Disclaimer: I don't own anything, and Ubisoft obviously has the rights to the characters, situations, trademarks, and any other legal stuff I am leaving out cause IANAL.

A/N: What if Desmond had been able to resist the compulsion to kill Lucy?

The sequel to this story is "Light of the World."

Man of the World – An Assassin's Creed fanfic

Chapter 1

The moment the Apple activated, Desmond could feel it. It was as if a bell had been struck, and the vibration of it froze Desmond in place.

"What's happening? I can't move..."

"Your DNA communes with the Apple. You have activated it."

Desmond grunted, straining against the invisible force that now held him in its grasp.

"Let me go!"

The choral voice continued as if he had not spoken.

"On the 72nd day before the moment of awakening, You, birthed from our loins and the loins of our enemies. The end and the beginning, who we abhor and honor. The final journey commences."

Desmond was unable to act as the voice continued.

"There is one who would accompany you through the gate. She lies not within our sight. The cross darkens the horizon."

Desmond's body moved of its own accord, the Apple resting easily in one hand. It was the strangest sensation, being moved like a marionette. Briefly, he wondered if his ancestors had felt this way during his Animus sessions.

"What are you doing?!" he demanded in the silence of his mind, for his lips remained frozen by the same power that prevented his willful movement.

The choral voice responded.

"The Path must be opened."

On his left hand, his fingers twitched, releasing his Hidden Blade from the sheath, and the choral voice admonished him.

"You cannot escape your part in this. The scales shall be balanced."

There was a pulse that vibrated through him, and to his horror, his foot moved obediently across the floor. Another pulse, another step, and Desmond realized the force was guiding him towards Lucy.

Panic set in.

"Stop. Please!"

The choral voice snapped back, "You know very little. We must guide you."

Two more pulses, and Desmond was close enough now to smell Lucy's favorite shampoo. He struggled to stop himself with every fiber of his being.

The choral voice snarled, "Cease your struggle!"

Despite his efforts, another pulse, another step, and now his left hand moved back to strike.

"No!" The others were seemingly frozen in the moment, and did not hear the agony in his voice. The moment seemed to stretch forever, and Desmond struggled frantically against the invisible force that held him captive. If he could have wept, he would have.

With all his being, he called, "Someone please...help me! I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS!"

To his surprise, new voices responded to his cry.

"We will help you."

This chorus of voices was male, and he recognized with a shock of relief Altair's Arabic intermingled with Ezio's Italian.

Desmond felt the barest amount of control return to his limbs, and in that split second he dropped to his knees, slamming his Hidden Blade into the floor at Lucy's feet.

He heard the choral voices shout in his head, his teeth rattling from the vibration.

"Do not interfere! This must be!"

Desmond's voice joined with that of his ancestors as he roared, "NO!"

The moment was still slowed as Lucy looked down at him, her blue eyes wide with shock. He looked up at her desperately, and as he pushed back against the control once more, he managed to growl, "Get away from me!"

Lucy stumbled away from him, her expression suddenly terrified and he saw the others turn to stare at him in surprise.

Desmond shuddered, and the Apple flared. Between one breath and the next, pain bloomed in his chest. It was agony, spreading like fire through his veins, and he pushed back long enough to tip his head back and scream.

Altair and Ezio screamed with him, and the chorus of their shared agony echoed from the walls in the vault.

The golden symbols stopped their dance in the air and coalesced into the form of Juno, who glared sternly at Desmond's bent form.

"Cease your struggle!" she admonished him, and this time her words echoed with his scream from the walls in the Temple.

Desmond's response was laced with the agony that pulsed through his form with every heartbeat.


Juno's face went hard, and she raised a hand. The pain increased to a level that stole Desmond's ability to scream. Tears ran down the young Assassin's face, and he crumpled fully to the floor, curled into a fetal position, the Apple still extended towards Lucy.

Dimly, Desmond heard shouting through the pain that pounded mercilessly through his brain, and something knocked the Apple from his hand. It bounced across the floor, rolling to a stop with a metallic tinkle at the base of the pedestal it had rested upon.

In another instant, the pain stopped, and Desmond's breath shuddered from his lungs from the suddenness of it. The golden light faded, and he heard Juno shout something angrily as she disappeared. The Temple went deathly quiet.

Desmond smelled Lucy's familiar scent again as she leaned over him cautiously. "Des?"

The worry in her voice warred with the images Juno had planted in his mind before the Apple had been knocked away, and Desmond felt a terrible sense of foreboding.

Desmond cradled his head protectively in his arms and mercifully passed out.