There was a great darkness. Darkness into everything. He could not see. He could not hear. He could not feel. He could not think. It was like he was sleeping. Sleeping and drowning and falling and floating and dying and all around him there was only the darkness that he could not know. The great yawning void of the world. The impregnable silence of God, whatever that was, seeping into his skin through his pores, smothering him like a child. He knew nothing. He was nothing. He could be nothing. It swallowed and ate him and rolled him around in it's black mouth and sometimes he was sure he cried. Cried and screamed and wept. But he could not remember these things, for he could not remember at all, anything, ever. Yet he knew so much, if someone would jus ask him, he could tell them.
But no one ever did.
He was alone, in the darkness. The thing that drove him mad and was a comfort like nothing he'd known. Because it wanted nothing from him. It did not need, it did not demand, it did not trick, and it did not lie.
He was at peace.
Sometimes he thought he heard whispers. Voices echoing out from the darkness. Sometimes he thought he heard his brother, and in those moments he'd find some sort of clarity.
He could remember.
Nothing important. Like where or who he was or what he was or what had happened. But he could remember stories. So many stories. His brother had loved stories. Stories about a man without a name, or a face who lurked in shadows, untouched by the sun and climbed trees like smoke and could walk on water. He was always in his brother's stories, and his brother called him… called him. Not a name. For he had no name. But even the nameless were something but he couldn't remember now. His brother's voice drifted away into the darkness. There had never been a voice, it had been a trick of his mind. He was still alone. There had never been anyone there. There never was. There was only himself. And with the voices his mind went as well.
He couldn't remember anything now.
He could never remember anything.
Other times he saw shapes in the void. Flashes of the brightest blue and palest yellow. At the very edge of his sight, almost out of reach for him to actually see properly. For some reason that made him hurt, but he wasn't sure how or why. It just was, as it always was. He was nothing, he only was, and in those times there was pain. Not a physical one, but one that was like being stabbed in the gut and made him weak and desperate. But he didn't know why. He couldn't remember.
Of course he couldn't remember.
There were voices. Yes. Voices. Not the pretend things he thought he heard. They were real. These had to be real. Right? Yes, of course they were real. He heard them at a great distance, like someone was speaking to him through a tube, or one of those cup phones he'd seen children on television use but never actually made himself. They didn't have those sorts of things on the Farm.
He could remember the Farm. His father. Hard, distant, worried about something that never happened, never came. His mother. She hated him, wanted nothing to do with him and blamed him for everything bad in her life. His brother. The only one who loved him, his ahk, and the sight of his lifeless eyes staring back at him when he was eight years old.
The voices outside grew louder, but no more distinct. Like they were yelling. For a moment he thought they sounded panicked…
He knew panic. The rush of looking down from an impossibly tall building and seeing a tiny yellow or floral square you had to hit, or you'd die. You'd be a smear on the ground. The flutter of his heart as he sat or stood in a small crowd, trying to steady his breathing, watching from under his hood as guards ran past, praying they didn't see him. Knowing if they did he was too weak to fight.
That was panic, that was fear. But they were emotions he could hold to. Ones he knew.
Then the voices faded. He forgot. He'd imagined them again. There was only darkness again and he welcomed it, because it was easier to just stay in the dark then have to deal with the world. Here it was safe. Here nothing bad could happen to him, no one wanted anything from him.
Here, he didn't have to remember what he'd done and how he'd failed everyone.
It was a low hum, something he didn't notice at first. But it was different, a noise he'd never heard before. Or, if he had, he couldn't remember. It made him twitch and all at once he was aware of a body. A body and a mind and that he was something, was someone.
The hum became a drone. Constant, like the sound of a million cicadas buzzing in the night, and it was getting louder. Above, because now there was an above, as now he had a head and feet and above was over his head, there was a hiss. A mechanical hiss like… like air pressure being released from a tank. A loud hissing that drowned out the hum.
His eyes opened. It felt like for the first time. He couldn't see. It was all suddenly so bright. Too bright. He squinted but even then it was hard to see. Shapes moved above him, flashes of white and brown against darkness around him. He closed his eyes for a long time.
The hissing stopped, the droning continued, and he could hear voices again. But they were distant, like before. Because there was a before. There was always a before and now he could remember before. He might have screamed and the voices grew louder, panicked again. He didn't hear himself though, he couldn't be sure. Wasn't that jus so like it though. He was never sure of anything, ever. Even when he thought he knew he didn't, he was just a stupid kid who was playing at things bigger then him.
He was a pawn, easily sacrificed, often to gain a better position, all he could do was move forward and get captured. That was the point of a pawn, to distract and to move forward, only attacking when others got into just the right position. He was nothing.
He didn't feel like a pawn. A pawn you let die. He wasn't dead though. A pawn could move forward and become the strongest piece on the board. A pawn could become a queen, and players were always wary of a queen. They could move any direction and all across the board. They had power and they owned the board because they could go anywhere, and capture anyone.
He closed his eyes again to the sound of the hissing and the droning silence and the distant voices. It felt like he slept.
The light was bright and even through his eyelids he felt blinded. He could feel, everything. He could remember, everything. He could think, he could hear, he could breathe and he felt sick. Above him, a different sort of above then his head, this was above his body, he could hear people talking. They weren't distant now, but he still couldn't hear them, like he was listening through a wall.
He was laying down on something curved and warm and even though he was breathing he didn't know how, it didn't feel like he was breathing. His skin was damp and his hair soaked and he was naked as the day he was born. Funny. It sort of felt like that all over again.
He made himself open his eyes, even though he didn't want to. He cried out, he definitely did, he could hear it, and all at once all the light faded to something manageable. Somehow he knew that it was near pitch blackness. But to him everything was so bright. So bright and gray and pale and everything was so brilliant and the shapes in front of him were blue and black in the darkness above him. Everything became more real then and the weight of everything, just everything, pressed down on his like he was suffocating, even though he was still breathing.
Something hissed, a shorter hiss, pressure being released and something above him moved, though he couldn't see what. His eyes followed something that was invisible as it arced across his face and he was reminded of the Animus. The first Animus, the first time he'd woken up in that machine and seen Vidic, seen Lucy.
A pair of hands reached down to him, they were big and hard and they said something, he couldn't understand though. He coughed when they pulled at something on his face and he suddenly felt like he was choking was a long plastic tube was pulled up and out of his throat. One for his lungs, the other for his stomach. Then they were gone and he gasped, breathing on his own for the first time in what he knew, somehow, had been a very long time. Small tabs were tugged off his body and now he felt cold. He was so cold and shivered in the open air.
"Ready?" the voice came out of nowhere, somewhere away and above him.
"Give me a second. Bastards got him good," this one was right above him, loud, familiar, comforting.
"We have to go now."
"You want me to drag half this shit around with me? Shut up and let me finish," and then the last tag was ripped off his body and two strong arms reached down and scooped him up under the knees and back and lifted him up. He hung limp in those arms, not even knowing how to move his head, and could only move his eyes. "Got him."
"Then lets go, we can't block them out forever and the Big Eagle's getting tired."
"Wait wait," this was a different voice, it sounded strange. "For god's sake he's going to freeze like this you idiot."
"I'm not an idiot."
"Yes you are now shut up and listen to your betters."
"I will once he shows up," they growled.
"Here," and someone was manipulating his limp limbs and wrapped something around him. A blanket? It had sleeves though, so a coat maybe. He was still shivering but they wrapped him in the thing that was a blanket and a coat and he felt better.
"What about you?"
"Yes, you will," his carrier said gravely. "We're ready."
"Oh thank god, I thought you'd never say that. Someone go get the Big Eagle," and then they were moving, he tried to look around, tried to see who was holding him. But it was hard, he couldn't move his head, and even in the darkness that didn't hurt his eyes he couldn't see beyond shapes. "Okay?"
"Do it," his carrier said. "Close your eyes Desmond." Oh right, he was Desmond. He closed his eyes. There was an unreal brightness that made him light headed and whimper in pain. Someone put something over his face, to further shield his light sensitive eyes. Behind them something boomed, like the cracking of stone and then it sounded like things falling, an avalanche and wind rushed past them, an icy wind that made him shiver harder and want to press into the person carrying him, but he couldn't control his limbs, he was too weak. It was freezing now, and light trickled in under the crease of what was over his face.
He shivered and they were moving again, into the wind and goosbumps rose up on his legs, starting on his bare feet and soon covered his entire body and he trembled, he was so cold. So cold. He wished he was back wherever he had been, where it was warm and he was safe, not like here where it was cold and terrifying and he was scared.
"Is he okay?" someone suddenly asked, someone new who he hadn't heard before now. They sounded winded.
"Yes, as okay as he can be," and he made his head move, though he only could get it to move a little, to follow the voices around him. The icy wind tugged at him, curling around the cover over his face which was like a blindfold and a hood all at once.
"We need to get him out of the cold. And you, where's your coat?" they weren't speaking to who was carrying him anymore.
"I gave it to him. Less you would have rather him out in this place naked."
"And what are you going to do for a coat?"
"I thought we could share."
"…Well at least one of you is smart."
"That's why you keep me around."
"Oh my fuck will you both stop flirting I'm about to be sick."
"If we were doing that one of us would have a black eye-
"Or a fat lip-
"Well you have one of those-
"Shut up! Great fuck I'm killing both of you and burying you in a shark cage or something." The two who had been talking laughed. Then they stopped, and they stopped moving too. "Shit."
"Out of the way."
"What's the worst that can happen? They kill me?" and they laughed, though there was a strange mirth in their laugh and then the sound of someone running away. They were moving again and it was getting colder and he couldn't stop shaking. At least it was darker now, but the wind was stronger and his feet hurt, they were so cold and it was painful to breathe. He wanted it to end.
Then they stopped and he was put down in a seat, leather. The back seat of a car. The one carrying him touched his face, turning his head. "Can you talk?"
He made himself do so, but his voice came out weak, thin, and raspy, like he hadn't used it in a long time. "Ezio?"
"Yeah," and he felt lips pressed to his temple and the immortal stroked the top of his head gently, "You're safe now. You're safe," and then Ezio buckled him in before pulling away. The car door was slammed shut and the heater was cranked up on high. The car idled for another moment, then it started to move and wherever they had been he knew was getting farther away.
What? You didn't think I was that mean did you? If you've read my other long stories you know I ALWAYS leave it open for questions at the end. I didn't. Meaning it wasn't really over.
I was ganna save this till after I got home from New Jersey next week, but it was killing me about as much as I'm sure it was killing all of you!
I started thinking about this story around Bird Priest in FM and it's just slowly gotten bigger and bigger and bigger. There is so much awesome stuff happening in this story and I am SO excited for it!
Also did you all read Hija's 'epilogue' review? Dudes I must have read it like a dozen times in the past few days holy shit I can't even. It's pretty spot on to what actually happened too, save for like one or two things, but I digress.