I wanted to write more with Desmond. So here. More Desmond.
And of course Ezio has to get in their somewhere. Sheesh.
All belong to Ubisoft, as usual.
The Sanctuary was silent and still. There was no steady hum from the idle machines like there normally was, no background buzz from the high powered lights. Everything was off. Dead.
Three people sat around a table lit by a pair of short, fat candles which provided a dim glow in the gloom. They ate in silence, listening to the dripping of water down the walls and the occasional crumble of rock further in the escape route behind the imposing statue of Altaïr. There was nothing to say, even Shaun was all out of biting remarks about the power grid.
Each was lost in their own thoughts, each had different things to worry about.
Shaun, just before the power cut, had received startling news from William that one of the teams had dropped off the grid unplanned and that he was not to tell the others until he was given the go ahead. The possibility that they had lost another team just when they needed every man they had, was enough to curb his sarcastic tongue and make him sit in quiet retrospect.
Rebecca wasn't eating, she was sucking her index finger and trying to sooth the minor burn she had got when the outage caused a surge through the circuit she was working on. Every now and then, her eyes tracked to her computer desk out of worry, she didn't know what damage that surge had caused to Baby and she was poised to jump to her feet as soon as the lights flickered back to life.
And Lucy…she was worried about the person that should be occupying the empty chair next to Rebecca. He was in the Animus when the cut hit and he practically flew out the chair as if pushed by an unseen force. The whole team had panicked as he slammed hard into the stone floor and rushed over, only to have to back away quickly when a hidden blade was brandished towards them and a string of Italian was spat their way. Then he had blinked and stared at the blade as if confused before retracting it and focussing on three startled faces and exclaiming "What the hell just happened?"
He was outside now, in the cool night air, and Lucy was worried about him. No one was ever sure what would happen should a power cut hit when Desmond was in the Animus and it was always one of the larger dangers. What happened was unexpected; for him to be booted from one of Ezio's memories so suddenly, with no computer-aided buffers to protect him, his brain was still wired for the way the Italian worked. They were lucky, Rebecca concluded, that he recovered as quickly as he did but Lucy wasn't so sure. Desmond had looked rather pale when he trudged up the steps to the Villa.
Desmond's feet had taken him to the front of the Villa as if he were on autopilot. His head, wracked by a dull throb, made no effort to correct his feet as they took him down the first set of steps to the old fighting ring where Ezio had first learned the needed skills to survive. He vaulted over the railing and swung himself into a sitting position so that he could look out over the ring and onto the buildings beyond.
He felt heavy, tired but he tried to remember what he - what Ezio was doing before he was aborted from the machine so rapidly. He was in Roma, he recalled, massaging his temples with his fingertips. The date was hazy but it was sometime after…after…no. It was no good. He could see people, faces, but not specifics. His head pounded harder, a sharp stabbing pain ripping through his skull like lightning.
It passed as swiftly as it struck and Desmond uncurled himself from the position he had doubled into with his head on his knees. With a grunt, he rubbed his palm on his forehead, unsurprised to find beads of sweat there. The headaches were getting worse generally but they were never that bad and he put it down to being pulled so suddenly from the machine with no white room to detach himself from Ezio in. And the scary part of that was, it seemed to have pulled Ezio out with him; even if it was for a brief moment, the Italian assassin had a hold on Desmond and Desmond himself had no awareness of it. He found that rightly terrifying.
A pale shape drifted past him, walking around the ring and down the stairs - a woman, most likely a courtesan going on the way she walked - and Desmond groaned. He couldn't have five minutes to himself anymore; all he wanted was a short time in blissful isolation but instead he was surrounded by ghosts all the time. His head ached as more and more white figures wandered past and ignored him, a couple of mercenaries eventually fading into view within the ring. Unconsciously, he swung himself out of the ring and stood, his hands resting on the rough stone as he watched them fight.
He flinched with every blow one fighter struck at the other, watching one fighter with more focus and emotional investment. He gritted his teeth and gripped the cold stone in frustration as his fighter stumbled and picked himself up again, growling under his breath at the idiot. A hand clapped onto his shoulder but Desmond didn't look around as he heard Mario's voice say "looks like you can't win them all nipote." In a low growl, he listened to himself curse the losing fighter as the final blow was struck and the mercenary laid prone on the floor, his hands held in defeat.
"Desmond, snap out of it!" The hand on his shoulder was real and Desmond blinked away the visions and turned to look into the frightened eyes of Lucy. For a brief, fleeing moment, he forgot who she was. He forgot who he was. Who was this Desmond she spoke of?
Him, that was him.
He was Desmond.
"Yeah, I'm alright." An unconvincing lie, the throbbing in his head told him.
"You don't look it, and you were muttering in Italian." She didn't add the 'again' that lingered on the tip of her tongue.
"Really, Lucy, I'm fine." He smiled, placing his hand on her shoulder even though every fibre of his being said that no, he wasn't fine. Not fine at all.
"The power's back up. Rebecca needs you to try out the Animus and see that everything's fine." She didn't want him to go back in, not tonight. He needed to get what little sleep he could before the nightmares came again.
"Alright, lead on." Desmond didn't want to go back in either, but he had no choice.
Time was growing short.