Disclaimer: I don't own Assassin's Creed, though I wish I had been on the team that had created it. It's just too good!
And so I welcome you to "Slipping," my first AC story.
No one ever looked up.
It was decidedly bad for their health. You would think, with the rumor of the angels of death, dressed in white with a red sash, flitting about on the rooftops and through the crowds, people would look up more often so they'd know to scream before they died.
Altaїr/Desmond gave a mental shrug. It made his/their job easier, if nothing else.
He/they crouched on a corner of a two story home, eagle-like gaze scanning the crowd for his/their target.
There. Muscles tensed, vision narrowed into a single, tight beam, and in-between one breath and the next he/they leapt. Arms spread and legs tucked he/they dove, like the bird-of-prey he/they so admired coming in for its kill…
He awoke and nearly flew out of the bed, muscles still coiled tight and waiting for the kill, the target limp on the ground and dead, a pool of blood staining the ground. Altaїr snarled and whirled around, looking for where his target had disappeared to.
Wait. He wasn't Altaїr. He—no, I am Desmond. He shook his head to wipe the last cobwebs of that memory from his mind and winced when it discovered that hadn't been the best idea. Sharp needles of pain lanced into him right between his eyes and he shut them in an attempt to lessen the pain. Splashing water onto his face from the sink only helped a little but it forced the dream back into his subconscious.
He did nothing but breathe for a few moments, eyes closed, letting the world fall away. Didn't think about how at night he could hear Altaїr's few snide comments on how his day went or Ezio's flirty quips towards Lucy or Rebecca. He blocked out the waterfall of whispers that was slowly coming to the forefront of his mind, threatening to drown out all other thought. Turned away from the flashing and half-shadowed faces, appearing and vanishing too quickly to memorize but evident long enough to make him look twice if it appeared in a crowd. Do I know you? Of course I do, I am you.
He looked up, nearly exhausted simply from being in his own mind. Who knew it was so much work just to be yourself? The mirror didn't show his own reflection but another's, tawny eyes shining out of a slightly different face but then he blinked and he was himself again, brown eyes wide.
I am Desmond Miles, but I am also Altaїr ibn La-Ahad and Ezio Auditore da Firenze and so many others I just can't see them yet…
Harrowing towers of glass and steel rose to scrape the heavens, lights that shone brightly enough they hid the stars from view, roaring monstrosities of metal that outstripped even the fastest horse running on dull grey streets, gigantic steel birds flying in the sky…Ezio stood breathless as he stood at the edge of what had to be another world. It could never be his…this place was cold, impersonal, not the warm, comforting buildings of Firenze, or the beautiful architecture of Roma with the Vatican in the distance.
He heard quiet mutterings behind him and he turned, saw a blonde woman and a man who looked a little too much like him for comfort.
"Lucy, I'm fine. Just a little tired." The man gave her a placating grin. "Running around the rooftops of Italy isn't the most relaxing thing, even if it's all in my head."
The woman—Lucy—gave the man a worried, resigned look. "All right. But please, tell me if it gets any worse. We're nearly done, so we can space things out a little bit more if we need to. I don't want you…" She trailed off.
The man placed a hand on Lucy's shoulder. "I'll be all right."
She nodded. "Goodnight, Desmond."
"'Night, Lucy." The blonde walked off, but Ezio barely noticed, his attention narrowed in on this 'Desmond.' It couldn't be a coincidence, could it?
Desmond lingered in the room, tense, sensing something. He swept his gaze around the room before locking onto the spot Ezio stood. He stared for a moment, the tension palpable in the room before shrugging it off and shaking his head. "Bleedin' effect's strong if I'm seein' Ezio…" He sighed and slumped off, weariness weighing down his shoulders.
Ezio watched him go; more than a little lost, and left with more questions than answers. He felt a hand on his shoulder and the world spun.
When he finally blinked his world clear again, he was slumped at his desk with the Apple in his hand and Mario standing next to him.
"You shouldn't spend too much time with it, nipote. It is dangerous."
Ezio nodded and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. "I know. I will lock it away soon enough."
"Good." Mario gave him one last serious look before leaving.
Ezio sighed and locked the Apple back into its box, turning over what he had seen. What had that been? What was the Apple telling him? So many questions…
He rubbed at his face and left his questions with the Apple. He had no answers for them, and no way to find out. But, at least, he had a theory as to who 'Desmond' was.
Now, to explain just how my brain was working when I wrote this.
The first chunk was completely inspired from a bunch of the "Bleeding Effect=Insanity" fics I've read. All of them are in my favorites list. Credit goes to you lovely authors who are so much better than I am. The idea of Disassociative Identity Disorder (which is what Desmond is beginning to suffer) is fun to play with. It can manifest in so many different ways, and is very, very hard to diagnose properly. The human mind is something that man will never be truly able to map, only get a general idea of. Which gives us authors oh so much room to play with.
Desmond is very much slipping from his personality into the fragmented personalities that are his ancestors. If he continues to use the Animus, there could very likely be a catastrophic collapse of his personality.
Now, the second chunk. I had wanted to do something similar to Ezio that I had with Desmond, but it just didn't fit. But Ezio has had contact with the Apple, more than Desmond. So I used that as my handy-dandy plot device. This is the other way to view "slipping." My Wild Mass Guess about the very end of Brotherhood and as to what Juno said about "Awaken the sixth". Minerva's message to Desmond through Ezio had been pre-recorded. That means that somehow, Minerva knew that Desmond would be seeing things through Ezio's eyes via the Animus. Thousands of years beforehand! It makes me think that these...Others/Precursors could somehow see into time. How, I don't know. That's for AC: Revelations to reveal.
Now, as to how this applies to the fic. I was just thinking that the Apple was attempting to answer Ezio's question: "Who is Desmond?" And it did it in the coolest way possible. How exactly, is for you to figure out.
I hope you enjoyed, if not the fic, then at least my Wild Mass Guess.
Read, review, multiply by 42?