Desmond woke up.
It isn’t easy waking up from sessions in the Animus. He always had a hard time getting up and processing his environment right away but today there was a weight on his chest. Literally.
Desmond blinked and looked down. There was a little boy sitting on his chest staring at him.
“I wanna look at Desmond too!”
“Shh! Keep Quiet”
“It’s not fair, Connor gets to look at him but I can’t!”
“Shut up! We’ll get caught”
Desmond blinked and turned his head. There were a bunch of kids surrounding him arguing with each other and yeah, okay, he can definitely recognize a few of them. He must be hallucinating.
One of the younger children began to cry.
“But… But! I wanna be with Desmond! I wanna see him!” sobbed the little boy. Another boy a little older than the crying child stayed silent but pats him gently.
The child on his chest shifted and he turned his head to once again look at him. The boy was still staring and not saying a word.
Desmond cleared his throat, and that got the kids' attention. All of them looked at him wide-eyed. There were nine children in total.
“Hi! What’s going on here?”
At once, the floodgates open, all the kids clambered up and around and clamored for his attention.
“You’re awake! About time!”
“You looked funny sleeping. Was the bad chair making you feel bad?”
“Desmond, Desmond! We wanna story! Tell us a story!”
He takes them all in, two little girls, one with dark skin and even darker curls, and one with freckles littering her face are sitting on his left. There is a boy next to the girl with freckles that has similar freckles and eyes as her and is curiously poking his immobile body. These children couldn’t be younger than four.
A child, probably five or six, hair tied in a ponytail is holding hands with a little one who is sucking their thumb staring wide-eyed at him.
There were two boys around eight or nine years of age watching the child on his chest. They looked like they could be brothers but… the blonde hair one looked more mischievous than the other. The darker haired one, on the other hand, was calm and collected and was watching all the children.
Desmond then turns his head to see the last two kids. Oh. He knows who these are. He has lived their adult lives in the Animus.
The older one is about seven, supporting the younger one who is about four who is still crying for his attention. They both look like him.
“ Altair ? Ezio ?” he asked incredulously. The older one, Altair, nodded. The younger one cried, “Desmond! Desmond! We thought you wouldn’t wake up anymore!”. He tried pushing off the five-year-old on his chest. “Connor, get off!!!”
Connor didn’t budge.
“Connor… was it?” Desmond asked kindly. The boy kept quiet. “I need to get up. Is it okay if you get off my chest?”. Connor looked like he wanted to protest at that. “I promise I won’t go anywhere. I just want to sit up,” Desmond tried again.
This time, Connor peered at him suspiciously before slowly getting down. Desmond does sit up and take in the children surrounding him.
Before he could ask them anything, Lucy, Shaun, and Rebecca enter the room and froze when they took in the scene before them.
Desmond, surrounded by children, a few of them clinging to him, shrugged and said, “Congratulations, we’re parents”
The younger children refuse to part with Desmond, clinging to his arms, and absconding his lap. The older children just sit near him watching the younger kids and Desmond.
Desmond, surprisingly, felt quite at ease with his new babysitter role. He was patient with the younger ones, especially the more demanding of the children, like Ezio.
This was in stark contrast to Lucy, Rebecca, and Shaun who were losing their shit.
“How did they get in!?” Rebecca demanded. She has scrubbed the CCTV footage and all that they can garner is that one minute the room was empty save for Desmond, and the next thing they know, there were nine kids.
Shaun grit his teeth, “Unless the Isu had a stork service, I refuse to believe there is no logical reason they are here”.
Lucy was silent. She was observing Desmond as he tried, once again, to stop one of the children from climbing his shoulders. One of the older children, the dark-haired one, stared back at her.
He was nearer to her than the others so she thought she’d get answers from one of the culprits.
“Hi!” Lucy said. The boy blinked...then moved closer to Desmond.
“Ah...no, no! I’m just gonna make small talk! What’s your name?”
He doesn't answer her, instead, he looked down.
"We can't help you if you keep quiet," Lucy crouched down near him. The boy kept silent. She tried again, "Please?"
The boy looked at Desmond as if asking for permission but Desmond is preoccupied with the toddlers.
After a long time, he quietly answered, "Haytham". Lucy perked up, "What's that?"
"Haytham. I'm Haytham," the boy said. He then looked serious when he tells her, "Will you tell them?"
Lucy tilted her head. "Tell who?"
Haytham narrowed his eyes, "Them. About Abstergo"
Lucy straightened and stood up in shock. Haytham seemed unfazed. "You should tell Desmond and the others," he looked towards Desmond. "Tell them before it's too late".
Lucy backed away. Desmond was now looking at them. She headed towards Shaun and Rebecca, mind in a whirl.
"I'm Evie and this is my twin brother, Jacob!" the little girl with freckles introduced herself to Shaun. Her brother, toddling after his sister, stared at Shaun with his clear, green eyes. "What's your name?"
"Working, go away" Shaun replied in a clipped voice. The twins have noticed his accent and latched on to him while Desmond was busy with Rebecca, researching about the children.
Jacob narrowed his eyes at that tone while Evie didn't seem to notice, "Hello Working-Go-Away, what're you doing?"
Shaun winced. He was so out of his depth compared to Desmond. He has no patience for children. He looked at little Jacob glaring at him and then at Desmond...who was watching him. For some reason, Shaun felt he did not want to disappoint Desmond on this and it surprised him. Annoyed, he turned his attention back to Evie who was smiling mischievously. Ah, she was doing this on purpose, the little…
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude,” he said. Better get it over with. “Evie and Jacob was it? My name is actually Shaun. Where are you from?”. Jacob visibly relaxed and Evie’s smile grew wider, accepting his apology.
Desmond smiled at him before turning his attention back to Ezio and the littlest one who are both on his lap vying for attention. Shaun’s heart skipped a beat. Stupid, sexy, idiotic…
“We’re from Crawley! Are you from London too?”
A sense of sadness overwhelmed Shaun when she asked that. How far from home they were then, huh?
“Yes, I was. A long time ago” he paused. “Where are your parents?”. Jacob’s face immediately shuts down and his shoulders rise. Evie’s smile also is wiped from her face. Shaun panicked, thinking he must have said the wrong thing. Evie took Jacob’s hand. “We never met our mama. And our Father…” She shook her head then to Shaun’s surprise, she smiled back at him. “But now that we’re here, Desmond is gonna be our new papa!” she said with all the conviction a four-year-old can muster.
Shaun just stared at her gobsmacked. New WHAT!?
She then babbled away as Jacob fidgeted in place and Shaun just stared at them like his mind was blown.
Then Lucy came back to the room, looking grim and then Shaun’s mind was blown again when she announced that she was a Templar.
“So...you’re like a double...agent? Why are you telling us this now?” Rebecca for some reason wasn’t as angry as they thought she would be. Granted, she was holding the youngest of the children and was holding a tiny foot in one of her hands and he lets her. The child with the ponytail sits near them and is waving a toy in front of the youngest one’s face.
Lucy thinned her lips and then looked at one of the older children. “I figured...I needed to come clean about this. This goes beyond us now”. She gestured to the children.
Shaun stood up, angry, and began to pace, “You told us because you became guilty because of the kids. How generous of you”.
Lucy glared at him, “Yes, Shaun, because of the kids! I don’t know where they came from, or what is going on, but the world is ending and I’d rather it not because they won’t have a future”
Shaun sits down in a huff. Lucy sighed and continued, “And I am not stupid to put my faith that Abstergo would treat them well. Who knows what they would do to them?”
The dark-haired one narrowed his eyes and then said, “It is not in our tenets to hurt children or innocents. They are not true Templars”.
Lucy snapped her head quickly in his direction, “And what makes a true Templar then, Haytham? Who are you really?”
Haytham was about to answer but the blonde-haired one put a hand on his shoulder and said, “I think the time for secrets is over. We should introduce ourselves” He grinned and thumped his chest. “I’m Edward Kenway”. He then pointed at a fuming Haytham, “This is my son, Haytham”. Haytham rolled his eyes. “My grandson, Ratonhnhaké:ton but you can call him Connor”. Connor is staring at Desmond particularly at Desmond’s lap. It looks like he’s planning to push Ezio out of the way. “Mentor Altair Ibn-La’Ahad” Altair winced at his full title. “And Mentor Ezio Auditore,” Ezio stuck out his tongue at Connor and clung to Desmond tighter. “You can use those fancy machines of yours to check, but we’re Desmond’s ancestors”.
There was a pregnant silence in that statement. Edward cheerfully paid it no mind. “The kid with the ponytail is Shay Cormac, and the little one over there is Arno Dorian”. Shay waves and then goes back to waving the toy in front of Arno who was opening and closing his hands trying to get it. “The little lady next to them is Aveline de Grandpre” Aveline grinned. “And the twins are Evie and Jacob Frye” both of the kids waved enthusiastically. “And aside from Haytham, and Shay, we were all Assassins”.
There was another pregnant pause. None of the adults could fathom the implications coming out of Edward’s mouth.
Rebecca shook her head then peered at Arno, who had finally grabbed the toy from Shay. “Were?”
Edward tilted his head amused, “I don’t think those titles would be appropriate for us now we’re children again”. He thumped Haytham in the back. “You might think about joining the Assassins this time, Haythie”
“Never,” hissed Haytham angrily, “Mind your own business, father”. Edward grinned, "You could call me Edward. We’re the same age now, I don’t mind”.
Haytham looked down then said quietly, “I’ll think about it”.
Connor had successfully climbed Desmond’s other knee and Ezio looked like he would pull a tantrum. Desmond’s arms encircled them both and he lifted them. He feels a pat on his leg and looked down. Aveline is smiling at him. He kneels so he is almost eye level with her. “The others will come soon,” she said. All the adults stared at her in surprise. She nodded her little head sagely, “The others would come but we won’t be able to help much until we’re a little older. Assassins, Templars, and everyone in the know. You should start building connections”.
This alarmed Lucy, Rebecca, and Shaun. What she is saying, is unthinkable. There is barely anything left of the Assassin order because of the Templars, particularly what they did to Daniel Cross and made him do.
Desmond shook his head, “I’m afraid that’s impossible.” Aveline smiled sweetly like this is a thing she knows that will happen for sure. Desmond sighed, “I’m just one man, what do you think I could do?”
Aveline touched his face, “You are more than what you think you are, Desmond Miles and we are here to help you. You are not alone and we won’t leave you. We’re just so sorry we came only now”.
She then patted his face and then toddled in another direction. Desmond felt something stuck in his throat as he straightened up with Connor and Ezio.
After a tense silence with no one saying anything, Desmond sighed and said, “Call the Mentor. We’ll figure out what to do next from there”