in the leather. "But that's beside the point. Look at the plate on the front."

Leon twisted the collar around, a glint of metal catching his eye.

Attached to what could only be the front of the collar was a long, narrow strip of silver metal, letters pressed into the surface to spell out words. Blood and dirt clung to the rusty metal, but the words were still legible. One word was, in particular.


The blood in Leon's veins grew icy cold and he blanched, turning as white as a ghost. His fingers froze, no longer absentmindedly rubbing his still-sore chest. The collar slid from his fingers.

"...they were from BLACKOUT?" Leon asked quietly, though really, he didn't know why he was whispering; the Survivors wouldn't be able to understand him, anyway. Buddy nodded.

"I think so, yes."

"...then that means that BLACKOUT is near?"

"Maybe." Buddy shrugged noncommittally. How a canine shrugged, Leon would never know. "I don't know. This Infection has been going on for a while. If they've been out of wherever BLACKOUT is located, then it's possible they just wandered all the way here. I mean, I started looking for you once the Infection hit Spain, and I got halfway across the world in that amount of time."

"Hmm..." Leon's eyes darted to the four Survivors. "...do you think I should tell them?" He asked. "About BLACKOUT, I mean. If any BLACKOUT agents are around here, then we might be in trouble."

"We're in trouble either way." Buddy sighed. "Tell them if you want. It's you they're following, not me. That makes it your decision. I just wanted to let you know what I found."

"Thanks." Leon mumbled, returning to staring at the metal plate on the collar.

He had thought he had left behind the BLACKOUT nonsense when he escaped Mercy City.

Now, he wasn't so sure.

He flexed his right hand, staring at where black, rock-hard flesh was peaking through the bandages that were quickly becoming shredded on the sharp edges of his new flesh.

'Nothing can ever just be simple, can it?'

Welcome to life, Leon. Scott said. Don't let it smack you in the ass on your way out.

:::San Diego, California:::

He found it all funny. Hysterical, really.

The world had gone to Hell. Most of San Diego was a burnt-out, rusted shell of its former glory. No longer were there a plethora of shiny, tall buildings that reached their fingers towards the sky. No longer were there little metal ants, filled with little people going about their normal, mundane lives. Replacing it all was piles of rubble and ash, gutted cars, and the Infected.

And he sat above it all in probably the last skyscraper that stayed true to its original glory, watching through the massive windows of his office as those less fortunate, those who didn't work for him, were left to wither and die.

Yes, William Roth found it all very laughable.

'Petty humans. Living their comfortable lives. Let's see them live so comfortably now.'He mentally sneered. He was brought out of his thoughts as the door slammed open, a man dressed in the armor-like uniform of his personal soldiers walking swiftly in. "What?" Roth snapped, glowering at the man who dared interrupt his joyful thoughts.

"Sir, we tracked the three members of Psi Team as they searched for Prototype-Alpha, as you directed, sir."

"And?" Roth demanded eagerly. The failure of Alpha Team to return his pet had left Roth in a state of annoyance and anger that border-lined rage; apparently, they had run into difficulties. Prototype-Alpha, it seemed, had made a friend.

That alone went against the Project's programming, not to mention so many other things that it did that had been reported.

While Psi Team wasn't even close to being the best team of soldiers he had, they were still known to get the job done when needed. Hopefully they had more success than Alpha Team.

"...we've, uh, lost contact with them, sir."


Roth removed his fist from the fresh crack in the surface of his expensive desk, his teeth grinding together.

"Prototype-Alpha killed them?" He asked, his voice dangerously low. If the Project - Prototype-Alpha, the Predator, Theta, whatever he wanted to call him - had killed the three he had sent, then not all would be lost. At least it would show that the Project wasn't a complete failure when it came to mental programming.

"We don't know, sir. Agents Zeta, Sigma, and Epsilon have dropped off the grid. Last they were heard from, they were headed towards the main hospital of Mercy City, where they believed Prototype-Alpha to be hiding. We haven't heard from them since."

Roth swiveled his chair around, breathing heavily through clenched teeth in an effort to reign himself in.

It wasn't a complete loss. There was still the possibility that Prototype-Alpha had finally started to kill humans, as it was supposed to. Maybe all of Roth's work hadn't been a complete waste.

"And what of Prototype-Alpha's friend?" He scoffed as he said the last word; monsters shouldn't have friends, couldn't have friends. It had to be some sort of fluke. "What of him? What of the camp he was helivaced to?"

"The walls were breached, just as you wanted, sir. The camp was overrun. Alpha team is searching for his body in the corpses; their punishment for failure, as per your orders. Sir." The soldier quickly added the "sir" at the end, almost having forgotten it. Doing so could have resulted in him being thrown into the Pit; definitely not a place he wanted to be without any weapons.

"Good. Report to me when his body is found. Not if, soldier, when."


"Dismissed." The soldier moved to leave, but Roth suddenly spun around. "Wait." The soldier immediately stopped and performed an abrupt about-face.


"What were those things? With the tongues? The ones we made from the recovered sample that was found in Raccoon City a few years back?" Roth asked. "What were the guards calling them? The ones with the claws."

"...Lickers, sir?"

"Yes! Those! Lickers." Roth leaned back in his large chair. "Give them something that has Prototype-Alpha's scent on it; that jacket that it keeps leaving all over the place. Use that. Send out of a pack of them to track down my little pet and bring it back here."

"Yessir!" The soldier once again turned to leave.

"Oh, and Captain?" The soldier paused and looked over his shoulder at his boss. "Make sure the Lickers' mental programming lets them know that they can drag it back with all bones broken, and beaten within an inch of its life. Am I clear?"


"Good. Now you're dismissed." Roth turned back to his favorite spot to stare at, loving how the smoke twirled into the skyline of the once great city. 'Let's see how Prototype-Alpha deals with a blast from its past.'

A/N: Yay! Chapter seven done! ...I still haven't named it yet...

...there we go! Named it. In case you were wondering, "Prowlers" are the massive zombie wolves. If we want to be technical, Buddy is half-Colmillos, half-Prowler. Mostly Colmillos, though.

Um...return of BLACKOUT? Yes.

...I've lost my train of thought.


~ Kitsune-242