Sorry... please read the A/N at the end for my apology and what I'll do to make it up...
Please enjoy despite the spelling and grammar errors I am prone to.
Summary: Safety isn't found in sanity. Safety is having an ancient wisdom, a youthful energy, cold distrust, and a calm contemplative outlook in your head. The slips in tongue to ones lost to time? Those are natural when the mind is crowded. The unsheathing of his blade when startled? That is reflex. The entertainment knowing that no one suspects a thing? That is the safety of insanity.
Safety is in insanity.
He wanted to smile to himself as he walked back into his room. He was getting ever so good at hiding everything that the other's feared he was becoming. He could hide the skills that were layered into his muscle memory as if they were his own to begin with; he could hide the slips of Arabic and Italian with a smirk of –"Oh, don't you understand? I guess I'm just that good."- and no one would ever know, never did figure it out.
Though, at first it scared him. That flash of blue as memories that weren't his flooded the fore-front of his mind. There was once, about a week ago, where he fell into Arabic, then in quick succession to Italian before finally the liquor on his tongue flashed back to English. He had been mumbling to himself in his room- though the stone closet could hardly be called a room-and to him it sounded not like mumbling to himself, but instead like a conversation between three different people.
He had been terrified, immediately tears had gathered to his eyes as his hands fisted in his hair, he panicked, he, for a moment, felt like he was dying. There was a falling, drowning, burning sensation of death, three deaths all of a sudden pulling at his-their -memory. It overwhelmed him, threatened with black invading his vision to drag him into another coma. Then, with some saving grace, triplet warmth overwhelmed him, banished the darkness and promised protection from himself and from themselves.
They didn't want him to go mad any more than he wanted to go mad.
From there it was almost too easy to accept them. He accepted the ancient wisdom of the man from Masyaf, accepted the stiff knowledge and the regret that washed in his brain, reminding him to live by Altair's –not Desmond's for in his short life he had made few- mistakes, to learn from them and remember then. The cool cynicism brandished into Desmond's mind the creed which at one time the ancient mentor, Altair, himself had forgotten. Altair's ancient aura taught and educated Desmond about the beginning of the Brotherhood, of their creeds and their ironies. It taught and educated Desmond of his heritage and gave him that strength that the bleeding effect lacked with its cold injection.
He accepted the youthful outlook of an Italian's life; the wisdom gained by one who did not fight the destiny presented to him, but took from this youthful energy the remembrance of family and reasons to fight. He learnt of revenge and why it can be both a blessing and curse. The memories brandished into his bones and his muscles came from this man. Ezio gave Desmond the bodily remembrance, teaching him, and guiding him in movements and instincts. From this man, this memory came the understanding of his eagle sense that Altair had simply given him, and through the remembrance of a long-battled war Desmond learnt humility and that one day even he would have to go back to living for himself. Ezio reminded him of all that had been lost for this war- their - war. Still, Ezio reminded Desmond of a time before all the war and training and insanity. Of love, and of faith. Something the Animus could do well to learn, on cannot fight without reason and joy.
From the final man, one not necessarily an ancestor but certainly a predecessor, Desmond learnt of regret and duty. Clay explained to Desmond how tired he would inevitably become while he was following his duty. How tedious it was to be a subject number and not a name, but how little he truly regretted when he remembered he was able to save Desmond. Desmond learnt from Sixteen- Clay- that you cannot just vaguely accept these memories and these people, you needed to completely embrace them, make them you, make you them. These memories and people had to be you, see you, think you, and you had to do all the same for them. Desmond learnt acceptance, and insanity. He still felt the uncontrolled twinges, the stuttered, electronic speech, and the visions of war and of wounds that had tipped Clay over the edge during his time of physical life. Desmond saw a thousand deaths from Clay alone, but Desmond made them his. Desmond learnt more from Clay about the poison of the Animus that his own experiences could ever show him. He also learnt that none could be truly trusted bar himself- bar them.
"Desmond, what are you doing you bloody fool. Get back to work." The accented voice appeared suddenly behind him in a harsh flash. The rush filled his veins as the three- and himself- acted in unison to protect themselves and their bond. They would not be separated. They would not be torn apart now! They couldn't be. Never!
The man with black hair and a scarred face whirled around, his hand activating the leather and metal gauntlet that was a second skin. The silent 'SHHHHH' of the blade rumbled through his arm and his eyes glowing the most unbelievable shade of gold- Altair's cold solidity, Ezio's energetic molten glare, and Clay's steely distrust- as they watched the Brit freeze and realise his mistake.
He often forgot that Desmond was fighting his demons.
"Are you stupid, novice? You would do well not to sneak up on us again." The timbre was deep and cold, the tone bright with danger laced within, and the inflection was distrustful and young. There were four voices speaking through Desmond, there was an ancient Arabic, a wise Italian and two separate English personas. So mixed and scrambled were the four voices that Shaun only knew the meaning of the jumbled language from the glint of the blade and the air of malice that told him, if he were ever to be faced with this again he would not be around to see it a third time.
"Alright Desmond, I can see you're busy." Shaun took the persona of a cornered animal and backed out slowly. Praying not to be attacked.
As he exited and Desmond stood erect from his crouched attack position, Shaun would swear with his entire soul that he saw the newest assassin surrounded by three others, all glaring at Shaun with malice and some kind of dangerous satisfaction. All three familiar faces with a hand rested on Desmond; protective, comforting, loving almost.
Of course, Shaun did well never to mention the encounter to anyone. Knowing- hoping- he had simply interpreted the confrontation wrong. Hoping Desmond was okay. Convincing himself that Desmond was stronger than all the other experiments that had fallen into the grasp of the bleeding effect, and had succumb to the torrent of thousands of years of memories and experiences.
Shaun was not about to watch the man- his friend- become a mass of skin and bone chained in a room where his insanity could run free and destroy him from the inside out.
Of course he was right to an extent, Desmond was stronger. Not only was he a mix of those-who-came-before and human blood, but he accepted them as a part of himself. The others –not including sixteen- had tried to fight the mass of information, knowledge and trust. No one- not any memory or figure- wanted their host, their 'children' to go insane. They were there to teach and protect. But only Desmond ever understood that. He was the only one to accept, learn, and love them the way they had intended. He was the only one who was still 'sane' after the bleeding effect took hold and the memories- physical and psychological- flooded and filled him.
It scared him at first, all this insanity, these voices, these skills. But it was so entertaining at the same time to know that no one had figured it out. He chuckled to himself often when he remembered the scowls from Shaun when he fell into old Arabic- something Shaun didn't know. He outright bellowed when he outmaneuvered his father during their training. He didn't even regret killing Lucy in the end, because Clay had taught him of her hindrance to them and their goal, Ezio had taught him of betrayal, and Altair had taught him that 'Nothing is True and Everything is Permitted'. And he was brutally terrifyingly-entertained when he forgot how to work the machines that Rebecca tried to get him to use and she yelled at him for messing around, totally unaware that he had forgotten how to work the microwave.
Though, he loved it all. He was protected, perfect, united by these minds, these memories. They were his, he was theirs, they were shared and they were woven. He would not reveal himself, not now. Not since he learnt that they were all his. Why would he give them up? To be 'sane'? Who said that being sane was safe, that it was what he wanted?
He wanted the voices, the memories, the experiences and the presences. He wanted to know the pain of loss, of death and of success, if only to remember that he was not alone, that he was alive and that he- they- had once failed.
Of course, it had taken him time to get used to them there, in his head, watching and guiding him even now. He was happy. For once in his life he felt, whole. Though there was an echo of something missing. He had figured it was because he still hadn't solved the riddle that those-who-came-before had left them, though he wasn't entirely sure that as the reason. He hadn't expected the hole to begin filling during his next endeavour in the Animus when a new, young, innocent mind entered theirs.
Connor would be the final instalment in his vast, muddled insanity. He would teach Desmond about family, faith, and the complex freedom that he had lived, he had lost, and that he had tried to recapture. Connor would adjust quickly to the feeling of many intruding on his thoughts and would take in their knowledge and protection- again showing Desmond that acceptance was the way forward. From this young, vindictive youth Desmond would learn of loyalty and of a story of blood-connection that meant so little and so much, he would learn of kindness and strength and of weakness and struggle. Desmond would learn from Connor what it really meant to fight for what you believe in.
Of course, he kept it all hidden. The slips into Arabic and Italian and later into a strange language and old English would be met with strangely annoyed looks when Clay's smirk would lift his lips into a wolf-like snicker. His skills and that instinctive flash when he was snuck up on or was training would be met with pride in his father and Altair's cool- somewhat arrogant- gaze. The strange mannerisms and contemplative moments of pause would be met with confusion brushed off when Ezio's laid back manner and walk strutted across the room. His quiet contemplation and respect of everything around him wouldn't even be questioned- 'he's been through a lot', 'I'm sure he's just found a way to cope'- as Connor gave him a broader view of the world.
All in all Desmond would never be questioned for how he acted, how he coped with the ghosts that no one around he would even begin to imagine he was living with. He was Desmond Miles; he was perfectly sane, coping admirably with the bleeding effect.
Of course he wasn't sane though; there was no safety in sanity. He was only ever safe with them in his mind. He was only right when they were all there, watching, guiding, laughing, crying, screaming, experiencing everything with him. If one day that is threatened by people realising that he isn't all there; that sometimes those slips aren't him speaking but are the voices of his two ancient ancestors aggravated by someone's behaviour- or lack thereof- against their host and child; if someone realises that his wolfen smirks aren't just familiar, but are Clay's; and if they figure out that the quiet contemplation isn't coping but is the merging of his mind with the mind of one who has seen a simpler, yet more gruesome life than he, well, it wouldn't take much for four men - one man- trained to kill to escape from three novices -by any means- and find a life they are more comfortable with now would it.
I know this isn't what you expected, I'm so sorry. But this Hiatus was so I could rearrange my thoughts and get my stories straight. I am in a very crucial year in school this year and some of my stories are on hold... and some appear out of nowhere. I will try to get at least one chapter of KTTSTB and possibly ENOIS up before Christmas eve... I will upload three edited chapters of ENOIS at least... I'm so sorry... I really didn't expect this to happen...
Please enjoy. Merry Christmas –OR holidays if that suits you better- and Happy New Year if I don't see you before.
Love you all, thank you so much for your patience and support.