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The double edged sword

Chapter Text

When Desmond had first found himself in Altair's time he had been shocked. He was sure touching the eye had killed him, yet he felt fine as long as one discounted the blackened skin of his right arm.

The charred flesh looked surprisingly normal, however the joints of the fingers, wrist, and elbow were always stiff and required constant attention. Otherwise the pain of even the smallest movements was near unbearable, it felt as if the bones were grinding against each other and left him forcing back choking gasps and tears of agony.

He found that after longer periods of inactivity he had to carefully massage the arm, making sure to work oil into his joints like one would leather to ease the pain of movement as much as possible.

The muscles were also prone to cramping, and the skin dried easily and was thinner, more prone to being rubbed raw or cut, and slower to heal. The blackened skin was also far more sensitive, once when he tripped into a wash tub the shock of the chilled well water to the, at the time, unprotected limb had him biting back a scream. He might as well have stuck his arm in nitroglycerin the way it lit up in agonized pain.

Desmond tried to keep it wrapped in thick bandages at all times but even that left the arm feeling raw and chafed.

That was not the only thing. Not only did he still suffer the bleeding effect, but now he also suffered from constant and crippling night terrors. He could barely sleep at night, when he did it was always light and restless, leaving him constantly exhausted as his body was unable to properly recover from the previous days various strains and activities.

This left him stressed and exhausted, and therefore more easily prone to the bleeding, which left him shaken and anxious and more prone to night terrors. Like a twisted sort of cycle of pain and constant fear.

Then there were the migraines.

They exploded in his head randomly and without warning. It had already resulted in a slew of missteps and accidents. Weather almost falling off a roof, faltering in training, or simply dropping something he had been tasked to carry.

Each migraine he had forced his eagle vision to activate, it was the only time nowadays he could activate it. Obviously the Eye had effected his second sight in some way as it now felt far more powerful. He now saw thousand of threads connecting everything, all of them thin as spider-silk and the faintest of glowing gold.

When he comes in contact with one when his second sight was active his mind was flooded with images and information that split his head open and raved his already damaged mind.

This, surprise surprise, resulted in more and far stronger bleeding effects and you got right back into that fucked up cause and effect routine.

All of that however Desmond could put up with. Really he could. He was fine with it. He was ok. Really he was, he was used to being kicked while he was down, to being left Hurt and broken and used. He was fine.

But then there were his ancestors. Altair and Ezio both. Yeah, you heard right, Ezio was somehow in masyaf in Altair's time. It apparently had something to do with the Apple. Not that that was very surprising the second you factored in the pieces of eden.

To his initial surprise when he first met them, the Italian and the arabic men got along famously. As in they were both fucking.

The two had apparently become lovers shortly after Ezio arrived in this time. They started out rivals, Altair thought Ezio a showy peacock of a novice far to full of himself, while Ezio thought Altair stuffy and domineering and a bit of a control freak, but in their search for a way to return Ezio to his time they apparently got over their rivalry. Learned to respect each other, and it grew from there.

Desmond was kind of curious over what happened to Maria. He wouldn't dare ask of course.

They still but heads, but it is not as competitive as before. More like playful spats between lovers. Desmond was happy for them, he really was.

Desmond admired both his ancestors. A lot. After seeing what they had been through, experiencing all they had fought for and suffered, how could he not? He respected them greatly, looked up to them, Maybe even found them somewhat attractive. And wasn't that one fucked up can of worms? Which made it all the more painful that the both of them hated his guts. Not that he could blame them. They were right to be distrustful.

Desmond was an awful assassin. Altair was right when he called him such. Sure Desmond hated the constant nitpicking from the eldest of his ancestors, but that was mainly because Desmond was well aware he was a disgrace to everything the brotherhood stood for.

He knew he was not fast enough, not smart enough, not quick, or nimble, or skilled enough; and he knew he never would be. He didn't need Altair constantly reminding him of it. Desmond reminded himself often enough, when he sat curled in on himself, cold and alone in the tiny room he had been provided, soaked in sweat from his latest nightmare. A room he knew he did not deserve, for all its cramped confines and constant drafts.

Nor did he need Ezio's constant blatant distrust. Over the fact he betrayed the brotherhood in running away. In the fact he was so weak as to instantly bend to the Templars whims. In that he had allowed himself to be used as a way to compromise both the Italians and Arabian's secrets. That he had aided in undoing all their hard work in hiding away the pieces they had gotten their hands on.

Desmond knew he was untrustworthy, knew that he was weak willed, a sniveling coward. He knew that he did not deserve the leniency and mercy showed to him. He knew that both his ancestors resented him for displaying all their lives on full view to their enemies. Their pain, their fears, their weakest moments.

Desmond didn't blame them. He hated himself for it to. Desmond knew he was little better than the Templars they fought. That the only reason he was alive was because of his ability to draw out maps showing locations of temple's. His ability to almost speak to theme if the pieces were willing. Something else the eye had done to him no doubt. Because he somehow always knew exactly what a piece of Eden was capable of, what it's intended purpose was. How to use it to its fullest extent.

Desmond knew he was a failure in every definition of the word however. No matter what freakish abilities the eye had forced into him. He had been told as such by everybody since before he could remember. By everyone on the farm as a child, his father and instructors, fellow novices, and even assassins on break between missions.

By the people he on the streets as he begged for money after he first ran from the farm at sixteen. By the people he was forced to sell himself just to survive until he met an old war vet in a ratty bar who took pity on the broken looking nineteen year old.

The old man had taught him how to run a bar, had helped him get on his feet and earn his mixology degree to be a bartender. Desmond knew that he was a burden however, knew it was only misplaced pity that old man Calhoun had helped and supported him.

When he had been taken by the templars from the Bad Weather he had simply been reminded of what he was. A failure. And had continued to be reminded by Shaun, and Rebecca, and Lucy, and his father.

Juno had always seemed to take an express sort of joy in reminding him of what an utter waste of space he was. How he was a tool with only one purpose. Good for only one thing.

He couldn't even do that right. Had ended up most likely dooming the world another way in releasing Juno. He had just been so tired though so very tired. Sure he was glad that all those people had survived the flare thanks to the eye, but in the end the real reason he had chosen to activate it was because he was just so God Damn exhausted.

Figures. He even fails as a sacrifice. But then again he knows that he hardly deserves for things to work out for him, selfish as he is it was probably karma. Punishment for being so uncaring of the fact he was unleashing a ancient malevolent entity on the world simply so he could finally be free.

Desmond knew he was probably going to hell anyway. Selfish, self absorbed blight that he was. He could hardly imagine better. Maybe if he was lucky he would simply be shunted into a kind of purgatory, if whatever cosmic entity that was in charge of that kind of thing took enough pity on him. He doubted it though. And that was fine. He was okay with that. He knew he deserved it.

He was alone here in the past. Doing the few missions lowly and unimportant enough to be trusted to him, constantly under watch, the other assassins and even the common citizenry of masyaf took after the example of their masters. That was fine. Desmond knew he did not deserve their trust or faith.

Malik was kind enough he supposed, but Desmond assumed the man was always so busy, and tended to keep himself so secluded, that he was not truly aware of Desmond's long list of sins.

He knew that it was selfish and evil of him to try and keep such things from the one armed man when they happened to interact on one of Malik's rare visits to masyaf, but he found that he was so starved of even the slightest decent human interaction that he could not bring himself to do the right thing. He was a monster.