Desmond wakes alone on cold asphalt, hard pebbles digging into his white hoodie.
It is pure, unadulterated shock lacing his system when his eyes snap open, and no, it wasn’t what he thought death would be like.
It isn’t the absence of heat, or decidedly not smooth stone that jolts him to attention: it is the dull ache lacing his right hand, burning where it touched the ground.
He grunts, using his good hand to prop his weak body up. All limbs seemed intact, omitting the arm. His hidden blades were still strapped to his arms, much to his relief.
Pale cream light glints softly against the wet stones of the asphalt, stretching far into the distance in a dark ribbon frosted in diamonds. The night is quiet, only faint whispers of grass threading through crisp midnight air, muted emerald and opal flickers in moonlight. There’s a tranquility much foreign in his own life in the moon.
As he does silent inventory, the magnitude of his situation makes itself known.
He is alive.
He shouldn’t be alive.
The Eye was supposed to kill him, leave his body burning in the temple. Not… not this. But the chill of the air on his skin, the stinging of the cuts on his face, was far from an illusion.
For three seconds, he lets himself hope, eyes pointing towards the shimmering light of the distant skyline.
Wait for me.
Shit, looks like there's no turning back.
As it turns out, Desmond isn’t going home. In New York city’s library, he combs through the internet with a finesse learned from—yours truly—Juno. Her attacks weren’t completely useless, at least.
Everything on the internet suggests this is a different dimension, if that was somehow possible. Abstergo, to his immense relief, does not exist here. Instead, there’s Stark Industries, a former weapons manufacturer turned eco-tech energy giant.
It doesn’t reassure him from what he found next: apparently, this dimension allowed heroes or vigilantes, idiotic people dressed in skintight spandex and breaking several hundred laws at once.
The Avengers, they called themselves.
He calls bullshit.
Desmond meets multiple firewalls in his inquiry, but they aren’t anything difficult to break and seal after. Apparently, there’s also a secret government organization called SHIELD, something about strategic homeland something something. The Avengers had been formed through their request.
It’s probably important, but he can’t find it in himself to delve deeper, mind spinning through scenario after scenario.
Desmond forges himself a shiny new identity through channeling his inner Shaun, keeping his original name (no one knew who he was anyway). It isn’t sound work, but it would hold against heavy digging. Now, he’s Desmond Miles, the runaway who became a bartender, his backstory an eerie parallel to his original life.
Here, there wasn’t anything to tie him. Anything to live for. If Abstergo doesn’t exist, then the Brotherhood most likely wouldn’t either—his searches for Rebecca, Shaun, and Lucy have come up inconclusive. Altair never existed, neither did Ezio. But Leonardo did, though he suspects the renaissance went slightly differently here, if it ever happened at all.
But for the most part, this world was almost the same as his old one.
‘Old one’, Desmond thinks, because this was the new, unsettling reality. He can't tell what he's feeling, but it's mainly resignation.
Shaking his head, he leaves the jittery scrutiny of the librarian (he couldn’t blame her: he must’ve looked like a half-crazed hobo) and steps into the midday sun, squinting slightly.
As Desmond pushes through the sparse, then milling crowds of the bustling city, people cast him strange looks. Following their eyesight, he looks down.
His pants are barely covering his modesty, jeans torn and ripped in ways unknown.
New dimension or not, pants came first.
20 minutes later and a fair bit of pick pocketing, Desmond leaves the clothes store feeling refreshed in his new white hoodie and suspiciously tight jeans. Not that he had complained, but the sales lady was terrifying in a Rebecca way, forcing heaps of clothing on him to try. It was hard not the notice the constant gaze at his butt, and harder not to notice how the pants got tighter and tighter.
Thank God Desmond was able to escape, even if it meant sacrificing mobility.
His hand trembled the slightest as he pulled a leather glove over it as an afterthought, walking slowly along the streets. Next logical course of action seemed to be getting a job: pick-pocketing and stealing were only short-term methods.
It was time to go job hunting again.
It is as painful as he remembered it.
It’s almost nostalgic when Desmond ends up a bartender again, in the big apple.
Naturally, he had tried to find Bad Weather again, but…it didn’t exist. So he had tried to ignore the pain in his chest, and asked around the sketchier parts of town. Ezio’s experience in dealing with shady figures came in handy, and he landed a job in a somehow shadier bar called “Bad-ish Weather”.
What the fuck is this plagiarism. But it’s completely different, Asiatic themed rather than smooth leather, and he thought he’d deal.
The manager of the bar (big Japanese guy, with yakuza style tattoos) had taken one look at him, before hiring him no questions asked. By now, his hand is healing nicely, and while it hurt, it wouldn’t affect his productivity. shouldn't.
Desmond should probably be suspicious, but after a demo that refreshed his memory, the manager stopped looking at him with scornful eyes. He was hired an hour ago.
An hour ago, he was an idiot.
It’s kind of stupid, how he didn’t bother with any background checks to the place. As it turns out, it’s a damn daycare for mercenaries and mafia. In Eagle vision, almost every ‘patron’ glows a blinding red, or at least a pale red. His eyes catch money(gold?) discreetly changing hands, code disguised in conversation, and he wants to fucking die.
Right when he’s escaped his world, he’s in another.
At least being a bartender often means being invisible, as well as a messenger. Even though he hasn’t been here long, the amount of information he’s gleaned is fairly sizable.
The loud, extravagant-looking man in the far booth is the heir of the largest drug-dealer in America. That sly-looking Chinese woman in silk is the daughter of the man who owns a massive part of the black market. Those twins in the back corner are about die from overdose.
He can’t help but wonder the shoddy taste of these big-shots, if they hang out in a place called Bad-ish Weather. Maybe it’s because of the trash name they stay, because no one expects them here. He forces himself into mingling with some of them, picking up bits and pieces of scattered information.
He’s so fucking tired.
Desmond slams a drink (a cocktail of who-knows-what, an apparent specialty) in front of this lady who’s making disturbing eyes at him and sets to work mixing a drink for the sketchy looking man at the far end of the bar. Granted, everyone here looks sketchy, but at least he shows white. For the most part.
In fact, the man looks disturbingly nervous, which, while the normal reaction to the murders and soul-selling in the background, is frankly suspicious in this setting. His expensive, well-pressed suit is worn confidently, and the luxury watch on his wrist isn’t touched: he is obviously used to the money he owns.
One of the upper-class families or businesses in New York, then, judging by the accent. This certainly narrowed things down. And from his discomfort, the legal side. There are also many wary eyes pinned on the man, subtle shifts in the atmosphere at any move he made—so maybe a righteous, crime fighting (ew, as Rebecca would say) rich family.
Desmond’s starting to feel familiar, and he doesn’t like it.
The man slowly eases into the mood but is still tense. It doesn’t show well, but Desmond can catch the frenetic tapping of his fingers, and the frequent adjustment of his glasses past his smile.
The middle-aged man is also mumbling something and gesticulating into thin air, but it’s not Desmond’s business.
Until it is.