It would all end ugly, that's all he really knew for sure. He knew it, Hell, they both knew it, but that couldn't stop how dependent they were on this now. As long as no one knew, it would be fine. That's what he tells himself when he can't sleep at night and leaves the Animus room where his bed is. It's what he prays when he opens the door and begs to be let in again because alone, all he can see are ghosts and he's getting tired.

He collapses on the bed that's too small for the both of them and mumbles to be woken up early in the morning so he can get out and keep their secret safe. He pretends one of the hands clinging to that book rested on his shoulder as the mercenari shout commands into his ears.

It's always quiet in the mornings. No one else is up this early except Lucy, but she was keeping watch and never seemed to notice him. He walks through the halls of Monteriggioni, The walls are old and are starting to crumble. Outside, the sun is still high in the sky, just starting to push past the clouds left over from a storm. He only has a few more minutes of silence before she comes looking for him, asking if he's ready to go back into the Animus.

He wants to say 'no.' He's tired and scared that soon he's not going to be able to wake up, but he doesn't say anything but "sure" with a smile he hoped looked alright. She smiled back and walked with him to the chair, waiting by his side until Rebecca eased the needle into his arm and he blacked out.

He starts to feel sick a few hours into the session and logs out in the middle of a sequence because he couldn't stay in there anymore. He ran, completely undignified, into the bathroom and threw up for about an hour. The undying sense of vertigo continued for another hour and he couldn't stand for quaking legs and he refused to open the door when Lucy started shouting. He knew she waited outside, could hear her breathing (barely) over his haggard panting, could see her shadow from underneath the door.

When he finally emerged, she had her hands everywhere, his forehead, cheeks; she checked his pulse, looked at his pupils. Lucy told him to get some fresh air. The sun had just set and he would have a little time to walk around. She pressed the watch and headset into his hand and pushed him in the direction of the door. Lucy told him to keep the microphone on in case he started feeling ill again. He promised that he wouldn't strain himself.

He didn't want to tell her about the shadows that were closing in on him, the smell of sweat and the heat of the mid-summer Italian sun on his skin.

Shaun was standing watch by the door, having relieved Lucy at three in the afternoon. They avoided eye contact as he passed by. Shaun said something to him. No. Was it Richard? The king asked him something. He backed away, not understanding his accent. The blade on his arm felt heavy and warm and the voice in his ear was persistent. It was French, wasn't it? Here, in Arsuf? The Crusaders were shouting. The Saracens were coming.

The king moved closer. He ran. He was surrounded.


There was a ledge. He fell.

This was Italy.

Again, hands were everywhere. Lucy's voice was in his ear; Rebecca was there, he could hear her too. Someone was carrying him. "I'm sorry," he said, over and over.

He was resting in the Animus room again and he focused on the sound of the computers, the sound of the current, just to keep him here. Lucy was shouting at someone. She was furious, and he was glad it wasn't at him. She swore. Rebecca mumbled something at her computer. Shaun was talking now; he sounded exhausted.

He fell asleep.

He was out for almost an entire day. Rebecca was there when he woke up. She said she and Lucy have been watching over him the whole time. She looked weary. "You were screaming" she said, rubbing her eyes. "Something in Arabic. I didn't understand."

The room was quiet. No computers were running, there was no one talking. He asked for Lucy, but she was sleeping, or trying to. He got up and Rebecca tried to get him to lie back down. He told her to go to sleep, he'd be all right. He lied through his teeth and she saw it too. She watched him walk away, eyes like a hawk. "He's not in a good mood," she says with a soft, knowing tone. He caught her eye and told her not to say anything to Lucy. He told her not to say anything ever.

She didn't look angry. He knew he looked pathetic. He continued down the hallway. He stood close to the door and knocked. It was locked, and he felt defeated. He heard Italian from the end of the hall. It was his sister; it was Claudia. She was arguing with Mario. He went to break up their fight, but they were gone. He heard cannons. Cesare was there, he could feel him. The gun fired. Mario!

He was too slow, always too slow. Everything was crumbling around him. He was falling and his arm was numb. He was having déjà vu; he didn't know what was happening. He needed to find Claudia. He had to know she was okay. He couldn't fail everyone he loved.

There were hands.

Desmond? The one Minerva spoke of? Was he here? Could he help now? Lucy? No, you're Claudia. What are you trying to do?

He wrestled away; he was fine. He was fine.

More hands. He wasn't shouting, was he? No, he tells her, he's all right. She asks how long he's been slipping. He says weeks and he's sure she starts to cry.

The next time he tries, the door isn't locked. He stumbles in and all but begs to stay. He apologizes again, says he wants to feel real for a while. He begs Shaun to keep him here. Lucy has been heartbroken for days and Rebecca's trying to get her to stop blaming herself. Shaun is angry. He's always angry with him. Shaun asks him why he told Rebecca. He didn't, no, no, she knew. She just knew, please don't make me leave.

Was he crying? The door was in his face. Lucy knew too.

He wondered if Sixteen had been this scared. He was alone with his phantoms. He didn't want to die. His heart raced and he tried to scream, but something was lodged in his throat. The room started to fall away. Lorenzo was there, he was handing him the cape. No, he was giving it to Ezio. He was Desmond. He was here, it's 2012. He could hear Lucy and Rebecca. He tried to focus on them. They were voices on wind. He watched the Assassin's jump from the tower in Venezia. Antonio told him to follow.

"Desmond! No!"

A/N So, I'm sorry. I should reevaluate what songs I listen to while I'm writing. I love how I never intended for this to happen. I blame Dishwalla. But I'm pretty sure this is the end. What do you think?