Ezio turns to find Desmond, the words 'don't touch anything' on his lips, mimicking Hawk, because if Hawk says don't touch anything, it means don't touch anything. But Desmond can't hear, he's gone. All there is is the rock where he was standing and him, Hawk, and Jake standing there dumbly in the near pitch darkness that only gives way slightly even to his second sight.

The entire world falls away and he wonders whether to go berserk now, or to wait for Altair to turn up. After all, when that happens...

Then that is irrelevant because Altair is there. Ezio only hears a faint whisper of sound. He feels Altair's arrival somewhere, instinctive, ingrained. He does not turn his head, still looking at the spot where Desmond had been, the rock that he had touched last.

Altair's eyes flicker from face to face, and finally rest on Ezio's. Ezio distantly wonders exactly what he looks like, to be deserving of that much contemplation. He thinks he knows. If he looks like he feels, he looks like he is one step away from unleashing hell on anything that separates theirlittle bird from them.

He is still not looking at Altair. But he can feel the gathering chill, that would normally have him scrambling to defuse a situation, to save innocents from the blood that follows Altair on a war path. But this time he just suppresses a shiver of delight, and revelsin the blood lust.

Maybe they do not know exactly what happened the last time Desmond was in one of these thrice-be-damned temples, but the know it broke the kid. And all their protective instincts for the littlest of them (though Jake was too, but hewas immortal) had already been stirred up when he disappeared off their radars without warning, without indication just-

Ezio forcibly calms himself. Finally he takes his glare off of the stone that took Desmond away, and looks back at Altair, their leader. It is he who will indicate the general direction for Ezio to unleash his wrath.

Altair is talking quietly with Hawk. Then they are settling in half crouches, ready and able to react in seconds, but also to hold the position for hours, even days on end. A glance from Altair, and Ezio does the same. The others know better than to talk to him when he is like this, furious, raging, ready to kill.

Maybe he's over reacting. But he knows he is not stirring until either Desmond comes back, their Apples tell them he is somewhere else, or they get an indication that he is dead.

Or he gets the all clear from Altair to try and break in. With brute force and explosives, if nothing else.

Time passes, and he sees Hawk leave to go fetch Jake. He thinks to stop him, (They are children. Like their own children.) but then remembers that Jake is immortal. He feels a crushing wave of sadness engulf him, another person they have denied his death, but then pushes past it. Desmond can still die, but not on their watch.

A day passes.

Jake is there now. Ezio gets the general sense of Assassins being kept from entering the tunnel. Ezio has barely moved. The rest are setting up sentry duty. Jake wakes him from his thoughts, as he crouches in front of him with an, "Are you alright?"

With anyone else, they would have already been dead. Anyone else included Altair and Hawk. Ezio was in an Assassin's cold mentality, deeply sunk. But Jake was one of theirs. So he refrains from killing him. Hawk is watching warily, ready to intervene, should it get too bad. Altair doesn't care. Jake's first death will happen soon, probably.

But not at Ezio's hands.

Ezio stands, stretches for a long time then tries to smile at Jake. From the look on the boy's face, it is more deadly, more bloodthirsty than he was trying for.

Altair walks into the tunnel very very calmly. Ezio recognizes that prowl. It is Altair's version of Ezio's trance. A way to contain anger, to control it, to form a sharpened blade from it...

Altair prowls, Ezio freezes, and Hawk doesn't feel it.

Altair's blades are reddened. Ezio briefly wonders who it was that died than decides its irrelevant. He doesn't feel like caring.

Hawk is poking at the innocent looking rock that took Desmond away from them, (And yes, Ezio can think that without killing something or freezing, he can.) with his Apple.

Altair brings over some... things to Ezio. They consist of a fuse, several pounds of explosives, a bottle of diamond polishing acid and other such bang-inducing items.

"Here." he says. Ezio is glad to see that their minds can still function on the same wavelength on occasion, it's just better that way, when they can act and react without having to do so verbally; he's a bit beyond actually speaking right now. Jake has already left, relieving Altair at the tunnel entrance.

Ezio tinkers, trying to get the proper combination that will burn through the rock without blowing them up as well. He has always had a fascination with bombs, ever since Yousaf taught him how to make them, ever so long ago. He kept up with that technology through the ages just as a reminder of his dear friend.

By the time he finally gets it, his already fragile sense of time is shattered. He has no idea whether it is night or day, and he really doesn't care. It's irrelevant, time is meaningless. All it is is a number, a passing of seconds. Ezio has a countless number of seconds, he does not concern himself with things like time. Not now.

The bomb is meant to break through the rock shell to whatever Ancient Tech lies underneath to have their Hawk at 'em. He has complete confidence that Hawk can beat whatever is underneath. If not today then tomorrow. If not this month then the next. If not this year then the next. If not this century then...

But Desmond doesn't have the centuries they are willing to give to projects. They have a time limit on this one.

The bomb works, just as he wanted it. The rock is blown sky high, or would have been if there had not been the roof of a tunnel above.

There is nothing beneath. Just nothing. More rock. More gravel and stone. The hole he's blown was twenty feet deep. But there is nothing. Wherever Desmond was taken it was far from here, further then they can blast to, further then they can drill to. He unleashes his rage on the hapless stone around him. Altair's is a cold fury, Hawk's is calculated, Ezio's burns with the fury of fifty thousand suns and makes bombs look like bottle rockets.

Eventually, he calms. He has to. He must. So he does. None of them touch him as they leave the tunnel.

Ezio knows they will rescue Desmond, even if it takes a thousand lives. Even if it takes a thousand deaths.

He just hopes Desmond will be alive to be rescued.


Okay so I didn't write most of this. That would belong to Hija, a lovely anon here who reviews a lot. I really liked what they did so I'm... stealing their epilogue, and making it fit the story properly. You can read their original version in the reviews which is pretty much just like this, only slightly different, and of course this is the canon version. I wasn't originally going to write an epilogue, but this was just really good and after reading it about two dozen times decided this needed to be added.

So again, I did not write most of this. I just made it canon.

Also be sure to check out the sequel, Flocking Movement: The Seventeenth!