Disclaimer: I do not own Assassin's Creed.
A/N: Just a short piece on Desmond. I love him so.
O O O
There was no privacy. He was not his own property anymore; he was the property of Vidic and Lucy, and so he was kept under constant surveillance. He even thought there might be cameras in the bathroom, though he hadn't quite looked yet, and with a touch of malice, he sort of hoped there were. If they watched him sleep, then why shouldn't they watch him bathe and shave and do his daily duties?
It was just another day, Desmond reassured himself, and he sank down into the bed, folding his arms behind his head. The AC hissed cold air at a constant rate, forcing him to perpetually keep his white sweatshirt on. Funny, he figured, what a shocking resemblance it bore to Altaïr's archaic getup. Not that he wanted to wear dingy white robes and layers and layers of clothing, but he wouldn't mine traipsing around the lab with fourteen knives and one long sword and one dagger and one hidden blade in his leather-padded forearm. Hey, Doc, how are you? Oh, I'm sorry, was that your hand I just lopped off? Might as well put you out of your misery, huh?
Desmond snorted and rolled onto his side, facing toward the secured door.
Altaïr was such a tool. He ran in circles for Alu Mualim and hardly every questioned his intentions. And the couple times he did, he was swiftly put back in his place by the old man, and that had been that. Being a child of the 21st century (and having passed his high school world history class with a high C, thank you very much) had given Desmond a sharp sense of intellect regarding these things, and he could see the beginning of the end even if his ancestor could not. He just wished he could sway Altaïr more somehow, clear the haze from his faithfully blind eyes. Alu Mualim was up to something, and even if Desmond hardly knew anything—and by "hardly knew anything" he really meant "knew absolutely jack-shit"—about the Third Crusades or the war between the Christians and whoever, he could still tell when someone was pulling the wool over someone else's eyes.
And oh, was this guy ever being blindsided. It was almost painful to watch. Every man assassinated had a sob story to tell, something to test Altaïr's beliefs and values and honor, and each time his trust weakened, and each time he took a little more time walking through the cities before finding his target.
Desmond turned to face the ceiling again. The Animus left him feeling anxious. It was like he was Altaïr, but could not make the decisions. When Altaïr was injured, Desmond felt injured, and when Altaïr was troubled, Desmond felt troubled.
"Goddamn it," he muttered under his breath, closing his eyes. Maybe he was making an impact Altaïr after all, though. He was practically screaming in his head every time the man so much as drew his blade. "Aren't you supposed to be an assassin? You know, stealthy and quiet, one with the shadows? Now the whole city knows you're here!" Not that he could hear him, but he certainly felt he could influence, and just like that, Altaïr began to listen to this influence, and he stopped blatantly dropping on top of guards' heads and stabbing them in the neck.
And, likewise, Altaïr was rubbing off on Desmond. It wasn't a necessarily pleasant feeling. He was significantly more subdued and calm, now, and he found himself doing things he before wouldn't even have thought of. Like climbing on top of the bathroom sink to listen to Vidic and Lucy's conversation through the AC duct, or pick-pocketing—pick-pocketing! Desmond pick-pocketed!—a pen from Vidic's pristine lab coat. Hah! That'd teach him to keep Desmond the 21st Century Bartender locked up in this damned facility. Now he had his pen and he was never going to give it back, not even if he begged!
Before Desmond could further entertain this line of thought, at least until he fell asleep, arms curled across his chest, he heard the telltale clicks of deft fingers on the keypad outside his door. He jumped to his feet, heart pounding. They never bothered him after he retired to his room—at least not until morning. They must have finally decided to get rid of him.
Thinking fast, maybe even too fast, he grabbed the nearest blunt, potentially dangerous object (the desk lamp) and backed against the wall nearest the door, holding his breath, waiting for Vidic or some previously unseen goon to step through the door. And when that happened, he'd get a face-full of surgical steel and fluorescent bulb.
The door swooshed open, air rushing this way and that, and sure enough, someone hurried through the door, where it closed behind them. Heart still pounding, he swung the lamp on a mid-sized grunt that sounded frighteningly like a noise Altaïr would make. The person in question dodged quickly out of the way, and the lamp sailed through the air and then hit the metal door, sending painful vibrations up and down Desmond's arms. He gasped, dropped it, panicked, and picked it up again, charging toward his would-be attacker.
"Desmond, what is wrong with you?"
He stopped mid-swing. That didn't sound like a goon at all.
Lucy's fearful face peered at him from underneath a fringe of unruly strands of hair, which she brushed back professionally as soon as he set the lamp back on the glass desk.
"Lucy, Jesus Christ! I could have killed you!"
She huffed and folded her arms. "Doubtful."
He rubbed a tired hand over his forehead. "You've got to start announcing your presence or something. I thought Vidic had sent someone to kill me."
"Kill you?" Lucy questioned, moving about his room like it was her own, going directly toward his linen closet and rifling through it. "No, he wouldn't kill you yet. You still haven't shown us what we need to see."
"Which is?" he tried, though unsuccessfully, because she offered no answer.
She withdrew from his closet, looking very miffed. "Damn."
"What is it?"
"I'm looking for the doctor's pen. He misplaced it."
Desmond stiffened. "A pen, huh? What's so special about a pen?"
"It's an access pen. He uses it to write on—oh, why am I telling you this?"
He shrugged, then stepped aside to allow her to search his bed. She stripped it bare, lifted the mattress, and then began to dress it again, and Desmond sat on the chair and watched. As she checked his pillowcases, he decided to try his luck again.
"You don't want to do this, Lucy," he said, knitting his eyebrows together. "I know you don't."
She didn't look at him, but her expression told him all he needed to know. No, she didn't want to do it. But no, she wasn't going to relent.
"So let me go," he stated simply, as it was as easy as snapping a finger or opening the bay door. Which, essentially, it was. "Don't keep me here so you guys can poke around in my head and then kill me."
"You know I can't do that, Desmond."
"Yes, you can."
She shook her head and didn't even bother searching his bathroom. When she passed by him, he stood and grabbed her wrist. He stared at her intently, but she didn't spare him a glance. He tried on his best I am Altaïr the Assassin and You Will Be Intimidated By Me look, but it just ended with him looking angry and somewhat retarded, so she tore away from him.
She marched out his door, and he didn't make it in time. It closed before he could slip out of it. Frustrated with himself for being a simple bartender with no escapist skills whatsoever instead of a master assassin, Desmond pressed his forehead against the cool metal of the door. The keypad beeped on the other side, though he did not hear Lucy's footsteps walk the other way. She was waiting at his door, waiting for him. Maybe to say something; maybe to act.
"Don't do this," was all he could think to say, and it was so quiet and so strained that he doubted she heard it at all.
"Mr. Miles," Lucy said from the other side of the door. She faltered for a while. "…Get some sleep."
So Desmond the 21st Century Bartender and not Altaïr the 12th Century Assassin (funny how that worked out), mood significantly dampened and not feeling at all superior to his ancestor like he had before felt, retreated to his bed, and he slipped under the blankets and closed his eyes again, and he dreamed of Jerusalem and his old bar and his old friends and, most disturbingly, Alu Mualim.
He found the access code to his door the next day, and things started looking a little brighter.