Just a short little ficlet with some angst. I'm about halfway through playing Assassin's Creed 2 (my Xbox died while I was playing the flying-machine mission, and I had to send it to Microsoft...), and I'm stuck thinking that Desmond really doesn't get enough love! I've only been able to come out of the Animus once. Such a difference compared to how many times in AC1...

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this! I wrote it pretty quickly. Sorry for any mistakes. Thank you in advance for reading!

It was yet another night in the Sanctuary, where Desmond had been pulled out of the Animus 2.0 and sent to rest. Nobody had to watch to know he was stumbling from the Animus, one hand on his head. He was disoriented a moment, sitting with his legs hanging off the side of the chair. When Lucy finally spoke, saying he should sleep for the night, Desmond drew his hand across his forehead and stood.

Shaun could hear the difference in Lucy's gentle but firm steps as she went back to her desk compared to Desmond's heavy, unsteady ones. He could hear the front of Desmond's shoes brush against the floor, as though the man had barely the energy to pick them up. There was a short pause in his typing that the others heard throughout the room. He cast his gaze down, wondering if there was something he could say about the situation. Instead, he continued his typing like nothing had happened.

Rebecca let her eyes flicker up to Desmond, seeing the dark rings around his eyes. He tried to straighten himself as he walked upon noticing her weary stares. Letting her eyes drift to the screen, she tried to type without pauses. Filling the screen were pictures of Ezio's actions, artifacts he discovered, inventions he tested, or people he killed. Actions that Desmond had to assume each day. Formulas flew through her head; questions as to how, if at all, she could help to make the Animus have less of a lasting effect. Once again, she came up short. With a quiet sigh, she tried to refocus on her work.

Lucy quietly led Desmond to his bed. The pauses in the clicking of the keyboards and the quick glances had not gone unnoticed. Every time she heard Shaun stop typing for a moment, she wanted to tell him to get back to work, to focus on the task at hand, and to stop looking at the evident faults. She wanted to tell Rebecca to turn back to her work as well, and that everything was going to be fine, and her worry was unnecessary.

Every time she even came close to mentioning something, she'd hear a stumble in Desmond's footing, or she'd hear him shift to one side for some reason, as though avoiding something. She'd turned and seen him squinting at the ground in front of him, as though trying to focus on something he couldn't see. Several times he had stuck out his arm to push something out of his way, only to be met with air. Her heart ached whenever she would see his confused face as he looked at the empty space.

Once or twice, Desmond had even called to something. Sometimes, it was something in a language she didn't understand- and by the look on his face, a language he hadn't known he was speaking, either- and other times, it was a yell for someone to stop and wait for him. When he would stand there, shocked, as reality set in, she would turn and smile at him sadly, and only say that he needed rest; that everything would be better in the morning.

Desmond's pants and small cries during his nightmares were always heard by the other assassins. They could hear him jolt up in bed, gasping as though wounded. He would wake, sweating, one arm tightly wrapped around his waist, attempting to swallow with his dry throat, muttering things in slurs of languages about being slashed. The other assassins were unsure if he knew these memories weren't his. Either way, they could barely sleep when hearing his recurring strangled cries of being killed or having to kill every night.

In the morning, Shaun would still berate the tired man, Rebecca would still plug him into the Animus 2.0, and Lucy would still smile at him beforehand, telling him, "Good luck." In the end, nothing would change, and they could only help him back into the machine that was slowly taking him away.