by Melfice

hey you, are you in there? I'm stuck outside you.

we could use one another, another like you.

When Lucy finally leaves Abstergo she brings baggage with her, heavy and useless, and she introduces him to you as Desmond Miles. There is nothing about him that is immediately endearing, nothing about him that makes you feel as though Lucy's risks in kidnapping him were worth it, and there is nothing about him that does not grate upon every nerve in your body.

He does nothing to help this. You and he clash the moment you meet, in harsh words and rebuttals, and you write him off in your mind as nothing more than a lump of skin and bones to go into the Animus.

You assume much, but it all falters. You know everything there is to know about Desmond Miles, know everything there is to hate about him, and it lasts until you bump into him in the hallway and he stumbles back away from you as though he's seen a ghost.

"Are you blind?!" you snap, but Desmond doesn't stop backing away until his back hits the metal wall.

He holds his head in his hands, digs fingers into his scalp, closes his eyes so tightly that you're surprised that they open again; he stares at you, suddenly sweating even in the cool hall, and something about him is very different.

"I...sorry. I thought I saw something- I must be tired," he mutters, and it seems as though he's lost the ability to look you in the eye.

You let it go because you don't know better, because you don't know him better, because you don't care in the least what nonsense is going on inside his head.

Nothing about him interests you, nothing about him concerns you.

You take no step towards knowing him at all until one night, on a whim, you follow him into the kitchen and watch as he pours a glass of whiskey. Files identify him as a bartender, from some no-account bar that he likely doesn't care for, and the fingers that curl around the glass have been there many times before.

Desmond takes a drink from the glass, watching you curiously, and something about him makes you itch for a challenge.

Everything about Desmond Miles is a challenge to you.

Every bone in your body tells you not to, but you sit at the table with him regardless and take the shot of Jack that he pushes into your hands. You don't drink often and with good reason - you've always been something of a lightweight - but you down the shot as though it doesn't burn, swallow it as though you're a veteran at this.

There is something knowing in Desmond's eyes as he watches your own adjust to the liquor and you hate him for it, hate him for the smug smirk that twists across his lips, and you take another shot to spite him.

It doesn't work.

He laughs and something about it is so honest, so open, that you find yourself unable to stop watching him.

It takes several drinks before he starts telling you of where he grew up, of the assassin compound he was born in, of what it was like to escape that hellhole, and you listen with more interest than you wish you had. Desmond is charismatic and something about the way he speaks is pleasant to listen to - you suppose that comes from bartending too - but it is difficult to stop yourself from falling into it.

It is well past midnight before you think to look at the clock, think to remember who you are and who you're with and what you should be doing.

Desmond has easily drank twice as much as you and, despite the brightness in his eyes and the slight flush of his cheeks, he is still obnoxiously sober.

You know you've drank way too much when you realize you're noticing the color of his cheeks.

The more time you spend with him the more you think you know him, the more it rattles you when you realize you know absolutely nothing at all.

You wake up two nights later, shuffle out of your room to get a glass of water, and are immediately distracted by the blood on the linoleum in the kitchen.

Desmond looks up from where he is sitting on the counter, in boxers and a white t-shirt, his leg propped up on the edge of the sink. His hands are slick with his own blood and half into the open mess on his leg, red thread entwined between his fingers, sweat on his brow. There is a first aid kit scattered on the counter by him and his wet hands are half finished sewing up the gaping wound on his shin.

There is blood fucking everywhere; blood on the counter, dripping onto the floor, up to Desmond's elbows, and it twists something awful in your stomach and your knuckles turn white as they clench the doorway.

"Jesus fucking Christ, Miles," you breath, crossing the kitchen slowly. "What the hell did you do?"

He inhales and it is ragged, just a hiss between his teeth, but his voice is surprisingly calm. "Jumped from the rafters and fell onto a broken crate."

You're not squeamish, are an assassin in your own right and have killed men before, but the muscle and bone that peak out from Desmond's leg makes you feel lightheaded. Without a word you take the bloody needle from his shaking hands and you rinse it in the sink.

He lets you take over without a word and you do it without explanation, without questioning yourself. His fingers curl around the edge of the granite and he leans his head against the cupboard, closes his eyes tightly and just breathes. You are by no means a doctor, have hardly had experience with this, but you know more about it than he does and you work slowly, redoing haphazard stitches with careful fingers, and you silently curse in your head over and over.

The situation is surreal and it isn't until you're nearly done with the wound, until you've muttered to him six times to not pass out, that you finally glance up at his face.

"What were you doing on the rafters?" you ask, and you wait until he looks at you, until those wild eyes look at you completely open, before you continue your work.

"Patching the roof," he replies.

You squeeze the area around the wound, grip tight, and he chokes so hard you nearly regret it.

Another breath, a sharp inhale, and he grimaces. "I already told you about the Bleeding Effect. You told me to 'piss off'."

Essentially Desmond is right.

Shaun ignores the voice in his head that tells him to slam the door in Desmond's face and - probably because he hates himself - he let's Desmond in.

The bartender settles cross-legged on the floor with the grace of a cat, all liquid movements and fluidity, and Shaun sits in the chair by the bed - stares at the rug, not at Desmond.

It doesn't take long before Desmond falls into an explanation of sorts, tries explaining his concerns, his worries, his fears. He describes the Bleeding Effect in such detail that he might as well be reading from a textbook and twice Shaun nearly interrupts him to say that he's not a babysitter, that they had told him over and over that he should expect this to happen.

He lets Desmond ramble because he assumes it is cathartic, assumes it is the quickest way to get the man back to bed and out of his hair.

The amusement in his eyes gives him away though and Desmond stops mid-sentence, pursing his lips in unconcealed irritation, and Shaun can't help the satisfaction it brings him.

"You're not listening," Desmond states.

Shaun laughs.

"I am," he insists, eyes gleaming, "with the same enthusiasm I would listen to a child tell me of their nightmare before I scooted them back to bed. We told you this would happen - it is a side effect, Miles - and I do so understand you're afraid-"

"No," Desmond interrupts, voice cold. "No, you don't understand, because you are not listening."

"I am listening - I. Just. Don't Care."

Desmond had stormed out before things had escalated, before he'd gotten overwhelmed and decked you in the face.

With your own hands coated in Desmond's blood and the nearly patched wound in your face, you realize that perhaps you hadn't been listening as intently as you should have.

"It's like I forget who I am, where I am - like I'm dreaming, but I don't know it and I can't wake up."

You finish the stitches and drop the needle into the first aid kit. "So you think you're a bloody bird?"

"I took a leap of faith," Desmond replies, and something in his eyes makes you swallow your next retort. There is an acceptance there, a calmness, but there is also fear.

The two of you solve nothing that night.

You half carry the man back to his own room and contemplate bolting the damned door, contemplate barricading it from the outside. You stand in the doorway until Desmond falls asleep and then head back to your own room, close the door and you stare at it for the longest moment, lost in your own thoughts.

You should tell Lucy, but you don't and when she finds the bandages on Desmond's leg her eyes snap to you as though she knows you were involved. Neither of you tell Lucy anything, both of you falling into hastily made lies that you're not even sure why you're making, and you can tell from the way she purses her lips that she doesn't believe a second of it.

It is likely she considers it your fault, maybe she thinks the two of you finally came to blows.

There's still denial.

You still have yourself convinced that none of this is your problem until he knocks on your door again one night, at half past four, and you know it's him just by the sound of his knuckles against the frame.

It is late - and that'll be part of the anger you'll snap at him when you open the door - but he is leaning heavily against the door frame, and he is soaked. You let him in because you're confused, because it's obvious he's been gone for god fucking knows how long and no one has noticed.

His wet jeans cling desperately to his hips, shirt soaked to his skin and he falls to his knees on the floor of your room and watches you with an eerie calmness that you can't feel. You stare at the wall behind his head, not at the goosebumps on his skin.

You have barely shut the door before your anger is directed at him. "I hope you decided to take a shower fully clothed, because if you tell me you left the safe house in the middle of the fucking night and compromised everyone's safety-"

"Hit me," he begs you, and you finally notice that his eyes are darting scarily around the room, as though he is being watched from all directions. "As hard as you can. I know you want to."

And you do want to - have wanted to since you met his cocky ass that first day and if he had offered his pretty face to you a mere week ago you wouldn't have hesitated - but the request settles sickly in the bottom of your stomach. You clench and unclench your fist, but there's no way you can punch him when he's kneeling there in front of you, staring at you completely open and trusting.

"I don't know where I've been - I woke up on the roof an hour ago and it took me thirty minutes to realize I wasn't in Venice," he says, and his voice trembles so slightly that you nearly miss it, and his teeth grit. "I see Templars every-fucking-where, Shaun. I can't sleep, I can't focus, I...."

You kneel in front of him and grab his jaw in your hand. "Knocking you out cold isn't going to help that, you bloody moron. There's nothing here. You're in my room, in the safe house, in the middle of the night. There's no one here."

The way his eyes dart around the room makes you feel as though there is something there, as though he sees something that you can't, and it makes you uneasy-

"Stop it," you demand, and you regret it when those eyes are on you again, regret it when the words catch in your throat and you forget what you should be doing.

"Make me," he breathes, and your lips are on his before he finishes speaking.

Desmond is cold, all chilled skin and wet clothes, and you feel like you're boiling in comparison. It's obvious from the way he tenses against you that this wasn't what he was expecting you to do, wasn't what he was asking for, but he doesn't pull away from you and it's the only permission you need.

His lips are just as cold, chapped and bruised, and it is nothing until they move against yours, until there is something akin to want there. Then his body is against yours, lips drinking you in, hands in your hair, and this is so much better.

Your lips move to his neck and it's the first time you've heard him gasp, the first time you've felt him tremble against you. Hands move underneath the wet t-shirt, warm hands moving over impossibly cold skin, running along his back and feeling the muscles flex underneath your touch.

You break away long enough to peel the white shirt over his head, long enough to admire every single inch of skin that it reveals. There are sickly purple and yellow bruises dotting his ribcage, scars and lines of mended flesh that are too fresh to be from his time in the lab; your hands move slower, move more carefully.

A low groan rolls from his throat and it hits you in all the right places, sends shivers racing up your spine, and you feel the heat that blooms beneath your hands.

It's easy to forget what you're doing until Desmond's nails dig into your shoulder, clench deliciously against your skin, but he's not paying attention to you - he's staring over your shoulder and his eyes are distant and it's happening all-the-fuck-over-again.

One stitched leg, bruised ribs and arms, and Desmond is still stronger than you when he wants to be.

He shoves you back with one hand, hard enough to bruise, and he almost manages to deck you in the face. You catch his fist before it hits you and shove him onto his back, lips on his again, and it's all contradictions between the two of you; slow and fast, gentle and hard. His back arches as your hips grind together, a moan rippling in his throat, and everything about him feels amazing beneath your hands.

"You're not leaving," you tell him, and then you're sliding those wet jeans over his hip bones, kicking your own pants to the side, and there is nothing but friction when his skin meets yours.

His body moves, writhes against your own, his nails still digging into your skin, urging you to move. He is hissing in Italian against your neck and it is not a good sign, but you can't help but drink him in, to feel those words against you, and you're only human.

You break away long enough to fumble through the beside table, to grab the disgusting bottle of cheap massage oil that Rebecca had given you as a gag gift, and it is almost too long to leave him because he fucking tackles you to the floor as soon as he's free.

He pins your wrists above your head and there's something animalistic about him now, eyes full of survival and lust, and you can't tell if he's really seeing you or if he sees someone else entirely. You give him one moment, let him hold you to the hard floor, do nothing but watch him.

"This is so fucked up," he mutters, and you couldn't agree more.

His hands start moving over your body, needy and rough but not threatening, and you take another moment to breathe before you slick your fingers with the oil. "Just let me know before you decide to snap my neck."

Whatever he's about to say deteriorates into curses when your fingers slide inside of him. He's arching against you, breathless and saying your name like it's a fucking prayer, and it's almost too much. You are all gentle movements and self control until he growls into your throat, 'just fuck me, Shaun. Christ-'

You feel yourself shudder, breath trembling ever so slightly as it escapes from your throat, and you can't get inside him fast enough. Words are falling from his lips again, broken English and gasps, and it is so hard to be careful with him fucking begging you for it.

He's purring your name against your neck, biting down with his teeth and leaving marks all along your neck and shoulders. His body fits against yours, all sweat and friction, and you have no idea why it's taken this long to have him like this.

You're panting against his lips, hands gripping onto his hips as you move, and you can't get enough of him. There's nothing left between the two of you, no masks and no roles, and his eyes are wild but they only see you, are focused only on you.

Smooth movements become erratic, become frantic as you try to get closer, try to move faster, harder.

His body shudders violently against yours and your nails dig into his hips hard enough that he has to be bleeding, has to be covered in marks, and he moans your name as he comes and it's too fucking much. You've never felt poetic, never even read a romance novel, but you swear you see god damned stars.

There is nothing left, both of you completely spent, and he rolls onto his side onto the floor with a ragged breath. You stay on your back, breathing in and out, floor cold and hard beneath you, and you ache in a hundred different places.

"Fuck," Desmond growls, but he doesn't move from the floor, "my leg is bleeding."

It takes a long time for your mind to catch up with your body.

You're both already dressed, restitching the reopened wound in the bathroom, before your mind starts asking eighteen different varieties of stupid questions. They roll around in your head, heavy like weights, and you're almost done with the stitches when one finally settles in front of your eyes and doesn't leave.

What happens next?

And you haven't stopped to think about it yet because it is probably the least important thing. For all intents and purposes Desmond is still a fucking lunatic and if he doesn't attack you in your sleep tonight you'll chalk it up as a victory.

He's staring at the bathroom wall like it's looking back at him, like it's fucking talking to him, and it's the most unnerving thing to watch him come to terms with the chaos that's rattling his brain.

"I can't fuck you every time you hallucinate," you tell him dryly. "I haven't been 16 in a long time - I don't have that sort of stamina."

It is absurdly comforting when he smirks, when his eyes flicker to you and you can tell he heard you, tell that he's capable of seeing you.

"It's better," he replies, and you wonder briefly what that even means. It's obvious it's still there, still eating at him and you're not sure how many more times he can throw himself from the rafters before his body just stops. "You seem to get through to me."

You don't think too much on that, don't let yourself get pulled in anymore than you already have.

You finish with his leg and he hobbles back to his room without your help, though you walk at arm's length behind him just in case and you don't think too much on that either.

He kisses you when you stop at his doorway, long and hard, body fitting against yours in the cold hallway, and a muttered 'fuck' escapes you when he breaks away and takes your breath with him.

And you think too much that night, entirely too much about everything.