AN: A short fill for the AC kink meme; Desmond gets teased about his tacky arm tattoo.


Ever since Lucy gave him the hidden blade kit, Desmond's been rolling up his sleeves just so that he doesn't end up poking holes through the cuffs of his sweater on accident. The first time he does it, he catches her eyeing him askance, a quizzical fix to her brow, but she remains silent.

Shaun does no such thing.

"Christ, Miles, don't tell me you have 'mom' tattooed in a heart over your chest too, because I don't think I can be any more embarrassed for you."

"Hey," Desmond protests, resisting the urge to tug down his sleeves. Rebecca has been giving curious looks at his arm as well. He begins to suspect that the both of them have been speculating about the tribal tattoo while he was in the Animus, and it doesn't help that Lucy is staying quiet instead of telling them to shut up. "I got it when I was seventeen."

"Ah, so you were just as idiotic back then too," Shaun sighs.

"Rebecca," Desmond says, not quite wailing, and turns to her. He figures that she's the one who can at least understand him the most, in that respect. "Let's just say, hypothetically, that you were raised out in the middle of nowhere, no contact with the outside world, and then you run away."

"Yeah, I follow you," Rebecca says, lowering her headphones.

"And, when you run away, you hang low and work for a year—I don't know, scrubbing tables or something," Desmond continues, "So, as a runaway seventeen year-old, what would be the first thing you'd do with the money you've earned?"

Rebecca doesn't miss a beat. "I'd get a motherfucking tattoo, that's what."

"Thank you," Desmond says.

"Still a shitty tattoo though," Rebecca coughs. "Way too nineties for my tastes."

"Rebecca, this alliance can't work if you're going to undermine me like that."

Meanwhile, Lucy and Shaun are laughing it up in their chairs. Desmond throws his arms in the air.

"Guys, it's just a tattoo!"

"Just a tattoo? Are you sure? No deeper, symbolic meaning?" Shaun taunts from his desk, because apparently he has nothing better to do while Desmond tries to eat his lunch in peace.

"Well, you see this blue swirl right here?" he begins, patience wearing thin, and holds out his arm; Shaun looks. "That symbolizes the agony you'll feel when my foot goes up your ass if you don't shut up." With that, he takes a bite of his sandwich, propping his feet up on a crate.

"Uh-oh," says Rebecca, and Lucy ducks her head in a weak attempt to hide her grin.

"Wh—" but before Desmond can even finish saying the word, Shaun is standing three feet too close to him, grabbing his wrist.

"Now you've done it," Rebecca hums.

"I bet you don't have a clue what your tattoo means," Shaun says, unbuckling the bracer from Demond's forearm and roughly turning it over. He gives it a glance, snorts, and lets go of Desmond's wrist like it was a piece of garbage. "Absolute tripe, that design."

"Desmond, did you forget who analyzes the glyphs you find?" Lucy adds helpfully.

He did. "Ah, shit."

Shaun gets this smug look behind his glasses. He returns to his desk, waving a hand. "Don't fret, Desmond. It's not that bad. It's a faux-Hawaiian design. I can pick out the original symbol, but it's got all these extra patterns that make it meaningless. Apparently you claim to havei paradise/i written all over your arm, or some gaudy version of it."

"Okay, that I knew," Desmond grumps. "It wasn't like I voluntarily inked out my arm without knowing what I was getting."

"But, paradise. Really?"

Desmond doesn't intend to say what comes out of his mouth next, especially with Lucy smiling there for the first time in a while, but he can't help it.

"Working from paycheck to paycheck, going to trade school, and living alone in a beat down apartment?" he snaps, yanking down his sleeves. He makes his way to the Animus and flops in it. "Yeah. It was. Anything was better than the Farm."

The chamber goes quiet and, just like he predicted, Lucy's smile disappears and her expression becomes anxious. He doesn't bother looking at Shaun or Rebecca—instead he grinds the palms of his hands in his eyes, shutting them out.

"Ugh, I'm tired," he mumbles, loud enough so that it can almost be an apology. He lowers his hands and tries for a grin, weary and small, but at least it reaches his eyes. "I'll do a few more hours, then a break."

"Yeah. Sure," Rebecca says, her voice a little softer than usual.

She hooks him up and soon Desmond is in Rome, the skin of his left arm showing nothing but scars and the deep impressions of the hidden blade's bracer.

-o-

When he wakes up, Desmond's jacket is missing, and his arms are covered with ink and something he guesses is highlighter marks, but it shows up badly on his skin. He stares, still groggy from the Animus session; there's a crudely drawn eagle above his elbow and a kiss made from actual lipstick (and, possibly, lips) on back of his hand. Also stars. And monochrome rainbows. And scribbled hearts in thin red ink. And 'iShaun was here, tee hee/i' written in what doesn't look like Shaun's handwriting, but word 'WANKER' in what does.

"There better not be anything on my face," he says to the room at large, though Lucy's gone out on a grocery run and Rebecca's headphones are blaring out rock music. Only Shaun glances at him with an innocent expression. Groaning, Desmond gawks at his arms again. "Okay, Shaun, I hope your decoding skills are up this analyzing this, because I can't even guess what all this means."

Shaun frowns. "It's simple, actually. It means that there were three people who had access to too many pens and an unconscious body."

"And what about the 'we love you, Desmond'? Because. That's. Well."

"Excess patterns," Shaun mutters. "Means nothing."

"Worst tattoo job ever," Desmond grumbles, standing up to stretch.

But he keeps them on for the rest of the day.