Selah awoke with a groan. Her body was sore and her mind a fog; and the brightness of the morning certainly didn’t help. The teenager was up for most of the night thanks to another nightmare. She spent this one alone, deciding not to seek Haytham’s comfort. She was re-annoyed with him after yesterday’s conversation, even though she was partly angry with herself for becoming so curious. It felt like they were back where they were, when they had just become tolerable with each other. Selah groaned again as she turned her head and opened her eyes. Only when she did, her gaze locked with hazel brown eyes.
Selah let out a shout of surprise, completely drowning out another yelp. She flew back on the bed, only to yell when suddenly the mattress disappeared. Selah crashed onto the ground, the bedclothes she had dragged along with her still tied around her body. She moaned in disorientation. She almost thought it was Haytham for absurd reason had come to her bed, but quickly remembered the man had stone eyes, not hazel. Confused, she looked back up at the bed.
She was greeted with a small head looking down at her. It was a young boy, probably only eleven years of age. He had short chocolate brown hair and his wide eyes were certainly hazel. The boy squeaked when Selah looked up, even flinching back behind the rim of bed. Just his eyes and top of his head remained, continuing to peer at her. Selah just blinked in confusion, trying to figure out where this boy had come from. Did Haytham really did have children she was not aware of?
Selah blinked again and tried to move to get up, only for the boy to give another squeak. In a blink of an eye, the rascal flew off her bed and out the door with a small slam. Now Selah was really confused.
What just happened?
Despite her odd wake-up call, Selah entered the dining room for breakfast fully-clothed, stifling a yawn. She immediately noticed Haytham wasn’t the only one in the room. He took his usual seat at the head of the table, but there another man next to him. Johnathan Pitcairn. And what was on the redcoat’s lap what caught Selah’s attention. It was the boy that snuck her into her room.
He sat on Pitcairn’s legs, snuggled into the man’s chest. He was making an obvious attempt to avoid eye contact with Selah by staring timidly at the floor. Even though the Assassin was able to make the similarities between the two guests. The same brown hair and gaze, both even having the same stern facial features. Oh, his son. Well that made certainly more sense.
The teenager settled by Haytham’s right, happy that her food was already waiting for her and wasn’t cold yet.
“Glad you could join us, Selah,” Haytham greeted.
Selah only grumbled as she was already took a bite of eggs.
“How’s the Kenway household suiting you?” Pitcairn asked in a friendly tone. At least he wasn’t an arse like most soldiers…
“Fair enough,” Selah said simply, keeping her voice level.
The soldier looked to his boss. “That true, Haytham?”
Selah ignored him while Haytham chuckled. “Rest assured, John. I would’ve told you if she was trouble.”
Templars… Even though the Assassin was grumbling again, she looked up when Pitcairn spoke up again.
“Oh, I like you to meet my son, Robert,” the redcoat introduced, grabbing his son and shifting him slightly. Robert only gave squeaks of protests and continued to look away. Pitcairn only chuckled and explained, “An intelligent lad, but I’m afraid he’s a timid fellow.”
Haytham was chuckling as well. “He’s grown, too. You’re a head taller than the last time I saw you, Robert.”
Robert’s cheeks reddened, but he finally spoke, even though it was shaky and low. “T-thank you kindly, sir.”
Haytham smiled while Selah rolled her eyes. If all they did was fuss over children then it’s no wonder why they kidnapped her. She should’ve stayed in her room. The girl went out of her way to avoid Haytham’s guests, however it was too late to escape Pitcairn. Besides, he tended to be more tolerable than his associates. Deciding that wasn’t really the case today, she was trying to come up with an excuse to leave when suddenly Haytham addressed her.
“By the way, Selah, I’ll be leaving today,” he informed. “Though I should return by sundown. Johnathan and I have business to attend to.”
Usually Selah the most would do was only shrug, but feeling Pitcairn’s curious gaze on her, she mumbled, “Yes, sir.” However the officer’s next words made her flinch.
“Speaking of which, do you mind if I leave Robert here? I’m afraid his mother has run out to Boston with our maid and I don’t want to leave him alone.”
“Not at all,” Haytham replied. “I was about to suggest that, in fact.” He glanced at Selah. “You don’t mind keeping an eye on him, do you, dear?”
Selah felt her cheeks flush with anger. Babysitting?! That’s what she had been degraded to—watching stranded children of fucking Templars?! Oh, they had to be doing this on purpose… It was hard to believe they would actually plan all this out, but nothing surprised the Assassin anymore.
Feeling the stares of the men boring into her and knowing making a scene would be useless, the teenager swallowed and said rigidly, “I wouldn’t mind at all.”
Pitcairn gave a nod of approval, but once he happened to look away, Selah gave Haytham a glare that spoke her true opinion. She swore the Grandmaster flinched.
When Haytham and Pitcairn finally left it was still all too soon. Selah had planned to find Ann to help her with Robert, but only to her dismay she discovered the maid had went into town to visit the market. Great. The one day she leaves. Haytham definitely did this on purpose…
But what the Templar wanted from her, the Assassin had no idea. The teenager was in fact notorious with children. Although she adored them and praised them from a distance, she had no idea how to deal with them personally. She herself was actually one of the younger apprentices of the Brotherhood—some of the recruits being full adults. Yes, the Brotherhood welcomed Assassins of all ages, but one still had to go through the same training as everyone else. From infants born to the Order to grown men recruited to the cause.
Selah had to remind herself that Robert was simply eleven, only a few years younger than her and was at a mature age. However how he stared up at her and never strayed two feet from her suggested he was more of a toddler. Selah sighed. She had enough trouble trying to entertain herself, never mind someone else. She was seriously tempted to tell him to find a book and leave him at that.
Instead the teenager found herself sitting on the couch of the living room, bored, with Robert sitting across from her. His gaze was cast downward and he swung his leg slowly. The Assassin was just thinking what to do when suddenly the young boy spoke up.
“S-so are you Master Kenway’s daughter?” he blurted.
Immediately Selah’s stomach churned. His daughter? Oh, God no… But telling herself that was logical guess for the boy, she kept her voice calm as she said simply, “No. I’m not related to him.”
Robert only blinked in surprise. “Then how did you come to his household?”
He had to ask that…
Selah had to swallow when she found controlling her voice harder. “He… took me in from my former home.”
“Where was that?”
Selah fought a sigh, knowing the only way to please him was to answer his question. But she knew couldn’t say simply she came from an Assassin village. If Ann didn’t even know Haytham’s position, then it was likely that Robert was ignorant as well. If he was, telling him that would probably give the wrong impression and scare him. And even if he did know, telling of her origins would probably make him more uncomfortable. If that was possible…
“I was raised in a village in the frontier,” she decided on. There, it was even the truth.
However to her disappointment, Robert’s eyes immediately shot up with awe. “Oh! You’re from the frontier! Did that mean you hunted in the wilds?”
Selah gave a small cringe. In fact she never desired anything to do with hunting. She had pushed past killing scores of men, but for some odd reason the killing of animals broke her heart. She remembered once she had followed along on a hunting expedition with a few other Assassins, only to be on the verge of sobbing when they shot a young deer in front of her. While James had took pity on her, the other Assassins laughed and teased her for her weakness.
“What did you do then?”
“I… was taught how to fight.”
The young boy’s eyes went even wider. “Fight? Fight who? Are you a soldier?”
“In some sense. But I can do a few more than most redcoats.”
Jeez this child’s curiosity never ended. She should’ve shut up him after the first two questions. It was too late now, though. And for some odd reason, thinking of her old home gave her a small sense of nostalgia and pride. She ignored the dull ache in her heart… Besides, this absurd conversation was killing some sort of time. Selah found herself considering Robert’s question until suddenly an idea came to her.
“Come. I’ll show you.”
She got up from the couch and exited the room, Robert obediently on her heels. She led them to the kitchen, not hesitating to enter. Since Haytham was gone, thankfully the chefs weren’t here, leaving the kitchen cold and empty. Selah didn’t care as she crossed the room, ignoring Robert’s small gasps and amazed gaze as she picked up several kitchen knives from the counter without hesitation. With another order, she led him outside in the backyard.
Thankfully Haytham’s home was on the outskirts of New York, having the edges of the wilderness near his house instead of the crammed buildings of the city. Selah very quickly found a good-sized tree only a matter of yards from the back door, just as quickly finding a spot a distance from it. She ordered Robert to stand beside her and stay.
The Assassin then balanced one of the knives in her hand, raising it by her ear. Already her instincts were kicking in from hours of training. The girl locked onto her target with her gaze alone and slightly swung her arm. Selah then rapidly extended her arm in a blink of an eye, releasing the knife at the final moment. Almost immediately there was a satisfying thunk as the blade impeded in the center of the trunk with frightening precision. Selah couldn’t help but grin in accomplishment as Robert gasped.
Selah smirked again and couldn’t stop herself from continuing. She tossed a few more knives, this time using less formal forms. She even tossed one by holding it by its blade before tossing it, only for it to still impede itself into the bark. Although it was nothing impressive to another fighter, Robert watched with utmost amazement.
“Oh! Can I try?” he practically cheered.
Selah actually thought of giving in to his request, even twitching her arm to hand him one. After all, she had started her training when she was younger than him, even practicing swordplay since she was eight. Hell, the first time she time held a knife was when she was six. But the Assassin quickly stopped herself, not being that ignorant. He was another’s child, meaning she had no authority to be making decisions for him. More importantly, he obviously had no experience with weapons or fighting. It would be unwise to hand him one and expect him to know what he was doing. So to spare herself a headache, Selah made the decision based on his lack of experience than his age.
“No, sorry,” she apologized.
Selah felt a pang in her heart when Robert’s face fell in disappointment. She opened her mouth to explain.
Selah jumped at the harsh yell, snapping her head towards the back door. She was greeted by Ann, but maid looked nothing like her usual self. Her face was beat-red and her eyebrows were furrowed over her narrowed eyes. Her thin-pressed lips were tugged downward in a disapproving frown. Selah’s stomach fell when she realized the usual sweet-hearted servant was furious. Selah had never even seen her upset, never mind imagining she could be this angry.
But the teenager was quickly realizing how bad this must have looked. Several knives stolen from the kitchen counter impeded into the bark of a tree. A few more clutched in Selah’s hand. And another held out to a young Robert, who just happened to have a hand raised as if to grab it. Soon all of organs in Selah’s body joined her stomach, along with any color in her face. And how Ann’s wild glare was pointed at her just showed how much she was proven correct.
Finally panic set in. The teenager spun around, sputtering for words. “I-it-it’s not what you think!”
“I will not hear it!” Ann yelled. “Back inside! Now!”
Selah tried to gulp but couldn’t as she stiffly crossed the yard. Her insides felt like jelly. Robert’s deafening silence suggested he wasn’t very dissimilar.
It only added to Selah’s misery when Haytham and Pitcairn returned later that evening, true to their word. Immediately Pitcairn scooped up his child with a greeting while Haytham went to remove his coat and hat. However Ann was waiting in the foyer, hands crossed in front of her and eyes still stone-like in annoyance.
“Master Kenway,” she called.
Haytham looked up.
“May I speak to you in private for a moment?”
Selah flew up the stairs.