Alex and Desmond sat in a car that the latter had broken into; Desmond at the wheel and Alex in the passenger seat. They sat in silence, as if not wanting to break an invisibility shield around the stolen car. They were parked a couple streets over from the police station, underneath a broken street light on a not so busy street. The only signs of live on the dead street was the accumulated trash over a long, hard day.
Desmond was dressed in mostly black. He had ditched his white hoodie for a black sweater that Rebecca had given him. A black knitted winter hat covered up most of his head, but also gave him the stereotypical look of a mugger. His hidden blade was hidden underneath the black hoodie, and he kept unsheathing and sheathing it as his nerves worsened. Alex gave him an irritated glare after a couple minutes of this, his blue eyes boring holes into the assassin, and Desmond stopped it at once.
Alex was probably just as anxious as Desmond, but the assassin didn't see the virus itching to turn his hands into claws, did he?
Alex wasn't much different in his appearance. He was still in his iconic jacket, still wearing a tan hoodie under the jacket, and still wearing jeans and dress shoes. When questioned by the assassins if he was going to change into something less noticeable for their covert operations, Alex just gave them a dead look that silenced the rest of their questions. After that, he said that he'd change into something different when he and Desmond got there.
Both men had an earpiece placed in their right ear, where Rebecca would later give them information if they needed it. Rebecca, due to her leg injury, was to stay behind the scenes for this operation, and she was only slightly disappointed. Still, she seemed happy just to help them where she was.
And now, the two men were just waiting for Lucy's plan to fall into place.
So they waited.
Half an hour passed of silent waiting, and then Alex let out a growl and smacked the car's glove compartment harshly, leaving an imprint of his fingers. He was growing impatient and claustrophobic. His body was anxious to get back into action after so many weeks just waiting around the assassins with little exercise. This rescue mission had been enough to set him back on edge, and just as impatient as ever for the slow moving assassins.
Not only that, but Alex wasn't one for cars, as he could usually out run them with ease. Even sitting in one made the virus stir anxiously. The time that passed with him and Desmond sitting in the car had been enough to boil up his biomass due to the confined space, and Alex just wanted to get out as soon as possible. And that meant most likely destroying the car in the process. But since he couldn't, due to the fact that it would blow their cover, it was frustrating him like a caged feral animal.
"How much longer to we have to spend waiting in this damn car?" Alex growled out the question in a dangerously low voice.
"Until Lucy gives us the signal." Desmond sighed as he rubbed his forehead slowly. He sounded tired, and he was resting his arms on the steering wheel. Desmond turned to look at Alex, who was beginning to fidget in his seat uncomfortably. "Look, I don't like waiting here forever either, okay?"
Alex let out a groan before grinding his teeth in frustration. When Lucy had asked him if he was good at covert operations, he had something completely different in mind. That being said, he hadn't expected waiting in a car for what seemed like hours to be a part of the plan. Alex knew that he was exaggerating a little bit, but he couldn't help but think that this was worse than a being in a confined space with a canister of Bloodtox.
"This is taking too damn long." Alex muttered again.
"Hey, this is was assassins do." Desmond pointed out. "It's not always running around, stabbing people with blades or throwing knives. Sometimes, we need to do some slow reconnaissance stuff before getting to the stabbing of people. Lucy is probably working as fast as she can."
"Well she needs to hurry the hell up!" Alex practically snapped at Desmond, his voice turning more rigid than it already was at the end as he clenched his teeth in frustration. He glowered out the car's window, his blue eyes practically giving off their own light, creating a deer in the headlights phenomena. He felt Desmond cautiously watch him, but Alex ignored the assassin. "Before I do something she'll regret."
"Just . . . occupy your mind with something until we get the signal, okay?" Desmond said, trying to help the virus. But his words fell short and just left the two men uncomfortable, just waiting for something to happen. Desmond chewed his bottom lip for a couple seconds before adding, "It'll probably be another ten or so minutes, at least."
Alex let out a small, almost inaudible groan.
After Alex's outbreak, it seemed to quiet down. Alex had gotten some of his anxiousness off his chest through words, and now he'll be able to focus on the task on hand easier. Still, the virus knew that if he spent any more time in the car, something would happen that he'd later regret. Alex started to silently beg for something to happen to occupy his time.
Something actually did happen, and it caught Alex's eye. Someone was walking down the unlit street towards their direction, and Alex slightly turned his head to get a better look. Desmond noticed the movement and turned around to find what Alex was looking at. For Desmond, who didn't have his Eagle Vision activated, it just looked like a random person walking down the street.
But for Alex, it was so much more. For one thing, Alex could tell that it was a man. And this man was walking with the kind of authority that very few walked with. The swinging of the hips, the small gleam on his chest, and the shape of a gun holster on his waist were just the few tell tale signs that told Alex who he was. This was a police officer, on his way home after a long day at the office eating donuts and filing paperwork.
"Change of plans, I'm going after that man." Alex said as he prepared to get out of the small car.
"Wait, hold on a second. I want a good look at him before you do anything." Desmond demanded, putting a hand on Alex's nearest shoulder.
Alex sighed but complied, sinking back in his seat, waiting. Once Desmond was sure that the virus next to him wasn't going to barge out of the car and attack the potential innocent, he allowed his Eagle Vision to come to him. It was a sudden rush of energy as a new sense came forward, just like when he was in the Animus when he was Altaїr or Ezio.
A whole new world opened up to him, a cloudy world of grey and monotone colors. Desmond looked over at Alex, who was thankfully the color of an ally, and he heard an almost silent gasp of shock escape from the man. Desmond ignored him and turned his attention to the man who was now walking past their parked car. Desmond was met with a vibrant red surrounding the man's silhouette, the color of a hostile, and could clearly see the man's police uniform. With this information, Desmond let his Eagle Vision fade away.
"Alright then, he's not an innocent." Desmond stated, giving Alex the approval to do whatever he wanted to him.
"Wait a second, Desmond." Alex said, his tone of voice just a hair's width under demanding. Alex was making it quite clear that he wasn't going anywhere without some answers. He looked straight at Desmond, his blue eyes looking almost mad at the assassin. "Did your eyes just glow without you going insane and attacking me?"
"Yeah. I can do it willingly too, you know." Desmond stated matter of factly, much to Alex's surprise. "I still gained it from the Bleeding Effect, but my ancestors also had it naturally. Well, as natural as Eagle Vision could ever get, that is. It's just genetics, Alex."
"Eagle Vision, what the hell does it do?" Alex asked, his voice low and quiet so it wouldn't attract the passing cop's attention.
"It basically allows me to see if someone is an ally, an innocent, or a hostile. It also lets me see someone's blood on my cell walls, but that's not important right now." Desmond stated, sounding like he didn't want to delve that much into Eagle Vision. Desmond motioned to the cop who was now more than a half block away, finally getting Alex back on track. "Now, you said you had a change of plans?"
Alex nodded, deciding to put their conversation aside for now. He opened the car's door and slammed it behind him as he got out. Desmond also exited the car, but received a grimace from Alex, which confused him slightly.
"Are you sure you want to come for this?" Alex asked, his expression was a mixture of genuine surprise and unease.
With that, Desmond decided that it would be better for him mentally if he got back in the car. Alex waited for the assassin to get back behind the wheel before leaving to catch up with the police officer. It didn't take very long for him to reach the cop, and Alex didn't bother being discreet with his abduction. Alex just grabbed the man by the jugular and quickly carried him to a nearby ally.
"Let go of me!" The cop ordered in a panicked, Brooklyn accent heavy voice. The cop tried to desperately grab his gun while trying to claw at Alex's fingers to stop the virus from choking him. Once he did have his gun, the cop found himself in the middle of a back alleyway, shrouded in darkness with the man chocking him. "Fuck off, you bastard!"
The cop started to shoot at Alex, a couple shots hitting him point blank in the chest, a few others at his sides. But of course, Alex wasn't hurt by the projectiles and just smirked up at the cop in his hands. Alex roughly grabbed the cop's gun out of his hand, receiving a pained cry from the police officer in the process, and tucked it in his back pants pocket for later use.
"What in God's name?" The cop choked out, now a little spooked by the virus.
And before the cop could perform another futile attempt at escape, Alex began to consume him. The virus quickly snapped the man's neck, the body finally falling limp in his grasp. After that, Alex felt his tendrils come out of his sides and began to rip the dead or dying man apart, tearing any piece of flesh he could get his hands on into biomass. The process was quick, like usual, and soon afterwards Alex was the only one in the ally.
But he wasn't Alex anymore. Now he was the cop: Officer Frank Williams. The man had six years until retirement, two sons named Joey and Sebastian, one daughter named Elizabeth, and recently divorced with a woman named Karen. He had problems with his vision and was very nearsighted. He had just had a huge argument with his partner while on the job, so he had left work early to cool off.
With his disguise, Alex returned to the car to get Desmond. He stood by the car and tapped on the driver's window, and watched with slight amusement when Desmond jumped at the sight of the cop. Alex quickly opened the car door, and that's when he was surprised to see the assassin jump at him, hidden blade already extended and at his throat. Desmond somehow managed to knock Alex onto his back, and now he was staring up at the assassin, who looked ready to kill.
"Are you going to do this every time I freak you out?" Alex asked in the officer's voice, but his aggravation was his own. This made Desmond pause, the hidden blade just rising off of Alex's throat about an inch in hesitation. But that was the only movement Desmond made, and Alex started growling at the man. "Desmond, would you mind getting the hell off me before I throw you off?"
Finally, comprehension crossed Desmond's face as if a light bulb went off in his brain. The assassin flicked his wrist, sending the hidden blade back in its case. Desmond didn't get off of Alex, fumbling with his lips as he thought of something to say instead.
"Al-Alex?!" Desmond said, his voice surprisingly quiet even though it spoke volumes.
"Yeah." Alex answered, his voice still growing hostile at the man on top of him. Alex felt his hands curl up into fists. Hard, lethal fists. Now his fingers were itching to turn into claws. "Now get the hell off."
Desmond was quick to react now, scrambling off the virus before he further irritated him. Alex quickly sprung up and dusted himself off before glaring at the assassin, who had backed up against the car's side. It was clear that Desmond was still aghast at discovering that Alex was now the cop, as he had a slack jaw and had his Eagle Vision activated again to check and see if it was really Alex. The cop was now a bright blue.
"Okay, now you've got some explaining to do, Alex." Desmond said, keeping a wary eye on the cop disguised Alex.
Alex sighed before starting. "Every person I consume, Desmond, I can become them. Their personalities, their flaws, their memories, even. When I consume, it's not just devouring. It's a process of breaking down each and every cell so I can replicate it later on. And when I do replicate it, I am that person, as you see now. And no one can tell the difference between me and the original." Alex paused in his explanation to demonstrate.
He skin quickly trembled until he was Taggart, then he shifted into the tall, stiff business executive from the night he first ran into Desmond, and then to the woman disguise of the same night. He watched as Desmond cringed at each change, his revulsion growing with each new disguise.
Just when the assassin thought he was beginning to understand Alex, he threw another curveball at him.
"It's what I am Desmond." Alex said, his voice now feminine due to the woman disguise he was wearing. Alex shifted back into the cop disguise before clearing out his throat and continuing. "It's what I do. The virus, it doesn't infect someone. It destroys them on a cellular level and allows me to take their place without any sign of doing so. I'm not just infected by the Blacklight Virus, I am the Blacklight Virus. It's what I was created to do."
Desmond tried to ask something, but Alex stopped him as he raised his right hand, demanding more time to explain.
"You're about to ask about Alex, aren't you?" Alex asked. The look on Desmond's face told him he was right. "He's dead. Alex Mercer was the first one I consumed, but at the time I thought I was the original Alex Mercer. And in a way, I still do. He's the only one I can relate to, the only one I feel completely comfortable as. Maybe it's because he was my first, or maybe it's because I had none of his memories to follow on. I don't know, but I do know that with Alex, I was allowed to become my own person."
Desmond's brain almost stopped working after that. The man that was standing in front of him, the man that had plagued his dreams and nightmares weeks after their first encounter, the man that had helped him and Rebecca when he could have just walked away. The man that he was just beginning to see as a friend, wasn't even a man at all. He was actually an it. An it that killed, consumed, and became people.
Suddenly, Dream Monster Alex and the Alex standing right in front of him were indistinguishable yet again.
"So if you aren't—"
"I'm still the same person from ten minutes ago, Desmond. Nothing has changed other than the fact that you know more about what I am." Alex said, promptly cutting the assassin's train of thought. "I'm still the same Alex you and the rest of the assassins know. I still care for my sister, Dana . . . and I still like being referred to as a he rather than an it."
Alex's last sentence was more of a request than anything. That's when Desmond realized that Alex wasn't trying to freak him out, even though he succeeded in that. Alex was just answering what Desmond asked. He wasn't ashamed of who he was. Why should he?
Desmond let out a small sigh and straightened himself out.
"Okay then." Desmond muttered, still slightly wary of Alex. "Now what was this plan of yours?"
Cop Alex looked relieved that Desmond decided to move ahead rather than stay on subject. He came forward towards the car, and before the assassin could realize what he was planning to do, Alex smashed the driver's side window. Desmond naturally jumped back, shielding his face in case any of the glass came towards his face. Thankfully, since it was tapered glass, it just fell.
"What the hell, Alex?!" Desmond exclaimed, giving Alex a suspicious look with a raise of his eyebrow. The last thing he expected the virus to do was smash their stolen car's window. "What was that for?"
"Evidence." Alex stated before grabbing Desmond by the shoulders.
Desmond quickly tried to shake Alex off of him, having no idea what the other man was planning, but soon found it impossible. Alex's grip was like a vice, and the nails that dug into his sweater told him that if he continued to struggle, he'd do more damage. Before Desmond could ask Alex to promptly let go of him, the virus spun him around and pushed him against the car's hood. Desmond's face thudded against the hood, his face pushed to one side so he could breathe, and he soon noticed that it was difficult for him to speak in this position.
"Evidence for what?" Desmond managed to say, sounding clearly irritated. He tried to scowl up at Alex, but was further restrained by the virus. "You finally going insane?!"
"If I remember clearly, I already told you I'm slightly insane." Alex stated calmly. Desmond heard something twitch and snap, and he could only think of one thing that made that sound: handcuffs. Sure enough, Desmond felt cold, metallic rings around his wrists that tightened up after a few seconds. "We're getting in that Police Station a different way than planned. Now get up, you dirty crook."