A/N: I wanted to work on a first meeting scenario and Shay wouldn’t get out of my head so this happened.
You’d waited patiently, the ever present drone of footsteps outside your shop fading into one another. Each second ticked by like the next, a small sense of anticipation growing with every moment passing you by. The ever formal Haytham Kenway was sure to be there precisely when he said, as was the way for him. So imagine your surprise when it’d been an hour, at the very least, past the time he’d planned. Another sigh left your parted lips, your fingers tapping in time with the patter of feet nearby.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
The oblivious walked by, not pausing to give your shop a second look. The less oblivious, however, made note to avoid it. Or possibly make way to it, depending entirely upon the day. You were a force to be reckoned with, one who had enough respect to be untouchable to Assassin and Templar alike. Only their higher recruits even knew you existed, and to them, you were off limits. You may help both the Assassins and the Templars, but you’d never betray either. You were an associate, of sorts. You had no opinion on either group, only looking to do what would benefit the people most in that moment. As traitorous as that may sound, it wasn’t.
You didn’t give secrets to either side. In fact, you avoided the conflicts between them altogether. They were only to come to you if they needed help on particular tasks, especially the ones that include unique opportunities. You were an inventor, a warrior, a thief, whatever you needed to be for that day, really. And because of your versatility and desire to aid mankind, you were greatly sought out by the Assassins and the Templars.
Haytham had come to you a week from the day. He’d explained how he needed your help for a heist. A ship had arrived in port yesterday and had a valuable, something belonging to his father. He wished to retrieve it discreetly, which was why he’d come to you. He explained how he’d be sending “one of the Order’s finest” with you to get it back. You weren’t much for working with other people, but Haytham seemed confident enough, so you’d agreed.
Worsened thoughts began to dig at your mind, all sorts of horrendous scenarios accompanying the question of why Haytham was late. Could he be in trouble? Injured? Dead? You didn’t know. You certainly hoped he wasn’t dead. At the very least, he could be considered an acquaintance. He’d spent many hours speaking to you, getting to understand your ideas, and, quite begrudgingly, accepting them.
In all the time you’d known him, he’d never been late or early, only arriving precisely when he means to. So what was taking him? Your question was answered as he walked in faster than usual, hat askew and cheeks red. His chest was bobbing rapidly as he caught his breath, a slightly younger man behind him. He didn’t look to be much better off, loose wisps of his dark hair flying in all directions and an open mouth dragging in breaths.
“You’re late.” You drawled, crossing your arms across your chest like a disapproving mother.
“For which I apologize.” Haytham straightened his back, fixing his hat in the process. “It seems we ran into a bit of an… inconvenience.” Assassins, you realized.
“I don’t want to hear about it.” You bit out, giving him your best glare. He nodded once respectfully, moving himself out of the way to introduce the other man.
“This is Shay Cormac.” He said, lifting a hand to motion between both you and Shay.
You bowed your head, inspecting the man from beneath your lashes. He was well cut, an obvious sign to his occupation. There was a scar tracing down the right side of his face, one that did absolutely nothing to take from the man’s natural beauty. He had brown, shining eyes and the smallest of smiles on his lips, completing the picture of a gentle, kind-hearted man. Only, the muscles taut beneath his many layers of clothing and the sharp edges of his jaw gave way to the silent killer lying just beneath the surface.
“(Y/N),” you introduced yourself, offering nothing more. “And I assume he’s the one you were talking about?”
Your question was aimed for Haytham, despite your eyes still on Shay. You made sure to level him with a hard stare, assessing every minute detail of who he was. It was obvious now, in the way he held himself, that he was not, in fact, a Templar. Or, at least, he wasn’t trained to be one.
“He is.” Haytham nodded, your eyes sparing him a fraction of a glance as he clasped his hands together.
Despite the amount of time you’d spent around him, you still didn’t trust him as far as you could throw him. You didn’t trust anyone.
“You didn’t say he was an Assassin.” You said flippantly, leaning back against your counter. The action was more of a precautionary method, just in case they decided that you needed to be eliminated.
“I’m not.” Shay stated. “At least not anymore.” His head moved down the slightest bit, a ghost of a memory playing in his mind’s eye. A tragedy, then. Something that had to have happened more or less recently. The pain was still very fresh in his heart.
“Yes, well, doesn’t matter.” You shrugged, pushing yourself off the counter. Your steps were purposely slow as you stalked toward the two men at the entrance of your shop, your feet moving gracefully along the floor like a cat hunting prey.
“I’ve got things to do, so I’d really prefer it if we’d just get on with it.” You muttered, stopping directly in front of Shay. His eyes were on you, a nod causing them to look at you beneath full lashes.
“Of course, lass.” He agreed, flicking his gaze to Haytham. The other man just sighed, offering a half-smile as he walked towards the exit.
“Shay has the information you’ll need. I expect I’ll be seeing you within the next few days.”
And without further ado, the man left, the air of confidence and formality following him out the door. As soon as he’d gotten out of your vision, you released a large breath, your shoulders slouching ever slightly.
“I’ve no idea how you deal with that man all the time. Honestly, it’s got to be exhausting.”
A deep, low chuckle sounded from within Shay’s chest, the sound silky smooth to your ears. Yes, you’d definitely have to get him to laugh more often.
“Aye, he can be a bit intimidating.” Shay conceded, smiling widely to you. You couldn’t help but notice the way it brightened his expression entirely, the look taking years of bundled stress off his shoulders.
“So, where to, captain?” You teased, giving a mock salute as you winked up at him. The wide smile faded into something smaller, his hands reaching under the lapel of his coat. After a moment of grabbing around, he pulled out a small, rolled up paper, presenting it to you with a grin.
“The New York Harbor.” He replied, giving you the scroll.
It was rough to the touch, smelling a bit musty from the years of disuse. You rolled it out, eying the messy handwriting scrawled around the paper. It was outdated, if the obvious signs of age on the parchment were to be trusted.
“A pendant?” You questioned, eying the paper in your hands curiously. Haytham wasn’t a particularly sentimental man, so what could he possibly need a pendant for?
“Your guess is as good as mine, lass.” Shay commented, obviously as uncomfortable with not knowing as you were.
“I’m surprised,” you added, handing the scroll back to him. “He said you were the Order’s finest, yet you still don’t know what we’re after.”
“Haytham can be a bit tight-lipped if he so chooses.”
You breathed out a laugh. “Don’t have to tell me twice.”
“Why are you helping anyways?” Shay questioned, standing a little straighter under your observant gaze. Reading people came naturally to you, and Shay was no exception to this rule. He had his secrets, some that were too personal or messy for you to even want to delve into, but you could tell that he genuinely wanted to be a good person, even if he didn’t know what that entitled.
“I want to save the world, Shay.” You explained, holding the wooden door open for the Irishman. He followed you out into the crisp, midday air of autumn with a hint of interest in his dark eyes, his ears perked up intently.
“Even if the world doesn’t particularly want to be saved, it’s still our duty to protect others. I may not follow a Creed or be part of an Order, but that doesn’t mean that I still don’t try to help the world. Politics were never really my thing, and isn’t that all the Templars and Assassins are? Political parties wishing to decide what’s best for the people while the world is tearing itself apart from the inside.”
“You sound cynical.” Shay muttered, his fingers brushing against the back of your elbow to keep you within talking distance. A little jolt ran up your arm at the contact.
“Informed, actually.” You corrected with a smirk, breathing in the sweet smells of a city alive.
“We all want to save the world, Shay,” you stated with conviction, your tone both gentle and firm. “The only difference between you and I is that I don’t hide between a few fancy words and an emblem to do so.”
He swallowed your words for a moment; his deep, dark eyes not moving from the horizon. You could see emotion and reason play across his features like a bontiful tune on replay, his fingers tightening a fraction into the fabric of your coat.
“But then again,” you spoke, too unnerved by the soft patter of feet against gravel to allow the deafening silence in conversation to continue. “Perhaps I’m just a naive optimist. No matter how you choose to see it, we’ve a ship to catch.”
He nodded, though you still noticed distance in the shadowy depths of his orbs. What you said had seemed to resonate throughout his mind, infecting his thoughts like a nasty plague.
“I think you might be right, lass.” He finally speaks up, his lips curving in the softest of smiles. “About the saving the world bit.”
You nodded, returning his sweet-but-small smile. A good man, indeed. “And unfortunately I don’t know the secret to that.” You joked. “But I do know where to find Haytham’s pendant.”
“Good.” He breathed, catching your eyes once more. You were too enraptured by the depth of them to look away. He’d seen his fair share of horrors, maybe even caused a few of them, but he’d lived. They’d made him wiser, even. You couldn’t help but be a little too intrigued because of it. Maybe even a little fascinated.
Shay repeated his words in a lower tone, his eyes unmoving from yours. “Good.”
The funny thing about Dino freaking out about Candy Crush is that I’ve been stuck on the same stage as him for a month and ignored the game for just as long. Then I come back today, make three attempts and proceed to beat the level.