Author's Note: *Throws confetti* Our 100,000 word marker! WHOOO! It's my very first time writing something this long, and it's all because of you guys! Thanks to your overwhelming encouragement and reviews, I've been able to make it this far! Thank you all SO MUCH! And to celebrate I'm commissioning a piece of art work to be professionally illustrated for this fic! Of course, if any of my awesome and amazing readers out there like to draw and would like to donate I would be SO happy to see it! But I don't know when the piece will be finished, of course I'm giving the artist her space and helping out, so I'll wait. I'm sure it'll be amazing, and I can't wait to share it with you guys! Until then, enjoy this Haytham, Connor, and Kyle filled chapter!
Special thanks to:
Estein: You're very welcome; I appreciate your support a lot! Awww, thank you, from me and Kyle both. I actually enjoy writing long chapters, and I'm glad you like them too! I find I can fit more stuff into expanded chapters. And I'm with you; I really don't like filler either, there are some writers and series who make fillers absolutely boring and pointless. But I try to make even fillers fun with character growth and plot. And if there is one thing I love doing it's scheming. I love playing with stories like clay, molding them into my own original twists. I try and make it really fun for the readers too, I do write this for you guys after all. Another thing we agree on, I know that adding someone to any story or time line will change things, for better or worse is the question. I don't mind if the review is long, the more I read from you the better I feel and the more reassured I become! I hope to post this as soon as I can, and I'm really excited about writing Haytham too! He's my favorite character! Anyway, thank you very much for the review! I hope you enjoy this chapter!
Praetorianwarrior: Yeah, I kinda did. But I was really feeling Kyle's emotions at that point. I couldn't control myself. _ I'm really glad you liked the chapter, and that you enjoyed seeing Kyle's more emotional state. I worried that some of you guys wouldn't like that, but I actually enjoy writing flaws and realistic weaknesses into my characters. And what really surprises me is that you like my Peter Kyle romance. The reason I didn't put him in the chapter was because I was afraid you guys wouldn't like that. But I promise you'll see him soon, if you really want I'll put in a Peter Kyle moment in chapter 10 just for you. Would you like that? Also, no, Kyle and Peter's relationship is actually really solid and sweet. I don't think they'll be fighting any time soon. Thank you, I really appreciate your support and review! And I'm glad you liked the chapter!
Fox Mew Brittany: Yeah, Kyle is under a lot of pressure and doesn't view herself as someone capable enough to handle the situation. She loves both Connor and Achilles and hates seeing them fight, but what made it worse was the death threat hanging above Connor's head. Kyle is going to be getting some help though, but things are going to get FAR worse for her before they get better. But you know this; you're no stranger to my work. XD And thank you, writing and reading reviews makes me feel so much better!
Crash Overdrive: So I see I'm not the only one who felt that way when that cut scene came up. I'm glad, thought it was just me! Thank you SO MUCH for the support, it really means a lot to me! And yes, Kyle and Connor are thick as thieves, so a little fight's not going to stop them. He'll feel guilty a bit for upsetting her, but once they get on mission, and Haytham shows up, the both of them will forget all about it! Sometimes I feel like I based their relationship off of mine and my brother's. But you'll see. I hope you like this chapter as much as the last! ^_^
QQuina: Awww, thank you! I enjoy writing it for you guys, but hearing that means a lot to me, it really does! I'm really glad you're enjoying the story, and I hope you continue to like it!
darkraistlyn: Thank you!
Cherries and Bearbees
Elven Silver Power Ranger: Whoa, got enough pleases in there? XD It's okay, some stuff came up but I was finally able to update. And really, the best? I wouldn't say it's that good, but thank you so much for the review! Here, this chapter's for you. ^_-
LilyMellarkSalvatore: You really think it's that good? I guess I must be doing something right. I'm really sorry for the delay; life happens even if we don't want it to. XD But thank you so much for the encouragement and review, I really appreciate it!
Chapter 9: Father, Son, and Kyle 'Part 1'
Valley Forge, December 21st, 1777
"Or they must both die. Those are your options."
The ride to Valley Forge was unusually tense and silent. Connor still seemed to be brooding about earlier, not in an angry way, but a guilty one. I don't feel like disturbing him or breaking the silence; because while he pouts like a child, I ride behind him, trying to think of a way to save both him and his father.
Saving Connor is one thing, without my meddling Connor would survive anyway. Not only that but Desmond was Connor's descendant, how was Minerva planning on the blood line continuing without him? Unless the woman that bears Connor's child becomes pregnant before his death? And does that mean Minerva plans to use me to kill Connor after he kills Haytham? If that is the plan how does she use me? I'm nowhere near as strong as Connor or Haytham. Not only that, but now that I think about it, my family is directly connected to Connor as well. If I kill him I cease to exist too.
The more I thought about it the more questions were raised. I was getting no closer to an answer. I kept going in circles; at this point all I could do was get dizzier. I already understood the consequences of my existence here, but how far would just my presence change things?
Suddenly the quiet was shattered. I hadn't noticed it but we had arrived at the base. My mind was so preoccupied it was hard concentrating on the here and now. And right now Connor was dismounting, tying his horse to a post, calling my name and waiting for me to follow suit. I had to blink twice before I could dispel the fog from inside my head. Mind cleared, I dismounted Noir and tied her alongside Yakohsa:tens.
The two of us, Connor and I, walked up the hill at a steady pace. Wind was whipping at our faces, the cold sending chills down my spine as a mini blizzard stormed the fort. Several men, most likely patrolmen, were sitting around fires, keeping an eye out toward the forest that lead into hostile lands. But the snow was thick, coming down in blankets, and it was hard to see too far out.
It had been snowing for weeks now, never stopping, and the blizzards only got worse as the season went on. It stayed a little warmer at the Homestead, near Boston, but the closer you got to New York, the colder and thicker the snow would get. Staying near the gulf, where the ocean met land, was always a good idea when these blizzards hit their fifth day. Because by then the snow would be up past your eyeballs; but luckily it wasn't that bad here in the Frontier.
I had a little trouble walking up the slanted hill, heading towards Washington's tent. My leather boots weren't exactly made for inclined planes, and I tried to avoid slipping and sliding as much as possible.
We made it up the hill without too much trouble, but I wasn't looking forward to walking back down it, that was for sure. At the top, a few feet away from his tent, we saw George himself, standing by a canon and looking out towards the white shrouded forest. Connor took the steps to cross the distance between them; I however stood back, closer to the warm fire inside the tent.
This time around I had no interest in listening to Connor's conversation. When this world was a game I had played this sequence over a hundred times. If I had had a bit of a crush on Connor back then, well I guess I actually had a full blown shrine inside my head for Haytham. What could I say? I had a thing for sardonic, sarcastic, bad boys. But now, now this wasn't the case. Haytham was the enemy, yet also the enemy's enemy. His strings, along with Connor's, were being pulled by Juno, making them both my enemy in this reality.
I sighed deeply then, grinding my teeth, shaking my head as I sat some few feet away from Connor and Washington, on a pile of wood next to the windmill and log cabin. Things could only get worse from here, and I had no way of making them any better.
I understand that Haytham isn't exactly an angel, and he's not my ally. He'd slit my throat in a heartbeat if he wanted to. And while I no longer felt attracted to him like my teenaged-self had; I did feel an overwhelming need to keep him safe. Maybe it was because he was Connor's father, and that I wanted Connor to have a chance with him, so he won't be alone when Achilles dies. Or it could be because I read Forsaken right before I was sucked through time by a disco ball, and that I understood a lot of what happened to him wasn't his fault, and he shouldn't be made to pay for what was out of his own control.
None of these possibilities were right though. While they were plausible, I knew in fact what the exact reason was I didn't want Haytham to die. I just couldn't bring myself to admit it, not inside my head and definitely not vocally. It was something I'd come to hate myself for.
But I've become side tracked in my own musings. The real problem still lied with Juno and Minerva, the puppet masters not the puppets. As a puppet though, I could only do so much. Yet, if Connor and Haytham could break free of Juno's will, of her whim shaping their destiny, maybe things could be solved. The only option I have is impossible; no one breaks free of the will of something akin to a god. Not even the Kenway's.
My head in my hands I sighed again, heavier, deeper. I felt like the abyss was slowly closing in, taking all the hope I had along with it.
"You're a g-good woman…. Kyle." There's something different in his eyes now, a glimmer of something deeper. "And I-I," He swallows but blood still dribbles down his chin. "And I know you'll survive."
I feel a hot lump appear in the back of my throat, tears stinging at my eyelids. I said I wouldn't cry anymore, Assassins don't cry. But remembering Isaac's last words, the faith he had in my survival, the look he gave me. What was I supposed to do? I took him away from his family; I couldn't protect one of the only men who ever stood up for me. I let him die…. There was nothing I could have done but watch him bleed.
Him and Doctor Warren both, I should have been able to save them. And yet, all I could do was be the tool that lead to their unaltered death. Here I am now, trying to do the same thing; save two people who are far stronger than I'll ever be, who were doomed from the start. Each of our fates seem to be written in stone… tombstones.
Yet, even with his last breath, Isaac believed in my survival. Why? What could have possibly led to him saying something like that?
"You have no choice. Even nature itself has recognized the change within you."
'Damn Minerva! Damn the bitch and all her plans!' I feel a snarl rip through my throat, as my despair turns to rage.'What right does she have to manipulate anyone? Her and Juno both!' I think now of my hands covered in blood, of Doctor Warren's last warning, of Isaac's faith in me, of Peter possibly being used against me. I tighten my fists as I bare my teeth. 'They'll both pay!'
I feel then the need to make a promise to myself, as I stand, fists at my side, face shrouded by the shadow of my hood. 'I promise I'll find a way to destroy them!' I plan, watching Connor in the distance, talking of his own tactics. 'The one she called savior, her last hope. I'll become the one who wipes her off the face of the Earth! Her and Juno, I'll burn their remaining souls to the ground. Instead of being her savior I'll be her destroyer! I'll eradicate Juno, save Connor and Haytham from her! Then I'll decimate Minerva, and clear out the Pieces of Eden and Templars once and for all! And if that means we burn by sun, then so be it!'
"Everything must come to an end."
And I would come to regret every last word…
My veins still pumped with agony and ferocity as I made my way back over to the Master Assassin's side. I only hoped then, that I would remain in control of my own mind. I had no time to go insane, time was everything in this war; a war against gods.
"We've received reports of trouble along the southern road." Washington is explaining to Connor as I rejoin them. "Might be he's responsible." He says his own theories aloud, turning and walking away from Connor, pacing like a worried General would. "I suggest you begin your search there." He advises, giving a nod to Connor and a raised eyebrow to me.
Connor nods back politely, and then glances over at me. In that glance he distinctly instructs me to follow, and so I do. He heads down the hill again, leaving Washington standing beside his tent, him watching us as we leave.
Just as I thought I would, I have a hard time getting back down the hill. I move slower than Connor, taking each step easy. Not once does my brother look back, he seems so keen on what's ahead of him. And as I take my last step toward Noir, it finally hits me. I realize that just beyond the forest, in that abandoned church, is Haytham freaking Kenway. The man who I just barely got away from the first two times we met.
'Oh boy.' I can't help but take a deep breath as I mount my horse. I knew this was going to be one heck of a bumpy ride. If Connor fighting with Achilles was bad, well him and his father were bound to drive me nuts before the day was over. Hopefully I could be a mediator between the two, and if not I could just distract them.
As soon as I was on my horse Connor took off, riding toward the dusty dirt road that seemed more like a trail, that led into the forest. Connor knew these lands probably better than anyone. We were close to the Kanien'kehá:ka tribes homeland; the place where Connor grew up, and spent his curious childhood years exploring.
To me it all looked the same, and eerily reminded me of the forest I sat in the day I was taken from my old home, especially while it's covered in snow.
The church is unfortunately not that far; perhaps four hundred feet away from Valley Forge, and only two hundred feet into the forest. I'm reluctant to go anywhere near it, but I know if I hesitate for even a moment Connor will suspect something. So, when Connor dismounts so do I, slowly I follow in his tracks through the snow as we walk past the suspiciously destroyed crates outside and into the abandoned and empty church.
Passing under the archway to enter, I feel like I'm being watched. Hell, I know for a fact I am! And still I feel the shivers go down my spine. Already I'm tensing, ready for action, blood pumping even though I know Haytham won't kill us. Well, I know he won't kill Connor, I'm sure my life to him is fair game.
I try my hardest not to look at him, or gaze, not even out of the corner of my eye. It's harder than I thought to suppress the urge. Like an itch at the back of my head that I really want to scratch but I know I shouldn't. And at this point I'm wondering how the heck Connor doesn't see the darkly clothed forty year old man in the rafters above. In hindsight it was painfully obvious.
Connor takes one more step inside, his boots scuffing the floor, and suddenly all I can see is a rush of dark blue and red. There's a load thud, and Haytham is on top of Connor. Connor saw him only at the last moment, turning to defend himself, but he gets pinned to the floor in a second flat.
'Crap!' I pull one of my swords swiftly out of my sheath and shift from foot to foot. I had no idea what to do. No doubt if I put my sword to the back of Haytham's neck he'd kill me before I could even blink. But I couldn't just stand by either.
"Father." Connor says blandly from where he lays on his back, his face scrunched up in pain and frustration.
"Connor." Haytham replies, his hidden blade out. The man's tone was sneering, almost as if he had been waiting for this. No doubt he was, poised like a tiger in the rafters as he had been. "Any last words?" He asked sarcastically, voice filled with the pleasure of the hunt.
And, ironically, I've never been able to deny a snarky remark. So, with absolute terror pushed to the back of my mind. I take those two fencing steps forward, sword out, the tip of it just touching the back of Haytham's exposed neck. "How about two? Don't. Touch."
I could hear Haytham scoff, rolling his eyes, almost as if he found me to be no more important than a fly. How arrogant of him, underestimating me like that. Not to mention it was beyond rude!
"Stop!" Connor commands, not at Haytham but towards me. And I look over the older man's shoulder, giving Connor a quizzical and confused look. How could he not want my help? He was pinned to the floor? Where's the logic in telling me to stop?
"Ha! A poor choice!" Haytham laughs, going in for the kill, ignoring my blade entirely. I sigh then, jumping back as I know exactly what's about to happen.
Connor takes the advantage he has while he can, pushing Haytham backward. The older man doesn't seem deterred though, and comes after him again. But this time Connor pushes at Haytham's chest with his feet, propelling him far enough back to where Connor has the time to get back up onto his own feet. As soon as he's up I'm at his side, sword still out.
"Come to check up on Church?" Connor says, not really asking but getting a verbal hit in on the older man. The two then begin to circle each other, like a predator fighting another predator, each one ready to sink their fangs into the other. I, on the other hand, stay three steps back and completely still. "Make sure he stole enough for your British brothers?" He spat, his right hand carefully tightening on his own hidden blade.
"Benjamin Church is no brother of mine." Haytham argues, eyes narrowing as he watches Connor carefully. "No more than the Redcoats or their idiot king." He explains, arms folded behind his back like a gentleman. Of course, this action only hides the fact he holds his hidden blade at the ready, just as Connor does.
His back is to me when I speak up from where I lean against the wall, near the huge open window. "He was still a Templar, in your Order. Doesn't that mean you should take some reasonability for his actions, Grand Master?" I snarl, my voice holding the same amount of malice as Connor's.
Haytham spins on his heels gracefully, and acts as if he had completely forgotten I was there all together. He scoffs at me again, like a child interrupting the adult's conversation. "I can no more control a man's actions than you. Whether he was a part of the Order or not, that changes absolutely nothing."
I smirk then, not being able to help myself. "Good to know that even after being inducted as a Templar you still get to keep the ability to make decisions for yourself. I always thought you men had a thing for complete control." I reply snarkily, teeth showing as I grin like the Cheshire cat. My smile only widens as Haytham begins to grind his teeth and scowl in aggravation.
The Templar sighed deeply and dramatically as he messaged his temples, almost as if he was getting a headache. "Ah, I expected naiveté. But this…The Templars do not fight for the crown." He glances at Connor when he says this, and acts as if he was trying to explain a complicated concept to children. "Nor are we mad men!" He added, glaring at me with what I could already tell was the budding hatred that would make our future friendship warm and cuddly. "We seek the same as you, boy! Freedom. Justice. Independence." Haytham finishes manipulatively, concentrating on Connor alone.
I began laughing then, hard and drawn out, with sarcasm lacing my voice like venom. "Yeah, and my grandmother was the Queen of England!"
Haytham only glared, not even caring enough to reply to my remark.
"But…" Yet, as soon as Connor spoke, Haytham perked back up again, redirecting all his attention onto his son.
"Hmmm! But what?" He asked, now standing in front of the exit, their circling leading the two right back to where we started. I suppose that was metaphorical and literal.
"Johnson. Pitcairn. Hickey. They sought to steal land. To sack towns. To murder George Washington." Connor argued, his back to me now. As the argument escalates, I find myself compelled to actually become a part of it again, and add in my own two cents. So, I went to stand by Connor's side while the two weren't striding around each other, to support my brother.
Haytham wearily sighed as he began to pace back and forth. "Johnson sought to own land that we might keep it safe." He began, walking over towards our left, hand out as if trying to exhaust the point. "Pitcairn aimed to encourage diplomacy- which you cocked up thoroughly enough to start a god-damned war!" He yelled, closer now, the anger in his tone rising.
This time I rolled my eyes and barked out a heated chuckle. "News flash, asshat! We're fighting a damn war already! Nothing fucking new there!" I shouted back, getting close enough to Haytham that I could have grabbed his lapels.
He only snarled. "And Hickey?" Haytham continued, walking right past me as if I was nothing. He was starting to get on my nerves. "George Washington is a wretched leader. He's lost nearly every battle in which he's taken part. The man's wracked with uncertainty and insecurity. Only look at Valley Forge to know my words are true." The father and son are circling back to the entrance for the third time, Haytham holding out his hands as if desperately inviting Connor into what he believes is the real truth. I'm back over to the corner, about to blow a gasket, as I fold my arms. "We're all better off without him."
'Alright, that's it! He is not going to ignore me! If I'm gonna save this assholes life he's gonna listen!' I nearly scream inside my head as I bee line my way directly in front of Haytham. But this time, before even he can see it coming, the tip of my blade is digging into his throat. He looks a bit surprised, but mainly enraged as blood trickles down his neck.
"Your brothers; they're all scum, just like Church! And the fact that you don't see that means you're fucking blind!" I yell at the top of my lungs, a light echo rippling through the decrepit church. Gazing directly into Haytham's eyes, my determination never wavers. "Johnson was obsessed! He was going to take what he wanted no matter how many he had to kill! Even if the whole damn village was dead he didn't care! He wanted the land, human life optional!" I began to speak my own truth then, whether contradictory to his or Connor's I didn't really care. I was tired of being voiceless.
"And Pitcairn was nothing but a soldier! All he saw was a battle to be won! He slaughtered countless lives back in Concord! People that didn't even have a damn thing to do with this fucked up war!" Images of that family, the little girl whose corpse was left to rot in the gutter, swam in my head, tormenting me. Even now, after everything, I still had nightmares about Concord. "Oh, and Hickey was the most obvious! He only pretended to be a Templar, fought for your cause, for the money. That was it. He was just a greedy dirt bag with no pride or respect for himself or others! You sleep with some pretty questionable bedfellows Kenway." I finished with a deep breath, drawing my sword back. But I wasn't stupid enough not to keep it at the ready. The look in Haytham's eyes was dark, but the emotion behind them was hard to pin point.
Of course, it was much easier to figure out whenever the Templar began to strangle me. I didn't even have time to move before both hands were around my throat, and I couldn't breathe. Connor was helping me up, pulling Haytham off of me in seconds, then me falling over from the unsteadiness of it all.
It took a moment of silence and heavy breathing all around, before the air finally cooled, the heat of the tension clearing. Now Connor was in front of me, as Haytham shook his head and sighed frustratedly.
"Look," The older started again, talking between gritted teeth. "Much as I'd love to spare with you," He said looking toward Connor. "Or in your case," He glared at me. "Beat you to within an inch of your life." I audibly gulped. "Benjamin Church's mouth is as big as his ego. You clearly want the supplies he's stolen, I want him punished. Our interests are aligned." He expounds, hands up in the air as if in a motion of surrender. But even now, with that bracer on his arm, he was still just as deadly.
Connor looks up at him, with me hidden in the background yet again, intrigued. "And what do you propose?" A chill goes up my spine when he asks this.
"A truce." Haytham answers sincerely. "Perhaps." His gaze glances at me for a second as he hesitates. "Perhaps spending some time together might do us some good."
'And what he means by that is: Maybe you spending time with me will do you some good.' I roll my eyes, leaning against the dusty wall, brooding like a child beaten at their own game. I hated that they kept putting me in time outs.
"You are my son, after all, and might still be saved from your ignorance." Haytham openly admits, not afraid to speak his mind, or at least; the twisted thoughts that his mind thinks.
"Hypocrite." I cough, still ignored by the older two.
When I heard the 'shing' of a hidden blade I jumped, pulling up my sword from where it'd gone limp at my side as I was looking out the window. I tensed instantly, never trusting the Templar, even if he was a man of his word.
"I can kill you now if you'd prefer?" He asked mockingly, giving Connor little to no choice.
This is when I swiftly go back to Connor's side for the umpteenth time. But now I lean into his ear, and whisper. "I think this is his way of asking for help, politely." I feel victorious when a small grin finds itself on Connor's lips.
Haytham grimaces quietly. "Of course, you'll have to leave your apprentice here."
I growl deep in the back of my throat as I step away from Connor and go to wring Haytham's neck. Who does he think he is? Saying I can't come? Like I'm some kind of damn infant! Connor grabs my arm before I can go very far though. I look up at him, confused by his actions yet again.
"Tha'tesato:tat." He commands softly, pulling me back to his side. I nod reluctantly and do as he says. "She will come with, or I will not help you." Connor proposes, his own hidden blade coming out in the dealings.
For the first time Haytham has a surprised look on his face. "She?"
My eyebrows rise at the question. I was shocked to hear Haytham couldn't even tell I was a woman. I know my voice isn't that deep!
I sighed as I pulled my hood back and spread out my arms. "Yes, I'm a woman. Surprise surprise!" I said sarcastically, still feeling very snarky. But being around this Grand Master was liable to do that to anyone.
For a moment I can see a glimmer of remembrance in his eyes. Almost as if saying: 'It's you! From the stables!' But oddly, the look in his gaze changes abruptly and instead he says: "And you killed Hickey?" Haytham questioned, almost as if he couldn't believe a woman could kill his comrade. I suppose it was ironic, since Hickey was always so busy treating the fairer gender like slaves and sex toys.
"Yeah, I'm just as good with a knife or sword as any man!" I argue, always ticked off when someone was being sexist. It was the only time I punched a guy back in high school, when he said a woman's place was in the kitchen. Even my dad hadn't been sexist; he had been an extremist bastard!
"Hmmm," Haytham hums in the back of his throat as he smirks. "I'll be the judge of that." He says seriously, something else in his tone now, something like that of interest. Then he suddenly turns to walk out the doorway. Him leaving both me and Connor looking between each other, not so sure what he meant by his last words. A moment later Haytham turns back around dramatically. "Well? Are you two coming? We don't have all day!"
'I guess the bastard wasn't sexist after all! He's still a bastard though.'
We get only a few steps outside before Connor starts questioning his father again, as the man seems utterly lost.
"Do you even know where Benjamin Church has gone?" Connor asks, stopping Haytham sharply in his tracks. The second the words leave Connor's mouth Haytham's shoulders slightly tense.
Haytham exhales loudly through his nose, looking up at the sun that was now completely overhead. "I'm afraid not." He surprisingly admits. "I'd hoped to ambush him when he or one of his men returned here. It seems I'm too late. They've come and cleared the place out." He openly explains, now looking ahead of us, hopeful he'll spot some tracks.
Thoughtfully, Connor looks off toward the forest. Redcoats seem to pour through the trees, as they patrol the surrounding area. No doubt they're just going to make things harder for us.
"I may be able to track him."
And from that we end up in the snow, shuffling around as Connor analyzes both the destroyed crates, deduces what was held within them, then follows the barely there tracks leading toward the deeper parts of the forest. The fact Haytham was not even slightly impressed by Connor's amazing skills, was why I stuck my tongue out at him as I and Connor scaled a tree, looking for more clues. And all the bastard does in reply is roll his eyes.
It's not but a measly five minutes later that we catch sight of a suspicious guy in the woods. There's a wagon off the trail, and the man seems to be trying to fix the detached wheel. But it's not as easy as fixing a flat on a car. If anything he'd need at least three other guys to help him get it back on.
"Just my luck. Going to freeze to death if I don't get this fixed…" I hear the man complaining as we slowly trudge up from behind him. Haytham lags a bit, and as usual I'm shadowing the Master Assassin. We're pretty quiet; the guy hasn't even heard us yet, even though me and Connor jumped off a branch a few feet away.
At this point I'd like to say we snuck up on the guy, being Assassins as we are but…
"Are you Ben Church's man?"
….Well, that happened.
For the first time; me and Haytham roll our eyes and sigh simultaneously. I ignore the fact we agree on something and just watch as the guy makes an expression like he's about to pee himself, then takes off. I shake my head silently at how much epic fail that was.
"Well played." Haytham snarks from the sidelines.
Connor just looks smug and runs after the guy. I'm right behind him as he tackles the man to the ground then pins him to a tree. I lean against the tree as Connor holds him there, now with Haytham shadowing us as he watches on.
The guy looks increasingly confused and nervous. That only heightens as Connor begins to speak; the man's struggling and stammering only getting worse.
"It was not wise to run." The Master Assassin says flatly, not even breaking a sweat keeping the man pinned.
"W-what do you want?" The man asks with a terrified stutter.
"Where is Benjamin Church?" Connor questions directly and darkly, not leaving any room to argue or refuse to answer.
"I don't know!" The man whines, terror stricken from head to toe. "We was riding for a camp just north of here." He explains. "It's where we normally unload the cargo. Maybe you'll find him th-"
I don't notice Haytham walking around us until it's too late. There's blood everywhere, the sound of a gunshot thundering across the forest in rolls. The man's skull is ripped wide open, from a point blank shot to the head. Neither of us saw it coming, but both me and Connor turn to the older man in a fury.
"Enough of that." The Grand Master says simply, putting his pistol away at his own leisure like what he did was nothing. The man's conscious, let alone his morals, were evidently far beyond broken, they were scrambled!
"What the fuck was that?" I exclaim, using my white laced sleeve to wipe fresh blood and brain juice off my face. Some of it even got in my mouth. And if any of this stains, Ellen will kill me. But there was also the fact; HAYTHAM JUST BLEW THE GUY'S HEAD OFF WITHOUT EVEN FLINCHING!
"You did not have to kill him!" Connor adds furiously, wiping himself down as he had been at ground zero when everything splattered. As soon as Connor's face is clean he nearly charges the man he calls father.
With nothing but a scoff he replies: "Let's not waste time with all this pointless banter." He looks between both me and Connor when he speaks, shaking off the rage we were throwing at him in waves as if it's nothing. "Go catch up with the rest of Church's men." Haytham looks directly at Connor when he barks out this command. "Infiltrate that camp of theirs and see what you can discover."
As Haytham begins to turn in my direction, Connor asks: "What about you?"
Haytham swiftly turns back around on his heels, looking appalled Connor would even ask such a question. "Never you mind! Just do as I ask." He says in a real father like fashion. This time it's my turn to scoff.
Feeling my anger drain; I lean back against the tree coolly, arms crossed, and speak up. "Don't worry about it Connor. I'll keep an eye on ol' trigger happy here." I nod toward Haytham, but keep my eyes glued on Connor, needing to know whether or not if he'd allow me to stay behind.
I get a wicked glare from the older man, but an accepting and grateful glance from my brother. The Master Assassin then turns and heads off north, to the camp; leaving me here, with the Grand Master of the Templars, and master of snark, Haytham Kenway. Was it too late to pray for safety and sanity now?
Oddly, Haytham says nothing as he investigates the corpse at the base of the tree. I just watch the man from where I'm standing next to him, as he's kneeled down, going through the dead man's pockets. I'm not sure what he's searching for, and I really couldn't care less, so I stayed just as silent.
And I was hoping things would stay this peaceful.
"It was you on the roof then? That night?" Haytham questions, with no real emotion to his tone I'm not sure what he's getting at. And while Connor's not around I tell myself to tread carefully around him and his silver tongued words. But with my father's voice rattling off inside my head, as well as my clear hatred for all things Templar, I was bound to cross my own limits.
"Yes. I was." I state clearly, not moving an inch as Haytham stands, looking off into the distance as if pondering something. His movements are paced, as if he's in no hurry. And he covers his eyes as sunlight hits him through the overhanging tree branches.
"You were also at the stables." This time it's not a question, it's a direct statement. As if he has no doubt in his mind I was the girl he saw that day.
I nod slowly. "Mmmhmm."
Haytham then glances back at me, something dangerous glistening in his eyes. It was akin to ambition in a defiant man or greed in a lustful one. But what he wanted I couldn't quite tell.
"Knowledge. The truth all faithful to the cross seek."
For once my father's long-since-dead words actually seem to be helpful instead of hindering, and slightly less insanity adding. If there was one thing Haytham Kenway would lust after like most men lust after women, it would be the power of knowledge and understanding. That's been the one thing he's sought after ever since he watched his father get killed right in front of him when he was just a boy. But in this case, what exactly does he seek to understand?
Yet, before anything can come from that glint in his eyes it's gone. Instead of being the rude blood lusting man I thought he would be, he seems more civil and calm when no one's insulting him or questioning his beliefs. As long as I stayed silent and relaxed, so did he. Maybe he was different; maybe he doesn't hate the Assassins as much as I thought. Perhaps all he holds for our kind is disdain. And in his mind there's no reason to kill something you disdain until it does something you don't approve of.
That still meant there was a line to be drawn. Possibly the thinnest line in all of history; or at least, up 'till this point. Treading carefully isn't exactly going to cut it. More of; keep on your toes like a freaking ballerina or you'll die a bloody and gruesome death!
Haytham's presence is still just as terrifying, just as dangerous, as a tiger's. He doesn't need to hold a knife to my neck for me to feel him practically vibrating waves of strength and cunning. But like a tiger, it stays calm if you stay far enough away from it and don't go poking it with a stick. So, rule number one of surviving Haytham Kenway, don't poke him with a freaking stick.
I blink, feeling the sun suddenly on my skin. The feeling of warmth pulls me out of my own head, long enough for me to notice Haytham right in my face. I balk, a whimper passing my lips as I leap back, slip on a patch of iced roots, and fall quickly and ungracefully onto my butt. I glare up at the man, rubbing the back of my head as I swiftly sit up.
"What are doing?" I ask, trying to hide the high pitched terror and confusion in my tone, with no success. But as I look up at the man I see him holding the amulet, flipping it over in his palm as he analyzes it. That's when I remember, what happened all the time ago, when I first met Haytham Kenway.
"No." I repeated, cutting off what he believed to be bargaining. In actuality he was beginning to piss me off. I brushed off his hand from my shoulder, and as I looked up to glare at the man I saw something underneath his collar glowing.
I tilted my head and furrowed my brows. 'That couldn't be-…. could it?' I wonder, and I almost begin to raise my hand to grab it, but I instantly realize what I'm about to do and I stop myself.
Two seconds later Haytham notices the glow. He completely ignores me as he looks down his shirt. He moves his hand from where he was about to put it on my shoulder again. Instead, he uses it to pull the amulet out from under his many layers of clothing.
As soon as I see it the glow nearly blinds me. On the amulet the markings of the Nexus are showing as clear as day. If I had time I would have wondered why it was glowing in my presence, I would have wondered if it had something to do with my proximity.
But as soon as Haytham looked back down at me, suspicion in his eyes, I bolted.
Remembering this I feel a wave of horror go up and down my spine. I lose the ability to breathe, and I find myself on shaky legs, watching the glowing amulet with widened green eyes. If Haytham figured it out, if he put two and two together, what would he do? Would he kill me? Or would he take me prisoner and torture me like Lee did?
I could barely think of the agony Charles had put me through, on bad days I could still feel the heat and the fire ripping through my flesh. Every time I go to shower under the falls, or when the water's frozen over, when I bathe in the tub, my hand always wanders to the scar and slight indention on my back. I feel it then, as if I was still there at Fort George.
Haytham's voice brings me out of my nightmare, and I look up at him from where I had been staring down at the ground, mortified. But as the stubborn and hard headed person I was raised to be, I shake off the pain and the fear, hide them in a dark corner of my mind, and trudge forward on my own feet.
When I stand by Haytham's side, the amulet lights up again and I cross my arms and glare at him as hard as I can. For the first time he looks at me as if I've just gained the value of having his full attention. Not that I needed his attention, or that I cared if he treated me like nothing but a fly on the wall.
"Why does the amulet react to your presence in such a way? Hmmm." He hums and rubs his chin, deep in thought as he just keeps flipping the amulet back and forth in his hand. I admit I was sweating pretty heavily as I listened to the gears turn inside his brain.
I was getting really nervous as I backed away, the light of the Nexus fading. And strangely, Haytham followed my every step almost by reflex, trying to test whether or not it really was my proximity making the amulet shine. But he was paying so little attention to the here and now, I'm sure if I hadn't been watching his feet he would have stepped on my toes.
It didn't even seem to occur to the man I might know the answer to his questions. Or maybe it did but he was playing his mind games. Either way, I knew him too well to be sucked in like any other person might. In knowledge and truth I had the upper hand, in experience and strength I was far too out gunned. It was unsettling how out of balance this situation was.
Abruptly the amulet was forgotten, as Haytham and I spun on our feet as we heard a pack of wolves howling in the distance. It was loud, it was close, and they sounded hungry. I groaned at the deja vu feeling I got. Loud gunshot, plus blood and dead body, equal's hungry hungry wolves coming to fill their bellies. How I didn't figure this would happen sooner, even after what happened last winter, was beyond me. I suppose I had been too distracted to think of it at the time.
The sound of a –shink- warned me that Haytham had readied his hidden blade. And yet, oddly, I felt no need to pull out a weapon. Even as the snarling and growling got closer and closer, the sound of snow crunching filling the air, I did not feel in danger. Minerva's words echoed inside my mind instead.
"Even nature itself has recognized the change within you."
And the wolves, last time, out in the valley. They didn't attack me, or even bare their fangs at me at all. They almost treated me as if I was one of their own.
Suddenly the wolves appeared, with white coats they almost seemed invisible as they slowly and cautiously bounded up to us. I didn't have enough time to calm Haytham down, so that he wouldn't attack the beautiful and vicious creatures. So, instead, as the wolves got that much closer to us, I took a different approach.
"Skén:nen!" I yelled, hoping the wolves would not only understand, but that I said the word correctly. It was one of the first phrases Connor had taught me so long ago. But it stuck, with the way Connor looked longingly as he said it.
I even held up my arms in surrender as my voice echoed through the trees. Instantly the wolves stopped. The largest of the pack, with eyes blue as ice, calmly sauntered up to me, and sat down right at my feet. He didn't growl, or bite me; it just seemed as if he sat to listen to my words. And the moment he relaxed is the moment the rest of his pack did the same, and just sat those few feet away, where a moment ago they were ready to kill.
I knew then the wolves understood me, and while I wanted to question the fantasy of this, I had no right too as I was from the future where all of this had been nothing but fiction. So, whatever, as long as it stopped them from killing me, I wasn't about to start over analyzing the little miracle.
It was evident then that the wolves didn't have a problem with me, who they wanted to rip apart was Haytham. Whose gaze was now glued to my back, confused, slightly concerned, but mostly intrigued. I'd have to explain this little phenomenon later too. 'Great!' I sighed heavily and shook my head.
"Ontiatén:ro' né:'e." I explained to the wolves, pointing to Haytham. The alpha seemed to narrow its eyes, looking past me and at the British man. The wolf tilted his head, then, what seemed to me like, he nodded. Almost as if saying; alright, we won't eat him.
I slowly get to my knees then, and smiled, petting the alpha gently and lovingly. "Niawen'kó:wa." I say, kissing the wolf right on his nose. He sneezes right after I do, and shakes his whole body like a dog would after its bath. I laugh, because, really, I can't help it. It's been so long since I've felt something so warm and fuzzy in my chest. Around these wolves I felt different, and while I longed to keep that gooey feeling deep inside, I knew Haytham and I needed to leave to allow them to eat. Otherwise they might change their mind and have British meat for lunch.
"Haytham." I call calmly, using the same confident and understanding tone I had been with the alpha. "Start backing away, slowly. Unless you want them to change their minds." I warn, as I stand, brushing off clumps of snow from my knees.
Haytham seemed to hesitate, and I was sure he was just going to scoff and roll his eyes. But instead, rather reluctantly, he began to back away. He did so very slowly and gracefully, with his hidden blade securely back in place.
Stiffly, I bow to the alpha and point toward the corpse. "Wakahta's." I practically give the dead man's body to the pack. I know that they would have eaten it anyway, but knowing somewhere deep inside, I gave that poor guy up to be these beasts next meal, made me feel guilty. But there was nothing I could do about that now.
The alpha nods, and graciously stands. As he walks over to his pack, signaling they can take what they want to fill their bellies, I head back over toward Haytham. The older man is now much deeper into the thick of the woods. At least ten feet away from where we stood near the carriage. In the shadows he watches me carefully as I stride up to him, my chest out and unafraid.
"I'm sure, that even if I inquired to what ever that was, you would not respond truthfully." He states, as if the fact was obvious. His tone is almost bland as he steps out of the shadows and tucks his arms behind him.
I smirk teasingly, loving the feeling of having something hanging over his head. I nod gleefully in reply as I stretch. Haytham only scowls and turns to keep walking forward, deeper into the forest, as silent as a mouse.
We don't get very far before we're ambushed.
I grit my teeth to keep myself from shouting in surprise, as three guys pop out of the bushes in front of us suddenly. I can only imagine they're guards from the camp up ahead, come to see what all the ruckus is about. What they find is us, whom they think are yank spies. Now that I think about it, this makes a lot of sense. I wondered why, when I played the game, Haytham got caught so easily by such idiotic thugs, when he was so skilled and experienced. Those wolves must have distracted him long enough, and done enough damage, to get him successfully caught and ambushed.
But….this time things are gonna be different.
The guards jump from the bushes, bayonets pointed towards us. For an instant me and Haytham share a moment. We stand side by side, Haytham pulls out his long sword and I pull out both of my short ones. He nods towards me and smirks, then swiftly charges at the man to his right, who was getting ready to fire upon us.
I take the man to my left, running at him, then, just as he's getting ready to skewer me, I spin on my heel. The man seems befuddled by my movements and surprised when I lean against him abruptly and stab him in the side. He yells out in agony, as I push my blade as deep as it can go into his flesh then turn it in my hand. Blood pours from his wound, and as quickly as the sword went into him it was out again and the other sword in my hand went straight to his spine, sending him spiraling towards the ground.
"Peculiar technique." I hear Haytham say, not far from me. I look over my shoulder to see him wiping his sword off with a cotton rag; both of the other men dead at his feet. I slightly pout at the sight, hoping to get the chance to show off a bit more. But we were out of targets to use. "But, as I've learned today, you are a peculiar sort of person."
I smile at the comment. "You're not so ordinary yourself."
Haytham does something out of character then. He smiles and says: "Touché."
End Note: OH MY GOD I'M SO SORRY DON'T HATE ME! I know I'm two months behind but stuff happened and I had to cut this chapter shorter because everything after this point I tried to write was complete crap! I'm really sorry it took this long but, you know I said I got sick writing last chapter? Well it turned into a medical problem and I was in the ER for a day and I'm still having trouble. But I also started a Dragon Age project when I know I should have finished this first but I did it to celebrate my 19th birthday. Here is what I had before my brain started doing flips though. I hope it's okay. _ I promise next chapter will be longer!