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How Far We've Come

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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”

Chapter Text

Bill comes a week later but by that time Desmond, Shaun, Rebecca, and Lucy had researched as much as they could about the children.

What they found stunned them. They were all Master Assassins save Haytham, who was a Grandmaster of the Templar Rite. Shay, it turned out, was an Assassin who joined the Templars. He follows Arno around like a big brother, and the toddler lets him. 

Lucy looked at Shay worriedly. “From what I can find, Shay assassinated Arno’s father. Is it safe to keep him around Arno?”. She folded the clothes they have gotten for the kids and put them into neat little piles. Rebecca looked over the food they stocked up for them and their newest additions. 

"He's safe enough at the moment. Arno prefers having him close, and Shay is determined to stay near him,” Rebecca answered. They learned this the first time they had to take Arno away from Shay, the older boy breaking out into angry tears when Arno left his sight. Arno was the only one who was two years old, on the verge of turning three, and still needed some assistance in the bathroom. It was a problem.

Lucy hummed. She picked up the tiny modern clothes they were able to buy, put them in a pile, and then came face to face with William Miles.

Bill cocked an eyebrow as she dropped the clothes in shock.

“Still here, Miss Stillman? Why are you roaming around after you freely admitted you’re a Templar?”

Lucy thinned her lips and bent to pick up the clothes. “I’m here because the situation has changed, and I’m not leaving”. 

“How capricious of you”

Lucy straightened and then nodded her head in the direction of the kids, “See for yourself. Desmond is with them right now.'' And with that, she stalked off in a huff. Rebecca and Shaun stared at each other then looked at Bill.

Rebecca shrugged, “So… I’m gonna...sort the food and see if the kids have allergies or stuff in the Animus.”

Shaun sighed, “Wow, thanks ”. Bill narrowed his eyes. “Take me to my son. Now , Shaun.”

“Okay, okay. Bloody hell.

 


 

Desmond is surrounded by children. 

It’s a sight that makes something catch in Bill’s throat. Desmond is surrounded by children and he’s smiling. Happy and healthy (well maybe not that healthy, he still looks sickly from the Animus, though he did look better than he had in the pictures Shaun and Rebecca sent him), more so than Bill could say he’d ever seen his son.

At the moment, there was a little boy crying and stamping his foot, another pouting while holding what appears to be a bowl of sliced apples away from the crying boy.

“Connor is a meanie! Those apples are mine!”

Desmond sighed and rubbed the crying boy’s back, “Now, Ezio, the apple slices are to be shared with everyone. Just because I gave it to Connor, doesn’t mean it’s his. Now, what is this really all about? I know it’s not just the apples because you just ate.”

Desmond was very patient as Ezio slowly calmed down, tears fading to small sniffles. Desmond wiped the tear stains from his face and made him blow his nose with a hankie.

Ezio sniffed once more and said quietly, “Is your papa coming here?”. Desmond stopped wiping the boy’s face . . . then continued once again. “Yeah . . . Yeah he is.”

To the surprise of everyone, including little Connor who was trying to keep the bowl of apple slices away from the twins, Ezio shouted, “ NO ! I don’t want the bad man coming here!”. Ezio started crying again, harder than before, and clung to Desmond as if his life depended on it.

Desmond looked troubled. “Ezio, he’s my father. He’s not a bad man”

“You only say that because he’s your papa!” sobbed Ezio. “Papas don’t do what he did to you, or to Clay and Daniel!”

Everything stilled, and Lucy, Rebecca, and Shaun, in the next room but still able to hear, stopped what they were doing in horror. Bill kept silent, watching this exchange.

Desmond tilted his head. He had no recollection of having siblings, and back at… the Farm… he didn’t remember anyone named Clay or Daniel.

Desmond asked Ezio kindly, “Who are they?”. 

They were interrupted by upset squeaks from the twins. Bill looked over and saw the girl staring at him with wide eyes. She was holding a bunch of apple slices. The boy next to her got in front of his sister and glared at Bill.

When Bill looked up again, Desmond stood up holding a terrified Ezio, surrounded by the children, two of the older ones forming a barrier around Desmond. Any scalding words died in his throat seeing literal children either afraid of him or angrily protecting Desmond . . . from him.

The silence stretched between them until Desmond gave his father a tentative smile. “Hi Dad.”

Bill could only nod and say, “Hello, son.”

Desmond looked at the children flocking to his side, including the twins who scurried towards him the moment Bill took his eyes off them.

He had only been with them for a week, but in that week he had learned enough about them to know they were capable of enough mischief to turn anyone’s hair white in an hour. 

Desmond grinned. He then glanced at the kids knowingly and said, “Perfect timing, you can help out. It’s the kids’ bath time”.

 


 

Of all the idiotic things Desmond had done, this was the most stupid, Shaun thought. And he roped Bill of all people into it!

Getting the kids to do anything was an art form that only Desmond seemed to have perfected. Except for bath time. The first time they tried it was a disaster, so he had no idea just why Desmond suggested giving the children a bath.

Contrary to what the others said, Shaun was not insensitive to people’s feelings, and he knew the kids disliked Bill. A lot . Ezio had thrown a fit and the other kids all agreed with him when they found out, but they won’t tell why or how they know about Bill until Ezio’s little outburst earlier.

He didn’t know if the kids being quiet and surly at bath time would be worse than them raising holy hell, but being around the kids for a week, he’d prefer the latter. It would be so awkward and eerie if they were quiet.

He was answered when he entered the room and was instantly splashed.

“FOR GOODNESS SAKE SHAUN, GRAB THE TWINS!” bellowed Lucy as she lunged for Evie and Jacob, who were hollering their little lungs out. 

Shaun grabbed a twin in each arm, wincing as they screeched, "NOOO!" and "DON'T WANNA BATH!"

Shaun sighed and pleaded, "Evie, Jacob, please. Bathing is good for you, I swear.”

Simultaneous screams of “NO!” answered him, but Shaun still stood up and headed toward the inflatable pools being used as a bathing area.

Rebecca and Lucy were busy with the other children. Lucy, after seeing Shaun handle the twins, set her sights on trying to stop Connor from wriggling out of her grasp. Connor and Edward seemed helpful within the pool, but Connor was intent on drenching Lucy and escaping.

Rebecca and Desmond were helping Altair bathe as Ezio, aided by floaties,circled around them giggling. Bill, not really knowing what to do, was tasked with bathing the quiet ones. Shay already had his turn, but was now glaring at Bill as he gave a mostly quiet Arno a gentle bath. Aveline, also done courtesy of Lucy, wandered over and was watching Bill work.

Aveline smiled at Bill, “Hello, Mentor.”

Bill gave her a glance then turned Arno over, supporting his head and making sure he did not ingest the water before answering, “Mademoiselle de Grandpere.”

“Arno is comfortable, although Shay would say otherwise,” she tilted her little head.

Bill nodded, “You’re a bit different. You don’t act or speak like a child.”

Aveline giggled, “I am a child, silly goose! I just retained my memories much clearer than the others. When I grow older, I will lose my memories to make way for the new ones with Desmond, and I will act my age then.”

At this, Bill’s head snapped to face her, “Why are all of you here?”

Aveline smiled mysteriously, “For your son, Mister Miles. One of the greatest men we have ever encountered.”

Bill looked down when he felt a pat on his arm. Arno was looking at him. Arno then said quietly, “Papa” and pointed to Desmond.

Bill’s mouth thinned. He really does not know what to think of that.

 


 

“I need to talk to you, Desmond.”

“I know.”

“In private ,” Bill insisted.

Desmond just stared at him for a moment, then looked down at the armful of children napping on his arms and legs, then looked back at his father with a cocked brow.

“I can’t, and I won’t. Just get it over with Dad.”

Bill glared at Desmond, “You can’t keep them.”

“Tough luck. They’re staying, and even if I can’t keep them I’m not leaving them to Abstergo.”

“We are days from the end of the world and we need you to be focused. You cannot have these distractions bothering you.”

“I know I’m just a means to an end to you Dad, but let me fucking rest,” Desmond spat out bitterly. “I’ll get to the Animus soon but the children need my help and I swore I would help them”. Bill reeled at this. Is this how Desmond thought he saw him as?

Before they can say anything though, they hear a quiet voice, “We don’t want him in that chair. You can ask us where we put the Apple, we’ll even give our blood to use in the Animus, but don’t put him back in the chair.”

It was Altair and he was looking at them both. “Don’t do to your son what you did to my other descendant. Please .”

Bill closed his eyes and looked away. Altair was staring at Bill intensely.

Desmond quietly asked, “Dad? Who are Daniel and Clay?”

Chapter Text

Bill opened the files on all the children and started reading through them again, trying to find out more information about them.

“Dad?”

He sighed then looked at Desmond. He was in a sweatshirt and for once, he was not surrounded by a gaggle of children.

“They’re eating dinner. I thought you might want some privacy”.

“ . . . Yes. I do”

“Now that we’re alone, can you answer my question? Who are Clay and Daniel?”

Bill turned to the computer screens to bring up Altair, Ezio, and surprisingly, Connor. Then he brings up the others. Desmond has already seen these files. He looked at the pictures of the older Haytham and Shay and Aveline. 

He then brings up two unknown files, “Subject 4 and 16. Daniel Cross and Clay Kaczmarek. They were both former assassins.”

“Former?” Desmond touches the screen. Clay looked so familiar, like something he’s seen in the periphery of his vision inside the Animus but he cannot remember.

“Daniel Cross . . . was a former Assassin who was experimented on by the Templars and turned into their sleeper agent. He is the reason why we there are so few of us left today.”

Desmond inspected Daniel’s file. “He massacred the Assassins.” Bill nodded. He then pointed at Clay. “Clay Kaczmarek was the subject before you in the Animus. Contact with him became sporadic and then stopped. When they took you, we assumed the worst and the Templars had found a replacement.”

“That’s a lie, Bill. Tell him the truth”

The two men turned to see Lucy by the doorway, enraged.

“Tell him how I messaged you and told you it wasn’t safe, and to pull Clay out of the project. Tell him how you insisted he continue until his brain couldn’t take it anymore. Tell him how he started carving up his arms and painting the walls with his blood. They took him away and we never saw him again.”

Lucy had angry tears staining her cheeks.

Desmond looked at his father, ”Dad?”. Bill looked away. Desmond tried again, “Dad. Is this true? And what about Daniel?”

Bill sighed. “Yes. Yes, it is.'' He then noticed a shadow in the doorway behind Lucy. Seems like they had a little listener. “I will admit I also did not see the signs of Daniel being brainwashed, but during that time who did?”

Desmond seems to have noticed their little listener too. “It’s nice to know you treat people under your care the same way you treated me. We’ll continue this later. '' Bill looked like he was slapped. He stared after his son, who reached the doorway and kneeled to hug the twins and Altair.


“Don’t like him,” mumbled Jacob. Evie nodded solemnly, “He’s very much like our father”. 


Desmond smiled while making the twins a late-night snack. “He’s still my father”.

“Doesn’t justify what he’s doing, or what he did to you,” muttered Altair. He was next to the twins on the counter, swinging his legs and hitting his ankles on the wooden panels loudly.

Desmond cheerily said, “I agree. But thanks to you guys, I’m tired of running away from my problems. And showing Dad the extent of the damage he caused is a good thing.”     

He gave each twin and Altair a sandwich.

“What’s done is done. It’s bedtime guys.”




Bill watched as his son managed to surprise him once again. The children piled next to Desmond, and he let them.

Lucy stood next to Bill, and they quietly observed Desmond settling the children into their designated places next to him.

“You should have seen them the first night,” Lucy said in a hushed tone. “We worried about where the kids would sleep, but the only place where they wanted to stay was with Desmond. They’ve been like that ever since”.

Bill said nothing. Lucy sighed. “I have never seen Desmond genuinely smile until the kids came into our lives. It looks like they’re not going anywhere. I know we want to solve the mystery of where they’re from, but please don’t ruin it for him, Bill”.

Lucy then turned and left. Bill stayed where he was, watching as Desmond addressed the kids, “Alright, guys. What story do you want to hear tonight?”

“Can we hear about the little boy living in this village, and they were monks, and one day this old monk from another village comes to their village bringing this really beautiful book with pages in gold, and there is a white cat and a faerie?” Ezio asked all in one breath. Altair yawned beside him.


“I want the one with the boy who lived in the stars with his mom, and then one day pirates disturb their lives! Haytham liked that one as well!” Edward said nodding. Haytham’s face went red and he sputtered, “I only can relate because his dad left!”. Connor’s chubby little hand patted Edward’s crestfallen face.

“I liked Sophie, and the moving castle, and her wizard,” Evie said quietly, “She was so brave and strong when she thought she wasn’t.” Jacob piped up next to her, “I liked that one too! I was kinda scared of those blob monsters, but in the end no one is actually a bad person! Sophie is awesome!”.

Desmond laughed. “Guys, we literally just watched those movies!”. The miracle of introducing 21st-century television to children from other eras and seeing their reactions was amazing.

Aveline smiled at him, Shay’s head already drooping on her shoulders, but little Arno was sucking his thumb waiting. “We want to hear it in your words”.

Desmond thought about it. He remembered a story Bill once told him. Not in this kind of context, in the bedroom exchanging stories. Bill was distant even then . . . but he told Desmond stories when Desmond was upset. That small act of kindness made Desmond hesitate in calling his father a truly bad person.

“How about I tell you one of my favorite stories from when I was a kid?”

A chorus of yesses sounded and Desmond smiled at their eager little faces. “I want to tell you a story about a demon, and an angel, and the family they found along the way. It was a nice day. All of the days had been nice. There had been rather more than seven of them so far, and rain hadn't been invented yet. But clouds massing east of Eden suggested that the first thunderstorm was on its way, and it was going to be a big one . . .”        

 


“I’ve decided,” Desmond began as they started breakfast.

The kids were doing their own thing in the spaces they carved for themselves. Haytham had seated himself next to Lucy, the twins took their place on both sides of Shaun, Rebecca was seated next to Edward and Aveline, Arno, dear sweetheart that he is, toddled over to Bill and situated himself on his lap, and wherever Arno is, Shay is close by. At the moment, he is begrudgingly eating his cereal and suspiciously looking at Bill, who was feeding Arno.

Desmond began again, carefully making sure Ezio doesn't reach too far on the table to get the food he wanted and Connor and Altair were comfortable.

“Let’s find out more about Daniel and Clay. I want to go back to Abstergo” 

Chaos reigned the minute he uttered that statement.                                                                                                                                                             

Chapter Text

Daniel woke up.

Every day, it gets harder to wake up. Every day he sees his ancestors in the periphery of his vision, hear echoes of their voices, all thanks to the bleeding effect. 

Daniel got up from his bed . . . and tripped on a pile of discarded laundry. He gritted his teeth. Goddamit that hurt! He stood up and was taking clean clothes out of his drawer when he heard a sound coming from his kitchen. He stopped. He slowly took the nearest weapon, his gun, and quietly walked over.

Daniel blinked. Then he rubbed his eyes at the sight that met him.

A toddler, probably five or six years of age, was standing on the counter rummaging around his kitchen drawers. The toddler came down carrying a can of chunky tomato soup in both their hands then noticed Daniel. The toddler stared, looked down at the can of tomatoes, and then gave Daniel the most unimpressed look they can give him. “Why is this the only thing in your pantry?” , the little face said.

And the funny thing is, Daniel knows who this is.

This is his ancestor, Nikolai Andreyevich "Kolya" Orelov. He is 100 percent sure this is him, in the flesh. He had lived his life before and he knows how Nikolai looked like as a child. 

Nikolai continued his silent judgment of Daniel. Daniel did not know how to address this absurd situation, so he did what he does best. He pretended the problem didn’t exist.

Daniel picked up the can of tomato soup from Nikolai’s little hands and then picked what he considered the cleanest pot from his growing mound of dishes. Nikolai made disapproving noises but what can a hallucination do?  

He cut up onions and garlic, simmered them, and when they were good enough he dumped the contents of the can into the pot. A tiny hand held out the salt and pepper shakers. Daniel narrowed his eyes at the hallucination then grabbed the spices and mumbled, “Unnecessarily demanding today for a hallucination. He even wants me to be fancy with all the extra spices as if I can afford it.” 

To Daniel’s dismay, of course, the end result tasted good. He even put out an extra bowl for the imaginary toddler. Then he gathered the dishes and went to bed again. 

 


 

Daniel woke up again hours later. 

There is a shuffling in his bedroom, and he shot up, once again ready with his gun.

Little Nikolai was pushing the piles of clothes to a laundry basket Daniel did not know he had.

“Oy, stop that shit. I can’t find anything if you do that”.

The toddler looked at him, once again unimpressed, then went right back to cleaning. He growled and stood up from his bed to grab the laundry basket from Nikolai.

“I can clean up if I want.”

The toddler continued staring. Daniel stood up, went out of his room and stopped. The living room was clean, the kitchen was immaculate. No dirty dishes, no piles of litter, nothing. He hears a sweeping sound and he turned to see Nikolai balancing a too tall broom in his too-small hands, sweeping the floor, and that was it for Daniel.

“Fine. I get it. Let’s go do my groceries”

 


 

Daniel still doesn’t know how to feel about his bleeding effect hallucination turning up, but … the voices in his head are quieter with the miniature version of his great-grandfather here. At the moment, Nikolai was staring wide-eyed out the window as he drove the car. It did not occur to him what his ancestor’s reaction would be to modern life.

“Hey, uh … wear your seatbelt,” he tells Nikolai. Which is stupid because the toddler isn’t real.

The toddler stared at him, and when Nikolai realized what Daniel was referring to he grabbed the seatbelt and tried pulling it to mimic Daniel’s seatbelt. Daniel sighed, “Here.” Daniel pulls the seatbelt safe and snug over Nikolai. The toddler wiggled his feet, the first sign of excitement Daniel had seen from Nikolai.

It took them twenty minutes to finally get to a grocery store.

 


 

Daniel made a discovery that Nikolai was a very good companion when it comes to shopping for necessities. 

Daniel was carrying Nikolai and the toddler pointed out things that he usually wouldn’t buy for himself. Fruits and vegetables and spices and all kinds of doodads. He put them in the shopping cart. Then Nikolai pointed to clothes and Daniel thought, what the hell, he might as well get clothes and bathroom necessities for his imaginary guest.

When they reached the register, the cashier took one look at Daniel’s cart and then, to his surprise, at Nikolai and said, “Do you want me to put all these in an eco bag so you can keep holding your son?”


Daniel blinked at them. “You . . . you can see him?”.

The cashier looked at him like he had lost a few marbles, and to be fair he thought so too, then they said amused, “Oh! Oh! He’s playing hide and seek! Well then, I can’t see him.”

Nikolai is hiding his face with his hands in a bizarre peek-a-boo with the cashier. Ah. 

So his ancestor is actually here with him. He thanked the cashier, grabbed their groceries, and went home. 

 


 

Daniel spent the next day pondering what to do next with his ancestor. Nikolai had managed to make sure he did not fall back into old habits and Daniel did not have the heart to get mad at the toddler. Still, when Nikolai wasn’t watching he would sneak a drink from his secret stash.

He made space in his bed for Nikolai, the boy curling up next to him to sleep and Daniel had a soft toy for Nikolai to play with, although he seemed intent on using the plush bird as a projectile.

Now that he knows that Nikolai is flesh and blood, he’d have to take him to work. Daniel had no one he trusted enough to watch over the boy.

He sighed and rubbed his face. He was not looking forward to facing Vidic and explaining the situation.

 


 

As it turned out, Daniel was not the only one graced with tiny visitors.


Daniel walked into Abstergo carrying an observant Nikolai. Some of the other employees stared at his cargo but a vicious glare and they quickly looked away. 

That is until a woman from the Entertainment Division of Abstergo bumped into him.

Normally, Melanie Lemay’s optimistic and chipper attitude irritated him. Which is why it was concerning when she seemed frazzled beyond belief.

“What’s up with you?”

“Oh! Master . . . I mean Mr. Cross! It’s nothing! I--,” then her eyes widened when they fell on Nikolai. “Oh my god, one escaped …”

To his utter surprise, she raised her hands and sighed, “I-I’ll take him, thank you Sir.”

Daniel leaned Nikolai away from her even though Nikolai opened his arms to try reaching for Melanie. “No thanks. Nikolai is with me. And what the hell do you mean by one escaped?”

Melanie paled, “He- he came with you? Did he appear from nowhere?”. Daniel blinked. That was a very specific question.

“No,” Daniel said slowly, “He’s with me. Explain what you meant Melanie.”

Melanie wrung her hands, “Oh--- of course. Silly me! It’s not as if a bunch of pirates from the Golden age of Piracy appeared to you as toddlers and have started wreaking havoc in the building. What was I thinking? Hahaha!”

Daniel grabbed Melanie’s arm and hauled her to a more private area. “Repeat what you just told me. You said toddlers appeared from nowhere and are starting to wreak havoc in the building? Do you know how ridiculous you sound?”

Nikolai made an upset noise and tried to loosen Daniel’s grip on Melanie’s arm. Daniel does so. It’s annoying how the toddler is affecting him so.

Melanie rubbed her arm and looked down, “I know sir, but it’s the truth! I-”

“I believe you. And this is why you shouldn’t be saying this to anyone else”. 

Melanie blinked at what Daniel said.

“I agree. Keep it to yourself for now, Ms. Lemay.”

Daniel and Melanie turned to face Juhani Otso Berg, a fearsome Templar from the Operations Division and a former student of Daniel’s. 

Berg was known for his ruthlessness in the field . . . which is why the sight of him carrying and holding hands with children is a juxtaposition the two of them never thought they’d see.

“Master Cross, Ms. Lemay, this is my daughter Elina,” Berg gestured to the baby snuggled in his arm. She gave a little wave and babbled. He then gestured to the eight-year-old with dark hair holding hands with two little girls about five years old in age. “And this is Grand Master Crawford Starrick, with Miss Lucy Thorne and Miss Pearl Attaway.”

Melanie’s eyes bulged and she muttered, “Oh god, not more of them!”

Daniel tilted his head and then looked down at Nikolai. Nikolai waved and to his surprise, the two little girls waved back and Crawford nodded his head in acknowledgment. 

The children knew something, they seemed to recognize each other.

Berg seemed satisfied by what he saw between the children then he locked eyes with Daniel, “I am thinking that you have the same reason as I, Master Cross, for bringing that child here. I did not have a babysitter at hand.”

Daniel nodded. Melanie rubbed her face, “So . . . what do we do now?”

Daniel looked at all the children. They were staring at him, and apparently there were more ancestors running loose around the building. 

Daniel then felt Nikolai pat his cheek. He sighed. “We get to the bottom of this. But whatever happens, we do not let Warren Vidic know about the children.”

Chapter Text

While Desmond expected outbursts of dissent from his teammates and father, he did not expect the outbursts from the kids;

“We wanna go too!”
“Yay! Desmond is gonna take us on a trip!”
“Are we gonna teach the bad men a lesson?”

Desmond blinked at the clamoring little voices then looked over to Haytham and Aveline, the de facto voices of reason with the kids. Haytham looked like he wanted to protest but decided against it. Aveline just smiled and said, “We’ll get our coats.”

Desmond laughed, “And what makes you think I’m bringing you all on this highly dangerous mission?”

Aveline tilted her little head, “The others are in Abstergo.”

Lucy coughed out her coffee. “I’m sorry WHAT? ” When other little heads nodded enthusiastically, Rebecca rushed over the monitors to look at the cameras they installed in Abstergo and lo and behold, there were suspiciously-not-from-this-era children running around. Some of them were not even hiding, some were mingling and interacting with very confused Abstergo employees. There was a tired-looking woman rounding up the children, but the minute she turned her back on them, a few escaped her clutches. 

Edward laughed, “HA! Haythie, look! Those are your uncles and aunts! I turned out older than them!” He giggled while Haytham rolled his eyes and Connor stole a bread roll from Edward’s plate as he was gloating.

Desmond watched this play out and noticed a little one at the corner of the cameras collecting a few totems from desks. He didn’t stray too far from his minder, a very familiar-looking man who barely took his eyes off the child.

“That’s Daniel Cross,” Bill said quietly. He was carrying Arno and Shay in his arms. “That little one he is watching over must be one of his ancestors.”

To the surprise of Bill and Desmond, it was Shay who pointed at the boy and said, “That’s Nikolai Orelov.”

Desmond nodded and ruffled Shay’s hair. The boy squeaked in dismay. “Thanks, buddy! I’ll look up who he is and who the others are okay?”

Desmond went over to Rebecca and Shaun’s side and joined in their amusement at the number of confused Assassins around the world accessing this footage online and seeing literal toddlers do their work for them. 

Bill sighed and sat down, releasing Shay and Arno. He heard Evie complain as she toddled past, “I don’t wanna stay here anymore! I wanna go with Desmond to Abstergo! Thorne and Henry could be there!” She pouted.

Bill looked over at Shay who was watching over Arno playing with his toes. He came to a decision.

“Ms. Frye, do you want to go on a trip to the local museum?”


 

Bill recognized the signs that some of the kids were becoming restless; that’s why he offered the museum trip. Currently, he was in a car driving to said museum with Shaun in the passenger seat holding Arno, who was playing with his toes once again, and Shay overlooking the window. Haytham and the twins were glaring at him in the backseat but he paid them no mind.   

Lucy was right, he had never seen Desmond happier. He was considered the runt on the farm, and it annoyed Bill that other children excelled when his own was subpar.

And yet … and yet … all these Master Assassins and Grand Masters of the Templar Order looked up to Desmond and fawned over him. It made him uneasy. It’s as if they all knew something he didn’t. That something bad would happen to Desmond to warrant that amount of admiration.

He knows what the children all think of him, they had made it very clear the whole time he was around them. It shouldn’t affect him so but . . . he can’t help that it stings.

If Desmond ever had children, would this be his own grandchildren’s reaction to him? That they either did not know he existed, because Desmond refused to talk about him or that Desmond did talk about him and they hated him?

It scared him.

He looked at little Arno again, sucking his thumb and staring at him. He sighed and parked their car, then gently removed Arno’s thumb from his mouth.

He took Arno from Shaun with a slight protest from Shay then he looked over the back seat.

“We’re here, kids.”

 


 

 

Bill carried Arno in and was holding hands with Shay as the kids took in their new environment.

Originally, none of the kids, save Arno, took his request. But Desmond noticed Evie hesitating, so he asked Shaun if he’d be okay in taking the twins with Bill to go sightseeing. Haytham joined in because the boy was bored.

Haytham was holding hands with Evie and Jacob and the twins were pointing out exhibits they all found really interesting, dragging the not too unwilling boy forward with them. Shaun, walking behind them, would sometimes lift Evie if a plaque was too high for her to read.

Shay just generally went where Bill would walk but every now and then, he would lightly tug his hand to wander over something that interested him. Bill took that as a win.

There was a bayonet exhibit and Shay’s eyes widened at those.

“You were a superb marksman, weren’t you Master Cormac?”

Shay hummed and made a so-so gesture. Cheeky brat. Before Bill could say anything, he felt someone watching him. 

There was a man holding the hand of an eight-year-old girl and carrying a little girl with flaming red hair the same age as Arno observing them. One of the girls giggled and pointed at them. Bill narrowed his eyes and put Shay behind him as the mystery man strode forward. When they were near, the man stopped in front of Bill but his eyes landed on Shay. Shay shuffled quietly in place and Bill moved his arm to push Shay behind him even further. 

 

“Mentor William Miles. I hope you don’t mind, but I will have to take you into custody”

 

Bill’s eyebrow cocked upwards, especially when the little girl pouted and said, “No fighting!” The man just smiled at her and the older girl grinned. Bill noticed the horrified look of Shaun from across the room and he shook his head. Don’t compromise the kids.

“I don’t usually go on dates with people I just met,” Bill said out loud. “Especially with someone who hasn’t introduced himself.”

The man snorted. The older girl laughed and clapped her hands. He adjusted the younger girl in his hold. 

“My name is Juhani Otso Berg,” he gestured to the eight-year-old. “This is Master Madeleine de L’isle.” The girl giggled and waved, then Juhani adjusted the girl in his arm. “And this is Mademoiselle Elise de la Serre”.

Arno, who hid his face in Bill’s collar, quickly looked up and his mouth dropped when he saw Elise. Elise smiled and gave a little wave. Shay made an upset noise behind them. Bill made a mental note to check the data on the two girls.

“I’ll cut to the chase, Miles. I can offer you a deal. The girls, for you and Master Cormac.”

Bill looked behind him to check if Shay was still there and the boy instantly hid his face when his name was mentioned. Bill narrowed his eyes at the man.

“Take me, but all the kids are staying”

Berg raised his eyebrows. “Who do you think is protecting all the children from harm in Abstergo?”

Bill looked at Madeleine then at Elise, then at Arno. “Why them, and not Shay?” To his surprise, Berg shrugged, turned to Madeleine and the girl said, “All according to plan, Mentor! I relay the plan to-”, she then turned and gave a smirk to Haytham who scowled at her, “Grand Master Kenway. I believe your son and my daughter, Aveline, are there too?” 

Bill said nothing. Elise wiggled in Juhani’s grasp. Madeleine continued, “You will be fine, Mentor. For all your sins, your son still turned into a good man, and he will not leave you to suffer. I suggest we let this all play out and go with Master Berg. After all, we still need to get the others to the Grand Temple.”

Berg keeps quiet as Bill glared at her. So the kids all know where they are. Does that mean Abstergo knows? By Berg’s reaction, they don’t. It seems the children know what they are doing and pulling the strings . . . but for what? What is going on?

Arno patted his cheek and Bill comes to a decision at the same time as Berg. Berg leaned down to deposit Elise next to Madeleine. Elise clung to Madeleine’s skirts as Bill does the same and put Arno in Madeleine’s outstretched arms.

Arno, realizing what was going on, made a face and began to tear up. Shay ran toward the kids and tried tugging Arno from Madeleine’s arms but he was too short. The older girl frowned. “Shay, you have to go to the others, you’re needed over there. We’ve been through this and it’s only temporary. You can come back for Arno later.”

Shay shook his head and tugged at her arms harder. He looked like he was about to cry. Bill shrugged at Berg’s questioning look and said, “Shay and Arno are close.”

Berg nodded in understanding. He kneeled in front of Shay and said gently, “It is alright, Master Cormac. On my oath, I will protect you. I understand wanting to stay and be with the people we love. This is why we do our duty, to make this world a little safer for them. The faster you complete your mission, the faster you get to reunite with Master Dorian.”

Shay stopped tugging Madeleine’s arms. Then, after what felt like an eternity, he sadly let go. Arno began to cry. Elise reached out on tiptoe to pat his leg.

Bill suddenly felt sorry for Shay and Arno. He reached out to Arno to stroke his little head and the baby quieted down. Then he kneeled to pick up Shay. The boy resignedly put his arms around Bill’s neck and buried his face in Bill’s shoulder.

Bill then turned and nodded to Berg. “We’re ready. Lead the way.” Berg nodded back and then bowed slightly to Madeleine, Arno, and Elise. “Good luck, Master de L’isle. We will meet again before the intended date.”

Madeleine grinned, “Come to the Grand Temple by then with the people you can trust, Master Berg. May the Father of Understanding Guide You”

Berg led Bill and Shay away from Madeleine, who stood in the middle of the room all by herself.

After a minute, Haytham, who Shaun was unable to stop, rushed to Madeleine and grabbed her arm. She gave him an amused, “Grand Master Kenway, what a surprise.”

“What do you think you’re doing De L’isle?” Haytham released her arm and instead bent to pick up Elise who was trying to climb Madeleine to get to a very sad looking Arno.

Madeleine tilted her head but rubbed Arno’s back. “Improvising. Now it’s up to Shay and the others. Don’t you trust them? Don’t you trust Shay?”

Haytham glared at her and growled, “If anything happens to Shay, I will personally end you.”

Madeline giggled but stayed silent. Shaun finally caught up to them. “Can anyone please tell me what is going on?”

Evie and Jacob clung to both his legs and looked between Haytham and Madeleine. The older girl smiled at Shaun.

“All in due time my dear friend. For now, we leave it to our colleagues.”

 


 

 

“I can’t do this anymore!” 

 

Melanie collapsed in exhaustion on a chair. The children were running around the offices again and she had spent hours catching them. At least none of them seemed intent on leaving the building, and a few of them even made friends with some of the few Abstergo employees around. It’s as if they were waiting for something . . . or someone.

Strangely, the children were very careful in revealing who they are to whom, and for every hour that passed, a new child popped up from nowhere and it was her job to watch over the growing amount of children.

Violet De Costa deposited another batch of children in front of her.

“That’s everyone, I think,” the young woman said, amused. Melanie looked over and counted the children; most were Templars, a few neutrals, and very few were Assassins.

“Wait, where’s Max and Yusuf?” Melanie asked in alarm. Those two were worse than the West Indies children who, for the past week, had been going around the Entertainment Division and pointing out the many errors in their “game” to baffled animators and techies, which they had started assembling from Desmond Miles’s DNA. 

A young woman busted in heaving and carrying two protesting children about seven years of age. 

“Here they are! Please, take them!” Layla Hassan, from the Research and Development Division, placed two boys on the floor and held them when they tried to escape. “I caught these two twerps holding each other up and fiddling with a number pad downstairs in the bunker.”

With these two hellions, they were most likely planning to blow up a door … again.

Yusuf Tazim pouted and said, “Clay’s in there. We wanna go to him! We felt another one of us appear inside too.”

Violet and Melanie froze while Layla frowned. “Who?” she asked.

“Layla, please get Master Cross, and hurry,” ordered Melanie. 

When Layla was out of the room, Violet whirled to Melanie and hissed, “I was told Subject 16 was dead when they gave me his case files.”

The children all stopped playing to listen in on this conversation. 

Melanie grit her teeth and clenched her fists. “I was told so too.” It was a gruesome case, and though she did not know the details she was told Subject 16 had lost his mind before dying. 

One of the children stood up and walked towards the two women and said, “They must have also told the two of you that they were all willing Subjects. Were you both naive enough to believe that?” It was a boy, who looked to be almost 13. He was the oldest of the children.

Violet turned to Melanie and gestured her head toward the boy. “Who’s he and how the hell does he know about the Project?”

Melanie pursed her lips and glared at him, Grand Master Laureano de Torres y Ayala of the West Indies Rite. He appeared, strangely enough, with his rival, Mentor Ah Tabai, who looked to be a year or two younger than him. The teen grinned at Melanie, knowing she was struggling to come up with a lie to their fellow Templar.

Before she can answer, Berg walked through the doors with William Miles, carrying another child in tow. 

 

And just like that, chaos reigned. 

 


 

Clay is dead. 

 

Well, technically, he is clinically dead.

Sure he has a faint heartbeat and his body is being preserved in this weird looking Animus but his brain function isn’t there anymore. Instead, it’s somewhere else. 

Clay considered himself to be a fucking genius and anarchist. So he uploaded his consciousness into the machine that made his life hell for months. In his opinion, it was the best and worst idea he ever had. 

For starters, he sometimes wondered if he was a new person or being and the real Clay Kaczmarek was dead and gone forever. It bummed him out most days, but today, right here, in the year of Our Lord 2012, Clay saw something that puzzled him.

For days, children had been appearing around Abstergo Industries. Diminutive versions of great people who should have been dead. He had amusedly watched from the cameras as a tiny version of Captain Calico Jack had been sniffing markers while little Mary Read and fucking Blackbeard ran circles around the Abstergo employees trying to chase them.

There were two little pyromaniacs in the growing gaggle of kids, and those two found where his body was hidden by Vidic. Nice.

Now what bothered him was something they said: “There were others with Clay.”

Clay accessed the cameras that were stationed around his body, and well it seemed the kids weren’t lying.

There were two little boys sleeping in his arms, one of them holding the smaller boy and mumbling in his sleep. But on the other side of his body is a little girl holding a sheathed longsword. She then looked up at the camera and Clay, to his surprise, knew who this was.

Maria Thorpe, one of his goddamned ancestors. She continued staring at the cameras until the door opened and Daniel Cross entered the room carrying Nikolai. The man’s breath hitched as he took in the sight.

Maria gave them a look, sighed and then turned to the two little boys and nudged them awake. “Malik. Kadar. Get up.”

“How did you get in?” demanded Daniel, although he didn’t sound as angry as Clay thought he would be. Must be little Orelov’s influence, bless his tiny baby heart.

Maria glared at Daniel and snapped, “Is that a way to talk to your ancestor?”

Daniel sputtered out a “What?” while Nikolai looked on unimpressed. Maria ignored this and once again looked at the cameras as she patted Malik and Kadar to get up.

“I’m up, I’m up,” grumbled the elder boy. Maria then moved aside as Daniel came forward to observe Clay’s body.

“They told me they cremated him,” he said to no one in particular. Malik snorted. Clay did not know how to react to that. Daniel put Nikolai down next to Maria, and the Al-Sayf brothers. 

Daniel, to Clay and the children’s surprise, typed something in the Animus monitoring Clay turning it off, and then gently lifted his body.

Maria, Nikolai, and the Al-Sayf boys followed Daniel out of the room as alarms simultaneously blared throughout the building. Curious to see what they were up to, Clay followed them.

 


 

“Is Desmond with you? Is he? Is he?”
“Are we gonna go to Desmond now?”
“Hi, Shay! Are the others okay? Where’s Arno?”
“Shay, come play with us!”

It was chaos as the children all crowded around Berg and Miles. Berg chuckled and kneeled to greet some of them. Miles was confused but followed suit and let Shay down to greet the little ones all clamoring for their attention. 

Shay looked confused at the number of children that greeted him, refusing to let go of Miles, until one of the older children asked, “Shay, is it time? And is the Apple with Desmond?” 

Shay nodded his head. The boy looked at the eldest child who nodded as well.

That was when three things happen simultaneously: alarms blared in the building, Daniel entered carrying Clay’s body (prompting indignant and horrified gasps from the children), and then Vidic slams the door open, takes in the scene, and demands, “What the FUCK is all of this?”

 


 

Shaun parked the van, then looked to Desmond in the passenger seat. “This is insane. We are going on the words of literal children.”

Desmond stared at the Apple in his hands. Earlier, when Shaun came back to base and explained the situation, Madeleine took out an artifact called The Prophecy Disk and explained Desmond had to get his father and the other kids so they could all go to the Grand Temple. She gave his Apple a dirty look.

Desmond definitely understands how she feels. “Well, no way of knowing what’s gonna happen until we do it, yeah? See you later, Shaun.” Shaun nodded, and Desmond got out.

Desmond entered the front doors of Abstergo and the alarms start blaring at him. The Apple glowed ominously. Desmond thought to himself, “I don’t want to accidentally hurt any of the kids” , and so he kept walking.

None of the guards stopped him. In fact, they just looked around confused wondering why the alarms were going crazy.

Desmond let his legs and instincts guide him to where he felt he needed to go. The Apple thrummed with power, but Desmond had a feeling that Altair, Ezio, and Connor had all done something to it to make it behave this way. It was listening to his wishes.

Finally, Desmond entered a room on the first floor and was dumbfounded at the scene unfolding before him. 

 


 

“Well? I’m waiting !”

Melanie, Berg, Daniel, Violet, and Layla, who had stumbled in carrying a wayward child, all stayed silent.  Bill, surrounded by children, ignored Vidic as he quietly corralled the children away from the man’s sight.

The absurdity of the situation was not lost on Vidic but seeing Clay in Daniel’s arms, the Mentor of the Assassin Order here, AND children running around was enough to make Vidic snap. He turned to Daniel and said, “What do you think you’re doing? Put 16 back!”

One of the children snorted and said, “Nah mate, we’re keeping Clay. You had him long enough, thanks.”

Violet turned to glare at Vidic. “You said he was dead !” Vidic pinched the bridge of his nose. “He is as good as dead, De Costa. He is a vegetable. The only reason we are keeping his sorry carcass is we need his DNA as back up for Subject 17.”

“That’s a fate worse than death, the poor bastard,” Violet exclaimed horrified. One of the kids, a little dark-skinned boy quietly said, “Please don’t take any more blood from Clay. We can just give some of ours.” The kids around him protested at this, and one of them gets in front of the boy, “Henry! Keep quiet!”

“Who are these children?” Vidic demanded, once again. He then sees a little girl with a longsword and his eyes widened. “Why does that child have a weapon?”

She gave Vidic a dirty look and said, “Templars these days have truly lost their integrity if they have you leading them.”

Vidic grabbed a stapler from one of the desks and then lunged for her. The eldest child calmly placed himself in front of the girl as the boy in Miles’s arms chucked a well-aimed beanie bag at his face, and Vidic tripped.

Melanie, Layla, and Violet had moved the protesting and angry children behind them. Berg looked furious, “You would hurt a child, Warren? Have you no honor?”

“These little freaks are a liability! And why bother with the pretense of honor when our work is for the greater good? Don’t be stupid, Berg.”

More than half of the kids now glared at him, like he had said something sacrilegious. A little girl with carrot hair and freckles hissed, “Then you are worse than the Assassins, and don’t deserve the name Templar.” The other angry children all nodded in agreement.

Vidic had run out of patience. His eyes snapped to Daniel as he said, “Kill them.” Daniel looked at him incredulously. 

“Did I stutter? Kill them.”

Daniel locked eyes with Nikolai. Nikolai patted Daniel’s leg and waddled confidently towards Vidic. Daniel croaked, “Deda, wait! He’ll hurt you!” The toddler ignored him and continued on. 

 

Deda? Dedushka? Did he just call that child “grandfather”?

 

Vidic glared at the little boy now in front of him. He straightened his spine to gain height over the boy. “And what can a brat like you even do, hmm? Start crying?” he taunted.

Nyet,” Nikolai answered, and the boy suddenly took out a taser, comically a bit too heavy for him, and shot it directly at Vidic’s genitals.

There was an unholy squeal from Vidic before the man collapsed in a dead faint. Nikolai chucked the gun straight at Vidic’s penis. Every male in the vicinity winced as the boy waddled back to Daniel, who stared at Nikolai wide-eyed. 

There was a sound of a throat clearing, and everyone turned to see Desmond Miles standing there. With the Apple in one hand and scratching his head with the other, he sheepishly asked, “So...everyone ready to get out of here?” 

Chapter Text

Desmond was immediately bombarded by little ones calling his name, asking for his attention. He put away the Apple and kneeled to accept their hugs and kisses.

“Haha! Slow down, slow down! Um, hi . . . I’m so sorry but I don’t know your names?” Desmond’s arms had two children each, with three more on his lap and two clinging on his back. He couldn’t stand up if he tried.

“Sometimes I’m Mary, sometimes I’m James! I’ll tell you when I feel like it.” “I’m Eddie! And That’s Charlie and Jack, and over there’s Ben and Anne! And the broody one over there is Addie!” “I’m Lucy, and this is Pearl and Henry and Max and Ned! Are you gonna take us to Evie and Jacob now?” “Yusuf! And this is Fiora! Is Ezio with you? The other’s aren’t with us yet so our batch isn’t complete.” “Shut up, Assassin! Me next!” “No, it’s our turn, stupid Templar!”

Many voices talked all at once, but Desmond did the impossible and listened to each of them as they introduced themselves. 

The older children stood back and watched, amused. Daniel put Clay’s body down in a chair then walked over to Vidic. Nikolai curiously toddled after him. Shay was examining Vidic’s prone form and poking it. 

Daniel arranged Vidic’s form so he didn’t look like he was humping the air, covered the man’s dignity, and then squinted at his ancestor.

“You didn’t have to do that, you know. Wasn’t there any other way you could have immobilized him?”

Nikolai tilted his head thinking about it. He then reached inside his tiny coat to pull out an over-sized carving knife and made stabbing motions towards Vidic’s genitals with it.

Everyone who wasn’t Daniel inched one step away from Nikolai. Daniel muttered something in Russian, then sighed. “I see we’re gonna have to talk about this Deda. Put the knife away”. Nikolai reluctantly did so.

“That kid is scary,” gulped Layla. Melanie rolled her eyes at the boy’s antics. “He’s just overprotective of Master Cross. He threatened me with a metal spoon once when I chastised him about holding one of the kids."

Daniel’s eyes snapped up when Bill came towards them. The two stared at each other in tense silence. Then Bill turned to Shay and said, “Did you find what you were looking for?”

Shay shook his head, looking over Vidic’s body. Then he spotted it. He picked up what looked like a hard drive and squinted. He then ran over to Violet, tugged her leg, held the hard drive out to her, and pointed at a computer.

“Uh, I dunno what you want me to do with this,” she took it and put it in a random computer. To her surprise, Shay patted the unit and said, “Clay!”

And the unit lit up.

 


 

“Oh, that’s clever! Thanks, little guy.”

 


 

 

It took around ten minutes for whatever it was to finish downloading into the HD. Shay wiggled excitedly in Violet’s grasp. Then when the download was done, Violet unplugged the hard drive and the boy took it like it was something precious, then ran back to Bill to show it to him. Bill patted the boy’s head.

“Guys, I think we need to get going. So I expected a lot of you, I just didn’t expect-,” Desmond gestured to all the children. The kids laughed. “So we might need a few cars. Let’s go."

“We are not going anywhere with you!” Violet balked. One of the children detached from Desmond then ran to Violet before taking hold of her leg.

“Please, Miss De Costa! You have to come with us! It will be fun!” Pearl Attaway’s eyes widened in the most ridiculously cute way. 

Violet went, “Um . . . but …”

Little Lucy Thorne attached herself to the other leg. “Please”. She too had ridiculously cute, pleading eyes. Violet looked down at both girls and as if on cue, Ned Wynert and Maxwell Roth joined the two little girls in grabbing on to her and copied the cute pleading schtick, and Violet looked up at Melanie helplessly. 

Melanie cocked her eyebrows and put a coat on one of the kids for an answer. She was in this with the kids for the long haul.

Daniel picked up Clay’s body in response to the look Violet turned on him. Violet sighed in defeat, and Layla merely shrugged. Berg had apparently known this would happen and had taken out his keys. 

“Alright, let’s go”

 


 

They actually don’t leave right away. Berg called someone on his cellphone as the kids all say goodbye to the Abstergo employees they had both bothered and befriended. A lot of the employees actually cried at the kids leaving. Whether with joy or sadness, no one was sure.

Violet and Layla shut down their computers and locked all the data away. Melanie explained a few things to the guards, and a few of them had to smother laughs when they saw Vidic. One of them had apparently recorded Vidic getting owned by a toddler.

Daniel glared at Bill but refused to confront him. Nikolai held on to Daniel’s pants and waited.

It took fifteen minutes to organize which of the kids would go with whom, and then they all left Abstergo.


 

An Abstergo employee watched as five vehicles drove into the night. He leaned his head back,  and then with a smirk said to no one in particular, “Well that was interesting. So now what guys?”

A child stepped out of the shadows and joined him on the balcony. He stared at the night sky, stars shining brightly despite the light pollution. He looked to be about eleven. “We’re not following them, John?”

The man, John Standish, chewed on his cigarette and joined the boy on the balcony. “No, Bart. Let ‘em be. We wait this shit out, and more of our people will join us. Until then, we gather the loyal and the broken. That’s the plan."

Bartholomew Roberts scrunched up his nose in disdain. This century was so strange to him. He felt a tug and looked down. A little boy, five years of age, was staring at him. He bent down to pick him up.

The child pointed out into the empty night air in a direction only he could see. “Juno,” he said, clipped. Then quietly he said, “Arno. Elise." 

Bart adjusted his hold on the boy. The child was holding something silver clenched in his little fists. 

“Don’t worry, Frank. You’ll get them someday." 

Francois-Thomas Germaine made a face at the nickname given to him. It didn’t feel right. ‘Germaine’ suited him better.

Standish looked at . . . well . . . technically versions of himself from different points in time. His brothers-in-arms. He opened his arms wide and gestured into the night air. “We’ll get our chance to rise again, boys. One day. But for now, we do our works in the shadows."

Standish tilted his head toward them and gave them an unnatural looking grin.

“A little birdie told me Desmond Miles was sowing his oats willy-nilly in his younger years. And by a delicious twist, his offspring is one of us. He’d be seven by now. Shall we pay him a visit?”

The two boys smirked. That sounded like a fantastic idea.