I was going to write something much more romance-y and pleasant in the form of a continuation of Bleeding Effect of Passion, but then I just played some AC2 and a particular scene had me scared for Desmond in regard to the Bleeding Effect D': Like, really scared, and I am wondering what Ubisoft plan on doing for AC3. So instead here is some drama that I'm not particularly accustomed to writing, hence the occasional dash of humour and romance.

Desmond, Shaun quickly discovered, was now even more irritating. He wasn't quite sure how that was possible, but it didn't change the facts.

Right this very moment was a perfect example, thought Shaun.

Desmond was sitting up in the Animus, stretching his arms behind his head after a lengthy few hours in the machine, and his favoured hoodie was riding up with the movement...allowing a strip of skin to peek out as well as informing Shaun that Desmond wore Bonds brand underwear. Shaun wondered if they were briefs or trunks, and then wondered why that was important at all. He quickly spun around to face his computer once more when Desmond glanced at him, deciding that the man was irritating indeed.

Shaun, Desmond quickly discovered, was now even more appealing. He wasn't quite sure how that was possible, but it didn't change the facts.

Right this very moment was a perfect example, thought Desmond.

He was sitting up in the Animus, stretching out the kinks that came with lying still for a few hours, and Shaun was watching his movement particularly closely. He stretched a little more to be sure and yes, the other man was staring. Shaun seemed to realise and turned back to his work, but not before Desmond was certain he had just been scoped out. Not that he minded. Very much quite the opposite of minding actually.

X - X - X - X - X

Shaun was finding it difficult to get away from Desmond. Sure he was in the Animus for six to eight hours on any given day, but outside that window of time Desmond seemed to always be right there, hovering at his shoulder and just making the huge warehouse room feel small and hot. If he wasn't doing something that Shaun was capable of doing himself, like bringing him a mug of coffee - which he didn't even like but he found it was easier to just drink it than say so - he was asking useless questions about his work or what he did before all of this or what sort of music he liked. Totally useless questions that he answered, just so Desmond would go away.

Desmond was finding it difficult to leave Shaun alone. Outside of his time in the Animus, Desmond just wanted to spend time with the others, admittedly mainly Shaun. He would chat with Lucy, joke with Rebecca and then make a coffee as a half-hearted excuse to approach the other man. It was eight days in to this routine that Rebecca was in the small kitchen at the same time.

"I didn't think you drank coffee," she said as she made a quick sandwich.

"No, I don't. It's for Shaun."

"Oh, well, he doesn't drink the stuff either."

Desmond watched Rebecca leave the kitchen as she headed back to her work station, mind on the job as she ate her snack, and he thought about what she had just said. He grinned, and then laughed. And then brought Shaun the coffee he had made, as he'd done for the past eight days, and couldn't help but smile when the man accepted the mug with a distracted thank you before telling Desmond to go away. Which he didn't of course. Instead Desmond rested a hand on Shaun's shoulder as he leaned forward and pointed at something totally random on the monitor, asking a question that was apparently half intelligent judging by Shaun's patient response.

X - X - X - X - X

Shaun told himself that he didn't care.

Wasn't worried or concerned or almost out of his goddamn mind with the fear of what it could mean when he found Desmond collapsed in the hall. He shouted for Lucy and Rebecca, who both appeared immediately with frightened faces, and he sure hoped that wasn't because he sounded scared. The three of them carried Desmond to his room, then stood around his bed talking quietly. The Animus and its effects wasn't exactly Shaun's area of expertise, but he knew enough from previous studies that Lucy had filled him in on to understand the Bleeding Effect and he wasn't worried. And he certainly wasn't relieved when Desmond woke a few minutes later. Or concerned when he slowly told them about the memory he had seen without being in the Animus.

Without being in the Animus.

What had Lucy said, Shaun asked himself...if the hallucinatory memories didn't last more than thirty seconds, there was nothing to worry about? Judging by Desmond's description, the man had been sprawled in the hall for at least a few minutes, so Shaun wasn't worried. Wasn't relieved when Rebecca decided to limit Desmond's time in the machine to no more than two hours at a time, with at least an hour break. Wasn't relieved when Lucy forbid Desmond from being in the Animus for a few days. Wasn't relieved when Desmond seemed to be fine. Wasn't worried that it might happen again. Wasn't worried that Desmond might go insane like Subject Sixteen.

Shaun wasn't worried at all.

X - X - X - X - X

Desmond told himself that he wasn't scared. He wasn't.

Just because he occasionally spoke in Italian or Arabic, that he had never learned, without even realising. Just because he sometimes didn't immediately recognise Rebecca and Lucy and Shaun. Just because he'd space out for minutes at a time to come around again to one of his friends frantically shaking him, shouting at his face in English he sometimes didn't understand.

Desmond wasn't scared.

Just because Lucy and Rebecca's auras were red because they needed him to get in the Animus, and that didn't fit with his goals any more.

His goal was to not get any crazier.

Shaun's aura was blue. Always blue so Desmond sought him out when he could. Gripped Shaun's arm and wouldn't let go when Lucy and Rebecca hesitantly attempted to encourage him back in the Animus.

It never worked, and the last time they tried Desmond had lashed out on instinct, catching Rebecca in the jaw and sending her sprawling. He was immediately horrified and helping her to her feet, apologising over and over. But her aura was suddenly blue, as was Lucy's, and he tried to tell them but he was speaking Arabic more often than not, though they seemed to understand.

But Desmond wondered if it mattered any more because there were ghosts of Altair's and Ezio's memories always overlapping in his vision; awake, asleep, eyes open or closed.

Desmond told himself he wasn't scared.

The only time the ghosting faded was when he focused on Shaun, so he would sit in the inactive Animus and just watch Shaun. The other two people who were usually in the room were blue, and they seemed familiar. Sometimes they shouted and sometimes they cried, but they were always busy and they were always blue.

The man Desmond watched was blue too. When he spoke his words sounded harsh, but his face didn't match. He would say the same thing over and over to him, but it was a language Desmond didn't understand any more. Though once the man spoke to Desmond in halting Arabic, reading a small book and flipping through its pages furiously.

"Wait. We are bringing you back."

He didn't understand because he wasn't gone, but he nodded and smiled anyway, and the man repeated the phrase every day.

The three people poked things in to his skin and made him drink liquids that didn't taste very pleasant, but they were always blue so he wasn't scared.

As long as he watched the man with the glasses who smiled at him and told him to wait, he wasn't scared.