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Arno remembered the moment when she first began to truly respect Shay.

It was after a particularly bloody mission that wound up to both of them once again staining their hands with that of blood. Shay insistently walked around town with Arno basically being towed around. It was safe to say that she was not happy. Any protest died on her lips when Shay gave money to a church.

A church.

Arno never was particularly religious as she was brought up as an Assassin, who did not really have a religion. It was only when she became a Templar did she begin going to church. Nonetheless, Shay did a good act and garnered the slightest scrap of respect from her.

The female Templar moved forward with a purpose and gave a portion of her own money to the grateful church minister.

Grateful words were said and for the first time that day Arno felt like she did something good. Shay nodded at her in acknowledgment and patted her shoulder. She glanced up at him and knew that people like them never truly got redemption. But like Shay showed, a mockery of it was still within their reach.

Shay had saved her life countless of times. It was only fair for her to do the same. Well, she only saved his life one time. Therefore, the debt wasn’t exactly fully repaid.

Shay had been walking on ice after he climbed down from the Morrigan. An ominous hissing sound was heard as apparently they just walked into a trap. Arno stopped in trepidation, but the howling wind seemed to prevent her mentor from detecting the sound.

“Sha-!” Arno’s eyes opened in horror as her Eagle Vision activated. There were barrels of Gunpowder…

And Shay practically sitting right next to it. The impact of the explosion broke the ice under his feet and he plummeted downward.

Merde. The explosion must have rendered him unconscious, she thought.

Arno stripped off her jacket quickly and dived into the hole. Icy water bit at her skin and the rest of her clothes weighed her down. Both skin and muscles started to become numb but she swam determinedly downward.

A large hand belonging to a familiar person appeared in the corner of her eye. She reached and tugged. Lungs burning with the lack of air and a fairly heavy man in tow, Arno somehow managed to get herself and her mentor to the surface.

The Morrigan’s crew was apparently waiting for them… or grieving. At the moment, she didn’t care.

The crew hauled both of the half-drowned Templars out of the water.

“Is he okay?” Arno rasped out.

“He’s survived worse.” replied a cheery sailor.

“Good. He still has a lot to teach me.” she groaned out. Arno stumbled her way towards her mentor and escorted him to the ship along with the other crewmen.

A hand weakly gripped her arm to stop her from leaving as she left his side to climb onto the Morrigan, “T...Thank you.”

‘Just delirious. Either me or him.’, she thought. After all, Shay never thanked her.

Days later, Arno came down with a nasty cold thanks to a certain cold swim in the Atlantic. At least, she had a good caretaker. A part of her knew that the person wasn’t her father, but that didn’t stop Arno, in her half-delirious state, to spout things about her life that even she didn’t dare say to Elise.

Confusion was all a fully recovered Arno felt when her mentor seemed to trust her more. He always gave that blasted knowing smile at her when she subtly inquired.

A known fact around the Templar headquarters in Paris was that Arno loved alcohol. She especially drank the substance after long-term missions.

Shay Cormac had the misfortune of running into a drunken her.

Arno vaguely remembered that she giggled drunkenly before stumbling towards him. To the surprise of none, she tripped… and accidentally brushed her lips against his as he caught her.
Embarrassment was all she felt the morning after. But the Irishman merely waved it off as nothing when she apologized. That didn’t stop her from swearing off alcohol for the rest of the year.

The second time she kissed him was not under the influence of alcohol.

‘Going out with a bang’ was what Elise sometimes preached to her. Arno was likely going to die that day. Why not do just that?

Arno had pulled him her close to her by the lapels of his coat and kissed him. Shay smelled of gunpowder, blood, and death. If Shay had any reaction to the kiss, Arno didn’t stick around long enough to see it.

As it turns out, she survived that very mission…

Arno cursed at the statement.

The third time she kissed him was not under the influence of alcohol nor of certain death.

“Oh, just go do it.” her friend sighed out. Arno only looked on rather nervously at the Irishman approaching them. Elise winked and mouthed ‘Good luck.’ at her friend.

Her mentor almost awkwardly bent down to her level. Arno thought that their height difference must be comical in the views of an outsider.

A hand cautiously went to her face and caressed her cheek. It stayed there as if asking permission for what was to come next.

She leaned into his hand in reply. She closed her eyes in anticipation only to reopen then moments later. Was he just-

And then he kissed her.