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Old Dogs

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I don't know what to write here. What do people usually write in journals. Thoughts? Seems kinda pointless since… Journal's a private thing, right, you're not gonna show it to people so, what's the point? Why write your thoughts down, when they're your thoughts in the first place? It's not like you don't know what you're thinking. Right? This is dumb. Kinda self serving. Whatever.


 

Okay, so, I talked with Desmond about the whole keeping a journal thing, since, he was the one I got the idea from. He always writes something every day, just to keep track of days. Says it keeps him grounded – and like… like the point is to keep a record. It's not for now, but for years from now, when you no longer remember what you were thinking. What were you doing, ten years ago, on this same date, stuff like that.

Also it's a way to get out things you can't tell people, can't put into words, can't talk about, but which gotta get out.

I'm… there's so much shit. I don't even know where to start.


 

Joel's playing guitar for Desmond on the back porch – he says it for me, that he's teaching me a new song, but yeah, it's totally for Desmond. It's cute, in that "aww old dudes in love" sorta way. Not that Joel's gonna ever admit it. Hang in there, Desmond – took me months to get a nice word outta Joel. You can do it!

Oh shit Desmond can sing.


 

I dunno if I really ever liked the Fireflies. Like, you knew about then, back in Boston, everyone knew about them. And Marlene knew my mom, they were friends, or whatever. But I wasn't – I didn't really… fuck.

All you ever heard about them back in the academy was how they killed people or blew something up or attacked a transport. And like, I knew about their history, Riley told me, it wasn't secret – they had a thing, a point, they did good things, but like… I don't know. The things they were fighting for, they were long gone, man. Long before I was born, all that stuff was gone. It was like they were fighting over rubble, when we should've been doing something better. Rebuilding. I dunno.

I mean, I get that rebuilding is hard and so is working together with people you've spent like two decades fighting but… it just seemed to me like people killing people for no other reason than because they'd been killing people for so long, that they didn't have any other idea how to change things. Just kill more people and maybe it will be better. And I get that's not it, there was more to it than that but still. That was the impression I got.

Marlene, man. I knew her. And I think… I dunno. For months I thought she probably died back in Boston and Joel and Tess were just being nice, telling me she'd recover. Knowing that she's definitely dead, that Joel killed her… I dunno. I don't know what it changes.

I wish I was surprised by the fact that the Fireflies probably didn't know what they were doing with the whole vaccine stuff. But it doesn't.

And I guess that's what makes me most… not sad, but, tired? Exhausted? Something. All of this is just… ugh.


 

Ezio is the bestest boy ever. And I am going to take him on walks forever. Best, best boy.


 

Desmond got in touch with the Brotherhood via satellite phone – me and Joel were there, it was… interesting.

I'm kinda over all this faction business. Fireflies, FEDRA, Brotherhood, whatever. They're all people, all dumb and all good and all bad in their own ways. The people Desmond got messages from, they just sound like people. People who get sick and get tired of their kids and get colds and stuff. Just people. It made Desmond happy to hear about them.

He sent them a message too – told them about me, and Joel, and about the plans of taking samples. Asked for advice on how to proceed on getting the samples back, what would be the best way to go about it, stuff like that – if someone could come meet him halfway, for better preservation of samples. Stuff that.

I dunno why my heart was pounding like mad, listening to it, but it was. Joel actually comforted me about it. It was nice, in a sort of… I dunno. I mean, I know damn well now he's not gonna let anything bad happen. That's good, right?

It's gonna be another week until we can expect a reply – they're going to get the message in a couple of days, apparently, but then it will take three or four days from then until their message gets back to Desmond, because satellite orbits are whack. So, waiting.

Not sure I'm a huge fan of waiting.


 

Hunting again – we took down a moose, a big, big ass moose. It had broken horns, so, no epic trophies or anything, but it will make a pretty good damn addition to the winter stores. I'm getting my insulation for the garage! Score!

Desmond think's we're going to have to leave Ezio behind for the next hunt though, which sucks. Apparently, taking down big prey like a moose and then taking it home is giving Ezio wrong ideas – it's not what he's trained for, and Desmond is really careful about not confusing Ezio about his training. He's not a hunting dog. Which I get, but, still. It sucks.


 

Shimmer's saddle training time. Poor girl is so confused. I am going to get her apples.


 

Worked on the garage with Joel most of the day – it was good. We talked while we worked and it kinda. I guess it helped, to have something to do, to fill up the awkward pauses. So many awkward pauses. I uh.

It's different now. I mean it was different before too even before he told me the truth, but it's like this thing, fuck. It's always there, and I – I'm trying to understand. And I think I do, but I also don't and sometimes, man, sometimes I look at Joel and I don't know who this guy even is. It's weird since he's pretty much my 

He's trying though. He's trying so hard and I guess I gotta try too. He makes for a good handyman, anyway.


 

Desmond says I should put dates in my diary entries, for future references, but, eh. It's not a log, I'm not going to bother – I'm not writing history here. He wants to keep track of days, he can do it himself in his own journal. If that's even what he's doing – it looks like a whole lot of squiggles for me. Apparently, Desmond knows Arabic… and Italian, and Latin and some Native American language and Welsh and overkill much, dude.

Oh my god he's talking to Joel in French now, I'm outta here.


 

I have a stove! And an insulated garage which, in the end, not as much work as I thought it would be – but a stove! Tommy is the best not-uncle ever! He and Eugene went to this place on their patrol and got the stove out of this collapsed cabin and brought it in – they took a buggy out to do it and everything, it gotta have been so much work but I apparently won't even have to pay for it or anything and – and – and I have a stove for my garage!

Now we just gotta make a hole in the wall for exhaust. No biggy.


 

Shaun Hastings, I don't know you man, but we're going to be best friends. Never seen Desmond look so insulted.

So apparently, taking blood samples back is… not a viable option. There is no way they'd keep until the coast, not for the weeks it would take to get there, with broken roads and no cars and such. Taking tissue samples back… even worse idea. Saliva was a maybe, but even then there's no guarantee that it would keep. Apparently the whole thing is stupid and Desmond is stupid and man. It was funny.

The Brotherhood is coming up with alternatives, but since I'm safe here, and Desmond is here and Joel's… Joel, they figure the safest bet would be for, uh… me, the resource, staying here and staying safe, and for the research to come to me, rather than wasting time ferrying around spoiling samples. So, uh… Desmond and Joel are going to talk to Tommy and Maria about it – about the Brotherhood sending like… experts? To Jackson, to examine me. 

Kinda seems to me that the easiest way would be for me to go to them, to whatever laboratories they have set up on paradise islands or whatever, but at the same time…

I dunno. Desmond and Joel are both pretty vehement that Jackson's pretty much the best place ever. And, going by what I know, I guess it is. I just…

I hate being a burden.


 

Dog sitting Ezio while Desmond and Joel are on a date. Desmond's shown me how to run Ezio through his paces – how to play fetch which is also like training, and how to reward him right, how to handle him if he breaks orders, stuff like that. Ezio is the best boy.

Also, I cannot believe the gossip there's about Joel and Desmond. I mean, they're dating. It's not that big of a deal. Well. It is. But it also isn't. Shouldn't be.

God I wish when I start dating, it won't be as big of a deal as Joel and Desmond are. I'd hate that, people talking about me like that. Even Kat like, swoons? About them? It's weird. Small town people are weird sometimes.

Ezio's a good boy though.


 

Movie night – we're watching Disney movies!


 

Joel taught me a new song. We were sitting in the back porch, just strumming and it was – it was nice. Not like old times, exactly, because things are different, but it was almost… better, I guess. He always picks like vaguely sad songs, because deep inside I think Joel is full of emotion, but I sorta… get it now. Emotional expression and Joel just don't go hand in hand, huh. He's gotta sing about it. Which… actually, it makes even more sense why getting him to sing is like pulling teeth, huh.

He's got a nice voice when he really gets warmed up though. Very smokey whiskey country. He should sing at the dances – we should sing together! He says no, of course, because Joel's gotta Joel. I'm gonna make him do it though. Winter dance, we're singing.


 

More work on the garage – it's almost winter ready now. Next order in business – actually stove and maybe water collection system for roof. Oh, and a bed, but that's easier. I wonder if I could get fairy lights or something for the place...


 

Joel and Desmond had uh… a fight. I guess. I think it was a fight. I was at the garage and there was shouting in the house, a bit. And then there wasn't and when I looked in – erm. Yeah I'm sleeping in the garage tonight.

They're weird sometimes. But I guess, Joel's Joel and anyone who likes Joel would have to be weird and… ugh. And I guess I'm happy for Joel, because he's got this – this undercurrent of misery about him, all the time. Because of Sarah and all the things that happened to him over the years since and… and it's nice he found someone. That Desmond genuinely likes him, and Joel, in his own way, likes him back. But at the same time, it's kinda like they're always on the verge of fighting.

I don't get them, man. If I ever get a girlfriend, I don't want it to be like that. It makes sense for Joel, I dunno if he can even communicate properly with a bit of violence in the mix… but I wouldn't want to be constantly on the edge of fighting someone I love.

Weirdest thing is, I think Desmond actually likes that about Joel. Weird old codgers, both of them.

Thank god for headphones.


 

Uh, I think… I did a bad?

Shit.

Um, so, Desmond's setting up the dog training thing, right, and I've been watching Ezio while he and Joel and Tommy and Maria and a bunch of other people are working on it, right? And uh. Desmond told me, there's a difference between when Ezio's working and when he's playing, and when he's working you gotta have boundaries, and treat him accordingly, because training and signal and what. Dogs are smart, man, they learn, and they will learn bad habits too, if you teach them. So you gotta be careful with your signals. And I did bad.

I didn't even think. I was doing the usual thing with Ezio, having him play tricks, stay, sit, sneak, low, fetch, and rewarding him accordingly – best dog, seriously, Ezio is the smartest pupper ever. But then some guys from the classes came along, Dina and Kat and Jessie and, uh…

I mean, I figured it was fine if they petted Ezio and gave him treats, right? Ezio's a good dog, he deserves all the pets. But he was working, and, uh. Mixed signals.

I don't think it was that bad, Desmond wasn't mad but he was like… I dunno. It was weird. For a bit I was actually worried I lost my Ezio-walking privileges.

I'm going to be careful in future. I cannot lose Ezio-walking privileges, they're the only thing keeping me sane, being a participant of the Joel-and-Desmond show.


 

Pickling day with Joel. Fun. I mean that both honestly and sarcastically – I hate pickling, I hate vinegar, just. Ugh. But spending time with Joel isn't so bad. We talked about pre-outbreak time, what he used to do, how things were. He even talked a bit about Sarah. He's mellowed out a bit, I guess. It was… nice. Just nice.

Wonder if Desmond knows Joel used to be married.


 

Another satellite window time – I think there's been some back and forth with radios too, sending coded messages and whatnot. Shaun and Rebecca are coming here! Along with a medical person who's spent the last twenty years teaching herself to be a specialist in mycology. She was the one who did the infection trial on Desmond. They're coming here – they're gonna set up a lab here.

I dunno if this is awesome or terrifying. Little bit of both.

There's one good thing that's coming from this – apparently, they're bringing us more dogs! More dogs, more good. It will take them weeks to get here, sure. But. Dogs! Dogs for spore sniffer training!

I wonder if I could get a spore sniffer dog to train…


 

Oh man, oh man.

So, hunting again, right, me and Joel and Desmond and no Ezio because, ugh, mixed hunting signals, but whatever, right? Except, no, it's not whatever, because since there was no Ezio we had no warning and we almost ran into a horde. Or it ran into us. Whatever! There were a whole bunch of them anyway, and with no Ezio there, we had no warning. And damn, it was … so close, dude.

But that's not the big thing – the big thing is that Desmond can do things. Climb like mad. He says it's parkour, which I… think I might've heard of in Boston, can't remember. It was crazy – he just went straight up a wall and then jumped from one rooftop to another like it was nothing and then ran off, just to distract the horde from our location. I swear, Joel almost shat his pants, when we heard Desmond start shouting. It was kinda awesome, in a scary way.

Desmond is so totally going to teach me how to do that.

And also maybe how to fight with a sword, because dang, that thing, so handy.


 

Joel vetoed the sword fighting (for now, old man, this isn't over yet) but parkour training is a go! Hell yeah!


 

Working at the stables today. Shimmer's coming along so well – Greg says she's showing real promise, has a good head and isn't easily spooked, that she's going to be a good patrol horse. Dina was working with Japan while I was working Shimmer, getting her used to a halter. Dina's aiming to join the patrols too, once she's old enough, pretty much the same as me. Wonder if we'll end up doing any patrols together.


 

Joel and Desmond are getting drunk and maudlin on the back porch talking about their kids and, I'm…

I can't remember what Mom looked like anymore. I think she had hair the same colour as mine, maybe a bit redder, but… but I don't have any photos. I dunno why that's – I mean, I didn't really even know her, I was really little when she died, I don't… remember that much about her. But I knew what she looked like. I remember knowing that. Wish I had a photo of her. Guess it doesn't really, matter but –

Aw man. I think Desmond's making Joel all soft, he actually, like... Aww. Old fogey. You're alright. You do alright.

No, I'm not crying, you're crying.

Love you too, you crazy old man. Even if you're only saying it because you're drunk.


 

Desmond and Joel are taking me out on spore sniffing patrol! We're starting to get the winter hordes now, apparently – the infected up north are wandering back southwards, before things start getting really cold and there needs to be more sweeps and, yeah. Patrol! Doggy patrol! Best patrol. Desmond's going to be showing me how to handle a dog during proper sweep and it's going to be awesome.

… can I take this as confirmation that I will be getting my own dog?

I think I can! I will! YES!


 

Ezio is the best goddamn dog on the planet, holy shit. Such a good boy. I am so getting me a dog like him. Oh man. All the treats, all of them. Ten infected, man. Best boy.


 

Parkour lessons started lame, but man, they pick up fast. Desmond, I dunno man, sometimes you come across so chill and then suddenly we're trying to run up a wall. It's a wall, man. How do you even do that? Do you know gravity? Do you even know Newton's first law of motion, man?

I need to start doing pushups or pull-ups or something, jeesh.


 

Joel and Desmond are kinda cute in a terrifying way. Guess I see why all the old ladies are all besotted with following their little soap opera. Still hope to god I will never be like them. Honestly, it seems either very stressful or really stressful.

Also, how hilarious is this? Next time anyone asks me how they met (which no one ever will because everyone already knows, but, you know). If any one ever asks me how Desmond and Joel met, I'm gonna tell them: "Well, Desmond stole Joel's brother's horse, and Joel broke into his hotel room drunk. It was love at first fight!" because I swear to god, it might've been. They're nauseatingly in love.

… haha, Desmond was out securing the perimeter and I asked Joel if he would ever marry the guy and damn, the reaction.


 

I miss Boston sometimes. It's weird – I dunno if ever really liked the place. It was sorta all I've ever known, before Joel snuck me out of there anyway, and I know as places go while it's not the worst, it's definitely not the best either, but… yeah.

I woke up this morning, and I think I dreamed of Boston, because I woke up thinking I'd just heard the bell ringing and that I was gonna be late for drills – I was half outta bed, looking for my clothes, when I remembered, oh, I'm not in Boston anymore, and I don't have military drills anymore. And I felt… let down, a little?

That was the before time. Before… before everything. When Riley was alive, and I wasn't bit, and didn't know Joel and the Fireflies were still blowing up checkpoints and, I dunno. It wasn't a better time, I know that, it was just different, but… I guess it was simpler, back then. I knew what I was back then. Didn't know if I was happy with it, or if I'd stick with it or run away like Riley did, but… it was simpler.

I guess I miss things being simple. Things like water guns and getting horse riding lessons from Wilson and…

Jackson's a better place. I know that. It's so much better.

But sometimes…


 

Joel acts like he hates Ezio sometimes but then you come home and he's snoring on the couch with Ezio lying all over him and boy, I think he's one of those dads guys.

I mean.

It's cute, is all.


 

Parkour milestone number one according to great Mentor Desmond Miles is apparently climbing the local church. Which is. Okay. Right. Okey-dokey man. Jesus. Literally.

Man, the view was something else, up there.

He got a bit weird about it, like… I dunno, not exactly sad, but something. Nostalgic maybe. We talked a bit while up there, he told me that he'd named Ezio after his ancestor and then sort of… stopped talking. I dunno. It was weird, and kinda glum. Think there's a lot of things Desmond knows he wants to talk about but can't because of all the spy business. I asked him about Joel instead and I think that made him feel a bit better. Talking shit about Joel always does. Desmond's kinda mushy sometimes.

I think I managed to convince him to get flowers for Joel, just for shits and giggles. Sorry Joel. I'm not really sorry.


 

Desmond says that it shouldn't be long now, until they get here – the people from the Brotherhood. It kinda – stunned me. A bit. It should be okay, Joel and Desmond both told me, they expected nothing for me, just to perform some tests, safe, careful tests, but like…

It's not real sometimes. Doesn't feel real. That the Fireflies wanted to take out my brain. And okay, maybe that wasn't the point, they wanted the growth around my brain, but… like… what? How do you even. What are you supposed to think about that?

I know the doctor from the Brotherhood isn't going to do that. The most she wants is a tissue sample and probably a brain scan and then it will probably be weeks and months before they figure out anything. This thing, it's going to take months just to, to… to confirm, probably. My strain and Elijah's, they're probably different, too, and that's gotta be figured out too and, and…

And it will probably, likely, be years before anything comes out of it. And until then, we gotta be careful. Secretive. No one can know. Which I get. But.

I thought I knew what I felt about all of this, you know. The whole mutant strain thing, me being hope of mankind, or whatever. I thought I had it figured out. But now it's coming and I don't know shit, and sure, I don't have to know shit, they got doctors for that, but…

It's just a really really weird feeling. Like I'm only half-person here, and half this thing. This thing in my head. And the thing in my head is almost the most important part of me – the parasite that makes me immune. I know that's not right, but still…

I think I get it now. Sort of. From an outside perspective, kinda. Maybe. I get why Joel did what he did and what that actually… means. For me. For him to do that means I'm not a thing for him, right? I'm not just the cure. That's why he did it. Because… yeah.


 

Desmond and Joel both fell asleep at the movies tonight. I think the whole damn theatre cooed at them. Poor tired old dads.


 

Shaun and Rebecca and the doctor lady, Chewy – or, Chiu? Kinda missed it. Anyway, they're here, they have dogs, Shaun's giving Desmond hell and Rebecca brought a whole bunch of equipment and stuff. I think that more than anything calmed Joel down too, seeing that. They're going to start working out a lab for them tomorrow and then I'm going to be working with them and you know what?

I think it's going to be alright.