Jill Valentine felt her heart seize in fear, as she and HUNK tumbled off side of the building, towards metal the railing of the scaffold.
There was a horribly long moment of free fall as the world around her slowed down and she took in all the details.
She could see HUNK's outstretched arms before him, his gloved hands reaching towards the rail they were rapidly closing in on.
For a split second, she was sure his hands would miss the railing and the pair of survivors would tumble down into the alley below.
At the very last moment, HUNK's hands latched roughly onto the iron railing.
HUNK's front crashed into the side of the scaffold, but he kept his hands firmly grasping onto it. The entire scaffold shook and swayed slightly under the weight.
Jill's head buckled back from the impact and she adjusted her grip on HUNK and closed her eyes. They hung from the railing for several moments.
"Are you sure that you can you pull us up?" she asked desperately, opening her eyes slightly. "We probably weigh too much together."
"Of course I can" HUNK's voice replied coldly. "As I said, nothing stops me."
HUNK's arm muscles strained as he began lifting them slowly up the rail with an incredible strength.
HUNK brought them higher, lifted one boot up and looped it over the railing. Next he swung the other leg over and dropped to the scaffold floor.
He turned his head and looked back at the roof they had came from.
The monsters were still staggering towards them, ignoring the gap in between the buildings. The low hungry moans still filled the air. Jill followed his gaze and watched them from over HUNK's shoulder.
The lead zombies stepped over to the roofs edge. They attempted to continue on, but their feet only touched the air.
They went tumbling helplessly down over the side and into the empty alley seven stories below.
HUNK watched as the rest of the horde fell off the side of the building, crashing face first into the pavement. The monsters below lay squirming and writhing in a pile in the alley.
"Stupid creatures", HUNK commented to himself with cold amusement. "Now we head up to this roof". He turned them both over to the control panel and examined the multiple colored buttons.
"Hmm...", HUNK muttered to himself, considering them.
"Try that one", Jill told him, extending a hand at a larger red button.
HUNK pressed it firmly with a single gloved finger and the scaffold creaked, shifted and began a slow yet steady ascension to the roof.
HUNK took a deep muffled breath, and Jill rested her head on his shoulder again.
The scaffold finally reached the top, nine floors from the pavement of the street. In the middle of the roof there was a section with a closed metal door, leading down into the apartment building.
"We can find an empty apartment to get your wound healed", HUNK informed Jill.
"Are we going to stay until morning?", She asked hopefully. "I'm completely exhausted".
HUNK nodded in confirmation.
"I know you are", he replied neutrally. "Yes, we're staying here. It isn't safe to move tonight plus I'd have to carry you everywhere if we did".
He reached into his belt and removed the TMP. The weapon snapped up in both hands as he raised the stock to his shoulder, it's laser sight leveled at the door.
HUNK paced across the rickety scaffold, the sound of boots treading on metal sounded through the quiet rooftop, along with Jill's labored breathing.
He stepped off the scaffolding and moved carefully across the roof towards the door.
When he reached the door, he cautiously grasped the door handle and slowly opened it.
There was a creak in the door frame as HUNK opened it fully and stepped onto the dark staircase.
He activated the flashlight mounted underneath the weapon and scanned the bright beam of light passed over the entire staircase. It was all clear.
HUNK descended down the steps carefully.
When he reached the bottom of the stairs and walked to the corner leading to the 8th floor hallway, he stopped.
HUNK peaked his head around the corner carefully, then nodded to himself, pulling his head back.
"Trouble?", Jill asked from behind him quietly.
"No. The whole floor looks empty", HUNK replied calmly.
HUNK stepped around the corner and moved quickly down the hall.
He stopped outside one door and looked at it. It was labeled boldly: 8H
"Well... this one is as good as anywhere", HUNK muttered to himself quietly.
He reached his left hand and grasped the doorknob, slowly turning it.
HUNK silently pushed the door open, flicked on the light switch beside the door. The lights flickered on, they were fairly dim. HUNK scanned the room observantly.
It was completely empty. The front room of the apartment appeared bare. There was no carpeting, wallpaper or picture frames. The walls were painted a dull white.
"Someone must have moved out or something", Jill suggested. "It's just as cold in here as it is outside!"
"Or they didn't get to move in. It makes no difference to me if it's empty or cold. This place will still serve its purpose", HUNK replied coldly.
He turned, shutting and locking the heavy door behind them.
"This isn't about which apartment is the most comfortable", he finished.
"Fine with me", Jill replied, shaking her head as HUNK moved them carefully down the hall, towards the living room.
HUNK crossed the hall and examined the front room with his TMP. It was a large room, there was no TV set up. Only a couple small windows with blinds added anything to the room.
HUNK closed the windows blinds carefully.
There's no sense risking anything or anyone seeing us up here, HUNK thought to himself.
HUNK moved over to the wall, just beside one of the windows. Thankfully, it was lined up with the hallway, so he could still watch the door, just in case.
"Alright, Valentine. Get off of me", HUNK told her neutrally. "I need to fix your leg".
Jill reluctantly relinquished her grip around his waist and neck, being careful to drop to the floor on her good left leg.
HUNK turned around to face her, then put an arm around her shoulders to support her to get over to the wall and lay down against it.
"God, it hurts.. what are you going to do?", She asked him nervously, staring into his Gas Mask.
HUNK said nothing for a moment, his eyes still examining the extended wounded leg.
There were large red burn marks on the skin around each wound. Most of the blood was dried, but there was still a little fresh blood dripping from the wounds.
"It's definitely a shrapnel wound", He informed her. "You have second degree burns and the shrapnel has spread pretty well, but they aren't too deep. I need to get the pieces of metal out, lucky for you that they didn't hit an artery or you would be dead by now."
HUNK knelt down beside her, his armored knees scraping against the hardwood floor.
He reached into his belt, flipped opened one of the pockets and removed a large sheathed combat knife. He removed the sheath and held it up slightly.
Jill's eyes bulged as she stared at the razor sharp weapon. She looked back at his mask again.
"I know, but are you sure you know what your doing?", She asked him worriedly.
"Yes. I have done this before", He replied quietly. "It will hurt a great deal, but it needs to be done."
Jill's mind flashed suddenly, as she remembered.
"I found a First Aid Spray back in the Precinct", Jill told him. "I'm surprised I didn't lose it in the fight".
Jill reached into her brown shoulder strap, flipping open one of the pockets. She pulled out a small sealed bottle.
HUNK nodded in satisfaction as his gloved hand took the bottle from her.
"Excellent. It'll help",He replied, as he removed the cap from the bottle.
He aimed the nozzle at the worst portion of the wound and pressed down a couple times. Some of the medicinal spray covered the wound and Jill hissed slightly at the cold liquid's sting.
"Relax", HUNK said coldly. "That should help with infection, and I can put the rest on after".
Next, HUNK set down the bottle and gently lay a hand onto Jill's leg, right below the main wound.
HUNK glanced up and spotted the fear in her blue eyes. He shook his head.
"There is no need to be frightened, Valentine", HUNK said quietly. "You're tough, and I can handle it."
Jill released a deep breath she hadn't realized she was holding in.
"I know you can.. and I do trust you.. just.. please be careful", She replied, looking down at the floor.
"I intend to be", He replied firmly. "I would get some water from the kitchen to help clean this wound, but I wont take the chance that the T-Virus has contaminated the city's reservoir. We'll have to find some bottled water tomorrow to drink".
HUNK brought the knife closer to the largest wound, directly above her kneecap. He considered his next course of action calmly.
Alright...place the knife right next to the shrapnel..
Slowly, he inserted a couple centimeters of the tip of the knife into the wound. Jill hissed again and clamped her jaws in pain as the knife touched the burned injury.
HUNK continued on, moving it slowly underneath the shard of shrapnel.
Now..open a small path to remove it carefully..
He expertly traced a small cut around the perimeter of the shard.
Trickles of fresh, sticky blood dripped onto HUNK's dark gloves, staining them as he worked.
HUNK stopped quickly and glanced up quickly at Jill.
There were tears of pain forming in her eyes, but she was clearly forcing herself not to make any noise.
HUNK blocked out the sight, looked back down, surveying his handiwork, than went back to the job.
Once he had got the shard loosened, HUNK removed the combat knife's tip from the bloody flesh and lay it on the ground.
With his right index finger and thumb, he gripped the top of the shard and in a split second, ripped it out of her skin.
Jill's eyes bulged open, wide with pain and surprise.
"Oh...Christ!", Jill shouted angrily, panting heavily as she glared into HUNK's mask. "Why the hell didn't you warn me before hand?"
HUNK shook his head, annoyed.
"Better that it was quick and not drawn out. Relax, the worst is over now. The others will be quicker and less painful", He replied calmly.
Jill's expression softened quickly, she breathed and nodded.
"Alright, just.. hurry up please", She replied.
HUNK turned back down to her leg and examined the three other small wounds. He raised the tip of the knife again and got back to work.
The second one was the easiest, the small shard was already loose in wound. HUNK pried it out of the skin quickly. He examined the sharp blackened piece of metal covered in blood in his hand briefly.
"Heh.. I didn't even really feel that one", Jill said with a pleasant smile as HUNK tossed the shard over his shoulder. "You must have the hands of a doctor or something".
HUNK raised an eyebrow behind his mask briefly at these words."Two more to go", He replied simply.
HUNK placed a bit of the knife's tip underneath the shard in the third wound, just below the knee. This wound was worse than the second, but still not too bad.
HUNK wiggled the blade under the shard and slowly popped it out. More fresh blood dripped from the wound.
Jill fought back the urge to scream as the shard came loose and fell to the ground.
"Last one", HUNK commented neutrally and Jill nodded quickly.
HUNK raised the knife again, examining the fourth wound on the side of her leg.
Once again, he placed a couple centimeters of the blade into the wound, spilling a little more blood.
He moved the blade carefully tracing around the wound. HUNK stopped and pried the final shard out of her leg.
The bloody piece dropped to the ground and Jill picked it up.
"That damn Nemesis", She muttered bitterly, tossing it across the room.
She turned back to HUNK, who was now reaching for the bottle of First Aid Spray.
"Hunk.. I.. thanks", She said awkwardly as HUNK sprayed a bit of the cold, stinging liquid on each wound.
The small bottle was now only a quarter full and HUNK shook his head.
"Forget about it", HUNK replied curtly. "I have some green herbs here as well, they have good medicinal quality's.
HUNK reached into a chest pocket on his front and pulled out a small green plant.
Jill smiled and motioned a hand at his dark armor.
"Herbs? You're carrying a lot.. you probably have everything in those pockets but the kitchen sink", she replied, a hint of teasing in her voice.
HUNK stopped and looked up at her slowly.
"It didn't fit", He replied in a dry, deadpan voice.
Jill burst out laughing at this, her mirth blocking out the pain. The pained tears in her eyes were replaced by tears of amusement
HUNK felt his own lip quiver slightly towards a smirk, but he quickly repressed it.
"It looks like you're going to have a lot of scars, Valentine. Don't worry about it, you'll have stories to tell about them", He commented, glancing at the wounds.
"I think the story about how they got healed will be more special than how I got them", She replied smiling, running a hand through her smooth brown hair.
A sudden thought ran through her head and her hand stopped moving, returning to her side. Her face flushed again slightly.
Oh my god! I'm flirting with him! Please don't notice...please don't notice.
HUNK simply tore off the herb's leaves and placed a couple in each wound.
She's flirting with me, HUNK thought, his eyebrows raising again confusedly. Where did that come from?
"Well, that should help take care of any possible infection, along with the spray", HUNK informed her neutrally. "We need to wrap something around your leg though".
Jill awkwardly rubbed the back of her neck and gratefully seized the distraction by looking around the room.
"The entire place is bare, Hunk. What could we use?", She asked.
HUNK glanced down at the white sweater tied around her slim hips.
"That will work just fine", He informed her, pointing at her waist.
Jill looked down then back up.
"Alright, but I like that sweater.", Jill said reluctantly. "I hope that I can get the stains out".
She reached down, untied the arms of her sweater carefully and handed it over to HUNK.
HUNK held the sweater up in both hands, started looping it around her right leg and used the arms to tie a secure knot.
Jill hissed again as the knot dug into her skin, then relaxed. A bit of bright blood started to stain through the colorless sweater.
"There", HUNK said, nodding his head at the securely tied sleeves.
HUNK glanced up at her slender arms, noticing the light glass cuts littering them and pointed a gloved hand.
"You have more cuts, I see. I'll take care of them too, give me your arms", He ordered.
Jill obeyed, extending each of her arms for him. HUNK gently gripped the right arm and raised the First Aid Spray again.
He sprayed a very small amount on each, than reached over to the left arm and did the same.
HUNK reached up a glove and touched the sore purple bruises covering Jill's neck carefully. Jill coughed, clearing her throat.
"These will go away soon enough", HUNK said absentmindedly and Jill nodded gratefully.
He lowered his hands again.
"And your back?", HUNK inquired. "I saw cuts all over it, at the other apartment".
Jill winced slightly as she turned, revealing her bare back to examined it carefully.
Several long cuts with dried blood around them were traced down various sections of the skin. There were a few smaller ones as well.
"It looks like that raining glass from the first explosion did a number on you", HUNK's muffled voice stated behind Jill. "Easy enough to fix though".
Jill felt HUNK's warm gloved hand hold gently onto her shoulder and the other moving about her back. She closed her eyes, feeling relaxed.
"So, you had a hand grenade?", Jill inquired curiously.
HUNK started spraying the wounds and she shivered slightly.
"Yes", He replied, not looking up. "It was the only one I had left. I think I utilized it quite well in that situation, wouldn't you agree?"
"I do", Jill told him. "You knocked that bastard down seven whole stories and onto a car below.. that was impressive".
"I've been doing this for a long time", He replied mysteriously.
HUNK finished spraying what was left in the bottle on each wound and tossed it aside.
"Alright, you can turn back around", He informed her, relinquishing his hand from her shoulder.
Jill turned back to face him and stretched her arms, sighing slightly.
"I feel a bit better already", she said quietly, smiling to him warmly.
HUNK nodded."You'll be fine in the morning", he replied.
HUNK picked up the bloodied combat knife and sheathed it again, placing the sheath in the unbuttoned chest armor pocket it had came from.
HUNK stood up, adjusting his armor. He removed the shoulder strapped dark MP-5 and lay it flat on the floor in front of him.
Next he sat down against the wall beside Jill, removed his TMP from it's belt, held it in his waist as he watched the door.
"You should get some sleep now Valentine", HUNK commented quietly after a few moments. "I can watch the door".
Beside him, Jill was holding onto herself, shivering as the cold of the apartment overcame her again, running up her arms, legs and back.
It's freezing cold in this place!, Jill thought. How can i get any sleep?
"Yes...that's a good idea", She replied quietly. "I'll try to do that."
HUNK glanced sideways at her from behind his mask taking in the sight.
Jill had her goose bump covered arms folded over her attractive figure in a poor attempt to keep warm. It didn't seem to help her in the slightest.
HUNK stared off into space, deep in thought.
Are you getting soft HUNK? The cold voice spoke up. Fixed up every wound, now you care whether she's cold or not?
No, I'm not. I'm doing what I need to, a different, firm voice replied. Besides, I can contact Nighthawk when she's asleep.
HUNK looked back over to the shivering young woman beside him.
"Get over here Valentine", He said coldly, motioning to himself with a hand, than pointing at her blue tube top and dark mini skirt. "You'll freeze to death in that getup and you're no good to me dead".
Jill ignored his tone and felt herself smile as she thought to herself.
His personality is cold... but he's helped me so much. Why would he do it?
She slid across the gap between them, wrapping her arms around HUNK's armored back and chest. She buried her head against the mid section of his warm outfit. She swung one slender leg over top of his.
In an instant, she felt more comfortable and relaxed than she had been in a very long time, no longer cold huddled against his muscular frame.
There's a sense of comfort with him, power, She mused. It's like if that Nemesis burst through that door right now to kill me, he'd get up and kick it's ass out the window again.
HUNK casually placed an arm around her bare back, being sure not to touch any of the cuts, while still watching the door intently.
Jill looked up at HUNK, examining the dark helmet and mask. The mask's three filters were taking in air as HUNK's muffled breaths went in and out. Her bright blue eyes stopped on the opaque red eye lenses.
"You know...I think that gas mask looks kind of cool, slightly intimidating", She told him. "Do you wear them often for your...er..'Missions'?"
HUNK inclined his head, the face of his mask looking down at her.
"Always", His muffled voice replied. "Some believe that the lack of peripheral vision makes them not worth wearing. In actuality, those people are simply too stupid to wear one. They think their faces are enough to protect them from a possible airborne disease outbreak, smoke inhalation or blunt force trauma".
Jill's brow frowned thoughtfully and she reached a hand up, placing it gently on the side of the mask.
HUNK's eyes widened slightly behind his mask for a split second, than returned to an emotionless expression as she ran her fingers along it carefully, feeling it. It was cold and rigid, like the helmet on his head.
"I could have used one in that apartment, it would have been handy. Gas masks do seem like a good idea, you just have to get used to them, I guess", She replied softly, removing her hand.
"Exactly", he replied back.
Jill nuzzled her head slightly in the comfortable chest, than remembered what happened earlier.
"I just remembered, that Nemesis hit you right across the room.. are you alright?", Jill asked quietly, concerned, as she started feeling her eyelids growing heavy.
At that, the soreness in his chest surfaced again, but HUNK ignored it, blocking it out easily.
"Yeah, I'm fine", He replied tonelessly. "I've had worse than that before. It might leave minor bruising at the most".
Jill's grip tightened sympathetically and she closed her eyes.
"Will you be getting any sleep tonight?", She asked him.
"No", HUNK told her firmly. "Someone has to keep watch."
There was a long pause between them, and Jill spoke up again.
"Do you think that the Nemesis will be back?", She asked hesitantly.
HUNK said nothing for a moment, pondering this.
"Not tonight.. i don't think. However, it will come back soon enough", He replied carefully. "We'll have to find a way to kill it if it keeps interfering with my mission."
"I hope there is a way to kill it.. it brushed off all that damage earlier", Jill replied.
"It will die. Don't worry yourself over it", HUNK told her firmly.
"Thanks for everything tonight, Hunk", Jill said, her voice becoming quiet and tired. "You saved my life.. twice. You stopped the Nemesis from killing me, and you came back for me when you could have left me for dead. I don't know how I could possibly thank you enough for doing that".
HUNK shook his head, staring straight ahead at the locked door.
"Don't mention it, Valentine. Just get some sleep, you'll need it".
It was the last thing Jill heard his muffled voice reply faintly as she began to doze off.
Before long, Jill had slipped off into a deep sleep, laying against him comfortably with her arms still gently looped around his body. The only sound radiating in the quiet apartment was her soft, contented breathing.