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A man hunches against the cool air of New York, exhales a cloud of smoke through his nostrils out into the already polluted sky of the city. Even outside, he can feel the pounding pulse of the music in the club, a barely there reverb that crawls up his feet and ankles. It’s as familiar as the fatigue in his bones and eyes, a constant sensation. He rolls his neck from one side to the other, seizing when something pops back to place, sighing at the momentary relief. 

 

As quickly as the time of peace came, it vanished, darkness enveloping the man’s vision and a hand clamping over his mouth tightly. It silences his objections, a free arm wrapping around his  torso to drag him farther into the darkness, unbeknownst to anyone inside the building.

 

Never to be seen again.

 


 

Lucy Stillman watches in a muted sort of worry as her subject’s vitals go awry; heart rate spiking, REM increasing, and most importantly his ability to sync with the animus decreasing as his panic and confusion grows.

“He’s rejecting the syncrosis,” She warns, watching Vidic pace around the “unconscious” subject in careful circles, like a poorly managed predator watching their prey. 

 

“Keep him there, he may adjust.” And yet, the image of Altair Ibn’lad struggling through the mass of beggars grows, plays out like a horrifying guilt ridden dream that has the woman’s face grimacing in some caricature of sympathy. 

 

“Warren,” She pleads in a means of saying ‘there is no real option here,’ as the man’s hands twitch in rapidly growing patterns, ever more increasing. Every second it intensifies, every second his vitals grow into a wild crescendo of desperate fear of the unknown.

 

Warren Vidic gives her a stare that once, would make her shrink. Now, she merely puffs her cheeks in defiance and taps in the cancellation code.

 

Desmond Miles rockets up with a ragged gasp, as if surfacing from water and taking in greedy breaths. It startles Lucy, has her stumbling back in her heels with empty, echoing clacks against the sterile floors. 

 

“I told you he’d be fine,” Vidic attempts to lament, hand splayed in a means of pacifying, voice lacking any real sense of empathy, or perhaps even patience of any kind.

 

“Bastards!” Desmond spits, voice gruff and choked against his sensory overload. His movements are clumsy as he presses against the flat of their precious machine, head hanging as if to stave off the first waves of nausea. 

 

“Now now, I just saved your life!” A jolt of his head, cloudy gaze burning with freshly brewed hatred and contempt.

 

“Saved my life? You kidnapped me! You strapped me into that..thing!” He sits up, shoulders hunched and heavy, but that doesn’t stop Lucy from noticing the span of them. The unsettling tension that rolls off of him in such a disoriented state. He is vulnerable, half-present, and yet her own senses tell her there is danger under his skin.

 

“Animus,” Warren corrects, voice clipped with an old hostility. “It’s an animus.”

 

“I don’t even know you people, why are you doing this to me?” And. For a moment, there’s that pesky little thing the assistant knows as guilt. An old friend, a sad bitter one that lingers in the back of her mind. An ugly type that surfaces when faced with the literal, physical consequences of her actions. 

 

Desmond Miles, as far as she knew, had lived a normal life for the last ten or so years. Standing at twenty-six, he was the stereotypical single man that lived in New York. Had jumped from job to job, just barely covering his rent and spending the remainder of funds on things like alcohol and greasy take out. He was tall, 6’2’’ at the most, a solid 6’0’’ at the least. Short dark hair that hugged his head in tight curls, a pale scar cutting from above his lip to the beginning of his chin, and light brown eyes that were currently attempting to set Warren on fire where he stood.

 

But he had not always been the normal, stereotypical single man that laid before them.

 

His bloodline was precious. A perfect cocktail of historical DNA combined with just the right dash of First Civilization. His legacy was one of high pedigrees; of names erased from common history but not from theirs. Not of the Templars, not of the Assassins, the history of his ancestors created the stepping stones for both of their origins, and the war that has raged between them for centuries.

 

For a less tasteful explanation, Desmond was the key to a long awaited victory, on both sides.

 

The only problem?

 

He had been on the run that entire time, skirting under their radars by using back hand attempts in everything. Cash deposits, paid under the table, using alternative names on leases, and false papers. He was a smart man in that regard, he had chosen to run from home, from the assassins, and had known just how to keep himself away.

 

His capture had been the hot button of office talk for quite a while. A cryptic tale of the infamous and elusive son of their enemy falling just out of their grasp.

 

Then the fool went and applied for a motorcycle license, and all had come crashing down from there for the man now spitting obscenities as easy as breathing.

 

It was such a lazy, thoughtless move on his part. For a man that seemed to have mastered the craft of hiding from those who had every resource to find him.,

 

She supposed though, it was for the best.

 

Because now everything could snap into place.

 


 

Desmond is...odd. He prowls the room like a caged predator, making circles around his bed, in his bathroom, in every corner of the small space until she’s certain he’s memorized every crevice of it. He sleeps in his clothes, shoes and jacket galore. Besides the one time Warren awoke him, he is early to rise and waits for her, eyes sharp and focused. He cooperates, but only to the bare minimum that is asked of him, and hardly graces them with a response unless pressed. He keeps to himself the best he can in the small space provided, and Lucy wants to kick herself for being intrigued by the 180 in his behavior.

 

“Aren’t you tired?” She dismisses one long night, only mildly concerned by the way he looks through her, not at her. She knows he’s seen the blood on his wall, the wild smears that carry a message she could not decipher.

 

He squints, suspicious and mutters,

 

“I’m always tired.”

 

She checks into the cameras when she can’t sleep and finds him staring ahead, sitting at the foot of his bed.

 

Odd . Her mind supplies. What an odd man.

 

When his head lifts, eyes cutting into the scope of the camera with purposeful clarity, she feels a shiver down her spine.

 




He talks to her, sometimes. Probably when his loneliness and isolation gets the best of him, because the rest of the time he takes wide berths around her. He will eye her with something close to dislike, and irritation, but will speak with civility and curiosity. 

 

She tries not to give him a lot of information, even if in those moments with his eyes and his curls he seems like a young man who truly stepped into the wrong world. He asks questions, she gives warnings, and she tries not to let the weight of her choices suck her into the ground when his brows twitch.

 

One afternoon, while he sat on the animus rubbing his forehead, he had taken her by surprise with his question.

 

“Why even bother with this? Doesn’t it feel like a wild goose chase? Searching for this...thing.” 

 

She stops her tapping to look at him, the curve of his back and the blooming bruises beneath his eyes. She wants to tell him he’d sleep better if he got comfortable, but she can already hear the rebuttal in her mind.

 

“Maybe so. But do you give up on a book when something doesn’t seem right? Do you give up on something when it seems hard?”

His grin flashes canines, more bearing teeth than a smile, and she stops herself from taking a step back. Reminding herself he is overall harmless despite her screaming nerves.

 

“Believe me, I know how this story ends.”

 

Escaping with him is bone shakingly frustrating. Desmond is a nervous talker, full of useless and mindless chattering that it sets her teeth on edge. The alarms are blaring, her heels are killing her feet, and his voice is grating.

 

“Desmond, shut up,” She snaps at one point, and when she glances back at him, she’s not sure how to feel about the sharp and precise grin he gives back to her. 

 

Shaun and Rebecca are a sight for sore eyes, embracing her friends with grand relief and affection. It’s not over, far from over with blood on her shirt and Desmond’s presence now a constant she cannot escape from, but for a moment in her friends’ arms she is safe. 

 




Ezio is nothing at all like Altair; where the previous assassin was calculated, so cold that he was foolish, Ezio is full of life and naivety. He is charming and warm and...stupid. At least, that’s what Desmond says once when he exits the animus, eyes clouded in fatigue and blinking away the brightness of the lights.

 

“Well, yes, he’s young. What are you expecting?” Shaun had bit back. He seemed less inclined to give Desmond a warm welcome, always dismissing his attempts at conversation with clear intent. Rebecca likes him well enough. She’s overheard them talking sometimes in the morning over breakfast and sharing their fondness for things dangerous and wild. Overall the man seems to be adjusting to their company, perhaps more welcome than the sterile walls of Abstergo and Warren’s looming air. He still gives her space, purposeful and stinging only slightly.

 

“Nothing less, it’s just an observation.” His smile is syrupy, eyes drooped and arms behind his head. There is something too lacking in his posture, too relaxed for a man that has experienced the amount of drama he has experienced in the last few weeks, will continue to experience. She supposes it’s better than the ladder; imagining his hissing insults and disoriented panic not so long ago.

 

Lucy says nothing as they continue their bickering, eyes casted over her computer as she types an email that will go nowhere.

 

The episodes start soon enough; how are they not bound to? His progress was already so rapid, what with him gaining the ability of eagle vision and an innate sense of awareness. It starts harmless enough; a glance off into the distance, sparked with confusion and muttering to himself that he swore he saw someone. His pronunciation of italian gets better, near flawless when they have him read old written pieces instead of relying on the translator.

 

They don’t dare test his reflexes again. Not after he had so ruthlessly broken that guard's arm. 

 

He doesn’t complain all that much, simply asks her more questions about it, what he can expect, what he should look out for. She tries not to think of ice blue eyes and blood against white, swallowing around her regret and fear. 

 

They get found; of course they get found. Because the Templars are always two steps behind and each time they trip, or stumble, or slow, they are right there chomping at the bit. They rip Desmond from his simulation (incorrectly, it shows in the tinge of green to his skin, eyes rolling up and away as he fights the nausea.) She would feel bad in any other context, especially since they had woken him so early to get this session in, but she can’t right now with the world shrinking around her.

 

“We need to go,” She breathes, more careful with the I.V than she was with disconnection, listens to the harried steps of her colleagues packing everything they can physically carry.

 

“What do I need to do?” He slurs, pushes himself out and away with surprising steadiness. 

 

She pauses, studies the way he scrubs at his eyes, the full height of him and lets the temptation settle into her gut.

 

“Help.”

 


 

Desmond is terrifying. 

 

There had been no hesitation on his part when it came to disposing of the templars busting the doors down. Only the quick release of the hidden blade, twisted limbs and bloodied floors as they desperately packed everything they could. Cold. Efficient. 

He stands in the mess he made, breathing deep and slow and fingers curled tightly into fists, and she feels that shiver again. Somehow, there is no blood on his beloved white hoodie, even as it pools and darkens in puddles from gaping wounds and slit throats.

 

“You get that out of your system?” Shaun starts, passing the taller man with only a tremor of unease, opting to instead send him a scolding stare. “Yeah? Get a move on.”

 

They set up in the van, high on adrenaline with Rebecca babbling coordinates to Shaun, hooking Desmond back into Baby with shaky fingers. 

 

None of them can find the energy to comment how calm he seems now, how placidly he offers his wrist to the tech, and how loose his smile is when she gives him a good natured “Night, night.” 

 




The villa is not ideal. They have to feed wires through every hole possible and leech from a generator for display purposes. It’s cold, no water, and no amenities, but it’s what they have and they make do. Baby works and Desmond is still willing, and all they can do is keep going day after day. 

 

Tension grows, eventually. It must, living in such tight quarters, with them crashing in sleeping bags on the floor and constantly going to different stores to get ready made meals. Desmond is tired, she is tired, they are all tired and it boils over. She knows logically, when he does a flawless New York accent towards Altair’s statue he is only messing around. He’s bored, cagey, and has already abused his fifteen minutes of free-run time. 

 

“That’s racist,”

 

“You’re racist!” And. She does not have the energy for it, despite the fact it’s miniscule and absolutely harmless and they do this shit all the time with each other. Her stress has doubled and she is dreaming of blue eyes and red smears and Desmond’s smile is so disarming it leaves her shaking and she can’t--

 

“Really? This is what you guys are doing?”

 

She supposes it’s enough.

 

“Oh no! God forbid I take a break, I’ve only spent the past three fuckin’ weeks inside that machine.” There it is; the Desmond she met in Abstergo. The bitter, enigmatic man who has no interest or drive in what she has to say. It exposes itself in the flick of his wrist towards Baby, the twisting of his features and the curl of his lip. 

 

“No, no you’re right, let’s just screw around while the world falls to pieces! It’s not as if this is the end of the world, not like it’s a life or death matter!” Her lilting irritation adds gas to the fire, and Desmond takes one step down the small set of stairs, and out of reflex, even so far away from him, she takes a step back.

 

She hasn’t done that since Abstergo.

 

“At what cost? My fuckin’ head? My fuckin’ safety? What is this to you? Some kind of Tortoise versus the Hare bullshit?”

 

“This, Desmond, is a race against three different forces for the good of the world!” She snaps, unaware of Shaun and Rebecca’s uneasy stares. 

 

“And what in gods’ name has the world ever done for you?” He says, the slightest tick of a bitter smile showing even so far away. “What’s warranted the world such a desperate rescue mission? You’ve had hundreds of years to correct this and you wait until you’ve got six weeks? Rich.” 

 

Anger. Hot, potent curls into her toes, her chest and her mouth is opening before she can stop herself.

 

“If you hadn’t fucked around for ten years in New York, we wouldn’t be in this position!” 

 

Silence. Suffocating and cold surrounds her, swallows the light from the room and forces her to watch Desmond straighten. She’s expecting him to yell back, to bite and spit and do what she feels he does best.

 

She can only shiver when he smiles, an odd chuckle leaving him that carries no humor and all teeth. 

 

“You got me there, Luce."

 

She tries to apologize that night after they grant him an extra run. He passes her without a word, and she can’t help but feel like something had just fractured in front of her.

 




“It doesn’t make sense!” She says, exasperation growing so close to anger she could cry, hands desperately scoping over the symmetrical lines of the cave. “It’s supposed to be here! Ezio said it would be!” But there was no apple, only the ghosts of the past and of their present. The people they had lost, the factions that had been destroyed, the things she--all for nothing. Just a room gathering dust.

 

“Lucy,” Rebecca starts, voice soothing and patient, but she too seems at a loss of what to do now that their trail has gone cold. Without the apple, the fight becomes ever more in the templars favor. They don’t have the numbers to take on abstergo themselves anymore, they needed this, they needed a win. 

 

The blonde rounds onto the man that was the key to their salvation, supposedly, Desmond standing patiently off to the side. The ex bartender hadn’t spoken a single word since they entered, and his silence was horribly unnerving at this moment. Especially when he meets her harried, angry steps with a tilt of his head, gaze unblinking and unfazed. “You,” She says, “You know what you saw, we all saw it in the files! Why isn’t it here?” Her voice echoes in the lonely walls of the temple, a shell of its former purpose, like all things from The Ones Who Came Before.

 

“Why are you asking me?” He questions, low and casual like they were still in the hideout.. “All I did was what you told me.” 

 

“No, there’s more to it, there has to be, an inanimate object doesn’t just vanish--

 

“The pieces of Eden aren’t like anything else, Lucy,” Shaun interrupts with a growing urgency, eyes darting between the two, “Desmond did all he could, there might have been a...a set back. An unseen force. There could be someone’s hand in this who had absolutely nothing to do with Ezio. There are so many variables in this bloody einstein would go bonkers with the possibilities. Just...calm down, yeah? Don’t take it out on us.” 

 

A bracing breath, blue eyes peering up to meet gold ones, and. She doesn’t know. Maybe it’s the lighting, maybe it’s her own anxiety, but Desmond’s eyes seem to bore into her soul and her mind and leave behind a sense of unease. He says nothing, simply backs away towards the way they came, hands in his pockets and not a single inch of him concerned.

 

All they can do is give up, go back to where they were and...give the bad news. They’re not done though, Rebecca darts to her seat so quickly she rolls away from the monitor, scooting back into place to start furiously typing. Shaun follows suit, the pair of them scouring over every little piece of information they had fathered not only in the last few months, but in the years they’ve been working on this.

 

“We don’t have any more crucial memories,” The punk says after what feels like hours of work, Shaun rubbing his eyes with glasses removed, probably getting a headache. “There are so many small memories, so many details, there’s no telling if someone took it while Ezio was away. It could be anywhere at this rate.”

 

She wants to cry, but she doesn’t, scopes over the coding she has trained herself in desperately. Looking for a date, a year, a time. Anything to signify a step they missed. Ezio sacrificed so much, did so much. The apple should have been right there and it wasn’t. 

 

“I need some air,” Desmond interrupts, leg swinging over the crate he had deemed his place to sit long ago. No one reminds him of his fifteen minutes, they have long trusted that he’ll return when he’s required to. 

 

Even so, after what feels like an eternity of trying to find more information, Lucy can no longer stare at the screen, shoulders hunched and fingers massaging her temple. There is no victory, only frustration where her hope had laid.

 

She finds him leaning against a light post, peering across the way at the well lit city afar. His posture is easy, relaxed, and there is a stroke of old dislike in her belly. 

 

The tension in their relationship had not gone away after their fight in the villa, only tapered out in necessity to finish the job. She did not know why it bothered her so greatly that she couldn’t decode him; couldn’t figure out what the man wanted.

 

“Thought you’d be up on a rooftop,” She starts with instead of barbing words and demands that want to overtake her. Why are you not scared ? How can you not care? These are your people too and you stand there watching the world burn. 

 

Desmond glances her way, expression passive and uninterested as they go back to the skyline. “Didn’t much feel for trapezing.” 

 

“Hm.”

 

Silence. Tangible and heavy. Souring what had seemed like a promising start to gaining his trust. His arm on her shoulder and soft amusement in his tone. It had been bordering on fondness, ruined by the memory of someone else and the things she had done to them. Soft whispering assurances, skirting glances, the barest squeeze of fingers. 

 

Lucy ?

 

“You’re disappointed,” He cuts the quiet, gentle and patient and pushing into wise. She often forgets that Desmond may not have experienced the same struggles she and the others had, but he had done the impossible. Survived by himself in New York, as a child especially. He doesn’t look at her, but she looks at him. At the shadows against the side of his face, the beginnings of scruff on his jaw and the curved peak of his nose, and she feels...something. Disappointment, yes. But not towards him. Frustrated, tired, lost. 

 

“Just...it’s a lot to process,” comes a quiet confession, daring to take a step closer, feel the heat coming off of him in waves and let it somehow seep to her. “I thought it was it, I thought we found it and it would be over. I should’ve known it’d be too easy.”

 

“Life can be like that sometimes.” She bites her tongue, closing her eyes against the sting for just a moment.

 

“I just don’t get how this can just be over, how there can be a dead end when we’re so close.”

 

“There’s grave robbers, Luce. Historians. Idiots that figure shit out, it doesn’t always mean anything. Hell, maybe it was moved hundreds of years ago and it’s in a museum in Russia or something.” He finally turns to her, his gaze placid and patient. He is spewing theories that mean nothing to him, like watching someone lose their keys and giving patient suggestions off on the sidelines.

 

This does not affect him. Not directly, not the way that perhaps she was hoping. Some treacherous little part of her wanted to see him spark . Wanted to see passion and drive and care, like--

 

Like--

 

“It can’t end like this,” She mutters, barely past her lips. “Not after everything…” everything they’ve sacrificed, everything she...

 

He smiles this time, sad, crooked. Tired. His hand comes up in a careful pat, staying on her shoulder to squeeze before it falls. 

 

“Everyone did their best, there’s nothing else to do.”

 

Resignation takes hold of her, sinking into her gut as she averts her eyes to the villa they’d been calling “home.” Home. Such an odd concept at its core. She can’t remember the last time she’d felt at home anywhere, had felt fully accepted and loved. A distant childhood memory perhaps, in the days of sitting in parent’s arms and playing in the backyard. Before life became what it is, and the rose was bled from her gaze and she was forced to see the world in its true colors.

 

She looks to the sky, high as her neck cranes to see the moon out in the inky black.

 

“Why did you run, Desmond?” Lucy asks, thinking back to his file, to his family and his life, all left behind for...justice? Defiance? How can he run from everything he’s ever known for a pipe dream of freedom? Can he even call it freedom? Working his nights away and sleeping his days in the same fashion? They had watched him for a bit before taking him. His life had seemed so dull, so ho-hum that she thought, surely. This cannot be the prodigal son of William Miles.

 

The man hesitates, deliberates considerably. “I didn’t run. If I had really ran, you’d never have caught me.” 

 

Something about that unsettles her, a sharp prickle up her spine but she does not take her eyes off the sky, transfixed by the ethereal glow of the rock the world had so desperately sought. You. He said, You. You. You.

 

“Why didn’t you fight them?” Why didn’t he fight for his freedom? For his home and his life? How did they win against a man who seems to survive everything. Blood on his knife, breathing deep but easy. No hesitation for a man that has never killed before.

 

“I wanted to see how far this would go.”

 

Confusion, heavy and pungent as the words swirl in her mind rapidly. Something hard settles against her spine, breath becoming thin, and...

 

I already know how this story ends.

 

“Desmond,” She whispers, terrified to take her eyes off of the moon, of the remnants of Ezio’s home. The taller is still beside her, silent, as if the facade of his care is gone. Leaving behind what he knows best, what he’s always known best. “What did you do?”

 

At first there’s no answer. Seconds tick by, bleeding into a minute and when he does speak, her shoulders flinch.

 

“Me?” He asks innocently, voice too light and too casual for a man who’s been run ragged by a machine. By them, and by his own brain starting to malfunction on him. “I didn’t do anything. I’m just a guy from New York. Ezio on the other hand…” The man steps away from her, but only one step, before he starts to circle her, golden eyes almost metallic in the moonlight of the abandoned estate.

 

“He just did what he had to,” a thick, flawless Italian accent escapes Desmond, the inflection and timber of his voice replaced with the higher lilt of Ezio’s translated language. “The apple is a dangerous piece of machinery, yes? Humanity cannot take it, they’re too...desperate for purpose. Too caught up in their ways and emotions to see it’s a tool for no one. It was an experiment gone awry.” 

 

Lucy is breathless, finds herself twisting to keep her eyes on the man prowling around her now, steps unhurried and fluid. “Ezio was meant to correct the mistake Altair made.” The light tone fades with each syllable, replaced with a gravely beratone that sends shivers down to her toes, the accent melding into Altair’s effortlessly. “Altair had bitten off more than he could chew, desperate to meld his brotherhood before he corrected his discovery. So he... conveniently let the apple go to the wrong place at the wrong time. And he thought he did well, the brotherhood continued and even thrived, last he checked.”

 

Desmond--Altair?--Ezio? Steps in front of her, head bowed to meet her eyes and they are molten with emotions she can’t even start to comprehend. He is looking at her with more wisdom than even the oldest Assassins, the most seasoned of templars. “And then, go figure, here came the templars knocking on his door, shoe-horning him into hunting down the very thing he worked so hard to hide.”

 

Back was Desmond, american accent low and lazy, almost in a low slur of speech, and Lucy shakes.

 

“Th--” She attempts, swallows and feels her throat crack and swell with fear. “This can’t be right. We saw Ezio be born, we...Altair died of natural causes. You can’t be them, you have a birth certificate! You have parents! You ran away from home it’s all in our--”

 

“Records? Records can be tampered with, Luce. Records are little pieces of paper, and code, that just needs a little…” His grin grows into a dangerous show of canines, and the blonde steps back. “ Editing .”

 

“Your mother saw you run,” She whispers, hugs herself around the middle and begs for whatever deity is listening to let her wake up from this unforeseen nightmare. Let her wake in a cold sweat on the floor, with Shaun’s snoring and Rebecca’s soft breathing.  “Your dad says he remembers the day, he has pictures of you.”

 

“He has pictures of the original Desmond. Poor bastard was doomed from the start, New York’s not for everyone, you know.”

 

“You killed him?”

 

“No, of course not. Kid couldn’t handle whatever drug he allowed himself to take. If it’s any consolation, he was comfortable the last few minutes of his life.” The man, creature, whatever, in front of her has the decency to seem sorry for a few moments. A somber shadow passing over his features, full of regrets and loss. But as quickly as it appeared, it vanished into a smoothing of creases and lines. “I guess it’s a better way to go, than being forced into a machine until your brain is nothing but a slushie.”

 

Lucy’s thoughts are going too fast, she feels ill. A deep pit in her stomach that ricochets in her chest, her head, her spine, all over her body and leaving her shaky. Desmond continues on, turning away from her to examine his old home with a calculating stare. 

 

“I will admit, that “animus” contraption certainly rattled my brain a bit. But it was all a bit, Lucy,” He finally admits, voice soft and pleading and she thinks to his tired gaze in the hideout, to every headache and every “convenient” episode he’d had that progressed them further. “I’m not the other subjects.”

 

“You’re not human,” She accuses, takes a step back when his face hardens, eyes going dark. 

 

“I’m more human than you . I’m more human than those in the order that turn a blind eye to all the infighting, to the traitors, to the mess you’ve all created, all for this damn apple.” He takes a step forward, she takes one back, again, and again, and again, until she’s pressed against the hard brick of the villa. 

 

“How--” She chokes, his heat unbearable and his voice lacking warmth of friendliness of any kind. “How do you--”

 

“I know everything.” 

 

Everything. 

 

She pulls her knife before she can think better of it, aiming for his jugular and rewarded with a tight grip on her wrist, pressed into the scratchy wall with a yelp. The knife clatters to the ground, and he is crowding into her space and she is--she is scared.

 

“Get--”

 

“I knew you were watching me,” He continues, his eyes a luminescent gold and unblinking. His grip hurts, pressing into the bones of her wrist and she tries to look away, but he follows. “I knew who Desmond was, I knew who you were. I know you, Bill, Warren, all bled that poor kid Clay dry until you couldn't get another thing out of him. Was he not enough?”

 

“Stop--”

 

 “Was his mind and body not enough for you people? Were you planning to do the same to Desmond? Use him up until all he wanted to do was die?”

 

“Please, I--”

 

“Did you ever think for one fucking minute someone might find out about you?”

 

“How?” She whispers, hates the way she shakes and feels small in his hold, thinks of Clay’s tired slouch and the sickness in her throat calling the clean up crew. Of Bill’s eyes the first month of Desmond’s disappearance, all the loss and the pain that had swirled around the orders. Warren’s hand on her shoulder, the prick of blood and empty words upon her lips.

 

All the things she had done, had told herself were for the best, they had all been for naught.

 

Rebecca. Shaun. Clay. She hurts people wherever she goes, and was going to continue hurting people for the Templars, for the Order, for the desperate sense of acceptance she had craved for so long.

Resignation drowns her, draws the tension from her shoulders and legs, has her head falling to the side.

 

“I already told you. I know how this story ends.” 





Desmond comes back alone.



Nothing is true.




Everything is permitted.