“What I don’t understand is, how am I even here?” Desmond gazed into his beer with the pensive intensity of the weary and drunk.
“Like, on a metaphysical level?” Shaun asked. “Or like, you forgot how we got here because all the extended Animus use is turning your brain to mush.” Desmond glared at him.
“We took a van.” Shaun clarified.
“I know we took a van,” Desmond said, and threw his beer can over the edge of a cliff. The Precursors seemed to really favor isolated caves full of hundred-foot drops. That, and the basement of the Sistine Chapel. No accounting for taste. Desmond cracked open another beer. “What I mean is, how am I even here, when all my ancestors were so, so, incredibly gay?”
“It’s not right to use gay as an insult, Desmond,” Shaun admonished. “That’s homophobic.”
“You’re homophobic,” Desmond slurred, lazily. “I’m not using gay as an insult, I am simply pointing out, that in the past few months, I have had more gay sex than I ever, ever considered having.” He drank deeply from his beer, and made a face. Desmond was Assassin, but he was above all things a bartender, and this cheap, off-brand beer was an assault on all things he held dear. “Like, at least two lifetimes worth of gay sex.”
Shaun didn’t say anything, so Desmond continued. “And now there’s this kid, Radoo…Ratan…Rotankh… Connor, and, you know, it’s just a matter of time.” He drank again, and pulled a face. “It’s in his genes.”
“I think your problem is, you’re approaching this with an anachronistic, modern mindset. You’re thinking in terms of sexuality, to paraphrase Foucault, when sexuality hasn’t been invented yet.” Shaun raised his beer to his mouth, but went wide and hit his glasses instead, and he stopped to straighten them. “For Ezio and Altaïr, having sex with men was simply a sexual behavior, not an identity. It’s equivalent to someone today preferring strawberry over chocolate ice cream - just taste. It’s not significant.”
“I’ve had sex with Leonardo DaVinci.” Desmond said. “I think that is historically significant.”
“Look, Dez, what I’m saying is,” Shaun gazed at Desmond with the intense focus of someone trying hard to explain something they don’t understand. “It’s not unusual that your ancestors slept with men, and went on to have children. Just think of them as bisexual, if that makes your life easier.”
“I wonder if my dad’s had sex with a man.” Desmond asked his beer. “No, I don’t, really, but I could find out. I could go take a ride in his head. Up until the night he conceived me. And then I could throw myself off of this cliff.”
“Don’t say that,” Shaun said. “It can’t be that bad, can it? I mean, your ancestors always seemed like they were enjoying themselves.”
“You guys watch those parts?”
“Are you kidding? Rebecca assembled a best-of tape. We throw parties. Lucy would bring popcorn.”
Desmond groaned, and dropped backwards so he was lying on the stone. “I hate all of you. I’m going to join the Templars.”
“You shouldn’t get so hung up on labels, Desmond. It’s okay to be open to new experiences. And I want you to know that I am here for you. If you ever have any questions.” He raised his hand and patted Desmond’s shoulder with all the natural warmth of a dying sea bass. “Any questions at all. Or curiosity.”
“You think I’m joking, I’mma call the Templars in the morning.” Desmond curled on his side. “I bet they’re all manly. Haytham seemed super manly. Big muscles. Big tough guy.”
“That’s right, Desmond. Very heterosexual of you.” Shaun yawned, and lay back to join Desmond on the ground.
“Shut the fuck up, Shaun,” Desmond said, with weary affection.
“Maybe if you ever lived as one of your female ancestors, you wouldn’t have such limited, prescriptive views on gender and sexuality.”
“And maybe if you stopped using words like ‘prescriptive,’ people would actually take you seriously.”
“You know, you still haven’t said you didn’t like it.” Shaun said. “Be honest.”
Desmond threw his half-full beer can at Shaun, it missed him by a yard and went sailing through the cave, passing through the face of a very insubstantial and irritated Juno and trailing beer.
“You know I can’t do that, Shaun,” Desmond said. “Nothing is true.”