Assassin's Creed: Fate of the World
Disclaimer: Ubisoft owns all characters, trademarks, etc. I am merely borrowing their characters for a little fun, and none of this is written for profit.
A/N: The third story in the Assassin's Creed: Worlds series. Follows "Man of the World" and "Light of the World." AU assuming Lucy never dies in AC:B.
Turin, New York, USA
Desmond's eyes opened slowly, and he heard Rebecca exclaim, "He's...he's moving!"
His vision was blurred, and he blinked, trying to clear his vision. Why would Rebecca be in his bedroom? His father's voice spoke next as he leaned over him. "Desmond? Can you hear me, son?"
Desmond blinked again. He was not in his bedroom. Somehow, he was in the back of the Assassin's van, lying on Baby.
The others were staring at him with various expressions of awe and concern, and he frowned.
"Dad? What am I doing on the Animus...in the back of the van?" He looked around, noting several absences. "Where's Luce?"
He heard Rebecca gasp, and Shaun gave him an angry look, his face flushing as he snapped, "You can't expect us to believe you don't remember what happened!"
Desmond stared at Shaun. "What the hell are you talking about, Shaun? What's going on?"
Shaun growled. "You killed Lucy, Desmond, or don't you remember stabbing her in the Vault?"
Desmond froze, his blood chilled in his veins. This was wrong. He hadn't stabbed Lucy...he'd resisted Juno's compulsion...hadn't he? He closed his eyes, taking a steadying breath. Part of him was panicking, and it took everything he had to maintain a semblance of calm.
Shaun's voice came to him. "Oh, so now you remember, eh?" The historian snarled, Desmond had never seen him so angry. He swallowed hard, opening his eyes and averting his gaze. "Just...just give me a minute, Shaun..."
William's voice was hard as he said, "That's enough Shaun."
Desmond reached out within his mind, and Altair's voice responded quietly, his tone calming.
"Desmond...tread carefully until we understand what is happening."
Desmond was shocked at the rush of relief that went through him at hearing the ancient Assassin's voice. At least Altair's presence meant he wasn't going crazy. A slight smirk quirked his mouth at the irony of hearing voices being an indicator of sanity.
He heard Shaun's voice again despite William's warning. "You think killing Lucy is funny, yeah? Why don't you share the joke with us?"
Desmond's gaze went instead to a familiar golden glow that lay on a nearby counter. The Apple of Eden. If he remembered correctly, it was Ezio's...the one Juno had tried to use on him in the Vault. He frowned. "Si. Though...it appears you failed to resist Juno's compulsion, fratello mio."
Ezio's voice bore concern and confusion, and Desmond's expression tightened. "It seems so, fratello mio."
Shaun's face in his vision interrupted his musings.
"Did you hear me Desmond? Or was your hearing burned out while you were wandering around in coma-land?"
Desmond's voice was soft and dangerous as he said, "Leave me alone, Shaun."
The doors to the van opened as William threw them open, and Desmond recognized the area outside Turin. Desmond pushed Shaun out of the way as he swung his legs over the edge of the Animus, rising to his feet.
The historian glared at Desmond as he stood, stretching. "How do you feel, son?" William's voice was concerned, and Desmond took a deep breath of the cold air, pungent with the scent of pine.
"Like I need some fresh air, Dad."
William stood out of the way as Desmond moved slowly to the edge of the van, hopping down. He didn't feel weak as he'd expected, and he landed easily on his feet, looking around to get his bearings.
If he was right, he was a few miles from the Temple at Turin. He turned to his father. "Dad, what day is it?"
William's voice was cautious as he replied, "October 30th, 2012. You were in that coma about 20 days, son."
Desmond nodded absently, his eyes scanning the forest. If it were that early, Juno was still within the Temple at Turin. "Why are we here, Dad?"
Desmond's gaze narrowed as William turned, going into the van long enough to grab the Apple. He offered it to Desmond. Desmond frowned as his head began to throb with pain. It resonated eerily – as Rikkin's silver Apple had. He felt the strong sense of repulsion from it. Whatever Apple this was, it was not the same as the ones he'd absorbed.
He took another step back from it. "No."
William stared at him in surprise. "You don't want it?"
Desmond shook his head. "No. There's something...wrong with it, Dad." Shaun's voice came from behind him. "Aw, so now you're afraid of it? What you think you might stab someone else if you touch it?"
Desmond's ire rose at the repeated jabs combined with his migraine, and he whirled on Shaun, his gaze narrowed.
"Give it a rest, Shaun, for fuck's sake," he hissed.
Shaun eyed him. "What if I don't?" he challenged. Desmond's jaw worked. "I don't have time for this, Shaun. Something's wrong...really, really wrong."
Shaun snarled. "Of course something's wrong! Lucy's dead because of you!"
Willam's voice was a muted roar. "Shaun! That's enough!"
Desmond shook his head. His headache was getting worse, and he stepped back again, cradling his head in his hands.
"Son? Are you alright?" William's voice was concerned again, and Desmond gasped, snarling as his father came toward him with the Apple.
"Get that thing away from me!"
Desmond took a few steps back, his hands raised in defense.
Altair's voice spoke quietly within his mind. "It appears we are close to the Temple Desmond...perhaps you will find some answers there."
Desmond took another couple steps back, and William's gaze narrowed. "Where are you going, son?"
Desmond turned and ran.
He heard them chasing him, his father calling his name.
"Desmond! Desmond, stop!"
He was taken back to the day he'd run away from the Farm, hearing them call for him, the anger in his father's voice. As much as he hated to, he needed to lose the others. He couldn't be sure they would help him, or not. Until he found out the truth of his situation, he could not trust anyone.
His steps slowed as he leapt up a tree, climbing hand over hand, his shoes slick on the bark. They didn't have the grip of Connor's deerskin boots, and he would need to be cautious if he was going to tree-run.
His steps slowed into the hunter's crouch as he ran over the wide limbs of the trees, leaping with Connor's animal grace from tree to tree. Below him, he saw his father, his face red with exertion.
"Desmond!" he called, and Desmond's heart clenched in his chest at the despair on his father's face. His hesitation cost him as his foot slipped, and he cursed softly, catching himself before he fell to the ground.
He heard Shaun shout. "He's in the bloody trees!"
William's gray gaze went up in shock as Desmond ran hard, leaping cleanly from the end of a wide branch, catching himself and swinging forward in one motion.
He heard them chasing him again and ground his teeth together. Desmond leapt again, rolling as he hit the ground. He ducked behind a tree as a gunshot cracked behind him, and the ground at his feet puffed with the impact of the bullet.
He risked a glance back and saw Shaun raise the gun again. William's voice echoed behind them, "Desmond! Stop!"
Desmond stumbled, missing his footing as a second shot went off, scoring the trunk of the tree beside his head. His attention was focused on Shaun, and when he turned back, his father stood in front of him, a gun leveled squarely at his chest.
"Don't move, son."
Desmond swallowed hard, his chest tight. "Dad..."
William shook his head. "Save it, Desmond. I can't believe they'd turn you..."
Desmond blinked, and his throat closed with anger.
"Turn me?" He growled. "You think I'm a Templar?"
Desmond froze as he felt the cold barrel of Shaun's gun against his head. "I knew I was right, you bloody wanker. Why else would you refuse to use the Apple and run from us, unless they had you kill Lucy on purpose?"
Desmond shook his head.
"No. I didn't kill Lucy."
Shaun's laugh was laced with scorn. "If you didn't kill her, then whose body did I bury in Rome? I was the only one who showed up at her funeral!"
William stepped forward, and Desmond saw him motion with the gun.
"Away from the tree, son."
Desmond shook his head, his eyes filling with tears now. "Dad...you can't be serious. I'm not a Templar!"
William's voice bore some softness as he said, "You're not giving us much choice, son. You don't have any proof to back up what you're telling us, and running from us doesn't give us much reason to trust you after what happened."
Desmond swallowed back the sobs that threatened to escape his control. "I – I can prove it..." he said.
He bowed his head, tears dripping onto his hoodie, and between one breath and the next, Altair and Ezio stepped from nowhere, the Syrian Assassin disarming his father and the Italian disarming Shaun.
William's face was terrified as he struggled against Altair's iron grip.
"A-Altair?" he gasped.
Altair looked at Desmond, his golden gaze unreadable.
"Are you alright, Desmond?" he asked, softly.
Desmond nodded shakily, swallowing hard and wiping away his tears with one hand. Looking at his father, he said, "I'm sorry, Dad. I don't know what's going on, but I'm going to get some answers...and I can't let you stop me."
He nodded to Altair, and both Assassin's knocked out their captives at the same time. Desmond placed them on either side of the tree he'd been hiding behind, binding his father's hands to Shaun's with their belts.
Desmond looked down at the bound forms of his father and fellow Assassin for a moment, then turned to his ancestors.
Desmond took to the trees almost immediately on leaving the clearing he'd left his father and Shaun in. Altair and Ezio had faded as soon as the danger was past to allow him to move more quickly. He approached the entrance to the Temple, but without the Apple from this time period, he could not open the door.
He remembered the conversation he'd had with Tinia on reliving Altair's last memory. Somehow, he'd gone back in time...that much was certain. Whether or not Lucy was really dead – the thought made his chest ache – remained to be proven out.
How was he to get information? He frowned, crouching on a branch, looking out over the lush valley. He wished Minerva were here to ask...
His gaze narrowed. Minerva. He'd rescued her from Connor's orb in a cave not far from here...
Well, it was worth a shot. He couldn't go back to the van, and when night fell the temperature would drop to hypothermia-inducing levels unless he had shelter and a fire.
His mind made up, Desmond began to make his way to the Temple. He knew the way to the cave from there.
He stayed in the trees as he circled the familiar clearing in front of the Temple where – in his time line – he'd setup their camp. Now he saw the Assassins' van parked there, and Rebecca paced in front of it, worry written on her face.
Desmond swallowed back the sudden lump in his throat as he turned on Eagle Vision. The faint smoke trail he'd remembered following the last time was still there, and he followed it as silently as he could, thankful for the white of his hoodie in the snow.
He reached the cave, squeezing his way through the tiny hole and making his way back as he had before. The orb was there, glowing softly in the dim light of his Eagle Vision. He picked it up, and it glowed warmly in his hands.
Cradling it, he whispered, "Minerva...if you can hear me, please...answer me."
There was an almost startled silence, and then Minerva's voice echoed in the tiny cave.
"Cipher? Why do you call me?"
Desmond explained as best he was able, and Minerva was silent, asking only a question or two before light coalesced in the cave and she stood before him, translucent in the dim light.
She glowed blue in his Eagle Vision, and the relief he felt was almost palpable.
Her ghostly features became thoughtful as she looked him over.
"You are indeed out of tune with this time, cipher. How this has come to be, I do not understand. You do not belong here."
Desmond swallowed. "I know that. How do I get home?"
Minerva's expression tightened.
"I do not know, cipher. All I can tell you is that you are out of tune. That you were able to use this device of ours at all is a testament to the power you wield."
Altair's voice echoed in Desmond's head even as he heard his earpiece beep. Shit...he'd forgotten to take it off...
"Someone approaches Desmond. You must go now!"
Desmond turned, and Minerva's form faded as he shoved the orb into a crevice in the wall. A shadow darkened the entrance to the cave, and his father's voice echoed in the small cavern.
"Don't move, son." Desmond could see the outline of the gun in his Eagle Vision.
"Dad...please..." he said, and he backed up until his back touched the wall. "Listen to me..."
William's voice was cold as he replied, "I don't listen to traitors."
The gun went off, and Desmond screamed.
A/N: Here it is...the first chapter in what I hope will be awesomeness. We shall see.